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15 Best Places to Visit in Uganda

Marred in the minds of many a tourist by the ever-present threat of one Joseph Kony and his so-called Lord’s Resistance Army, the nation of Uganda is actually one of Africa’s up-and-coming gems. Yes, you’ll have to be careful, and there are warnings that need to be heeded about traveling to the contested and conflicted areas of the northern territories.

However, Uganda is, for the most part, a safe and enthralling place. It’s a land where hippos humph through the wetlands and lions laze in the acacias. It’s a land of rain-stained forests and misty  hills that house chimpanzees. It’s got the lapping waters of Lake Victoria, and the winding channels of the Victoria Nile to boot. Vistas of rock-ribbed mountains and standalone volcanos conquer the peripheries, shooting up to craggy summits where waterfalls and thunderstorms coalesce. Meanwhile, Kampala is a pulsating city, steeped in tribal ancestry and life. It’s an all-round top African adventure!

Lets explore the best places to visit in Uganda :

Gaddafi National Mosque

The ancestral capital of the Buganda kingdom is modern day Uganda’s capital too.

And for an African first city, it’s got real charm and panache.

You can still see some of the thatched relics of the former glory years at the Kasubi Tombs, or you can taste the frenetic energy of day-to-day Ugandan life between the sun-cracked streets of Central Kampala; a place of throbbing markets (the city’s Owino market is said to be the largest in Central-east Africa) and echoing mosque minarets (that soaring Gaddafi National Mosque is a must!). On the edge of town is the more straight-laced area of Nakasero Hill, where well-to-do villas house the country’s elite and expats chatter in the ramshackle bars.

2. Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park

Pierce into the dense jungles and wetland forests of the great Kibale National Park and you won’t be disappointed! What awaits is one of the world’s most awesome arrays of wild chimpanzee packs, and you can see these majestic simians of Central Africa trawling through the undergrowth and commanding the canopies on game drives and safari excursions of all different types.

There’s a kaleidoscope of other curious little monkeys to spot too, like the rare L’Hoest’s and the Ugandan red colobus.

It’s also possible to wonder up at ancient fig trees, and see some more recent efforts to create sustainable coffee plantations in the area.

3. Ssese Islands

Ssese Islands

A cocktail of golden sands worthy of Latin America, sun-kissed beaches and lapping waves, the archipelago of the Ssese Islands is Uganda’s answer to the tropical gems of the East African coast on the Indian Ocean.

Peppering the waters of Lake Victoria, they are considered the country’s premier rest and relaxation spot, with the popular Buggala Island and Bulago coming up top of the menu.

You can either kick-back in one of the lakeside resorts, or wax up the walking boots and make for the hills, where hippo-dotted swamps hide between the ridges.

Kayaks and other watersports are also available on Buggala.

4. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park really does live up to its name! A land of rocky peaks and endless green, it’s covered in some of Africa’s oldest primeval forestry.

The biodiversity – think geckos next to gorillas next to a multitude of curious insects – garnered the spot a UNESCO World Heritage tag, while most safari goers head this way in search of colobus monkeys and chimpanzees.

The breathtaking landscapes are typical of the Albertine Rift.

They rise and fall to untrodden valleys and summits, with quartzite massifs here and teak-shrouded riverways there.

It’s definitely one to write home about!

5. Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park

Named for the roaring cataracts that carve right through their middle, the wilds of the Murchison Falls National Park are unquestionably some of the most amazing in north-western Uganda.

The protected area is actually the largest national park in the country, with a whopping count of nearly 4,000 square kilometers between its borders.

The biggest attraction is – of course – the point where the Victoria Nile crashes through a tight-knit gorge and over an escarpment of more than 40 meters in height.

However, travelers can also look forward to stalking lions and giraffes and elephants and more!

Entebbe

Entebbe, for most international visitors at least, will be the entrance point to Uganda.

It’s here that the nation’s Entebbe International Airport makes its home; its runways butting up against the waters of Lake Victoria.

Most will also leave promptly, on their way to Kampala or the country’s other far-flung safari destinations.

Those who linger can enjoy a laid-back place that still trundles to the tune of the old British Protectorate – for it’s here that the English colonists made their base in earlier decades.

One of the relics of that age is the beautiful National Botanical Gardens, while there are also charming churches, and the official residence of the president: the Ugandan State House.

7. Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Handily named just QENP for short, this huge dash of wilderness that lies close to the banks of Lake Edward and the DRC border in the west is Uganda’s most famous national park.

It’s visited by thousands of tourists each year, who come in search of the lazy Congo lions and the swinging chimps that can be seen mingling between the Maramagambo Forest and the grassy savannah.

The whole area is also scarred by countless volcanic features, going from the awesome Katwe craters to great rifts in the earth, making it an interesting and eye-catching place to go on safari drives and game seeking journeys.

8. Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park

The rock-ribbed, jungle-topped highlands of the Mount Elgon National Park are peppered with so many natural beauties it can be difficult to describe them all at once.

Cascading down from the extinct caldera of one of Africa’s oldest volcanos, there are waterfalls, dank cave systems, and rugged canyons aplenty.

Visitors can also feel the geothermal activity at a series of hot springs, or wonder upwards, to where African goshawks and elegant bush-shrikes flit through the skies.

Monkey wise, there are the likes of De Brazza’s and colobuses, along with blue monkeys and some other rare simian species.

Mbale

One of the main transportation and administration hubs of eastern Uganda, tin-shack Mbale hosts its own regional government and a clutch of good hotels and guesthouses.

It’s particularly useful for those on their way to the heights of Mount Elgon and the famous summit of Wagagai – a 24-million-year-old volcano that is the seventeenth highest in all of Africa.

(For the best base of explorations around the hiking trails and glorious mountain’s that erupt around Mbale, be sure to hitch a local minibus out to Bududa.)

Back in the town itself and you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of day-to-day Ugandan life, along with plenty of shops and market stalls.

10. Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park

Despite being one of the smallest national parks in Uganda, the swaying savannah grasses and riparian habitats of Lake Mburo certainly pack a punch.

They come spotted with buffalo herds and zebras, crossed by prancing reedbucks, and stalked with hyenas.

Today, much of the area is clad in young forestry, which springs up from the swamplands that dominate along the shores of the eponymous lake.

These make for great game viewing during the dry season, when the animals congregate at the watering holes.

What’s more, Lake Mburo National Park is one of the most accessible going, with easy access along the highway from Kampala, the capital.

11. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

You’ll have to go to the far southern depths of Uganda to find the great galumphing beasts of the highlands: mountain gorillas.

The appropriately-named Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the top places to find them too, with its indelibly green rainforests falling down from the windswept heights of cloud-shrouded volcanos.

The area buts up to the famous Virunga Range, and offers game sightings of rare mountain gorillas alongside other awesome creatures – think woodland elephants, golden monkeys, wild hogs and jackals.

Yep, you can see them in the DRC too, but things here just happen to be a little safer!

12. Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park

Hidden away in the northern reaches of Uganda (in one of the more dubious and unsafe parts of the country), the Kidepo Valley National Park is a great fly-in visit.

It’s sat a whopping 700 kilometers from the capital, and is known for its remoteness.

Totally undeveloped and untouched by mass safari tourism, the region is the old stomping ground of the Dodoth pastoralists.

These semi-nomads shared the landscapes of savannah and mud plain with oodles of buffalo, hippo, oryx and wild dogs, which can still be seen flitting between the grey-haired acacia groves and wetlands today.

Jinja

It’s just a short drive along the highways east to the river town of Jinja, which juts out into the waters where the Victoria Nile emerges from its eponymous lake.

Sleepy, sun-cracked and relaxed, the place is the perfect antidote to the energy of life in the capital.

It’s got a clutch of great bars, but is most famed for the wealth of riparian resorts that line the banks.

You’re sure to be able to find something to suit, with everything from pool-peppered boutique hotels to more rustic ecolodges surrounded by monkeys to choose from.

And when you do want to get the blood flowing, be sure to head for the whitewater rapids on the river for some rafting!

14. Fort Portal

Fort Portal

Still chuffing after the appearance of tarmacked roads in 2007, the regional town of Fort Portal has a truly enviable position beneath the serrated tips of the mighty Rwenzori National Park.

Chimps and gorillas tread the backcountry close by, giving the place a real feral feel.

However, the center is anything but wild, with human energy dominating the action.

There, it’s all about bustling markets and haggling for local farmer’s produce.

Fort Portal is also a fine base point for launching excursions to the aforementioned Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Lake Edward.

Lira

Lira is a little crossroads city in the midst of north-central Uganda.

While it’s actually the fourth-largest in the country, it still manages to retain that charming provincial vibe and sleepiness.

Travelers rarely come here too, adding a dash of off-the-beaten-track character and local authenticity.

Those who do make their way to Lira’s streets get to see a real Ugandan city in action, and even get to hear sobering and visceral stories of the ravaging civil wars of former years – this place was hit particularly badly by the onslaught of Joseph Kony and his private army.

15 Best Places to Visit in Uganda:

  • Kibale National Park
  • Ssese Islands
  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Mount Elgon National Park
  • Lake Mburo National Park
  • Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
  • Kidepo Valley National Park
  • Fort Portal

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Top 20 Tourist Attractions in Uganda

Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge

Here is our selection of the top attractions and things to do in Uganda.

We will mention some attractions in the cities, countryside, protected areas and tours. We will also mention some travel bloggers who have visited these areas to give their own opinion.

Gorilla Watching in Bwindi National Park

A main reason to visit Uganda from a nature perspective is to enjoy incredible mountain gorilla trekking tours. The gorillas are only found in this region.

Mountain gorillas differ from their lowland cousins as their fur is thicker and adapted to the colder temperature at high altitude.

Gorillas live in groups of around 10 individuals and are led by the most powerful silverback with the rest of the group comprising females and younger males. The silverback makes important decisions for the group and protects them from danger.

To see these animals, you can enjoy gorilla tours from Kisoro, which is about 460 kilometres (290 mi) from the capital city of Kampala. Kisoro is located in a fantastic area of Uganda and is in the African Great Lakes region.

This is where the African continent is slowly splitting apart revealing the beautiful lake scenery. Because of the incredible landscape, many people refer to this part of the continent as the Switzerland of Africa.

From Kisoro, you have access to the incredible Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Mountain Gorilla - Tourist Attractions in Uganda

There are comfortable lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, which is one of the best places to see the gorillas and was named after the forest’s many stands of bamboo.

Bwindi contains many other animals as well as the gorillas and protects around 90 species of mammals, including 10 different primates. This is the richest area in for mammals in Uganda and there are many other species to see, such as the black and white colobus monkeys, green monkeys, Schmidt’s red-tailed monkeys, and duiker.

There are currently about 400 gorillas in Bwindi and the number has been increasing steadily over the years. Many researchers feel the slow growth of the population can be attributed mainly to visitors wanting to see the gorillas, which helps provide money and global attention for the remarkable animals. Your can learn more about Uganda’s gorillas here .

The gorillas are spread among 15 habituated groups, which you can visit on tour by purchasing a gorilla permit and booking a stay at one of the wonderful gorillas lodges.

One of the most accessible gorillas groups from Kisoro is the Nkuringo group, which you can visit on tours from the highly regarded Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge .

Positioned high on the Nteko Ridge, the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge provides incredible views of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and offers a comfortable base to explore the region.

Activities at the lodge include:

  • Visiting Batwa pygmies
  • Enjoying a guided village walk
  • A guided multi-day trek to/from Kisoro via Lake Mutanda
  • Walking through Bwindi Forest to the park headquarters at Buhoma
  • Tracking the Nkuringo Gorilla family (assuming you have a tracking permit).
  • Tracking the Nshongi Gorilla family at Rushaga (assuming you have a permit).
  • Simply enjoy the amazing vistas of the gallery forests of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Virunga volcanoes

To contact the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, you can use the tour bubble below, which sends you request directly to the lodge to organize your Ugandan experience.

Enjoy a tailor-made experience depending on your budget, days available and choice of accommodation. Your tour can be extended to include Kibale Forest to see chimpanzees, Queen Elizabeth National Park for a wildlife safari and Lake Mburo, to name just a few options.

Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge

The Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge

Positioned on the Nteko Ridge overlooking the world famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the award-winning Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge provides a fantastic ...

Bird Watching in Bwindi National Park

Bee Eater near Mahogany Springs Safari Lodge - Tourist Attractions in Uganda

In addition to the gorillas in Bwindi, the birds here are also incredible and the forest ranks as one of East Africa’s best regions for birdlife and birdwatching.

From some of the Bwindi Lodges, such as the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge or the Mahogany Springs Safari Lodge, you will have some fantastic birdwatching opportunities. Head out with your knowledgeable guide to spot many of the fascinating birds that call this forest home.

The favorite species to find in the forest include the Turner’s eremomela, Chapin’s flycatchers, Shelley’s crimson-wings, African green broadbills, bee-eaters, Grauer’s swamp warbler, and the abundance of butterflies

The drier months, which are June to August (most tourists) and December to February (less tourists) are the favored time to visit Bwindi, but birders may prefer the wetter months for a higher chance of seeing more bird activity. The wetter months are then from March to April and September to November.

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest contains some fantastic habitat for a variety of birds and there are around 350 different birds recorded with 23 birds only found in this region. This means the forest is home to 90% of all Albertine Rift endemics.

Other favorites to find in the Bwindi area include the black billed turaco, black bee-eater, blue-headed sunbird, short-tailed warbler, bar-tailed blue trogon, and kivu ground thrush, yellow eyed black flycatcher, Garner’s warbler, Africa blue and white-tailed blue flycatchers and red-headed bluebill.

There are some different birding trails around the area, including the Ivy river trail, Kashasha river valley, Buhoma waterfall trails, and the Mubwindi swamp trail in Ruhija. Birders visiting the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge who want to focus on endemics have especially enjoyed visiting a small pocket forest named Nombe.

There are a team of very enthusiastic birding guides at the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge and you can organize some specific birding itineraries.

Hike from Kisoro to Nkuringo and Buhoma

Walking Safari, Kisoro, Uganda - Tourist Attractions in Uganda

Given the fantastic scenery of the region, there are many different hiking opportunities to see the area.

Local guides who know the region best will show you the most scenic hiking trails, such as between the hamlet of Buhoma on the north side of the Bwindi Forest National Park and the town of Kisoro in south western Uganda.

The classic and much loved walking trail is between Kisoro and Buhoma, which you can also combine with a gorilla trekking adventure. The usual amount of time to do the trek is over two days where you will enjoy fantastic views, including the incredible Virunga Volcanoes.

Spend a night on the shore of Lake Mutanda, which you will then cross in traditional dugout canoe to begin your trek. We will then follow village trails to see fantastic scenery to enjoy rainforest, mountains, the lake, and the form of the land.

While on the walk, you will enjoy some fantastic cultural experiences to see how people live in this part of Africa. In addition to this and the incredible scenery, there is a lot of wildlife to see enroute, such as many different interesting birds, monkeys, and if you choose, you can combine with a memorable gorilla trek to see these gentle giants of the forest.

There are many other trails in the region to make the most of the spectacular mountainous scenery, such as the walks to the different volcanoes of Mt. Margarita (5109m) Mt. Rwenzori, and the Elgon Wagagai Peak (4321m).

This tour can be arranged with the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge .

See Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzee, Uganda - Tourist Attractions in Uganda

Near Queen Elizabeth National Park in the west of Uganda you can find the Kibale Forest National Park.

Although these forests are connected and chimpanzees are found in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, we recommend seeing our closest relatives in the Kibale area, as it’s a little easier to find the chimpanzees.

In fact, the Kibale Forest is recommended as the best place in the whole of East Africa for seeing chimpanzees.

The most popular trail in the park is the walk from the Kanyanchu Visitor Center, which lasts about three hours to visit the chimps and to see a diversity of wildlife enroute. When we encounter the chimpanzee groups, visitors are allowed to spend a maximum of one hour observing the fascinating animals, as they play, feed, and relax in their group.

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The 7-Day Primate Tour

Currently, TourTheTropics.com cannot help you book this experience. However, you can visit the tour operator's website for more information.

As with the gorilla treks, to visit the chimpanzees we recommend booking your chimpanzee visiting permit and tour in advance, as visits per day are tightly controlled for the chimpanzees’ welfare and they quickly book up.

In addition to the chimpanzees in Kibale, you will also encounter some of the other primates inhabiting the area, such as blue & red-tailed monkeys, red-colobus mangabeys, and the grey-cheeked mangabeys swinging in the forest’s canopy. Another of the favorite trails is the Kanyanchu Primate Walk to see some of the park’s thirteen species of primate.

To combine the chimpanzees in Kibale with the gorillas, enjoy the 10-day Primate Tour .

Savanna Wildlife Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Giraffes, Uganda - Tourist Attractions in Uganda

The Queen Elizabeth National Park region is the most popular tourist destination in Uganda, which is linked to the area’s diversity. The protected area contains many different wildlife-filled habitats, such as forests, wetlands, savanna grasslands, and a number of lakes.

The Queen Elizabeth National Park sits in the western side of Uganda, which is a few hours drive southwest of the country’s capital and largest city, Kampala. There are a few different towns close to the protected area such as Kasese and Bushenyi.

The park contains a lot of wildlife, such as the iconic African safari animals, but is also fortunate to protect a population of our closest relatives, the chimpanzees. Towards the north and across Lake George, the park connects to the Kibale Forest National Park mentioned above.

You can enjoy game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park to search for the icons of the African plains, such as lions, elephants, antelopes, and buffaloes. There are over 200 km of game tracks throughout the park we can explore.

Being part of African Great Lakes region, there are some fantastic lakes to visit where you can enjoy cruises on the glistening waters to scout for a range of wildlife. There is also a fantastic channel to enjoy between Lake Edward and Lake George to see hippopotamus, Nile crocodiles and birdlife.

In addition to exploring the area on game drives, one of the most spectacular ways to experience these savanna environments is by hot air balloon, which you can book as an add-on experience.

Golden Monkey Trekking

Golden Monkey, Uganda - Tourist Attractions in Uganda

The golden monkeys are a fantastic group of primates to see in the wild and can be encountered on guided treks through the forest. There are a couple of different areas to find the monkeys, but the best place to track the monkeys in Uganda is the Mgahinga National Park at the foot of the Virunga Mountains.

The monkeys enjoy hanging around the stands of bamboo forest within these protected areas and the monkeys are now used to people, which means they’re more easily observed. However, the monkeys move fast so make sure you’re using your fastest lens speed.

The golden monkeys make a fantastic add-on experience to enjoy with the gorillas or the chimpanzees. The trip provides an ideal short stay to experience the Virunga Mountains. This is where you find the monkeys, as there are only a few thousand individuals remaining. On tours to see these fascinating primates, you can visit the habituated groups for an hour at a time.

Visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Rhinoceros, Uganda - Tourist Attractions in Uganda

The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary protects Uganda’s only wild rhinos and is located just north of Kampala near the famous Murchison Falls.

In total, the sanctuary protects 15 rhinos and is also a fantastic place to see other wildlife.

Enjoy bird watching, nature walks, relaxing, and of course finding and watching the rhinos. The rangers of the sanctuary will guide you around the reserve to find the wildlife, including the rhinos themselves, crocodiles, hippos, antelopes and much more.

Birders often enjoy the reserve and spend time finding some of the 250 different species. You can find some fascinating birds within the sanctuary boundaries, including a number of rare species.

The sanctuary was founded by various wildlife and conservation organizations in an attempt to restore Uganda’s rhinoceros population.

The sanctuary protects rhinos while they breed and grow. They are then re-introduced into Uganda’s protected areas, such as Queen Elizabeth National Park. While awaiting their reintroduction, visitors can enjoy seeing these remarkable animals while helping to spread the importance of rhino conservation in the country.

A total of 80 rangers and guards watch over the sanctuary day and night to maintain the animals’ safety.

The sanctuary covers 7, 000 hectares, which you can explore with your highly trained ranger. You can enjoy different facilities and infrastructure, such as a tourist lodge, camping area, and budget guesthouses to accommodate all types of tourists.

Visit Murchison Falls

Elephant, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda - Tourist Attractions in Uganda

Murchison Falls is a fantastic natural attraction located in the aptly named Murchison Falls National Park, which with a few other protected areas create the Murchison National Park. The park has been visited by the likes of Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, and various royals over the years.

The protected area is home to many different animals, including hippos, crocodiles, lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, antelopes, chimpanzees, and many different birds.

However, because of intense hunting in the 1900s, the wildlife is not as it once was. Animal populations have been recovering and you’re sure to see some examples, including some of Africa’s icons.

This is the largest national park in Uganda and the Murchison Falls sits as the jewel in the crown of the protected area. The falls was named after a president of the Royal Geographical Society and is the main attraction.

Visit Kampala

Kampala is Uganda’s capital city and makes a fascinating stop on your Ugandan adventure. This is a great place to spend a day or two experiencing the country’s most important city. Ugandans in general are very friendly and Kampala offers a more relaxed atmosphere than its neighbor of Nairobi across the Kenyan border.

The city is relatively calm and safe. So much so, Kampala has a stable expat community with many different NGOs running various humanitarian and conservation projects. The city has some modern areas with top of the line restaurants and bars, which is where expats and visitors enjoy spending their time.

You can enjoy many different markets selling a variety of produce, clothing, and crafts. There are also different attractions to see in the city itself, which will keep you entertained over a couple of days. These include temples, cathedrals, markets, galleries, areas of historical significance, and museums.

Despite being an old building in need of a little love, a popular attraction is the old Uganda National Museum. This shows the cultural heritage of the country, including exhibits on Uganda’s cultural and natural history. There are also a few different galleries you can enjoy that display paintings, photography, sculptures, and exhibits from local artists.

Visit the Ndere Center

The Ndere Center is a highly recommended attraction to experience the country’s traditional dance and music.

For a few days a week the center has a high energy show of Ugandan culture. Enjoy a dinner and theater performance and see dances from a variety of Uganda’s tribes. The show takes place in a 700-seat amphitheater on Sundays at 6pm, Wednesday at 7pm, and Fridays from 7pm.

The Ndere name is from the word for flute, which is the symbol of the troupe because of its diverse and beautiful sound, but also as it’s one of the only musical instruments found across all cultures and is a metaphor for unity.

The mission of the center and its dancers and musicians is to help rekindle a sense of pride for Ugandan culture while promoting it to the world. A team of dedicated Ugandans carefully research and respectfully present parts of all the cultures that make up the Ugandan people.

Historically, a repeated theme across sub-Saharan Africa is that information didn’t exist in written form. Instead, the information was passed between generations through performances, such as dance, storytelling, poetry, and music.

The Ndere Troupe are a definite must-see attraction in Uganda and the award-winning performers have been practicing their art for nearly 25 years.

See Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria, Uganda - Tourist Attractions in Uganda

Lake Victoria is the world’s largest freshwater tropical lake and sits as the jewel in the crown of Africa’s Great Lakes region.

Sitting across the borders of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, this is where the Nile begins, which is one of the world’s most historically significant rivers.

The lake itself is home to some fascinating features, such as the different islands and reefs. Around 200 species of fish and over 350 different birds call the Lake Victoria region home, which you can spot on some fascinating lake tours.

The peninsulas and islands of Lake Victoria are home to some luxury lodges where you can relax near the glistening waters and take tours around the lake to see some of the unique features and wildlife.

A great place to experience the Lake Victoria region from Uganda is the town of Entebbe. From here, you can feel the breeze from the fantastic lake.

Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and the botanical gardens, which are visited by many different bird species. You can also meet one of the sources of the great Nile in Jinja to imagine where this river runs and the history linked to this incredible waterway.

The most popular Lake Victoria island to visit from Entebbe is Ngamba Island, which is home to a private chimpanzee sanctuary protecting orphaned chimpanzees.

The sanctuary was set up by the Chimpanzees Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) and funded by a number of organizations, including the Born Free Foundation, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the Jane Goodall Institute.

See Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi is located close to Kisoro and Kabale near the border with neighboring Rwanda.

This is one of the largest of Africa’s lakes by depth and contains 29 different islands. Not just a popular tourist attraction for international visitors, the lake is also a popular relaxation destination for locals. Around the lake, you can find the towns of Muko and Kyevu, and you can enjoy a range of lakeside accommodation.

There are few buildings on the islands, aside from some infrastructure for tourists and a couple of schools. The main community is the Bufuka Village, which is mainly composed of members of the Bakiga and Batwa tribes.

A popular attraction is to see the traditional dances of the Batwa. Another of the favorite things to do here is to take a cruise and go island hopping around Lake Bunyonyi.

The real spectacle of the lake, however, is the incredible scenery. For its beauty alone, the lake is regarded by many visitors as one of their favorite destinations.

Because of its proximity to Bwindi Forest for gorilla trekking, which is the main reason visitors venture to this corner of Africa, the lake makes a fantastic add-on experience to enjoy breathtaking scenery.

Visit Lake Mburo National Park

A relatively small protected area, Lake Mburo National Park is classed as a savanna area containing different wildlife.

You can spot antelopes, hyena, hippo, buffalo, zebra, and many different birds. There is also a lot of woodland because of the lack of elephants. Elephants are ecosystem engineers and usually tame savanna forests.

There are 13 other water bodies in the region, but the star lake is Lake Mburo. Mburo is part of the protected area”s wetland system, which is why it’s such a great place for birdlife. There around 350 different bird species to find and it’s a must-visit birder destination.

There are many different activities to enjoy both on and around Lake Mburo, such as boat cruises on the lake itself to see hippos, crocodiles, and a number of different birds. Around the lake, you can then enjoy game drives in the protected area to spot the different African wildlife. You will easily find zebra and impala, which are the stars of the park.

See the Kasubi Tombs

Another attraction in Kampala, to learn a little of the region’s cultural history we recommend a tour of the Kasubi Tombs. This is a Unesco World Heritage Listed Site and the burial ground of four Ugandan kings.

Originally built in 1882 as the palace of Kabaka Mutesa I, this was converted to his tomb after his death. The site later became the burial place of the three following kings.

The site gives a look at Buganda culture, and not only the care they took over their royalty, but other culturally important artifacts, such as the Buganda drums used to communicate important events over long distances.

The palace is composed of around 35 buildings and around 300 people live on the grounds themselves. A fireplace is in the middle of the area where the fire is kept lit to warm the spirits.

The Buganda Kingdom is the largest of Uganda’s four tribal kingdoms and has a high cultural importance for the country. On tours of the palace, you will learn about the various practices and rituals of the Buganda. A visit gives a fascinating insight into some of Uganda’s traditional ways of life.

See Lake Mutanda

A small and beautiful lake in the Kisoro District of south-west Uganda, Lake Mutanda is in an area affectionately known as Little Switzerland .

The lake can be visited from Kisoro and resides in the African Great Lakes area at the foot of the Virunga Mountains. The mountains are across the Ugandan border, which can be seen from the lake. From here, you can see Mount Muhabura, Mount Sabinyo and Mount Gahinga.

The lake contains different islands and is drained by the Rutshuru River. The forests around the lake provides home for a number of fascinating animals and plants, including habitat for the mountain gorillas.

The gorillas and a healthy population of golden monkeys live in a nearby protected area called the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Closer to the lake, you can then find other wildlife, such as many different birds

Enjoy spotting cranes, ibis, weaver birds, and different kingfishers. The forests are also home to different chameleons, monitors, and a variety of frogs. Enjoy tours over the lake to focus on scenery, relaxation, or birdwatching.

You can also enjoy a visit to Kyangushu Island and village trips to see how the locals live their lives. Visit the Mutanda Island, which is the largest of the inhabited islands where you can enjoy views of the Congo border, Bwindi National Park, and Lake Mulehe.

Visit the Ssesi Islands

The Ssese Islands are an archipelago in Lake Victoria that deserve their own mention. Positioned in the north-west corner of the lake, the largest of these islands is Bugala Island where you can find Kalangala town.

The Sesse Islands are home to the Bantu tribe and is a spiritual location for the local people.

Some of the 84 different islands are only 10,000 square metres (2.5 acres) in size. Bugala Island (the largest) is around 275 square kilometers (67,000 acres). Around half of the archipelago is inhabited. The ecnomoy here is focused on fishing for the Nile perch and tourism.

The islands are home a variety of animals and you can spot several different monkeys on guided tours. To relax, you can also visit the beautiful white-sand beaches.

Although not full of activities, the archipelago offers attractive scenery and makes an excellent relaxation spot for a few nights, as there are a number of accommodation options. There are also areas where you can hire a canoe and have a paddle around.

Visit a Local Market

Fruit Market, Uganda - Tourist Attractions in Uganda

Markets in Uganda offer a glimpse into the everyday lives of the local people and make an interesting experience for visitors.

There are a few different markets to visit in and around Kampala, such as the famed Owino and Nakasero markets. Owino is known for its hustle and bustle with chaotic looking stalls, whereas Nakasero is a little more relaxed and a preferred first choice.

Owino market is understandably chaotic, as this is one the largest in this area of Africa. The most abundant product sold is second hand clothing, but you can really find most things in the market, such as traditional medicine and electronics.

Stand at the Equator

A popular attraction is to visit the equator, which is one of the most famous landmarks in the country.

The mark represents the section of Earth that receives more sunlight than any other. Because of this, it’s where you find the world’s most wildlife-rich forests. Tropical rainforests cover just 7% of the world’s surface, but contain 50% of all the Earth’s animals and plants.

The equator passes straight through Uganda. The main equator landmark is about 70 km from Kampala towards the south west of the district. This takes about one hour to reach from the city. However, there are also markers in other areas. You can find other markers in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is Uganda’s largest national park.

See the Start of the Nile

While you’re in this region of Africa, it’s worth seeing the start of the Nile River. Imagine the important events in history and the countries this great river has touched before gushing into the Mediterranean Sea.

This all starts in this region and you can visit one of the Nile’s sources.

The Nile is one of the longest rivers in the world and ranks as the world’s largest alongside the Amazon River in South America. You can see one of the sources of this incredible waterway at Jinja, which is about a two hour drive from Kampala through the Mabira forest.

You can enjoy some boat trips around the lake and visit the hydroelectric power plant at Bujagali Falls. The area around Jinja is also known as the adventure capital of East Africa. You can enjoy mountain biking, horse riding, and other adrenaline activities. The town itself is also worth a visit to see some examples of colonial architecture.

While here, there are many different accommodation options to choose from to make your stay comfortable. The lodges can often arrange your tours and cruises in the region to help maximize your experience at the start of the Nile.

Try the Food

It’s always one of the best attractions to sample the local cuisine and Uganda is no exception to the rule. Enjoy a variety of tasty dishes to learn more about Ugandan culture.

Fish features prominently on the menu due to the number of lakes and rivers in the country, such as tilapia with a peanut sauce. In addition to fish, meat stews are a popular food. The influences for flavor include Arabian, Asian, and English dishes. Indian spices and food were popular in Uganda, which have been incorporated into a number of dishes.

Many of the different tribes in Uganda have their own traditional dishes. Traditional cuisine revolves around potatoes, vegetables, chicken, pork, fish, bananas, and yams. Peanuts and sesame seeds feature a lot in Ugandan cuisine and add a delicious flavor when combined with some of the other ingredients.

Ash - Author & Travel Advisor

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Top 10 Best Tourist Attractions and Places To Visit in Uganda

Top 10 Best Tourist Attractions and Places To Visit in Uganda

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Uganda.

Uganda’s diversity of landscapes and wildlife is incredible. Ecologically, this smallish African country is where the eastern savannah meets the western rainforest, while a varied mosaic of wetlands covers 25% of its surface area. In Uganda, you might one day track chimpanzees or gorillas through lush tropical jungles and the next day go boating on a hippo-filled river or drive through the open grassland in search of the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino). This, in short, is a unique and magical destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Below we introduce you to 10 of its most compelling attractions.

1,390 Uganda Safaris

1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorillas are the main attraction of this popular national park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to more than 40% of the world’s remaining 1,060 mountain gorillas. More than 25 family groups here can each be tracked by up to eight visitors daily. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi often entails a steep and relatively demanding hike through dense undergrowth. On other days it might involve a short, flat 20-minute stroll. Either way, coming face-to-face with these gentle giants, who share 98% of their genes with humans, is an unforgettable, and for some life-changing, experience.

932 Bwindi Tours

2. Queen Elizabeth National Park

Male lion sitting in a tree in Queen Elizabeth National Park

It is difficult to know where to start when it comes to singing the praises of this biodiverse national park. Perhaps the obvious place is the Kazinga Channel, where herds of thirsty buffalo and elephant gather alongside resident pods of hippo below the snowcapped Rwenzori Mountains. Boat trips on this scenic equatorial waterway are a highlight of visits to Queen Elizabeth National Park. So, too, are game drives on the nearby Kasenyi Plains, where large herds of Uganda kob (a type of antelope) attract plenty of well-fed predators.

Elsewhere, Queen Elizabeth NP’s attractions include the jungle-lined crater lakes of Maramagambo Forest, tree-climbing lions on the Ishasha Plains, and daily chimp trekking excursions in the bordering Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu Forest. And the birdlife is sensational. Indeed, the park’s checklist of 610 species exceeds that of any other East African conservation area.

