Hunting Out The Best East African Safari Destination? Kenya Vs. Uganda : Kenya versus Uganda which one is ideal for a safari? East Africa is a slice of paradise that is difficult to overlook, especially if you are planning a trip to the continent. The region, which is divided into more than four countries, including the well-known Uganda and Kenya, boasts beautiful scenery, unique experiences, and abundant wildlife. Whether or not you are already planning a trip to East Africa, the main question is: which country is a better choice for an African safari adventure: Uganda or Kenya?
With Kenya’s Big 5, Masai villages, and flamingo-carpeted lakes, and Uganda’s charismatic mountain gorillas, these two countries make the ideal safari combination. Witness the annual migration of zebra, wildebeest, and gazelle in Kenya before crossing the border to Uganda and trekking through a steamy jungle to see the world’s largest primate in action. From Nairobi to the Masai Mara and on to Lake Bunyoni and Bwindi National Park, a combined safari of Kenya and Uganda will tick off those bucket list items.
When it comes to quality Big Five sightings and plains wildlife in general, Kenya outperforms Uganda. Its game reserves are far more extensive than those in Uganda, and it offers a more diverse selection of lodges and tented camps. Similarly, a safari in Uganda includes attractions not found in Kenya or most other safari destinations.
The chance to search for chimpanzees and mountain gorillas in Kibale and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks is foremost among these. Overall, Uganda provides significantly more variety in terms of primate safaris, and it is comparable to Kenya in terms of general birdwatching safaris. On forest birds, though, which are typically harder to see elsewhere in eastern and southern Africa, it tends to be stronger.
The three main savannah reserves in Uganda are also incredibly scenic and provide boating access to exhilarating tropical waterways. Nothing in Uganda, a landlocked country, comes close to the Kenya’s beach resorts on the Indian Ocean, like Diani and Watamu.
Be it the pastoralist Maasai and Samburu or the coastal Swahili people, Kenya is also a more distinctly diverse and fascinating country when it comes to traditional cultures.
UGANDA: THE PEARL OF AFRICA
Uganda is a landlocked African country in the east. Sudan borders it to the north, Rwanda to the southwest, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Tanzania to the south. Uganda is roughly half the size of Kenya, with only 241,038 square kilometers. Rivers, lakes, and wetlands cover 18% of the country, including Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake and one of the major sources of the Nile, the world’s longest river.
Uganda, despite its small size, is full of amazing surprises. Aside from its abundance of beautiful rivers and lakes, it is also endowed with beautiful grasslands and forest subsets. It’s no surprise that Sir Winston Churchill fell in love with this country when he visited in 1907 and dubbed it “The Pearl of Africa.”
Hunting Out The Best East African Safari Destination? Uganda Gorilla and chimpanzee trekking safari
The visit to the primates, particularly the mountain gorillas and the elusive chimpanzees, is the main highlight of any Uganda safari trip. Indeed, Uganda is arguably the best country in the world for primate viewing.
When it comes to endangered mountain gorillas, the country is home to more than half of the world’s remaining great apes. To be more specific, there are approximately more than 880 mountain gorillas in the world, with Uganda providing sanctuary to approximately 80% of them.
Chimpanzees can be found in tropical forests, but Kibale Forest National Park is the best place to see them. Kibale Forest is home to more than 1,500 chimpanzees and 12 other primate species, making it East Africa’s most diverse and dense primate population.
Uganda Primate safaris can be very expensive, but people all over the world are willing to splurge for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Permits for these primate safaris are approximately 50% cheaper in Uganda than in other countries that offer these tours.
Uganda Top Attractions
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest: This mystical forest is home to a plethora of flowers and trees. As a result, it is recognized as one of the most diverse and unique natural forests on the planet. It also has a world-class bird population, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers. The mountain gorillas, on the other hand, are the main draw. This rainforest is home to approximately more than 400 mountain gorillas. That is nearly half of its total population!
Queen Elizabeth National Park: Queen Elizabeth National Park, located against the back of the great Rwenzori Mountains, offers panoramic views of crater lakes, sprawling savannas, and lush forests. It is Uganda’s second-largest park and the most visited in the country, offering not only views of the Kazinga Channel but also exciting boat safaris. The park is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including tree-climbing lions, chimps, and East Africa’s largest hippo population.
Murchison Falls National Park: Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest park, is home to the country’s only Big Five. It offers untamed wilderness and savannas cut through the middle by the Nile, with large herds of animals. The magnificent Murchison Falls are the park’s main attraction. There are also boat cruises available where you can cruise by the waterfall.
Kibale Forest National Park: Kibale Forest National Park is well-known for its birding and chimpanzee treks. Its lush forest is home to East Africa’s most diverse and dense primate population, which includes chimpanzees and golden monkeys.
Kampala: It is the capital and largest city of Uganda. Its thriving nightlife is well known throughout the world, and it has even been dubbed “The African City That Never Sleeps.”
