The things to do in Uganda are some of the most unique things to do in world. Uganda is a country of contrasts; from the snow-capped Mountains of the Moon to the tranquil beauty of the Kazinga Channel… from the mighty force of the Murchison Falls to the stunning stillness of Lake Bunyonyi, high in the 'Little Switzerland of Africa'… rainforest to savannah, mountain to lakeside...this is the real heart of Africa… bathed in sunshine astride the equator.
Although Uganda is primarily known for Gorilla Trekking, it’s a unique safari destination with a small slice of everything Africa has to offer, this is one of the reasons why people attest that Uganda is the Pearl Of Africa.
The country is blessed with all kinds of wildlife and many people don’t realize all is here to see. The capital of Kampala will make you feel like you are in Asia with electronics shops on every corner and the people Uganda are extremely friendly..
Coming in at number 1 on the list top things to do and see in Uganda, is of course, trekking the mountain gorillas. There’s only 3 countries in the world where you can get this incredible sort of wildlife experience and Uganda is the cheapest of the lot. Over half of the population of the endangered Mountain Gorilla resides in Uganda, this is certainly something not be missed. There is 459 gorillas, 21 habituated Mountain Gorilla families in Bwindi alone, plus 1 in Mgahinga Gorilla Park. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is South-Western Uganda. Mountain Gorillas are on the must do and see list of most tourists to Uganda.
Although Gorilla trekking is still a crazily expensive venture in Africa, it is once in a lifetime, and even the hike alone through the clouds and dense jungle of Bwindi Impenetrable forest is an experience in itself. Other activities included Mountain Biking, interactive cultural walks with the Batwa people, Birding and more.
You can go on a one day at the Ngamba Island, 2 day or longer Chimpanzee Safari near Murchison Falls Park area, Kyambura Gorge at Queen Elizabeth Park and the main place - the jungle of Kibale Rainforest National Park. Kibale Forest is believed to have the highest density of primates in Africa. The 795-sq-km national park is home to 13 primate species, including the rare red colobus and L’Hoest’s monkey. You can spend a fascinating hour observing man’s closest relatives. You may consider spending more time (probably all day) with the Chimps, and not just a 3 hour chimp trek of which just one is spent with the chimps. You can do an all day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience. Just do not miss this great opportunity to see chimpanzees in the Wild. You can even spend a night in the Kibale Jungle 6 meters up in a Tree House at chimps' Nest
This park in the North of Uganda is simply amazing. Murchison Falls National Park offers one of the best all around safari experiences in Uganda. Hike down the cliffs of the majestic Murchison Falls for incredible views of the Nile as it explodes through a narrow rocky gap in the gorge, to continue onwards on its long journey to the Mediterranean. The Nile River Cruise to the falls with wildlife in abundance on the shores is spectacular.
You can also visit the Ziwa Rhino Reserve and go Chimpanzee tracking (trekking) in Budongo Forest. The perfect African Wildlife Safari at Murchison Falls National Park. Put it on your list of to do and see things in Uganda.
Somewhat off the beaten track in the far southern sector of the park, Ishasha is famous for its population of tree-climbing lions. There are only two places in the world to find tree climbing Lions - Ishasha Plains is one of them and at Ishasha they are more readily found than in Tanzania. About 50 plus lions live here in four prides that daily climb up into the Trees. They are often found lazing on the sprawling limbs of fig trees during the heat of the day. Tree Climbing Lions are best seen in the trees after 9 am and before 6 pm as they sleep the day away, up to 15 hours, in the comfort trees. The lions generally won’t climb if it’s wet.
You can track them on a stand alone safari or a combination safari with other places of interest - no matter what - The tree climbing lions are one of the best things to see while in Uganda.
This lost valley in the extreme northeast corner along the Sudanese border, has the most stunning scenery of any protected area in Uganda. Kidepo Valley Park has a true wilderness feel and is a great destination for the adventurous traveller.