677 Queen Elizabeth NP Safaris

3. Kibale National Park

Chimpanzee sitting in a tree in Kibale National Park

It’s showing off really, isn’t it? Not only does Uganda offer all-but-guaranteed gorilla tracking and a fair chance of spotting the Big Five, it is also the most straightforward place in Africa to track chimpanzees, humankind’s closest genetic relatives. Kibale National Park is the best place to do this if you want to be reasonably sure of a sighting, though other sites such as Kalinzu Forest Reserve, Budongo Forest and Kyambura Gorge are cheaper and not as busy.

Kibale has a lot more to offer than chimps. Over the course of a visit, you might easily see half a dozen monkey species including Uganda mangabey, which is unique to the country. A great variety of colorful forest birds includes great blue turaco, double-toothed barbet and red-headed bluebell.

549 Kibale Tours

4. Murchison Falls National Park

Hippo with young in Murchison Falls National Park

The explorer Sir Samuel Baker called Murchison Falls, the explosive centerpiece of Uganda’s largest national park, “the most important object on the entire course of the White Nile”. Thrilling boat trips to the base of this spectacular waterfall confirm this assessment, while also providing great wildlife viewing. You should see plenty of hippos, crocs and waterbirds from the boat, along with elephant, buffalo and various antelope. Elsewhere, lion and Rothschild’s giraffe are regulars on game drives north of the Nile River, while boat trips to the delta where the river enters Lake Albert routinely offer excellent shoebill sightings.

470 Murchison Falls Safaris

5. Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch

White rhinos at Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch

Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch is the only place in Uganda where rhinos can be seen today. Even better, it is one of the few places anywhere that offers visitors the opportunity to track these prehistoric-looking giants on foot, with sightings being almost guaranteed. Tragically, rhinos were actually quite common in Murchison Falls National Park in the 1960s, only to be poached out in the turbulent post-independence era.

The white rhinos at Ziwa have been bred up from six individuals that were translocated to Uganda (mostly from Kenya) in the early 2000s. Plans are in place to move some of these rhinos from Ziwa to other parks in Uganda. Until this happens, however, Ziwa will remain one of the best places to visit in Uganda for people who want to see all the Big Five.

121 Ziwa Safaris

6. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Silverback gorilla in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is sometimes dismissed as the second-best place in Uganda to visit mountain gorillas. This is a grossly unfair assessment. True, there’s only one gorilla group that can be visited in Mgahinga, so permit numbers are very limited. But this is also one of the most enjoyable groups to visit, since it contains three hefty silverbacks and tends to inhabit more open bamboo forest than its counterparts in Bwindi.

Mgahinga has several other assets. It is the only place in Uganda to track the beautiful bamboo-guzzling golden monkey. And the location on the forested slopes of the Virunga volcanoes, three of which can be climbed on challenging day hikes, is absolutely sensational.

93 Mgahinga Tours

7. Kidepo Valley National Park

Herd of buffalo in Kidepo Valley National Park

Uganda’s most remote national park lies in the far northeast and shares a mountainous border with South Sudan. As a result of this far-flung location, it sees relatively few visitors by comparison to Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls NPs. But this is no reflection on the quality of wildlife viewing.

In Kidepo Valley National Park, animals you’re likely to see include thousand-strong herds of buffalo, and large numbers of elephant and Rothschild’s giraffe, along with plains zebra, patas monkey and a variety of antelope. Kidepo is the only place in Uganda where lion, leopard and cheetah might all be encountered. A long bird checklist includes East Africa’s only wild population of the striking rose-ringed parakeet.

110 Kidepo Safaris

8. Jinja and the Upper Nile

White-water rafting in Jinja

Wildlife viewing dominates most tour itineraries to Uganda, and understandably so. But for those who enjoy a bit of urban travel or adventure activities, it is worth heading to Jinja. Situated on Lake Victoria, this attractive town overlooks the scenic outlet where the Nile River, the world’s longest, starts its long journey north to the Mediterranean Sea via the Sahara Desert.

Jinja is studded with architectural relics from the days when it was Uganda’s second-largest city, along with a fun selection of modern cafés, restaurants and nightclubs. For adrenaline junkies, the Nile River immediately upriver of Jinja offers thrilling white-water rafting on Grade 5 rapids, as well as kayaking, bungee jumping and quad biking.

79 Jinja Tours

9. Lakes Bunyonyi and Mutanda

Lake Bunyonyi

Situated in the same southwestern highlands that harbor Uganda’s gorillas, Lakes Bunyonyi and Mutanda have much in common. Both comprise submerged river valleys dammed naturally by lava flows from the volcanic Virunga Mountains. Scenically, both are enclosed by steep terraced slopes and studded with wooded islands. And they are both regarded as safe for swimming, thanks to the absence of bilharzia (a snail-borne disease common at lower altitudes), crocodiles and hippos.

Where the two lakes most obviously differ is in their level of tourist development. Lake Bunyonyi is a well-known post-safari chill-out venue, and it offers a large choice of resorts to suit all budgets and tastes. Lake Mutanda, by contrast, has a rather remote feel and is serviced by a handful of small mid-range to upmarket lodges. Still can’t decide? Well, on a clear day, the sundowner view across Lake Mutanda to the Virungas is one of the most beautiful anywhere in Africa.

315 Lake Bunyonyi Tours 13 Lake Mutanda Tours

10. Mabamba Swamp

Shoebill in Mabamba Swamp

Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport has a memorable location on the northern shore of Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake). Better still for new arrivals, Entebbe is only a short drive or boat ride from Mabamba Swamp, a bird-watcher’s paradise run as a community ecotourism project.

Mabamba heads the list of best places to visit in Uganda (actually, make that anywhere in Africa) to see the shoebill. This is a bizarre slate-gray bird that feeds on lungfish and claps together its massive clog-shaped bill like castanets when agitated. Other iconic birds likely to be seen on wobbly canoe trips into Mabamba Swamp range from African fish eagle and palm-nut vulture to the tall goliath heron and lily-trotting African jacana.

14 Mabamba Safaris

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The 15 top tourist attractions in Uganda you need to visit

Aside from all the negative press, Uganda used to get in the past decade, this beautiful but rather small landlocked country in the Eastern part of Africa has emerged as one of the best African safari destinations .

From tracking gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National park to seeing tree-climbing lions on a game drive in Queen Elizabeth National park, there are so many tourist attractions in Uganda that shouldn’t be missed.

Also, known as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda has amazing wildlife, incredible landscapes, amazing scenery, diverse cultures, a great climate all year round, and above all the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

Whether you’re traveling to the country for a short business trip or a long and adventurous trip, here are the best places to visit in Uganda for an ultimate African safari.

The top tourist attractions in Uganda

1. bwindi impenetrable national park.

gorrilla trekking in uganda

Home to almost half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas (approximately 400 within the park), Bwindi Impenetrable National park located on the edge of the rift valley in the Southwestern region of the country is one of the best national parks in Uganda.

For travelers that have always wanted to track gorillas, Bwindi offers an impeccable experience of getting up close and personal with the endangered mountain gorillas.

Other than tracking gorillas which is the highlight of visiting Bwindi impenetrable national park (and Uganda as a whole) and enjoying the impressive biodiversity, the park offers breathtaking flora and fauna – harboring over 120 species of mammals, 348 bird species, 220 species of butterflies and over 1000 flowering species. All this and the ecological importance that Bwindi national park posses led it to be enlisted as a Unesco site.

Pro tip* You will be required to purchase a gorilla tracking permit from Uganda wildlife Authority (UWA) prior to your safari since only 8 people are allowed to track a specific mountain gorilla group. Also, the gorilla tracking safari can take anywhere between one to eight hours depending on where the gorillas slept the previous night.

But if you don’t want the hustles of planning your trip, here are some of the gorilla tracking tours you can join to experience one of the most incredible adventures in Africa .

2. Queen Elizabeth National park

things to do in uganda

Spanning districts of Kasese, Rukungiri, Kamwenge, and Rubiririzi in the western region of Uganda and approximately 400km south-west of Kampala, Queen Elizabeth National park is one of the best national parks in Africa and one of the most visited in the country.

A safari in Queen Elizabeth national park never disappoints as it lives up to its reputation of offering an amazing flora and fauna – with an impressive lush of vegetation, a number of crater lakes and the famous tree-climbing lions.

The park has a diverse ecosystem which includes the beautiful crater lakes beneath the park’s hills creating breathtaking views, savanna grasslands, ishaha plains whose trees are the resting places of the lions, views of the Kazinga channel which is filled with hippos, crocodiles, elephants, and buffalos on its banks.

In addition to boasting about the 95 mammal species that call Queen Elizabeth home, it also has over 612 species of birds to cater to bird lovers making Queen Elizabeth national park one of the major tourist places in Uganda.

3 . Murchison Falls National park

top tourist attractions in uganda

Harboring the glorious Murchison Falls, Murchison Falls National park is the largest national park in Uganda spanning an area of 3,840 square kilometers. It is located 283 km north-west of Kampala which is Uganda’s capital.

Murchison Falls is a breathtaking sight as the Nile river water gushes through a 7-meter rocky gorge creating a beautiful musical but thunderous sound – a feature that makes it the most powerful waterfall in the world.

The park together with its neighboring surroundings forms the Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA) which is endowed with a lot of animals including but not limited to lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, Uganda cob, and bush backs. And along the shores of the Nile, hippopotamus, and crocodiles can be spotted.

On top of that, the park also houses over 400 bird species making it one of the beautiful places in Uganda, not only to get a glimpse of the African animals and birds but also the most impressive waterfall in the country.

And Since Murchison falls national park covers a huge part of Budongo Forest, a haven for Chimpanzees, Chimpanzee tracking which is the second exciting tracking adventure after gorilla tracking is possible.

Pro tip* The beauty of the mighty Murchison falls can be enjoyed from anywhere around the falls but to appreciate it even more and get into close proximity with the splashing water of the falls, hop onto a boat cruise along the Nile and your mind will be blown away.

4. The source of River Nile

uganda places to visit

River Nile is the longest river in the world and seeing it’s origin is a must when you travel to Uganda. A visit to the pearl of Africa is not complete if you don’t see the source of the Nile as it is one of the major Uganda tourist attractions.

Located in the Eastern part of Uganda in Jinja town approximately 80 km from Kampala, the source of the Nile is one of the most visited places in Uganda receiving a number of tourists from far and near to experience this incredible landmark.

One of the incredible features to look out for are the bubbles at the exact spot (source) which indicates that water comes from the underground which later spreads to other parts. And according to John Speke, the first European Explorer, It is believed that actually 30% of the Nile water comes from the underground at the “source”.

And after seeing the Nile and it’s source, explore Jinja town which is like Uganda’s “summer” destination packed with adventurous activities like White water rafting on the Nile, Kayaking, Quad biking, and many other fun adrenaline activities.

5. Kampala city

uganda attractions

Located in the heart of Uganda, Kampala comes up as the most diverse city in the country accommodating millions of people from different tribal ethnics. Being the capital, it’s the most developed city in the country and over the years, many western cultures have been adapted making it a fun city to explore and one of the interesting places to visit in Uganda.

The city offers so many places to see that shouldn’t be missed out if you want to learn about Kampala and the locals in-depth. Some of the places to visit in Kampala include but not limited to;

  • Kampala downtown: Get the feel of the real-life of the locals, the markets, the taxis parks, the chaos, the liveliness and how local businesses are carried out.
  • Places of worship: Gadaffi Mosque also known as the Old Kampala mosque which is the biggest mosque in the country and also the National Mosque, Namirembe cathedral which is the provincial Cathedral for the Church of Uganda ( known as protestants), and Lubaga cathedral which is the provincial cathedral for the Roman Catholics in the country.
  • Temples; The Bahai Temple and Shree Swaminarayan Temple.
  • The Uganda independence monument;
  • Historical places in Uganda like the Buganda kingdom palace, The Kasubi Tombs and so many others

These are just some of the many tourist attractions in Uganda that you can’t afford to miss while exploring this bustling city of Kampala.

6. Lake Victoria

tourist spots in uganda

Known as the birthplace of the longest river in the world, the Nile, Lake Victoria is not only one of the country’s landmarks but also one of the top Uganda tourist places.

With a surface area of approximately 59,947 square kilometers, Lake Victoria is not only Africa’s largest lake by area but also the largest tropical lake in the world. It is also the world’s second-largest freshwater lake by surface area just after North America’s Lake Superior.

Lake victoria boats itself with incredible natural beauty from amazing islands, breathtaking sunsets & sunrises, incredible views to the fresh cool breezes. It is also blessed with over 200 fish species and around 350 bird species across the lake region.

Since the lake is spread across the country, there are a number of places to enjoy Victoria but one of the coolest areas is in Entebbe town. A visit to the Entebbe botanical gardens guarantees the utmost relaxation from the cool breeze and a chance to spot some of the Lake’s birds. Other Ugandan locations where you can have a glance at Lake Victoria include Jinja, a town in the Eastern part of Uganda, Ssese islands, a group of beautiful islands on the lake and so many other places.

7. The Equator

where to go in uganda

Uganda is blessed to be one of the few countries where the equator passes. Located just 72 km from Kampala, visiting the equator can be treated as a stopover activity as it is on the way to some of the tourist sites in Uganda like Queen Elizabeth  National park or Bwindi impenetrable National park along Kampala – Masaka Highway in Kayabwe, Mpigi district.

So you basically get to ticket off a number of places in Uganda on the same trip and at the same time take the iconic photo of you standing right in the middle of the Equator landmark – talk about being in both the southern and northern hemispheres at the same time with just the imaginary line of the Equator cutting across.

While at the Equator, try out the exciting water experiment to see how water swirls in opposite directions when poured at different spots of the northern and southern hemispheres.

8. Kidepo Valley National park

best tourist attractions in uganda

Located in the Karamoja region in NorthEast Uganda, Kidepo Valley national park is one of the most remote and isolated National parks in Uganda and it’s only those that embark on the 700 km journey from Kampala can truly testify that it is one of (if not) the best Uganda wildlife safari.

Spanning an area of 1,442 square kilometers, Kidepo is a rugged savannah in the semi-arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya cut across by the Kidepo and Narus Rivers.

Since the park is very isolated, it still has that wilderness virgin charm that can’t be found anywhere in Uganda. With a combination of the savannah landscape, mountainous features, and flowing water bodies, Kidepo national park is undeniably the best safari in Uganda.

With over 77 mammal species and approximately 475 bird species, Kidepo valley national park not only offers amazing game drives and bird watching extravaganza but also nature and bush walks to get up close with Uganda’s wildlife.

If game driving in the rugged savannah vegetation of Kidepo doesn’t inspire you to embark on this off the beaten path, then the cultural visits to the Karamoja villages should, in order to learn more about the culture, history and the way of life of the Karamajongs plus the IK people whose tribe is one of the oldest in the country.

9. Mt. Elgon National park

best places to visit in uganda

Home to the oldest extinct volcano in East Africa, Mt. Elgon National park is popular for the 4,321 m high mountain where it derived its name. It is located in Mbale split between Uganda and Kenya with the Ugandan side covering a surface area of 1,110 square kilometers while the Kenyan part is only 169 square kilometers.

The prime reason for visiting Mt. Elgon national park in Uganda is to climb Mt. Elgon and possibly reach its highest peak of Wagagai which stands at an elevation of 4,321 above sea level.

Mt. Elgon is a great option for hikers since even beginners can step up to the challenge due to the lower elevation and mild climate compared to its counterparts of Mt. Rwenzori or even Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Aside from taking in the incredible views and reaching the highest peak of Wagagai (this is like a moment of victory), Mt. Elgon national park has an impressive landscape that keeps changing for each altitude reached. From the mixed-bamboo forest, lush Montana, the worldly uncommon plant species like the large Lobelia, to the beautiful wildflowers. The mesmerizing caldera, caves, and water bodies (with one shaped in the map of Africa) are some of the other beautiful features to see while trekking your way up the mountain.

While wild animals are rare to spot in Mt. Elgon National park, a few that call this park home (though at the lower slopes) include Elephants, Buffalos, antelopes, many types of monkeys including the red-tailed ones, black and white colobus plus the blue monkeys. The park is also endowed with a number of different tree species which amount to at least 144 and half of Uganda’s butterfly species are recorded to be in Mt. Elgon National park. All this certainly proves that Mt, Elgon national park is one of the best tourist attractions in Uganda.

10. Sipi Falls

best things to do in uganda

Just located next to Mountain Elgon national park, Sipi falls whose named was derived from the wild banana plant that grows nearby is one of the best places to visit in Uganda for spectacular views and a good splash of water.

It is a collection of 3 falls dotted in the Kapchworwa region on the border of Mt. Elgon national park with each flowing at a different altitude.

Hiking up the falls gives spectacular views of the Karamoja low lands, Lake Kyoga and the coffee plantations in the area.

Pro tip*  Since the Falls are located just at the foothills of Mt. Elgon National park, a visit to the Sipi falls can be easily combined with that of Mt. Elgon. This can either be done before or after but since the falls give a more relaxed and calm vibe, it is better to visit them after a great 4 days climb of the mountain.

11. Ziwa rhino sanctuary

things to do in botswana

Located 176 km (100 miles) north of Kampala on the Gulu highway in Nakasongola district, Ziwa rhino sanctuary is home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda.

With 22 southern white rhinos, Ziwa rhino sanctuary has become one of the popular Uganda destinations to see rhinos in the country. What makes a visit to the Ziwa rhino sanctuary even more exciting is that you get to do an on-foot rhino trekking tour as the tour guides lead you to the African bushes to have a close encounter with the endangered white rhinos.

Ziwa rhino sanctuary is not just about tracking rhinos (do not let the name mislead you), it also has some other smaller animals like Uganda kobs, Bush backs, waterbucks and others. It’s prime location and the landscape is also great for bird watching and taking nature walks.

Pro tip* Since the Ziwa rhino sanctuary is just off the road that leads to Murchison falls, you can combine both of these safaris in just one trip to save time and money.

12. Lake Bunyonyi

places to visit in uganda

Regarded as one of the honeymoon holiday destinations in Uganda, the beauty that Lake Bunyoni offers cannot be compared to anywhere else in the country. Lake Bunyonyi translated as a “lake of many little birds” is located in south-western Uganda between Kisoro and Kibale and it is believed to be the second deepest lake in Africa.

With a collection of 29 islands surrounded by steep terraced hillsides, well – maintained resorts, calm and quiet environment with the only noise coming from the singing birds, no wonder Lake Bunyonyi is where most travelers in Uganda head to get some peace and quiet after jam-packed safaris in the country as it is one of the most beautiful places in Uganda.

In addition to providing spectacular views, a number of activities can be done at Lake Bunyonyi; from boat canoeing, zip-lining across the lake, resort hopping to swimming in the crystal clear waters – it is perfectly safe to swim in since it has no hippos, crocs or even bilharzia.

So if you were looking for things to do in Uganda to get away from it all, then visiting Lake Bunyonyi will serve you just that and more.

13. Mt. Rwenzori National park

Located in western Uganda at the Uganda- Congo border, Mt Rwenzori National park harbors the snow-capped mountain of Rwenzori which is also referred to as the “Mountains of the moon”

Mt. Rwenzori may not be a volcanic mountain like other major mountains in East Africa, but it is definitely one of the Uganda places to visit for an incredible hike.

Standing at a height of 5,109m above sea level, Margherita is the highest peak on the mountain that makes tourists travel from far and near to conquer this Ugandan giant.

Apart from the incredible and challenging hiking trails, Mt Rwenzori national park which is also enlisted as a UNESCO world heritage site offers breathtaking views of the different landscape that changes with the altitude. From the land terrain, plant life of sub-montane vegetation, luxurious tropical evergreen forest to the incredible snowcapped peaks.

Bird watching, lounging on the foothills of Rwenzori, hiking and cultural exchanges are some of the incredible things to do in Mt. Rwenzori national park.

14. Ssese islands

If you’re looking for what to do in Uganda, then a visit to the Ssese islands will be fulfilling and relaxing. Located in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria in Uganda, Ssese islands are an archipelago of 84 beautiful islands that all differ in size and landscape but each remaining incredibly beautiful in each own way.

The Ssese islands are some of the major tourist attractions in Uganda that you can visit to unwind, relax, enjoy the white sand beaches, and participate in a number of water activities. When you want to get away from it all, the crazy noise of the city, the wildlife, Ssese islands will give you that escape route.

15. The wildlife Education center- Entebbe zoo

Having been listed as the best zoo in East and Central Africa,  Uganda Wildlife Education Center is one of the best places to visit in Uganda. It harbors most of the wild animals especially those that may have been rescued from animal traffickers and poachers.

The wildlife Education center is located just outside of Entebbe town perfect for a visit if you want to see the African animals but you don’t have enough time to visit some of the national parks in Uganda for an ultimate safari.

A visit to the Entebbe zoo will guarantee you a close-up encounter with the chimpanzees or even a guided tour to see the lions, white rhinos, leopards, zebras, and many other animals.

There you have it folks – that was the list of the major tourist attractions in Uganda. It is by no means exhaustive but if you were looking for things to do in Uganda, I hope this post gave you a number of options to consider.

Have you been to any of these Uganda attractions? What was your experience? Share with us in the comment section plus other places in Uganda that could be high on your bucket list but haven’t yet visited.

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Traveling to the pearl of Africa? Here are the best places to visit in uganda. | top tourist attractions in uganda | things to do in uganda | beautiful places in uganda | safari destinations in uganda #touristattractionsinuganda #bestplacestovisitinuganda #nestnationalparksinuganda #theadventurousfeet

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26 Comments

I HAVE A SCHOOL PROJECT ABOUT OTHER COUNTRIES CULTURE AND THANK YOU SSOOOOOOO MUCH

Oh I am glad you got to learn about Uganda and its culture from my post. I hope your school project goes well.

I never knew Uganda offered so much! Now I want to go! Thank you for sharing!

Uganda has so much to offer, more than i could even fit in one post. I really hope you visit one time, you will be amazed

I had no idea that Uganda has so many beautiful attractions. Glad to know that it is blessed with so many splendid National Parks. Adding it to my wishlist!

Yes it has a lot – i might have left out some few but its definitely a must see if you are into wildlife and nature

Wow I have never bee to Uganda. Your blog post made me want to pack my bags and leave NOW! totally enjoyed the pictures too. Keep sharing 🙂

Thank you so much Anna. I am so happy, i’ve given you some inspiration to travel to Uganda. I hope you can travel there some time, you will love it. And i will definitely keep sharing- I hope i can inspire you more and more

I just wonder what I would like more. Seeing the life of locals or wildlife. I think Uganda is one of the best places for wildlife photography. But I am always more interested in people in every place I go.

I just wonder what I would like more. Seeing life of locals or wildlife. I think Uganda is one of the best places for wildlife photography. But

Trust me, you would like both and you would fail to choose the best. But if you are a wild life photographer, you would be so excited to see the wild life, its amazing.

What a great list of things to do in Uganda. Personally, my favourites would be the wildlife (which is most of them to be honest) but who could resist a picture opportunity at the Equator?

The wildlife in Uganda is amazing and enormous. It is not surprising that it is the most tourist attraction in Uganda. And of course who wouldn’t want a picture at the Equator.

Uganda has come a long way!

There sure are so many activities to do, places to visit and experiences to be had right?

Thank you for sharing this with us ?

Thank you for appreciating. Yes right, there are so many things to see and do in uganda

Wow, so much nature and wildlife in Uganda! I’m quite curious about the tracking gorillas… Sounds like it could be an incredible experience. Thanks for sharing this about your country!

Gorilla trekking is an amazing experience – one of the highlights of traveling to Uganda for many tourists.

Uganda is so full of life. The sheer number of national parks bears testimony to that. But I am happy to see that Kampala can be an ideal spot to take things slow and experience some great Ugandan history and culture. Do you have a blog on some of the must-try food in Uganda? Would love to read that too.

Kampala is full of diversity, tops the list in the country. I don’t have any post about food in kampala currently , but you have just given me a great idea. I am definitely going to write one as soon as possible. Thank you.

Very interesting. I never knew all these things about Uganda – that it’s the source of the Nile and about the impenetrable forest. Sometimes I wish humans would leave those poor gorillas alone instead of making them a tourist attraction. Then again, that goes for all wildlife.

Uganda is rich in beauty and magnificent wildlife. I did not know that the Nile started in Uganda. Kampala sounds quite cosmopolitan.

Yes Uganda has the source of the Nile. Kampala is a very interesting city, like a mixture of western and traditional

Uganda sounds like the perfect balance between enjoy nature, wildlife and some local culture in the cities too. It’s a wonder it hasn’t been on my list yet!

It is victor, with so many places to go on safari and at the same time many places to relax and connect with the locals. Indeed it is a perfect balance, there is always something for everyone .You should add it on the list already.

Great start Esy .Made some of our lives easier and challenge to explore the beauty of the magnificent world….

Thanks Ritah. Yes the world is so beautiful not to explore it!!

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Top Attractions in Uganda. 20+ places to visit in Uganda in 2024

The wide array of tourist attractions in Uganda makes the country is one of Africa’s major travel destinations, welcoming visitors from all around the world. Tourists in Uganda enjoy classic wildlife safaris out on the savannah as well as close encounters with the great apes – chimpanzees and mountain gorillas.

The beauty and diversity of both nature and the people are what make Uganda unique and truly live up to its name, the pearl of Africa.

With warm and sunny days all year round, Uganda is a perfect destination for tourists from all around the world. Whatever the interests and budget, we know that Uganda will deliver on the promise of a spectacular and authentic African travel experience.

In this article, we’ll highlight some of the top attractions in Uganda that are worth visiting. Whether it is gorillas, wildlife, culture, or mountains that you want, there are several options for you.

We have linked to some of our safari packages and you can check them out for inspiration towards your own journey.

Best places to visit in Uganda in 2024

1. bwindi impenetrable national park.

Silverback gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a renowned home for endangered mountain gorillas. Although it is not the only place where these incredible animals can be observed, it is the most popular destination for gorilla trekking.

Visitors to Bwindi get to hike through dense forests and navigate steep slopes to reach their assigned gorilla family. The challenging hike is well worth the effort, as the experience of spending time with the gorillas is truly unforgettable. The hour you are allowed to spend with the gorillas will pass by in the blink of an eye. 

In addition to its famous residents, Bwindi is also home to a wide variety of other animals and birds, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. A visit to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an unforgettable and rewarding experience.

Here is a standalone itinerary for gorilla tracking in Bwindi. Gorilla tracking Safari in Uganda (by road) – 4 Days

2. Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls Safari

Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area. The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 40 meters over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80 km stretch of rapids.

A boat ride along the Nile River to the foot of Murchison Falls is a spectacular experience of seeing a lot of wildlife such as crocodiles, elephants, hippos, buffalos, and many birds among others. A hike around the top of the falls brings the thump of the powerful fall below your feet, and right at the falls, the endless spray and ever-present rainbow can only be described as remarkable.

Beyond the most powerful waterfall in the world – and the river Nile, Murchison Falls is home to 70+ mammal species including giraffes, elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, and many other antelope species. Many of our wildlife trips include Murchison Falls because it offers a great experience that can’t be had anywhere else.

Here is a standalone safari to Murchison Falls to give you a great idea of what awaits you there. 3 Days Murchison Falls Wildlife Safari

3. Kibale National Park

chimpanzee in Kibale

Kibale National Park is regarded as the Primate capital of the world because it is home to 13 different species of primates. It is most popular as a home for chimpanzees.

It is the best place where you can see chimpanzees in their wild habitat. With around 5000 wild chimpanzees, tourists go to Kibale every day of the year to have their encounter with our closest animal cousins – the chimps.

Besides the chimpanzees, you will see many other primates – even before entering the park, as well as many bird species that call the thick forests home.

Here is a popular safari package that includes Kibale as well as the other attractions in western Uganda. Group Adventure Holiday in Uganda – 7 Days

4. Kampala City

Kampala City Tour

Kampala is Uganda’s biggest city and a melting pot of culture. From the Buganda Kingdom, Religious & cultural spots, and the fast paced nature of Kampala downtown. visiting and exploring Kampala is a great way of truly understanding what makes Uganda hard to describe.

Places like the Gadaffi Mosque, Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Bahai Temple, and Uganda Museum are full of history. As the biggest urban center, Kampala is also the place where one can witness the mix of many Ugandan and foreign cultures to make something that is truly beautiful.

5. Rwenzori Mountains.

Gorilla & Rwenzori Expedition

While Uganda enjoys warm sunny days all year round, the highest altitude in Uganda is covered by permanent glaciers. The Rwenzori Mountains, also called the mountains of the moon are a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of their astounding beauty.

Whether you want to climb up to the summit at 5,109 meters above sea level, or you prefer a shorter climb, Rwenzori’s beauty is out of this world. Forests, ridges, glaciers, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, animals, birds, and views like you have never seen before – it is all in the Rwenzori mountains.

Here is a safari program that perfectly combines climbing to the peak of Mount Rwenzori with gorillas and chimps. Gorilla & Rwenzori Expedition Safari in Uganda – 15 Days

6. Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria

Ssese Islands

The Ssese Islands are a group of more than 80 islands in Lake Victoria , Uganda. The Islands are well-loved for their perfect beaches that call for an evening of relaxing and watching the sunset disappear in the distance.

While the islands are quite well known, they are still not very popular and do not have many crowds, which makes them ideal for a quiet beach getaway in Uganda. This could be a lone trip or the final part of a trip that goes to the other parts of Uganda.

If you’re looking for a convenient and exciting destination near the airport in Uganda, look no further than Entebbe . This historic town, located near the airport, offers a variety of attractions for travelers of all interests .

You can spend the day relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Lake Victoria, explore the Entebbe Botanical Gardens, or learn about Uganda’s unique wildlife at the Reptile Village and the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (Entebbe Zoo) .

Additionally, Entebbe is rich in history, with its origins as a colonial administration center still evident in the town’s architecture and landmarks . The various places in Entebbe are ideal for a quick visit especially if you have little time and would like to stay near the airport.

Related article: Top 5 places to visit in & around Entebbe in Uganda

8. Queen Elizabeth National Park

things to do in Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth National Park is found in western Uganda and still stands as Uganda’s most popular savannah park. From the tree-climbing lions to the schools of hippos along the Kazinga channel, QENP is a top attraction worth visiting for all the rich wildlife.

Animals like elephants, buffalos, and hippos can even be spotted easily while crossing on the Kasese-Mbarara Highway. It is deep in the park that you will see bigger herds of animals on game drives, as the Rwenzori mountains peak out from distant clouds to give you the perfect backdrop.

Another huge advantage to visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park is its proximity to other attractions like Rwenzori, Kibale, Semuliki, and Bwindi all of which are easy to drive to in a short amount of time.

Here is a safari package that combines a visit to Queen Elizabeth with other activities like rafting, tracking chimps & gorillas, and much more in an epic 2 weeks of adventure. Uganda Wildlife & Activity Holiday – 15 Days.

9. Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon is the main physical feature of the Mount Elgon National Park and sits on the border that separates Uganda and Kenya. Rising to more than 4000 meters above sea level, Mount Elgon is full of astounding beauty in the various climate zones as you ascend up to the summit.

At the top of Mount Elgon, there is the biggest mountain caldera in the whole world, with hot springs, geysers, and generally an out-of-this-world feeling. In of June 2023, UNESCO designated Mount Elgon Biosphere Reserve (share between Uganda and Kenya) as a World Heritage Man And Biosphere Reserve.

For those interested in Mountain climbing, Mount Elgon is the easier alternative to the Rwenzori ranges which happen to be a tougher challenge than Kilimanjaro.

10. Lake Mburo National Park

Zebras and elands grazing in Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is often described as a compact little gem of wildlife. It is the closest, national park, to Kampala and can be reached in about 4 hours of driving along the Kampala – Mbarara Highway – just before reaching Mbarara.

Lake Mburo is more popularly known for its large population of zebras. The giraffes that were only introduced a few years ago are also thriving and can be seen on your visit.

Unlike the other savannah park, Lake Mburo doesn’t have dangerous predators and visitors can go on long guided walking safaris in the park to get close to the zebras, giraffes and kobs.

Lake Mburo is neighbored by private ranches of the Bahima and guests can learn about the Ankole traditions as well as try some experiences like milking the Ankole long-horned cows.

11. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the other national park in Uganda where mountain gorillas can be seen. The park is located in the southwestern corner of Uganda and directly borders the other parks in Rwanda and D.R. Congo where gorillas live.

Beyond the gorillas, Mgahinga is home to golden monkeys and the three volcanic mountains are worth climbing. One of the mountains, Sabinyo can be hiked and at the summit, you will be able to stand in 3 countries at once.

12. Sipi Falls, Kapchorwa

best tourist destination in uganda

The Sipi Falls is a group of 3 waterfalls in Eastern Uganda, just outside the borders of the Mount Elgon National Park. They are probably the most popular waterfalls for Ugandans, because of the engaging hike through the local villages.

Beyond the waterfalls, the more adventurous visitor can engage in activities like rock climbing or abseiling down the waterfall. Sipi is in the coffee growing area and a coffee tour and tasting are something to not miss.

Related article: Things to do in Sipi Falls.

13. Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Africa’s purest Wildernesses. It is located in Uganda’s northeastern corner on the border with Kenya and South Sudan. It is quite far from all the other parks and tourist attractions and this has helped keep it different and untamed in the most beautiful way.

