A Uganda safari is an opportunity to experience the adventure of a lifetime, create unforgettable memories and find solace in the soul-soothing beauty of nature. However, without a proper plan of activities, your safari experience can be underwhelming or even frustrating. To ensure you make the most out of your visit, we have compiled a list of the top ten activities to add to your itinerary.
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is an exhilarating experience that involves hiking through the dense rainforest in search of the iconic mountain gorillas. This experience takes place in two national parks in Uganda, namely Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to over half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. The park has various gorilla families that are habituated to human presence, making it possible to have a close encounter with these gentle giants. On the other hand, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has one habituated gorilla family that can be trekked.
The trek can take anywhere from 2-8 hours, depending on the location of the gorilla family you are visiting. It is recommended that you are in good physical condition as the trek can be strenuous, involving steep slopes and muddy terrain. The trek is guided by experienced rangers who will take you through the forest, pointing out different wildlife species and providing information about the gorillas and their habitat.
When you finally encounter the gorillas, you will be allowed to spend an hour in their presence, watching them feed, play, and interact with each other. It is important to follow the ranger’s instructions to avoid disturbing the gorillas or exposing them to human-borne diseases.
Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that leaves visitors in awe of the majestic creatures and the beauty of their natural habitat. It is important to book your permit in advance through a reputable tour operator to ensure that your gorilla trekking experience is well organized and unforgettable.
Uganda is home to over 13 primate species, including the beloved chimpanzees. Chimpanzee trekking is a popular activity for visitors to Uganda who wish to witness these intelligent creatures in their natural habitat. Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Kyambura Gorge, Kalinzu Forest, Tooro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve, and Budongo Forest are some of the best places to go chimp trekking.
During a chimpanzee trekking experience, you’ll venture into the forest with a guide to search for chimpanzees. You’ll likely hear them before you see them, as their vocalizations can be heard from a distance. As you approach, you’ll observe the chimps in their natural environment, feeding, playing, and interacting with one another. It’s a thrilling experience to witness these primates up close.
For those looking for an extended encounter with chimpanzees, there is the chimp habituation experience. This immersive experience allows visitors to spend an entire day with a chimp family, observing their daily activities and behavior. It’s a unique opportunity to get to know these incredible primates in a more intimate setting.
In addition to trekking chimps in the wild, there are also opportunities to visit sanctuaries where orphaned and rescued chimps are cared for. The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Uganda Wildlife Education Centre are two such places where visitors can observe and learn about these primates.
It’s important to note that when trekking chimps, visitors should be in good physical health as the trek can be challenging. Additionally, it’s crucial to follow the ranger’s instructions to ensure the safety of both visitors and the chimps. Overall, chimpanzee trekking is a unique and unforgettable experience that is not to be missed on a visit to Uganda.
Uganda is a birder’s paradise, with over 1050 bird species found within its borders. From the shores of Lake Victoria to the swamps of Mabamba Island, and the savannas of Murchison Falls National Park, there are plenty of opportunities for bird watching in Uganda. The country’s diverse habitats – including tropical rainforests, savannas, wetlands, and lakesides – offer a home to many bird species.
One of the must-see birds in Uganda is the shoebill, which can be found at Mabamba Island. In addition to the shoebill, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to the Albertine Rift Endemics, while the Bigodi wetlands are a great place to spot a Great Blue Turaco. The savannas of Murchison Falls National Park offer the chance to see savanna endemics such as Denham’s Bustard, while Mabamba Swamp is an excellent spot to see the shoebill up close.
Semuliki National Park is another great birding destination, offering a chance to see species from central Africa. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just starting out, Uganda’s bird watching opportunities are not to be missed. Birding can be included in a safari itinerary with a local tour operator who will tailor your trip to maximize the best birding spots.
Uganda is not only rich in its wildlife and natural scenery but also in cultural diversity. Each tribe and community has its unique cultural practices, language, cuisine, dress, music, and dance. To fully experience Uganda’s cultural and community offerings, one can try the famous dishes such as Luwombo from Buganda, Eshabwe from Ankole, Atapa from Teso, Malakwang from Acholi, and Maleewa from the Bagisu.
There are several opportunities to engage with Uganda’s cultural and community experiences, including the Batwa trail, visiting museums such as the Igongo Cultural Centre and Ndere Centre, attending cultural performances at the National Theatre, and visiting local homes while at Queen Elizabeth National Park. Additionally, stopping by souvenir shops in and out of Kampala can give visitors a glimpse of Uganda’s cultural artifacts and traditional crafts.
