Why visit Uganda?
- Uganda hosts almost half of mountain gorilla population in the world.
Mountain gorillas are the world’s rarest, greatest and largest primates in the world with over 220kg which gives these apes the majestic praised king Kong nature. These are not found in every one corner of the world, as they are mainly glued within the Virunga massif, mountain gorillas are best found in Uganda as they rest their fleshed huge bodies addressed in Bwindi impenetrable and Mgahinga national park.
- The world’s best wild chimpanzee sights ensue in Uganda.
The praises Uganda gets for its sublime primates are as endless as an ocean because even before the glory given to mountain gorillas comes to pass, the adoration for more primates in the country like chimpanzees are always underway. The country over joys tourists with over 5000 chimpanzees kept in its serenities and over 20 different monkey species. A trip to Kibale national park a chimpanzee haven guarantees tourists unforgettable views of these awe-inspiring human cousins as the park flourishes with the existence of almost 1500 in its thick lush green forests.
- Tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth national park
The lions found in Queen Elizabeth national park are peculiar and the sights of spotting a slouching lion in tree brunches is as beautiful as snowflakes. These rare kinds of lions are found in either Tanzania or Uganda, therefore tourists who miss them in Tanzania shouldn’t develop panic attacks because the proud and majestic lions limping in tree brunches can be spotted while in Queen Elizabeth’s Ishasha sector.
- The second largest freshwater lake in the world.
As North America boasts with Lake Baikal being the world’s largest freshwater lake, Uganda follows in line of proudness with its famous Lake Victoria, and while it brags being the second in the world, the thought of being the biggest in Africa scratches tourists’ feet into exploring it. The lake has a surface area of 59,947 square km with more than 30 islands.
- The longest river on the planet earth is missed if not caught sight of from Uganda.
The activities and nature that features on the 6,650km long River Nile are exquisite and wondrous not forgetting that it blesses other countries with its glowing pure waters. Oozing out from the renowned Lake Victoria, the Nile is impressive about the Murchison falls that is the world’s most powerful waterfall, Karuma falls, Kalagala falls and so many others.
- The People of Uganda are friendly, warm and with breath-taking culture
Uganda has over 56 different tribes and each has an outstanding and interesting culture that triggers the joyful spots of tourists as they watch them perform beautiful cultural dances, songs and other traditional practices like making local wine, hunting, fire making, story-telling etc. Ugandans are friendly and over joyed by tourists who are locally called ‘muzungu’.
- Uganda is home to three world heritage sites
These strongly support the fact that the scenery in the country is exceptional and mind-blowing. While Bwindi was crowned a UNESCO site because of the mountain gorillas, Rwenzori mountains national park towers with its snow-capped peaks making it the third highest mountain in Africa and the Kasubi tombs are just perfect to give visitors a clear picture of how culture in the country is defined.
Popular tourist activities Uganda.
The highly undertaken tourist activity in the country is tracing for mountain gorillas and it’s on high demand due to the existence of more than half of the population of gorillas in Uganda. This activity is both demanding and fascinating because tourists are always eager to bare the ragged landscape of national parks just to get an hours’ time of wowing a day in life of a mountain gorilla, enjoying life brought up by the wilderness.
The thick impenetrable forests of Bwindi are too thick to expose most of these great apes but they can also be caught sight of in Mgahinga gorilla national park.
It is considered at most injustice for any tourist who visits Uganda and doesn’t engage in any safari experience in the spectacular national parks that are widely distributed from the north, east, west and south.
The country has ten national parks each uniquely endowed with rare kinds of nature and special species of animals that cannot be found anywhere else. Visitors who travel to one of the parks in the country are surely graced by the presence of animals like elephants, zebras, impalas, topi, buffaloes, giraffes, leopards, antelopes among others. The epitome of game drives in Uganda’s national parks is the big five sightings and night game drives that is not common to all national parks but offers tourists with a chance to also enjoy the life in wilderness during the dark.
