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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lakes Mutanda and Bunyonyi
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.
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.
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.
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.
5. Kidepo Valley & The Ik Trek
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.
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.
Most Popular Trekking Trips in Uganda
The tours below showcase just some of what is possible. Use these itineraries as starting points, or to draw inspiration. Then get in touch, and let our expert team help craft the perfect itinerary for you.
Combine chimp trekking in Kibale Forest with mountain gorilla treks in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. A well-paced highlights tour unlocking some of Uganda's most impressive experiences. Consider breaking up the journey from Kibale to Bwindi with a classic safari at…
- 7 Days
Combine gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with beautiful lakeside retreats at Lake Mutanda. Tough treks and primate encounters paired with idyllic, calming lakes and oases make for an unforgettable experience in this remote pocket of Uganda.…
- 6 Days
Open top road trips looping through Uganda's epic southwestern pocket; this is the safari adventure of your imagination. Track chimpanzees in Kibale Forest, go in search of gorillas in Bwindi, cruise the savannah plains of Queens, and look out for…
- 14 Days
Board a Cessna light aircraft and head into the southwestern pocket of Uganda. Trek through the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in search of the mountain gorillas. Retreat to luxury lodges for sundowners and delicious food. Hard days, soft…
- 4 Days
Beautiful landscapes, diverse wildlife, and a undercurrent of the wild vastness of central Africa that lies just beyond the borders, the north of Uganda beckons adventurers who dream of exploring the frontiers. It's proper adventuring, but luxury lodges mean you…
- 9 Days
Light adventuring and charming safaris in Lake Mburo National Park coupled with lakeside retreats and days of reflection and exploration around Lake Mutanda. Close out the trip with a few days canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking and more in Jinja, Uganda's…
- 12 Days
Discover the exceptional bio-diversity of Uganda by combining the beautiful savannah grasslands of Murchison Falls National Park with chimpanzee trekking in the forests of Kibale National Park. Connect the dots with epic road trips looping through northwestern Uganda.…
- 7 Days
The quintessence of Ugandan exploration. Start your adventure in the wild Kidepo Valley in the northern tip of Uganda before weaving down to meet the gorillas in southwestern jungles. Epic landscapes, incredible safaris, and luxury lodges; this is a proper…
- 20 Days
Trek the Rwenzori Mountains where forests morph into ice-clad mountain peaks, cut through jungle thickets to hang out with mountain gorillas, and finish your trip relaxing lakeside amongst the staggering beauty of Lake Mutanda. This is Uganda.…
- 15 Days
Travel to the farthest corners of Uganda where towering volcanoes mark the border between the thick jungles of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and the untamed vastness of central Africa. After trekking the gorillas in Mgahinga, head inland for a couple…
- 6 Days
Watch our Uganda Guide
Thinking about visiting Uganda?
We'll spend some time listening to your aspirations, then discuss the kind of experience that might suit you.
Next we'll discuss the options, shortlist the best trips for you and present you our impartial recommendations.
We'll place a 24 hour hold on your preferred option - without obligation - whilst we talk through the details.