In Kidepo, you will be able to see elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, hippos, zebras, giraffes and so much more in animals, birds, and stunning landscapes.

White water rafting in Uganda

Located 80 kilometers east of Kampala, Jinja is regarded as the adventure capital of East Africa because of all the things one can do and enjoy on a visit to Jinja. Besides the source of the Nile, jinja is popular for activities like rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, quad biking, and much more.

Jinja is a perfect place to visit on its own or as part of a longer safari that includes several other places around Uganda. The adventure side of Jinja makes it one of the top attractions in Uganda worth visiting.

15. Semuliki National Park

best tourist destination in uganda

Semulki National Park is the only park in Uganda that perfectly combines the ecosystems of Eastern Africa with those of Central Africa. This makes it a home for animals from both sides of the continent.

Semuliki is also known for its hot springs (male & female), which are believed to have many healing powers for the locals. Semuliki is often visited for the great birding opportunities that come as a result of the blended ecosystem.

Here is a birding safari that goes to Semuliki for colorful birds. Uganda birding safari for Albertine Endemics – 20 Days

16. Lake Bunyonyi

lake bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi is located in Kabale, just close enough to the top Uganda tourist attractions of Bwindi and Mgahinga where mountain gorillas can be seen. Bunyonyi has positioned itself as a perfect relaxing spot for tourists, especially after their gorilla-tracking experiences in the rainforest.

It is Uganda’s deepest lake and has more than 20 small islands that can be explored by local wooden boats. The lake is free of any dangerous animals and completely safe for swimming.

Birding on the lake is a fun activity that can also extend to the neighboring local community for some cultural encounters with the Bakiga people who inhabit the area.

Related articles: Top places to visit in Uganda for a honeymoon

17. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Because of instability during the 1970s, rhinos in Uganda became extinct due to poaching. In 2005, rhinos were reintroduced and given a new home – the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary . The number of rhinos has since increased steadily and they can live in the wild with many other animals that live in the sanctuary.

Many visitors to Ziwa love to observe the rhinos on foot and feel like one with the surrounding environment. Ziwa is a popular stopover for people continuing to Murchison Falls National Park.

18. Uganda Martyrs Shrine

Uganda Martyrs Basilica in Namugongo Kampala

This happened at Namungongo where the Uganda Martyrs are celebrated every year on June 3rd. If you are someone of Christian faith, you can also try to organize your safari around the start of June so that you can join in on the celebrations with all the Ugandan and international pilgrims.

Christian faithful might be aware of these martyrs of religion, but the story is inspiring to everyone regardless of the faith you practice. Because, instead of slowing down the spread of new religions and ideas, the Uganda Martyrs accelerated the growth of the faith.

19. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a community-driven local conservation project for preserving and protecting the Magombe swamp. Bigodi is located just outside of Kibale National Park where visitors get a chance to see chimps in the wild.

The swamp is home to more than 10 species of primates and hundreds of bird species which makes the Swamp walk interesting. Given that this is a local community project, a visit here directly gives back to the community and further conservation of the wetland.

20. Nyero Rock Paintings

The Nyeo rock paintings were first documented in 1913 and are believed to be older than 800 years. They are among the most important rock paintings in Uganda and are believed to have a connection to the Batwa hunter-gatherers who might have lived in the area at the time.

Currently, the Batwa form a minority tribe that lives near the various forested areas along the border of Uganda and DR. Congo.

21. Mabamba Swamp

Mabamba Swamp

The Mabamba Swamp on the shores of Lake Victoria is the best place to see the shoebill stork in Uganda. It is probably the best place in the whole of Africa and the world.

The shoebill is fascinating to both casual and avid birders and many tourists enjoy a birding experience in Mabamba where they see the shoebill among many other birds. Its close location makes it ideal as an activity at the end of a longer safari, or as a standalone birding experience for someone who is only in Uganda shortly for other business and can only spare a day.

Final Thoughts

It goes without mentioning that this list of top attractions in Uganda only scratches the surface, and serves to give you an idea of what most tourists love doing in any of the various places. Depending on your own interests, some places might be more appealing than others.

Most of our safari packages often include several of the above attractions but they are highly customizable to fit our guests’ preferences, schedules, and interests. Therefore, rather than overwhelm you, we hope this list of top attractions in Uganda inspires your next safari to Uganda.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to talk to us and we shall give you all the answers from our experience of living, working, and running tours in Uganda for years.

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Places to Visit in Uganda

  • Places To Visit

Uganda Tourist Places

Here is the list of best places to visit in uganda:.

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Located in the Buikwe city in Central Uganda on the Kampala-Jinja Highway, this city is locally referred to as Kawelo. It is an important place culturally and is also a hub for educational institutes, sports, and business houses. Lugazi is surrounded by the thick Mabira rainforest that has a rugged yet beautiful terrain and is dotted with several tabletop hills and lush valleys. It is quite fascinating to see Roman architecture in Africa. One such landmark is the Our Lady Queen of Peace Cathedral, one of the best places to visit in Uganda,for its stunning architecture and scenic gardens. Golfing enthusiasts must visit the Mehta Golf Club for a round or two of golf. To remind you of your Ugandan adventure, head over to the Lugazi Central Market for shopping traditional African dresses, crafts, and food. Enjoy a safari to the Mabira Forest Reserve, one of the few-remaining evergreen rainforests in the area which houses the prehistoric Lophocebus Ugandae, which is an Old World monkey species and almost 300 varieties of birds. Another interesting adventure to enjoy here at Lugazi is leisurely walking through its dense banana and coffee plantations. The weather here is mostly humid with overcast skies. June to September are the lowest rainfall months, making this the best time to visit to explore the outdoor attractions.

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This is a compact quintessential African city located in Central Uganda along the Kampala-Fort Portal highway. It is a city buzzing with commercial and administrative activity. Mityana has an impressive as well as interesting plateau landscape that comprises hills with gentle slopes and vast open U-shaped valleys. This is interspersed with some semi-rural settlements that add a beautiful lushness to the city’s landscape. Mityana is one of the few Ugandan places that house stunning architectural landmarks. One of the best such places is The Roman Catholic Diocese of Kiyinda-Mityana known for its beautiful and rustic architecture. If you are looking for natural wonders to explore, you can visit the nearby 4000-year-old Lake Wamala to see its several islands and wildlife like Wild pigs, Hippos, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Guinea fowl, Catfish, Lungfish, etc. People who love unique social experiments must visit the Social Innovation Academy. You can see upcycled fashion exhibitions and see plastic bottle construction, etc. For an offbeat experience, hear the locals tell their stories at the Mityana Central Market. This is also a great place to try traditional delicacies. Weather Mityana has a tropical climate and receives rainfall throughout the year. The best time to visit is during the dry months of July and January-February.

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Located in Central Uganda on the Mubende-Fort Portal Road, Mubende is a busy and vibrant commercial and administrative centre where one of the major activities is agriculture. This city has a rich heritage of being a part of the Buganda kingdom till the 1960s. Beauty Mubende has a unique landscape that ranges from 1148ft-4320 ft. This is covered in beautiful tropical forests and barren lands alternatively. One of the most fascinating places here is the Nakayima witch tree, which is a live shrine and is said to house the spirit of a Ndahura, an ancient Bachwezi king. If you are looking for daylong sojourns in the beautiful wilderness, you can enjoy farm tours to see banana, groundnut, cassava, coffee, and tea plantations. For people who want to explore the local way of life, these trails are the best way to meet the locals and enjoy the local foods. For those who are looking for adventures, must trek to the flat-topped Mubende Hill. This challenging trek will reward you with some of the best panoramic views of the surroundings. Those who love trying new foods, must visit the Mubende Central Market. Mubende experiences a warm and humid climate throughout the year interspersed with rains. June-September is the driest month to visit when you can enjoy outdoor activities.

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Located in western Uganda, Mbarara is the second-largest city in the country. It is an important transport and infrastructure hub. The name ‘Mbarara’ is a twisted version of the word ‘Emburara’ that means tall grass. It is often referred to as the ‘land of milk and honey’ because of the huge numbers of Ankole cattle here. While the city has more of an urban landscape, the moment you get of its limits, you will be rewarded with stunning natural beauty and a landscape that’s rich in wildlife and offers stupendous experiences. Mbarara is one of the best Uganda tourist spots when it comes to exploring the country’s unique and beautiful history and heritage. Some of the best places to do so are the Igongo Cultural Center and Eriijukiro Museum to learn about the country and its ancient tribes like the Batooro and Bakiga. Another great place that you would love is the Sanga Cultural Village where the ancient artefacts of the Bahima tribe are stored. The lush Mbarara is the perfect place to lose yourself in the wilderness. The city houses the largest cattle farm in Uganda where you can take farm safaris and learn about the elusive Ankole cattle, learn to milk them, and try fresh dairy products. Nature enthusiasts cannot miss visiting Lake Mburo National Park to spot Waterbucks, Impalas, leopards, hyenas, etc. To round off your day and relax, visit the famous Nile Breweries to sample some of the greatest Ugandan wines. The weather in Mbarara is hot and humid throughout the year. The drier months of December- February, June, and August are the best months to visit.

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Kasese is the largest city in the Rwenzururu region located north of Lake Victoria in Western Uganda. It is one of the most important copper and cobalt mining centres in the country. The city also has its airport. Kasese lies close to the almost 3 million-year-old Rwenzori mountain ranges, one of the top places to visit in Uganda, known as the Mountains of the Moon, which is made up of granite and quartzite stones and covered in tropical rainforests and snowy meadows. Visit the nearby UNESCO heritage Rwenzori Mountains National Park to see Africa’s third highest peak, glaciers, waterfalls, and lakes. Another place that will delight you with its local charms is the Kasese Central Market. The place offers delicious food and shops that sell traditional artworks and mementoes. Enjoy safaris at the Rwenzori Mountains National Park, one of the top places to visit in Uganda,to spot forest elephants, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Hyrax, etc., and almost 90 species of birds. Those who love to explore unique things can head over to the mines of Kasese Cobalt Company to see the process of cobalt extraction. Kasese has a tropical climate and experiences heavy rainfall even in the driest months. July and August receive the lowest rainfall and are the best months to visit.

Cape Town

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Located in northern Uganda on the Gulu-Mbale Highway, Lira has always been an important place during and after the Uganda-Tanzania War. It is one of the busiest economic and commercial centers in the country and also has an airport. Beauty Lira is bestowed with scenic natural beauty comprising thick woods and fertile valleys, plateaus, and plantations. The landscape here is dotted with several flat-topped hills and vast rugged meadow. Got Ngetta is a fascinating attraction here. It is a solid rock standing at a height of 4,500 ft. that is said to have appeared out of nowhere. Its silhouettes look like faces of beasts and have several caves around them. Enjoy vast expanses of lush wilderness at the Lira Golf course. The place allows tourists to enjoy a round of golf! If you are a nature lover, Lira has some amazing places and activities for you to enjoy. Some of these include the stunning Karuma waterfall and its surrounding forests that house baboons and a variety of birds and the nearby Budongo forest that has an abundance of African mahogany trees and chimpanzees. Those who want to enjoy a rustic experience must take a village safari to the nearby Masindi Village to enjoy African food and meet the locals. It is hot all year round at Lira with the weather varying between humid and hot. June-September is the best time to visit due to low rainfall.

Africa

Best of Africa

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Entebbe is located on the Lake Victoria peninsula in Central Uganda. The name of the city translates to ‘the chair’, which is quite apt since this is where the President of Uganda lives and the State House is located. The city is a quiet and slow-paced place that’s loved for its natural charms. Its landscape comprises lakes, vast expanses of forests, and national parks. Entebbe has some of the most fascinating attractions in Uganda. These include East Africa’s oldest golf course and pristine beaches, thanks to Lake Victoria. Some of the best beaches to visit include Aero, One Love, Lido etc. One of the best ways to learn about Ugandan culture is to visit the markets here like the ones in Kitoro and Manyago. You can also try tropical fruits and just sit and observe the local way of life. The city is one of the best birding destinations in Uganda and a haven for nature enthusiasts. The best place to explore the enticing nature and spot species like Vervet monkeys, Hammerkop, Swamp flycatcher, Colobus, etc. is the Entebbe Botanical Gardens. Another great place for naturalists is the Uganda Wildlife Education Center where you can see leopards, baboons, pythons, DeBrazza monkeys, etc. The climate here is mostly muggy and overcast the whole year-round. The best time to visit is between January-September when the rainfall is less.

Johannesburg

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Located in Eastern Uganda, Mbale lies at the foot of Mount Elgon, which is one of the extinct volcanoes here. Mbale is located amidst vast coffee plantations and is a major agricultural trade center. The beauty of Mbale needs to be seen to be believed. Its picturesque landscape comprises mountains, deep caves, valleys, waterfalls, cliffs, and vast expanses of sheer wilderness. If you are looking for amazing natural wonders, Mbale is the place to be in. Here you can see the world’s largest calderas at Mount Elgon National Park. Another great place is the Sipi Falls that offer amazing adventures like hikes, abseiling, and views of the scenic Lake Kyoga, Karamoja plains, and Mt. Elgon. Another must-see attraction is the Tororo Rock, the slopes of which house ancient rock paintings and caves. Mbale offers a glimpse into one of the traditional imbalu ceremonies followed by the Bagisu tribes. You can participate in the tribal dances and share the tribes’ food here. Mbale houses most of the 1000 bird species that live in Uganda. Head to the Kapkwai forest exploration center to see cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Doherty’s bush shrike, etc. Another great adventure here is to see the buzz and entertainment that comes with the extreme sport of bullfighting held at Wanale. You can hear locals singing war songs and betting. Mbale has the typical tropical Savanna climate that’s muggy and hot throughout the year. The drier months of June-September are the best to visit.

Kenya

Best of Kenya

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Njeru is the largest city of the Buikwe city, located in Central Uganda close to the River Nile. It is visited by travellers for its great homestays that offer traditional African experiences. Due to its proximity to River Nile, Njeru is quite lush and has miles of green grounds with hills in the background. Some pockets of the city have houses made in traditional African and Indian architecture, making it a beautiful place to visit. People who want to revel in the natural beauty of Njeru must visit the Bujagali Hydro Plant that harnesses energy from the nearby Bujagali Falls and lies on the Victoria Nile. Another great attraction is the Source of the Nile Bridge, also known as the New Jinja Bridge that connects Eastern and Central Africa to the Indian Ocean in Kenya. Njeru is loved by adventure enthusiasts for the amazing activities that it offers. You can enjoy horseback safaris, quad biking, and white water rafting at the Nile. The place has warm and humid weather almost all year round. The best time to visit is between June to September to see all the beautiful attractions.

Nairobi

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Located in Northern Uganda between the citys of Lamwo, Pader, Omoro, etc. Gulu is the erstwhile homeland of the Acholi ethnic group. Though it was synonymous with unrest till a few years ago, it is now quite a popular place to visit. Gulu is primarily an agricultural area and has acres of lush farms. The place also has some old settlements where you can see traditional African huts amidst beautiful rugged trails. Gulu offers a glimpse into the evolution of Uganda over the centuries. One of the best places to do so here is the Taks Centre. This is a great place to see art exhibitions, cultural performances, and enjoy fireside chats with local artists. Gulu houses an incredible landmark in the form of the 1941 St. Joseph’s Cathedral, one of the best Uganda tourist places known for its magnificent architecture. Round of the day with a visit to the Craft Market to pick up traditional Ugandan paintings and crafts. No trip to Gulu is complete without sampling the traditional African food and world cuisine at cafes like Elephante, Iron Donkey Restaurant, etc. Nature enthusiasts must visit the nearby Albert Nile area to see the elusive leopards, Ugandan Kobs, Warthogs, etc. What tops the charts is a visit to the Baker’s Fort, one of the best places to visit in Uganda to learn about the infamous slave trade practices. Gulu has overcast and humid weather throughout the year. The best months to visit are June-September to enjoy outdoor activities.

Zambia

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Masaka, lying in the Buganda region, is an equatorial city. The city has a history of being a base for the Uganda Army during the Tanzania-Uganda war in the 70s. This lakeside city has acres of lush plains and thick forests, especially around Lake Nabugabo. These forests have beautiful wildflower patches and several rugged trails that lead one deep into the raw wilderness. One of the best places to visit here is the nearby Lake Nabugabo, one of the best Uganda tourist places,that was formed from sand and was isolated from Lake Victoria almost 5000 years ago. This is one of the few places to see carnivore plants and rare native Haplochromine cichlids, fish, hippos, sitatunga, grey-crowned cranes, etc. If you are travelling to Masaka in June, you can’t miss attending the annual Uganda Marathon held in June here each to see some of the local celebrities and enjoy the infectious buzz of the place. Those who love to shop can visit Masaka Central Market, one of the best places to visit in Uganda famous for its indigenous textiles, paintings, jewellery, etc. Masaka has a tropical climate where the summer months get more rain than the winter months. June to September is the best time to visit to enjoy outdoor activities.

Botswana

Best of Botswana

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Hoima is located in Western Uganda on the Kampala-Hoima Road and was once the capital of the 18th-century Bunyoro-Kitara Empire. The place is important for being a source of oil and gas, the major drivers of the Ugandan economy. It is also an important cultural and heritage center. Hoima’s proximity to Kabwoya Game Reserve and Lake Albert make its landscape lush and scenic due to the thick tropical rainforest, savannah plains, streams, and the stunning Blue Mountains. Hoima is an absolute haven for nature enthusiasts. You should not miss visiting the Kabwoya Game Reserve, one of the best Uganda tourist places,to spot primates like Baboons and other species like Cape Buffalos, hippos, Ugandan Kobs, Waterbucks, Bush Duikers, etc. Another great place to explore the natural beauty of the city is the nearby Lake Albert where you can enjoy boating. Two of the most incredible sites here are the historic Mparo Tombs that are a royal burying site and the Katasiha Fort and Caves that have centuries-old carvings and trenches. Hoima is one of the few places that give you inroads into the ethnic Ugandan tribes at places like the Bunyoro Palace. You can enjoy a cultural safari here to know about the beliefs, customs, and heritage of this powerful empire. Another great experience that shouldn’t be missed is visiting the Kabwoya Game Reserve where you can enjoy fossil hunting, birding, horseback rides, etc. Hoima experiences short summers that are overcast and humid. The winter months are muggy and cloudy. The best months to visit are June-October and December since these are low rainfall months.

Zimbabwe

Best of Zimbabwe

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Kampala, located on the East African plateau near Lake Victoria, has been the capital city of Uganda since 1962 and its cultural and educational epicentre. Centuries ago, it was the hunting ground for the Budanga kings and was referred to as the ‘Hill of the Impala’. Kampala is known as one of the most scenic Uganda tourist places due to its stunning and diverse landscape. The city is nestled between seven hills and its landscape is punctuated by beautiful valleys, slow-moving rivers, and forested plains covered in Elephant grass and evergreen forests of African olive and Natal fig. Kampala’s beautiful diversity of ethnic tribes and faiths is apparent in the iconic places of worship that it houses. You can not only see one of the seven Baha'i Temples here but also the Gaddafi Mosque, the second largest mosque in Africa. The city is also one of the best Uganda tourist spots to see the remains of its ancient tribes like the UNESCO protected Kasubi Tombs, which are a burial site of Buganda Kings. Another very interesting place is the Uganda Museum known for its collection of musical instruments, fossils, and the in-house cultural village. People who love shopping and exploring new cultures must visit the Owino market, which is the country’s largest open market. Here you can meet the locals, shop for clothes and local jewellery.  History enthusiasts cannot miss visiting the Ndere Center to see ethnic tribal dance performances and the infamous torture chambers at the Kabaka’s Palace. After a day of sightseeing, spend some time in solitude listening to the calming hymns at Gurdwara Ramgarhia Sabha. Kampala has two annual wet seasons with warm and muggy weather. December to February is the best time to visit the city since this period is less rainy.

Namibia

Best of Namibia

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Kira is located between Gayaza, Mukono, Kampala, and Lake Victoria and is Uganda’s largest urban center where most of the working-class people live. It is the country’s second most populated city and one of the best places to visit in Uganda. Kira is a quiet and laid back city dotted with marketplaces, residential colonies, and gardens of medicinal plants and trees. One of the best places to visit here is the Uganda Martyrs Shrine, one of the best Uganda tourist places,that’s dedicated to 15 martyrs who were burnt alive in 1886 for their refusal to stop following Christianity. Sports enthusiasts must visit the Mandela National Stadium that’s Uganda’s largest stadium. With some luck, you can even run into the famous local football teams. Those who love trying out indigenous cuisines must visit places like the Marian Gardens, The Address, and Grand Food Tavern, etc. These are some of the best places to try the unique Ugandan dishes like Luwombo, Katogo, Matoke, Kikalayai, Posho, etc. Kira mostly sees warm and humid weather with overcast skies most of the days. December to February are the best months to visit here.

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This city is located in central Uganda near the Kampala-Jinja highway and is bordered by Kira and Kalangala. Mukono is visited by travellers to get a quintessential urban African experience of shopping and traditional food. This is primarily an urban city with pockets of rural settlements. These rural areas are the lushest areas that have dirt trails and traditional African thatched-roof huts. This is where you can meet beautiful people and see their famous colourful ethnic attire. Mukono is a haven for people who are out to explore the beautiful charms of Uganda. You can explore the Central Market and its local shops that sell traditional African textiles and jewellery. This is also a great place to try the delicious Ugandan street food and drinks. Nature-lovers should visit the Ssezibwa Falls, one of the most scenic Uganda tourist spots. This waterfall is famous for its roaring waters and the surrounding forests that house the rare Vervets, African Cobra, Green Mambas, Red-Tailed monkeys, etc. Don’t miss to explore the surroundings of the Ssezibwa Falls, one of the top Uganda tourist places,where you can find centuries-old artefacts of the Buganda people including ancient caves and 100-year-old trees. Take a break from the touristy places and head over to the beautiful campus of Uganda Christian University for a leisurely stroll. Don’t miss the ancient Catholic Church on the university grounds. The weather here is overcast and humid almost throughout the year. The best time to visit Mukono is from June to September to enjoy all the outdoor activities.

Other Attractions

Murchison falls.

Murchison Falls

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria

Jinja, Start Of The Nile River

Jinja, Start Of The Nile River

Ssese Islands

Ssese Islands

Nyero Rock Paintings

Nyero Rock Paintings

Kasubi Tombs

Kasubi Tombs

Ndere Centre

Ndere Centre

Owino Market

Owino Market

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Lake Katwe Explosion Crater Drive

Lake Katwe Explosion Crater Drive

Kazinga Channel

Kazinga Channel

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Lake Mutanda

Lake Mutanda

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

The Equator

The Equator

Entebbe Botanical Gardens

Entebbe Botanical Gardens

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rubaga Cathedral

Rubaga Cathedral

Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park

Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park

Ssezibwa Falls

Ssezibwa Falls

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi

Lubiri Palace

Lubiri Palace

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Passport & Pixels

28 Brilliant Things To Do In Uganda

best tourist destination in uganda

Written by BELLA FALK

Tourist attractions in Uganda: its friendly people

Uganda! A country of rolling green hills, misty valleys and craggy mountains. Where lions stalk their prey through grasslands, hippos soak lazily in the shallows, and mountain gorillas move purposefully though tangled forests. Where the calm waters of Lake Victoria transform into the thundering rapids of the River Nile as it makes its way across Africa.

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Less well-known, less-well travelled, but no less enchanting than its East African neighbours, Uganda is a country of surprises and highlights .  But you already know that, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog. You’re here because you’re thinking of going – or perhaps you’ve already booked your trip – and you want to know what are the top things to do in Uganda . Well you’ve absolutely come to the right place.

Visiting the River Nile is one of the best things to do in Uganda

If you follow this blog you’ll know I spent four months living and working in Uganda , so I got to know the country pretty well. During that time I took the opportunity to visit as many of the tourist attractions in Uganda as possible, and at the end of the trip I did a big two-week Uganda adventure , taking in all of the country’s main highlights.

And now I’ve compiled them all into a list. I’ve personally visited, experienced, blogged about and photographed every single one of these things , and written about some of them for Lonely Planet , so you can rest assured these recommendations are as real and honest as it gets.

So here, in no particular order, is my list of the 28 Best Things To Do In Uganda.

The craters at Queen Elizabeth National Park are one of the top tourist attractions in Uganda

1/ Chimpanzee Trekking

If you’ve read other blogs about Uganda, you may already know that this is one of the last places in the world where you can see the critically endangered mountain gorillas. But far less well-known is the fact that you can also spend time and hanging out with our closest relatives: chimpanzees. These guys might not get as much of the glory as their larger neighbours, but visiting them is just as thrilling an experience, and costs a fraction of the price.

Several of Uganda’s parks and forests, including Kibale Forest and Queen Elizabeth National Park, have habituated chimpanzee families, which have been gently trained to tolerate the presence of humans. A chimpanzee tracking experience can be a half or full day, during which you’ll hike through the forest to find the group, before spending time observing them in the wild. If you’re lucky enough to get close to them, as I did, it’s truly breathtaking. It’s definitely one of the top things to do in Uganda.

Read More:  Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale

Chimpanzee trekking is one of the most popular things to do in Uganda

2/ Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t also visit the gorillas if you’re able to. There are only about 880 mountain gorillas left in the world, of which about half live in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. That means the chance to see them is extremely rare, and is the main reason why this is the number one tourist attraction in Uganda.

Like visiting the chimpanzees, gorilla trekking involves hiking through thick jungle to find your allocated gorilla family – one of just a handful which have been habituated to the presence of humans. Once you’ve found them, you’ll spend a magical hour observing these magnificent creatures in the wild.

The price tag may be eye-watering ($600 last time I updated this blog post) and the going can sometimes be a bit challenging, but when are you ever going to come back to Uganda or have the chance again?

Read More: Gorilla Trekking in Rainy Season

Best places to visit in Uganda: Young gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

3/ Wildlife Safaris

Uganda may not have the cachet of Tanzania’s Serengeti or Kenya’s Masai Mara, but wildlife spotting is still one of the top tourist attractions in Uganda, and there are more than enough safari animals here to delight even the most discerning of connoisseurs. What’s more, because Uganda is less crowded, you’ll more than likely have the animals all to yourself – and it’s cheaper too!

Uganda has 10 national parks, which are collectively home to more than 350 different mammals, including lions, leopards, hippos, elephants, giraffes, zebras, hyenas and buffalos, as well as over 1000 species of birds . Safaris can be organised through one of Uganda’s many safari companies, or though a small group travel company like G Adventures .

Read more: 46 Amazing African Safari Animals – A Photo Guide

A leopard in Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park

4/ Queen Elizabeth National Park

The largest and many would say the best of Uganda’s National Parks, Queen Elizabeth is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Uganda. Located on the western border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, and right on the equator, the park covers nearly 2000 square kilometres and is home to all of Uganda’s wildlife big-hitters. If you only have time to visit one park, make it this one.

You can easily fill a couple of days here with game drives: try an evening drive to spot elephants feeding or big cats on their way out to hunt, and then get up before dawn to enjoy the sunrise and see the hippos returning to the water after a night grazing. At night, sleep in a safari tent so you can hear the sounds of the park at night as you drift off, and if you’re lucky your camp might even receive a nocturnal visitor or two – a slightly terrifying but exhilarating experience.

Read More:  The Amazing Animals Of Uganda: A Photo Guide

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best places to visit in Uganda

5/ Kazinga Channel Boat Trip

While you’re in Queen Elizabeth National Park it would be a mistake not to do a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel, a 20-mile-long shallow river that flows between Lake George and Lake Edward. Animals of all shapes and sizes come down to the water’s edge to drink and bathe, so on any given day you’re guaranteed to see everything from elephants, hippos and buffalos, to – if you’re lucky – a pride of lions. 

The beauty of wildlife spotting by boat is that the animals don’t seem to be bothered by its presence, meaning you can get much closer than you might be able to by car. On a sunny day a lazy boat journey down any river is a wonderful thing, but when you add in more wildlife than you’ll have room for on your memory card, this particular journey becomes one the best tourist attractions in Uganda.

Kazinga Channel boat trips last two hours and cost around $30 per person. Top blog tip: if you can, sit on the left hand side, as that’s the one closer to the shore.

Read more:  A Boat Trip on the Kazinga Channel

What to do in Uganda: take a Kazinga Channel Boat Trip

6/ Great Rift Valley

As well as amazing wildlife, Uganda boasts some of the most stunning landscapes to be found anywhere in Africa. The country sits on the Great Rift Valley, a vast crack in the earth’s crust created as two tectonic plates move apart from one another, creating an enormous 4000-mile long trench that’s widening by a few centimetres every year. Over millions of years, as the continent slowly tears itself in two, these powerful forces have formed dramatic peaks and troughs, creating some of the highest mountains (including Uganda’s Rwenzori mountains), violent volcanoes, and some of the deepest lakes in Africa (Lake Victoria, for example).

You’ll glimpse the effects of the Great Rift as you travel throughout Western Uganda. From the many huge lakes, to the vast flat plain of the rift itself, to the peaks of the surrounding mountains, these are views you won’t forget in a hurry.

Read More:  19 Wildlife Photography Tips for Beginners

The Great Rift Valley is one of the most famous places in Uganda

7/ Volcanic Craters

Thanks to all that volcanic activity , Uganda is home to some spectacular craters and crater lakes. Millions of years ago all this scenery would have been scorched and black, but today the fertile volcanic soil has given life to rolling green landscapes dotted with sparkling water holes. There’s something extra special about the perfectly round shape and sharp outline of a crater lake, and the way the water, unruffled by  currents and sheltered from the wind, reflects the sky as sharp as a mirror.

There are stunning craters and crater lakes all across Western Uganda, but the best ones are the Katwe Craters in Queen Elizabeth National Park – do a late afternoon crater drive to really see them at their sparkling best. Or, if your budget will stretch, try spending a night at either Crater Safari Lodge in Kibale, or at Kyaniga Lodge in Fort Portal: both are stunning luxury hotels perched right on the edge of crater lakes with views to die for.

Things to do in Uganda: visit Katwe Crater Lake in Queen Elizabeth National Park

8/ Tree-climbing Lions in Ishasha

Another thing that Queen Elizabeth National Park is well-known for is its tree-climbing lions. These are not a unique subspecies of lion – all lions can climb trees – but this particular park happens to have some very climbable trees, and the lions here aren’t slow to take advantage.

The wonderful thing about lions in trees is they’re much easier to spot and photograph. Hidden in tall, dry grasses at ground level, a lion is virtually invisible, but up in a tree he’s on full display, and likely to rest there for several hours. When one is spotted the rangers let each other know, so as long as he doesn’t wake up and head off to hunt before you get to his location, you’ll have a good chance of spotting him.

To see the tree-climbing lions, simply drive to the Ishasha sector of the park, ask every car you pass if they’ve seen a lion, and keep your eyes peeled!

Read more: Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda: Is It Overhyped?

Things to see in Uganda - Tree-climbing lions

9/ Murchison Falls National Park

Located about five hours’ drive north of Kampala, Murchison Falls is Uganda’s largest national park: a massive 4000 square kilometres. Not only does it boast about 500 bird and 75 mammal species, it’s also home to the most powerful waterfall in the world. Murchison Falls is where the River Nile , the world’s longest river, squeezes its entire force through a tiny 6-metre crack and plunges over a 43-metre drop at 300 cubic metres per second. Which is pretty noisy and impressive to behold, and is what makes it another of the top tourist attractions in Uganda.

There are two ways to see Murchison Falls – and I highly recommend you do both. Take a boat trip along the Nile to see the Bottom of the Falls, front on, and then either hike up, or take the boat back and drive up to the Top of the Falls to see the churning, tumbling water close up. Later you can do a game drive in the park to spot giraffes, antelopes, hyenas or elephants, before relaxing in one of the area’s many safari lodges.

Read more:  What To Do In Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls is another of the tourist attractions in Uganda

10/ Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

If you’re heading from Kampala up to Murchison Falls, don’t miss Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary on your way through. Located just three hours from the capital (so it’s also doable in a weekend), Ziwa is the only place in Uganda to see rhinos in the wild – and not just see them, but get extremely close to them.

Because of poaching, rhinos became extinct in Uganda in 1983.  Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was set up 15 years later to reintroduce them.  They started with just six animals, but thanks to a successful breeding programme they now have 22, with more on the way.

You can see the rhinos by taking a guided walk with an armed ranger. These last about two hours and cost $45 per person for a non-Ugandan. If two hours isn’t enough for you, you can also stay overnight in the park.

Read more:  A Visit To Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is one of the top Uganda tourist attractions

11/ Go Hiking In Sipi Falls

Situated at 1,775 m above sea level in the foothills of Mount Elgon in Eastern Uganda close to the border with Kenya, Sipi Falls is a relaxed hill town that makes a great location for a weekend break away from Kampala. Thanks to its fresh mountain air, rolling hills and craggy cliffs it’s popular with adventure enthusiasts, especially hikers, climbers, and hill runners.

The area gets its name from three pretty waterfalls – and a hike to see them, which takes the best part of a day, is the area’s main attraction. But there are plenty of other outdoor adventures to be had too, from tours of the local coffee plantations, to birdwatching walks, to hill running, to rock climbing on one of 14 bolted sport routes and even abseiling down the side of the main 100m waterfall – which I didn’t do because it sounds terrifying!