Chimpanzee enthusiasts are warmly welcome to Uganda because the pearl of Africa is blessed with four main chimpanzee destinations with fine and fantastic primates ready to entertain the visitors. Kibale forest national park is the best place the country can offer for tracing these creatures but Queen Elizabeth national park and Murchison falls national park back up the excitement that chimps give to their visitors.
The efforts of this long walk into the thickets of the forest are well recognized after visitors get lost at the sight of spotting chimps playing, feeding, looking after each other in their distinctive troops.
Hiking / mountaineering safaris
The country is completed off with a variety of natural pieces that compliment it like mountains that offer rewarding challenges for visitors to aim for the sky. Visitors greatly enjoy hikes to mountains like Elgon, Moroto and hikes made of falls like Sipi falls, Murchison falls among others.
Gorilla trekking is the best-done activity in the country and no tourist gets a chance of wowing these king kongs of the wilderness without hiking and trekking as they prefer slouching in mountainous areas. Chimpanzee trekking also gives tourists a chance to walk through the untold beauty that falls in the forests and not missing a touch of snow that hikers can get hold of while they aim for mountain Rwenzori’s highest peaks Margherita.
Uganda has a variety of tribes and clans that are spread throughout the country, each with unique and fascinating style of culture. Bwindi is among the most visited park in the country due to its possession of gorillas and while visitors are still dazzled about the gigantic apes, the amazement brought by the Batwa who live around the park are undefined.
Visitors get to participate in Batwa cultural dances, traditional wine making, herb making, cooking, singing traditional songs among others. The north of the country is beautified by the culture of the tall melanin Karamajongs.
Bamasaba people in the East drive visitors to cloud nine with their famous traditional ritual of male circumcision that comes along with their loved kaddodi dance among others.
White water rafting
Jinja is one of the best cities in the country and one of the most visited because of the bright and sparkling waters of River Nile that appears white while wild during this famous adventure of white-water rafting. The joy of floating down on the wondrous rapids of R. Nile offers great relief to visitors who choose a family float but the best and scaring thrill is offered on the grade 4 and grade 5 rapids which all can be chosen by visitors.
The safety of tourists is highly attended to since there are always rescue kayaks and safety boats for any emergencies. The joy of white water is backed by the sights given off by aquatic birds like white backed night heron, crimson-rumped waxbill among others, spotting fishermen.
50% of Africa’s bird species and 11% of the world’s total bird population call Uganda home. Birding in Uganda is rewarding as there are about 1073 bird species in the country some of which are endemic to some areas like the Albertine rift, Elgon and Rwenzori Mountains. All the national parks in the country offer breath- taking views of these small enchantresses and they are supported by areas like Lutembe bay wetland, Mabamba bay wetland, Mabira forest, Budongo forest among other bird havens.
Popular destinations to visit in Uganda.
The capital of Uganda is filled with lightful adventures including towering skyscrapers in the city, iconic historical sites like Uganda museum, Kasubi tombs, local markets like Owino, craft markets, religious sites like Lubaga Cathedral, Namirembe Church, Ghaddafi National Mosque among others. Tourists can enjoy, moving around the streets to enjoy the views of city residents, taste local foods and experience the famous boda-boda.
National parks in Uganda
Uganda’s ten national parks are filled with endless scenic nature to brim the joy of visitors as they admire the pristine environment with each offering a unique and rare kind of beauty. Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks are best known for mountain gorillas, Queen Elizabeth national park resounds with tree climbing lions that are rarely caught sight of worldwide, chimpanzee lovers shouldn’t miss Kibaale forest national park. Semuliki, Kidepo and other destinations like mountain Elgon and Rwenzori mountains are filled with endless beauties that make visitors as happy as Larry.
Raging Water falls
Uganda is home to 14 waterfalls whose majestic beauty of water freely falling into a plunge pool with thunderous sounds is a great relief to visitors and a prolific kind of entertainment for water lovers. The best and most visited waterfalls is Murchison falls since it’s the world’s powerful falls, tourists embark on a boat cruise to get spacious views of the tantalizing nature here. Other breathtaking water falls include Sipi falls, Aruu falls, Ssezibwa falls, Itanda, Kisiizi falls and others.
