A typical day on safari
A typical day on Uganda safari
What to Expect on a Typical Day on Safari in Uganda
For the majority of people, a Uganda holiday stands for spontaneity and freedom from the normal life. It can come as a shock then to arrive on safari and find your daily agenda determined by the beat of the trip or Safari and the administration fundamental to provide an engaging safari in a remote setting. Early morning wake-up calls set dinner times and a restriction on solitary strolls makes a Uganda safari appear more like a military training in Africa. Nevertheless, a typical day on Uganda safari is arranged to maximize game-viewing success just as visitors’ security and solace.
What to expect during a Uganda safari day
Get ready for a truly unique experience – no two days on a Uganda safari are alike! Here, we’ll take you through a typical safari day and show you why life in the Ugandan bush is so special.
Safaris are typically more structured than many regular holidays, but with an understanding of the routine, you can customize the daily plan to meet your requirements (even if you can’t arrange the entire day to your liking). Msafiri tours staff will be as helpful and flexible as possible. It’s okay if you’re exhausted and want to miss a game drive or a meal. If it’s pouring with rain at sunrise, the game drive can take place later, when the rain has stopped but before it gets too hot again.
Make the most of your Uganda safari! Let your Msafiri tour guides arrange additional activities for you – but don’t forget that they work hard from dawn until after dinner and deserve their rest. Staying at a lodge is all about creating a truly memorable experience, so make sure to ask your guides any questions and enjoy every moment!
5.00 to 6.00 am – Wake up with the animals
Fair warning – this isn’t a holiday for enjoying sleeping in. Most wildlife-viewing activities occur early morning and late afternoon when the light is rich and animals are not hiding from the searing midday sun. This highly logical behaviour forms the basic structure for safari lodge life. You’ll be woken up in your room or chalet by Msafiri tours staff (place your order the night before) if you need a basin of hot water for washing (if you don’t have running water in your room/tent). Alternatively, hot drinks and rusks might be served in the dining area or around the fire before the morning’s game drive.
6.00 to 9.00 am – Morning game activities
The tour guides will show you the best of the area. Be sure to ask if you have any special requests to see particular places or species. Water and soft drinks as well as tea/coffee and snacks may be available. Drink enough to avoid dehydration. On cold rainy mornings, the game drive may occur a little later, when the day (and the animals) begin to warm up.
9.00 to 10.00 am – Breakfast
Breakfast is the first test of self-control for the day. Large amounts of good Ugandan food will be laid before you, but as safari life is relatively inactive (unless you’re on a walking or gorilla trekking safari), several days in the lodge can feel like a premeditated assault on your waistline. Expect a buffet of cereals, yoghurts, fruit, toast, and “The full bacon-and-eggs, Chapati, matoke,” cooked to order. Usually, this is served at the lodge, although sometimes we might vary the routine by including a bush breakfast. Msafiri tours staff will set this up during your game activity.
11.00 to 12.30 pm – Free time
Tempting as it may be, you can’t go wandering off into the bush on your own. Some Uganda safari lodges have a small library containing reference books about the bush and wildlife, and possibly novels left by other guests, but it’s advisable to take a couple of your own books to Uganda. You could play cards or use the time for things you don’t normally have time to do. This is an excellent time for bird watching, as lodges are usually constructed in the shade of trees. Many also overlook waterholes and there may be a hide you could sit at. You’ll be surprised how good the wildlife viewing can be at this time. It may seem like a void at first, but you soon appreciate having this free time structured into your day.
12.30 to 1.30 pm – Lunch
Meals are often at set times due to the obvious logistical constraints of preparing feasts in the bush and of keeping prepared food fresh. Lunch usually comprises a buffet of salads, often with hot options, bread baked in the coals and a choice of desserts. Meals are a good opportunity to chat with other guests; safari go-ers tend to have shared interests and often much in common to keep the conversation lively, interesting and educational. However, if you prefer to dine on your own, Msafiri tours staff will most certainly oblige.
1.30 to 3.30 pm – Siesta time
When the Ugandan heat haze rises and the sun is directly overhead, all sane living things head for cover. It’s siesta time. If it’s really hot and you don’t have a fan, try lying beneath a damp sarong to keep cool. Some Uganda lodges will have swimming pools or individual plunge pools to help you cool off. Alternatively, savour the peace and carry on reading and relaxing. Most cottages and chalets have private balconies where you can relax in peace and privacy.
3.30 to 4.00 pm – 7.30 pm – Game viewing
Evening game drive, boat safari or walk – a chance to search for a particular species you haven’t yet seen, or perhaps follow the progress of a pride or herd spotted earlier.
Bat safari; Kazinga channel is a 40km natural channel that connects Lake George and Lake Edward, and also divides Queen Elizabeth National Park into two.
This is where the afternoon boat safari takes place when on safari at Queen Elizabeth national park. For many tourists, the kazinga channel launch cruise is the highlight of their safari. You can see crocodiles along the shores, and numerous hippos along the shores and in the water.
Ugandan dusk is short and darkness comes quickly, so by the time you’re driving back to camp, you’ll probably be using a spotlight to pick out animals’ luminous eyes and shadowy forms. You’re likely to return to the lodge about one and a half hours after dark.
7.30 to 10.00 pm – Dinnertime
There’ll be about 30 minutes for getting changed and having aperitifs around the campfire. Dinner may be candle-lit and can be al fresco or within an open-sided dining area, weather permitting. The dinner meal is bountiful –There may be a choice of two or three main course dishes and most lodges are very good at providing a wide-ranging menu during your stay and being as flexible to food preferences as possible. The food in most places is excellent and dietary restrictions are well-catered for. The dress code is casual, you’ll be fine in your safari clothes as well.
10.00 until late – Winding down
The most interesting conversations take place after dinner and drinks around the fire. Revelry can continue into the night if people are feeling boisterous (Msafiri tours staff will stay up as late as you want), but often it feels natural to sleep early, following the rhythms of the bush. In unlit camps, guests may be given flashlights or a lantern for finding their way to their tents, or they may be escorted. By special request, or if there has been an interesting sighting in the area, there may be a night drive. An informed Msafiri tour guide may give you a lesson about Uganda’s incredible stars. Fall asleep to the chorus of the bush. And while animals generally don’t pass through the camp during the daytime, they may well do so in darkness, keeping you guessing as to which spoor (footprints) will appear overnight.
The information shared above about a typical day on a Uganda safari is only a guideline.