The rolling, short-grass savannah of the 1442-sq-km Kidepo Valley National Park is ringed by mountains and cut by rocky ridges. This park has arguably the most diverse savannah fauna of any park featuring several species not encountered anywhere else in the country. It is particularly rich in predators, including lion, leopard, cheetah and bat-eared fox. Black-backed and side-striped jackal are both present. The park has probably some of the largest buffalo herds to be found. There are large herds of buffalo. Twelve antelope species occur in the park, including Jackson's hartebeest, oribi, eland, Uganda kob and klipspringer.
Kidepo Valley National Park was named by CNN as one of the best parks in Africa.
Besides the famous Ishasha Tree-Climbing Lions, Queen Elizabeth Park is one of Uganda’s most popular savannah reserve with a wide variety of wildlife. The variety of habitats include grassland savannah, forests, wetlands and lakes. This provides the setting for an extensive range of large mammals and primates. Four of the Big five are present (rhino are absent) and chimpanzee tracking (trekking), is available. Elephant and buffalo are very common, and lion are surprisingly easy to spot. There are many interesting antelope species such as Uganda kob, topi and bushbuck.
The Kazinga channel is where you find hippos, hippos and hippos as you cruise along the shore – seeing crocodile, hundreds of birds and more abundant wildlife.
The Mweya area of the park is where you take the 27 kilometer Explosion Crater Drive which is one of the most scenic drives in all of Uganda – there are various kinds of craters you see here - all in the shadows of the Rwenzori Mountains. You are at the highest point in the park with incredible views all around including the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon, down the escarpment to the savanna and Lake George and Lake Edward.
Queen Elizabeth Park is simply a favorite of visitors on Safari in Uganda and the one's who have been here, called it a must thing to do.
Taking a hike to track down the park’s other endangered primate: the rare golden monkey. Substantially smaller than the gorilla, these more arboreal primates still give tourists a good run around and great primate experience as they bound across the ground and leap between the tree branches while feeding.
There are two types of monkey viewing on offer here. The standard visit gives you just an hour in the company of the little fellows and is similar to the golden monkey visits on offer in Rwanda. Much more interesting, and unique to Mgahinga, is the far more in-depth ‘Golden Monkey Habituation Experience’.
Mgahinga Park is beautiful forest with diverse flora and is a nice place to visit for all nature lovers. Despite the name, the park provided the best golden monkey viewing opportunities in East Africa. Sighting chances are guaranteed. There is a team that goes out early to track the monkeys, they then radio in the position, and the trekking begins. The trek is doable and only about a 3km hike but you have to be in good shape to be able to go all the way up in the forest. It is about continuous 2 hours of climbing and going up a steep track...passing by various bushes, trees, flowers, bamboo trees until finally reaching the top and finding the golden monkeys is so rewarding. For most, this is highlight next to gorilla tracking.
Lake Mburo National Park - You can see big Cape Buffalo herds, Zebras, Antelopes, Impalas, Topi, Elands, warthogs all in numbers and much more on the game drives. The highlight is the boat safari on Lake Mburo with UWA ranger, where you can see many hippos, croc’s, sea eagles and other animals. Going for a boat ride early in the morning with the mist rising from the lake is amazing.
If you’re on the way from Kampala and or Entebbe to Bwindi, its to plan a stop-over here! It is said to be the smaller park, which you do on the way up or back from Queen Elizabeth Park, Chimpanzee tracking - Kibale or the Gorillas to Kampala, you can as well spend a night. It is packed with zebra's and much other wildlife. The zebras are worth the trip alone! Yes, Lake Mburo is smaller than all the other game parks in Uganda, but that is why it is so exceptional! It is an easy 4 hrs from Kampala area and you can stop by the equator marker along the way. You can take a night drive and look out for our nocturnal friends – the Porcupine, the Genet, and of course, bigger predators like the Leopard and Hyena. You can al so take a horseback safari, ride an ATV Quad bike through the park, mountain bike, fishing and more.
The shoebill also known as whale-headed stork, orshoe-billed stork, is a very large stork-like bird. It derives its name from its enormous shoe-shaped bill.
