5 unforgettable things to do in Uganda
Uganda is one of the most diverse countries in Africa. With so many opportunities, travelers often miss out on some of the best places when they rush to neighboring Kenya and Tanzania.
Gorilla hiking in Uganda is an amazing and thrilling experience. The main area is the impenetrable Bwindi Forest, aptly named for the extremely dense vegetation that covers the mountain slopes. More than twenty domesticated gorilla families reside here. Another area is Mgahinga National Park, located on the border of Rwanda and the DRC.
Regardless of which country or area you are traveling in, your day will begin similarly. Upon arrival at the park headquarters, you will receive a briefing before dividing into groups based on your level of experience. Once you reach your designated gorilla family, which can take anywhere from two to four hours, you’ll get to spend one hour with these magnificent apes. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries and plenty of memory cards for your camera!
Although gorillas are the biggest primates in Uganda, chimpanzees are also fun to spend time with . Although there are several places that chimpanzees call home, the best place to see them is the Kibale Forest. Primate Lodge is located deep in Kibale and is ideal for access to the park’s headquarters. Reflecting the experience of hiking with a gorilla, you will have a flight debriefing at park headquarters, followed by a hike that can last from one to four hours to find the chimpanzees.
You will be able to spend one hour with the chimpanzees before heading back to headquarters. Unlike gorillas, chimpanzees move around a lot . They are much more active, which makes photography a little more difficult.
Boating on the Kazinga Canal
The Kazinga Canal, connects Lake George and Lake Edward. It is 32 kilometers long and has the highest density of hippos in Africa. The canal is beautiful and ideal for avid birdwatchers who want to come face to face with basking crocodiles and flocks of hippos. Elephants and buffalo dot the shoreline, making it a photographer’s dream . It is also known for its tree-climbing Ishasha lions.
Boating on the Kazinga Canal
Clubs in the Mabamba Swamp.
Just fifteen minutes from the center of Entebbe is Lake Victoria. This beautiful area is teeming with life . The area has everything from bustling local markets to relaxing waterfront restaurants.
On the shores of Lake Victoria is one of the last citadels of the Whalers: the Mamaba Swamp. Accompanied by a local guide, you can cross Lake Victoria in your wooden boat before entering the maze of waterways. You’ll have no trouble gliding through the lilies and dense thickets of reeds in search of these prehistoric creatures.
Once found, you can sit back and watch one of the rarest birds on the planet as it makes its way through the swamps in search of prey.
Clubs in the Mabamba Swamp.
Hike to Murchison Falls
Murchison Falls is a spectacular attraction that not only allows for beautiful scenic hikes, but also provides ample opportunity to explore the national park and the Nile River.
A special experience is the boat ride to the bottom of the falls and watching and listening to the roar of the Nile River is something not easily forgotten. After you get past that, you can get off and walk an hour or so to the top. The scenery and views are incredible all around and create great photo opportunities .
Hike to Murchison Falls
Often overlooked is Murchison Falls National Park . Home to a variety of plains game, the national park is known for its fantastic wildlife views. The lack of visitors makes every visit special.
15 Best Sights in Uganda
Uganda is a landlocked state in East Africa. But this country is famous for its picturesque valleys, savannahs, and lakes.
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Things to do in Uganda
Uganda gained independence in 1962. The change of power led to a crisis involving the country in a war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and to internal conflicts. After presidential elections a few years ago the situation stabilized, but Uganda remains a poor state with underdeveloped infrastructure.
The main attraction of the country is the wildlife. Uganda attracts active people who love to hike through savannahs, rainforests and marshy plateaus. While hiking foreigners observe elephants, hippos, buffalos, study the habits of monkeys, crocodiles and snakes.
Travel agencies offer boat rides on rivers and lakes, choosing places inhabited by pink flamingos, crowned cranes, albatrosses. Herds of zebras, black antelope and giraffes graze along water bodies. Hippos and crocodiles bask in shallow water.
Safari in Uganda promises to meet rare animals and a lot of unforgettable experiences.
Uganda is located within the boundaries of the Great Lakes of Africa. They are all part of a complex system of reservoirs in the upper Nile, stand out for their beautiful natural landscapes and diverse wildlife. People go to explore the small islands, watch water birds nest, fish and raft.
Traveling through the country, you can see Indian temples and Muslim mosques, old colonial houses, distinctive African villages. In the capital of Kampala built modern hotels and stores, attracting affordable prices.
Ugandan cuisine was influenced by Indian, English, Asian traditions. National dishes have exquisite and original taste. Mashed green bananas, meat stew, African yams, chapati cakes, and roasted peanuts are popular in local restaurants.
On the outskirts of Kampala on Kasubi Hill is the burial site of the kings of Buganda. The national monument is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a government palace built over a hundred years ago on top of the hill. After the death of King Kabaka Mutes I, the building was converted into a tomb.
The main room contains the tombs of the rulers and members of the royal family, their personal belongings and jewelry. The palace, made of cane rods and wood, was badly damaged by a fire in 2010. The fire destroyed the exterior decoration without touching the remains of the kings. The mausoleum is now being restored with the help of foreign investors.
The largest mosque in Uganda is easy to find in the center of Kampala. The temple, built according to the canons of Islamic architecture 40 years ago, has an inner courtyard and a minaret. The main building is topped with a wide dome. The construction was financed by the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi – he and other African rulers were present at the opening of the architectural complex.
The current mosque is accessible to worshippers and is the Muslim center in Uganda. But tourists can purchase an hour-long tour to explore the temple’s interiors with a guide and enjoy the magnificent view of Kampala from the top of the minaret.
