Top 17 Inspiring Uganda Destinations

Top 17 Inspiring Uganda Destinations – Although landlocked, the variety of natural diversity that Uganda offers is astonishing when compared to its neighboring, the savannah countries of East Africa; not only does one have access to the majority of the savannah game that you would see in the classical wildlife destination in Kenya’s Masai Mara or in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.

While in Uganda, you also have over eight hundred species of birds, some national parks where you can track the mountain gorillas, a variety of habitats where you can also track chimpanzees or alternatively, take a couple of primate walks and a wide variety of forests, crater lakes, and mountains.

Uganda gives you the best combination to some of the best parts of African wildlife safaris, and in our opinion, Uganda still deserves the best wildlife planning for the best holiday experiences in the future.

Stunning accommodation: The accommodation in Uganda ranges in quality, but we never make compromises on location. See some of the most incredible vistas in the whole of Africa from your private views in the wilderness.

Amazing combos: Uganda’s location makes it perfect for combining with lots of other African destinations, including DR Congo Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania. You can add some coastal or inland beaches too!

The home for mountain gorilla tracking: Track the mountain gorillas in two national parks, combine that with some classical savannah game viewing, all in one country!

Among the so many reasons, game viewing is the most popular tourist activity in Uganda. Wild animals like lions, buffaloes, giraffes, antelopes, elephants are common in Uganda’s national parks. Uganda is one of only few countries in the world where it is possible to visit endangered gorillas.

Mountain Gorillas are Uganda’s prime tourist attraction. The vast majority of these are in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with a few others in Mgahinga National Park, both in southwestern Uganda and near both Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. 

In Bwindi, visitors have been allowed to view the mountain gorillas since April 1993. The development of gorilla tourism and the habituation of gorillas to humans is proceeding very carefully because of the dangers to gorillas, such as contracting human diseases.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to the tree-climbing lions. Lions do not normally climb trees, except when chased by another lion group or wild buffalo. However, the tree climbing lions found in QE-NP intentionally climb trees and rest on them in the afternoon, when the sun is high. This is a unique phenomenon. There have only been rare similar sightings of this in Lake Manyara National Park of Tanzania.

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Top Uganda Tourist Attractions

The unassuming colonial-era city of Jinja is premiered East Africa’s adventure capital, its smorgasbord of watersports growing out of the unique opportunity to raft at the source of the Nile. The surge of tumultuous white water that runs 20 kilometres downstream from Lake Victoria rivals the Lower Zambezi, and is a heart-thumping ride over rapids bearing names such as Hair of the Dog and Bad Place.

Uganda is well known for its dozens of volcanic crater lakes in and around the Ndali-Kasenda region of western Uganda, but shimmering Kyaninga is the jewel. Fringed with forest and often crisscrossed by gliding hornbills, the lake is a mesmerising granite blue. It’s semi active, so although 225 metres deep in parts, the water hovers around a pleasant 21 degrees. Add in the fact that it’s one of East Africa’s few lakes that are free from bilharzia and you have the perfect swimming spot.

Uganda’s oldest conservation area, Murchison Falls National Park draws visitors to its famously thunderous cataracts, where the full force of the Nile is squeezed explosively through a gap in the Rift Valley Escarpment. But this is also one of the best places in the country to see the rare primeval-looking Shoebill, a towering, hook-beaked bird that feeds on baby crocodiles and catfish.

Situated at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, and snow-capped even at the height of summer, the legendary Mountains of the Moon are Africa’s highest range. Unlike its sister mountains of Kenya, and Kilimanjaro, hiking the Rwenzori is tough. It could take good eight or nine days to complete the Kilembe Trail in the southern section of the park, though much shorter routes are available.

Trekking Rwenzoris has considerable rewards: remote trekking through a pristine wilderness of craggy peaks, glacier lakes and a lunar landscape dotted with giant groundsel plants.a to encounter big cats. Quietly, Cheetahs and Lions roam the plains, waiting for the wandering game while on the other hand, the leopard has mastered its posing skills in the riverside fig trees waiting to pounce with accuracy to the unnoticing prey under the tree.

The Masai Mara cats and other wildlife are so associated with the the BBC’s, Big Cat Diary TV series and this has helped in positioning Kenya in the nature-based tourism.  

Thanks to Kenya’s geography that offers the ultimate comb

Queen Elizabeth National Park is blessed with a variety of beautiful habitats, from the open plains of the Kasenyi sector to the densely wooded scrub of the Mweya Peninsula and fig-tree-studded Ishasha sector. Apart from the already mentioned attractions,the main reason to visit the Kazinga is the boat launch on the Kazinga Channel that’s the real highlight of a visit to Uganda’s most well visited national park.