The beauty of Pearl of Africa’s nature is emphasized by over 90 beautiful islands located on a variety of lakes scattered across the country. The beautiful interior of Lake Victoria is endowed with islands like Ssese that contain 84 scenic islands and while here, visitors can enjoy boat cruises, fishing and white sand beach experience.
Other islands that contain hidden treasures include Musambwa island, Ngamba, Buggala which is the biggest in Lake Victoria, wild waters, Bunyonyi lake islands, Lake Mutanda islands among others.
Enjoy the sounds of relieving bird songs, gaze at the sunset while on a visit to Africa’s largest fresh water lake. The shores of Lake Victoria contain variety of wild life species like hippos, marsh mongoose, giant otter shrew, etc. Fishing at the banks of Lake Victoria is an everyday activity as the it contains over 200 species of fish where the haplochromine cichlid is endemic among others as well as the Nile perch. Tourists shouldn’t miss on visiting some of the lakes’ famous islands like Ngamba island whose pristine area is reserved for protecting the lives of orphaned chimpanzees.
Jinja – East Africa’s adventure capital
This city has long been known for numerous industries that it supported during the colonial area, but Jinja’s popularity story had a twist from industrialization to tourism. This city is known as the city of Adventure in East Africa because it officiates the flow of world’s greatest river the Nile until it rests and pours its sparkling waters to the final destination – Mediterranean Sea.
Besides offering views of the source of R. Nile to visitors, Jinja offers the best water activities in the country like tubing, water sliding, boat cruises, kayaking, white water rafting, sport fishing among others.
This cultural center is not just affiliated to the lives of Baganda as a tribe but it was also recognized as a UNESCO world Heritage Site in 2001. The site is a final resting place for the four Kabakas (kings) of the ancient Buganda kingdom and it was constructed using natural and traditional building materials like reeds, wattles, thatch among others. The Bujjabukula is the main gate to Kasubi tombs and is among the cores that mesmerize visitors on arrival. Kibira is sacred to the Baganda people because they believe the spirits of their fallen kings rest in this forest. The conical thatch of the main building’s dome in the premises offers a lot of excitement and its interiors dazzle visiors with powerful regalia like shields, drums, medals among others.
Other wild life destinations.
Besides national parks in the country, there are other areas gazetted for protecting the lives of wild animals like Uganda Wildlife Conservation Centre, formerly known as Entebbe Zoo. The country is home to 12 wildlife reserves and 13 wildlife sanctuaries.
Tourists get some joy by visiting Entebbe Botanical Gardens, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Ziwa Rhino wildlife sanctuary among others. Game reserves like Toro-Semliki, Pian Upe, Ajai offer scenic views and provide chances of sighting a wide variety of animals.
Uganda is one of the few countries in the world where the Equator crosses, all those whose destination is the western and south western region are advised to break off at this great landmark and feel the joy of weighing 0.5% less while at the equator point. There are souvenir shops in the vicinity of the equator and visitors can grab themselves traditional crafts that they can take back home and also enjoy the local cuisines served at local restaurants.
Safety guidelines in Uganda.
- While taking on public means of transport, visitors should watch out for erratic driving especially from boda-boda riders and public taxi drivers as some of the roads in Uganda are in poor conditions with numerous potholes which increases chances of accidents on the roads.
- Tourists who endeavor to flock the country should get vaccinated against yellow fever, and other diseases like Ebola, Malaria and flu / cough.
- Every country has its own driving rules and visitors on self – drive ought to keep left while driving, have a valid international driving license, control their speed and don’t drink and drive.
- Dress appropriately especially in public. Even if the world in moving away from the traditional barbaric dress code, some individuals still reserve their culture and are agitated by individuals who expose their bodies.
- Tourists should not forget sunscreen as an integral part of their skin to minimize on the dangers of sun like sun burns among others.
- While driving within busy towns, always keep the car windows raised to avoid getting robbed by petty thieves especially if there are personal items like phones, laptops in the car.
- Visitors should never offer food to wild animals like chimpanzees, baboons, monkeys while on their safaris however much they look welcoming to them.
