Where to go and what to do in Uganda.
Uganda is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is also one of most bio diverse nations in Africa. With iconic landmarks that include lakes and rivers, no wonder the country was first named the Pearl of Africa by Winston Churchill, the then prime minister of Britain.
During his expedition into Eastern Africa, he was mesmerized with the beauty of Uganda and thus recorded in his book “My African Journey” that Uganda is indeed the “Pearl of Africa” when he first visited Uganda in 1907. He named it after observing the uniqueness of Uganda as a tourist destination. He wrote “For magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly “the Pearl of Africa.”
Uganda is blessed with a conducive climate and its natural and evergreen vegetation that harbors a lot of wildlife, mountain gorillas, primates, birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians among others that have led to increase of numbers of people that visit Uganda. Uganda is home to many lakes, waterfalls, forests, hot springs, islands, rivers and many tourist attractions
There are so many reasons for going on safaris in Uganda and a lot awaits you to see. Let us explore the most popular attractions that you should not miss during your visit to Uganda;
Source of the Nile
Uganda is home to the authentic, original Source of the River Nile, a site where the British Explorer John Speke ended the long search for the Source of the River Nile. The Nile is the second longest river in the world and its source is located in Jinja, the adventure capital of East Africa. From Jinja, the Nile flows a journey of 6600 meters and passes through five countries that include Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt. During your safari in Jinja, you can engage in various activities that include boat trips, white water rafting, jet boating, kayaking, bungee jumping, fishing etc.
Bwindi impenetrable National park
This is the most popular national park in Uganda. Situated in southwestern Uganda, this ancient rain forest sits on an area of 325 square kilometers of green forests, wetlands and swamps.
The popular Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the most visited tourist destination since it hosts almost half the world’s remnant population of the mountain gorillas. It is the most popular destination for gorilla safaris in Africa and attracts a considerable number of tourists who opt for gorilla watching in Uganda.
The park is also home to an amazing population of chimpanzees, monkeys, birds and many more wild animals, insects, reptiles and amphibians.
The main adventure activity that pulls most tourists to the forest is gorilla trekking and there are 18 habituated gorilla families that can be visited by a maximum of eight tourists each day.
Apart from the gorilla watching, others activities that can be done include cultural tours to the Batwa and Bakiga community that live adjacent to the park, community stays, nature walks, birding etc.
Mountain Rwenzori is located in western Uganda and lies in the districts of Kasese and Kabarole. The Rwenzoris are the second highest block mountain in Africa and it is necessary visit if you are looking at hiking in Africa. Also commonly known as the “mountains of the moon” because it has many peaks and Margherita is the highest peak. When you visit Uganda you cannot miss to tour and climb Mountain Rwenzori and also its peaks and its natural environment.
Kibale Valley National Park
Kibale Forest National Park is located in western Uganda and is most famous for chimpanzee tracking. This tropical rain forest is a habitat to over 1500 chimpanzees and it is known to host the highest density of chimpanzees in Africa.
The park is also home to twelve more monkey species that include black and white colubus monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, blue tailed monkeys, red tailed monkeys among others which are mostly found in Bigodi swamp sanctuary opposite Kibale National park.
Murchison Falls National Park
This is a prime destination for game viewing in Uganda. Situated in northwestern Uganda, it is best known for its iconic beautiful Murchison Falls where the Victoria Nile violently forces itself in the narrow gorge dropping down to form the Victoria Falls. While in Murchison Falls National Park, travelers enjoy the amazing boat cruises along the Nile to see the bottom of the Murchison Falls. You can also hike to the top of the falls. Enjoy game drives to see the wild animals that live inside the park. Most popular animals include leopards, elephants, lions, buffaloes, giraffes, sitatungas, impalas and many more.
If you love primates, there are chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest Kaniyo Pabidi.
For birders the rare shoebill stork is worthy searching for within the Albertine delta, another interesting place to see in the Murchison Falls National Park.
Uganda has a good share of the Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. This fresh water lake is the largest in Africa and the second largest in the world. It was named after Queen Victoria of England.
Lake Victoria is shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Enjoy boat trips on Lake Victoria and tour various islands that include do fishing, sun bathing, canoe rides, etc.
The Lake Victoria and its islands are habitat to many wild animals, birds, primates like chimpanzees, monkeys and so on.
Mabira forest is a tropical rain forest covering 300 square kilometers in Uganda and it attracts tourists interested in nature based tours. Located in Buikwe district between Lugazi and Jinja, this is the largest remaining tropical rain forest in Central Uganda.
The forest is rich in flora and fauna. There are various tree species, bird species, primates as well as wild animals that live in the forest. During a nature walk through the forest, you will see some of the primates, insects, reptiles etc.
The Mabira Forest is a great place for a weekend escape from Kampala or Entebbe. Some of the activities not to miss include nature walks through the forest, zip lining among others.
Mountain Elgon National park
The Less known Mountain Elgon National park is found in eastern Uganda. Its iconic attraction is the Mountain Elgon, the highest volcanic mountain in Uganda. A hike to its highest peak known as Wagagai is a great attraction for hikers.
Mountain Elgon National park is one tourist attraction you cannot miss when you visit Uganda. Some of the highlights of this destination are the interesting nature walks to Sipi falls where you will enjoy the scenic views of the breathtaking falls.
Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary
This chimpanzee sanctuary is a must visit while in Kampala or Entebbe. This small island colonized by chimpanzees is located inside the Lake Victoria. The sanctuary is a home to over 49 orphaned chimpanzees rescued by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) from poachers.
During your visit, you can participate in the feeding session. You wil be amazed with the playful chimpanzees while on a close encounters with these great apes. It is also one of the tourist destinations you cannot miss when you visit Uganda.
Lake Bunyonyi is located in Southwestern Uganda. It is the second deepest lake in Africa. It deprives its name from being a lake of small birds. The word bunyonyi means small birds.
Lake Bunyonyi is a well known destination for nature tours as well as birders. It is also well known for its 29 islands with different historical meanings. The most notable one is the Punishment Island where girls who got pregnant before marriage were left to die. These girls could either die or be saved by boys who did not have dowry! You can catch up all these fascinating stories during your tour of Lake Bunyonyi.
Uganda has plenty of places to visit during your safari in Uganda. From the known Uganda national parks to forest reserves, game reserves and well-known landmarks, there is a lot that await you in this beautiful country. You can use the above recommendations to craft an amazing holiday through the Pearl of Africa.