Located in the heart of Africa, Uganda is rich in wildlife, nature, culture, heritage and history.
Uganda also boasts fantastic climate year round average temperatures of 25-30C and the friendliest people on the earth.
Uganda is home to the world’s largest population of gorillas and other primates as well as a range of other wildlife including the Big Five, reptiles and 50 per cent of Africa’s bird and butterfly species.
About 40 per cent of its land mass is covered by water, rivers and wetlands. Uganda is home to the source of the River Nile and the highest mountain range in Africa.
With over 16 international flights a day and connections from many parts of the world, Uganda is accessible by air, land and water. It is a very secure country with modern amenities, including top-rated accommodation and first-class service.
Uganda’s primary gateway for international tourists is Entebbe International Airport, close to Entebbe town, the old colonial capital, 35 km south of Kampala, the busy modern capital city.
For tourists with fixed itineraries, these towns are primarily staging points before and after safaris around the country.
The people of Kampala and Ugandans in general are friendly and approachable. Kampala is the historical capital of the regional kingdom of Buganda, home of the Baganda, Uganda’s most numerous people.
The Baganda are intensely proud of their Kabaka (king) and history and traditions that date back to the 16th century. The temperatures rarely rise above 30°C (85°F) or fall below 18°C (65ºF) with January being the hottest month around the central region.
Major attractions around the central region include Entebbe’s lake-shore Botanical Gardens , the nearby Wildlife Education Centre, and a sanctuary for rescued and orphaned wildlife.
Entebbe is also the boarding point for sunset cruises on Lake Victoria, boat trips to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and resorts on the Ssese archipelago, and for sport fishing excursions in search of the mammoth Nile perch.
A number of historical sites in and around Kampala relate to a time of dramatic change in the late 19th century when the Baganda encountered Islamic traders and British colonialists and missionaries.
Several stand on the city’s original seven hills. They include the Protestant Cathedral at Namirembe, the Catholic Cathedral at Rubaga, Fort Lugard in Old Kampala and the Kabaka’s Palace at Lubiri.
Further afield are the Kasubi and Wamala Tombs, Katereke Prison Ditch, Naggalabi Coronation Site and the Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrines.
Crater fields: Western Uganda has several crater lakes with Ndali crater field, 20 km south of Fort Portal being the largest of Western Uganda’s several clusters of extinct volcanic craters.
This distinctive region is dominated by the 5,100 metre Rwenzori mountain, the western and southern slopes of which drop into the drier plains of the or Albertine Rift Valley.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Being Africa’s highest mountain range, the 5,100 metre Rwenzori or Mountains of the Moon, is the snowy source of the Nile. The high Rwenzori is a wonderland of glacier-carved valleys filled with fantastically coloured mosses and gigantic forms of lobelias, heathers and groundsels.
Kibale National Park
The forested park which is 795 sq km in area, is best known for its primate populations. With thirteen species, nine of them diurnal, are present including chimpanzee, L’Hoest’s monkey and red colobus.
Chimpanzee tracking is the main activity in the park, while birdwatchers are drawn to the park and the community-run Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary by a bird list of 335 species.
Semiliki National Park
Semliki is a popular destination for primate viewers and birdwatchers. About fifteen primate species live within 6 km of the primeval hot springs at Sempaya, while the 441 recorded bird species include 216 forest birds and 80 Central African species found in few, other East African forests.
Among them include the Black dwarf hornbill, shining blue kingfisher, Nkulengurail and yellow-throated nicator .
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Being Uganda’s most scenic and diverse park, it has a wonderful location on the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley, 914 metres above sea level, at the foot of the 5,100 metre Rwenzori Mountains.
It is a home to a variety of habitats such as lakes, rivers, open savanna, acacia woodland, tropical forest and vast wetlands support an impressive 95 mammal species and over 600 species of bird.
It’s a remarkable total for a park covering less than 2,000 sq km – one that is surpassed in Africa only by the neighbouring and larger Virunga National Park in Congo.
Kazinga Channel cruise
The park’s most enduring activity is the two-hour return launch trip from Mweya Peninsula along the Kazinga Channel to Lake Edward.
The shoreline is home to crocodiles, hundreds of hippo and a variety of waterbirds, while herds of elephant, buffalo, leopard, waterbuck and Uganda kob are regular visitors from the plains beyond.
Being a home to over 600 bird specials, bird watching opportunities range from easy waterbird sightings on the comfortable Mweya launch to careful searches for rare species in the Maramagambo Forest.