- It is always advised that tourists move around the towns or visit parks and other tourist centers with experienced tourist guides to help them get around easily and safely.
- Tourists should be cautious about walking at night especially in some areas like slums as the rate of criminals in those areas is high which means that moving in such areas is riskier and if they have to, they should move in a group.
Tips while traveling to Uganda
- Tourists should have their documentations ready before coming to Uganda. Passports should be valid for more six months and they should possess other required travel documents like the visas, yellow vaccination certificate, Covid-19 vaccination certificate or PCR test corticate within 72 hours among others.
- Visitors who wish to undertake highly demanded activities like mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, chimpanzee trekking must make their reservations for such activities in advance to avoid disappointments.
- Tourists should have a medical check-up to ensure that they are not suffering from any infectious diseases like flu, cough as they can’t be allowed to proceed on primate trekking activities.
- Official currency in Uganda is shillings, therefore it is advised that tourists exchange some of their foreign currency to Ugandan currency especially if they intend to make purchases of small items from individuals along the roadside, market vendors etc.
- Tourists are welcome in the country throughout the year but the best time favorable for all safari activities is the dry months of June to September and December to February.
- Uganda is a country filled with friendly people which means that tourists can travel around independently, but it is advised to hire the services of a local tour company especially for those interested in visiting up country national parks.
When to visit Uganda?
The two dry seasons perfectly make safaris as colorful as a rainbow since they are not bothered by muddy roads, not delayed by unexpected rainfall and the skies are clear enough for wonderful visibility and quality photography.
The first dry season spans from June to September and the last one falls in the holiday season of December to February.
Getting a Ugandan visa.
Getting a visa in Uganda has been made easy as visitors can apply for an electronic visa online from the Directorate of Citizenship and immigration website at a fee of $50 for ordinary tourist visa while east African tourist visa costs 100$ only. All that is required by a tourist to acquire this visa is a copy of their passport, recent passport photograph, yellow fever vaccination certificate and corona virus vaccination certificate.
Land borders also offer visas on arrival and all that the tourists are required is a fee of $50 – $100 and a waiting period of about 5- 10 minutes to process it.
People and cultures of Uganda.
The people of Uganda are generally friendly and welcoming. The country is blessed with a variety of ethnic groups and for that reason it doesn’t have any local language recognized as a national language.
Tourists coming to Uganda should know that the country recognizes English and Kiswahili as their national language but Luganda is among the most commonly spoken language in the country especially in the central region and there are some remote areas where people are not familiar with English quite well.
85.2% of Ugandans are Christians and the remaining 12% comprises of Muslims, Hindus, traditionalists and other religions.
Suggested packing list when visiting Uganda.
- Safari friendly clothes
Depending on the type of activity one is going to engage in, they should have a good mix of thick and light clothes because activities like gorilla trekking, hiking involve hitting the bush hence thick long clothes are recommended.
Clothes should be of dull colors – brown, army green, khaki colors to blend well with nature and wildlife. Some roads in far remote areas are dusty when dry and muddy when wet.
- Appropriate safari shoes
Hiking shoes are highly recommended for those who are going to hike mountains, gorilla, chimpanzee trekking and light sandals are comfortable for game drives and boat cruises.
- Sun protectors
The sun in the tropics is not underrated at all and tourists who wish to visit Uganda’s semi-arid regions should carry sun hats, sun screens to protect themselves from sun burns and other sun related challenges.
- Handy gadgets
Storing safari and travel memories is nostalgic and helps tourists to keep the activities fresh in their minds. Therefore, they shouldn’t miss out on carrying cameras, memory cards, chargers, flash lights among other gadgets to add a story to their journey.
- Valid Documents
Access into the country and any tourist site is only permitted after the display of valid documents that include passports, visas, trekking permits among others. Therefore, this should be the first item packed by any tourist who wishes to come to Uganda.
- First aid kit
Health centers in some remote areas are extremely far, therefore it is recommended that tourists should carry a first aid box containing pain killers for some unforeseen complications likes stomach aches, headaches, colds, simple bruises, sprains etc.
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