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Uganda has a spring-like climate year round with blue skies and warm day time temperatures ranging from 21-25°C. There are heavy downpours from March–May and October-November which can make road travel quite difficult in some parts of the country, especially in remote areas. As is the case with many other African countries, the rainfall has a big impact on the vegetation which in turn has an effect on wildlife movement and game viewing opportunities, so it is worth thinking carefully about when to travel to Uganda.
Although Uganda can be visited year round, we think that the best time to visit is during its two dry seasons from December-February and June-September as temperatures are pleasant and there is little chance of rain. Conditions are favourable for gorilla and chimpanzee treks during these months, whilst game viewing is particularly good towards the end of the dry season as the shortage of water forces wildlife to congregate by the rivers and waterholes. Bird watching is best in the rainy months between March–May and October-November due to various migratory patterns.
If you’re thinking about planning a Ugandan adventure, our ‘When to travel to Uganda’ guide will help you decide when to go.
January falls within the short dry season. You can expect plenty of sunshine and very little rain throughout Uganda during January. It is a great month to discover the national parks and wildlife viewing is fantastic as the animals gather around the remaining water sources making them easy to locate.
It is also a good month for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest and gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park as the dry weather means that the forests are less muddy and the tracks are less slippery. Although this is the dry season there is still a chance of rain as weather can be unpredictable in the forests. Uganda can be very hot in January with daytime temperatures between 24-33°C,but the altitude of the forests means that temperatures are cooler and you shouldn’t find the heat too uncomfortable when you’re on your treks.
February is the last month of the short dry season. It is another good month for tracking chimpanzees in Kibale Forest and gorillas in Bwindi National Park as the tracks are likely to be dry making the trekking conditions easier – although you should bear in mind that there is always a chance of rain in the forests.As with January it can get very hot and humid during February, however the altitude of the forests means that temperatures are cooler and you shouldn’t feel too uncomfortable when you’re on your treks.
February is also an excellent month for game viewing in Uganda’s national parks.
The long rainy season begins in March and lasts until May. If you’re not concerned about experiencing heavy rain during your trip it can still be a good time to explore Uganda, and there is the added bonus of seeing the landscapes at their most beautiful. You should bear in mind that roads can become very muddy and some lodges, particularly in remote areas, are inaccessible so they close during the long rainy season from March until mid-May.
You can still track chimpanzees and gorillas during the rainy season, however you should be prepared for muddy, slippery conditions in the forests and you’ll need good quality boots and waterproof clothing. If you plan to visit the national parks you should expect occasional torrential downpours, although there’s usually blue skies and sunshine immediately after the showers.
The long rainy season continues during April and you should expect torrential downpours almost every day, although there’s usually blue skies and sunshine immediately after the showers.
The rains fill the waterholes and rivers in the national parks and the vegetation becomes lush and green - this can make wildlife viewing more challenging because you won’t find large concentrations of wildlife congregating around waterholes.
You can still track chimpanzees and gorillas at this time of year, however you’ll need to be prepared for the wet weather and you should expect tough trekking conditions.
May is the last month of the long rainy season and the downpours gradually stop towards the end of the month and the long dry season approaches. The rain is unlikely to last all day and the skies brighten up after a downpour which means that you can still enjoy game drives and other activities.
May can still be a lovely month to visit Uganda and there is the added bonus that you’ll see the landscapes at their most beautiful. Please be aware that roads can become very muddy and some lodges, particularly in remote areas, are inaccessible so they close during the long rainy season from March until mid-May.
You can still track chimpanzees in Kibale Forest during May, however you should expect muddy, slippery conditions in the forests and you’ll need good quality boots and waterproof clothing. May is not the best time to track gorillas in Bwindi Forest in southwest Uganda as the jungle paths will be wet and muddy making trekking more challenging.
May is an excellent month to discover Murchison Falls National Park where you can enjoy fantastic wildlife encounters and you can take a boat trip to the base of the 40m Murchison Falls.
June sees the start of thelong dry season which lasts until October. There is usually plenty of sunshine and very little rain during these months.
