Uganda Travel Guide
Uganda is a country that’s filled with unforgettable landscapes, unique safari adventures, and friendly people. If you want an authentic and easy-going destination in East Africa, look no further than.
Wondering about things to do in Uganda? In our Uganda Travel Guide, we’ll walk you through everything from the top picks to the hidden gems.
Five Fun Facts About Uganda
1. Pan fried grasshoppers, Nsenene, are the ultimate delicacy in Uganda. If you’re offered Nsenene, don’t skip out on your chance to try them!
2. Over 30 indigenous languages are spoken in Uganda. Although English and Swahili are the official languages, many people speak Luganda. Try saying ‘Asante Sana!’ (Swahili), or ‘Webale Nyo!’ (Luganda) – those both mean thank you very much!
3. Entebbe used to be the capital of Uganda before independence in 1962.
4. Uganda is home to one of the smallest churches in the world. On the top of Biku Hill in Nebbi Town is Bethel Church. It’s only 2.3 m wide and 2.4 metres tall and was constructed in 1996.
5. The equator runs through Uganda! You can see it and take a picture at the monument for free. If you’re travelling west, you’ll see it around 420 kilometres outside of Kampala in Kampala-Masaka road.
Why Visit Uganda?
Because Uganda is the road less travelled in East Africa, you’ll be able to enjoy many top destinations and experiences for a lower price compared to its neighbouring countries.
Uganda is often nicknamed ‘Africa condensed’ because it has so much of what Africa has to offer in one location. On one driving loop, you can track the mountain gorillas, enjoy a safari game drive, get lost in the tropical rainforest, go white-water rafting, and see the big five. Experience it for yourself, pack your bags, rent a car, and Drive Your Own Adventure!
Besides wildlife and nature, Uganda also has diverse cultural experiences. At the Ndere Centre in Kampala, you can watch the famous Ndere dance troupe showcase the different dance, music, traditions of Uganda. In Karamoja, you can observe the cattle herding and farming of the Karamojong people. While you’re trekking in Mgahinga, explore the hillsides with the Batwa trail, where you can learn more about the pygmy people and their hunter-gatherer practices. We could keep going - there are countless cultural experiences you can organize for your Ugandan road trip. Check the Uganda Culture section of this destination guide for more tips and information.
Some people say that if you have not visited the capital, then you have not visited the country. This is the case for Kampala - the economic, political and social hub of the country. Kampala is a modern and fun place to wind down. Whether you desire sushi, grilled fish, Italian fine-dining, or fancy cocktails, Kampala has it all. Do you have a day or two to spend before or after your safari in Uganda? Read our blog about Things to do in Kampala.
Top 20 Best Things to Do in Uganda
Uganda is so much more than a safari destination. Roadtripper and life long traveller Patricija compiled a surprising list of experiences she enjoyed the most on her roadtrip in Uganda. Obviously going on a gorilla trekking was considered a highlight, but also low key activities such as preparing Matooke was featured on the list. Check the list of best things to do in Uganda here.
Go Primate Trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
If you’re crazy about primates, then a visit to Uganda should be on your bucket list. From the elusive mountain gorillas to chimpanzee trekking to golden monkeys hikes, there is much to explore when it comes to primates.
You’ll find the rare mountain gorillas nestled among the dense trees and foliage in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, in the Southwest of the country. Uganda gorilla trekking is just as exciting as gorilla trekking in Rwanda - but much less expensive.
Chimpanzees can be spotted from various places in Uganda, but Kibale Forest is the prime chimpanzee trekking location, with a 95% chance that you will spot a chimp family. Trekking permits need to be arranged well in advance. Roadtrip Uganda can help you to obtain permits for gorilla and/ or chimpanzee trekking.
Rather not commit to a long hike or long drive? Get the thrill of primate watching by visiting Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee sanctuary on Ngamba Island. You can spend the day watching nearly fifty chimpanzees eat, play, groom, and jump from tree to tree. Ngamba Island is only a short boat ride away from Entebbe and makes for a fun and leisurely afternoon.
Consult our gorilla and chimp trekking section on this website, for more practical information.
How is wildlife viewing in Uganda?
Uganda has a variety of game parks sprinkled throughout the country. These parks are home to a wide variety of savannah animals like antelope, giraffes, and spotted hyenas. You can also see lions, African elephants, leopards, and African buffalos.The famous tree climbing lions can be spotted in Ishasha, a remote corner of Queen Elizabeth Park.
To see the majestic and powerful rhinos, you’ll need to visit them at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. It’s on the way to Murchison Falls National Park. – so no detour necessary!
The best destinations in Uganda for scenic hikes and slower travel
If you love to soak in your travels at a slower pace or feel like stretching your legs, Uganda has a variety of mountains and waterfalls that make for scenic hiking.
Mount Elgon and Mount Rwenzori are great for tough mountain hikes, seeing far fewer visitors than Mount Kilimanjaro. Fort Portal and the crater lakes, Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Mutanda, Sipi Falls and Mburo National Park are all great areas for hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities.
Uganda’s Vibrant Towns
As you drive through Uganda, you’ll have the opportunity to stop in a few towns.
Entebbe – is a relaxing town with a tropical vibe, right at Lake Victoria and the International Airport. It’s great to start your safari holiday in Uganda at Entebbe. Recommended things to do in Entebbe are swimming at the big pool of Lake Victoria Hotel, visiting the Zoo and the Botanical gardens, and going to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Enjoy a good dinner at the colonial Boma Hotel and make sure to try Goretti's fresh fish or great pizza, while viewing Lake Victoria with your bare feet in the white sand.
Jinja – If you love outdoor recreation, Jinja will make you feel right at home. In Jinja, you can go white water rafting, kayaking, ATV tours, and horseback riding. Don’t forget to get your photo taken at the source of the Nile river.
Fort Portal – Fort Portal is nestled within lush rolling hills and makes for the perfect place to stay if you plan to visit Kibale National Park and the Crater Lakes. It’s a popular hub for tourists and offers a range of accommodation options.
Kampala – Kampala is the cosmopolitan hub of Uganda. With excellent cultural sites, shopping, and dining options, it’s the perfect place to relax, grab a cold beer, and reflect on your memorable cross-country road trip. If you have an extra day or two, there are also a variety of day trips you can take from Kampala.
Check Roadtrip Uganda's accommodation page for an overview of the best campsites and lodges in Entebbe, Jinja, Fort Portal and Kampala.