Among the birds included are the black-rumped buttonquail, broad-billed roller, papyrus gonolek, western-banded snake eagle, African fish eagle, white-backed night heron, Pel’s fishing owl, black bee eater, shoebill, rufus-bellied heron, great blue turaco, black-and-white casqued hornbill and African finfoot.
Lake Mburo National Park
This is the smallest savanna park (370 sq km) consisting of a mosaic of habitats including open water, wetland, grassland, woodland and forest patches.
Wildlife species such as impala, zebra, eland and topi that are not often seen in other Ugandan parks can be viewed on game drives.
South Western Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable National park
Located in south-western corner on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the park is Uganda’s foremost tourist destination. It is popularly known for the world’s endangered animal, the mountain gorilla.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest: Being one of Africa’s richest forests, it is a home of a variety of species with 200 different trees, 350 birds, 310 butterflies, 88 moths, 51 reptiles and 120 mammals including several primates, among them chimpanzee, black-and white colobus, blue monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, L’Hoest’s monkey and the star attraction, the mountain gorilla.
Bwindi has 10 habituated gorilla groups, which are tracked from four trailheads. Eight permits are available for each group, giving a daily maximum of 80 permits.
Tracking the mountain gorilla takes two to eight hours depending on the location of the group. The adventure requires a reasonable level of fitness, as the Impenetrable Forest is well named.
The gorilla’s homeland comprises dense, tangled vegetation on a mountainous landscape of deep valleys and steep ridges.
Bwindi is also one of Uganda’s top birdwatching destinations, with 350 types of bird including many localised Albertine Rift endemic species
Mgahinga National Park
This park covers just 38 sq km is a home to two rare primates; the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The park’s three dormant Virunga volcanoes can be climbed; with a beautiful view of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo while on the summit of Mount Sabinyo.
Surrounded by islands and enclosed by steep, terraced hills, L. Bunyonyi is Africa’s second-deepest lake.
Murchison falls and River Nile
The 5,000 sq km wilderness of Uganda’s largest conservation area is home to a population of 76 mammal species, including buffalo, elephant, giraffe, hartebeest, hippo, leopard, lion and Uganda kob.
There are also 450 bird species in varied habitats such as savanna, open water, papyrus swamp, woodland and tropical forest.
The Nile is the backborne of Murchison Falls National Park, sustaining large numbers of resident hippo, crocodile and waterbirds as well as other regularly visiting animals.
After dropping into the national park at Karuma Falls, the river races down 80 km of rapids before crashing 40 metres (130 ft) onto the rift valley floor over the thunderous Murchison Falls.
River launches ply the broad, tranquil stream below the falls to provide a novel, reliable and comfortable means of game viewing.
The park contains three essential visitor activities; the morning game drive across the beautiful Buligi grasslands to the shores of the Albert Nile, a game drive up the river between wildlife-rich banks to the base of the Nile’s highest waterfall and a visit to the Top of the Falls to see, hear and feel the waters of the mighty Nile explode through a 6 metre gorge. Murchison is also a popular birdwatching destination, with 450 species recorded.
Jinja and the Nile
The main attraction in Jinja is a visit to Speke’s Source of the Nile with activities such as rafting, kayaking, quad biking, jet boating, and a 44-metre bungee jump over the river.
The full menu caters for mild as well as wild tastes. Another major attraction is Mabira forest which is located between Kampala and Jinja, just an hour from the capital.
Being central Uganda’s largest forest reserve, it offers guided and unguided forest walks, specialist birdwatching, mountain biking and Uganda’s first canopy-level zip line.
Eastern and Northern Uganda
Eastern Uganda’s most distinctive feature is the 4,321 meter Mount Elgon, the world’s largest free-standing volcanic mountain.
Mount Elgon National Park is an ideal for both short and extended hikes. The park’s Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai offers guided walks through montane forest and bamboo to reach caves and surrounding waterfalls.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Located on the Sudan border in the farthest corner of the Karamoja district, Kidepo is one of Africa’s most magnificent wildernesses.
It is a home to animals such as cheetah, eland, elephant, giraffe, hartebeest, hyena, lion and zebra – as well as one of Africa’s largest single herds of buffalo.
The wildlife includes species such as aardwolf, bat-eared fox, cheetah, striped hyena and ostrich not often seen in other protected areas of Uganda.
Its isolation means that Kidepo is little visited and visitors can expect a high degree of solitude.