The shoebill stork is an impressive and somewhat ugly dinosaur-like bird that is found in Uganda. It is true! If you visit the marsh, you might see this extraordinary, one-of-a-kind creature hiding in tall grass and waiting for its prey. The Shoebill Stork is an extremely interesting creature.
Although there are few predators of adult shoebill storks, the IUCN Redlist estimates between 3300 and 5300 mature shoebills live in the world today, and that number is decreasing. The iconic birds are threatened by a number of anthropogenic forces, including loss of their marshland habitat from farming, livestock ranching, oil and gas exploration, fires, pollution, hunters, cultural taboos that lead to them being captured by tribes and more. Young and eggs may be taken by nest predators, but shoebill storks aggressively defend their young and build nests in areas inaccessible to many predators.
If the Shoebill Stork is the Bird that you would like to see on Safari with us, we will make sure that you do. The Shoebill Storks can be found in Mabamba Swamp and Lugogo Swamp inside of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, on the River Nile in Murchison Falls Park. Along Lake George in Queen Elizabeth Park, in the Bigodi Wetlands near Kbale Park and the Semliki Wildlife Reserve, to name a few places.
Not to Miss is Visiting the Equator in Uganda – The Pearl of Africa while you are traveling toward Western Uganda or returning from Bwindi Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, and Lake Mburo Park.
Situated at the heart of the planet, the equator runs right through Uganda and stopping off at the very spot that this invisible, but important line crosses the highway here is a great thing to do while you’re in the country. Uganda is one of the few nations around the world where the equator runs through it. The best place to visit and explore the Equator in Kayabwe, Mpigi District, 72 kilometers from Kampala.
Not only can you have your photo taken at the great monument marking the centre of the earth, but you can actually straddle it to, with one foot in each continent.
Do not miss a visit to the Equator while on Safari in Western Uganda. It is a perfect Lunch stop halfway to or from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla Park, Lake Mutanda or Lake Bunyonyi, and Queen Elizabeth Park.
Best of all however, is the free display given by locals here – It is rare to find something that is truly hard to believe but the way water swirls around a plughole North or south of the line in such a short distance is fantastic. It only needs 10 feet either side to change. Right on the line, water just goes down without any swirl. It really shows you that the water does circulate down the drain hole in different directions depending on which hemisphere you’re located in. Restaurant on the line offers eating in the southern or northern hemisphere as an option.
Lake Bunyonyi in South Western Uganda is one of the remaining serene attractions as far as tranquility and peacefulness goes. It’s one of Uganda's most interesting marvels. – such a beautiful lake, dotted with many islands – absolutely gorgeous views of mountains and volcanoes. There are lots of great walks and very nice affordable accommodation in the area around the lake. Lonely Planet calls it (a scene that takes you to the Lord of the Rings)
After a long safari that took in chimpanzee and gorilla tracking, hiking in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon, hiking through Bwindi Impenetrable forest and or climbing one of the three volcanoes, Lake Bunyonyi – is a most welcoming place of refreshing at the end of your safari. Even if you only have a couple hours free while in Kabale make some time to see this lake, but if you've got more time the canoe tours is a wonderful and a unique way to explore the lake! You can rent a boat to visit some of the 29 islands. Lake Bunyonyi is located at 1,900 meters above sea level, the lake being free of bilharzia and suitable to swim. It is believed that the lake is deep in some places up to 900 meters! Lake Bunyonyi is an incredible place... simply breathtaking is all I can say!
Lake Mutanda is just between Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla Park – Western Uganda. This is one of the most scenic lakes in Uganda. The view over the Virunga volcanoes is amazing! The tranquillity, crested cranes soaring over, pied crows shouting and from the top of the hills next to them a view that you can never forget!
There is much you can do while staying at lake Mutanda such as hikes through the hills, even a hike from here to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest at the Nkuringo and beyond. You can fish here, boat, paddle in the dugout canoe or even just chill and enjoy a relaxing day at the lodge that overlooks the lake. Quite interesting! – canoeing Lake Mutanda, ...a relaxed paddle across the lake in dugout canoe, (be prepared to peddle yourself as well!), walking in the stunning environment, hiking through the rural subsistence farmlands crossing villages with breathtaking views of the lake and volcanos. – Simply amazing! The coffee tour and roasting is much fun and a unique experience, you can even get yourself some beans to bring home,...just the best souvenir.