Drifting lazily past huge pods of hippos; close-up encounters with Cape Buffalos, Nile Crocodiles and Nile Monitors are virtually guaranteed; and herds of Elephants regularly come down to the river to drink and to cool off in the shallows.

Combination of both fauna-and-flora spotting odyssey in its dozens spectacular national parks, game reserves and conservancies. It’s very much in style to flop on white sand Indian Ocean beaches. 

Oluokos Signature recommends a 10-day safari-and-beach itinerary, with the first stop being in the Masai Mara, home to the black rhino, as well as elephant, cheetah, lion, and leopard. We combine this with Amboseli National Park before flying to the beach hotel for a couple of days of relaxation.

A beautiful swathe of thick equatorial rainforest, Kibale National Park boasts the highest concentration of primates in all of Africa. Its thirteen species include Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys and impish Grey-cheeked Mangabeys but everyone is here for the chimpanzees. On a day-long Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, you’ll follow a troop of whooping and hollering chimps as they swing through the forest, gathering in the treetops to play, doze or feast on figs.

When the midday heat burns through the upper canopy, the chimps descend, sliding down vines and striding right past you. If such an extraordinarily close encounter doesn’t give you goosebumps, the sound of the males messaging each other will: they drum on the buttress roots of giant fig trees with such force that the ground around you shakes.

Spending a full day tracking Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is probably the most remarkable wildlife experience on earth.

On the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s new Gorilla Habituation Experience, you’ll accompany park rangers and researchers as they track and monitor these powerful yet gentle giants, first locating their overnight nests before following a trail of broken branches and tell-tale silver hairs to the gorillas themselves. What follows is 3 or 4 hours of lifelong memories, as you watch immense silverbacks tearing up and munching on huge bundles of vegetation while playful youngsters roly-poly amongst the undergrowth.

Covering 1,442 square kilometers and located in the deep northern Uganda. Kidepo valley is one of Uganda’s most spectacular parks and is referred to as the Serengeti of Uganda. Kidepo has one of the most exciting faunas of any Ugandan national park.

Kidepo National Park offers scenery that cannot be found in any other parks in east Africa alongside a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as over 475 bird species. At good times, thousands of wildlife can be spotted in this area during the dry season, the only permanent water in the park being found in the wetlands and remnant pools in the broad Narus Valley near Apoka.

These seasonal oases, combined with the open, savannah terrain, make the Kidepo Valley-Narus Valley the park’s prime wildlife location. Beyond wildlife, the surroundings offer the best hiking, and cave adventure experience around its 3 mountains in the park namely; Lomej Hills, Mountain Morungule and Mountain Lonyili where you can reach the hot spring of Kanagorok.

This is Uganda’s smallest savannah national parks located within western Uganda and underlying in the ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks, which date back more than 500 million years. Lake Mburo is home to over 350 bird species as well as zebra, the only park in Africa were you can spot impala, eland and antelopes grazing together, buffalo, oribis, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck.

Together with 13 other lakes in the vicinity, Lake Mburo is among Uganda’s best birding destinations. The park offers excellent walking safari experiences alongside great wildlife viewing hiking adventures on the Mburo Hills and boat cruise experiences on its expansive water bodies.

Well known for her great climate, wildlife and friendly communities, Uganda offers more than wildlife safaris. You can actually combine your wildlife safari with birding.

In Uganda, bird tourism  isn’t well developed or marketed as say wildlife and gorilla tourism, but Uganda is among the best birding destinations in Africa. Over 1035 bird species have been recorded in Uganda and about 30 Important Bird Areas have been set aside for birding activities.

This small landlocked country surprisingly has more birds per square kilometer than any other country in the continent. The high density of bird species per square kilometer within the country is attributed to two things; its location within the equator, the tropics and the Albertine Rift Valley.

Birders in Uganda are rewarded with many bird sightings and sometimes they even don’t have to cover great distances or deep into the countryside. Endemic species like the Stuhlmann’s Double-collared Sunbird, the Fox’s Weaver as well as well the great Shoebill Stork attract quite a number of bird lovers annually.

Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano that first erupted more than 24 million years ago. The mountain is known to be largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the world (50 km by 80 km) The Park is named after Mount Elgon, an extinct shield volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya.

The botanical diversity of the park includes giant podocarpusjuniper and Elgon olive trees cedar Juniperus procerapillarwood Cassipourea malosanaSambucus adnata, pure stands of Podocarpus gracilior and over 400 species have been recorded.

The park is also home to a variety of small antelope and forest monkeys, bushbucks, elephants and buffalos, including the Black-and-white Colobus and Blue Monkey. For bird watchers, over 400 birds’ species are to be found in the park from the small colourful sunbirds to the elegantly multi coloured turacos.