Read More: What To Do In Sipi Falls

Things to do in Uganda: go hiking at Sipi Falls

12/ Kampala

Although most people come to Uganda for the wildlife and scenery, most trips will start or end in Kampala, and no guide to things to do would be complete without mentioning it.

Kampala has a reputation for being noisy, dirty and crowded, but it’s also the beating heart of the country: full of vibrancy, hustle and bustle, noise and colour. Originally built on seven hills, and now sprawling out over many more, Kampala can be confusing to navigate, but the centre is compact and well-organised, with plenty to see and do for a day or two.

Learn about Uganda’s history and the brutal regime of Idi Amin at Mengo Palace, also known as Kabaka Palace – where you can see Amin’s chilling former torture chambers – or check out the last resting place of the former Kings of Buganda at the Kasubi Tombs. Stroll along Parliament Avenue to take in some of the best colonial architecture, shop for souvenirs or African art in one of the many craft markets and art galleries, or avoid the traffic by hopping on the back of a boda-boda (moped taxi) and whizzing across the city (not for the faint-hearted, but an excellent and cheap way to get around).

Read More: Top Weekend Trips From Kampala

Tourist attractions in Uganda: Kampala skyline

13/ Kampala Mosque

A popular thing to see in Kampala is the Old Kampala National Mosque . This stately yellow building with its cluster of copper domes is the 5 th largest mosque in Africa, with space for around 16,000 people all praying together. The huge prayer hall is decorated with stained glass from Italy, an enormous blue and red woven carpet, and intricate chandeliers from Egypt. If you’re feeling energetic, try climbing the 306 steps to the top of the minaret for stunning views of the city spread out in all directions – the  perfect way to get your bearings and take in the size of the city from a peaceful vantage point.

Read More:  A Video Producer in Kampala: The Story of Safi and Amir

Tourist attractions in Uganda: Kampala mosque

14/ Kampala Bars and Restaurants

When you’ve had your fill of sightseeing, it’s time to enjoy Kampala’s main attraction: its nightlife. The city is known as the party capital of East Africa, so much so that visitors regularly come from Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda to party the weekend away.

Kampala is divided into districts, each with its own vibe. The main party area is along Acacia Avenue: here you’ll find popular local favourites including  Bubbles O’Leary’s Irish Pub , Big Mike’s bar and nightclub, Kurb bar which sometimes hosts live music, and a little further up the road is Cayenne , which has a restaurant, a poolside bar, and a dancefloor.

Outside the city centre, Kabalagala is known for being a slightly more seedy area, but it still has a few quirky options including Deuces, and Café Cheri. Or head up the road to Bugolobi for excellent cocktails at The Alchemist .

Kampala also has a reputation for excellent food, with dozens of restaurants to try. Here are some of my favourites: Di Vino for the best steak I had in Africa; try Bistro for excellent chicken or fish; Miso Garden for Korean/Asian fusion in a peaceful garden setting; or Mediterraneo for excellent pizza and pasta.

Read More:  A Perfect Day in Kampala

The Alchemist Bar, Bugolobi is one of the most popular things to do in Kampala

15/ Lake Bunyonyi

Located in the far west of Uganda close to the border with Rwanda, Lake Bunyonyi is a charming place to spend a day or two relaxing.  This stunningly pretty lake is dotted with dozens of islands, some of which have fascinating dark stories. Take a ride in a small dugout canoe to learn about some of them, from Punishment Island, where girls who got pregnant out of wedlock were abandoned to die, to Leprosy Island, which used to be a leper colony run by a Scottish missionary.

A great place to stay is Byoona Amargara , a peaceful island retreat run as a not-for profit enterprise that supports community development at Lake Bunyonyi. Choose between a budget cabin or one of their amazing open-sided ‘geo domes’ with views out over the lake. Fall asleep to the gentle sounds of nature, wake to birdsong, relax during the day with short walks or swimming in the lake, and stuff yourself silly with the restaurant’s amazing food.

Fun fact: even though it’s relatively small, Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa and the fourth deepest lake in the world, at 900 m at its maximum depth.

Lake Bunyonyi is one of the most beautiful places in Uganda

16/ Visit the Batwa People

While you’re in Bwindi or Mgahinga National Parks, it’s worth taking time to visit one of the Batwa communities. The Batwa people are a hunter-gatherer tribe, who for thousands of years lived a nomadic lifestyle in the forests of Western Uganda.

But in 1991 the area they live in was turned into a national park, and the Batwa were forcibly evicted. Now they live in makeshift camps on the edges of the forest, where they survive by subsistence farming and offering cultural experiences to tourists.

Visits to the Batwa include the chance to learn about their traditional way of life and watch displays of music and dancing. It’s a great way to support this displaced and marginalised community who really need our help.

Tours can be organised through the Uganda Wildlife Authority or the Batwa Development Programme – but make sure you only do an official visit, as these are culturally sensitive and your ticket price goes back to support the community.

Read more: The Batwa People: How To Visit Uganda’s Displaced Community

One of less well-known Uganda things to do is visit the Batwa

17/ Stand On The Equator

Another easy and popular thing to do in Uganda is to visit the Equator. Uganda sits right on this magical line, providing a rare opportunity to stand with one foot in the Northern and one foot in the Southern Hemisphere – a slightly surreal but fun experience if you’ve never done it before. 

The points where the Equator crosses major roads are all marked with circular monuments, but the main place to see it is at Kayabwe, on the Masaka-Mbarara highway, about 45 miles from Kampala.

Here there are craft stalls and cafes, and you can watch a demonstration that proves that water does indeed circle down a plug hole in opposite directions on either side of the Equator. I’d heard this but I didn’t know if it was true or not, so it was fascinating to see it for myself!

The Equator is one of the top tourist places in Uganda

18/ Lake Mburo National Park

About five hours’ drive west of Kampala, Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks. It’s mostly home to herbivores like antelopes, zebras and buffalo, but there are no elephants or lions here. This means that it’s a much safer place to roam around than the other parks, making it the ideal spot for outdoor activities like horseback riding, mountain biking or bird-spotting walks, without running the risk of being trampled on or turned into a tasty meal for a big cat.

Lake Mburo is a great place to stop for night on your way back to Kampala from the west. If your budget will stretch, stay at the stunning Mihingo Lodge , one of the Uganda’s most spectacular lodges, which boasts luxury boutique log cabins with private verandas overlooking the park, and a swimming pool with one of the best views I’ve ever seen!

Read More:  Top Weekend Trips from Kampala

Lake Mburo National Park is one of the best places to visit in Uganda

19/ Lake Victoria

Uganda may be landlocked, but what it lacks in sea views it makes up for with the mighty Lake Victoria. This huge body of water sits on the south side of the country, across the borders with Kenya and Tanzania, and at over 23,000 square miles is the largest lake in Africa.

The best departure point to see Lake Victoria is Entebbe (about which, more below).  Enjoy a sunset cruise to enjoy the calm waters, or take a trip out to some of the many islands. The main highlight is the Ssese Islands, an archipelago of 84 islands featuring blue waters, soft white sands, and thick forests – which make for a fantastic off-the-beaten-track tropical island experience. The main island,  Buggala Island is easily accessible by ferry from Entebbe, and is a popular weekend destination for Kampala residents, with a string of beachfront hotels and bars.

Read more:  Top 34 African Birds: A Safari Photo Guide

Lake Victoria is excellent for Uganda sightseeing

20/ Entebbe

If you’re travelling by plane, Entebbe is where your trip to Uganda will start and end. But the town is more than just a hub for the airport – it’s also a peaceful retreat right on the shores of Lake Victoria just an hour from Kampala, and it’s a great way to spend a day or two at the start or end of your holiday, or as a weekend away from the capital.

During the day, enjoy the peaceful greenery and bird life of the Botanical Gardens, parts of which are so perfectly lush and jungly they were used in the 1940s as a location for the original Tarzan movies. If snakes or crocodiles are your thing head for the Reptiles Village where you can see some of the many poisonous snakes carefully rescued when they show up uninvited in people’s homes across the country. Or visit the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre – about which, more below.

In the evening, wander along the shores of Lake Victoria and have a meal at a lakeside restaurant while enjoying the fresh air and maybe the sound of a local band.

Read More: Things To Do In Entebbe

Entebbe Botanical Gardens is another of the best Uganda tourist places

21/ Uganda Wildlife Education Centre

One of the highlights of my trip to Uganda was my visit to Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (or Entebbe Zoo as it’s sometimes known) and the chance to come nose-to-nose with some of the planet’s most incredible creatures.

Far more than just a zoo, UWEC is a wildlife sanctuary where animals rescued from poachers or the illegal pet trade are brought to be cared for until they can be released back into the wild. Those that would be unable to fend for themselves – often because they were only babies when they were found – are kept permanently. These animals have been hand-raised by humans, and that means you can get close to them without fear. Do the Behind the Scenes tour for the chance to feed a giraffe, stroke a cheetah, or make friends with an elephant – at $75 it’s not cheap, but it’s worth it!

Read more: A Day At Uganda Wildlife Education Centre

Or why not watch the short video I made for a taste of the action!

22/ Source of the Nile

The River Nile is the longest river in the world – over 4000 miles long – and runs all the way from Uganda at its most southern end to the Mediterranean sea in the north.

In the 19th century, during the golden age of exploration, a small group of intrepid British adventurers was determined to find the source of this mighty waterway. After several years of searching, punctuated no doubt by run-ins with hostile locals and the occasional bout of one tropical disease or another, it was eventually – and controversially – claimed in 1858 by a man named John Hanning Speke at Jinja, about 80 km east of Kampala.

The historic discovery of the Source of the Nile (or one of them, at least) is commemorated at the Source of the Nile monument just outside Jinja. Take a guided boat ride upstream and onto Lake Victoria, where it’s said you can actually see the bubbles as the water rises out of the lake and begins its journey north.

The River Nile is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Uganda

23/ Whitewater Fun in Jinja

As well as being the place where the River Nile begins, Jinja is also Uganda’s whitewater adventure capital. The foaming waves and thundering rapids of the world’s longest river are a huge draw for adrenalin junkies, who come to enjoy the thrills of whitewater kayaking and rafting on rapids that reach Grade 5 in some areas. Head to the Nile River Explorers base for all the adventures you can eat – from extreme rafting to tandem and solo kayaking to quad biking.

For those of a more nervous disposition, NRE also offers more sedate activities like stand-up paddleboarding or horseback riding. With plenty of places to stay, eat, and drink, and a fun, relaxed vibe, it’s not surprising that Jinja is now the second top tourist attraction in Uganda after the gorillas.

A word of caution though: flowing water is fine, but avoid swimming in still water at the river’s edge as the area is known for carrying the waterborne parasite bilharzia – which won’t kill you but may well ruin several days of your holiday.

Read more: Jinja and the Nile River Kayak Festival

Whitewater rafting in Jinja is one of the top tourist attractions in Uganda

24/ Boutique Lodges

One of the top tourist attractions in Uganda is the chance to stay in one of the country’s many spectacular safari lodges. Far more than just a hotel, these places are experiences in themselves, often featuring sympathetically-designed wood cabins with private terraces overlooking stunning views, and offering delicious three-course meals all included in the price of your stay. While they’re not as cheap as a campsite or a less luxurious hotel, I definitely recommend you treat yourself to a night or two if you can stretch to it.

There are plenty to choose from, but here are a few that I can personally recommend: Kyaninga Lodge in Fort Portal, perched high over a stunning crater lake; Crater Safari Lodge in Kibale, which features luxury cabins with verandas looking out over another crater lake;  Mihingo Lodge with its spectacular vistas over Lake Mburo National Park; Bush Lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you fall asleep to the sound of hippos grunting in the nearby river, or Bakiga Lodge , which clings to a hillside overlooking the misty treetops of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Read More:  An Afternoon in Kibale, Uganda

Tourist attractions in Uganda: Crater Safari Lodge, Kibale

25/ Rolling Green Landscapes

As you travel round Uganda, one of the things you cannot fail to notice is how green the country is. If you’ve only ever seen Africa on the news you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a dry, dusty continent, but that couldn’t be further than the truth.

Uganda is actually about as rainy as the famously damp United Kingdom, with over 1 metre of rainfall every year, so there’s no shortage of water to provide the necessary juice for things to grow. And – wow! – does stuff grow! Bananas, cassava, potatoes, corn, beans, coffee, cotton, tea, tobacco… these are just some of the things they produce, which means you won’t struggle to find delicious fresh fruit and veg with almost zero food miles.

Many people make a living from subsistence farming, each family owning a small plot of land where they grow crops to sell at the local market. As a result Uganda’s rolling landscape has become a patchwork of terraces and squares, each one a slightly different shade of green.

Look out for them particularly as you drive through Western Uganda’s volcanic region – you’ll definitely be stopping the car to hop out and take pictures – and it’s what makes the landscape another one of Uganda’s many tourist attractions.

Read More: Two Weeks In Uganda – A Suggested Itinerary

The rolling green hills of Kisoro district are another of the Uganda attractions

26/ Ugandan Music

Uganda has a vibrant music scene, which is influenced not only by local and African sounds, but also by the wider international music industry. Two of the most popular traditional genres are Kidandali, which features the use of typical Ugandan sounds and samples, and Kadongo Kamu, which means ‘one little guitar’ and is based around the acoustic guitar. In Kampala especially there are plenty of opportunities to hear live bands performing all kids of music – try Ndere Cultural Centre for local bands, or JazzVille in Bugolobi for really fun and accessible Jazz.

Music and dance are popular Uganda tourist attractions

27/ Arts and Crafts

If Ugandan art is what you’re after, Kampala also has a colourful art scene with at least half a dozen galleries representing both local and internationally-known artists. AfriArt , AKA gallery and Nommo Gallery are probably the best-known, but there are several of others, all offering unique and stylish paintings and textiles that’ll look great on your wall back home.

For souvenirs and crafts you’ll find roadside stalls at every tourist destination , but for the best prices and the most choice save your shopping for Kampala. Here there are two main permanent markets: the  Exposure Africa market on Buganda road and the African Craft Village behind the National Theatre.

Everything from carved wooden figures and animals and leather to jewellery and textiles are on offer here – some are imported from Kenya but there are plenty of local items too. On Fridays there’s also a craft market in Nsambiya along Ggaba Road where you can buy items directly from the artisans who made them – and the prices are often better too.

If you prefer not to have to haggle, a great place to shop for unique local souvenirs is one of the three branches of Banana Boat . This carefully-curated store works directly with local artisans to source and sell unique products you won’t find anywhere else, so not only will you come home with something beautiful, you’ll also be helping to support local businesses.

Tourist attractions in Uganda: Arts and crafts

28/ Meet the People

One of my favourite things about Uganda – that makes it such a joy to travel in – is its people. Rarely have I travelled anywhere where the locals are so warm, welcoming and helpful. As I travel I often stop people and ask for photos – sometimes I’m refused, sometimes they ask for money, but in Uganda almost everyone I met was happy to oblige and asked for nothing in return.

Wandering around by myself with my camera I never felt unsafe or threatened, and although a blonde white woman is often the subject of curiosity, people’s glances almost never felt aggressive or intrusive as they have done in other places I’ve visited. It also helps that English is one of the national languages, making Uganda a very easy and enjoyable country to travel in.

Tourist attractions in Uganda: the people

So there you have it – my top 28 things to do in Uganda!  Do you think I’ve missed something! Let me know in the comments, or contact me and I’ll add it in!

And if you’re going to Uganda – happy travels!

Read more about the amazing things to do in Uganda

If you enjoyed this, find out more about some of the beautiful places in Uganda here:

7 Best Weekend Trips from Kampala, Uganda

  • A Perfect Day in Kampala
  • What Happens On A Chimpanzee Trekking Safari In Uganda
  • What To Do In Sipi Falls, Uganda
  • The Rewards Of Visiting Uganda’s Batwa Tribe

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28 Brilliant Things To Do In Uganda

An Unhelpful Guide to The Rockaways & New York

8 thoughts on “28 brilliant things to do in uganda”.

This is an awesome guide to Uganda. I feel you can really explore the country with the information and tips you have here. Great post!

Thanks Natasha, I’m so pleased you like it! 🙂

Wow, your post made Uganda move up my bucket list. Can you recommend the country to travel solo?

Thanks Nicola! I must admit I didn’t travel solo as I was always with friends, but I’d say that as long as you take all the usual sensible precautions then yes I don’t see why you couldn’t travel solo in Uganda. If I was going back there again I certainly wouldn’t think twice about it.

Saving this fantastic epic post for when we visit Uganda next year – so much to see and do and fabulous photos Bella ?

Thank you so much! I hope you love the place as much as I did!

Thanks for the comprehensive and attractive portrayal of Uganda.

Breathtaking sights. Great memories.

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Top 10 Uganda Destinations Great For Safari

Lake Bunyonyi on To 10 Destinations in Uganda, places you should visit

Uganda’s top 10 destinations great for safari include two rainforest jungles popular for primates viewing, three shoreline destinations on two massive lakes, and five savannah game parks—an impressive collection no other Africa safari destination, that size, can dream of having.

From the savannah plains, rainforest jungles to hidden cultural cities, Uganda has many obscure and diverse destinations great for a private or group African safari holiday. In this little country, the size of Britain, there are 10 national parks, 12 wildlife reserves, a multi culture mix, and a bucket-load of breathtaking landscapes; it’s challenging to decide which places deserve the distinction of the best destinations to visit in Uganda.

That’s why we considered a variety of factors, such as the destination’s ttractions, access, bioviversity, accommodation options, as well as popularity and ratings, to determine which are best places for safari in Uganda.

Uganda’s top destinations have become popular with private and small group travelers and what makes them preferred by the new and seasoned travelers is that its tourist numbers are still small and tolerable compared to its famous giant safari neighbors ( Kenya and Tanzania ).

There’s a big chance that an ordinary traveler’s toes will not get stepped on, their lazy evenings will not be disrupted, or even they might be the only one on a game drive in the entire national park. The destination is a giant private reserve that makes private safari an affordable indulgence for an everyday traveler.

Uganda has all the savannah plains, the rainforest jungles, the snow-capped mountains, and the indigenous African cultures to brag about. Having all this travel trove in one giant private reserve, I think, makes Ugandan people the most modest, welcoming, entertaining, and so much caring hosts.

Take a look at our compilation of the top 10 Uganda destinations; use it for your vacation planning, and cast your vote at the end of this post to have a say in next year’s list.

Places you should visit in Uganda

Top 10 Destinations in Uganda

  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Entebbe – Kampala
  • Kibale National Park
  • Lake Mburo National Park
  • Jinja, Source of The Nile
  • Lake Bunyonyi
  • Kidepo National Park
  • Rwenzori National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park

1. Queen Elizabeth National Park

Few reserves in the world have such high biodiversity, landscapes, savannah plains, bushland, wetlands, and lush forests like this park. Covering 1978 sq km, scenic Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most popular of all Uganda destinations with animals and tourists.

Uganda’s most famous safari destinations protect the highest number of animals. Some of the best to see on safari include hippos cooling off their massive bodies in the Kazinga channel, elephant parades, lion prides, leopards, hyenas, Uganda kobs, and the chimpanzee troop in the Kyambura Gorge forest.

The park is easy to reach and enjoys a stunning location on the rift valley floor between Lakes Edward and George. Varied habitats epitomize the rift valley vegetative mosaic that tempted our hominid ancestors to migrate from forest to grasslands and are home to 95 mammal and 612 bird species.

Queen elizabeth National Park landscape view of Rwenzori backdrop

Scenically, Queen Elizabeth National Park has everything: thirty miles to the north of the park, the blue Rwenzori Mountains explode from the plains—a composite, jagged mass of mountains, sixty miles long and forty wide. Looking in a certain ever-changing park atmosphere, the mountains seem like you can reach out and touch them.

Across Lake Edward to the west, the Mitumba hills stand sentinel on the Congo border, blue in the long sight, but the closer you get, the green, wooded, steep, and unfriendly epitomize dark Africa.

Mweya Peninsula is the park’s primary tourist hub. Reached by a narrow portage separating Lake Edward and the Kazinga Channel. The peninsula enjoys marvelous views in all directions. Mweya is home to the park headquarters, several modern safari lodges , and budget hostels.

Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Top Destination in Uganda

The Kazinga Channel

The Kazinga Channel shores provide year-round water for large numbers of birds, reptiles, and mammals. A boat safari (or launch trip) to view this wildlife spectacle is Queen Elizabeth National Park’s most famous and enduring activity. Boat safaris make a 2-hour round trip between the Mweya jetty and Lake Edward, providing marvelous opportunities to view up-close crocodiles, elephants, hippo, buffalo, and a wide variety of waterbirds.

A network of safari game tracks allows game drives to explore the plains north of the Kazinga Channel. Large numbers of animals live here but a patchwork of grassland and scrubby thickets can make game viewing challenging especially after the long rains; you will need more time on your safari drive tocarefully spot them.

The Channel track and the Leopard Loop are probably the most likely of all Uganda destinations to find Leopard and Giant Forest Hog. The area is also memorable for its distinctive candelabra trees (Euphorbia candelabrum) and the African Fish Eagles perch.

Kyambura Gorge

At the foot of the rift’s Kichwamba escarpment, the Kyambura River flows through the deep, cliff-lined Kyambura Gorge towards the Kazinga Channel. The Fig Tree Camp at the gorge’s edge provides a giddy view down into the 100m-deep chasm.

The canyon contains a beautiful riverine forest in which travelers can track one habituated chimpanzee troot with gorge’s forest. Chimpanzee trekking excursions head out twice daily at 8:00am and at 14:00.

Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, the ravine offers a remarkable nature hike that’s a great compliment to savannah game drives on the plains above.

ishasha tree climbing lions in queen elizabeth national park

Ishasha Sector

The magnificent and remote Ishasha sector lies in the extreme south of Queen Elizabeth NP , adjoining the Virunga National Park, which lies on the opposite side of the Ishasha River in the D.R. Congo. Few tourists make the long drive from the famous Mweya sector in the north. It is their loss, for the sector enjoys a wilderness character unrivaled elsewhere in the park.

Ishasha is home to a superb variety of animal variety. Hippos are common in the Ishasha River that forms the border between DRC and Uganda. Buffalo, Topi, and Kob roam the Ishasha plains, some of which become prey for Leopard and the sector’s most famous residents, the tree-climbing lions.

These docile felines can be easily spotted draped over the branches of large fig trees and acacia trees. Their motive for tree climbing remains unclear to researchers. Still, whether it is to enjoy the shade, watch for approaching meals, or avoid irritating bugs, Ishasha lions look incredibly comfortable on their high perches.

Best Safari Trips To Queen Elizabeth NP

QENP is the best of all Uganda destinations, excellent for family safari holidays. The park welcomes all ages and is the easiest to access. You can visit it any time of the year, and it’s also a great addition to any of the two primate destinations , Bwindi & Kibale Forests. Nkuringo Safaris , a long-serving trusted operator, runs a promotional trip to see the mountain gorillas in Bwindi and visit QENP.

best tourist destination in uganda

EXCITING EXPEDITION TO MEET UGANDA’S GORILLAS & QENP WILDLIFE

6 DAYS 

From $2,538 pp

2. Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda Safari Tours

Voted second on our top 10 Uganda destinations is Murchison Falls National Park, which sits on the shores of Lake Albert in northwestern Uganda. It’s known for the rumbling Murchison Falls, the most powerful falls where the Victoria Nile River squeezes through a 7-meter narrow gap to splash out powerful water at 300 cubic meters per second.

Adjacent to Murchison is Uhuru Falls, taking the excess of Murchison Falls water to create a spectacle that has become a Uganda tourism magnet.

Together with the adjacent Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and Karuma Wildlife Reserve, the park forms the Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA), the largest of all Uganda destinations at 3,893 square kilometres (1,503 sq mi).

Murchison Falls National Park is endowed with big game, including elephants and hippos, and you could catch sight of the chimpanzee in the Kanyiyo Padidi mahogany forest. The Lake Albert Delta is home to rare shoebill storks. There is game fishing in the cascades of Karuma Falls.

MFNP lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift, where the valley’s bounding escarpments fade into north Uganda’s anonymous expanses. The Victoria Nile bisects the park for 100 kilometers as it flows west from Karuma Falls to the Albert Nile. Created in 1952, today, it forms the core of the even larger Murchison Falls Conservation Area (5,072 sq km), including the adjoining Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves.

The River Nile through that park with its teeming hippo and serried ranks of crocodiles on the sandbanks, coupled with large numbers of other species coming down to drink and bathe, in the highlight of a visit to this magnificent park.

The most dramatic view of the waterfall is at the top of the falls, where the sight and sounds of the Nile crashing through the 6-meter wide chasm makes an unforgettable assault on your neural senses.

The Falls site may be reached either by vehicle or a hot half-hour climb on foot after leaving the Paraa launch in Fajao Gorge. The latter route passes Baker’s point, a peninsula that faces Murchison Falls and a secondary cataract named Uhuru Falls.

Murchison Falls National Park Landscape one of the top destinations in Uganda

Wildlife in Murchison Falls

The Paraa boat safari cruise is undoubtedly the park’s most enduring and famous safari attraction . The safari boat trips that launch off at Paraa jetty cruise up the Nile to the bottom of the Murchison Falls. On the Nile banks, you can spot the Nile crocodiles, elephant herds, lions, lazy hippos, buffalo, Rothschild’s giraffe, oribi, hartebeest, and monitor lizards.

Birding is spectacular along the Victoria Nile River to the delta. Hundreds of Red-throated bee-eaters nest in a river cliff near Paraa, while you’ll find many waterbirds along the channel.

The most prized bird sighting in Murchison is the strange-looking Shoebill or Whale-headed Stork, which frequents marshy areas. With luck, you can see the Shoebill from the Paraa boat safari, but opportunities are best in the Victoria Nile’s papyrus delta, Mabamba Swamp, where the river enters Lake Albert.

The best safari game viewing opportunities in this top Uganda destination are found north of the Nile in the savannah plains of Buligi Area. This stunning grassland wilderness is sandwiched between the Victoria and Albert Niles with panoramic views towards the rift valley escarpment in the West Nile districts and DR. Congo.

Murchison Falls wildlife collection lucks the Rhino to complete Africa’s famous Big 5 game animals list (Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Cape Buffalo, and Rhino). Unfortunately for safari enthusiasts, the fifth of them, the White Rhino, lives in the nearby Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, is closed off for tourism due to misunderstandings between the private sanctuary’s owners.

However, the Buffalo and elephant are ubiquitous among Murchison Falls NP wildlife. A very healthy lion population likes to prey on the abundant Uganda kob on the expansive park’s savannah plains. Several antelope species roam the plains, including oribi, Jackson’s hartebeest, Defassa waterbuck, grey duiker, and bushbuck.

On the Victoria Nile banks, which bisect the park, are crocodiles and hippos busking under the savannah heat. You’re also most likely to see large herds of the localized Rothschild’s giraffe in the park, but the leopard is far from showing up randomly. The most likely place to see the leopard is in the vicinity of Pakuba Lodge.

Troops of the rare Pata’s monkey sometimes hand around the grassy plains and are easy to spot on a Uganda safari game drive . The neighboring Budongo Forest offers chimpanzee tracking excursions to compliment your game drive. It’s fun watching these distant habituated cousins showcase their native behaviors.

Other notable areas north of the river are a parkland-like expanse of Borassus Palms near Tangi and the Nyamsika Cliffs viewpoint, overlooking a river valley used by wildlife as a corridor to reach the Nile. Game is more scarce in the bushier habitats south of the river. However, you can find forest species, notably Chimpanzee, in the Kanyiyo Padidi Forest in the southern part of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area.

Murchison Falls Safaris

For Big 5 enthusiasts , Murchison Falls Route is a perfect bucket list-lickers choice. Lion, elephant, leopard, and Cape buffalo roam the massive park plains. Trips in Murchison feature a boat launch on the Nile to the foot of falls and early morning and evening game drives in the Delta.

Murchison Falls Destination Safaris

Murchison Falls Big Game Safari Journeys.

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3. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park a famous destination in uganda

Bwindi would have taken the number one spot on the top 10 Uganda destinations because it protects the world’s most precious jungle jewels, the mountain gorillas. Alternatively, it took the third because it’s only popular with international tourists and not the locals. And this is mostly because it’s the most expensive of all places to visit in Uganda.

The name Bwindi comes from the local word “Mubwindi” meaning place of darkness. The thick forest canopy blankets the forest floors creating an environment for plants to highly compete for light and an impenetrable jungle for humans. Thus the name Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

This swath of steep ridges covered in the thick, steamy jungle is just as magnificent as it sounds. The 32,092 ha (320 sq km) UNESCO World Heritage-listed Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of Africa’s prehistoric habitats that scientists date back to have survived the last Ice Age as most of the continent’s other forests disappeared. The tropical forest is one of the largest areas in East Africa, which still has Afromontane lowland forest extending to well within the montane forest belt.

Located in a mountainous area in southwest Uganda (near the border with Rwanda in the south), Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is most famous for its giant primate inhabitants , the mountain gorillas.

See Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi

Home to almost half of the world’s mountain gorilla population, the property represents a conservation frontline as an isolated forest of outstanding biological richness surrounded by an agricultural landscape supporting one of the highest rural population densities in tropical Africa. Community benefits arising from  gorilla trekking tourism  and other  ecotourism  may be the only hope for the future conservation of this unique site.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the best place in the world to see mountain gorillas up close. Spending a once-in-a-lifetime moment up close with these critically endangered forest giants is an unforgettable experience any traveler should include on their travel bucket list.

However, restricted numbers of viewing permits are issued at a hefty price of USD 700 ( Discounted at $400 ) to help protect the endangered gorilla groups. So make sure you book your gorilla permit months way before your planned safari trip to one of the top 10 Uganda destinations to get a chance to view these cousins.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest jungle

Hiking Trails in Bwindi Forest

Even if you can’t afford gorilla tracking, Bwindi is a rewarding place to visit just for a chance to explore the lush virgin rainforest. Several 3 to 7-hour hikes run by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) penetrate the Impenetrable Forest between Buhoma and Nkuringo sections of the forest. The walks, conducted by the premier Nkuringo Walking Safaris , begin at 9 am and 2.15 pm and cost US$30 per person (not including your park entry fee).

The Waterfall Trail leads to a magnificent 33m waterfall on the Munyaga River, but just as impressive is the rich forest ecosystems it passes through. It is the best trail for spotting both orchids and primates.

If you visit during the good weather seasons , the Muzabijiro Loop Trail and Rushura Hill Trail offer excellent views south to the Virunga volcanoes and the Western Rift Valley in the DRC. The latter, which is a more challenging climb, also serves up Lake Edward’s views and, on an exceptionally clear day, the Rwenzoris can be seen.

A longer but much easier trek is along the River Ivi Trail, which follows a planned but never-built road between Buhoma and Nkuringo. It’s a 14-kilometer walk through the forest and then another 6km uphill to join the Nteko-Nkuringo road; some travelers brave the last 10 kilometers to Nkuringo, and others hitch a boda-boda or have their driver pick them up. If you’re moving between Nkuringo and Buhoma, this is the most rewarding way to go. It is also the best bird-watching trail in the forest.

Seasoned hikers start from Kisoro town and take the 18km trek to Lake mutanda (which the walking guide can shorten to 10 km with some driving). You’ll pass through primitive communities with children dashing out hellos and cheering like it’s a July parade.

When when you reach Lake Mutanda, take a 2.5-hour paddle (life jackets provided) in a dugout canoe across to Mutanda Lake Resort. From here, it’s another 4km on foot to Kisoro or drive 36km (1 hour) to Nkuringo Sector .

Call Nkuringo Walking Safaris on +256 702 805580 or email [email protected] for pricing and other details.

Gorilla Trekking Experiences

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest protects about half of all the mountain gorillas globally, with four sectors well positioned on the park boundaries to make sure you don’t miss any opportunity to see the mountain giants.

You’re guaranteed 98% to see the mountain gorillas in Bwindi because it has more habituated gorillas than Rwanda or DR Congo and with the most a ffordable gorilla permit (USD 700/400). The Southern Section (Nkuringo & Rushaga Sectors) offers the best trekking and habituation experiences.

Although the low season offers the best lodging prices, the best time to see gorillas is between June to August and December to February. At these times, the forest trails are drier and therefore less slippery. Also, your chance of a dry gorilla viewing experience is higher during these months. This might result in a better experience, and photography will be easier.

What to pack for gorilla tour in Uganda

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Entebbe - Kampala Night cultures of Uganda. top Destinations in Uganda.

4. Entebbe – Kampala

Entebbe town and Kampala City make the top 10 destinations in Uganda list mainly because one is the nation’s cultural and business hub (Kampala) while the other (Entebbe) is the only hub connecting Uganda to other international cities.

Established on rolling hills some 10km off northern Lake Victoria shores, Kampala is the conventional African capital. More verdant than many of its regional counterparts, not relatively so populous or chaotic as others —but practically the familiar contrast of a bustling compact high-rise city center rising from a leafy suburban sprawl, increasingly organic as one reaches its rustic periphery. It has a contrasting atmosphere of modern urban bustle and time-warped tropical languor.

