When is the best time of year to visit Uganda?

View of some of the stunning countryside in Uganda

When is the best time of year to visit Uganda?

The answer is –  it really does depend

Uganda is an all-year round destination with a pleasant climate and temperatures averaging in the mid 20s°C. The huge variety in altitude means temperatures vary around the country (but this also means increased biodiversity). The seasons have become less predictable in recent years and we can no longer put a date in our diaries when the rains will start.

Most holidays, especially wildlife safaris, can be done at any time of year: you will see so much wildlife and have an amazing experience.

 

Uganda Weather Chart 02

The following points may help you to decide when suits you best:

  • Peak tourist seasons usually coincide with dry seasons. It is more crowded, flights may be more expensive, and accommodation needs booking well in advance.
  • Flight prices may increase in European/American holiday seasons.
  • There are fewer tourists in low seasons so you can have the place to yourselves!
  • Many hotels offer all-year prices so the price of your visit may not change much between seasons but, generally speaking, rainy seasons are a little cheaper.
  • Most major roads going from the capital, Kampala, up-country are tarmac. Conditions on murram roads may worsen, to varying degrees, in rainy season but we will take this into account when planning your itinerary to keep you safe.
  • The Uganda Wildlife Authority often practice controlled burning in national parks. This is done in sections. The scorched earth does not look very attractive, but the grass is lower making animal sightings easier and, when the new green shoots appear, it looks very attractive. Burning is usually done at the end of a dry season.
  • Game viewing may be better in Kidepo Valley national park (north eastern Uganda) in dry season (Sept-May) when the animals remain closer to the water sources and grasslands.

 

Venture Uganda owner Lesley.

 

Best time of year for hiking holidays in Uganda

The best time of year for hikers to visit perhaps depends on what you want to do. Warm weather may be nice for gentle walks but perhaps less so for challenging hikes. In rainy seasons you can expect downpours for a few hours but not all day, every day. So, if you are doing shorter walks, to some extent, these can be timed to avoid the rain but, if you want to be hiking longer distances, every day, you will not want a soaking. Some parts of the country, like Karamoja, have different seasons (dry Sept-May) and can get very hot. You’ll need to talk to us if you would like a hiking holiday there.

 

Rwenzori Mountain climbing Bamwanjara pass 4,450 metres

Best time of year for Mountain climbing holidays in Uganda

Should you plan to climb the Rwenzori mountains, dry seasons are best (Dec – Feb and June – Sept). However, some think the rainy seasons are better as the scenery is nicer because the peaks are often covered in snow.

 

Regal Sunbird, Uganda

Best time of year for Birding holiday in Uganda

When it comes to the best time of year for birding, it depends how specialised you want to get and what else you want to consider (see above).

  • Generally speaking, June to September are considered good months
  • You can bird anytime and expect to see hundreds out of Uganda’s c. 1,070 species.
  • If you want a specific bird, we can advise e.g. Green-breasted Pitta: July/August during its breeding season when it displays rather than hides.
  • Palaearctic migrants are present Oct–Mar
  • Intra-African migrants from southern Africa are in Uganda in August.
  • The chances of seeing Shoebill at Mabamba swamp are high as the community monitors them. You can also search for them at a number of other locations around Uganda.
  • August is the main nesting season with birds in breeding plumage.
  • During rainy seasons (Mar-May and Oct-Nov) it may rain for a few hours a day but it does not stop you birding and is cooler and quieter. Some smaller roads may be in worse condition. It is more arid in northern Uganda.

If you have any further questions, we will be pleased to help.