Uganda Weather – Best time to visit Uganda
Climatic conditions do affect how well you enjoy your safari destination and what activities you do there. In Uganda, the weather is a major consideration before you book your safari.
Uganda is situated along Lake Victoria, is crossed by many rivers and has many lakes. It also lies astride the equator which creates very unique weather conditions. It is a place to enjoy year round summer like weather mixed with rain. Uganda mainly has a tropical climate so it barely ever gets cold except for the south western part of Uganda and the highland areas of Kapchorwa in Eastern Uganda. The greater part of the country gets at least 30 inches of rain annually hence very good for agriculture. Many visitors say that Uganda has one of the most pleasant climates in the world. There is a noticeable alternation between dry weather and wet seasons. The central and southern regions have two main rainy seasons in a year between the months of March – November with the sub-peaks between April – May and October – November. The period between June and September is drier but always has rain within these months.
The main rains start in March to May, while the shorter and later rains start in October to about later November or Mid December. In the rainy months of March – May, it rains more and most country murram roads and those within the parks are mostly impassable and wild game is harder to see. Thereafter, there is more heat from the sunshine in the cloudless sky until the end of February. During these months the humidity is very low.
The further north you move away from Lake Victoria, the less pronounced are the rains and the country side becomes more arid.
In the interior of the country, a dry patch stretches from the southern parts of Ankole areas to the Northern parts of Karamoja region.
Temperatures in Uganda
The daily temperatures generally vary from 250 C to 340 C. Throughout the year, the temperatures don’t vary more than 10 degrees. Even during the rainy season the temperatures can be high which causes strong thunderstorms. This fair climate is very surprisingly to visitors
The mean temperature over the whole of Uganda shows no great variation, apart from those of the mountainous districts of Western, South Western Uganda, and Mount Elgon areas. This shows that change in altitude is the main cause of change in temperature in Uganda though proximity to Lake Victoria has the most effect on some areas. Lake Victoria prevents temperatures of the surrounding areas from varying significantly.
Generally, the highest mean monthly temperatures tend to occur in the February.
Only in areas of Western Uganda around Kigezi do temperatures fall below 40 F. The highest temperatures are registered in the Lake George, Lake Edward and Lake Albert flat areas and can rise up to 950 F. These flats form the hottest region of Uganda and experience intense dry seasons. The temperatures in the north-eastern and northern part of the country can rise as high 950 F in the dry season and 850 F in the wet season but in central and south western part of the country, the maximum temperature readings are 850 F.
Dry Season in Uganda
Most regions in Uganda are subject to two dry seasons of which that one of July to September is the most severe. The other dry season lasts from December to February.
December to February is a great time to visit Uganda due to the sunny conditions. Because Uganda lies along the equator, during the large parts of the year the sun rays at midday fall vertically on the land. The sun is strong and visitors coming from cooler climates should get a high protection grade (15) UV barrier cream, particularly for the face. For the arms and legs, a lower protection grade would be sufficient.
The nights during the dry season are much cooler and fresher than the days. The dry season is often broken by heavy thunderstorms.
The highest temperatures are in the months of January and February and the lowest temperatures are in the months of. By Mid-January the heat is unbearable and most shallow rivers dry up except the larger ones.
Rainy Season in Uganda
Uganda enjoys abundant rainfall. The main characteristic of rain in Uganda is that it is bi-seasonal meaning that most areas around the country experience two peaks of rainfall in any given year. Though the rainfall peaks vary a bit depending on the region, generally, they occur within the months of March to mid – May and September to early November. The four major wind currents entering Uganda are responsible for the formation of this rain in Uganda. The rainfall in the central region is rather higher and better distributed than in the other regions of the country. The heavy rainfall of the central region of Uganda is largely influenced by Lake Victoria. Though the first rain season is expected to start at the end of March, it is often delayed and this is disastrous for such an agricultural based nation like Uganda.
