10 best things to do in Uganda
Uganda is so much more than a safari destination. Most Tour Operators itineraries tend to be going from one safari park to the next. Yet there is such a variety of other nice places to visit and things to do. To help you get started to make the most out of your holiday in Uganda, here’s our personal list of 10 best things to do in Uganda! The list is in random order, it was already challenging enough to comprise our list to 10 tips, let alone ranking these tips...
1. Camp in a National Park
The best way to experience a national park and soak up the wilderness, is definitely by camping right in it! It’s much cheaper than staying in a lodge and you’ll be able to make an early start and see more wildlife. One of our favourite places to camp are the UWA Nagusokopire Campsite in Kidepo Valley National Park. Bush camping at the UWA special campsite on the Nile Delta in Murchison Falls National Park and the UWA Mweya Public Campsite in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
2. Gorilla Trekking
A real bucket-list experience and an unforgettable adventure. You’ll get up close and personal with mountain gorillas at the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Wondering how a day of gorilla trekking will look like and whether this is something for you? Check out the article on Gorilla Trekking Experience. Wondering how to get your permits, and other practical information needed to prepare for your trekking? You find all this useful information, here.
3. Do a Horseback Safari in Lake Mburo
Lake Mburo is the closest national park to Kampala, so a great first stop on your safari in Uganda. Because this park is low in predators, its safe for a number of adventurous activities, like walking safaris, mountain bike rides, and horse riding. The upmarket Mihingo Lodge organises horse riding safaris inside Lake Mburo. Their horse stable is beautiful. On a horse, you tend to get closer to zebra’s and other wildlife. They have a limited amount of horses and prioritise their own guests before visitors. They tend not to follow up on email request, so best to call them to check on a last minute opportunity.
4. Go rafting the Nile
Jinja is home to some of the worlds finest grade 5 white water rafting. Although the electricity dams have greatly reduced the number of grade 5 rapids, you surely still get your adrenaline shot and be flipped out of the boat. There are several reputable companies out there, such as Nalubale and Nile River Explorers.
5. Visit Kidepo National Park
If you have enough time, don’t miss out on Kidepo Valley National Park. It’s located in the far north east, bordering South Sudan. Its considered one of Africa’s last great wilderness areas and sees much less visitors than other famous parks like the Serengeti. While the game viewing is excellent, it is the thrilling sense of supreme isolation that many roadtrippers enjoy most. Check our blog on Kidepo National Park for more info.
6. Wander around 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 – 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 – is the cosmopolitan hub of Uganda. 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.
7. Climbing Mount Sabinyo in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Okay, this a personal favourite of Laura and shall not appear on everybody’s top 10 list of things to see and do in Uganda. If you love to soak in your travels at a slower pace or feel like stretching your legs, Uganda has a variety of mountains that make for scenic hikes, with very little other visitors out there. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is such an off-the-beaten-track destination.
Mount Sabyinyo is an inactive volcano, part of the Virunga Mountains in Mgahinga Park. The hike to the top of the volcano is quite a strenuous one. It takes around 7-10 hours for the return trip. Mt. Sabyinyo has three peaks. The first one is at 3421 meters, and the summit is at 3,669 meters. The top marks the border between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and you have a 360 view on all of the three countries. Pretty special!
Don’t look down! With several challenging ladder climbs up rock faces, this hike isn’t recommended for anyone with a fear of heights.
8. Stay at Mutanda Lake Resort
There are many nice places to stay in Uganda, but Mutanda Lake Resort has stolen our hearts. It’s not only a resort, but a destination on its own. We strongly recommend to build in some resting days in your Uganda itineary, and at times stay at one location for a night or three, to simply enjoy the facilities of your lodge and appreciate the surroundings. Mutanda Lake Resort is a prefect spot for that. You can go sunbathing and swimming in the lake, go sailing or Stand Up Paddling boarding, hike the Virunga Volcanoes, go birding or enjoy a cultural village tour.
9. See the Nile explode in Murchison Falls
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest park and lies in the North, a day drive from Kampala.The park is named after the dramatic Murchison Falls, where the Nile river explodes violently through a narrow cleft. At the top of the falls, the Nile forces 300 cubic meters per second, squeezed into a gap in the rocks of only 7 metre wide, and tumbles 43 metre, before flowing westward into Lake Albert. Check our guide on Murchison Falls National Park for more information.
10. Boda Boda Tour in Kampala
The best and most fun way to explore the capital of Uganda, is on the back of a motorbike. Tours are offered by Walters Boda Boda Tours. Their drivers are responsible, experienced and very informative.
What is your personal top 10 of best things to do in Uganda? Let us know!