Kampala is linked to Entebbe’s international airport by a smooth-surfaced highway passing through a lush cover of broad-leaved plantains that make for a fascinating introduction to Uganda.

Coming by air, you’ll land at Entebbe International Airport (EBB, 3km from the town center, and if your main interest is natural history, then you’d be well advised to stay over in Entebbe rather than heading on to the capital.

Kampala is the pulsating heart of Uganda’s cultural and intellectual life, nightlife. It also lies at the international and domestic long-haul bus network hub, making it an attractive base for independent travelers seeking a taste of urban African cultures .

Because Kampala is extensive to cover in the top destinations in Uganda list, please read a great piece we wrote on Exploring Kampala City, Uganda’s Economic and Social Hub.

Entebbe’s attractions to see include Uganda Wildlife Edication Center, commonly known as the Zoo, which will give you a great introduction to most of Uganda’s wildlife you’ll find in the countryside.

Lake Victoria, the largest lake on the continent is a good place to start your visit to Uganda. Birders will find the shores rich with unique bird species in places like Botanical Gardens and Mabamba Swamps (for the Shoebill Storks). Ngamba Islands on Lake Victoria protects orphaned chimpanzees and tourists can visit via a speed boat and even spend a night or two on the island.

Near the airport are a great many places to stay that are a walking distance to shopping malls, local open markets, golf courses, and quaint suburbs for sunset walks and biking experiences.

Victoria Shopping Mall in Entebbe

Entebbe Town

Introducing You To Uganda

Kibale Forest guided chimpanzee tracking excursion

5. Kibale National Park

Stepping into Kibale Forest, you will immediately be welcomed by the dew freshness, endemic flowers’ fragrance, and primates’ musty scents. The alien sounds that bounce off your eardrums echo from distant red colobus hoots and exotic birds’ tweets.

In the distance, the sound of forest elephants felling branches along its path gives you an image of what surprise inhabitants you could encounter in this ancient tropical forest. Unexpected visitors leave trails around your forest camp or cottage to inform you that someone is watching when you’re not.

Guttural belches from warthogs remind you of the clumsy Pumba and Timon escapades of the ‘Hakuna Matata’ juggles. Gaze up, and a single scene might capture the iconic and unique as an olive long-tailed cuckoo flies above a small buffalo herd. The spirit of this jungle will make you feel more alive than ever before.

This 795-sq-km national park just outside Fort Portal comprises dense tropical rainforests, within which dwell enormous numbers of primates. If you can’t afford the lavish cost of mountain-gorilla tracking, then visiting one of the five habituated troops of chimpanzees here is a very worthy substitute, not to mention a far less financially draining one. Also regularly seen here are the rare red colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys.

Beaming with an alluring combination of exquisite landscape scenery and various remarkable tourist activities, Kibale Forest National Park, together with the nearby Ndali-Kasenda Crater Lakes, is close to being an independent traveler’s dream.

Kibale Forest is highly powerfully and mysteriously attractive to nature lovers who come to view a wide range of forest birds and track chimpanzees and other twelve primate species (the highest concentration on the continent) that find refuge within the park.

Kibale National Park’s scenic appeal, chimp tracking cost, and the rising number of safari lodges make it one of the top destinations in Uganda and a great alternative to the southern gorilla destination Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

The most popular activity in Kibale National Park is the guided chimpanzee tracking excursion out of Kanyanchu almost as popular is the guided walking trail through the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, which is probably better for general monkey viewing and one of the finest birding trails in the country.

There is also plenty of potential for unguided exploration in the area, both along the main road through the forest and around Bigodi trading center and Kanyanchu Camp. If time is limited, it’s advisable to do the activity that most interests you in the morning — this is the best time to see chimpanzees and when birds are most active.

Bigodi wetland sanctuary

Guided forest walks in Kibale cost USD 30/40 Day/Night, excluding park entrance.

A highlight of any visit to Kibale Forest will be the chimp tracking hike that leaves Kanyanchu at 08.00 and 14.00 daily. Chimp sightings are not guaranteed on these walks, but the odds of encountering them have significantly improved in recent years and now stand at around 96%. The chimpanzee community, whose territory centers on Kanyanchu, is well habituated, with the result that visitors can often approach within a few meters of them.

While in the forest, you can expect to see at least two or three other types of primates, most probably grey-cheeked mangabey and red-tailed monkeys .

You will hear plenty of birdsong, but it’s challenging to see any birds in the heart of the forest. You’re better off looking for them in the rest camp and along the road. The guides are knowledgeable and will identify various medicinal plants, bird calls, and animal spoor.

For dedicated chimp enthusiasts or aspiring researchers seeking field experience, join a chimpanzee habituation experience , which involves staying with the chimps all day with habituators and taking notes on their behavior. A one-day chimpanzee habituation experience for foreign non-residents and residents costs USD 250 per person, and East African Nationals cost UGX 250,000 per person. The cost includes guide fees and park entrance but not accommodation.

Kibale Forest stands out as one of the top Uganda destinations because of its exciting guided night walk with spotlights. The guided night walk runs from 19.30 to 22.00 daily, costs US$40 per person, and offers a good chance of sighting nocturnal primates such as the bushbaby and potto.

Rwakobo rock in Lake Mburo NP

6. Lake Mburo National Park

With exciting African wildlife watching in arm’s reach of the capital, the 370-sq-km Lake Mburo National Park is an increasingly common stop on the southwestern Uganda safari circuit. It’s the only one of the top 10 Uganda destinations in the southern region where you’ll see zebras, giraffe, and the only park in the country with impalas, slender mongoose, and giant bush rats.

Lake Mburo is an underrated Uganda safari destination, dominated by the eponymous lake, which — with its forest-fringed shores hemmed in by rolling green hills — is scenically reminiscent of the more celebrated Lake Naivasha in the Kenyan Rift Valley.

Despite its relative accessibility, Lake Mburo National Park is historically bypassed by most Uganda safari trips and independent travelers, presumably due to the low ‘big five’ count, particularly the lack of elephants and lions.

Even in the absence of wildlife heavyweights, however, Lake Mburo offers some excellent safari game viewing. Stay for two or more nights, and you’re as likely to see as many different large mammal species over a day as you would in any Ugandan national park. Some recent developments have raised the profile of the park.

With some desperation, safari operators have promoted Lake Mburo National Park as an ideal overnight stop along the long drive between Kampala and the other top destinations in southwestern Uganda. Amazingly, the number of travelers accepting the invitation has risen sharply since exemplary lodges opened up in the park, like the luxury Mihingo Lodge.

Wild Game in Lake Mburo

Lake Mburo is also the only protected area of the top 10 destinations in Uganda where visitors can view game animals on foot and horseback. The park harbors several species you may not see easily elsewhere in Uganda.

It is the only reserve in Uganda to support a large population of impala, and one of only three protected areas countrywide where Burchell’s zebra occurs—the other two being the far less accessible Kidepo Valley and Pian Upe.

Other antelope species casual visitors can spot are topi, bushbuck, common duiker, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, and Bohor reedbuck. At the same time, the lake and lush fringing vegetation support healthy populations of buffalo, warthog, bushpig, and hippopotamus.

Lake Mburo National Park Zebra,  one of the two top destinations in uganda to see Zebra

Roan antelope , once common, are now locally extinct, but large herds of the majestic eland still move seasonally through parts of the park. The sitatunga antelope is confined to swamp interiors, and the klipspringer is occasionally observed in rocky areas. Only two diurnal primates occur at Lake Mburo: the vervet monkey and olive baboon.

The eerie rising nocturnal call of the spotted hyena is often heard from the camps, and tourists less frequently observe individuals crossing the road shortly after dawn. Leopard, side-striped jackal, and various smaller predators are also present, most visibly white-tailed mongoose (at dusk and dawn) and three otter species resident in the lakes.

Bird experts have recorded about 315 species of birds in Lake Mburo National Park. It is probably the best place in Uganda to see acacia-associated birds. Rwonyo Camp is as good a place as any to look for the likes of mosque swallow, black-bellied bustard, bare-faced go-away bird, and Ruppell’s long-tailed starling.

A handful of birds recorded at Lake Mburo are essentially southern species at the very northern limit of their range, for instance, the southern ground hornbill, black-collared and black-throated barbets, and green-capped eremomela.

Of particular interest to birders are the swamps where six papyrus endemics are resident, including the brilliantly colored papyrus gonolek, the striking blue-headed coucal, the highly localized white-winged, and papyrus yellow warblers; recorded nowhere else in Uganda.

Lake Mburo Safaris

For locals, Lake Mburo is the cheapest and most accessible of the top 10 Uganda destinations. The park offers excellent family safari holidays and bush walking experiences for Kids.

For tourists, the park offers excellent complementary to the gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest ( see above ). It also acts as a buffer for the long voyages to Bwindi and Queen Elizabeth National Parks.

This small park is located 107 km from Masaka City and 67 km before Mbarara City.

White Water Rafting Jinja on the Nile

7. Jinja, Source of The Nile

One of Uganda’s largest towns, Jinja, just about 80km east of Kampala, overlooking the point where the Nile flows out of Lake Victoria (the Source of The Nile), makes it to our top 10 destinations in Uganda because of its overwhelming popularity with local and international travelers. And it is the source of the mighty river rather than the moderately interesting town that attracts visitors to Jinja.

The thrilling series of grade-five rapids below Bujagali Falls, a magnet for adrenaline tourists, has emerged as perhaps the single most popular tourist activity in Uganda, arguably surpassing even the mountain gorillas of the southwest. The rapids attract several adrenaline adventures concentrated in a small radius. It is one of the most spectacular white-water rafting destinations in the world.

There is also a certain poignancy attached to standing on the slopes from where Speke first identified that geographical Holy Grail which, less than a decade earlier, had lured an obsessed (and hopelessly misdirected) Livingstone to a feverish death near Lake Bangweulu in Zambia.

No less impressive is the knowledge that the water flowing past these green slopes will eventually drain into the Mediterranean, following a 6,500km journey through the desert wastes of Sudan and Egypt.

Jinja has an attractively lush location on the northern shore of Lake Victoria above the Ripon Falls, identified by Speke in 1862 as the source of the Nile , but submerged following the construction of the Owen Falls Dam in the 1950s. The colonial town was formerly the industrial heartland of Uganda, with a current population of 300,000 people.

Although its population makes it one of the largest urban centers in Uganda, Jinja is far from a metropolis that straddles the source of the Nile.

First-time visitors wandering around Jinja’s compact, low-rise town center might reasonably reflect on the colonial times the Europeans made this place their economic center.

clothes to wear on Uganda safari gorilla trekking

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The town center proliferates with abandoned colonial architecture. Some fine colonial-era Asian architecture — epitomized by the restored 1919 Madvhani House on Main Street — complemented by a spread of thickly vegetated residential suburbs carved from the surrounding jungle, does give Jinja a compelling sense of place.

A great selection of accommodation choices sprouts around the city, allowing any traveler to spend a night in this colonial town. From hippie hostels to luxury travel lodges, you can’t fail to get where to spend your night in Jinja. A trip to any of the top Uganda destinations without visiting the source of the mighty Nile river will leave you with unfinished business guilt. It would be best if you extended your stay in Uganda to visit Jinja city.

Why You Should Visit Uganda in February, Bets time to visit Uganda

8. Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi’s exotic landscapes that are a magnet for local and international travelers place it on this list of top 10 destinations in Uganda. Dotted with at least 20 small islands and encircled by steep terraced hills, Bunyonyi is a magical spot. It has been a popular day trip out of Kabale for decades. Over the past few years, the lake has further gained popularity thanks to a proliferation of budget and other campsites and resorts around the small fishing village of Rutinda (also known as Kyabahinga) and nearby islands.

Bunyonyi is a local name translating to “little birds,” which references the prolific weaver colonies along its shore. Larger birds are also represented by grey-crowned cranes, African harrier hawks, and various herons and egrets. Other common sightings include the levillant cuckoo, white-tailed monad, slender-billed baglafetch, cardinal woodpecker, and the African kingfisher.

The lake is large and irregularly shaped with numerous islands and the surrounding hillsides, which locals have beautifully cultivated like parts of Nepal. The area is vibrant with activities like canoeing, cycling, or hiking.

Also in its favor is the high-altitude location, which ensures a moderate climate (often becoming quite chilly at night) and a relatively low incidence of malaria. Health authorities have reliably reported the absence of Bilharzia and crocodiles and hippos, which means the lake is very safe for swimming adventures.

Active travelers will be excited that the easy availability of canoes, kayaks, and mountain bikes for hire, and enough potential excursions to keep one busy for days.

Gorillas Chimps & Wildlife Wanderlust

Things to do around lake Bunyonyi

One primary reason to include lake Bunyonyi on the top destinations in Uganda is the endless opportunities for activities available at the Lake Bunyoni region . Many villagers around the lake, several of the guesthouses, and campsites have boats for hire. It isn’t challenging to arrange a canoe trip on the lake. Canoeing is a popular activity, and you can rent dugouts from most of the camps. Charges are pretty reasonable but practice for a while before heading off on an ambitious trip around the islands, as many tourists end up going round and round in circles, doing what’s known locally as the mzungu (corkscrew).

There are endless walking opportunities in the area, and for those who want a challenge, you can boat across the lake before trekking down to Kisoro. Guided walks are also popular, and these can usually be arranged through camps here. However, if you want a relaxed amble along the shores of the lake, it is straightforward enough to find your own way.

You can hire a Mountain bike (per day USD 10) from Bunyoni Overland Camp and are a great way to get along the lakeshore, although getting to Kabale would require a king of the mountains, Tour de France style effort.

Wednesday and Saturday are Kyenvu open market days, drawing villagers from all over the region. It is a long way from all the camps around the lake and involves a three-hour trip by the dugout. However, most of the camps can arrange a rower to help out or secure a motorboat for rent. The people out here are pretty shy, so be sensitive with a camera.

There are also several Batwa villages in this part of the region, and if you can link up with a friendly guide at the market, you might be able to arrange a visit to a Batwa community. Nearer to the camps is Punishment Island, located midway between Bushara and Njuyera Islands; so named because it was once the place where unmarried pregnant women were dumped to die. Tragically, most of them did die trying to swim for shore because they usually didn’t have the stamina to make it. It is easy to spot – it has just one small tree in the center.

Kidepo Valley National Park, the most remote of all the top destinations in Uganda

9. Kidepo National Park

Nestled in the extreme northeastern corner of Uganda among rugged hills and valleys and off the beaten track, Kidepo National Park is a destination hidden so far away that its beauty has mostly gone unnoticed. Sprawling with expansive savannah plains, soaring mountains, spectacular landscapes, and great buffalo herds, Kidepo Valley offers one of Africa’s most attractive picturesque safaris. It sits on a massive 557 sq mile (1,442 sq km) rocky semi-arid Karamoja province.

Of all the top ten destinations in Uganda, Kidepo Valley is the most remote and unusual. It is crammed in the northwestern corner of Uganda’s border with Kenya and South Sudan, which would take approximately 10 hours to drive 292 mi from Kampala to Kidepo on the newly paved road.

Kidepo National Park offers breathtaking savannah scenery that ends on a rocky horizon. The park harbors outstanding landscape scenery unrivaled by any other national park in the whole of East Africa, and it features a wide latitudinal array that offers a variety of climatic conditions which support remarkably different vegetation.

The diverse vegetation facilitates the different assortment of animal species within the park which are equally plentiful, among which are not seen in other parts of this country. The wildlife and vegetation in the park are rather more characteristic of Kenya than Uganda.

Over 77 animals inhabit Kidepo National Park. Among the resident Carnivore species only endemic to Kidepo are the hunting dog, bat-eared fox, cheetah, striped hyena, caracal, aardwolf, Beisa Oryx, Lesser Kudu plus Grant’s gazelle, elephant, Orbis, Burchell’s zebras, Jackson’s hartebeests, bush pigs, cape buffaloes, bohor reedbucks, warthogs, defassa waterbucks, Rothschild giraffes, bush duskier and elands, bushbucks, in addition to lions, common zebras, leopards, plus several small cats such as the side-striped jackal, Kongoni, black-backed jackal spotted hyena, lions are seen to rest on the rocks.

The park has five primate species, including the endemic Kavirondo bush baby, numerous Orbis within the Narus Valley, Guenther’s Dik Dik, the Senegal Galago, and the White-tailed Mongoose. However, they comfortably come out for a good show on a night game drive.

Kidepo Valley has the second-highest population of birds than any of the top destinations in Uganda, led only by Queen Elizabeth National Park, showcasing an impressive bird list of over 470 species. Sixty of the bird species on its list haven’t been recorded anywhere else in Uganda. Kidepo is especially good for spotting raptors, with 56 species on record. You can spot migratory birds in Kidepo from November to April.

Karamojong Jumping dance

Kidepo National Park is home to one of the smallest ethnic groups in Africa: the Ik. With a population of just above 10,000, the small tribe struggles to preserve their unique culture and language , which no rival tribes understand. A visit through Kidepo will immerse you in their raw cultural practices that even a historian would marvel at. You’ll learn about their fascinating way of life, meet the village elders and enjoy a fun-filled activity with the community children.

Hike into the Morungole Mountains within the park to engage with the enchanting Ik people. This remote community of subsistence farmers has kept to their traditional way of life, with villagers only traveling to the lowlands to trade grain.

Not far from the Ik are the interesting Karamojong pastoralists. Initially, it isn’t easy to distinguish between IK people and Karamojong due to their similar lively jump dancing, specific hut building, and unique dressing . The difference between these two tribes is that the Ik people speak the Teuso language and practice subsistence farming and are not nomadic pastoralism, like the Karamojong.

The Karamojong people are also an intriguing tribe that has seen much attention from tourists due to their authentic cultural experiences and activities. They are a Nilotic tribe for whom cattle form an essential part of their culture. The cattle are assembled collectively and provide cow blood and cattle blood for food, just like the Maasai in Kenya.

Now that UNRA has paved major roads further north of Uganda, it puts Kidepo Valley National Park comfortably on the top 10 destinations in Uganda list. Have the honor to visit this outstanding destination.

10. Rwenzori National Park

Rwenzori mountains national park

We couldn’t talk about the top 10 destinations in Uganda without including something for the adventure seekers. Uganda has something for every kind of traveler, even extreme hikers too.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park encompasses the legendary Rwenzori mountains dubbed the mountains of the Moon, where the highest snow-peak in the country (third-highest on the continent) pervades the East African clouds. The ranges are a combination of beautiful peaks, glaciers, Valleys, Rivers, Lakes, and various species of flora and fauna, making the Rwenzori scenic. The stratified vegetation is one of the main attractions for visitors.

The Rwenzori is the highest mountain range in Africa. Its loftiest peaks, Margherita (5,109m) and Alexandra (5,083m) on Mount Stanley are exceeded in altitude elsewhere in Africa only by Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. Both of which are extinct volcanoes standing in isolation above the surrounding plains. In addition to Mount Stanley, there are four other glacial peaks in the Rwenzori: Mount Speke (4,890m), Mount Emin (4,791m), Mount Gessi (4,715m), and Mount Luigi da Savoia (4,627m).

The Rwenzori Mountains are unique among east Africa’s major peaks in that they are not volcanic in origin. Still, they do rise directly from the Rift Valley floor, and their formation, like that of Kilimanjaro and Kenya, was linked to the geological upheaval that created the Rift.

The Rwenzori makes our top 10 destinations in Uganda because they hold three of the continent’s five highest peaks. The summits are spectacular, the routes are uncrowded, and the high-altitude forest teems with life. The ranges contain six of Africa’s ten highest mountains, most of them more elevated than the tallest Alps. Yet, to most bucket-list hikers, they are largely unknown, overshadowed by Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, Africa’s two highest mountains.

The fabled ‘Mountains of the Moon’ are now a protected World Heritage Site within the Rwenzori Mountains National Park and considered to be the source of the White Nile.

Rwenzori Mountains range also supports a diversity of animals, including 70 mammal and 177 bird species, several of the latter being Albertine Rift endemics. It is the only national park in Uganda where you’ll find the Angola colobus, though sighting it will require careful search. Nevertheless, you can easily spot the similar and more widespread black-and-white colobus monkey, small antelope such as bushbucks, and unusual reptiles such as the three-horned chameleon.

Rwenzori Trails

Like other large east African mountains, the Rwenzori range has several altitude zones, each with its own distinct microclimate and flora and fauna. It is known for its distinctive flora rather than its fauna. On the route to the peaks, hikers climb through a series of distinct altitudinal vegetation zones, including montane forest, bamboo, tree heathers, and afro-alpine. With its giant symbolic forms of Senecio (groundsel) and lobelia, the latter is one of the world’s rarest botanical communities, limited to East African mountains above 3800m.

The vegetations present a beautiful land terrain and plant life of sub-montane vegetation in the Afro-montane zone covered by luxurious tropical evergreen forest with a high richness in color and species.

On the foothills of the mountain, you will witness farmlands and on top of the distinctive mountain flora, which has attracted a great deal of fauna and delivering a fantastic picturesque to the travel enthusiasts. Arrive at the top of the mountain and behold the majestic snow-capped peaks that will leave you breathless.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is situated in Western Uganda in the East African Rift Valley and also straddles to the Democratic Republic of Congo and its conservation area known as Virunga National Park.

The top 10 Uganda destinations are just a pick from so much that the country brags about. The destination is arguably undiscovered, with very few numbers of travelers flocking in. That makes Uganda an attractive destination for private journeys and authentic African experiences. The plethora of cultures concentrated in major towns and every corner of the country will introduce you, so some never heard before tribes, people, food, languages, colors, and everything in between. Uganda should be on your bucket list. When you’re ready to travel, send us an email at [email protected], and we’ll connect you with local experts to help you plan your custom trip to Uganda. For now, follow our media channels below or leave a comment to let us know what you think.

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Beautiful national park found in Kasese

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Beautiful. You shldve have mentioned the several crater lakes ard the mountain area esp fortportal

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Uganda is amazing, queen elizabeth is the best

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Because that’s where I went and it was fun

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Rwenzori Mountains. One can walk around there for week’s. It’s the best hike I’ve been on on this planet

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i don’t see Lake bunyonyi, i think it should be among the best

lake bunyonyi is my fevourite

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trekking in Uganda and other tourist activities and things to do

  • Experiences

Tourist Activities You Can Experience in Uganda on Safari

Mount Gahinga Lodge - gorilla trekking, golden monkeys, batwa culture in southwestern Uganda

An Unforgettable Nature Escape at Mount Gahinga Lodge

Packing list: what to take on your Uganda safari trip

Packing List, What To Pack for Uganda Safari

Top Luxury Lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest - sanctuary retreat bwindi luxury lodge

Top 6 Luxury Lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Roasted Plantain - Ugandan snacks you must try

  • People & Culture

7 Ugandan Snacks You’ve Just Got to Try

Planning a Uganda Safari Trip in 10 Easy Steps

Planning a Uganda Safari in 10 Easy Steps

tours and safaris

Uganda Wildlife Conservation Tariff Guide

Carnivorous Animals in Uganda

Predators That Rule Uganda’s Wilderness

Discover The Various Types of Travel in Uganda

Discover The Various Types of Travel in Uganda

Coronavirus (Covid) Information for Travelers to Uganda

Uganda Travel Restrictions & Country Declared Ebola Free

Exploring Uganda's northeastern wilderness on a solo safari - traveling alone on self-drive in Uganda

A Solo Safari In Uganda’s North Wilderness

Lake Bunyonyi Near Bwindi Western Uganda

Lake Bunyonyi — An Adventurer’s Guide

Entebbe town attractions

Visit Entebbe, Uganda’s Charming Peninsula Town

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15 Incredible Things to do in Uganda [Culture, Nature, Culinary, Adventure…]

Here are 15 things to do in Uganda. They include gorilla trekking and animal safari, adventure sports, cultural events and much more.

Things to do in Uganda

15 Incredible Things to do in Uganda

Nicknamed the “Pearl of Africa” by Sir Winston Churchill, Uganda offers a smorgasbord of impressive attractions and unique things that you can’t see or do anywhere else. Not only can you go mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda, but can also stand in two different hemispheres at once in this country.

Amazing wildlife , awe-inspiring waterfalls, grand lakes, vibrant culture, and heart-racing adventures all await you in Uganda. So, if you are pumped and ready to learn more, check out the following 15 incredible things to do in Uganda.

1. Straddle the Equator

The best place to straddle the equator in Uganda is Kayabwe of the Mpigi District where you will find a smattering of souvenir shops and restaurants. You will also find an equator landmark in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Uganda on the Equator

Learn more about Uganda’s location on the equator .

2. Go on a Ugandan Safari

Going on a safari trip to see African wildlife ranks near the top of things to do in Uganda. You will discover many expert tour guides and outfits that know exactly where to take you for the best chances to observe the likes of Cape buffalos , elephants , giraffes , lions , antelopes, chimpanzees and more.

African Bush Elephants

Don’t forget about the equatorial sun! Here’s how to choose the best sun protection hat for Africa .

Some of the best places in Uganda to take a safari include Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

3. Join a Gorilla Trekking Tour

Of all the many thrilling things to do in Uganda, the number one on many tourists’ bucket lists is going on a trekking tour to see the mountain gorillas.

The mountain gorillas are an endangered species of less than 1,000 total individuals and can only be seen in three places in the world which include Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to the largest number of mountain gorilla families.

Uganda mountain gorilla facts

More reading: Is Uganda Safe? Guide to Water, Crime, Disease, Sun

These facts alone make gorilla trekking in Uganda a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Wildlife authorities in Uganda enforce strict rules for gorilla trekking in order to protect both the primates and tourists, so you will need to first obtain a permit before joining up with an established trekking company that knows how and where to track the gorilla families.

4. See Where the Nile Begins (Test Your Adrenaline with Extreme Sports)

Most people know that the Nile River is the largest in the world, but did you know that it begins in Uganda? When you are in the area of the Murchison Falls National Park, you will be near the town of Jinja where the mighty Nile starts.

If that isn’t exciting enough for you, the town of Jinja and the surrounding area is known as the “adrenaline capital of East Africa.”

You can enjoy the exhilarating thrill of extreme adventures such as bungee jumping, mountain biking, kayaking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and quad-biking.

5. Explore the Majesty of Murchison National Park

While you are exploring Jinja and the Nile River, you will be nearby Murchison Falls National Park .

This is the country’s largest national park and one of the best places to see Africa’s Big Five that includes the endangered Rothschild giraffes, which are the tallest of giraffes.

Best time to visit Murchison Falls

More reading: How Strong is a Gorilla?

This national park is also a bird watching paradise with more than 450 bird species that include the elusive shoebill. Last but not least, you can’t miss the spectacular waterfall from which the park is named. Whether you go by safari or boat cruise, you will see why this enormous waterfall is considered one of the most powerful in the world.

6. See Wild Rhinos at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

You may find it difficult to see wild rhinos while on safari in Uganda due to their numbers being mostly wiped out by hunters.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary Uganda

However, thanks to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary , seeing these beautiful creatures is still one of the exciting things to do in Uganda.

Located in Nakasongola on the way to Murchison Falls National Park, this wildlife reserve not only offers guided trekking tours to see the rhinos but also hippopotamuses , antelopes, crocodiles , and more than 250 bird species in addition to canoe cruises and scenic nature walks.

7. See the Tree-climbing Lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park

Among the intriguing things to do in Uganda that you can’t do in other places is see tree-climbing lions. Your best chance of seeing these odd lions is in the Ishasha region of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Since the lions hunt by night and sleep most of the day in the trees, you may be able to spot them between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

While you’re in this national park, you will appreciate opportunities to glimpse other wildlife species as well as enjoy hot air balloon rides, boat cruises on the Kazinga Channel, and scenic drives to see Crater Lake, Mountains of the Moon, and the Blue Mountains of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

8. Experience Traditional Culture of Ugandan Tribes at the Nedere Centre

You can’t go to Uganda and not experience the country’s traditional dance and music. One of the best places to do this is the Nedere Centre in Kampala.

Opened every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evening, the Ndere Centre features a 700-seat venue where you will be mesmerized by the high-energy shows displaying the vibrant costumes, dances, and music that represent the culture of local Ugandan tribes. You may even get to try some local foods at the barbecues hosted by the Nedere Centre.

9. Retreat to the National Botanical Gardens

If you find yourself in need of a beautiful place to relax and catch your breath during your Uganda travels, the National Botanical Gardens is the place.

Located near Lake Victoria in Entebbe about an hour outside of Kambala, this sprawling garden complex offers you biking trails and nature walks through lush landscapes of various trees, plants, and flowers while monkeys, squirrels, butterflies, and birds frolic around you.

If your visit is during November, you may enjoy the festivities of the Annual Milege World Music Festival that is held here each year.

How’s your Swahili? Check out our guide to 100+ animal names in Swahili .

10. Get Up Close to African Reptiles at the Uganda Reptile Village

Seeing amazing wildlife is one of the most popular things to do in Uganda, and that includes reptiles. While you’re in Entebbe, check out the Uganda Reptile Village, a sanctuary for endangered reptiles.

You will see 20 different species here that include crocodiles, chameleons, turtles, cobras, monitor lizards, and Africa’s most poisonous snake, the gaboon viper. Spend a little time in the education center to learn more about these reptiles and come away with a better appreciation for African wildlife.

11. Enjoy Outdoor Recreation at Lake Victoria

It wouldn’t seem right to travel to Uganda and not take time out to visit the largest lake in Africa .

Lake Victoria Uganda

Not only does Lake Victoria offer picturesque views and stunning photo opportunities but a wide range of outdoor activities as well.

You can enjoy fishing, water sports, boat cruises, picnics, birdwatching, cultural walks through local villages, and hiking trails that lead to ancient rock art sites. You may also get the opportunity to see amazing wildlife species such as crocodiles, hippopotamuses, turtles, and otters just to name a few.

While visiting Lake Victoria keep in mind that a parasite known as Bilharzia makes swimming in Lake Victoria a risk. It is also becoming more common to hear about attacks from the Nile crocodiles or hippopotamus because much of their smaller pray have been hunted away

12. Escape to the Unspoiled Ssese Islands

You may fall in love with Lake Victoria so much that you never want to leave. If that’s the case, you may want to spend some time on the lake’s 84-island archipelago known as the Ssese Islands .

Ssese Islands Uganda

Looking for the best safari hat? Check out our guide to African Safari Hats for Bush and Jungle Adventures .

A popular tourist destination, the Ssese Islands offers you plenty of things to do in Uganda. You can laze the days away on beautiful, sandy beaches or go sailing, boating, fishing, hiking or horseback riding.

Take a forest walk and count how many chimpanzees you see. Meet the Bantu people who live nearby and learn about their customs and culture.

13. Owino Market

Visiting markets while traveling in other countries is a great way to not only see the various foods and products that are produced by different cultures, but it is also an excellent way to experience the language , customs, and vibe of the local people.

One of the largest and best markets you can visit in Uganda is the Owino Market in Kampala. Browse through a colorful array of produce, electronics, African print fabrics, and handicrafts while watching vendors and customers haggling over prices. Be sure to try some local cuisine at the food stalls.

Learn more: Uganda Currency: 12 Things to Know

14. Tour the Kasubi Tombs to Learn about Uganda’s Royal Kingdom

While you are in Kampala , head over to the Kasubi Tombs where you can delve into the intriguing history of Uganda’s royal family and the Buganda Kingdom, the country’s largest tribal kingdom.

Kasubi Tombs Kampala Uganda

This historic site features the remnants of a 35-building palace and burial grounds of former Ugandan kings and their royal family members. A guided tour of the site allows you to view artifacts, learn about the traditions and rituals of the Buganda Kingdom, and admire remarkable architecture constructed from vegetational materials.

15. Sample Ugandan Cuisine

Trying the local cuisine of a different country only enhances your overall travel experience, so one of the best things to do in Uganda is sample some of the country’s most popular foods.

Roadside stalls and markets offer fresh fruits such as plantains, roasted meat on sticks, and fried breads wrapped around omelets with vegetables (known as rolex ).

Check out our Uganda Food Guide (16 Must Try Dishes for Your Visit)

Rolex chapati in Uganda

At restaurants, you are likely to be served traditional dishes such as luwombo (fish, beef or chicken steamed in plantain leaves with peanut sauce) or chaloko, a hearty meal of pinto beans, onions, green peppers, and onions served with posho (doughy cornmeal mixture).

Fun things to do in Uganda

Learn more about the 18 largest cities in Uganda .

We recommend picking up a travel insurance policy before traveling to Africa. It can cover surprise visits to a medical clinic and protect your belongings should they get lost or damaged.

Uganda may be a small country in size, but it packs so many great attractions and unique adventures that you couldn’t possibly experience them all in one trip. This list only covers some of the country’s most popular highlights.

Other exciting things include visiting historic sites, palaces and temples in the capital city, touring tea and coffee plantations, seeing the stars at night like you’ve never seen before, and meeting the Batwa tribe, descendants of Uganda’s first people. So, what are you waiting for? Uganda is calling you!

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Traveler, Writer, Entrepreneur

Hi, I'm Dena Haines . And I'm co-founder of Storyteller Travel . I love to cover food, animals, and destinations around the world.

I also blog about photography at Storyteller Tech .

