Why you should visit Uganda 2022/2023
Uganda is a country jam-packed with breathtaking scenery and natural wonders that will amaze you. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was named the most beautiful place by CNN-Travel. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was named the third “Must-Photograph” place. Those who have visited here are surprised by what they find.
1. A One-Stop Safari Country For A Range Of Adventures – Exciting Or Tranquil
- Ultimate location for every kind of adventurer, including sightings of rare gorilla and chimpanzee families
- Riverside and lake excursions at Murchison Falls, Kazinga Channel, Nile River, and Lake Victoria
- Mountain-climbing in the Rwenzori Mountains or Mount Elgon
Guests planning a vacation in Uganda are often curious about the safari destinations they can visit, the sights they can experience, and the activities they can sign up for. This country in the heart of Africa has the potential to become the ultimate location for just about every kind of adventurer. If you are looking for wildlife and birding experiences along with sightings of the rare and magnificent gorilla and wild chimpanzees, check out its forest parks of Bwindi, Mgahinga, and Kibale.
But, if you would prefer riverside adventurers, the Murchison Falls, Kazinga Channel, Nile River, and Lake Victoria are the places to be. Whether you’re a seasoned mountain climber or someone who prefers a hearty hike on easy slopes, you’ll enjoy upland adventures in either the Rwenzori Mountains or Mount Elgon in Uganda. Surprisingly, the country also offers the opportunity for a relaxing beach holiday on the shores of Lake Victoria.
Fascinating as the diverse natural treasures of Uganda are, you will be equally drawn to the people of Uganda, their ancient customs, traditions, and way of life. You will begin to understand how their beliefs are deeply entwined with a deep respect for nature and her mysteries.
You’ll appreciate their friendliness and the balance they have managed to maintain between deeply ingrained traditions and modern society. You’ll have an opportunity to gain insight into the conservation efforts they are undertaking and the hard work they are directing at rebuilding a peaceful nation out of the political unrest and turmoil of their recent past
2. Big Game Safari & Birding Paradise At Unique Tri-Parks – Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls & Kidepo Valley
- Each unique parks for viewing plains diverse wildlife e.g Murchison Falls, Kidepo Valley, and Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Sightings of riverside wildlife including buffaloes, elephants, hippos, and over 600 species of avian life
- View four of the Big Five including striking predator and prey engagement
The quintessential experience of a safari holiday in Africa is undoubtedly viewing big game and superb avian life. Three wilderness reserves in Uganda are considered premium locations for viewing plains wildlife: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, and Kidepo Valley Park. Each of these offers morning and afternoon game drives taken under the supervision of an expert guide. Full-day private game viewing opportunities are also possible. You will be spending many hours watching animal behaviors, including four of the Big Five of Africa, roaming the plains.
Queen Elizabeth National Park hosts massive herds of over 10,000 buffalos and 2,500 elephants, along with 5,000 hippos that claim the Kazinga Channel and Ntungwe River as some of their territory. In addition, you will be able to photograph myriad grazers such as the Ugandan kob, warthog, topi, bushbuck, and elusive sitatunga antelope. The park is also famous for 10 species of primates and more than 600 species of birdlife, including the peculiar shoebill stork and other varieties native to the Albertine Rift Valley.
Although the highlight of Murchison Falls National Park is no doubt the spectacular falls on the Nile tourists flock here to see, this riverine wilderness also boasts an incredible variety of terrestrial, aquatic animals, and birdlife. Whether you’re on a game drive or cruising on the Victoria Nile River, you’ll have opportunities to spot some of the 76 species of mammals and 451 types of birds that thrive here. To see chimpanzees, choose a trek to the Budongo forest.
Kidepo Valley National Park is yet another location in northern Uganda where you can observe the big game. Despite its dry-arid conditions, with just a single dry and wet season in the whole year, the park has a spectacular landscape whose beauty will entrance you. Fed by the Narus River and the seasonal Kidepo River, the outback is a photographer’s delight, abounding with 77 species of mammals, including the lion, leopard, hyena, elephant, and buffalo, along with 475 kinds of birds. As the AfricanMecca expert guide traveling with you will explain, 60 of these varieties are not found in any other location in Uganda.
