Uganda manages to invigorate its visitors in a way that very few countries do, with its spectacular wildlife watching adventures, delightful natural beauty, beautiful culture, delicious cuisines and exotic flavors.
The country is finally coming out of the shadows of its dark and scary history and is attracting travelers by offering them the very best of everything that Africa has on offer. Uganda may be small in size, but it packs a punch in terms of its attractions. It hosts the source of the longest river in the world and the largest lake of the continent and also presents the Big Five in a new light. Gorilla trekking is a sure-thing to do in Uganda, but that’s just the beginning. Read on to find out why people fall in love with the Pearl of Africa.
Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari (above image)
The Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari is home to as many as 7000 cape buffaloes and more than 2500 African elephants. Lions can sometimes be seen lazing around fig trees in Ishasha or prowling around the rocks of Kidepo Valley. Lucky visitors might also catch a glimpse of the elusive leopard. The park is one of the most visited national parks of Africa and it lets you choose from all kinds of tours and adventures. Apart from watching elephants and lions, you can also choose from things like boat safaris along the Kazinga Chanel and chimpanzee tracking in the Lost Valley.
Lake Bunyonyi translates to the ‘place of many little birds’ and that is as good a description as you can expect. This beautiful lake is by far the prettiest lake in Uganda. Its shore presents terraced hillsides and 29 islands, reminding travelers of certain parts in Nepal. Lake Bunyonyi is truly a magical destination, particularly during the morning hours as you see the mist rising off its serene waters.
Kampala Walking Tour
Nairobi might have negative vibes, but Kampala doesn’t damage Uganda’s reputation at all. In fact, if anything, Kampala ensures that visitors get a proper introduction to the country. Kampala is quite safe (unlike its eastern neighbor) and presents a number of sights and attractions that are good enough to keep visitors occupied right through the acclimation period. The ideal way to explore Kampala is through a walking tour. These tours let you take a glimpse into the local lifestyle as you wander around those lively streets, marvel at the unique architecture and spend time in those busy markets. Some of the top attractions you’re likely to come across in your walking tours include Kampala Hindu Temple, Lubiri Palace, Uganda National Mosque and the Nakasero Market.
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is responsible for offering the most sought-after attraction of Uganda – Gorilla treks. This UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site is home to more than 200 species of butterflies, 350 species of birds and half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, 116 of whom are habituated. Other primates to be seen in the park include blue monkeys, chimpanzees, black and white colobus gray-cheeked mangabeys and the extremely rare L’Hoest’s monkeys. The dramatic mountain ranges, refreshing waterfalls, rugged peaks and jagged valleys make your gorilla treks even more special.
Nalubale White-Water Rafting
River rafting may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Uganda, but a Nalubale white-water rafting trip might just end up being one of the highlights of your journey. The experience is challenging, but there are a number of companies that offer the right safety equipment and instructors to ensure that you have an enjoyable and safe rafting experience. Tours usually last for anything between one afternoon to three days.
Visitors wanting to escape the hustle bustle of Ugandan cities find Ssese Islands to offer some much-needed respite. The slow-paced lifestyle makes the island an ideal retreat for leading a relaxed lifestyle and those breathtaking white-sand beaches present outstanding sunbathing opportunities. The lack of permanent settlements means that the area is largely unspoiled. Most travelers restrict themselves to the Buggala Island, the most accessible Ssese Island, but those who dare to venture out to the Banda Island or Bukasa, can enjoy secluded surroundings and even better sights.
Ndere Centre tries to promote a sense efficacy and pride among the local tribes of Uganda and strives to put them on the world map as contributing members of the human community. It is one of the best places to learn more about the culture of Uganda and is particularly famous for its rich and elaborate music and dance shows and traditions. The barbecues are also worth becoming a part of.
Bujagali Falls, located at a distance of 10 kms from central Jinja, is not a waterfall in the true sense, but is actually a series of rapids. The Bujagali Falls have always been famous as one of the most breathtaking natural attractions of Uganda, but their beauty might not last for long as the Bujagali Dam is expected to dramatically reduce the roar of these falls. So visit the Bujagali Falls while you still can. All it takes is a boda-boda ride from Jinja.
Kisoro presents breathtaking views of the Virungas. It has emerged as a popular stop for those visiting the gorilla treks of Parc National des Volcans and those planning to explore the Mgahinga National Park. If you’re an experienced trekker, head over to Mount Elgon to explore sky-hugging mountains and lush green forests. Elgon provides excellent treks and is a must-visit for trekkers. The hottest trails found here include the Central Circuit Trail, Karomoja and the Sasa River Trail. There are many walks outside of town that are surrounded by caves, craters and lakes as well.
Jinja, the source of the Nile River, has become the adrenaline capital of East Africa. It provides adrenaline-junkies with all kinds of adventure activities such as kayaking, white-water rafting, mountain biking, bungee jumping, horseback riding and quad biking. The town itself presents beautiful colonial era architecture, an old-world feel and buzzing African life.
Murchison Falls National Park is the largest national park in Uganda and one of the best destinations for those interested in the country’s wildlife. The park is home to the fascinating Murchison Falls, a spectacular sight to behold. There was a time when the national park was home to as many as 15000 elephants and a huge concentration of rhinos. Sadly, poachers wiped out most of its rich wildlife, but things are now recovering. Today, you can expect elephant, crocodile, giraffe, leopard, buffalo, hippo, antelope and waterbuck sightings. The park is also home to 460 species of birds, including the shoebill stork.
Straddling the Equator
Let your imagination run wild as you stand on the middle of the equator. The place is nothing more than an excellent photo-op, but who wouldn’t want to place one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other foot in the southern hemisphere and the evidence to prove it!
Countries like Uganda manage to keep their great sites and natural beauty intact through conservation centers that facilitate all kinds of conservation projects which protect the natural habitat and benefit the local wildlife. Bookmundi recommends you to ensure that you do your best to minimize the adverse effect your trip causes to the local environment. After all, who wouldn’t want to protect all that natural beauty for generations to come!