Interacting with local communities in Uganda provides a unique opportunity to learn about the rich heritage and cultural diversity of the country. Visitors can engage in traditional dances, listen to folk stories and legends, and participate in community projects such as farming, crafts, and cooking. By taking part in these cultural experiences, visitors can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Uganda’s vibrant cultural heritage.
If you are looking for an adventure-packed activity that will get your adrenaline pumping, then white water rafting on the River Nile is a must-do while on your Uganda safari. The River Nile offers an electrifying experience with its strong current, exhilarating waves and breathtaking scenery. This thrilling activity covers a distance of 25 kilometers and lasts about 6 hours.
However, white water rafting is not for the faint-hearted. It is a challenging activity that requires physical fitness, courage, and a desire to push your limits. There are various options to choose from depending on your level of expertise and adventure, including the Grade 5 Extreme Rafting, Raft River Board, Grade 3 Full Day Rafting, and the 2-day water rafting.
After an exciting day on the river, you can unwind on the banks of the Nile with local music, bonfires, barbeque and dancing. It is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and interact with the friendly locals.
In conclusion, white water rafting on the River Nile is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed. It is a perfect way to explore the beauty of Uganda’s nature and challenge yourself while creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Experience the tranquility of Lake Bunyonyi, a stunning body of water surrounded by rolling hills and 29 lush islands, on a canoeing excursion. Immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance of the lake while admiring the picturesque landscape and listening to traditional tales about the region. Using a traditional dugout canoe, explore the islands and gaze in wonder at the terraced food gardens that adorn the hills.
Canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi offers a unique opportunity to discover the area’s flora and fauna, including an array of bird species that call the lake their home. Take in the sights and sounds of nature as you paddle through the crystal-clear waters and marvel at the breathtaking views that unfold before your eyes.
The experience of canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi is not only calming but also an excellent way to delve deeper into the culture and history of the region. Your canoe ride will take you through the craters, which are natural formations formed millions of years ago, and provide you with a glimpse into the geological evolution of the area.
In conclusion, canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi and craters is an activity that should not be missed on your Ugandan safari. It is an ideal way to connect with nature and immerse yourself in the serenity of the region while gaining insights into its culture and history.
A boat safari is an activity that should not be missed while on a safari in Uganda. The soothing sound of light waves and the gentle breeze on your face provide a tranquil and serene environment to explore Uganda’s natural wonders. The Kazinga Channel is one of the top sites for a boat safari, where tourists can listen to the swish-swash of the waves while watching water birds and hippos in their natural habitat.
Another great location for a boat safari is at the Murchison Falls, where visitors can observe the wild animals sauntering to the shores to quench their thirst. A boat safari is the perfect way to unwind and relax as you explore Uganda’s waterways and its diverse wildlife.
During a boat safari, you can catch sight of various water birds, such as herons, cormorants, kingfishers, and fish eagles. You may also spot animals such as elephants, giraffes, and buffalos as they come to the riverbanks to drink.
The boat safaris in Uganda are usually led by knowledgeable guides who will provide you with information about the wildlife and the history of the area. With their expertise, you will be able to identify different animal and bird species and learn more about their behavior and habitat.
Overall, a boat safari in Uganda is a laid-back and peaceful activity that provides a unique perspective on the country’s natural beauty. It is an experience that should definitely earn its place on your bucket list of things to do while on safari in Uganda.
A Kampala city tour is a must-do activity for any tourist visiting Uganda. As the capital city of Uganda, Kampala sits atop 22 hills, offering an expansive view of the surrounding areas. There are many ways to explore the city, including a bicycle tour, vehicle ride or a walking tour.
A Kampala city tour will take you through the city’s iconic sites, such as the Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo, Rubaga Cathedral, Namirembe Cathedral, the Bahai Temple, the Hindu temple and the Independence Monument. Each of these landmarks holds significant historical and cultural importance, providing insights into Uganda’s past, present and future.
In addition to its historical and cultural sites, Kampala also boasts a vibrant food scene. While on your tour, be sure to try a Rolex – a popular Ugandan street food made of a rolled chapati filled with vegetables and eggs. This snack is a favorite of locals and tourists alike, and it’s a great way to experience the local cuisine.
Whether you’re exploring Kampala’s landmarks, indulging in the local cuisine, or simply taking in the city’s breathtaking views, a Kampala city tour is an essential part of any Uganda safari.