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The source of the Nile river starts in the Rwenzoris, Africa’s tallest mountain range that stretch across western Uganda shrouded in mist and teeming with glaciers, waterfalls and alpine lakes. These ‘mountain’s of the moon’ are the home of Uganda’s mountain gorillas and tracking them through this majestic habitat is one of the country’s most iconic experiences. 

Attractions

Must-see attractions.

Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, mountain gorilla

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Southwestern Uganda

Home to almost half the world’s surviving mountain gorillas, the World Heritage–listed Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of East Africa’s most…

Waters of Murchison Falls.

Top of the Falls

Once described as the most spectacular thing to happen to the Nile along its 6700km length, the 50m wide Victoria Nile is squeezed here through a 6m gap…

Igongo Cultural Centre

Igongo Cultural Centre

Located 12km from Mbarara on the road to Kampala, this cultural village features the best museum displays in Uganda. Set on the grounds of a former palace…

A rainbow arches over the spectacular Murchison Falls, Uganda, Africa

Murchison Falls National Park

Uganda’s largest national park is one of its very best; animals are in plentiful supply and the raging Murchison Falls, where the Victoria Nile crashes…

Burchell s zebra in Kidepo National Park, a park set in a semi arid wilderness of spectacular beauty in the far north of Uganda, bordering Southern Sudan.

Kidepo Valley National Park

Offering some of the most stunning scenery of any protected area in Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park is hidden away in a lost valley in the extreme…

Mengo Palace

Mengo Palace

Built in 1922, this small palace is the former home of the king of Buganda, though it has remained empty since 1966 when Prime Minister Milton Obote…

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

This sanctuary in Lake Victoria is home to around 50 orphaned chimps that have been rescued from elsewhere in Uganda and are being rehabilitated as much…

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, on Ngamba Island, Lake Victoria, Uganda.

Eastern Uganda

Located 23km southeast of Entebbe in Lake Victoria, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, or 'Chimp Island', is home to over 40 orphaned or rescued…

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Young Eastern Lowland Gorilla (gorilla beringei graueri) is riding on the back of the mother in the green jungle. Location: Kahuzi Biega National Park, South Kivu, DR Congo, Africa. Shot in wildlife.

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Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Uganda – 2024

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  • February 10, 2024

10 Best Tourist attraction Places to visit in Uganda

There is a variety of tourist attractions in Uganda ranging from Wildlife safaris, Primate Safaris, Birdwatching, Cultural tours, etc. Uganda houses one of Africa’s most enchanting attractions, making it one of the best places to visit in Africa. So it doesn’t matter what your tourist preferences are; Uganda should be your destination in the next tour you will make to Africa.

In this tour blog, we share the top 10 spectacular tourist attractions in Uganda you must see on your next visit. It will be a long one covering some of the best tourist attractions that make Uganda a beautiful country. If you are planning your tour shortly, this guide is for you. Hang in here, and we will tour Uganda with you in just a few minutes.

Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Uganda

Here are the top 10 tourist attractions and other famous places that make Uganda your next perfect destination. We’ve included a list of Game parks, waterfalls, forests, mountains, beaches, and fresh water lakes. These include:

1. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi is one of the Best places to visit in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the best tourist attractions in Uganda. It is located in southwestern Uganda, covering an area of 331 square kilometers. This Park is home to over half of the world’s mountain gorillas. Thus, an estimate of around 400 gorillas are living in this Uganda’s tourist destination.

You will have an opportunity to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitats and see other primates, such as chimpanzees and black and white colobus monkeys. In addition to gorilla trekking, the Park offers other activities, such as guided nature walks, birdwatching, and cultural tours to visit the Batwa people, who are indigenous forest-dwelling people and the original inhabitants of the forest.

The Park was established in 1991 and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. It is named after the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a dense forest that covers most of the Park and is home to over 120 mammal species. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is definitely one of those places you should visit when you come to Uganda.

2. Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the top Uganda Destination in Africa

Murchison Falls National Park is another perfect destination you should include on your list to Uganda. It is found in the northwestern part of Uganda and sits on an area of 3,893 square kilometers. The Park was established in 1952 and is Uganda’s most significant national Park, known for its spectacular Murchison Falls.

It is named after the majestic waterfalls that crash on the Nile River and is home to grasslands, savannahs, and riverine forests. This Park is called the “big five territory” because of Africa’s five most giant animals: lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, and rhinoceros.

However, you can also have a chance to watch other species of mammals, including giraffes, buffaloes, and various antelope species such as kobs and waterbucks, chimpanzees, baboons, and several species of monkeys.

You will have a chance to take boat trips along the Nile River to view the falls up close and observe the diverse wildlife along the riverbanks. This place has a diversity of tourist attractions that make Uganda one of the best places to visit in Africa.

3. Kazinga Channel

Kazinga Channel is one of the Tourist attractions in Uganda

The Kazinga Channel couldn’t miss on our list of the best places to visit in Uganda. It is a natural waterway that flows through Queen Elizabeth National Park in southwestern Uganda. The channel is approximately 32 kilometers long and connects Lake Edward to Lake George, two of the largest lakes in the region.

You will have a chance to take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel to observe hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants, and several species of birds, including African fish eagles, kingfishers, and pelicans. The boat cruises usually take around two hours and are led by knowledgeable guides who provide information about the wildlife and the surrounding landscape.

It is about 420km from Kampala City and has an estimated terrain of about 914m above sea level. It also has two parts which are North Kazinga and Kasenyi Plains. Both parts of Kazinga are excellent points for viewing the Kasenyi Plains and are ideal for lion tracking. So if you are planning your tour to Uganda, Kazinga Channel is a perfect destination to include on your list.

4. Sipi Falls

Sipi Falls is one of the Tourist attractions in Uganda

Sipi Falls is a stunning series of waterfalls located in eastern Uganda on the slopes of Mount Elgon. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions and destinations in Uganda, Africa, known for its natural beauty and the opportunity to engage in various outdoor activities.

Sipi Falls comprises three main waterfalls: Upper, Middle, and Lower. Each waterfall offers a unique and picturesque sight. The water cascades down the cliffs, surrounded by lush green vegetation, creating a mesmerizing and refreshing atmosphere.

Apart from enjoying the scenic beauty, you can also engage in various activities. Hiking is popular, with several trails leading to different viewpoints and the waterfalls themselves. Accommodation options are available in the nearby town of Sipi, ranging from basic guesthouses to more luxurious lodges, providing a comfortable stay for you and your tour colleagues.

5. Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is one of the top Uganda Destination in Africa

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is another renowned conservation project located on Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria, Uganda. Established in 1998, the sanctuary provides a haven for rescued and orphaned chimpanzees, aiming to rehabilitate them and promote their conservation.

The sanctuary spans approximately 100 acres, with about 95% of the island left as natural forest habitat for the chimpanzees. The island is a semi-wild environment where chimpanzees can live in conditions closely resembling their natural habitat.

The primary purpose of Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is to offer a home for chimpanzees that have been orphaned or confiscated from illegal wildlife trade or kept as pets. These chimpanzees undergo a process of rehabilitation to enable them to live in social groups and learn essential skills necessary for their survival.

To visit Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, you can take a boat ride from Entebbe or Kasenyi, with tours and activities typically organized through the sanctuary’s visitor center in Entebbe . I am sure your wouldn’t want to leave this tourist attraction out from your list of places to visit in Uganda.

6. Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is one of the best places to visit in Uganda, Africa.

Kibale Forest National Park covers an area of 795 square kilometers. It is one of the most biodiverse forests and tourist attractions in Uganda and Africa and is famous for its population of chimpanzees and other primate species. The Park is predominantly covered by moist evergreen rainforest, interspersed with grasslands and swamps. 

It is home to an estimated 13 species of primates, including the largest population of habituated chimpanzees in East Africa. You can participate in chimpanzee tracking and trekking experiences, observing these intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located near the Park, is a community-managed reserve that offers guided swamp walks, allowing you to spot various bird species, monkeys, and other wildlife. 

You can visit the park through the daily domestic flights from Kajjansi Airfield and Murchison Falls National Park, which land at Fort Portal Airstrip. Accommodation options are available within and near the Park, ranging from tented camps, lodges, and campsites to guesthouses.

7. Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is one of the top Uganda Destination in Africa

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is located in western Uganda, along the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It encompasses the Rwenzori Mountain Range, also known as the “Mountains of the Moon,” another UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Uganda’s most spectacular mountain ranges and tourist destinations.

The Rwenzori Mountains are characterized by their dramatic peaks, glaciers, and alpine landscapes. They are home to the third highest mountain in Africa, Mount Stanley, which reaches an elevation of 5,109 meters (16,762 feet) at its highest point, Margherita Peak. The mountains are known for their challenging and technical climbing routes, attracting experienced mountaineers worldwide.

The Park’s diverse ecosystems include lush montane forests, bamboo forests, heathlands, and expansive alpine moorlands. The higher elevations are characterized by unique plant species, including giant lobelias and groundsels. In addition, the Park is known for its beautiful waterfalls, alpine lakes, and fast-flowing rivers.

You will enjoy activities like guided trekking and climbing expeditions. There are several trekking routes available, varying in difficulty and duration. The most popular trek is the Central Circuit, which takes around 7 to 9 days to complete and provides stunning views of the mountains, glaciers, and diverse landscapes.

8. Ssese Islands

Ssese Islands is one of the best Tourist attractions in Uganda

The Ssese Islands are a group of 84 islands located in Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa and the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. The islands are part of Uganda and situated in the lake’s northwestern part. The Ssese Islands are known for their natural beauty, sandy beaches, and lush vegetation, making them a popular tourist destination in Uganda.

The group’s largest and most developed island is Bugala Island, which serves as the gateway to the Ssese Islands. Bugala Island is known for its pristine beaches, clear waters, and relaxed atmosphere. The island offers a range of accommodation options, from budget guesthouses to luxurious resorts.

You will enjoy activities like swimming, sunbathing, relaxing on the beaches, and engaging in water sports such as kayaking, sailing, and sport fishing. The lake is known for its abundance of fish species, including Nile perch and tilapia, making it a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts.

9. Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best places to visit in Uganda, Africa.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is a perfect place for a safari located in southwestern Uganda, covering an area of 1,978 square kilometers. The Park was established in 1952 as Kazinga National Park but was renamed two years after Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

This Park is known for its diverse wildlife, including over 95 mammals and over 600 birds. Some notable mammals in the Park include elephants, lions, leopards, hyenas, buffaloes, and various antelope species such as kobs and waterbucks. 

The Park is also home to several primate species, including chimpanzees, baboons, and several species of monkeys. For that reason, it has several attractions for visitors, including game drives, boat cruises on the Kazinga Channel, and guided nature walks. 

Visitors can also visit the Kyambura Gorge, a lush valley home to a population of habituated chimpanzees, and the Ishasha sector, famous for its tree-climbing lions.

Overall, Queen Elizabeth National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts visiting Uganda, offering a unique and unforgettable experience of African wildlife and landscapes.

10. Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park is one of the top Uganda Destination in Africa

Mount Elgon National Park covers an area of 1,279 square kilometers and is named after Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano and the fourth-highest mountain in East Africa. The Park is known for its different ecosystems, including montane forest, bamboo forest, heath, and moorland. It is also known for its scenic beauty, stunning waterfalls, hot springs, and caves.

The most popular areas are the four explorable, vast caves where frequent night visitors, such as elephants and buffaloes, come to lick the natural salt found on the cave walls. Kitum cave, with overhanging crystalline walls, enters 200m into the side of Mt. Elgon.

The Park is also an excellent destination for birdwatchers, with over 300 bird species recorded in the Park, including several endemic species such as the Jackson’s Francolin, the Black-collared Apalis, and the Moorland Chat.

Final Remarks

With all these unique places above, you cannot fail to have an amazing tour to Uganda. We hope this tour guide has helped you to uncover the best places to visit in Uganda. We are a tour and book blog talking about the beauty of Uganda. We would love to see you visit and read about Uganda.

Frequently Asked Questions

One of the most visited places in Uganda is undoubtedly Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This park is famous for being home to almost half of the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas, making it a prime destination for wildlife enthusiasts and tourists interested in gorilla trekking experiences.

Uganda is often referred to as the “Pearl of Africa.” This nickname was popularized by Winston Churchill in his 1908 book “My African Journey,” in which he described Uganda as “the pearl of Africa” due to its natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and rich biodiversity.

If you’re interested in visiting Uganda to see gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, it’s important to note that gorilla trekking is possible year-round. However, June to August and December to February when hiking conditions are generally more favorable is the best time to visit Uganda to see gorillas.

One popular tourist attraction in Uganda is the Murchison Falls National Park. This national park is located in northwestern Uganda and is named after the dramatic Murchison Falls, where the Victoria Nile River squeezes through a narrow gorge, plunging about 43 meters (141 feet) down.

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Where The Road Forks

25 Best Things to Do in Uganda

By: Author Zachary Friedman

Posted on Last updated: January 23, 2024

Categories Uganda

Home » Africa » Uganda » 25 Best Things to Do in Uganda

I have traveled to Uganda twice. On my first trip, I spent two weeks backpacking the country. I fell in love with Uganda from the moment I arrived. A few years later, I returned and ended up spending 5 months living in Uganda. During that time, I visited many of Uganda’s major attractions. Uganda is one of my favorite countries. The people are incredibly friendly and welcoming and the landscape is lush and stunning. It’s also a reasonably safe and affordable place to travel. This guide outlines the 25 best things to do in Uganda.

In this guide, I’ll cover Uganda’s top tourist attractions including nature and wildlife spotting, adventure travel activities, cultural activities, city attractions, foods to try, and more. Whether you’re looking to trek to meet the mountain gorillas, raft down the Nile, explore the local culture, or relax on the shores of Lake Victoria, Uganda offers something for everyone.

If you’d prefer, you can watch my condensed version in my YouTube video below.

Table of Contents

  • Lake Bunyonyi
  • Mountain Gorilla Trekking
  • Visit Sipi Falls
  • Hike Mount Elgon
  • Hang out in Kampala
  • Sample Local Food
  • Visit the Source of the Nile
  • Adventure Activities in Jinja
  • Chimpanzee Trekking
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Stand on the Equator
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Lake Victoria
  • Ssese Islands
  • Visit Entebbe
  • Hike in the Rwenzori Mountains
  • Visit the Volcanic Craters in Western Uganda
  • Shop for Arts and Crafts
  • Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
  • Kidepo Valley National Park
  • Mabira Forrest
  • Lake Mburo National Park
  • Meet the Ugandan People
  • Semuliki National Park and Sempaya Hotsprings
  • Visit the Batwa Pygmy People
  • Uganda Itinerary Recommendation

The Best Things to Do in Uganda

Kids playing soccer in Kampala

1. Visit Lake Bunyonyi

I’ll start this list off with my absolute favorite place in Uganda, Lake Bunyonyi. This freshwater lake is located in the southwest of Uganda near Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, just north of the Rwanda border. Interestingly, Lake Bunyonyi is recognized as the second deepest lake in Africa.

Along the shores of this tranquil lake, y ou’ll find farms, campgrounds, eco-resorts, and several small villages. Boating and birdwatching are the most popular activities for tourists visiting the lake. Lake Bunyonyi is a great, laid-back place to just relax and enjoy nature.

The author at Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

The name Lake Bunyonyi translates to ‘Place of Many Little Birds,’ in the local language. Birdwatchers will find themselves in a paradise. A visit to Lake Bunyonyi provides an excellent opportunity to spot some of Uganda’s colorful and diverse bird species.

One of the must-do activities is taking a boat trip on the lake. Experience the lake up close, as you paddle through the calm waters in a dugout canoe, exploring the various islands, each with its unique tale. If you’d rather not paddle, you can book a tour in a power boat.

There are 29 islands on Lake Bunyonyi. One of the lake’s most well-known islands, Punishment Island, holds a poignant history. It was traditionally where unmarried pregnant girls were abandoned to underscore societal norms. Today, it serves as a historical symbol of the area’s cultural past.

Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

For hikers, the hills surrounding the lake offer rewarding trails with panoramic views. Hike up the hills surrounding the lake and take in a spectacular view of the terraced hills, islands, and villages. There are also opportunities for mountain biking.

The cultural richness of the area is another highlight that shouldn’t be missed. While visiting, you can gage with the warm and welcoming locals, and learn about their customs and traditions.

While visiting Lake Bunyonyi, consider staying in one of the eco-resorts dotting the lake’s perimeter. These sustainable accommodations offer a chance to unwind while enjoying the lake’s beauty.

If you’re on a tighter budget, the town of Kabale is the best place to stay. This is a small, quiet town located about 7 kilometers (4 miles) from the lake. The town offers several budget hotel options available. You can take a taxi from Kabale to the lake.

Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

To read my complete guide, check out my article: How to Visit Beautiful Lake Bunyonyi.  Here, I outline how to travel to Lake Bunyonyi from Kampala and list the best things to do on the lake .

2. Go Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest

Mountain Gorilla Trekking is the most popular activity in Uganda. It’s on every traveler’s bucket list. Mountain gorillas are an endangered species that are found only in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In Uganda, you can go gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Rwanda has gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. In DR Congo, you can go gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park.

A mountain gorilla in Uganda

Getting up close and personal with the mountain gorillas is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The entire species has fewer than 1000 individuals remaining. Uganda is home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas. It’s the best place to go gorilla trekking to view them.

Gorilla trekking involves hiking through the lush jungle to find a gorilla family. The trek can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 7 hours depending on the location of the gorillas on the day of your trek. The trekking time varies greatly. Only a handful of gorilla families have been habituated to humans. Once you find the gorillas, you’ll have around an hour with them before you return to camp.

Mountain gorilla trekking is an expensive activity. If you book a tour in advance, expect to spend around $1200-$1500 for an average tour. The price of the tour includes your permit, a guide, and transportation. Most tours also include one night of accommodation and food. It’s best to book as far in advance as possible as permits are limited. Permits frequently sell out. Particularly during the busy season.

Mountain gorillas, Uganda

It is possible to save some money if you just show up and organize the tour when you are there. There are often last-minute deals available. You can save about $400 this way. The Uganda mountain gorilla trekking permit costs $600. The whole gorilla trekking tour should cost $900-$1000 if you book directly with a guide.

It’s important to note that permits are in high demand. There is a chance that tours are fully booked out if you don’t book in advance. There is a possibility that you miss out.

3. Visit Sipi Falls

Sipi Falls is a series of three waterfalls located in the foothills of Mount Elgon in eastern Uganda, near the Kenyan border. The highest waterfall has a drop of around 100 meters. There are also two smaller waterfalls nearby.

Sipi Falls is located within walking distance of the town of Sipi, Uganda. Sipi is a small mountain tourist town with several restaurants, hotels, and campgrounds. In order to view the falls, you must pass through a lodge and pay a small fee of around $1.

Sipi Falls in Uganda

The surrounding area is full of lush, green hills which are excellent for hiking. A number of hikes are available in the region. The main hike to see the falls is a loop hike around 7 km long. It takes 3-4 hours to complete. This hike will take you along a river, through farmland, and local communities. You’ll see all three falls. A guide is not necessary for the hike but is recommended.

There are a number of other activities you can do while visiting the falls. If you’re looking for an adventure, it’s possible to repel down the cliff face next to the highest waterfall. You can go rock climbing or hill running in the region. There are also some local coffee plantations that you can tour. The area also offers some excellent birdwatching. It’s also possible to go swimming in a pool at the base of one of the falls. One day is enough to see the falls. There is plenty to keep you busy for a few days.

Sipi Falls is located 170 miles north of Kampala. You can easily reach the falls in half a day with public transportation. Sipi sits in the mountains at an elevation of 1775 meters. It’s a great place to go for some fresh mountain air. A visit to Sipi Falls makes for a great weekend trip from Kampala.

For more info, check out my article: How to Visit Sipi Falls Independently and on a Budget.  Here, I outline how to travel to Sipi Falls from Kampala.

4. Hike Mount Elgon

If you’re looking for a more intense hike while you’re in the Sipi Falls region, consider climbing Mount Elgon. This 4321-meter-tall mountain sits on the Uganda-Kenya border. The summit is on the Uganda side. Hiking up Mount Elgon is often considered to be one of the best hikes in Africa.

Summiting Mount Elgon usually takes around 4 days. You’ll spend 3 nights camping on the mountain. Most travelers spend a night in a guesthouse at the start and end of the hike. Before or after the hike, you can visit nearby Sipi Falls.

The hike up Mount Elgon is a bit shorter and less strenuous than Kilimanjaro. It is still challenging. You will need some good hiking equipment including sturdy shoes, warm clothes, and a warm sleeping bag. It gets chilly at elevation.

There is a park fee of $75 for tourists. This includes park entry, a guide, and ranger fees. You will also need to factor in the cost of food, accommodation, equipment rental, tips, and a porter if you need one.

Sipi Falls, Uganda

5. Hang out in Kampala, Uganda’s Capital City

While visiting Uganda, chances are, you’ll end up in Kampala at some point. It’s well worth spending a couple of days exploring Uganda’s exciting capital city. Kampala is the heart of Uganda. It’s a crowded, bustling, and colorful city.

Kampala is a pleasant place to hang out and shouldn’t be missed if you are traveling in Uganda. It’s probably one of the most tourist-friendly capitals in all of Africa. Kampala is affordable, has incredibly friendly locals, and is even fairly walkable. Decent street food is also available.

I spent 5 months living in Kampala and really enjoyed it. Check out my video about living in Kampala to hear about my experience.

Living in Kampala, Uganda as a Foreigner or Expat: Cost of Living, Visas, Safety, Housing, and More

Some of the best things to do in Kampala include:

  • Experience the nightlife- Kampala is one of Africa’s best cities for nightlife. Ugandans love a good party. There are plenty of bars and clubs to explore. Head to the Kololo neighborhoods. Most of the city’s best bars and clubs are located here. You’ll be sure to make some friends with locals, expats, and backpackers when you go out in Kampala.
  • Go on a tour of the city- Hire a boda boda or taxi for a couple of hours and have the driver give you a tour of the city. Most drivers will be happy to show you around. Make sure to haggle hard as they will surely try to overcharge. This is a good way to get the lay of the land.
  • Visit the Uganda National Mosque- This impressive mosque was completed in 2006 and can hold 15,000 people. It was originally called Gadaffi National Mosque then was renamed in 2013.
  • Visit Uganda National Museum- This is a nice place to go to learn a bit about Uganda. The museum includes exhibits about natural history, archeology, and the culture of Uganda. 
  • Visit Mengo Palace (Kabaka Palace)- This is the compound of the king of Buganda. Here, you can learn some history about Uganda and the regime of Idi Amin.
  • Visit Central Kampala- Central Kampala is surprisingly compact. Take a walk around and explore the local markets or grab a bite to eat .
  • Visit the Kasubi Tombs- This is the burial site for four Buganda kings. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Take a Walk Along Parliament Avenue- This is a great place to view some interesting colonial architecture.
  • Visit the Ndere Cultural Center- If you’re looking for a fun night out, attend a dinner show at the Ndere Cultural Center. While you enjoy your meal, you can watch the performers do traditional dances, play traditional drum music, and sing traditional songs. It’s a unique cultural experience.

Kampala, Uganda

You probably won’t want to spend too much time in Kampala. It is a crowded city. It’s also not the easiest place to get around. The city is kind of confusing to navigate. Traffic is a mess. There are also plenty of scammers, hustlers, and pickpockets that you have to look out for. It is worth visiting for 2-3 days if you have time in your itinerary.

6. Sample the Local Food

There are a few local Ugandan dishes that are worth a try. Probably the most famous Ugandan dish is the rolex. A rolex an omelet with tomato, onion, and salt wrapped in a chapatti. They are sold in markets and roadside stands all over Uganda for around 40-70 cents apiece. You can choose the number of eggs and chapatis you want based on how hungry you are. Fancier rolex with other ingredients are also available in restaurants. These are cheap, fast, and tasty snacks. They are also great for a quick meal.

 Rolex stand in Kabale, Uganda

There are also some staple foods that you should try. One of the most popular foods in the country is matoke. This is a type of green plantain that is steamed or boiled until its soft. Sometimes it’s mashed and sometimes it’s served whole. Matoke is usually served with a soup, stew, or sauce made from ground peanuts, vegetables, or meat.

Another common staple food is posho or ugali. This is a type of corn meal made from ground corn. It is mixed with hot water until it becomes a dough-like consistency. Posho is usually served with a sauce or meat.

Another street food to try is muchomo. These are roasted skewers of meat. They are commonly sold on the roadside. Beef, pork, goat, and chicken are available.

Fish is another food to try in Uganda. Particularly around the lakes. The fish is fresh and delicious. For some of the best fish, try visiting Lake Victoria. The local fishermen will be able to provide you with a variety of freshly caught fish.

Also, be sure to take advantage of the abundant fresh tropical fruits and veggies while visiting Uganda. I ate the best-tasting avocado that I have ever eaten in Kampala. The pineapple, mango, and papaya are also excellent. Really, all of the produce is great. Uganda is an extremely fertile country. Everything grows there.

Kampala also has some pretty good restaurants to try. You can find local cuisine as well as Italian, Indian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cuisine. There are dozens of excellent restaurants to try. A few of the highest-rated restaurants in Kampala include Cantine DiVino, Asian Fusion, The Bistro, The Lawns, Cafe Javas, Mediterraneo, and Tamarai.

7. Visit the Source of the White Nile in Jinja

The mighty Nile River starts in Uganda. The White Nile River originates in Lake Victoria and flows north into Sudan, where it meets up with the Blue Nile. The river continues all the way through Egypt and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile is the world’s longest river at over 4000 miles.

The Nile’s origin has captivated explorers for centuries. Its source remained a mystery until it was discovered by British explorer John Hanning Speke in 1858. This expedition took several years. During their search, the party had several run-ins with hostile locals and suffered a range of tropical diseases. The source of the Nile is located just outside the town of Jinja, around 80 km east of Kampala.

To view the source of the Nile, you’ll start in the town of Jinja , which is situated on the northern shores of Lake Victoria. The best way to view the source of the Nile is by taking a boat tour from Jinja. As you glide along the river, you’ll see the spot where the calm waters of Lake Victoria funnel into the Nile. The boat tour offers an up-close encounter with this natural phenomenon and gives you a unique perspective of the area’s lush landscapes. You can also simply view the source of the Nile from a lookout point on the shore.

A visit to the source of the Nile is a must-do while in Jinja. On the shore, you’ll find a monument commemorating Speke’s discovery and the source of the Nile. This provides an insight into the historical significance of this location. You do have to pay a small fee to view the monument from land.

The source of the Nile in Jinja

8. Go to Jinja for Whitewater Rafting and Other Adventure Activities

Uganda is a great destination for adventure activities. The town of Jinja is known as the adventure capital of East Africa. Jinja is a laid-back town located on the shore of Lake Victoria. It sits in southeast Uganda, about 50 miles (81 km) East of Kampala. Jinja is a nice little town that is worth spending a day or two exploring.

The most popular adventure activity in Jinja is whitewater rafting and kayaking. The town is famous for it. Adrenaline junkies travel here to experience the thrilling rapids, which reach grade 5 in areas.

Unfortunately, the Isimba Dam flooded a number of the most well-known rapids in Uganda. The whitewater rafting is still good but it’s not the same as it once was. Luckily, the dam didn’t effect the rapids as much as originally expected.

A number of other adventure activities are also available in Jinja including bungee jumping, whitewater kayaking, quad biking, horseback riding, mountain biking, zip-lining, and tubing. 

Jinja is also worth visiting if you’re not into adventure activities. There are plenty of more laid back activities to enjoy. Jinja and the surrounding area is a really bea utiful part of Uganda. The town has some great colonial architecture to view. Jinja is also located on the shore of the beautiful Lake Victoria. The lake shore is a great place to take a stroll or just relax by the lake. You can also go for a boat ride. Sportfishing safaris are available. There is also some great birdwatching near Jinja.

Jinja is a very touristy city so prices are slightly higher there than in the rest of Uganda. Because it is such a popular tourist destination, you can also find some more upscale restaurants and hotels in town if that is what you are looking for. Jinja is a cool city to visit. It’s definitely worth spending a day or two there during your trip.

9. Go Chimpanzee Trekking

Another one of the most popular activities in Uganda is chimpanzee trekking. Chimpanzee trekking is an excellent alternative to gorilla trekking if the gorilla permit is outside of your budget. Some travelers argue that the experience is even better due to the uncanny valley nature of man’s closest living relative, the Chimpanzee. These fascinating creatures share 98.7% of our DNA, after all. 

The best place to go Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is Kabale National Forrest. You can also go chimpanzee trekking in Budongo Forrest and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

On your tour, you’ll usually trek with a guide for 1-3 hours to find the Chimpanzees. When you find them, you’ll spend about an hour with them before returning to camp.

a Chimpanzee in Uganda

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to view the chimpanzees up close. Sometimes they are up in the trees. In this case, your view might not be as good.

The chimpanzee trekking tour costs around $250-$300. The permit costs $120-$150 depending on the season. There are half-day and full-day treks available.  The chimpanzees that you’ll visit have been carefully trained to tolerate human presence.

For a more up close and personal experience, you can also opt for a chimpanzee habituation tour. This type of tour is designed to slowly introduce chimpanzees to humans so they become more comfortable being near humans. The chimpanzee habituation process usually takes around two years.

This tour usually lasts a full day. You’ll start early in the morning and spend the day watching the chimps in their natural habitat. They spend much of their days in the trees.

10. Go on a Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Located in Western Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most visited national park in the country. Some would say it’s the best. Queen Elizabeth National Park is also one of the largest national parks in Uganda at over 2000 square kilometers. You could easily spend 2-3 days here and still not see it all. If you only have time to visit one park in Uganda, this would be a good choice.

In Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can find 95 different species of mammals including 4 of the big 5 . You’ll see lions, elephants, crocodiles, and buffalo. Around 500 species of birds can also be found in the park. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the famous tree climbing lions.

The density of wildlife isn’t as great as some of the other national parks in Africa but there are still lots of animals to see. For some of the best wildlife spotting in Queen Elizabeth National Park, take a boat tour of the Kazinga Channel. This is a 20-mile-long natural channel linking Lake Edward and Lake George. Along the shores, you can spot an abundance of animals. Animals come to the shallow river to drink and bathe. You can get closer to the animals in the boat than you can in a vehicle.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is famous for its rare tree climbing lions. It’s one of only two places in the world where they exist. The tree climbing lions are the most common in the Ishasha part of the park. You also have an excellent chance of spotting the African Bush Elephant. If you’re looking for wildlife viewing, this is one of the best places in the world.

A lion

Queen Elizabeth National Park is also known for its spectacular natural beauty. The region contains many unique volcanic features. You’ll see craters, cones, and beautiful crater lakes.  It’s the best and most scenic place to go for a safari in Uganda.

A number of different types of safaris are available in Queen Elizabeth National Park. You can take a standard safari in a vehicle. You can go on sunrise, evening, and night safaris. Walking safaris are also available. As mentioned earlier, you can also take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel. It’s also possible to tent camp in Queen Elizabeth National Park. This is a great opportunity to star gaze, listen to the sounds of the park, and possibly spot some nocturnal species.

It’s important to note that Queen Elizabeth National Park occasionally suffers from security issues as it is located along the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Before you visit, check travel advisories. A few years ago, a woman was kidnapped in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The national park is generally safe to visit and the guides take security seriously.

11. Stand on the Equator

One of Uganda’s most famous attractions is the equator. Uganda is one of a handful of countries that straddles the equator. Standing on the equator is an interesting activity to check off of your travel bucket list.

On the equator, you’ll find a small monument and a couple of signs as well as a few craft shops, restaurants, and cafes. You can take a photo at the monument and stand in the Northern and Southern hemispheres at the same time. It’s super touristy but kind of fun.

Around the monument, you’ll meet some guys demonstrating how the flow of water changes direction as you cross the equator. This is just a trick that these guys do to earn a bit of money from tourists. It’s not a real physical phenomenon. The Coriolis force is not strong enough to change the flow of water over such short distances. It’s basically a scam.

There are a number of places to visit the equator in Uganda. Pretty much every highway that crosses the equator has a sign. The most popular place to visit the equator is Kayabwe, on the Masaka-Mbarara highway. This is about 45 miles southwest of Kampala. You’ll pass right by here if you’re traveling to Lake Bunyonyi or if you’re going to Rwanda. It’s worth stopping for some photos if you have time.

12. Go On a Safari in Murchison Falls National Park and View the Waterfall

Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest national park at 4,000 square kilometers. The ark is located in the northwestern part of Uganda. Established in 1952, Murchison Falls National Park is also Uganda’s first national park. It is named after a large waterfall in the national park on the Victoria Nile River.

A visit to Murchison Falls National Park wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the falls themselves. Also known as Kabalega Falls, Murchison Falls is a spectacular waterfall on the Victoria Nile River. At this impressive waterfall, the water forces itself through a small 8 meter (23 foot) gap in the rocks and drops 43 meters (141 feet) before flowing into Lake Albert. An incredible 300 cubic meters of water flows through the falls per second. This makes Murchison Falls the world’s most powerful waterfall. It is incredibly loud and impressive. The area at the bottom of the falls is called Devil’s Cauldron.

