Uganda Laterally

Because I’ve always wanted to…

Issue 53 / March 2023


Helen and I have just returned from a wonderful exploration of Colombia, my third to the country which is testament of my love for this destination as well as the immense variety of landscapes and interests this corner of South America has to offer. It’s a pleasure to give you a taste of one of our more adventurous discoveries at the end of Nico’s Ugandan journey, the focus of this month’s newsletter. She explored this verdant African country in November last year and has been gushing about her findings ever since for the joy of us in the office as well as the travellers she has already sent there. The country is most well-known for having a healthy population of the severely endangered Mountain Gorillas but, as she traipsed around Uganda over a period of almost 3 weeks, it became clear that while tracking those magnificent apes is without a doubt a once in a lifetime experience, Uganda offers so much more to see, do and experience. Setting it apart from its more well known and visited neighbours such as Kenya or Rwanda, in Uganda one will find a flavour of a wild and unchartered Africa, friendly and lush, where nature is protagonist and its variety and unbridled beauty take centre stage at every stop.

Enjoy the journey! ,
The Lateral Team

Kidepo Valley National Park

First on our itinerary is Kidepo Valley National Park, a hidden treasure tucked away in the North of the country. Kidepo Valley National Park is often called “the true African wilderness” due to its remote location and stunning landscapes. In fact, it’s precisely the park’s isolated and relatively undeveloped location that has allowed for the evolution of distinct flora and fauna: nestled in the rugged Karamoja region of north-eastern Uganda, the park offers a unique opportunity to see endemic and rare wildlife in their natural habitat, including striped hyena, white-eared kob, and the Kidepo Lark, which is found only in this park and nowhere else in the world. The park also boasts spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys and homes over 475 bird species, making it a must-go destination for bird-watchers.


Apoka Safari Lodge is a luxurious and eco-friendly lodge boasting what must be one of the best views in Africa over the busy savannah and surrounding mountains. The 10 spacious rooms all feature private verandas that overlook the park and which, along with the main pool, offer the perfect spot to get sucked into the politics of buffalo or waterbuck herds usually unfolding within arm’s reach of the lounge chairs. Guests can take guided safari walks and drives, multiple walks, including hiking to the summit of Mount Morungole, and learn about the local culture of the Karamojong people.

Murchison Falls National Park

The 1951 film “The African Queen” starring Humphrey Bogart was filmed on Lake Albert and the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park. The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centrepiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. At Murchison Falls, the Nile squeezes through an 8m wide gorge and plunges with a thunderous roar into the “Devil’s Cauldron”, creating a bunch of rainbows and a view reminiscent of a small-scale African Iguassu Falls. The mighty cascade drains the last of the river’s energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles including the super rare and extremely endangered Shoebill Stork. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes, and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles, and aquatic birds are permanent residents. The best way of visiting the falls is by taking a boat trip to the base of the falls, where one can feel the power of the water as it crashes down.


The wonderful Nile Safari Lodge is a stunningly located right on the banks of the Nile River. The most stylish lodge in the country offers inspiring views of the river and the park’s wildlife and vast rooms which are spacious and elegantly decorated, featuring private river front balconies and what certainly felt like the highest thatched ceilings in Africa. Food was also a highlight here, as was as the pool and water bar making the Lodge an ideal conclusion on what is bound to be an otherwise very busy itinerary.

Semliki Wildlife Reserve

Semliki Wildlife Reserve is another hidden gem that is worth a visit. This off the beaten track reserve is home to a variety of primates, including chimpanzees, baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, and the endangered red colobus monkeys. Sharp-eyed visitors can also spot over 440 bird species, including the critically endangered Shoebill Stork, as well as over 50 mammal species, such as elephants, buffalos, and leopards. The reserve is located in the Albertine Rift Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty with views of the Rwenzori Mountains in neighbouring Congo, and diverse habitats including swamps, forests, and savannah grasslands.


The remote Semliki Safari Lodge is a secluded lodge, surrounded by pristine wilderness and stunning views of the Mountains and the escarpment. The big rooms are built on stilts to accommodate the steep jungle terrain and all feature private verandas that overlook the reserve. The staff at the lodge is special: personable, genuine, friendly and fun, creating the perfect atmosphere for a stay that will not be easily forgotten.

Kibale Forest

Kibale Forest, home to one of the largest populations of chimpanzees in Africa, with an estimated 1,500 individuals living in the park, is one of the best places in Uganda to see chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Visitors can take guided tours to track these intelligent primates and learn about their behaviour and habitat as they swing through the trees and groom each other. The Tarzan-like forest is also home to a variety of other primate species, including red colobus monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and L’Hoest’s monkeys. This incredibly rich biodiversity makes for special and always eventful jungle walks.