3. Twin Gorilla Trekking Safaris At Bwindi & Mgahinga Including The Unique Gorilla Habituation Experience
- Visit the famous mountain gorillas of the Bwindi and Virunga Mountains
- Tracking the golden monkeys in the bamboo forests of the Mgahinga National Park
- Spending extended time with researchers as they study the wild gorilla families and habituate them to the presence of humans
If you’re thinking of an adventure vacation in Uganda, you probably know already that the country is famous for its diversity of primates. Your tour consultant at AfricanMecca Safaris will assist you with obtaining permits to view the mountain gorillas for an hour in the company of expert guides. Tracking down gorillas is possible in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. While visiting Mgahinga, you’ll also want to take the time for a visit with the famous golden monkeys that inhabit its bamboo forests.
A specialist activity option is to participate in the habituation experience of the wild gorillas. While such an excursion is somewhat more expensive compared to ordinary primate-viewing treks, the experience is as memorable as it is profound. You will be able to spend many hours with the park research rangers as they follow and study the behavior of the gorillas while getting the animal accustomed to and unafraid of human presence. Once the habituation process is complete over a few years with a particular family group, authorities will then permit small groups of people of up to 8 members to visit them and spend time with them, but just for an hour a day.
4. The Most Affordable Country In Africa To See Wild Chimpanzees
- Track down wild chimpanzee communities in 4 different areas – Kibale, Budongo, Kyambura Gorge and Semliki
- Watching the primates from a safe distance as they feed, nap, groom, and tend to the babies
- Learning more about these fantastic creatures through the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX)
Uganda’s Kibale National Park has its own program for conservation and research on chimps, called the Kibale Chimpanzee Project (KCP). As you’re planning your tour of the forest reserve, you’ll have an opportunity to book a visit to track down one of the three habituated chimpanzee families. Go on the morning trek that begins at 8 a.m. or for the afternoon session that begins at 2 p.m.
Each trek will take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, depending on the location of the primate family you have been assigned to. On locating the chimpanzee family, you will be able to spend an hour in their company, observing them in their daily activities of feeding, hunting, napping, grooming one another, or nursing their young. While chimpanzees spend most of their time in the trees, they may come down to the forest floor on occasions to traverse the forest floor or feed on their hunt.
Kibale National Park also offers discerning vacationers the opportunity to participate in the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, or CHEX, as the locally branded. Similar to the gorilla habituation excursion, this allows you to spend a few hours with the chimpanzees studying the animals and to learn how they observe the primates, recording their behavior and habits. This project assists in the process of adapting the animals to the presence of humans, but it’s also essential for the development of programs designed for their protection and sustainable conservation.
If you want to see chimpanzees in other natural habitats, you can find them in the Budongo forest of Murchison Falls National Park, or in the Kyambura Gorge of Queen Elizabeth National Park. If you visit Semliki National Park, you can add a chimp viewing excursion to your itinerary there as well.
5. River Boat Cruises For Aquatic Wildlife & Bird Sightings
- Uganda recognized as the location where the Nile originates from Lake Victoria near Jinja
- Traveling to Murchison Falls to see the river gush out of the narrow 8-meter cleft and pour into Devil’s Cauldron
- Cruising on the Kazinga Channel and Victoria Nile to spot diverse birdlife, hippos, crocodiles, and various other thirsty wildlife visiting to drink
Uganda has the distinction of being the source of the Nile. The river exits from Lake Victoria near Jinja. Travel to Murchison Falls, where you can see the Victoria Nile explode out of a narrow 8-meter cleft in the rocks to pour with a roar into the Devil’s Cauldron below. Enjoy the spectacular sight of a perpetual rainbow that floats over the falls as you cruise on the river and delta, where you’ll also be able to sight various wildlife coming to drink at the water’s edge as well as the many species of aquatic birds fishing in the river.
If you visit Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can take a cruise on the Kazinga Channel, a natural waterway connecting Lake George with Lake Edward. In addition to viewing pods of hippos that lurk in the shallows, you’ll spot crocodiles, their jaws gaping as they bask in the sunshine while digesting their meals. While watching the sun set on the channel, a stunning sight, you can sip on drinks as the evening light bathes the water gold.
6. Hiking & Climbing The Mountains Of Uganda
- Hiking and climbing expeditions in the some of the highland parks to discover their natural treasures
- Virunga peaks at Mount Gahinga, five volcanic peaks in Mount Elgon Park and six peaks in Rwenzori Mountains considered one of the best places to go mountaineering
- Opportunity to view and capture on film some of the most unique flora and ice fields that have existed here for many centuries
If you delight in highland trekking, hiking, and climbing mountains to enjoy their natural beauty, you’ll want to plan your holiday to include locations such as Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhavura, Mount Sabinyo, Mount Elgon, and the Rwenzori Mountains Of The Moon. Mount Elgon is a pristine locale near the Kenya and Uganda border whose landscape was shaped by erupting volcanoes 24 million years ago. At present, this park in Uganda has five major peaks which you can sign up to scale.