Uganda’s capital is home to a beautiful four-story palace lined with white marble. In front of the main entrance is a well-kept square with monuments, flowerbeds, and benches. Twice a month the parliament of the country gathers in the house.
On other days, the palace is open to guests who wish to learn about the culture and traditions of the African people. An organized tour of the parliament building introduces the history of Uganda. The souvenir store on the first floor sells national costumes, jewelry and books telling about historical events.
Kampala is home to the oldest museum in East Africa, opened by the British government in 1908. The vast building includes galleries that illuminate the ethnographic and cultural features of Africans. The museum rooms display traditional clothing, religious objects, string and wind musical instruments, jewelry, and pottery.
In the paleontological department there are fossil bones of prehistoric animals and great apes found in the country. The courtyard is equipped with a “village” showing how Ugandan citizens live in different parts of the state. Tourists examine homemade wooden furniture, gourd water vessels, royal drums, and weapons for hunting wild animals.
National Cultural Center
The headquarters of the National Cultural Center is located in Kampala. The organization is dedicated to cultural events and the development of the arts in the country.
The center consists of the Nommo Gallery, which presents exhibitions of local and foreign artists, a movie theater and a theater that regularly shows interesting performances. The cultural center has a restaurant serving national cuisine and a store selling handmade souvenirs.
In the southwest of Uganda you’ll find the 331 square kilometers of the impenetrable Bwindi Forest along the border with the Republic of the Congo. This jungle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa. The reserve is home to rare species of butterflies and reptiles.
Of the mammals worth mentioning are red-tailed monkeys, mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, forest pigs, wild cats, and African elephants. Tourists come to watch gorillas and birds, to admire the picturesque hills and waterfalls.
Bwindi Park can be visited at any time of the year, but during the rainy season it is not recommended to make excursions.
A national park with beautiful savannahs and lakes was established in the Ruwenzori Mountains. The reserve has World Heritage status and covers an area of 998 km². Most of the area is located at an altitude of 2,500 meters above sea level. The central attraction of the park is the snow-capped Margarita Peak, which is 5,109 meters high.
The mountains are home to endangered species and rare plants, including the giant Erika tree. There are hiking trails inside the reserve for experienced climbers and regular hikers. Near the park is the town of Kasese, where you can rent a hotel room, buy equipment, and find a guide through the mountains.
Queen Elizabeth Park
In the west of Uganda stretches the most visited attraction of the country – the Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park covers an area of 1,978 km². It consists of marshy valleys, tropical jungle, tall grass savannahs and numerous lakes.
The biosphere forest is inhabited by hippos, buffalo, elephants, monkeys, South African antelopes, lions and spotted hyenas. Within the park are fishing villages and a scientific station for observing migratory birds.
In the southwestern part of the country you can find the small Mgahinga reserve of only 33.7 km². There are three extinct volcanoes in the area, but the main attraction is a large population of mountain gorillas, the largest great apes in the world. The rare animals, which live in the wild, are protected by scientists. To observe the gorillas, guests must obtain a special permit.
The extensive wildlife park consists of the White Nile water system. An important feature of the park is Murchison Falls, formed where the river passes through a narrow gorge and falls down from a great height. There are 76 species of mammals in the reserve. Among them are Nile crocodiles, lions, elephants, buffalo, giraffes and hyenas. The White Nile is a rough river, ideal for rafting and sport fishing.
In 1993, Uganda opened Kibale National Park, designed to protect the rainforest. The area covering 766 km² is covered with evergreen rainforest. The diversity of flora and fauna makes it a center for safari and eco-tourism. The reserve is home to endangered primates.
When you come here, you can see red colobus, mangabeas, tame chimpanzees, and red-tailed monkeys. There are hiking trails through the park.
Lakes of Uganda
Lake Albert is located 619 meters above sea level. It was discovered by the British explorer Samuel Baker in 1864 and named after the husband of Queen Victoria of England. The reservoir is 58 meters deep. The steep shore is covered with lush vegetation, the southern part is marshy.
Crocodiles and hippos live in shallow waters. The Victoria Nile River, part of the White Nile system, flows into the lake. Scattered along the shore are small villages – you can rent a boat and buy souvenirs from locals.
Lake Kyoga, which covers an area of 1720 km², has an average depth of 3 meters. The water comes from the White Nile, which flows here, following from Lake Victoria to Lake Albert. The shoreline is covered with water lilies, hyacinths, and papyrus. Numerous algae and tuna create floating islands drifting between the real islands within the lake’s limits. Crocodiles and fish abound in the water.
Between the towns of Masaki and Mbarara is Lake Mburo, surrounded by high hills. This area is included in a national park consisting of valleys and forests. The Ruizi River flows to the south of the reserve and flows into the lake.
Mburo is famous for its biodiversity. During the tourist trip, travelers admire royal herons, zebras, giraffes, antelopes, observe hippos, engage in photo-hunting and catch huge amounts of fish.
The world’s second largest freshwater lake was discovered in East Africa by John Henning Speke. The area of the basin in what is now Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania is 68,000 km². Gentle, heavily rugged shores surrounded by savanna and evergreen rainforests. The water is home to 200 species of fish, including Nile perch and tilapia.
Victoria attracts tourists with its natural landscapes and unique ecosystem, but it’s best to travel here accompanied by an experienced guide. The lake often has severe storms, the water is teeming with crocodiles and snakes, and tsetse flies and other dangerous insects are present on the coast.