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Photographic safaris in Uganda / wildlife photography

Photographic safaris in Uganda / wildlife photographyPhotographic safaris in Uganda are popular and one of the best ways to capture and keep your safari memories and impress your family and friends back home. Photography travelers on photographic safaris in Uganda enjoy capturing the beauty this less visited country- The pearl of Africa has got to offer. These photographic safaris are organized in the different national parks of Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and all the other countries Gorilla Link Tours takes travelers too.Any enthusiastic photographer should not miss the opportunity to photograph mountain gorillas during a gorilla trekking tour or Gorilla Habituation experience, chimpanzees on a chimpanzee trek, and other photogenic places in Uganda which are Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Mutanda, Murchison Falls national park, Kibale national park, the crater lakes, River Nile, etc. If you are interest in cultural safaris too, we can make it happen

It is important to note that wildlife photography and traditional safaris don’t often mix at all since as a photographer, it’s always frustrating when your guide, or the people on your safari vehicle, are uninterested in things that you would like to photograph.

We understand that wildlife photography on photographic safaris in Uganda require patience, preparation, dedication and a guide that understands how to get you into the right spots, and position for that perfect capture. You also need lots of space and equipment to move in your vehicle. In short – you need to go on a dedicated photographic safari which we can help you with.

Best places for photographic safaris in Uganda

  1. Murchison Falls National park

Murchison Falls National park is 3,840km2 making it the biggest conservation body in Uganda. It was gazetted as a national park in 1952.  The park offers great wildlife photography photos of elephants, giraffes, leopard, African cape buffalo, Nile crocodile, hippo, warthog, lions, different types of antelopes and numerous birds. One can go on a photography game drives, boat safari to the bottom of the falls, a hike to the top of the falls, hot air balloon safari and take a boat to the delta to see the shoebill stork, an ancient bizarre looking bird. It is also one of the few national parks in Uganda that offer night game.

The Murchison falls are the world’s most powerful water fall. There is a point here the Nile squeezes through an 8m wide gorge and plunges with a thunderous roar into the “Devil’s Cauldron”, creating a trademark rainbow

The northern section of the park contains savannah and borassus palms, acacia trees and riverine woodland. The south is dominated by woodland and forest patches

The 1951 film “The African Queen” starring Humphrey Bogart was filmed on Lake Albert and the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park

Notable visitors to the park include Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway and several British royals.

  1. Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National park, located in the north-Eastern region of Uganda is one of the less visited parks in Uganda and it. It was voted by CNN as one of the most beautiful national parks in Africa and we totally agree.  A photographic safari in this park would reward you with the sweeping plains of Kidepo and Narus Valleys overshadowed by Mount Morungole, the sacred peak of the mysterious Ik people. The scenery is beautiful enough for your photo memories.

On top of its amazing endless landscapes, it is home to different types of wildlife. These are lions, huge herds of elephants moving along the valleys, and roving herds of more than 4,000 buffalo (the total population in the park is said to be about 13,000)

The park’s isolation is off-putting for many, but the 12-hour road trip from Kampala, Uganda’s capital, (or a fairly expensive private charter flight) is a small price to pay to discover one of Africa’s genuine hidden gems

  1. Kibale National park.

Kibale National park is located in Western Uganda and has been nick named the primate capital of the world. It is perfect for photographers interested in taking great shots of chimpanzees since it has a huge population of them. The park is characterised by grassland, rain forest and swamp. It is home to about 70 mammal species and 13 primate species that include the chimpanzee. It is also a bird watcher’s paradise because it is home to 375 species of birds. Kibale National park is also surrounded by beautiful crater lakes which can be explored on foot. These are really photogenic.

Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau.

  1. Queen Elizabeth National park.

Queen Elizabeth National park should not missed out on a photographic safari to Uganda. The park was founded in 1952 as Kainga National park and after two year, it was named after the Queen of Eland, Queen Elizabeth. This national is with no doubt Uganda’s most popular destinations for tourists. It offers great photographic opportunities due to its diverse ecosystems that include savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, making it a great habitat for big animals like the elephant, lion, hippo, buffalo, leopard, 10 primate species that include chimpanzee which can be found in Kyambura gorge and over 600 bird species.

This park is also set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.