The adventurous thing about climbing the heights of this park is that you don’t need to be a seasoned mountaineer, nor do you need any special skills. The hikes are not extremely taxing and the routes offer stunning panoramas of the landscape as well as opportunities to view various species of animals and birds. You may be lucky enough to spot three of the Big Five of Africa here. In addition, the reserve is home to an amazing diversity of plant life, which your guide will introduce you to along the trail, while you enjoy views of beautiful rivers, cascading waterfalls, and shimmering pools.
The Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a specialist mountain location for a graduated climbing excursion and is better suited to more experienced mountaineers. The park has three major peaks that you can climb: Stanley, Baker, and Speke. Called the “Mountains of the Moon”, the six massifs that make up the Rwenzori range are not the result of volcanic activity but are actually uplifted rock rising above the Western Rift Valley.
Treks in the Rwenzori Mountains, whose peaks rise to over 5,000 meters (nearly 17,000 feet), typically take between 9 and 12 days and treat hardy highland vacationers to some of the most fabulous natural vistas in Africa. In addition, you will have the chance to photograph unique and oversized botanical flora not seen anywhere else in the world. As you climb higher, you may see the remnants of the ice fields that have been present here year-round for thousands of years, though they are rapidly shrinking due to global warming.
7. Fascinating Cultures Of Uganda
- Rich, ancient heritage of age-old kingdoms ruled traditionally by the Buganda Kings
- Learning more about the awe-inspiring history and culture of the 65 tribes of Uganda, including the Pygmy Batwa, Ankole, Bakiga, Batoro, and Bakonzo people
- Visiting the different communities such as the Bakiga Village, Kikorongo Women Community near Lake George, Nyanz’ibiri Cave Community, Katara Village, and Leopard Village
While you’re spending time in the parks, reserves, and towns of Uganda, you will have the opportunity to interact with the tribal people and immerse yourself in their age-old culture. The country has a rich heritage of ancient kingdoms that were ruled traditionally by the Buganda kings. Throughout the nation, you will come across remnants of centuries-old culture along with some living legends.
You can book inspire african safaris that allow you to visit villages where the lifestyles of the past have been preserved. These enlightening interactions offer a fascinating glimpse into how people live here, the crafts they create, their cooking methods, the medicines they make from plants native to the region, and their ancient rites and ceremonies. You may even have the rare opportunity to participate in a wedding and learn the significance of the customs associated with this happy event.
Begin your introduction in the capital city of Kampala, which brings together people of many of Uganda’s 65 distinct tribes. If you visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you can interact with the Pygmy Batwa people, while a tour of Kibale National Park will offer a glimpse into the traditions of the Bakiga and Batoro tribes. When traveling in the cooler highlands of the Rwenzori Mountains, you could take time to visit the small hamlet of Ruboni, where the Bakonzo people live.
Queen Elizabeth National Park also has various traditional communities living on its outskirts which you may visit, such as the Bakiga Village, Kikorongo Women Community near Lake George, Nyanz’ibiri Cave Community, Katara Village, and Leopard Village. When vacationing in Kidepo Valley National Park, you will gain insight into how the Karamojong survive in its dry conditions. However, your cultural immersion would not be complete without a hike to visit the Ik tribe, who live in isolation in the Morungole Mountains and venture out of their village only occasionally to engage in trade.
8. Idyllic Private Lake Islands For Relaxing Beach Experience
- Exploring the 84 islands of the Ssese Archipelago amidst Lake Victoria, the second-largest inland lake in the world
- Visiting Ngamba Island, the site for the research and conservation of orphaned chimpanzees
- Booking a stay at Pineapple Bay and experiencing the lakeside activities from island hopping, boating, fishing, farm visits to nature walks
Prospective tourists are often startled to hear their consultant at AfricanMecca Safaris speak about distinct beach experiences in land-locked Uganda. A serene beach vacation seems unlikely in the heart of Africa. But that’s actually possible on some of the 84 islands of the Ssese Archipelago, located within Lake Victoria.
