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Trekking and Hiking in Uganda

What are the trekking options in Uganda?

The short answer is you can find fantastic trekking routes of various difficulties almost everywhere in Uganda, certainly at all the most popular destinations.

We’ve broken down your options as follows:

  1. Gorilla trekking in Uganda
  2. Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda
  3. Rwenzori Mountains
  4. Light forest walks
  5. Kidepo Valley & The Ik Trek
Tourists in Bwindi Rushaga Sector ready for Gorilla Trekking.

1. Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla trekking is the flagship experience in Uganda. The two places you can trek gorillas in Uganda are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Bwindi is by far the most popular choice as the park contains more gorillas, has much better accommodation options, and fits nicely along a classic south-western circuit.

Uganda is arguably the best place in the world to see gorillas. It is also possible in neighbouring Rwanda, but gorilla permits are much cheaper in Uganda.

The habituated Gorillas are shy and docile, despite their strength.

2. Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda

Gorillas aren’t the only primates in Uganda’s forests.

Unlike gorilla trekking, the chimp trekking terrain is not too challenging and so you don’t have to be particularly fit or able to trek for long periods to track chimpanzees.

Standard tracking excursions last about three hours and include a maximum of one hour with the chimps, during which you can expect to get within 8-10 metres.

Permits are required to track the chimpanzees, and you will join a group (maximum of 8) led by Uganda Wildlife Authority Interpretive Rangers who will introduce you to the chimps and their forest world.

Adult chimpanzee walking through Kibale Forest on Kibale habituation experience.

Hanging out with the chimps on their turf is an unforgettable experience.

3. Rwenzori Mountains

Uganda’s most challenging and spectacular trekking destination, the Rwenzori Mountains are an alpine wonderland within Central Africa. A place of exploration, where vegetation morphs to snow-capped peaks. Take aim at the glacial summits, step by ice-bound step.

Trails range for a day-taster trip to a 12 day, multi-peak, expedition.

The Rwenzoris must be explored on foot, and you must be of above average fitness and used to endurance activities. It’s no walk in the park!

Margherita Peak has recently been reclassified as a technical climb and although you don’t need to be an expert climber in winter conditions, some experience is recommended.

Trekking and Hiking in Uganda

Hiking the snow-capped peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains.

4. Light Forest Walks

In Murchison Falls National Park

The churning waters of the Nile prevent boats from approaching close to the base of Murchison Falls. To experience the full force of the falls, disembark at the limit of the boat’s approach and hike through riverine woodland and along a cliff face to the summit of the falls.

Murchison is also a fantastic destination for bird walks and the Kyambura Gorge in Murchison is another chimpanzee trekking destination.

Lakes Mutanda and Bunyonyi

Lakes Mutanda and Bunyonyi are beautiful areas for relaxation, typically included after a hardy gorilla trek in the nearby Bwindi Forest.

The views by the lakes are stunning, and it is the perfect place for some light adventuring in a remote pocket of the country.

There are a number of walking trails that will take you deep into the surrounding countryside. If you like to maximise your adventure, it is also possible to hike and canoe from the airport in Kisoro to Nkuringo in the south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Scenic view of Lake Mutanda and the Virunga Mountains.

Lake Mutanda is surrounded by stunning natural beauty.

Semliki Valley

The Semliki Valley is a wonderfully remote park near the western border of Uganda.

There are three trails at Semliki. The longest is the 13 kilometre Kirumia Trail, which takes you through the heart of the forest to the Semuliki River. Expect to be out for 8 hours.

Slightly shorter at 11 kilometres, the Red Monkey Trail follows the park’s eastern border to the Semliki River with the aim of sighting the rare deBrazza’s monkey, which is often seen in this area.

The shortest trail is the 8 kilometre Sempaya Nature Trail. It introduces visitors to the forest’s primates and the hot springs. The hike lasts between 2 and 4 hours and can take place in the morning or afternoon.

Trekking and Hiking in Uganda

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most bio-diverse national park and any trip here will include plenty of game drives and boat safaris, but there is also ample opportunity for walking.

Queens is another popular chimpanzee trekking destination, and for birders and those who love walking far from the normal trails, the Maramagambo Forest is the perfect place to spend half or even a full day.

Sheltered from the hot sun by the dense canopy, you can explore the shadows, discovering species not seen on the open plains, stumble across hidden crater lakes and marvel at the sheer mass of life found within a bat cave.

Trekking and Hiking in Uganda

Lake Mburo

At Lake Mburo National Park, the whole area is available to explore on foot, as long as you take a guide with you.

Favourite trails are to the salt lick at Rwonyo, the lake shorelines, Rubanga Forest and viewpoint hill tops.

Walks are the most exciting way to discover the park because visibility is often restricted by the undergrowth, and it is difficult to see buffalo holding their ground or hyena loping back to their dens after a night out hunting.

Walks are also the best way for birders to track down the more elusive species.

A pair of zebras grazing in the afternoon sun

5. Kidepo Valley & The Ik Trek

Wildlife Walks

Most of the walking trails in the Kidepo Valley National Park take 2 to 3 hours and wind their way through the Narus Valley.

Birders will often patrol the fringes of the Narus and Namamukweny Valleys looking for the Abyssinian Roller, Purple Heron, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill and Clapperton’s Francolin, which is found only in Kidepo.

For those looking for a greater challenge, a 15 kilometre route follows the ridge line into the hills.

While there are many possible trails, it is worth being aware that some may not have been walked for a long time and will be temporarily closed.

Trekking and Hiking in Uganda

Kidepo has over 50 Rothschild’s giraffe, an internationally important population.

