Uganda is an African country crossed by the Equator, whose climate is mitigated by altitude. In fact, much of the country is occupied by a plateau, at an altitude of 1,000/1,400 metres (3,300/4,600 feet), where the climate is pleasantly warm, with average temperatures ranging between 20 °C and 25 °C (68 and 77 °F), and annual rainfall between 900 and 1,500 millimetres (35 and 60 inches). Temperature variations throughout the year are little, however, there is a warmer period from December to March, more noticeable in the north, and a cooler period from June to September. In general, the temperatures are pleasant, although sometimes it can get hot during the day, especially from December to April, while nights can be cool or even cold, depending on altitude, throughout the year, but especially from June to August.
With regard to the rains, they occur in the form of downpour or thunderstorm in the afternoon or evening: even when they don't bring heavy rains, thunder and lightning storms can erupt throughout the year, especially in the south. The driest areas are the south-west, bordering North Kivu and Rwanda, and the north-east: in both areas, precipitation drops below 1,000 mm (40 in) per year, but the north-east (where the Kidepo Valley National Park and the Matheniko Wildlife Reserve are located), near the arid areas of Kenya, is more subject to drought. The wettest areas are the north-central (Gulu District), and some shores of Lake Victoria (see Entebbe), where rainfall reaches 1,500 mm (60 in) per year.

The north

In the north there is a hot and dry period from December to February, in which the prevailing currents come from the north-east, originally from the arid regions of Sudan and Eritrea, and a rainy period, slightly less hot but more humid, from April to October, in which the area is dominated by more humid currents from DR Congo. The fact that the hottest period is also the driest, is an anomaly in comparison with other tropical areas, where the dry season is usually the least hot.


Here are the average temperatures of Gulu, located at 1,100 metres (3,600 feet) above sea level. Here from January to March the temperature can reach 36/37 °C (97/99 °F).
Gulu - Average temperatures
Min (°C)171717171717161616171616
Max (°C)313230292827262727282930
Min (°F)636363636363616161636161
Max (°F)889086848281798181828486

Here is the average rainfall: there is one rainy period from April to October.
Gulu - Average precipitation

In the north the sun regularly shines in the dry season, while in the rainy season the hours of sunshine decrease a little.
Gulu - Sunshine

In the northwest, around Lake Albert, whose banks are located at 620 metres (2,000 feet) above sea level, and along the Albert Nile River, the altitude drops below 1,000 metres (3,300 feet), and the heat becomes more intense. The western part of the Victoria Nile River, where the Murchison Falls are located, flows at an altitude lower than 700 metres (2,300 feet): here the daytime temperatures from December to March are around 32/33 °C (90/91 °F), with peaks around 40 °C (104 °F). On the contrary, in other areas the altitude exceeds 1,500 metres (5,000 feet), and at night it can get cold.

Il center-south

In the centre-south, crossed by the equator, the temperatures are more stable, however even here we notice a slightly cooler period from June to September, in which the relatively cool south-eastern currents from the Indian Ocean and from the highlands of Tanzania prevail. Furthermore, in this area there are two rainy seasons, from March to May (called long rains), and from late September to December (called short rains), alternating with two relatively dry periods (January-February and June-August): this happens because at the Equator the sun passes overhead twice a year (on late March and late September), and for the thermal inertia of the soil and the atmosphere, the effect continues in the following weeks.


In the capital Kampala, which lies practically at the Equator, a short distance from Lake Victoria and at 1,100 metres (3,600 feet), daytime temperatures go from 29 °C (84 °F) in the period from January to March, to 27 °C (81 °F) from June to August; night temperatures are even more stable, hovering around 17/18 °C (63/64 °F) throughout the year. Lake Victoria is large enough to affect the climate along its banks, reducing a bit the daily temperature range while increasing moisture.
Here are the average temperatures of Kampala.
Kampala - Average temperatures
Min (°C)181818181818171717171818
Max (°C)292929282727272728282728
Min (°F)646464646464636363636464
Max (°F)848484828181818182828182

In Kampala, precipitation amounts to 1,260 mm (50 in) per year. Here is the average precipitation.
Kampala - Average precipitation

In Kampala the amount of sunshine is decent, but not excellent, most of the year, and decreases a bit in the long rains season, from March to May.
Kampala - Sunshine

Another lake of some importance is Lake Edward, to the west, at 950 metres (3,100 ft) of altitude. At the center of the country, about 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) above sea level, we find the Kyoga and Kwania lakes, fed by the Victoria Nile, which tend to expand during rainy periods, and are surrounded by swampy areas.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park


In Uganda there are mountainous areas, with volcanoes and high mountains. The Ruwenzori Mountains are located in the west, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, and reach their highest point in Mount Stanley, which is also the third highest peak in Africa (after Kilimanjaro and Kenya), with its 5,109 metres (16,762 feet). In this and other peaks of the range, above 4,500 metres (14,800 ft), glaciers are found. Other high mountains are located in the east: Mount Elgon, 4,321 metres (14,176 feet), Mount Moroto, 3,083 metres (10,115 feet), and Mount Kadam, 3,063 metres (10,049 feet). In addition, in the south, on the border with Rwanda and Congo, we find the Virunga Mountains, whose highest peak (at least among those in Uganda) is Mount Muhabura, 4,127 metres (13,540 ft) high. Along the mountain slopes, there grow cloud forests, in which the air is mild or cool, moisture is high and sunshine is scarce. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in the south-west, between 1,500 and 2,500 metres (5,000 and 8,200 ft) above sea level, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hosting the mountain gorilla, a species at risk of extinction.


Here are the average temperatures of Kabale, located near the park, 1,900 metres (6,200 ft) above sea level.
Kabale - Average temperatures
Min (°C)11111112121091011111211
Max (°C)242424242324242425242324
Min (°F)525252545450485052525452
Max (°F)757575757375757577757375

As mentioned, the southwest is one of the driest areas of the country. In Kabale, about 1,000 mm (40 in) of rain per year fall, although the only really dry months are June and July. Here is the average rainfall.
Kabale - Average precipitation

In Kabale the sun does not shine very often. However, as mentioned, at higher altitudes the sky is even more often cloudy.
Kabale - Sunshine

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is significantly higher, since it is home to the aforementioned highest peaks of the range of the same name, and of all the country.

When to go

Since the temperature is quite stable and both the intense cold and the heat rarely occur, the best times to visit Uganda are related to the rains. January and February receive little rainfall almost everywhere, therefore they are the best months, although some showers may still occur, especially in the south and along the western mountain slopes, while during the day it can get hot especially in the north and below a thousand metres (3,300 feet). It is worth while to recall that the equatorial sun's rays require appropriate protection, especially in the mountains.
In June, July and August there is little rainfall too, but only in the south, therefore, they are fine if you intend to visit Kampala, Lake Victoria and southern parks such as that of the Ruwenzori.
The rainiest months in the south are April, May, October and November, while in the north, as mentioned, there is a single rainy season from April to October.

What to pack

All year long, for Lake Albert and at lower elevations, light clothing, a sweatshirt and a light jacket for the evening; for Kampala and Lake Victoria, light clothes for the day, sweater and jacket for the evening, light scarf for the breeze, light raincoat or umbrella. For the plateau, at higher altitudes, spring/autumn clothes, sweater and warm jacket, raincoat or umbrella; for the mountain peaks, warm clothes, down jacket, hat, gloves.

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