Other Uganda activities:
- Whitewater rafting and kayaking in the River Nile
- Boat cruises
- Bungee jumping
- Visit to the Batwa people
- Golden monkey trekking
KENYA: THE REAL AFRICA
While Uganda is known for its primates and boat safaris, Kenya offers a diverse array of natural wonders. It is rich in sweeping plains beautifully peppered with lone trees and an abundance of wildlife, all of which contribute to a strong National Geographic feel and “real Africa” scenery in every corner. It’s no surprise that it’s a favorite playground for wildlife enthusiasts.
Kenya also has one of Africa’s busiest airports, with flights arriving from all over the world. Flights to Kenya (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi) are relatively cheaper due to competition compared to flights to Uganda and even other East African countries.
Hunting Out The Best East African Safari Destination? Wildebeest Migration
The Great Wildebeest Migration, an annual event that can be heard from almost every corner of the globe, is regarded as one of the world’s natural wonders. Almost every traveler has it on their Africa travel bucket list! Kenya, fortunately, is one of the best places to see this. In fact, migrant herds of 2.5 million wildebeests, gazelles, and zebras visit the Kenyan plains for grazing and water from late September to November.
These herds can be found struggling their way across the Mara River, the large river that divides two spectacular parks (conveniently the two settings of this iconic animal movement): Masai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, every year from July to September. This river crossing is unlike anything else on the planet. As migrant herds struggle to survive, predators such as Nile crocodiles and hippos make their task even more difficult, prompting many experts to dub this event the World Cup of Wildlife. Could you imagine seeing all of that unfold in front of your eyes?
Hunting Out The Best East African Safari Destination? Kenya Top Attractions
Masai Mara National Reserve: Do you want to see the story of The Lion King come real? Here’s an interesting fact: Its setting is based on the Serengeti ecosystem, which includes the Masai Mara! So, if you want to see Africa as you imagine it as well as meet the Lion King cast, this is the place to be! It is located in Narok County, Kenya, and is linked to Tanzania’s equally famous Serengeti National Park. Aside from the breathtaking African scenery, which is enhanced by stunning sunsets and sunrises, this is the only place where elephant populations are increasing. The golden plains are teeming with wildlife, including the Big Five, and millions of migrant ungulates graze its plains in the second half of each year.
Amboseli National Park: Amboseli, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is widely regarded as Africa’s best location for viewing free-roaming elephants. It provides picture-perfect scenery with Mount Kilimanjaro’s magical facade. Visitors are welcome to visit Observation Hill, a pyramid-shaped hill that provides spectacular views of the park’s surroundings, as getting out of vehicles is not permitted in this wildlife sanctuary.
Lake Nakuru National Park: Lake Nakuru is a blue and pink lake that offers a one-of-a-kind sight. It is an alkaline-rich lake that is home to endangered white rhinos, black rhinos, and giraffes. It also has Africa’s largest euphorbia forest. The most impressive herds, however, are those of flamingos and water birds. Because of this, as well as the diverse avifauna, this park is regarded as an excellent birding destination.
Nairobi: Nairobi is a bustling city that serves as Kenya’s capital and commercial center. In the middle of the city, there are shopping malls, restaurants, historical sites, tourist attractions, and even a wildlife park!
Other Kenya activities:
- Beach hopping, snorkeling, and diving
- Cultural visits to the Maasai tribe
- Hot air balloon safaris
- Trekking in Mount Kenya
Hunting Out The Best East African Safari Destination? UGANDA VS. KENYA
The two nations offer different safari experiences despite being in the same part of Africa. Uganda is a landlocked country, so lakes and elevated plateaus with a mountain rim predominate in the scenery and activities. On the other hand, Kenya’s terrain is primarily low plains, and since it has a long coastline that borders the Indian Ocean, beach activities are conveniently accessible. Other aspects should be taken into account when contrasting the two, including price, type of lodging, activities offered, and transportation, to name a few.
CONCLUSION: UGANDA VS. KENYA
Both nations provide exquisite safari adventures and stunning scenery. Kenya is the place to go, though, if your main objectives are to see lots of animals (especially the Big Five) and to go on more daring game drives. Compared to Uganda’s smooth rides, Kenya’s game reserves and parks have more “adventurous” roads, and longer game drives increase your chances of seeing wildlife. The Great Migration herds can also be seen if you visit at the right time.
Uganda stands out if you’re looking for variety; within a relatively small area, it offers everything from boat safaris to game drives to primate trekking in the forests. The animal herds in Murchison Falls are typically bigger as well, despite the fact that the Masai Mara in Kenya exhibits an incredible number of animals across its enormous savannah.
Of course, when deciding/choosing between Kenya and Uganda, you must take your travel preferences into consideration. Don’t forget to consider the additional factors explained above table as well. Better yet, if you believe you can go on safari in both nations, do so. Nevertheless, no matter which country you choose, your African safari adventure will undoubtedly be memorable.
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