The source of the Nile River is one of the most spectacular white-water rafting destinations in the world and for many visitors to Uganda a rafting trip is the highlight of their visit. No other place in Africa offers you the kind of rafting or Kayaking found in Uganda, near Jinja on the Nile. From Mild to wild, half day, or two days, up to grade 5 rapids, but there is always a safety boat on hand if you decide the rapids are just too big for you. Jet Boating, River surfing, Bungee Diving into the Nile River, Quad-Biking, fishing, birding Horseback Riding are all here. You will never forget this experience on the historic Nile River.
Famous as the source of the Nile River, Jinja has emerged as the adrenaline capital of East Africa. Jinja town has a lush location and is the major market centre for eastern Uganda. It’s a buzzing little place with much Indian-influenced architecture. Coming from Kampala, the Owen Falls Dam forms a spectacular gateway to the town, but don’t take pictures, as people have been arrested for doing so, even though there are no signs informing people of this law.
This is the perfect day trip or make it overnight and combine with rafting...but it is one of the must sees in Uganda. Jinja is also the adventure capital of Uganda. This is a must to do thing if you are coming for Adventures in Africa.
Mountains of the Moon Tour / Climb: Snow covered mountains in Africa? The answer is a resounding yes and on the equator at that. The highest mountain range in Africa – the fabled "Mountains of the Moon" You can climb and hike to your heart's content and if you are a hiker, this is a must thing for you to do in Uganda. Choose between Volcanoes and the Rwenzori Mountains. Explore our 3 and 9 day Mount Rwenzori Safari tours.
If you are looking for a satisfying climb/hike that doesn’t require expert skills or equipment and is closer to home. Look no further than Mount Elgon. Its a perfect getaway destination from Kampala. Take the plunge and abseil down the scenic Sipi Falls (or if you’re not the abseiling type, simply take a hike to the base of these incredibly pretty falls). Adventure, Birding, Caving, Waterfalls, Hot spring tour, Accent Rock Paintings are some of the other activities you can do here. aste a cup of freshly ground Mount Elgon coffee on a coffee tour at Sipi Falls. Mount Elgon and Sipi Falls – Great place to sit back and relax in three to five day safari
Hike up a volcano in the Virunga mountains on the border between Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. This region offers some of the most stunning scenery in the world and was named one of National Geographic’s Top 20 Trips for 2012.
Perhaps nowhere on Earth is the dual creative and destructive nature of volcanoes more evident than in central Africa’s Virunga Volcanoes Massif. Straddling the borders between Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the eight-volcano chain is one of Earth’s most active volcanic regions and a veritable salad bowl for mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants, and other wildlife. Landscapes in all three countries conjure visions of both Eden and hell.
If Birding in Africa is your passion, Uganda is the place for you, 1008 different species including the elusive Shoebill Storks have been recorded here and the ecological diversity of this country with its many different habitats from Afro-Montane regions to swamps, from rainforest to lakes, Acacia studded Savannah and rainforests, Uganda a must see place for African birding enthusiasts. Guided nature walks are available, though not overly popular. Trips on the forest trails here are taken mostly by birdwatchers. Walks can also be arranged in the 147-sq-km Kalinzu Forest Reserve , which is a cheaper option, as it lies outside the national park boundary, and is easy to reach since the visitor centre, known as the Kalinzu Ecotourism Site, is right on the Kasese–Mbarara highway. You can as well go on a half day safari at Mabamba Swamp near Entebbe to search for the elusive Shoebill Stork
Visitors may be drawn to Uganda’s tantalizing Bwindi Impenetrable Park and Mgahinga Park by the chance to see the endangered mountain gorillas, but there’s another reason to make the journey: the “endangered” Batwa tribe.
On the fringes of the national park are the last remaining members of the endangered Batwa Pygmy tribe that once flourished in the area. A visit to their community is not only a way to learn more about the traditional forest practices of this hunter-gatherer culture, but a way to support a people whose ancient way of life has been almost completely wiped out by modernisation.