The park has other attractions namely; scenic beauty. Looming cliffs, caves, cascading waterfalls, gorges, mesas, calderas, hot and warm and cold springs, and the mountain peaks. Mount Elgon offers countless fun filled activities that range from game drives, nature walks, and cycling trips to the special interests activities like birdwatching, hiking, rock climbing, cave exploration and much more.

Wildlife remains the main attractions to Uganda and many people visit Uganda exactly for this. However, owing to its location and its city status, most trips will start or end in Kampala, and no guide to things to do would be complete without mentioning Kampala.

Kampala has a reputation for being chaotic especially during the busy hours of the day but this shouldn’t draw you back. Built on seven hills, and now sprawling out over many more, Kampala can be confusing to navigate, but the centre is compact and well-organised, with plenty to see and do if you have a day or two.

Seize the opportunity to learn about Uganda’s history and the brutal regime of Idi Amin at Mengo Palace, also known as Kabaka Palace – where you can see Amin’s chilling former torture chambers – or check out the last resting place of the former Kings of Buganda at the Kasubi Tombs.

A stroll along the Parliament Avenue will lead you to some of the best colonial architecture, shop for souvenirs or African art in one of the many craft markets and art galleries, or avoid the traffic by hopping on the back of a boda-boda and whizz across the city.

For those arriving by plane, Entebbe is where your trip to Uganda will start and end. But the town is more than just a hub for the airport and international arrivals,  Entebbe is also a peaceful retreat right on the shores of Lake Victoria just an hour drive away from Kampala. The lakeside city offers a great way to spend a day or two at the start or end of your holiday, or as a weekend away from Kampala.

Entebbe offers some engaging activities for the day visitors where they can enjoy the peaceful lakeside city, the bird life of the Botanical Gardens, parts of which are so perfectly lush they and this is one of the scenes that was used in the 1940s as a location for the original Tarzan movies. For those who fancy reptiles a visit to the Reptiles Village will be of great benefit.  

Apart from wildlife, Uganda also has a colourful art scene with at least half a dozen galleries representing both local and internationally-known artists. AfriArt, AKA gallery and Nommo Gallery are probably the best-known, but there are several of others, all offering unique and stylish paintings and textiles that’ll look great on your wall back home.

For souvenirs and crafts for sale you’ll find roadside stalls at every tourist destination, but for the best prices and the most choice save your shopping for Kampala. Here there are two main permanent markets: the Exposure Africa market on Buganda road and the African Craft Village behind the National Theatre.

While here, you can get everything from carved wooden figures, animals, and leather to jewelry and textiles are on offer here – some are imported from Kenya but there are plenty of local items too. On Fridays, there’s also a craft market in Nsambiya along Ggaba Road where you can buy items directly from the artisans who made them – and the prices are often fairly affordable.

During your visit to Bwindi or Mgahinga National Parks, it’s worth taking time to visit one of the Batwa communities. The Batwa pygmies are a hunter-gatherer tribe, who for thousands of years have maintained living a nomadic lifestyle in the forests of western Uganda.

A visit to the Batwa offers the chance to learn about their traditional way of life and watch displays of music and dancing. It’s  also a great way to support this marginalised community who really need our help through tourism. We will help you for organised tours through the Uganda Wildlife Authority or the Batwa Development Programme. If you choose to do it independently, make sure to do it officially, as your ticket price goes back directly to support the community.

However, a landlocked country, Uganda has the best part of the mighty Lake Victoria. This huge body of water sits on the south side of the country, across the borders with Kenya and Tanzania, and at over 23,000 square miles is the largest lake in Africa.

The best place to see Lake Victoria is Entebbe, which doubles as a point of arrivals and departures for those using the airplane.  Enjoy a sunset cruise to enjoy the calm waters, or take a trip out to some of its many islands.

The main highlight being the Ssese Islands, an archipelago of 84 islands featuring blue waters, soft white sands, and thick forests – which make for a fantastic off-the-beaten-track tropical island experience. The main island, Buggala Island is easily accessible by ferry from Entebbe, and is a popular weekend destination for Kampala residents and international tourists alike, with a string of beachfront hotels and alcoholic outlets.

The intriguing Crater Lake that’s dotted with numerous islands is located in the far west of Uganda close to the border with Rwanda. Lake Bunyonyi is a charming place for a few days in total relaxation.

A boat ride to explore and learn about some of the islands, from Punishment Island, where girls who got pregnant out of wedlock were abandoned to die, to Leprosy Island, which used to be a leper colony run by a Scottish missionary.

A great place to stay is Byoona Amargara, a peaceful island retreat run as a not-for profit enterprise that supports community development at Lake Bunyonyi. Choose between a budget cabin or one of their amazing open-sided ‘geo domes’ with views out over the lake. Fall asleep to the gentle sounds of nature, wake to birdsong, relax during the day with short walks or swimming in the lake, and stuff yourself silly with the restaurant’s amazing food.

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