At times when it rains, it does rain in torrents, in real tropical storms, with big lightning flashes and deafening thunder. These rains at times come on suddenly with little cloud warnings. The rain season can also be a pleasant time to visit as the temperatures are cooler after the rain showers. Beware though that during the rainy season most upcountry and murram roads in Uganda become impassable.
WHAT TO PACK
- Long sleeved shirts
- Thick trekking socks
- Long trousers
Lightweight and casual clothes are ideal for most of the year except in higher altitude areas of South-Western Uganda, Kapchorwa areas in Eastern Uganda, and Rwenzori areas which require cold weather clothes.
If you intend to spend considerable time outside, you should bring along a hat, shades and sunscreen cream since the equator sun is very intense.
WHEN TO GO TO UGANDA
Uganda is varied in weather from region to region. As Uganda has a summer-like climate throughout the year, it is okay to visit anytime of the year. No matter the time of year you visit, Uganda is a beautiful country with a lot going for it.
Best time to visit the Central region of Uganda.
The central region in general has two rainy seasons, from mid-march to the end of May and from September to November / mid-December with the peaks around April and November. The region also has a dry season between December and March and another from June to July but random thunderstorms are common within both dry spells.
Best time to visit South-Western Uganda
The rains in the South Western region occurs mainly in the months of March to Mid-May and in October to December, with peaks in April and November. This corner region experiences lower temperatures than other parts of the country since it sits in the highland areas of Kigezi.
Best time to visit Northern Uganda
The areas in northern and north-eastern Uganda also vary considerably weather wise but the climate here is drier and warmer than the southern areas (250 C -350 C year round). The wet season lasts from May to November and the remainder of the year stays mostly dry. The region is still developing after many years of little progress so many of the roads are murram. If you travel to this region especially during the rainy season, expect muddy conditions therefore it might be necessary to go by four – wheel drive vehicles. At times, the rains make it impossible to reach some areas by any route!
Best time to visit West Nile
There are two rainy seasons from late March to the end of March and again in August to November. The heaviest rainfall months are April and October. Most of the secondary roads are not well developed or maintained so prepare for bumpy rides when going there.
Best time to visit Murchison Falls
The Murchison Falls get increasingly impressive as water levels rise, closer to November though the park can be visit throughout the year.
Best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park
Game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park is best at the end of the dry seasons – February to early March and September to early October when big game concentrates around the Kazinga Channel and other water points.
Best time to visit Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Though the weather patterns of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are no reason to avoid travelling since gorilla trekking is a year round activity, these are few considerations you need to know before visiting the park. The park has two dry seasons: January to February and May to August. Of these, June and July are the driest. The months from March to April and September to November get the most rainfall. During the rain month, most of the park is covered in mist and the air is very humid. Over 3000 m in the park, temperatures can fall below freezing and at such points hailstones are a common occurrence.
Best time to Visit Mountain Rwenzori National Park
The Rwenzori Mountains are best climbed during the drier months of January and June to July. Come prepared for rainy weather from February to April and August to December. Expect chilly weather the higher you climb the mountain ranges. You might even see snow at some of the peaks.
Best time to visit Kidepo Valley National Park
The park receives one rain season so the best time to visit is between November and March.
On the whole, Uganda’s weather is as warm and cool as its people. So the air is like a silken embrace on the skin. As a kind of atmospheric spa, the sunny warmth soothes the body as light filters through the early morning clouds. After a ruddy dawn, a cool breeze elevates the mood to soft surrender as the sapphire sky reigns like good weather above. The rain, when it comes, falls like a lover seeking to whet your appetite for the deep passions of the only lover who’ll ever matter to you: Uganda.
So let us make this love a reality as you visit and discover Uganda through us on safari. Reach out to our bookings department to start planning your dream Uganda Safari.
We wish you great weather and bright skies during your safari in Uganda and remember to park appropriately for the journey.