Uganda is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most visited Safari destinations and it is without a doubt a wonder to revere. Uganda’s unique summer-like weather which stretches throughout the year, its unbelievable terrain and ever-green vegetation has tourists falling in love with the Pearl of Africa. Today, we highlight some of the must see and most visited places in Uganda
Murchison falls, the world’s strongest water fall is found on the Nile River, the world’s longest river. The falls are caused by a large amount of water having to fall through a (7m wide and 42m deep) gorge which causes the water to fall at a pressurized high making a dramatic show. This is only the jewel in the crown that is Murchison falls National Park, Uganda’s largest national park. The park has a rich and diverse vegetation cover including savannah and, in some parts, swampy and mushy. The park hosts all the Big Five, small game like antelopes and a rich birdlife. It is often visited in search for the endangered, pre-historic Shoebill Stork. Murchison falls can be visited on a 3 days itinerary on your visit to Uganda.
The Ssese islands
The Ssese islands located in the middle of Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest freshwater lake after Superior in North America showcasing some of Uganda’s most beautiful beaches. The inland islands offer amazing views, sights and sounds, rich bird life and beautiful nights as the moon is reflected on the lake. The sundowner luxury cruises on the Lake Victoria are the best and most sure places to see the sunset reflect on the lake, or the alternative budget local boats of fishermen as they head out to cast their nets.
Among the islands is the Ngamba island a home dedicated to care for orphaned and rescued Chimpanzees. The sanctuary currently has 52 individuals and it offers an exclusive and up-close experience with man’s closest relatives.
Lakes Bunyonyi and Mutanda
Located in the southwestern part of Uganda are two of Uganda’s deepest lakes. Lake Bunyonyi located in Kabale is the deepest with a depth of 800m and believed to have been formed 10,000 years ago due to lava flow from the Virunga mountains which blocked the Ndego river. The Lake has a total of 29 islands. Among these is the famous Punishment Island (Akampene) where unwedded pregnant girls were left to die of hunger, a lesson that the younger ones were expected to learn to avoid future mistakes. The Sharp Island was established in 1931 by the English missionary Leonard Sharp as a leprosy treatment center. Here he built a church, treatment quarters and a medical facility which can be seen on an itinerary to Bunyonyi and ultimately, Island hopping. The lake is very popular for its green hills and home to over 195 bird species including aquatic and migratory birds.
On the other hand, lake Mutanda has a similar set up but the catch to it is the background view of the 8 volcanoes in the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo in one sight! This is a popular place to the tourists and almost never misses on the Western circuit itinerary.
So you love culture, art and music and Uganda’s diverse culture and languages sounds exciting. And what is a better way to experience diverse cultures than here? The Ndere Centre tells stories of Ugandan cultures through music, dance and drama. And of course, dinner is served entailing local cuisine for the most part. In one sitting, one is able to experience Uganda’s rich and diverse ethos.
The journey to the Sipi falls is long, covered in exciting stopovers. The first being Mabira forest, Uganda’s largest tropical rain forest. Mabira has over 500 species of hard wood trees. Its is a birding haven on its own and a home to some of Uganda’s deadliest snakes like the Gabon viper. Further still, you enter Jinja, East Africa’s capital of tourism with some of the most adrenaline inducing activities in the area, including Bungee jumping, White water rafting, Kayaking, tubing the Nile. Toward your final destination is Mbale the land of the Bagisu, who perform circumcision in a ceremony called Imbalu while dancing to a catchy local dance known as Akadodi. Located on the foot of mount Elgon, the Sipi falls made up of three major falls falling from 100 m here. The hiking experience to the bottom of the falls gives you a chance to walk in the shoes of Uganda’s best runners who use the as training tracks for example Steven Kiprotich, Olympic gold medalist. Sipi gives some of the best sunset views after a coffee tour that allows you to sip Uganda’s best coffee and of course take a pack back home with you.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park
Bwindi impenetrable National Park is home to 60% of all Mountain gorillas in the world. Mountain Gorillas are endangered species and currently their population stands at just over 1000 individuals. The Uganda government is very intentional in the conservation of the gentle giants and has been very encouraging to tourists to by keeping the Gorilla permit at 700 USD less than half of the price of our neighboring counterparts. Gorilla tracking is undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating experiences. The permit cost is split and paid towards conservation and treatment of the primates, payment of staff, and to the communities surrounding the Forest Home to more than half the world’s population of mountain Gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is also home to over 1000 plant species, a rich bird life, including Albertine Rift endemics like the Handsome Francolin, African green Broadbill, Red-faced woodland Warbler and many more.
Kibale Forest National Park
There is a common saying that every day in Uganda is primates’ day. This is the reality you come to when you visit Kibale National Park, the primate capital of the world. The park hosts the highest concentration of primates the world over, the highest number of chimpanzees, and 13 other primate species. Uganda’s favorable climate enables one to go Chimpanzee tracking, literally any day of the year. It is also surrounded by countless crater lakes, another sight to admire.
The smallest National Park is also the close to Kampala. Lake Mburo Has the most zebras, impalas closest park to Kampala and smallest national park. It is home to some of the most antelopes. The Eland, Topis, Duiker species, Impala which may be hard to spot in other parks.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda’s most visited National Park is a must see on your trip to Uganda. The park is known for its vast Kasenyi grasslands which host the king of the jungle, herds of elephants and the highest Hippo population in the region. Some of the largest Nile crocodiles along the Kazinga channel which can be seen on a boat ride during your 3 days itinerary to Queen Elizabeth National park. The park further rewards us with the wonder that is Tree-climbing lions in Ishasha, the Southern sector. It is dotted with various antelope including Topi, Uganda Kob et cetera. It is a great 3 days stop over on the way to Bwindi Gorilla tracking.