Primates Lodge is a charming lodge and the only one located right inside the Kibale Forest National Park. The newly renovated cottages boast a clean and stylish design with private balconies that offer stunning views of the forest. The lodge also features a restaurant, a bar, and a campfire area where guests can relax and share stories after a hard day of chimpanzee tracking.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is situated in a prime location between Lake Edward and Lake George, and is home to a variety of habitats, including savannah grasslands, forests, wetlands, and lakeshores. This makes the park the ideal home for a wide range of wildlife, including over 600 bird species, 95 mammal species, and several primate species, including chimpanzees. The park has a long history of protecting its wildlife and habitats, and has implemented several successful conservation initiatives over the years. For example, the park’s Uganda Kobs were once on the brink of extinction, but thanks to conservation efforts, their population has now rebounded, and they can be seen in large herds throughout the park.


Right next to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura Gorge Lodge is situated on the edge of the Kyambura Gorge, a unique natural wonder that is home to a thriving population of chimpanzees. This refurbished coffee plantation now features 8 spacious and beautifully designed rooms perched on the edge of the Gorge and boast stunning views of the forest and its wildlife. The lodge offers guests the opportunity to go on game drives to see the park’s wildlife or take guided walks to see the chimpanzees in the Gorge.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

In Southwestern Uganda, on the edge of the Rift Valley and at the crossroads of 3 countries, visitors will experience the beauty of one of the most mysterious, evocative, biologically diverse and oldest forests in Africa, dating back to over 25,000 years ago. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, attractively swathed over steep ridges and valleys rising up to an altitude of 2,600 metres, is home to more than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, making it a bucket-list destination for many travellers and undoubtedly Uganda’s biggest tourist drawcard. Visitors can go on guided treks to see these magnificent creatures up close and personal in organised tracking expeditions that still feel unscripted and uncommercialised. The park is also home to several other primate species, including the golden monkey, and lucky visitors might also see forest elephants, duikers, bushbucks, African golden cats and the rare giant forest hog, as well as a host of bird and insect species.


Bwindi Lodge is a beautiful lodge set on a steep hillside amidst lush vegetation just outside the border of Bwindi Forest. The 8 large and comfortable self-contained bandas include private verandas that offer sweeping views of the forest. Both the rooms and the classically and elegantly decorated main areas boast massive windows to further enhance the vibrant green hue of the rainforest views. The Lodge also owns the Bwindi Bar, a stylish and colourful bar on the high street of the village nearby and connected to the lodge by paths within the property. Here guests can enjoy cocktails and informal tapas style meals inspired by Ugandan dishes while listening to local music and watching the world go by – a real experience.


Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is simply stunning. Nestled right up at the edge of a ridge, it has incredible 360-degrees views overlooking the volcanoes in Congo and Rwanda making its terrace the perfect spot for breakfast at sunrise and drinks at sunset. The lodge’s enormous rooms make the most of the views thanks to  their private verandas and big windows and the comfy sofas placed in front of the big fireplaces are the ideal spot to melt into after a taxing day of gorilla tracking.

Up Periscope Ipuana Virgin Beach, La Guajira, Colombia

La Guajira is located on the northernmost point of Colombia, where the lush Sierra Nevada ends and the vast Guajira desert takes over. This is where the roads end and dusty paths begin, often only accessible via 4×4, meaning lodging is rustic and simple. The population of La Guajira consists mainly of Wayuu indigenous tribes, who have been present in this region for hundreds of years. In spite of pressures from Spanish Catholic missionaries, they have preserved their original language, culture, and traditional way of life to this day. Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallina are the regions’ main destinations and lay at the northernmost point of South America. A few hours inland also lays La Macuira National Park, appearing as an oasis in the middle of the arid desert. Its unique ecosystem and indigenous cultural history make this an impressive and totally unique spot to visit in Colombia and the whole of South America.


On Nick and Helen’s recent trip to Colombia they discovered this very special region whilst staying at Ipuana Virgin Beach, right next to the beach far up the coast in the desert region of La Guajira.  Unlike much of the Caribbean coast of Colombia, here you can actually swim in the sea quite safely as the waves are gentle and the water warm.  Ipuana Virgin Beach currently has just 5 gorgeous cabanas, the largest of which is the double-height Diamante, a complete and total wow!  It’s a long and dusty journey to get to but, like most special places, well worth the drive.



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