This lake is the second-largest freshwater body in the world by surface area, and it’s dotted with small and large islets. One of them, Ngamba Island, even hosts a facility for chimpanzee research and conservation that you can visit. This location is also famous for its diverse butterflies and various bird species as well as small reptiles. Or, book a stay at Pineapple Bay , where you can spend time in a Moroccan-Swahili-style resort that takes you back to the age of Arabian nights and tales of sultans and princesses.
Laze on tan-colored beaches, with green palms and vegetation creating a striking contrast against the backdrop of the shimmering aqua waters of the lake. When vacationing in Uganda, you have the option of staying over at the lakeside resorts accessible from Entebbe before leaving for your adventures in the parks of the country. Alternatively, you can complete your tour and wildlife viewing excursions by spending a few days unwinding in tranquility before heading for home from Entebbe International Airport.
The islands and waterfront resorts in Entebbe also make ideal locations for an exotic destination wedding—after which you could spend your honeymoon enjoying Uganda’s other attractions. Fishing is another fun activity to do here, while families can enjoy beach picnics, building sandcastles, and watching the antics of monkeys in the trees.
9. Visiting Jinja, The Adventure Capital Of East Africa
- Visiting the historical town of Jinja that was established in the 1860s after John Speke arrived in the area, while looking for the source of the Nile
- Indulging in activities like a white water rafting, paddleboard trip, sunset cruises, fishing, mountain biking, quad biking, and horseback riding
- Birdwatching excursions in the forest wilderness and enjoying a buffet lunch aboard a riverboat
The town of Jinja on the Nile River has come a long way since the 1860s when it was a simple Bantu village located beside a lovely waterfall that formed the northern outlet of Lake Victoria (since submerged by a dam). John Hanning Speke arrived here on his quest for the source of the Nile and, by drawing attention to the area, paved the way for its transformation from a village into a bustling place, a mecca for adventurers from all over the world. The Jinja you see today has acquired the title of “Adventure Capital Of East Africa,” offering tourists a range of exciting activities to indulge in, including water sports, as well as a chance to explore the city for a peek into its colonial past.
With the help of a consultant at AfricanMecca Safaris, you can sign up for activities such as white water rafting or kayaking, for an experience of the power of the river. If you prefer tamer adventures, go for a paddleboard trip; you’ll just need a little training to balance yourself. More relaxed activities to enjoy on your vacation, sign up for a sunset cruise on the river or a tranquil fishing lesson. There’s plenty to do onshore as well: try your hand at mountain biking, quad biking, or horseback riding.
The Nile River is the ideal place for birding enthusiasts to go looking for some of the most beautiful species endemic to the locale. Book a birding excursion, which typically lasts for a couple of hours in the early morning or late afternoon when it is cooler. You can combine that adventure with a cruise or a buffet lunch aboard one of the boats on the river, or end your evening with sundowner drinks while reveling in the sight of birds fishing for their evening meal.
10. Bustling Cities & Towns Of Uganda – Kampala, Entebbe, & Fort Portal
- Several urban locations showcasing the development of Uganda into an upcoming economy
- Exploring cities like Kampala, Entebbe, and Fort Portal for their eclectic blend of cultures and town attractions
- Extend out to the lakeside Entebbe for rest and relaxation after your safari
While Uganda is famous for its many national parks and reserves, your vacation wouldn’t be complete without taking some time to explore its urban locations. Like most African countries that were once under colonial rule, Uganda has its share of architecture reflecting that era in its history. Today, the country’s primary city and two major towns display the modernization that has taken over the country over the last few decades.
The capital city of Kampala stands on the traditional site of the administrative center of the old Buganda kings. You can visit the city’s five distinct areas: Central, Lubaga (or Rubaga), Kawempe, Makindye, and Nakawa. The city also proudly displays its religious tolerance with various places of worship that you can check out during your tour, if only to admire their beauty.
You can also spend some enjoyable time in the town of Entebbe, located on the banks of the iconic Lake Victoria. If you fly directly into Uganda for your safari holiday, you will land at Entebbe International Airport, which serves as the primary entry point into the country. You can spend time in the town’s tranquil environs before you head out to the wildlife parks, or choose to spend a little time there relaxing during the final days of your trip.
Fort Portal is the third main town of Uganda, located in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains. Delight in the fabulous natural beauty of this city, which is situated in the midst of rolling tea plantations and farms producing fruits, vegetables, and other crops. In addition to its rich cultural background and treasure trove of legends and tales of yore, the countryside town features a quaint marketplace. You can also take a day trip out to various natural attractions accessible within a short drive.