The park also offers many photographic opportunities for visitors to meet local people for enjoy storytelling, dance, music and more. The gazetting of the park has ensured the conservation of its ecosystems, which in turn benefits the surrounding communities.

  1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Bwindi Impenetrable National park is a World UNESCO heritage located in South Western Uganda. From a distance, the trees of Bwindi impenetrable forest look look broccoli heads. The main activity here is gorilla trekking and rescently gorilla habituation has been introduced in the southern part. If you are interesting in photographing mountain gorillas, butterflies, waterfalls and birds of Uganda, then this is perfect and should be included on your itinerary,

  1. Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National park is 370km2 making it Uganda’s smallest savanna national park but its size should not be under estimated as far as photography safaris in Uganda are concerned. It is only 4 hours from Kampala and 5 hours from Entebbe to this park which is easily accessible and packed with so much for your photography. It is underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is home to 350 bird species, zebra, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, reedbuck and Topi. The park can be explored by boat on a boat safari, by a horse back safari, by a 4 x 4 WD safari jeep and or on foot on a guided waking safari, offering great opportunities to enthusiastic photographers on one of our safaris in the country.

  1. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

33.7km2, making it Uganda’s smallest National Park. The park takes its name from “Gahinga” – the local word for the piles of volcanic stones cleared from farmland at the foot of the volcanoes.

The park is at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. It was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey and specie bird species  Mgahinga National park does not only protect wildlife but also has a huge cultural significance for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivalled. For a cultural photo session, travellers can go for a Batwa cultural visit to their secret Ngarama cave.

The extinct volcanoes are one of the few striking features of this national park that can be photographed.

  1. Semuliki National park

Semuliki National park was founded in 1932 and upgraded to national park status in 1993. It is the only lowland tropical forest in East Africa and is home 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals. Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori. The park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin and is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests; one of the few to survive the last ice age, 12-18,000 years ago. The park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin.

The Semliki Valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. The Semliki River is a miniature version of the Congo River. The forest is home to numerous Central African wildlife species, and the local population includes a Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri. As a result, this park provides a taste of Central Africa without having to leave Uganda.

One of the most photogenic features in the park are Sempaya female and male hot springs. These hot springs bubble up from the depths to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years.

  1. Lake Mutanda

Lake Mutada has fresh water and is one of the beautiful lakes in Uganda. This little gem is unknown to many and is surrounded by Moutain landscapes. It is found in the Southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National park in South Western Uganda. It is one of the most beautiful and scenic lakes in Uganda. Any keen photographer should not miss a chance to take photos of this stunning lake.

Its beautiful scenery is set against a stunning backdrop of peaks of the Virunga Mountain Volcanoes which are Mount Muhavura, Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabinyo.

  1. Lake Mulehe

Lake Mulehe is located in South Western Uganda in Kisoro district, located convenietely for gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National park and Bwindi Impenetrable national park. It is another beautiful lake that looks stunning in photos.

  1. Katinda and Mirambi crater lakes

You cannot visit Queen Elizabeth National park and not stopover at these beautiful twin lakes. They are so breath taking both in person and on camera and we highly recommend that you include them on your list of things to photograph on your photographic safaris in Uganda

  1. Lake Albert

Lake Albert is located right in the center of the Africa, on the border between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is a very beautiful lake which can be visited and photographed on your way from Murchison Falls National park. This lake is northernmost of the chain of lakes in the Albertine Rift the western branch of the East African Rift.

It is about 160 km (100 mi) long and 30 km (19 mi) wide, with a maximum depth of 51 m (168 ft), and a surface elevation of 619 m (2,030 ft) above sea level.

Best Activities for photographic safaris in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National park

Gorilla trekking is the most popular activity that brings all tribes of travellers to Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla National park. Mountain gorillas are endangered and only live in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. They cannot live in the zoo. There are about 1000 of these and what a great opportunity to photograph them. When you come face to face with the mountain gorillas, you will spend 1 hour with them, at 7 meter distance

Gorilla habituation in Rushaga, Southern Sector of Bwindi impenetrable Forest.

