Uganda, aptly nicknamed The Pearl of Africa by Winston Churchill after his visit in 1907, is rapidly gaining a reputation for being a top-safari destination. It can now hold its own against safari behemoths like Tanzania, South Africa and Botswana. This landlocked country is home to 10 national parks and is also where the Nile River starts. If that hasnt swayed you to put Uganda at the top of your list, here are four reasons to consider Uganda for your next safari.
The price of a single-entry tourist visa has just halved
Exactly one year ago, Uganda raised the price of its tourist visa from $50 to $100 USD. In July of this year, the government reversed this increase to help promote tourism.
The price reduction puts it back on a level playing field with major safari destinations such as Kenya and Tanzania, which also have a $50 single-entry tourist visa (Tanzania price is $100 for US citizens). It also helps it compete with countries like South Africa and Botswana, which dont require any fees for stays up to 90 days.
Uganda is part of the East Africa tourist visa
For $100, visitors can purchase a tourist visa that is valid for up to 90 days and allows them entry to Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
This is particularly attractive for those planning longer safaris and saves time at border crossings.
All of the Big Five can be seen in Uganda
A big lure for many safari goers is the opportunity to see all of the Big Five: buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino. Parks such as Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley currently feature four of the Big Five, the rhino can only be found at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
The rhino sanctuary is less than two hours from Murchison Falls and is en route to Kampala, making it possible to see all of the Big Five. On 11th June of this year, a male hippo was born who has yet to be named. They are taking suggestions until September.
Uganda is one of only three countries where you can see mountain gorillas
Uganda, along with DR Congo and Rwanda, is home to the last remaining populations of mountain gorillas. Uganda has two parks where the mountain gorillas can be tracked/trekked: Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga. Between the two parks, nearly two-thirds of the worlds remaining mountain gorillas can be found.
Also, a portion of all tracking fees go back to the local communities to help with school supplies and to supplement local farmers, whose crops can sometimes get eaten by neighboring gorillas.
Whether youre interested in seeing big game, visiting a rhino named Obama at a rhino sanctuary or trekking mountain gorillas, Uganda will not disappoint.
Javier Luque is a Co-Founder and Director of Your African Safari.
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