The Ik Trek

The Ik still live a marginal life in the Morungole Mountains, but they have recovered from what was obviously a nadir in their history.

They welcome guided treks made by visitors eager to explore the landscape they inhabit and to understand a little more about their unique way of life.

This is not voyeuristic tourism. It is a difficult trek, both physically and due to the questions it raises about human rights, sustainable conservation and human development.

But with fees from the trek going to Ik community initiatives and interest from the outside world going some way to protecting the people from neighbourly threat, it is a compelling experience. It is also a beautiful trek.

Two different routes are available, depending on local weather conditions and your level of fitness.

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Customer Reviews

Ngoni Safaris Uganda

Customer Reviews

Michael T 06/June/2021

Above & Beyond
Review of: 3-Day Gorillas trekking and Batwa Experience
Sedrick went above and beyond to accomodate our request for an itinerary alteration due to our compressed time in Uganda. He also compeltely took care of scheduling our covid 19 testing and drove us to the site on arrival.

Our driver/guide Ben was also outstanding!

**We highly recommend using a porter during gorilla trekking as their are some complex parts to the trail/terrain. This also benefits the local people by providing them work.**

David 24/June/2021

Seeing Lots of Animals and Uganda
The schedule suited my time in Uganda exactly and was a great opportunity to view some of the top wildlife and natural wonders of the country. Lodgings range from mid-range to near upscale and are in beautiful locations. Food is good and ample. My driver, Stanley, was expert at spotting wildlife and, very importantly on the Ugandan roads, a careful and skilled driver. You see various parts of the country on this tour, and due to distances, be aware you'll spend quite a few hours on the road. One thing they might add is an itinerary going into more detail ahead of time on each day's activity and suggested things to bring. I was concerned about the needed COVID test for return home, but they took care of arranging that, and it turned out successfully. Overall the tour was a real highlight and is highly recommended.

Justo Nov 18, 2019

I went on an 11 day safari visiting Kampala, Jinja, Lake Mburo NP, Bwindi NP, Queen Elizabeth NP and Kibale NP. Communications with Ngoni were prompt and easy from the start. As soon as I made my booking, Sedrick contacted me through WhatsApp and guided me through the rest of the process. Leading up to the tour he made sure I was well-prepared to begin. He was always very clear and friendly. Service was exceptional. I had the pleasure of going on this safari with three members of Ngoni's staff - Sedrick, Nelson and Joel. These guys made my comfort their priority from the moment we met. Whether it was checking if I was okay with the accommodations or making sure I always had a bottle of water, I always felt like I was being well taken care of. Nelson is an excellent guide. His knowledge about the flora and fauna of Uganda was extensive, always able to answer any questions I had and was eager to teach - it's obvious that he has a great love for his country and it's environment and is eager to share this love with his clients. My experience with Ngoni and Uganda surpassed all expectations I had. Absolutely amazing, and thanks to the guys at Ngoni it feels like a new home - can't wait to come back and visit. Webale, brothers!

Stephany Aug 13, 2019
Sedrick was unique and stood out from the rest in the high quality communication he provided since the first inquiry. He called me to provide information about the itinerary and see if I had any questions even before booking the tour. We communicated through WhatsApp for any other questions that came to mind after that call. After picking me up from the airport, he and Pilot (additional tour guide) provided plenty of information about the country to give me some context and we started our long drive to the impenetrable forest. The food was delicious with many options; the accommodation was very clean with exceptional service; and the transportation from Entebbe to Bwindi park was very comfortable (although long). As a solo female traveler, both tour guides (Sedrick and Pilot) did an exceptional job at enduring I accomplished everything intended to in Uganda, and always made me feel safe. I highly recommend to book your safari with this company because the quality and professionalism will not let you down.

Shakira Dec 14, 2018

Ngoni safaris uganda is the best tour operator in Uganda. A few weeks back we traveled to Bwindi impenetrable with sedrick to explore the beauty that is Uganda. This company took care of us . with most comfortable car , Great guide .We highly recommend it to the next travelers

Winnie Dec 19, 2018
I was going on a gorilla safari with my friend and this was going to be the first ever safari for the both of us. Luckily, the communication with the office was super easy and we got answers to all of the questions we needed. The driver / guide (Sedrick) was very professional and funny and made our time very pleasant. Also, he had a proper knowledge of the local area close to the Mgahinga national park and he promptly spoke some 7 languages which we thought was super positive. The safari was surely the highlight of out East African trip!

Ritah Jan 2, 2019
My Team and I did a five day trip, including Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls and Kidepo. It was truly an incredible experience. Our guide, Sedrick, was knowledgeable, skilled in driving in some challenging settings and just plain fun to hang out with for five days. The lodging was perfect, especially Savannah Lodge. The tents and beds were high quality. The views were spectacular. Meals were delicious and varied. I recommend Ngoni safaris Uganda with all my heart and soul!

Pilot May 28, 2019
Our six days trip was amazing. The driver/guide had an incredible knowledge of animal and bird-life and are so interesting to talk to. His driving skills through lashing rain and massive puddles was admirable! The cooks managed to produce varied and delicious meals from the kitchen, which we ate both at accommodation or roadside when we were travelling from one place to another . At all times we felt safe and well-looked after. All in all, an incredible experience, due not only to the abundance of wildlife we were lucky enough to see, but also to the great efforts put to have our Safari a better one . The safari was full of fun. Traveling with ngoni safaris is my life time memorable experience and I highly recommend it to travellers who would love to visit uganda or EastAfrica for holidays, vacations or Adventure.. Even five stars are too small .