Gorilla habituation is a better option for photographers. Instead of spending only one hour with the mountain gorillas, you spend about 4 hours. However, the gorillas being habituated are not yet used to people and may run away or hide. Habituation is a process of making the wild ones get used to human presence. Only 4 people are allowed to go the gorilla habituation activity. It costs $1500 US dollars while the regular trek costs $600 US dollars for non-foreigners.

Bird watching

Bird watching in Uganda takes place all year around. The country is home to about 1070 beautiful bird species which can be photographed on your guided birding photography safari or general safari. Each national park and region has unique birds some that are only found in Uganda. Birds can be seen on road trips, boat safaris and game drives

Hot air balloon safari

Hot air balloon safaris in Uganda only take place in Murchison Falls National park. These offer a great and unique way to take photos of the national park and it’s wildlife from above. Wildlife to watch out that bird eye’s view are lions, giraffe, elephant, buffalo, and hippo and are concluded by a bush breakfast.

Lion tracking in Queen Elizabeth National park

The Lion tracking experience takes place in Queen Elizabeth National park. It is a purely research program run by the Uganda carnivore program and lets you monitor lions and get close to them, using locator devices. As a photographer, this lets you get great lion photos on a close and a bit personal distance compared to the traditional wildlife game drives which really on luck. Here you are assured of seeing the lions. At the same time you are learning about their behavior and contributing to the conservation of these threaten big cats

Chimpanzee trekking

Photographers interested in primate safaris have a chance to take photos of chimpanzees which are found in Budongo forest, Kibale National park and Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth National park. Kibale National park offers the best chimpanzee trekking experience and if you need for time, you can opt for chimpanzee habituation in the same park

Boat safaris on lakes and rivers

Boat safaris mainly take place in Murchison falls national park, Queen Elizabeth National park and Lake Mburo National park. They take you close to most wildlife come to the lakes to drink water during the afternoon hours. You will also take many photos of aquatic birds, the Nile crocodiles and hippos that always hang out in water.

Walking safaris

In Uganda, walking safaris can only be done in two national parks; Lake Mburo national park and Kidepo Valley National park. These walking safaris are guide by a ranger guide from Uganda wildlife Authority and bring you safely close to the wildlife in these national parks. In Lake Mburo national park and Kidepo Valley national park, one can photograph

Cultural safaris

If you are a photographer and are keen to cultural safaris, then sign up for cultural safaris or combine them with the classic safaris in Uganda. Cultural photography safaris let you interact with people and meeting the Batwa pygmy who used to live in forests, the IK and Karamajog people who live in Manyattas.

Best time for photographic safaris in Uganda.

Uganda has got a beautiful tropical climate and thus travelers can come for photographic safaris in Uganda all year around depending on what they are interested in photographing. Most people are in summer holidays during June-October and Dec-February. These are dry months and this is the time many visit Uganda on safari holidays.

The months November and March to May are wet. However, this is when the national parks are less populated, and the whole country side is green. Animals too do not move far for water and most of them have babies.

Accommodation on your photographic safaris in Uganda

Each place and national park offers accommodation for every budget. There are luxury lodges (Kyaninga Lodge is one of the very beautiful luxury lodges located near Kibale National park and has beautiful views of Kyaninga Crater Lake), mid-range lodes like Kidepo Savannah Lodge and budget lodges with great locations for photography.

What to bring on your photographic safaris in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking Requirements:

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Water proof trousers
  • Long sleeved Shirt/blouse
  • Water proof raincoat/jacket
  • Sun Cream
  • Gloves
  • Insect repellent
  • Backpack for carrying water/packed lunch
  • Camera

General Safari requirements:

  • Light safari clothing’s i.e. shorts/sleeveless for the day
  • Warm clothing/sweater for the evening
  • Anti-Malarial/Yellow fever vaccination

Getting around in Uganda on a photographic safari

Getting around by Road Transport

The national parks are easily accessible and Gorilla Link Tours provides 4 x 4 WD vehicles customized for safaris. The land cruisers and vans all have enough space to carry your photography equipment.

Getting around by air transport

For photographers who want to cut down on the distance between the different destinations in Uganda, they can choose to fly between these places through our partners Aerolink Uganda. Let us know what mode of transportation you prefer.

If interested in photographic safaris in Uganda, Kindly contact us now and our safari consultants will customize one according to your safari needs, with a price quotation.