The Batwa do not and have not eaten Gorillas. Instead, they coexisted with them for centuries. The Batwa people were keepers and protectors of the forest until the Bantu People came to the area. The Bantu tribes were the ones who cut down the forests, cultivated and grazed their cattle on fields that were once their precious Rainforests. The Batwa coexisted with Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and every other animal, bird, in the now parks. Today the Batwa are stigmatized as Gorilla Killers and Poachers and are readily blamed for any poaching that takes place in either Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
Today the Batwa are keeping the culture alive by taking tourists into the ancient forests and showing them about how the used to live, the medicines that they gathered, the berries that they ate, and the small mammals that they hunted. You can do spend time with them n the Buhoma Area of Bwindi Forest, in Buniga Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park. Listen to the women of the Batwa sing their songs in the eery acoustics of Garama Cave – once home to the king of this ancient forest people – on the Batwa Trail in Mgahinga National Park.
If you’re looking for something a bit different to wildlife spotting, then hitting up the country’s capital, Kampala, is definitely one of the best things to do in Uganda too. Infamous for its crazy traffic – and trust me it’s crazy – allow plenty of time to get across Kampala and to your accommodation, as vehicles are forced to move at a snail’s pace here!
Stay in the city if you can and that way you’ll be able to sample some of the capital’s nightlife, which is among East Africa’s best! Super friendly as they are, you’ll be making tons of Ugandan friends in no time if you head out for a couple of beers.
"You'll be sleeping in your shoes" is the rallying cry, with locals partying at all hours—venues will stay open as long as customers are still drinking—and in all places: wine bars in parking lots, pubs full of European and American expats, pub-club hybrids with dance floors and pool tables, even Euro-style nightclubs with light shows. No matter the venue, the music is thumping: a mix of dancehall, East African, South African, and Nigerian music, with some international pop thrown in for good measure.
If you’re interested in traditional dance and music, try to catch a dinner-theatre performance of the Ndere Troupe. Ndere Centre has been around for many years performing the songs and dances from various tribes in Uganda as Rwanda. An evening that will simply delight you as you watch various performers in traditional dress charm the audience with skills in dance and musical instruments that are just great. The troupe has a lovely base way out in Ntinda, which includes a 700-seat amphitheatre, a restaurant-bar and a guesthouse.
Ndere center encapsulates the history of Uganda. It promotes tradition skills and knowlege, and uses music, dances, and oral histories allowing you to relive Uganda. The MC uses an edutainment model, and you will be amazed by his wits. The high-energy show takes place every Sunday from 6pm to 9pm, while Wednesday has storytelling and Fridays afro-jazz from 7pm to 9pm. You can have some snacks or dinner while the troupe entertains you and eat some traditional foods. This is a must for visitor once there is time,... don't miss it. Check the group: they have the energy and passion. Dance with them and do the uganda style
One of Uganda’s top delicacies is called a Rolex and essentially it’s a chapatti, filled with an omelette, vegetables even Sausage or other meant items and then rolled up!
They are available anywhere in Uganda and even Rwanda and Kenya. Street vendors make them before your eyes at their stands. The Uganda Rolex has become the Fast Food of Choice in Uganda. If you’re not a vegetarian, then these a real treat and are available, super cheaply, from many roadside stalls and street vendors.
Enjoy a Rolex in Uganda as part of your Foodie Adventure in the Pearl of Africa. You will find out why the tasty Treat is so popular with visitors to Uganda. Tourists are often surprised by seeing signs advertising Rolex. They are wondering how the expensive Swiss Rolex Watch can be sold here in roadside stands. Soon they find out that it is not the watch but a rolled chapati filled with two scrambled eggs, cabbage, onions, tomatoes.
You can find Rolex Vendors, Stands all over Kampala. It is even served in higher-priced restaurants. Roadside vendors offer them to travelers in Buses and vehicles. It is an inexpensive meal, and Ugandans rave about it. It also provides a meaningful income for young men who sell a tasty dish with little start-up capital needed.