Boat safari in Murchison National Park, Uganda

There are a couple of different ways to view the falls. You can take a boat cruise on the Nile River to the bottom of the falls. You can also hike or drive to the falls to view them from the top. The hike takes around 45 minutes from the trailhead.

After viewing the falls, y ou can take a game drive. In the park, you can find 76 species of mammals including lions, hippos, Rothchile’s giraffes, elephants, crocodiles, leopards, buffalos, hippos, hyenas, antelope, waterbucks, and more. In addition, there are over 450 species of birds living in the park including the famous Shoebill Stork and Uganda’s national bird, the Grey Crowned Crane.

You can stay the night in the national park if you choose. There are a range of accommodation options in the park including camping and luxury lodges.

13. Visit Lake Victoria

At 26,000 square miles, Lake Victoria is the largest African Great Lake by surface area and the second largest freshwater lake in the world.Uganda controls 45% of the coastline of Lake Victoria . The rest of the lake is shared with Kenya and Tanzania.

Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast, a wildlife lover, or a culture explorer, Lake Victoria caters to all tastes and interests. On this spectacular lake, you can enjoy a wide range of recreational activities including hiking, birdwatching, picnics, kayaking, canoeing, boat tours, swimming, fishing, mountain biking, and more. If you’re lucky, you may spot some wildlife native to the area such as crocodiles, turtles, and hippos.

One of the best ways to appreciate Lake Victoria’s grandeur is by taking a boat tour. As you cruise along, you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, spot various bird species, and visit the numerous islands scattered across the lake. Boat tours also offer a chance to view the local fishing communities in action.

Fishing is another popular activity on Lake Victoria. Try your hand at catching Tilapia or Nile Perch, two of the lake’s most prevalent fish species. Local guides are often available to provide a memorable and authentic fishing experience.

Bird watching is another popular activity. The lake’s wetlands and surrounding areas also provide refuge for various animal species, making it a fascinating spot for wildlife observation.

After a day of exploration, unwind at one of the many lakeside resorts. Watch the sun set over the vast expanse of water and enjoy some fresh fish for dinner.

One thing you may not want to do in Lake Victoria is swim. The lake contains Bilharzia (also known as schistosomiasis ) . This is a tropical disease caused by a type of parasitic worm that is transmitted by infected snails. It is commonly found in Rift Valley lakes. Luckily, the disease is treatable if you do happen to catch it. To avoid Bilharzia, it’s best not to swim in Lake Victoria or any other lake in Uganda.

Lake Victoria, Uganda

14. Visit the Ssese Islands

While visiting Lake Victoria, consider taking a ferry ride out to the Ssese Islands. This stunning archipelago, comprised of 84 islands, is nestled within the expansive waters of Lake Victoria. This tropical paradise offers a unique blend of natural beauty and rich cultural experiences.

The Ssese Islands offer a number of activities for visitors. While visiting the islands, you can enjoy leisurely walks along the beaches, marvel at the brilliant sunsets, go for a boat ride, fish, hike, or rent a bicycle and explore. For wildlife enthusiasts, the islands’ forests are home to an array of fauna, including various monkey species and a diverse range of birds. Visiting the Ssese Islands is also a great opportunity to meet the local Bantu people who inhabit the islands.

The heart of tourism in the Ssese Islands is Kalangala on the largest island, Bugala. Easily accessible by ferry from Entebbe, Bugala Island is a haven of lush forests, white sandy beaches, and an inviting local community. The ferry ride itself is a scenic introduction to the archipelago, offering captivating views of Lake Victoria. If you prefer, you can also access the island by plane from Entebbe.

For travelers with a sense of adventure, island-hopping through the Ssese Islands via local lake taxis is a must. These water taxis offer an excellent opportunity to explore the diverse islands. You can hike through the dense forests looking for monkeys on Bugala Island, view vibrant birdlife on Bukasa Island, or enjoy the peaceful seclusion of the smaller islands.

One of the most rewarding experiences on the Ssese Islands is meeting the locals. Known for their warm hospitality, the inhabitants of these islands offer visitors a glimpse into their customs and traditions. The islands don’t receive many foreign tourists so the local culture is mostly intact. Engaging with the local community offers a deeper understanding of the island life.

15. Visit Entebbe

Entebbe is a charming little lakeside town located on the shore of Lake Victoria, about 40 km south of Kampala. Its location makes it a perfect stopover destination for travelers flying in or out of Uganda. The international airport is located in Entebbe. Beyond its role as a transit point, Entebbe offers a wealth of attractions and activities that make it worth a visit in its own right.

One of the town’s highlights is the Entebbe Botanical Gardens. This lush paradise is a haven for birdwatchers, nature lovers, and anyone seeking tranquility.

If you’re intrigued by the reptilian world, a visit to the Reptiles Village will be an informative experience, where you can encounter a variety of native reptile species.

Animal enthusiasts will also appreciate the Wildlife Conservation Education Centre, which works towards conserving Uganda’s rich biodiversity.

Another animal sanctuary that deserves a visit is the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary located in Lake Victoria. Here, you can observe rescued and orphaned chimpanzees in a semi-natural habitat, contributing to their care and conservation.

Another interesting natural area to visit near Entebbe is Mbamba Swamp. This is a great place to see Shoebills. These large and strange-looking storks live in freshwater marshes throughout East Africa.

Entebbe is also a great spot for those looking for adventure activities. You can explore the area’s scenic trails on a mountain bike or on horseback. You can also engage in thrilling water activities such as boating and fishing on Lake Victoria. Entebbe is also a great place to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the lake’s serene shoreline.

In the evening, you can unwind in one of the town’s many restaurants, where you can fresh fish from Lake Victoria. A variety of accommodations options are available in Entebbe, ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury lakeside resorts to convenient airport hotels.

16. Go Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains

Tucked away in western Uganda, you’ll find the beautiful Rwenzori Mountains. Also known as the “Mountains of the Moon”, the Rwenzoris are a breathtaking range. Its highest peak, Mount Stanley, reaches an altitude of 5,109 meters, making it the 3rd tallest mountain in Africa. This majestic range straddles the Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo border, providing a unique blend of diverse landscapes, wildlife, and cultural experiences.

Hiking is the highlight of any visit to the Rwenzori Mountains. Options range from day hikes to multi-day treks. The trails are usually pretty quiet as this range is fairly remote and not too well known among travelers. The pinnacle of the Rwenzori experience is a multi-day trek to the summit of Mount Stanley, locally known as Mount Ngaliema.

A trek to the peak of Mount Stanley typically takes around 8-9 days, starting from Kilembe. This expedition takes you through a range of diverse landscapes. There are plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting and breathtaking photography along the way.

This is a fairly demanding trek that requires good physical fitness. Along the trail, you’ll find a range of accommodations, from basic huts to campsites. It’s advisable to arrange your trek through a reputable tour company that provides experienced guides, porters, and necessary gear.

17. Visit the Volcanic Craters and Crater Lakes of Western Uganda

Western Uganda has some really beautiful volcanic craters and crater lakes. These craters were formed through intense volcanic activity thousands of years ago. They dot the landscape, creating a unique terrain that’s as picturesque as it is geologically fascinating.

One of the most beautiful lakes is Lake Nkuruba, which is located near the charming town of Fort Portal. Lake Nkuruba sits nestled within a lush tropical forest. Hiking around Lake Nkuruba is a delightful experience, with trails offering panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding landscapes. The area is also rich in biodiversity. It’s not uncommon to spot monkeys and various bird species during your hike.

Another place to marvel at Uganda’s volcanic past is Queen Elizabeth National Park. This area is home to a cluster of stunning volcanic craters. The most noteworthy are the Katwe Craters. Interestingly, some of these craters are filled with saltwater lakes. Some have turned into lush grasslands. The best way to view these craters is by taking a scenic drive or joining a guided tour. Be sure to check out Lake Katwe. Here, you can visit a salt mine

Visiting the craters in the early morning or late evening is highly recommended as these times offer the most breathtaking views. The play of light and shadow over the water makes for an unforgettable experience. For the best experience, consider staying in one of the many lodges within or near the craters. These lodges offer stunning views of the craters and the surrounding landscapes, allowing you to soak in the beauty at your leisure.

18. Go Shopping for Arts and Crafts

if you’re looking for artwork or souvenirs, Uganda has a vibrant art scene. Kampala serves as the hub of Uganda’s art, housing various galleries such as Afriart Gallery, Nommo Gallery, Umoja Art Gallery, and AKA gallery. At these galleries, you can marvel at a diverse range of artworks, from contemporary paintings to traditional sculptures.

Beyond the galleries, an integral part of the Ugandan shopping experience is exploring the bustling local markets and roadside stands. These are the perfect places to shop for authentic souvenirs and handicrafts made by local artisans.

Among these markets, Owino Market in Kampala stands out as one of the largest and most popular, offering an endless array of local products. Owino Market is the biggest and best market in Kampala. The market is at its largest and busiest on Sundays. Here, you can buy almost anything including food, electronics, clothes, handicrafts, art, and more. Also, check out the Exposure Africa Market and the African Craft Village.

The vast selection of arts and crafts available in Uganda is impressive. You can find intricate wood carvings depicting local wildlife, vibrant textiles, beautifully woven baskets, handmade jewelry, paintings, and much more.

A market in Uganda

Even if you’re not interested in buying anything, it’s well worth your time to visit a local market. It’s a cultural experience. You’ll see the locals going about their day-to-day lives buying and selling. You’ll also get to see the types of products that are available. It’s really interesting looking through the foods, clothing, and other items that are for sale.

When shopping at local markets, it’s important to haggle. Prices quoted to tourists are much higher than the local price. It’s part of the shopping culture to negotiate, so don’t be shy to bargain for a better price. Haggling isn’t just about getting a better price. It’s also a way to engage in friendly interaction with the vendors. It’s part of the experience.

19. See the White Rhinos at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary offers one of the best wildlife viewing experiences in Uganda. Situated near Murchison Falls National Park, this sanctuary plays a vital role in the restoration of Uganda’s rhino population. Poaching led to the extinction of wild White rhinos in Uganda, with the last white rhino reported in 1983.

Today, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the proud home of around 22 white rhinos, with a goal to reintroduce these majestic creatures back into Uganda’s national parks in the near future. The sanctuary was started in 2005. It sits on 7000 hectares of land. The rhinos roam freely throughout the sanctuary.

While visiting Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, you can embark on a 2-hour guided walk with a knowledgeable ranger, getting you up close with these gentle giants in their natural habitat. The guides maintain a safe distance, but these walks often allow for incredibly close encounters with the rhinos, providing fantastic photo opportunities. During your visit, you’ll also get a chance to learn more about rhinos including their behaviors, feeding habits, and conservation needs. The tour currently cost $45 for foreigners. The proceeds go toward the rhino breeding program.

If you wish to spend more time with the rhinos, consider an overnight stay. The sanctuary offers accommodation options, allowing guests to wake up to the sounds of nature and the chance to spot rhinos in the cool early morning or late evening. There’s also a restaurant on-site, serving a variety of meals to suit different tastes. You can actually view the rhinos from the accommodation and restaurant.

You can read more about the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary on their website here .

20. Visit Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park is located in the remote northeastern corner of Uganda, on the border with South Sudan. This stunning national park is less frequented by tourists compared to other parks in Uganda due to its isolated location. Those who make the journey to Kidepo Valley National Park will be rewarded with an unforgettable wildlife and cultural experience. Kidepo National Park is a great destination for those who want to venture off the beaten path.

One of the park’s main draws is its exceptional wildlife viewing. Kidepo is home to an impressive variety of wildlife, including one of Africa’s most endangered giraffe species, the Rothschild’s giraffe. Other animal inhabitants include buffalo, elephants, zebras, leopards, and over 450 species of birds. The relative tranquility of the national park allows for intimate wildlife encounters, offering an authentic and memorable safari experience.

The landscapes of Kidepo Valley National Park are also diverse. The terrain varies from rugged savannah and mountainous regions to expansive grasslands, dotted with acacia and Borassus palm trees. The park also features the seasonal Kidepo River, which is often a gathering spot for various wildlife, particularly during the dry season. The Kanangorok Hot Springs and Mount Morungule are other notable features that enhance the park’s unique appeal.

A visit to Kidepo National Park is also an opportunity to connect with the rich cultural heritage of the region. The area is home to the Karamojong people, known for their unique traditions and customs. Many visitors find interacting with local communities to be a rewarding experience that deepens their understanding of the Ugandan way of life.

21. Visit Mabira Forest

Mabira Forest is located just a short drive from Uganda’s capital, Kampala. It’s a great place to visit on your way to Jinja. This tropical rainforest offers a number of activities for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

Hiking is one of the main attractions in Mabira Forest. The forest’s network of trails meanders through tall trees. Along the way, you’ll come across various tree species and possibly encounter some of the forest’s resident monkeys, butterflies, and other small wildlife.

Thrill-seekers can zip-line through the forest canopy on the Mabira Forest Canopy Super Skyway. This gives you a bird’s-eye view of the forest and the River Musamya.

Mabira Forest is also a haven for birdwatchers. It boasts over 300 bird species, including several that are endemic to Uganda.

22. Visit Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is a bit of a hidden gem. It is located in Western Uganda, conveniently situated en route between Entebbe and Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Although smaller than other Ugandan national parks, Lake Mburo national park packs a punch with its rich biodiversity. It’s a great stopover on the way to or from Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest.

Unique among Ugandan national parks, Lake Mburo allows for guided walking safaris and bike safaris. This provides a rare opportunity to connect with Africa’s wilderness on a more personal level. You can also take standard driving safaris.

Safari-goers can expect to see a variety of animals, including zebras, impalas, buffalos, elands, and the elusive leopard. The park’s wetland habitats are also home to several bird species, making it an excellent destination for birdwatchers.

The park’s game drives are a great way to explore its savannah landscape, dotted with acacia trees and interspersed with wetlands. Though you can visit Lake Mburo national park at any time of the day, morning game drives are often most rewarding when wildlife is most active, and temperatures are cooler. However, an evening game drive can also be a fascinating experience, offering a chance to spot nocturnal creatures and experience the tranquility of the park as the sun sets.

23. Meet The Ugandan People

A boda boda (motorcycle taxi)

Ugandans are friendly and welcoming people. Whether you’re exploring the bustling capital city of Kampala or venturing into the rural landscapes, the Ugandan people will be a highlight of your trip, greeting you with a smile, a wave, and often a friendly chat.

Despite the diversity of cultures and languages in Uganda, English is widely spoken throughout the country, thanks to its status as the official language. This makes it easy for tourists to engage with locals. Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with the people you meet. Ugandans are genuinely interested in getting to know visitors.

Ugandans are also willing to help. If you’re lost or need assistance, you can ask almost anyone. People will go out of their way to ensure you reach your destination safely.

However, as is the case in any travel destination, there can occasionally be instances where individuals might ask for money. But rest assured, the Ugandan people are respectful and will not bother you if you decline. Their courtesy and understanding make the interactions comfortable and enjoyable.

24. Visit Semuliki National Park and Sempaya Hotsprings

Semuliki National Park is located in the remote, western corner of Uganda. This unique conservation area, sitting in the Albertine Rift Valley, offers visitors a unique blend of Central African jungle atmosphere and East African safari experience. Known for its distinctive hot springs, sprawling wetlands, and the winding Semuliki River, the park is an excellent destination for nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and adventure seekers.

Among the park’s standout features are the Sempaya hot springs. The springs are categorized into two main areas, known locally as the ‘male’ and ‘female’ hot springs. The male spring, also known as ‘Bintente’, gushes up from a broad, steaming pool. the female spring, known as ‘Nyansimbi’, meaning ‘the female ancestors’, is a boiling geyser that shoots steam up to two meters high. It’s a fascinating spectacle of nature’s geothermal power. Water temperatures reach as high as 100 degrees Celsius.

An approximately 30-minute hike through the forest connects the two springs. This short hike offers a chance to explore the park’s rich flora and fauna. This trail is a treasure trove for birdwatchers, as the park is home to over 400 bird species, including several that are endemic to the region.

Additionally, Semuliki National Park is a great place to view Old World monkeys. 11 different species of monkeys call the park home. A visit here offers the opportunity to spot rare primate species such as the pygmy antelope and flying squirrel. An encounter with the park’s troop of habituated chimpanzees is a highlight for many visitors.

25. Visit the Batwa Pygmy People

Discover Uganda’s rich culture and diversity by visiting the Batwa Pygmy people, an indigenous group with a fascinating history and unique way of life. Once the forest-dwelling hunter-gatherers of the Great Lakes region of Central Africa, the Batwa, also known as the ‘Keepers of the Forest,’ now reside on the edges of Uganda’s national parks.

For centuries, the Batwa thrived by hunting small game and gathering fruits and herbs from the forest. Unfortunately, their way of life was uprooted in the 1990s when their ancestral lands were designated as national parks to protect the endangered mountain gorillas. Forced to vacate their homes with no compensation or adequate alternative housing, the Batwa now live as subsistence farmers. They also make money by offering cultural experiences for tourists.

Despite these challenges, the Batwa have preserved their unique culture and traditions, which they share with visitors as part of community-based tourism initiatives. When you visit a Batwa community, you’ll be welcomed with music and dance. You’ll also learn about their traditional hunting and gathering techniques, medicinal plants, and how they crafted their homes and tools.

It’s important to ensure that your visit benefits the Batwa community. Therefore, it’s best to arrange your visit through official channels like the Uganda Wildlife Authority or the Batwa Development Programme. These organizations ensure that tourism revenues go directly to the Batwa, providing them with essential income and helping preserve their unique culture and traditions.

A street in Kampala

My Recommended Uganda Itinerary

Uganda is a relatively small country. Y ou can easily pair several of the above activities to save travel time. It’s possible to travel to most of these destinations by bus and public transport. There are also tours available to most of the destinations on this list.

If you’re starting in Kampala, you could start by making your way to Sipi Falls. On your way back to Kampala, you can break up the trip by stopping for a couple of days in Jinja.

After spending a few days exploring Kampala, you could go mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. After the trek, you could make your way to Kabale and visit Lake Bunyonyi .

Next, you could head to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a safari. During your visit, you could go on a Chimpanzee trek. From there, you could head to Murchison Falls National Park and go on another safari and view the falls. You could then return to Kampala.

From Kampala, you can visit Entebbe and spend Lake Victoria and spend some time exploring the city before flying out of Entebbe international airport.

If you travel to Uganda from Kenya by bus , it would make sense to make your way to Sipi Falls first, then Jinja. Next, you would continue on to Kampala. From there, you can easily travel to Kigali, Rwanda by bus.

Kids in Uganda

How I spent my Time in Uganda

On my first trip to Uganda, I traveled from Kenya by bus. Once I reached Kampala, I made the trip to Sipi Falls and visited Jinja on my way back to Kampala. After exploring Kampala, I made my way to Kabale and Lake Bunyonyi before continuing on to Rwanda by Bus. This worked out pretty well and was fairly efficient.

On my second trip to Uganda, I based myself in Kampala for 5 months. I took some day trips and weekend trips to various parts of the country to visit some of the national parks. From Kampala, it’s pretty easy to visit all of the sites on this list. Kampala is Uganda’s main transportation hub.

The apartment where I lived in Kampala

Chances are, you will pass through Kampala multiple times when you travel to Uganda. Consider leaving some of your luggage in a hotel so that you don’t have to drag all of your gear around. Most likely, you will be staying in the same place when you pass through Kampala so you can easily lighten your load to make travel easier. It is a hassle traveling on minibusses with a lot of gear. Leaving your bag in Kampala makes travel days a lot less stressful.

If you are traveling in East Africa, Uganda shouldn’t be missed. It is one of the most diverse places on earth in terms of natural landscapes and wildlife. You’ll see rainforests, lakes, mountains, savannahs, and hundreds of species of plants, animals, and birds. It’s an incredible country for those who love spending time in the outdoors.

The country is also fairly compact, making it easy to get around. From Kampala, you can travel pretty much anywhere in the country within a day. Even with slow and unreliable African transportation, you could probably see a good chunk of the country in a week or two.

Maybe the best thing about Uganda is the people. Everywhere I went, I met friendly locals who were more than willing to help me out or stop for a chat. In fact, According to the BBC , Uganda is the most friendly place for expats. This is one of my favorite countries. I can’t wait to return. 

Have you visited Uganda? Share your favorite things to do in Uganda in the comments below. 

More Africa Guides from Where The Road Forks

  • How to Plan a Cairo to Cape Town Trip
  • Living in Uganda as an Expat: Pros and Cons
  • Is Travel in Africa Safe? Avoiding Crime, Disease, Injury, and Scams in Africa
  • How to Visit Beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda
  • The Ultimate African Bus Guide
  • Why Nairobi is My Favorite African City
  • The Travelers Guide to Malaria Prevention, Treatment, and Tablets in Africa

Zachary Friedman

Zachary Friedman is an accomplished travel writer and professional blogger. Since 2011, he has traveled to 66 countries and 6 continents. He founded ‘Where The Road Forks’ in 2017 to provide readers with information and insights based on his travel and outdoor recreation experience and expertise. Zachary is also an avid cyclist and hiker. Living as a digital nomad, Zachary balances his professional life with his passions for hiking, camping, cycling, and worldwide exploration. For a deeper dive into his journey and background, visit the About page. For inquiries and collaborations, please reach out through the Contact page. You can also follow him on Facebook.

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Ryan K Biddulph

Wednesday 23rd of October 2019

Absolutely awesome. The rolex looks delicious and I need to visit Uganda because of all those nature shows I saw as a kid. Long been on my list. Wonderful post.

wheretheroadforks

Thank you! Nature documentaries definitely played a role in inspiring my travels in Africa. Uganda is great.

travel tips and travel photography

20 Best things to do in Kampala: Uganda Travel Tips

Kampala is the heart and soul of Uganda ! Also known as the City of 7 Hills, this vibrant capital city is a must-visit when you travel to Uganda . Bordering Lake Victoria (the largest freshwater lake in Africa ) and surrounded by many rolling hills, Kampala offers a variety of things to do and places to see that will make your visit truly memorable.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll share the  20 best things to do in Kampala and take you on an unforgettable virtual sightseeing tour of Kampala that showcases the best of this African gem, including fun activities, must-visit tourist attractions, and Kampala's lively nightlife scene.

Kampala Fact: Did you know that Kampala derived its name from the many impalas that used to live on the surrounding rolling hills? Sadly, the Kampala region used to be a designated area for hunting impalas.

Whether you're a nature enthusiast, foodie, souvenir hunter, or looking for an authentic cultural experience, Kampala has something special in store for you. Expect a vibrant culture, friendly locals, and rich history in the densely populated capital city of Uganda - only 70km from the Equator!

Things to do in Kampala

Kampala City Tour

How to spend a day in Kampala? If you only have 1 day to see Kampala, I highly recommend a one-day Kampala City Tour with a guide that can tell you everything about this capital city of Uganda and its history. On this tour, you will visit most well-known monuments and top tourist attractions in Kampala . Along the way you can taste Kampala's streetfood on the colorful markets and submerge yourself in Uganda's vibrant culture.

I like to support women in tourism, so we did the city tour with a local Ugandan and woman-owned travel agency, called Sites Travel . We met Jemima (CEO) & Shivan in person during the Pearl of Africa Tourism Exhibition organized by the Uganda Tourism Board. Jemima is a wonderful woman with over 15 years of experience.

City Tour in Kampala Uganda

Grace, our knowledgeable female tour guide, made us feel safe walking around the chaotic city and told me when it would be better to put away my camera gear .

Is Kampala safe for tourists?

I honestly felt safe in Kampala all the time; even on the busy markets. Just be aware of pickpockets and use your common sense. Is Kampala safe at night? I suggest to avoid traveling after dark outside the main towns. It's also safer to avoid driving at night as roads can be in bad condition (potholes, badly signposted). Want to go out for dinner at night? Taking an Uber in Kampala is very safe.

What is the price for a city tour in Kampala?

Prices for a city tour in Kampala vary from $30-$100 depending on the hours of exploring (half-day or full-day) and mode of transportation. You can opt for a motorized tour or a simple walking tour in Kampala . A combination of these options is advisable to cover more of all the top sights Kampala has to offer.

Now it’s time to discover the best things to do in Kampala (Uganda). Did I miss an important, fun, or unique thing to do in Kampala? Please leave a comment in the comment section below!

1. Uganda National Mosque with 360° city views

Gaddafi Mosque Kampala

With its impressive architectural design, the Uganda National Mosque - also known as the Gaddafi National Mosque or Kampala Central Mosque - is a prominent landmark in the city on Kampala Hill in Old Kampala. This iconic Old Kampala Mosque is one of the best places to visit in Kampala as it's the largest mosque in East Africa offering a wonderful blend of Islamic culture and architectural grandeur.

Uganda National Mosque Kampala

The mosque (initially built by Idi Amin Dada) got its nickname Gaddafi Mosque because the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi funded various infrastructure projects, including the mosque, which became a symbol of the historical ties between Libya and Uganda during Gaddafi’s rule. Following Gaddafi’s fall from power in 2011, the name of the mosque became a subject of controversy and got renamed to Uganda National Mosque .

things to do in Kampala

360° Panoramic views of Kampala on top of Minaret

Views of Kampala City from Uganda National Mosque

Explore the mosque's premises and admire the panoramic views of Kampala on top of the minaret. It’s a 300-steps climb to get a 360-degree view over Kampala city from the top, but it’s 100% worth the ascent. Also, don’t forget to look down the winding staircase inside the minaret, one of the Instagrammable photo spots in Kampala .

Minaret Uganda National Mosque Kampala

Entrance Fee Gaddafi Mosque

The entrance ticket for the Gaddafi Mosque is about 5 US Dollars (20,000 UGX) for foreign internationals. That includes a guide and a scarf to cover the women's head, arms, and legs. If you book a Kampala City Tour with Sites Travel, they already included the ticket in the walking tour.

Kampala Central Mosque in Old Kampala

The Uganda National Mosque is one of the best places to visit in Kampala as it provides a glimpse into the Muslim community's vibrant cultural practices, and it offers some of the best views of Kampala city . A good beginning of your Kampala Walking Tour as you get to know the city and its surrounding ‘seven hills’ from a birds-eye perspective.

There's also another mosque in Kampala that is worth visiting, called Kibuli Mosque . It's the second most popular mosque in Uganda after the Gadhafi Mosque. It's located in Kibuli, a place with the largest population of Muslims in Kampala.

Uganda National Mosque in Old Kampala

2. Visit the UNESCO Kasubi Tombs

Kampala hosts one of the 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Uganda, the famous Kasubi Royal Tombs . These royal burial grounds hold great cultural significance for the Buganda Kingdom. Observe the traditional architecture, learn about the kingdom's history, and gain insight into the traditions of the Buganda people, including their spiritual beliefs & rituals associated with the last resting place of the kings and royals.

Seven Hills that surround Kampala

3. Explore the Uganda Museum

Learn about Uganda’s past at the Uganda Museum, the oldest museum in East Africa. The museum offers an impressive collection of artifacts, exhibits on traditional crafts, and displays of Uganda's diverse cultural heritage. The Uganda National Museum offers a captivating journey through time and offers a unique opportunity to learn about Uganda's pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial history, as well as the country's ethnic groups, traditions, and customs. A must-visit for our history lovers and everyone who wants to learn more about Uganda.

The National Museum also hosts the annual Amakula International Film Festival in Kampala where visual content is celebrated and promoted with a focus on African cinema.

4. Kabaka's Palace & Idi Amin's Torture Chambers

Lubiri Palace Kampala

When you visit Kampala, make sure to explore the historic Kabaka's Palace , also known as the Lubiri Palace. Situated on the Royal Mile in the heart of Kampala city, the Lubiri Palace served as the residence of the Kabakas. The Kabakas were the traditional rulers of the Buganda kingdom, dating back to the 19th century during the reign of Kabaka Mwanga II. Today, the palace also houses the Buganda Parliament (Lukiiko), where the Lukiiko convenes to discuss and deliberate on matters related to the Buganda kingdom's governance, culture, and development.

The Kabaka palace complex showcases traditional Buganda architecture, like thatched roofs and intricate woodwork. You can take a guided tour including the royal residences, courtyards, ceremonial spaces, and Idi Amin's prison.

Idi Amin's Torture Chambers

Idi Amin's Armoury Kabakas Palace

Idi Amin’s Torture Chambers , also known as the Haunted Mansion or Amin's Haunted House is one of the most sad but interesting places to visit in Kampala. It is a building with a dark history associated with the regime of former Ugandan President Idi Amin. During Idi Amin's presidency, Uganda witnessed widespread human rights abuses and political repression. Many individuals were subjected to torture and violence under Amin's regime.

Idi Amin's Haunted House

The Haunted Mansion is believed to be one of the places where Amin's security forces carried out their brutal activities. Stories and rumors of paranormal occurrences, ghostly apparitions, and lingering negative energies have emerged over the years, contributing to the haunted reputation of the site.

torture cells Mengo Palace aka Kabakas Palace

When you visit the site, you will encounter a dark concrete tunnel with prison cells. These cells used to be separated by an electrified body of water to prevent prisoners from escaping. Each torture cell had over 100 people with no ventilation, water, or food.

Unfortunately, over 200,000 people died in these torture chambers. When you visit Idi Amin's Torture Chambers you can still see heartbreaking messages on the walls of the torture cells written by former prisoners. Other signs you can find are bullet holes and scratches of resistance. I found the torture chambers impressive and ominous. It gave me goosebumps all over.

Torture Cells Lubiro Palace

You'll also find the remains of Mutesa’s Rolls-Royce which was destroyed by Idi Amin. Nowadays, the palace is called Mengo Palace due to its location on (Nkaawo) Mengo Hill, one of the 7 Kampala Hills.

Mutesa's Rolls Royce Kabaka's Palace

5. Royal Mile of the Buganda Kingdom

Travelers should add a walk along The Royal Mile to their list of things to see and do in Kampala. The Royal Mile is a historic road connecting important sites, and landmarks associated with the kingdom and holds significant cultural and political importance for the Buganda people.

Things to do in Kampala

Walking the Royal Mile is one of those tourist activities in Kampala you can't miss as it features the following important landmarks:

  • Lubiri Palace or Kabaka's Palace (no. 4 in this Kampala article)
  • The Bulange Parliament Building (or Bulange Mengo) serves as the administrative and cultural headquarters for the kingdom's affairs. Here, you can learn about the political system of the Buganda Kingdom and witness the cultural ceremonies and events that take place. It also houses the offices of the Katikkiro (Prime Minister).
  • Naggalabi Buddo Coronation Site where Buganda kings get traditionally crowned.
  • Kabaka's Lake also known as Luggard's Lake, was created during the reign of Kabaka Mwanga II. The lake not only adds to the beauty of the area but also holds historical and cultural importance within the Buganda Kingdom.

Best things to do in Kampala Uganda

By exploring this historic activity, you learn more about the Buganda people's identity. So, take a stroll along The Royal Mile and let the stories of the Buganda Kingdom unfold before you.

6. Stroll the colorful Owino Market; the best place to visit in Kampala

St. Balikuddembe Market Kampala

Officially (re)named St. Balikuddembe Market, no visit to Kampala is complete without experiencing the vibrant atmosphere of the Owino Market , the largest market in Kampala!

Second-hand market in Kampala

Kampala's Second Hand Market Owino

This bustling market, commonly referred to as " Kampala's second-hand market " is a treasure trove for thrift shoppers. They have everything from unique clothing and shoes to accessories; all at affordable prices. So, unleash your inner fashionista as you browse through second-hand items, giving them a new life and adding a touch of individuality to your wardrobe.

Labyrinth of alleys

Owino Market best things to do in Kampala

Visit Kampala and get lost in the many small alleys that feel like a labyrinth filled with stalls offering colorful fabrics, traditional crafts, clothing, traditional Ugandan food, and lots of souvenirs. Engage with friendly vendors, bargain for unique finds, and embrace the lively atmosphere of this bustling open-air Owino Market. I was happy our guide Grace knew exactly what alleys to go through and what stalls to show us to learn some interesting facts about certain products. 100% one of the best outdoor activities in Kampala!

Open-air St. Balikuddembe Market

Owino Market Kampala

They renamed Owino Market into St. Balikuddembe Market in honor of a prominent Ugandan martyr named Charles Lwanga, who was canonized as Saint Charles Lwanga Balikuddembe. Balikuddembe is a local term that means "the one who brings peace". The name change pays homage to this important figure in Ugandan history and to emphasize the market's connection to the local community.

7. Eat Local Ugandan Cuisine (Rolex tasting)

Taste Local Uganda Dishes

When in Kampala, you can’t miss out on tasting some flavors of the  Ugandan cuisine . Things you must taste and eat in Downtown Kampala are local dishes like matoke (cooked banana), luwombo (stewed meat wrapped in banana leaves), and Rolex (a popular street food comprising a rolled chapati with eggs and vegetables).

Eat Matoke on Kampala City Tour

So when you buy a Rolex in Uganda, you don’t get a watch but a rolled chapati with eggs! A Ugandan Rolex is a great street food that you find along the road. We did Rolex tasting on our Kampala City Tour, where we got to see how they make this fresh local Ugandan dish.

Rolex Tasting on Kampala City Tour

We also tasted freshly made Banana pancakes and some G-nut sauce. Head to local restaurants and Kampala street food stalls to experience the authentic tastes of Uganda.