June to October are considered the best months for tracking mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, however we recommend that you book your trip well in advance as a limited number of permits are available each day. Although this is the dry season there is still a chance of rain as weather can be unpredictable in the forests.
June is an ideal time to discover Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park as the landscapes are green and beautiful following the recent rains.
July and August are Uganda’s peak safari months and if you wish to travel at this time we recommend that you book well in advance to secure availability at your preferred accommodation. These are popular months as this is when a great deal of “action” takes place in the parks. Animals are usually found close to the rivers and waterholes, however with larger concentrations of wildlife at the water sources predators and prey have greater interaction, making for some exciting game drives.
July and August are also good months for tracking gorillas and chimpanzees, although you can expect hot and humid conditions in the forest. Whilst the national parks can be very hot and dusty at this time, you should bear in mind that Uganda has a tropicalclimate and the forests of Bwindi and Kibale can experience rains at any time.
Along with July, August is considered to be the optimum time for game viewing in Uganda’s national parks as wildlife is drawn out of the bushes and closer to the remaining water sources, making them easier to view and photograph.
The parks can get very busy with safari vehicles during July and August. To avoid the crowds you may want to consider visiting Kidepo Valley National Park nestled among the rugged hills and valleys of northeast Uganda - this remote park is much less-visited than Queen Elizabeth NP and Murchison Falls NP, yet it still offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.
August is another popular month for tracking gorillas and chimpanzees, however it is essential to book well in advance as there are a limited number of permits available each day.
September is the last month of the long dry season and it is a great time to visit Uganda for game viewing, gorilla trekking, hiking and other activities. The wet season sets in towards the middle or end of September, although the rain usually starts earlier in the month in Kibale National Park so it is not necessarily the best month for chimpanzee trekking (January, February, June and July are the optimum months for tracking chimpanzees in Kibale).
If you’re visiting the national parks for a safari you may be lucky and have a completely dry month, in which case wildlife will be easier to spot as the grazed-down vegetation and the fact that waterholes will be dwindling means that animals will gather around the remaining water supplies.
October sees the start of the short rainy season (October to November). It can still be an excellent month for wildlife viewing in Uganda’s national parks - depending on when the rains arrive, the beginning of October may remain dry which means that wildlife will congregate around dwindling waterholes making them easier to locate and photograph.
As the rain increases in Bwindi and Kibale, conditions in the jungle will become muddy and slippery, therefore October and November are not necessarily the best months for gorilla and chimpanzee tracking - but if you're up for a challenge it can still be a great experience.
The short rainy season continues in November. The downpours in October and November are often in short heavy bursts, and you can expect blue skies in between the showers. You may experience the occasional thunderstorm which can be incredibly dramatic, especially if you get to watch from the comfort of your lodge. The wet weather means that the vegetation is starting to thrive and the dry plains become lush and green.
Game viewing in the national parks can be more challenging at this time because the vegetation is dense, making it harder to locate and observe wildlife, however this can mean that your game drives are more exciting as you’ll need to seek out the animals.
November is not necessarily the best month for gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest and chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest as the conditions in the jungles will be wet and muddy, but if you're up for a challenge it can still be a great experience and it can be a fantastic time to photograph gorillas.
November sees the start of the birdwatching season (November-April) as migratory birds arrive.
December sees the start of the short dry season (from December to February) and this is a fantastic time to travel to Uganda. You can expect some rainfall during December, however most days will be dry and bright.The landscape is particularly beautiful following the short rainy season and you can enjoy spectacular scenic views as you drive around the country from one park to another.
It is a great month to track chimpanzees in Kibale NP and mountain gorillas in Bwindi NP as the dry weather means that the forests are less muddy and the tracks are less slippery making chimpanzee trekking more manageable, however the tropical climate means that there could be rain at any time.
It is a popular month to visit Uganda therefore it essential that you book in advance to secure gorilla and chimpanzee tracking permits and to ensure availability at your preferred lodges (particularly if you want to travel over the festive period).