“Discover the Heart of Africa: An Epic Safari Adventure in Uganda”
Uganda offers a variety of top attractions and activities, including those in the cities, rural areas, protected zones, and guided tours. Our list includes opinions from travel bloggers who have visited these destinations. One must-see attraction is gorilla watching at bwindi national park. This is a unique opportunity to see mountain gorillas, which are found only in this region and have fur adapted to the higher altitude and cooler temperatures. Gorillas live in groups led by a silverback and can be seen on tours from Kisoro, a town located in the African Great Lakes region, known for its scenic lake views and nicknamed the “Switzerland of Africa, From Kisoro, you have access to the incredible Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, known for its numerous bamboo stands, is one of the prime locations to observe gorillas and has comfortable lodges for visitors. In addition to gorillas, the forest also shelters around 90 species of mammals, including 10 types of primates, making it the most diverse area for mammals in Uganda. Visitors may also see black and white colobus monkeys, green monkeys, Schmidt’s red-tailed monkeys, and duiker. There are approximately 400 gorillas in Bwindi and the population continues to grow. This growth can be attributed to the interest and support generated by gorilla tourism. To visit the gorillas, a permit must be purchased and a stay at one of the lodges can be booked. The gorillas are found in 15 habituated groups, ready for touring.
The Nkuringo Gorilla Group, located in Kisoro, can be visited through tours from the highly recommended Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge. The lodge sits on the Nteko Ridge and offers breathtaking views of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, making it a perfect base for exploring the area.
Guests at the lodge can participate in a variety of activities, including:
- Visiting Batwa pygmies
- Guided village walk
- Multi-day trek to/from Kisoro via Lake Mutanda
- Bwindi Forest hike to the park headquarters at Buhoma
- Tracking the Nkuringo Gorilla family (with permit)
- Tracking the Nshongi Gorilla family at Rushaga (with permit)
- Taking in the stunning views of the gallery forests of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Virunga volcanoes.
Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda is a top tourist destination due to its rich biodiversity, including various habitats such as forests, wetlands, savannas, and lakes. The park, which is located a few hours southwest of Kampala, the capital and largest city, is home to an array of wildlife, including lions, elephants, antelopes, buffaloes, and even chimpanzees. Visitors can take part in game drives to see these iconic African animals or go on a water-based safari to view hippopotamus, Nile crocodiles, and birdlife. To truly immerse in the stunning savanna environment, one can book a hot air balloon experience, which provides a breathtaking view. The park boasts 618 bird species, making it a prime destination for birding safaris, and also has 10 primate species and 95 mammal species, including big game. Attractions in the park include the tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha sector, the Kazinga Channel with its numerous hippos, crocodiles, elephants, and more, the Kasenyi Plains with its antelopes, lions, and other predators, the Kalinzu Forest for chimpanzee tracking, the Kyambura Gorge for primate viewing, the Mweya Peninsula for game drives, the Lake Katwe Salt Works, and the Katwe Explosion Crater Lakes with its views of the Rwenzori Mountain ranges and the western rift valley escarpments.
The park is located approximately 389 km from the capital city of Kampala and can be reached by either a 6 hour and 30 minute drive along the Masaka Road or by a charter flight. There are a variety of accommodation options available, including lodges, campsites, hotels, and tented camps, to fit all budgets. The best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from January to February and June to September, with peak safari time from June to September. Birding is best from August to December and March to May.
Murchison Falls is a breathtaking natural landmark located in Murchison Falls National Park, part of the larger Murchison National Park. The park has a rich history and has been visited by famous figures such as Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, and royalty. Despite intense hunting in the past, the park is now home to a diverse array of wildlife including hippos, crocodiles, lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, antelopes, chimpanzees, and numerous bird species. While the wildlife population is not as abundant as it once was, it is steadily recovering, and visitors are sure to see some remarkable examples of African wildlife. As the largest national park in Uganda, Murchison Falls is a standout attraction named after a president of the Royal Geographical Society. The falls are a stunning sight, with water crashing through a narrow, rocky gorge and flowing through a 6-meter-wide channel before plummeting 30 meters into the Nile River. The constant spray creates a rainbow over the falls, adding to its beauty and making it a must-visit destination in Uganda.
Lake Bunyonyi is situated near Kisoro and Kabale, close to the Rwanda border. It is one of the deepest lakes in Africa and is home to 29 islands. It is a popular spot not only for international tourists, but also for locals seeking a relaxing getaway. The towns of Muko and Kyevu can be found around the lake and offer various lakeside accommodations.
With few structures on the islands, aside from tourist facilities and a few schools, the main settlement is the Bufuka Village, made up mostly of Bakiga and Batwa tribes. Visitors can witness traditional dances of the Batwa and take a scenic cruise around the lake, island-hopping. However, the lake’s true appeal lies in its stunning scenery, making it a favorite destination for many.
Close to Bwindi Forest for gorilla trekking, Lake Bunyonyi makes for an excellent addition to a trip, offering breathtaking views and a unique experience.
Lake Mburo National Park is a small yet diverse protected area that boasts a rich array of savanna wildlife. It is home to antelopes, hyenas, hippos, buffalos, zebras, and a variety of birds. The park features abundant woodland, due to the absence of elephants which are known to reshape savanna forests.
The park boasts 13 water bodies, but the standout is Lake Mburo, a part of the park’s wetland system. This makes it a prime bird-watching destination, with over 350 species of birds to be found. There are many activities to enjoy both in and around the lake, such as boat cruises to see hippos, crocodiles, and various birds. Additionally, you can take game drives to spot the different African wildlife, including zebra and impala which are the stars of the park. You can also enjoy guided walks or horseback riding to explore the beautiful scenery. Horseback riding is especially recommended as it offers a unique perspective for wildlife watching, allowing for faster and quieter travel between areas. The highly regarded Mihingo Lodge offers horse riding services, and it is one of the best ways to observe zebras, which are less intimidated by horses
While exploring the pearl of Africa, visiting the source of the Nile River is must-see. The Nile is one of the longest rivers in the world and ranks as the world’s largest, along with the Amazon River in South America. You can witness one of the sources of this magnificent waterway at Jinja, which is a two-hour drive from Kampala via the Mabira forest.
Take a boat trip around the lake and visit the hydroelectric power plant at Bujagali Falls. Jinja is known as the adventure capital of East Africa, offering activities such as mountain biking and horse riding. The town is also worth exploring, with its colonial architectural structures. there are several comfortable accommodation options in the area, and lodges can often arrange tours and cruises to help you make the most of your experience at the source of the Nile.