Landlocked in east-central Africa, Uganda has long been in the shadow of Kenya, Tanzania and other countries more popular with visitors on safari. But the “Pearl of Africa,” with its own rich wildlife, is set to become more accessible, thanks to the resurrection last summer of the country’s national carrier, Uganda Airlines. Uganda is one of the world’s primate capitals, with 15 species (four of which are endangered) and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, a renowned mountain gorilla sanctuary. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, in southwestern Uganda, is home to roughly half the world’s mountain gorillas.
The park’s gorilla-trekking safaris limit contact to eight visitors per gorilla group per day, and proceeds from their trekking permits go toward conservation efforts and protecting the animals from poachers. The dense forest mountain park, which ranges in elevation between 3,810 feet and 8,880 feet, also features a scenic waterfall trail framed by ancient ferns and wild orchids, and is a birder’s paradise, with 350 species of forest birds.