Streetfood in Kampala

If you have more time, you can also opt for a Ugandan Cooking Class with authentic Ugandan dishes or do a half or full-day food tour in Kampala . A food tour is one of the cool things to do in Kampala because it's very interactive and a great way to support the vendors and their families.

Gnut Sause tasting Kampala Market

Are you a lover of coffee? Check out 1000 Cups of Coffee , at PRISM Mall on Buganda Road - opposite the East African Craft Village. They also offer Coffee Safaris and options to experience their Roastery.

8. Ugandan Coffee Experience Class

Life is too short to drink terrible coffee! The Coffee Experience and Home Brewing Class in Kampala is an interactive and fun thing to do in Kampala if you want to learn more about Uganda's rich coffee heritage. The class delves into the progress (or lack thereof) in being recognized as a coffee giant and growing & processing methods. It also focuses on price transparency and the dynamics between coffee growers and coffee consumers.

You will analyze roast profiles, grind size, and various brewing methods, plus you will sample specialty Robusta and Arabica coffee. Interested in this coffee class? Check out One Tribe Coffee at Motiv or visit their Instagram .

9. Buy fresh fruits at Nakasero Market

Nakasero Food Market Kampala

In the heart of downtown Kampala, Nakasero Market is Kampala’s major food market; a bustling hub where locals, visitors, and businesses come together to buy and sell fresh food like colorful fruits, vegetables, grains, spices, meats, fish, and livestock like chickens.

livestock like chickens at nakasero market

It is the oldest and most iconic market in the city, offering a unique cultural experience for visitors. It’s also the place where most hotels buy their food.

So, the foodies among us will be in for a treat at Nakasero Food Market. Take a stroll through the food section and engage with the vendors to learn about traditional Ugandan ingredients and recipes.

Taste banana pancakes on Kampala Markets

Eat fresh fruits and sample some of the local street food, such as roasted plantains, grilled meats, and savory samosas, for a true taste of Uganda's culinary delights.

Best things to do in Kampala Nakasero Market

The lively atmosphere, bustling crowds, and eye-catching displays make it a photographer's paradise. Capture the essence of everyday life, and the friendly faces of the vendors as you document your visit to Nakasero Market.

📷 Kampala Markets Photography Tip: Don't forget to ask permission to photograph people or to capture a portrait as not everyone likes to be photographed; especially not without asking permission.

Visit Nakasero Market Kampala

  Like to have a panoramic view of the Nakasero Market to photograph the food market from above? Go up the stairs at the nearby mall! If you're with a guide he or she can show you the way!

What I like about strolling the markets is that it's a cheap thing to do in Kampala as the markets don't have an entrance fee. I do recommend buying some souvenirs, and tasting local dishes and fresh fruits, like mango.

10. People-watching at Old Taxi Park

Old Taxi Park Kampala City

The Old Taxi Park is a bustling transportation hub that can be an interesting place to see in Kampala. It’s where taxis, matatus, and boda-bodas converge. Passing by the taxi park, away from the more touristy areas, allows you to witness the vibrant hustle and bustle of Kampala's transport system firsthand, and it’s a fantastic spot for people-watching.

Taxi Park downtown Kampala

It's a chance to observe the vibrant street life, and it provides a glimpse into the authentic side of Kampala . The park is a hive of activity, with the constant movement of vehicles and people, the sounds of honking horns, and the vibrant colors and energy that characterize the local transportation system.

Kampala Transport Hub

The old Taxi Park is also a commercial center. Vendors set up shops around the park, offering a variety of goods and services. The Taxi Park offers many opportunities for capturing unique photographs that reflect the essence of Kampala. The lively scenes, vibrant colors, and the constant motion of people and vehicles can make for interesting visual compositions.

  Old Taxi Park Travel Tip : If you walk up the stairs in the nearby mall you will have a great view over the Old Taxi Park and the nearby busy streets. It's also a great spot to watch the sunset over Downtown Kampala; a free thing to do!

Taxi Park things to do Kampala

11. Discover the Bahá'í Temple

The Bahá'í Temple , also known as the Mother Temple of Africa, is set on Kikaya Hill , one of the 7 hills that surround Kampala. This magnificent temple offers panoramic views of Kampala and provides a serene space for reflection and meditation. The Bahá’í Faith was introduced to Uganda in 1951, making it one of the earliest Bahá’í communities in Eastern Africa. Bahá’í Houses of Worship are spiritual gathering places open to all peoples.

Explore the beautifully landscaped gardens and learn about the Bahá'í faith. The property (opened in 1961) includes the Bahá'í House of Worship, the peaceful gardens, a guest house, and an administrative center.

For a very long time, Uganda was the only country in Africa with a Bahá'í Temple. However, in recent years they built a temple in Kenya and the world’s first national Bahá'í House of Worship in Congo, DRC. They also plan to build another one in Zambia .

12. Visit the Namirembe Cathedral

Namirembe Cathedral Kampala City Tour

The Namirembe Cathedral , also known as St. Paul's Cathedral Namirembe , is one of the oldest and most iconic cathedrals in Uganda. It holds a significant place in the country's history and serves as the headquarters of the Anglican Church of Uganda. Tourists can attend these services.

The panoramic views of Kampala city are another reason why the Namirembe Cathedral is one of the beautiful places to visit in Kampala. The cathedral is located on Namirembe Hill , one of the 7 hills of Kampala.

13. Buy Souvenirs at Kampala Craft Markets

Souvenir Shops Kampala

Explore the vibrant craft markets in Kampala , such as the National Crafts Village at the Kampala National Theatre complex, the African Village Market in Kisementi, the East African Craft Village, or the Uganda Crafts 2000 Limited .

These bustling markets offer a wide selection of traditional crafts, including colorful textiles, wood carvings, jewelry, basketry, and artwork. Engage with local artisans, learn about their techniques, and take home unique Ugandan souvenirs.

  Responsible Travel Tip: By purchasing souvenirs on one of the local markets, you support local artisans. You might not need a souvenir to bring back home, but buying a souvenir at these stalls is a great way to give back to local Ugandans and their community.  If you don't want to take your souvenir from Uganda back home, you can gift it to a local Ugandan you meet along the way. Another option is to buy some school materials to gift to a rural school.

Travel responsible, buy local products as souvenirs

If you're done souvenir shopping in these tourist places and want to experience some upscale malls, you can also visit various shopping malls in Kampala, like the Oasis Mall in Centenary Park and Acacia Shopping Mall in Kisementi. Acacia Mall has various shops, cafes and restaurants. Cafesserie is a nice hangout place in the mall with a nice menu and ambiance. Other malls are Lugogo Shopping Mall (Kabalagala) and Freedom City (Entebbe Road).

14. Experience Ndere Cultural Center

Nestled in a beautiful garden setting, The Ndere Cultural Center is a cultural hub for tourists visiting Uganda to experience traditional dances, music, and storytelling that highlight the diverse ethnic groups of Uganda. Attend captivating evening shows that feature energetic drumming, African dances, and traditional songs performed by talented artists wearing colorful traditional clothing.

Through its performances, it seeks to foster unity, understanding, and appreciation for Uganda's cultural diversity . It's an excellent opportunity to gain insights into the history, rituals, and beliefs of various ethnic Ugandan groups, as well as witness the fusion of traditional and contemporary elements in Ugandan music and dance .

Traditional Ugandan Dances at Ndere Cultural Center

Apart from the performances, this Kampala tourist hub also hosts workshops, where you can learn traditional crafts, musical instruments, and dance moves. Visiting the Ndere Cultural Center is definitely among the best things to do in Kampala. Engage with the artists, take part in interactive sessions, and get a hands-on experience of Uganda's cultural expressions.

15. Kampala Sightseeing Bus Tour

Kampala Sightseeing Bus Tour

If you’re short on time, you can also explore Kampala City with the Kampala Sightseeing Bus . This city sightseeing tour offers two daily trips and the journey takes between 4 and 5 hours depending on the traffic. The bus will take you to Kampala’s top sights such as the Uganda Museum, The National Theater, Nakasero Market, Rubaga Cathedral, Namirembe Cathedral, Kabaka’s Lake, Kabaka Royal Palace, Uganda national mosque, Bahai Temple, the Independence Monument, and many other things to see in Kampala. The tour starts at the BMK House next to Hotel Africana .

I listed the bus sightseeing tour as some of the best things to do in Kampala to give you more ways of exploring Kampala City. Personally, I prefer a private guided tour to experience Uganda’s capital city, like the one I did with Sites Travel.

Hop on Hop Off Bus Kampala

16. Kampala by Night Party Bus

Wondering what to do in Kampala at night? Experience the energy of Kampala's nightlife in a unique and thrilling way with the Kampala by Night  Party Bus . Stepping aboard the party bus is without a doubt one of the most fun things to do in Kampala . The party bus is equipped with a high-quality sound system, dazzling lights, and comfortable seating, getting you ready for a night of excitement, music, and dancing in the city that never sleeps.

Kampala By Night Party Bus Tour

I experienced this fun activity during my last safari trip to Uganda together with Explore Uganda (the Uganda Tourism Board). We had a lot of fun, and it was a great way to get to know the people in the neighboring seats. I left my camera in the hotel at Speke Resort Munyonyo , so I only have a few phone images.

As the party bus hits the road, you'll cruise through the streets of Kampala, immersing yourself in the lively atmosphere and beats of the nightlife in Kampala . It's not for nothing that Kampala is regarded as the 'Las Vegas of Africa'. The city is very alive after dark with lots of bars and pubs to have a fun night out. The upscale nightlife spots are most safe for tourists in Kampala.

Popular Nightlife Spots & Bars in Kampala

Nightlife in Kampala

The Kampala by night route may include some of the following popular hangout places:

  • Industrial Area known for its trendy bars, lounges, and clubs;
  • Kisementi is a popular area filled with hip bars like Alchemist Bar, Sky Lounge Rooftop Bar with panoramic views of the city skyline, restaurants, and clubs offering a mix of local and international entertainment, ensuring a diverse and lively experience for partygoers;
  • The upscale residential Kololo is known for its trendy bars, rooftop lounges, and live music, like Casablanca Pub & Restaurant on Acacia Avenue, a bustling street lined with a variety of bars and clubs;
  • Ntinda is a lively neighborhood where you'll find a mix of local hangouts, clubs, and live music venues where you can enjoy performances by talented Ugandan artists and DJs;
  • Centenary Park is a popular entertainment complex offering a variety of bars, clubs, and open-air venues.

Prices of domestic and imported beers vary. In more upscale clubs you also pay higher prices. According to Numbeo that shares an overview of the cost of living in Kampala , the price for a domestic beer (0,5l draught) is around 0.81 - 3.22 USD.

The Kampala by Night Party Bus tour provides a safe and exciting way to discover the city's vibrant nightlife, hopping from one hotspot to another, and enjoying the music, drinks, and lively ambiance on board. It's a fantastic opportunity to socialize, dance, and create unforgettable memories with friends and fellow travelers in some of the coolest hangout spots in Kampala.

Fun thing to do in Kampala by night

Where to book the Kampala by-night party bus ride?

7o7safaris offered an exclusive luxury party bus that is available for dry hire and 25 persons max. There was also an open-roof party bus offered by “Promote Uganda Safaris Limited (PUS)", the same organization that offers the Kampala Sightseeing Bus Tour. This is also a great example of a Kampala by Night tour by GetYourGuide.

Party Bus Kampala Fun thing to do

17. Reflect at Uganda Martyrs' Shrine

This historical and religious site, also known as the Namugongo Martyrs' Shrine is located in Central Uganda 15 kilometers northeast of Kampala City. It commemorates the lives of 22 Christian converts who were executed for their faith in the late 19th century during the reign of Kabaka Mwanga II of Buganda. The shrine serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by these young men and women who chose to remain steadfast in their beliefs.

Apart from that, The Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo is one of the largest Christian pilgrimage destinations in Africa and a place of reflection and prayer for visitors, especially during the annual Martyrs' Day celebrations on June 3rd, which is a public holiday in Uganda.

18. Unwind at Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria things to do Kampala

Take a break from the chaos in Kampala city and head to the tranquil shores of Lake Victoria , Africa's largest lake. Because the lake borders multiple countries, it's also one of the best things to do in East Africa.

Looking for a romantic thing to do in Kampala ? Go pick-nicking at Lake Victoria and head back after you watched a typical African sunset. A totally free thing to do in Kampala and you’re at the lake in no time. Other tourist activities on  Lake Victoria are a scenic boat ride, fishing excursions to catch Nile perch and tilapia, or simply relaxing by the waterfront.

Ggaba Fish Market

If you decide to visit Lake Victoria, Ggaba Market is a must-visit for seafood enthusiasts. It’s a vibrant fish market where fishermen bring in their fresh catches of the day.

Birdwatching near Kampala

Birdwatching Lake Victoria from Kampala

Lake Victoria is also a paradise for birdwatchers. Some birds you can spot along the shores of Lake Victoria are the African Fish Eagle, Pied Kingfisher, and Malachite Kingfisher. A great place to see nearby Kampala is the Mabamba Swamp , known for the Shoebill watching activity. This birding activity starts from Entebbe but you can easily arrange a half-day trip from Kampala. Here are a few examples of birding tours in Uganda , including Shoebill birding tours.

Island-hopping Lake Victoria

Ngamba Island best things to do near Kampala

Lake Victoria hosts many beautiful islands like Ssese Island, Bulingugwe Island, and Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, that are worth visiting when you travel to Uganda. Below you can find 3 tours that include Ngamba Chimpanzee Island :

Lake Victoria Beaches near Kampala

Explore the pristine beaches and just relax on the shores of Lake Victoria. Some popular beaches near Kampala include Munyonyo Beach and Lido Beach .

Kampala Cycling

Are you a fan of cycling? A cool thing to do near Kampala is an off-the-beaten-path cycling tour around Lake Victoria, starting in Kampala. You can book this 1-day clycling tour through GetYourGuide .

19. Water fun at Planet Water Park & Games in Kampala

If you’re traveling in Kampala with kids, check out Planet Water Park & Games . It’s the ultimate destination for thrilling water adventures and one of the most fun things to do in Kampala (with kids). Locals visit a lot as well, especially during weekends. Another option to hangout with kids is the Disney Kids Play Park.

20. Discover the Source of the Nile by boat on a day-trip from Kampala

visit the source of the nile from Kampala

You can find the Source of the Nile in Jinja, also known as Uganda’s adventure capital. Jinja is nearby Kampala, and it’s very easy to plan a day trip from Kampala to see the source of the Nile. Because Jinja is close Kampala, I included it in the best things to do nearby Kampala.

If you’re interested in visiting the source of the Nile and other tourist places in Uganda, I recommend reading  The 15 best places to visit in Uganda ,

Here are examples of 1 to 3-day tours to Jinja and the Source of the Nile:

Discover the 20 Best things to do in Kampala, a summary

In summary, these are the 20 best things to do in Kampala , Uganda:

  • Uganda National Mosque
  • UNESCO Kasubi Tombs
  • Uganda National Museum
  • Kabaka’s Palace & Torture Cells
  • The Royal Mile
  • Mowimo Market
  • Eat Local Uganda Street food
  • Ugandan Coffee Experience Class
  • Nakasero Market
  • Old Taxi Park
  • Baha'i Temple
  • Namirembe Cathedral
  • Kampala Craft Markets
  • Ndere Cultural Center
  • Kampala Sightseeing Bus Tour
  • Kampala by night Party Bus
  • Uganda Martyr's Shrine
  • Lake Victoria
  • Planet Water Park & Games
  • Source of the Nile

Is Kampala worth visiting?

Is Kampala worth visiting?

When I first visited Uganda in 2018, I skipped Kampala in my 3-week itinerary because I read it’s too much chaos, not really a clean city, and nothing much to do. Since Kampala is the heart and soul of Uganda , I really wanted to explore the capital city whenever I would visit Uganda again, and I’m super happy I did! I will even visit Kampala again next time, as there’s still more to explore.

Is Kampala a clean city?  Not really! They try to keep the streets clean but there's a lot of dirt everywhere and looking at Kigali in Rwanda , Kampala still has a lot of work to do. Is Kampala chaotic? 100%. You just have to adapt and go with the flow to find peace in the crowds going about their daily lives.

Kampala Tourist Attractions and Markets

So, yes, Kampala is a place worth visiting ! From delving into the country's rich heritage at the Uganda Museum to exploring the serene shores of Lake Victoria, this city offers a diverse range of experiences.

Where to book a Kampala Walking Tour?

Book a Kampala Walking Tour and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and flavors that make this African gem shine.

Plan your trip to Kampala today, and let this remarkable city leave an indelible mark on your travel memories. We booked our guided city tour through  Sites Travel , a local woman-owned travel agency based in the Kampala Serena Hotel that is listed as the best romantic places in Kampala.

It's obviously not the only one offering walking tours in Kampala or a full-day Kampala Tour but I had a good experience with them. They picked us up from the hotel, we first drove to a few sights more outside of downtown Kampala and then started our walking tour along the markets and old taxi park etc.

When is the best time to visit Kampala?

The best time to visit Kampala is all year round! Some people advise the dry season months of mid-December to February and June to August, but I traveled to Uganda in the shoulder seasons or rainy season in Uganda (March/April and October/November) and I really loved to visit Uganda and Kampala during that time. The average coldest month in Kampala, Uganda is July.

  Related: Best time to visit Uganda and Uganda weather by month .

Other things to do around Kampala

Gorilla Trekking Uganda

Kampala City is enormous, and there are probably more beautiful places to visit or unique things to do. Kampala also has a lot of monuments, like The Independence Monument , the Sir Edward Muteesa Monument, the World War 1 & 2 monuments, the sculpture of Sir Apollo Kagwa, the Statue of Leadership, and the Nakasero Hindu Temple . Kampala is also known for its Makerere University which was the only educational institute of its kind in East Africa for many years. That's also the reason why many prominent figures from Kenya, Tanzania , and Uganda at Makerere University, including Milton Obote, the former president of Uganda.

Tree Climbing Lion Ishasha Uganda

From Kampala, you can also plan  other things to do in Uganda ; for example, Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi National Park , Shoe bill Watching along the shores of Lake Victoria in Entebbe, Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale , hiking along the Sipi Falls or go on safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park. I also wrote the 9 best things to do in Murchison Falls National Park and everything you need to know about Shoebill watching in Mabamba Swamp , Entebbe.

Best things to do in Kampala

If you want to explore all the sights Kampala offers or if you want to experience Kampala as a local, you can easily spend a week in Kampala. But the listed 20 best things to do in Kampala are a good start! Did I miss an important highlight or must-see in Uganda’s capital city? Please leave a comment below or get your Kampala City Tour tickets .

best tourist destination in uganda

African Pearl Safaris

Top 5 Tourist Destinations in Uganda | Best Places to Visit in Uganda.

Top 5 Tourist Destinations In Uganda | Best Places To Visit In Uganda.

Uganda is richly blessed with stunning tourist attractions diversely spread out throughout all national parks. Here are the top 5 tourist destinations in Uganda that most tourists from around the world love to visit when they visit Uganda.

Murchison Falls National Park.

Uganda Tourist Attractions

Murchison Falls National Park was established in 1952 and covers a surface area of 3893km2, it falls under the umbrella of Murchison Falls Conservation Area [MFCA] which comprises of Murchison Falls National Park, Bugunga and Karuma Falls wildlife reserves. Most  Uganda Safaris  include a visit to Murchison Falls National Park which is Uganda’s oldest and largest national park.

The park is located in the northern region of the Albertine Rift Valley in Masindi district of western Uganda situated 300km by road northwest of Kampala. The Murchison Falls also known as Kabarega Falls is where the Nile bursts through the narrow gorge and spreads down to a placid stream flowing into Lake Albert. Hippos, crocodiles and water bucks throng the banks of the stream.

Murchison Falls National Park  has got a spectacular view with the huge waterfalls roaring and finding their way within the small slit of 7 meters or 23 feet wide between the rocks and this is the connect point of Bunyoro escarpment and Acholi plains. Also in the park adjacent to the Masindi-Gulu high way are the magnificent Karuma Falls.

Wildlife mainly include; elephants, buffalos, lions, giraffes, chimpanzees and many others. Vegetation is commonly savannah, woodland and riverine forest.

In Murchison there are four of the big five; buffalos, lions, elephants and leopards are mostly seen in the northern part.

Boat rides are usually arranged and operate from Paraa to the foot of Murchison Falls, they always take 3 hours which gives you a clear view of the hippos, crocodiles and the wildlife that is always close to the falls.  

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Uganda Safaris

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park  was gazzetted in 1991 and lies in south western Uganda, covering 321km2. The mist covered forest is home to over 400 mountain gorillas which is more than half of the world’s population of the remaining mountain gorillas and these compose the main attraction of the park. There are 11 habituated Gorilla groups/families in Bwindi.  Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi  is one of the most popular tourist activities and this makes Bwindi one of the top 5 tourist destinations in Uganda.

Besides the mountain gorillas, the park is also home to about 120 species of mammals, 360 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies, 324 tree species and 10 of these cannot be found elsewhere in Uganda.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is not to be missed on your travel itinerary, besides the main highlight [gorilla tracking] there are quite number of activities that you may be engaged in. There are different community initiatives that arrange these tours; Buninga forest walk, nkuringo cultural center, Rubuguri village walk, nyundo community eco-trails, NCCDF among others.

Kibale National Park.

Top 5 Tourist Destinations in Uganda

Kibale National Park was gazzetted in 1932 and is located in western Uganda covering about 795km2. This park is one of Africa’s foremost research sites for chimpanzees and other primates, eco systems, wild pigs and other topics. Kibale’s southern part adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park and creates a 180km wildlife corridor which stretches from Ishasha sector to the distant southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park along with Sebitoli Forest located in the northern part of Kibale with an array of landscapes.

Kibale is one of the best safari destinations in Africa for  chimpanzee tracking  and other primates coupled with the most beautiful tropical rainforest. It has a pleasant climate almost throughout the year, the wettest area being the north of the park receiving an average annual rainfall of about 1700mm especially in March-May and September-November.

Kibale National Park  accommodates L’Hoest’s monkey, red colobus monkeys, black and white colobus, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboon, golden cats, red & blue duikers, Bush baby alongside a variety of birds. Buffalos, leopards, elephants are also present, a large number of reptiles and butterflies are also there though hardly seen.

Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Top 5 Tourist Destinations in Uganda

Queen Elizabeth National Park  is located in western Uganda and stretches along the districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo, Rukungiri, Kamwenge and Bushenyi. The park which covers a surface area of 1978km2 existed as Lake Edward and Lake George Game Reserves in 1920’s and was later gazetted in 1952 as Kazinga National Park by the British Colonial Government. In 1954 the park was baptized Queen Elizabeth National Park in commemoration of the visiting British monarch.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa as well as the most visited national parks in Uganda. The park which is commonly known as “medley of wonders” is an ideal habitat for big game, 10 primate species and over 600 birds’ species.

The park gives you spectacular views of  Rwenzori Mountains , Kazinga Channel, the large area of the swamp, the beauty of open savannah around Lake George, the beautiful crater lakes and a lot more.

Queen Elizabeth National Park spans the equator with the monuments on either side of the road which marks the exact point where it crosses latitude 00.

Besides the remarkable wildlife attraction, Queen Elizabeth National Park is also proud of attractive heritage and cultural history. Tourists usually get an opportunity to visit local communities with the help of local tour guides and entertainment in terms of music and storytelling is offered to them. This will definitely leave the visitors yearning for more.

Kidepo Valley National Park.

Uganda National Parks

The park which was gazzeted in 1962 and covers a surface area of 1442km2 with an altitude between 914 and 270m above sea level. It is located in a semi-arid area between Uganda borders with Sudan and Kenya. This blissfully remote and stunningly beautiful park is quite unvisited compared to the rest of the national parks in Uganda. Kidepo is an ideal home to big game, over 70 mammal species as well as 475 bird species and contains two rivers of Kidepo and Narus that dry up during the dry season.

Dodoth pastoralists and IK farmers lived in the area before it was gazzeted as a game reserve in 1958 by the British Colonial Government and the purpose was to protect the wildlife from poaching and prevent further clearing of the bush for tsetse fly control. In 1962 the game reserve was renamed  Kidepo Valley National Park .

Although tourists are allowed to visit the park throughout the year, the best time would be during dry season (January – May and October – December] and it is usually advisable to use 4WD vehicles to avoid any inconveniences caused by bad roads. Always seek advice from your  tour operator in Uganda  on how best you can access the park.

The park is fast becoming preferred destination for many tourists planning an African safari especially Uganda wildlife safaris and cultural tours.

These Uganda National Parks may be the top 5 tourist destinations in Uganda but Uganda has got so much more to see and do.

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda’s Largest Safari Park.

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda’s Largest Safari Park.

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda’s Largest Safari Park covers approximately 3,893 square kilometers. It is…

best tourist destination in uganda

Mount Gahinga Lodge, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Stay at Mount Gahinga Lodge in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Mount Gahinga – small pile of stones-…

Kasoga Community Tour In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Kasoga Community Tour in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Kasoga Community Tour in Queen Elizabeth National Park is a community initiative on Lake George Ramsar…

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5 replies to this topic

Tripadvisor staff removed this post because it did not meet Tripadvisor's forum posting guidelines with prohibiting self-promotional advertising or solicitation.

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Hi mdhridoy k,

Welcome to our forums!

We moved your post from the Outdoors / Adventure Travel forum to the Uganda forum since it is more appropriate for your topic.

Thanks for being part of our community!

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For details if you're interested in a good itinerary for Uganda , please I recommend Bigodi Africa Expeditions for your unforgettable gorillas, chimpanzees and wildlife safaris in Uganda .

http://www.bigodiafricaexpeditions.com

best tourist destination in uganda

Sipi areas...

Kalagala island..

Fortpotal...

Lyantonde..

best tourist destination in uganda

Like other countries in the world, Uganda is safe and considered topmost tourists destination in Africa.

Its geographical , ecological setup and , friendly people safely is guaranteed in most touristic protected areas.

Safest among many more others include:

At the mouth of the second largest lake in the world , zoo, Ngamba chimps sanctuary etc

Considered safest city and ecologically & historically rich . It's the source of River Nile

3. Ziwa Rhino sanctuary and Murchison Falls National park.

Famous for their Southern white Rhinos and the world's most powerful water fall.

4. Kibale National park

Lies in the outskirts of the mountains of the moon , Kibale is famous for its nonhuman great apes and primate capital of the world.

6. Bwindi National Park , Lake Bunyonyi ecological island is safer as well. Trek the magical thrill.

7. Lake Mburo National park comes last on my list , but generally Uganda is safe.

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Complete List of Destinations

  • Afghanistan
  • American Samoa
  • Anegada (see Virgin Islands, British )
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  • Antigua and Barbuda
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  • Bahamas, The
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  • Ivory Coast (see Côte d'Ivoire )
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  • Liechtenstein
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best tourist destination in uganda

Best Safari Destinations in Africa for 2024

The Big Five have never been more appealing. Here are our big five safari destinations Africa for 2024 and beyond

best tourist destination in uganda

“There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne—bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.” Karen Blixen, of Out of Africa fame, waxed rhapsodic about the wonders of the mighty continent and the appeal of a safari. Most of us have only seen wild elephants and lions in documentaries, but there’s nothing more thrilling than seeing these mighty beasts in their natural habitat. An elephant calf playfully following the herd, an ochre-hued lion gazing intently at wildebeests, a giraffe slowly chewing the branches from an acacia tree. Witnessing these animals on a safari in Africa truly transforms you and your views on conservation and sustainability.

Africa boasts dozens of countries, each with their own cultures, languages and norms, but across this dynamic continent, from north to south, lie wilderness parks, savannahs and velds where the Big Five—lions, elephants, cape buffalos, rhinos and leopards—and other animals live peacefully under the watchful eye of park rangers and conservationists. Check out our top five best safari destinations in Africa for 2024. 

best tourist destination in uganda

Botswana boasts so many natural wonders, it’s hard to pick a place to start when heading here for a safari adventure. The Okavango River Delta, the largest inland delta in the world, offers miles upon miles of myriad waterways, lagoons and grassy flood plains where one can admire mighty beasts from a safe vantage point in an overland truck. Get as close as you can get to African elephants as well as lions and leopards on a Botswana safari .

The Moremi Game Reserve, situated in the heart of the delta, is the perfect campsite for any driving safari as you’ll be rewarded with hippos, Cape buffalos, lions, leopards and the ever elusive Tawny Eagle. If you love elephants as much as we do, Chobe National Park on the border of Botswana and Zambia, boasts a herd population of around 50,000 elephants across the savannah. A Botswana safari is the perfect choice if you want to splurge on a private African safari tour as you get personal chefs and other amenities.

best tourist destination in uganda

Kenya offers tantalizing glimpses of wildlife from any budget or luxury African safari tour. With more than 800 safari tours to choose from, travelers will find it hard to pick just one. Head to the Masai Mara for gaming drives that ensure you see at least one or two of the Big Five. Tsavo West National Park goes beyond the Big Five and offers rhinos, hippos, cheetahs and plant and bird species that you can’t find anywhere else. This rugged wilderness boasts verdant plains thanks to watering holes such as Mzima Springs. 

Mt. Kilimanjaro is the resident icon here and with its snow-capped peaks as a backdrop, you’ll find elephants migrating from one watering hole to another at Amboseli National Park. Lake Naivasha, a freshwater lake, is a great vantage point to admire birds as well as hippos among papyrus reeds and flat-topped acacias. After six days of trekking and hiking, relax in your air-conditioned hotel in Nairobi when you’re done.

South Africa

best tourist destination in uganda

When one thinks of the Big Five, South Africa immediately comes to mind as it’s considered the place to see all of these animals in their natural habitat. A safari in South Africa means you’ll be guaranteed lions, leopards, rhinos, and other wildlife across a five- to eight-day African safari. 

From the verdant banks of Lake Saint Lucia in iSimangaliso Wetland Park to the grassy plains of Kruger National Park, South Africa teems with wildlife that is indigenous to the continent. Blyde River Canyon, the third largest of its kind in the world, boasts gorges and greenery like you’ve never seen anywhere else on earth. Expect views of the rivers and valleys laid out like a banquet feast for the senses. Meandering ribbons of blue traverse the landscape and waterfalls are carved into cliff sides, offering a pleasing respite from long days in an overland truck tour. 

best tourist destination in uganda

For African safari tours, Tanzania is always at the top when one thinks of best safari destinations in Africa. With sites such as Ngorongoro Crater, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tarangire National Park, and Serengeti National Park it isn’t not hard to see why. A Tanzania safari is a one-of-a-kind experience thanks to the Great Migration. This annual event sees more than 2 million animals, mainly wildebeests, zebras and giraffes, traverse the golden plains of Serengeti National Park, from Tanzania to nearby Kenya. A safari in Tanzania is always appealing thanks to conservation efforts that preserve the Big Five and other wildlife as well as fertile soil and abundant watering holes.  

On any given Tanzania safari, expect iconic wildlife while on a game drive and close-but-not-too close interactions with animals (perfect for anyone looking for an African safari photography tour); it’s one of our favorites because of this personal interaction. Descend into Ngorongoro crater where you might be lucky enough to spot an endangered black rhino or visit a Maasai village to learn about their way of life. 

best tourist destination in uganda

While most people head on an African safari to see the Big Five, there are other animals just as majestic and endangered as the mighty lion. Uganda boasts gorilla safaris so you can do your best Jane Goddall impression watching primates in their native habitat.

Before you get to the primates, travel to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to admire rare white rhinos, which have been saved from the brink of extinction by park rangers here. Track chimpanzees, our closest animal relatives, in Kibale Forest National Park. Then it’s time to hike 4-6 hours to see mountain gorillas.

In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park you’ll get to spend one hour admiring these majestic beats in the dense foliage. Grab your camera and quietly take photos of these sociable creatures who are often in family groups of more than a dozen, led by an alpha male. These mighty animals can look placid but can be quite intimidating when viewed up close so don’t use your video camera or flash. You’ll leave your Uganda gorilla safari with a new appreciation for primates of all sizes. 

See Also: Best Safari Destinations In the World

best tourist destination in uganda

Shandana A. Durrani

Shandana A. Durrani is the Head of Content & Brand at TourRadar. A former Senior Editor at Cigar Aficionado and a former Dining Editor at Google, Durrani has written about travel for Condé Nast Traveler, Afar, Silverkris and Metro London and is the author of “Day Trips from New York City.”

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IMAGES

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  2. Top 10 Uganda Destinations Great For Safari

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  26. Destinations

    Destinations. Measles cases are increasing globally, including in the United States. The majority of measles cases imported into the United States occur in unvaccinated U.S. residents who become infected during international travel. A list of countries with confirmed measles outbreaks can be found on the Global Measles Travel Health Notice (THN).

  27. Best Safari Destinations in Africa for 2024

    Tanzania. For African safari tours, Tanzania is always at the top when one thinks of best safari destinations in Africa. With sites such as Ngorongoro Crater, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tarangire National Park, and Serengeti National Park it isn't not hard to see why. A Tanzania safari is a one-of-a-kind experience thanks to the Great Migration.