Tourism in Uganda is diverse and offers many unique experiences. One popular activity is taking a boat ride along the rivers, which not only allows you to appreciate the stunning natural beauty of the waterways, but also provides the opportunity to get closer to wildlife, reptiles, and birds that may be difficult to see from land. Many game parks in Uganda offer boat tours to give tourists a better view of the diverse flora and fauna in the area.
The Kazinga Channel boat cruise is a top attraction in Queen Elizabeth National Park and is not to be missed. It is the longest and widest natural channel in Africa and is home to the highest concentration of hippos in the world. You will be amazed by the number of hippos you will see on the Kanzinga Channel boat cruise. Many companies offer scheduled and private boat tours on the Kazinga Channel, which typically last for two hours. During the cruise, you will have the chance to see over 400 water bird species, buffaloes, elephants, and more. Most boat safaris in Uganda operate on a schedule, with Mweya boats running scheduled tours at 11 am, 2 pm, and 4 pm, and the Uganda Wildlife Authority offering tours at 10 am, 3 pm, and 11 pm. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience a Kazinga boat safari while visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Boat safaris and excursions in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park offer a unique and exciting way to experience the beauty and wildlife of this vast protected area. Located in north-western Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park covers an area of approximately 3,892 km2 and stretches along the shores of Lake Albert and the Nile River up to Karuma Falls. It is home to an abundance of diverse wildlife, including a variety of bird species like the Shoebill stork, African fish eagle, Goliath heron, and kingfisher, as well as water animals like hippos, buffaloes, and crocodiles.
Murchison Falls National Park offers two boat cruise options for visitors: a trip to the bottom and upstream of the falls, and a downstream cruise to the Victoria Nile delta and the shores of Lake Albert. The Nile boat cruise takes about 4-5 hours and is available in both morning and afternoon shifts. The delta boat cruise provides beautiful views of the sunset as it is often done in the evening. This romantic and thrilling evening boat ride is a great opportunity to capture stunning photos of nature and watch the sunset as dusk falls.
The boat cruise up the Nile to the base of the falls is available in two shifts: a morning tour starting at 9:00 am and an afternoon tour starting at 2:00 pm. Both tours depart from Paraa and last for approximately 3 hours. The downstream boat cruise offers a chance to see a variety of bird and animal species, such as hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks, and other animals like giraffes and Uganda kob, as they feed and drink along the shores of the Nile. This is a truly unforgettable experience for travelers visiting Murchison Falls National Park on safari.
Lake Victoria is one of the largest freshwater bodies in the world and is shared by Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Its source is in Jinja, the source of the Nile, and the river flows through several other African countries including Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Burundi, and Zaire before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea. A boat cruise on Lake Victoria is a popular activity that allows travelers to visit various islands in the lake. One such island is Ngamba Island, where visitors can observe chimpanzees. The Ssese Islands are also a great destination for birdwatching and other activities.
Lake Victoria also offers a breathtaking sunset boat cruise on the Nile, which typically departs at 4 or 5 pm from the waterfront pier and crosses the equator. This is a great time for photography as you will have the chance to capture the beautiful sunset on the horizon. During the boat ride, you will see a variety of attractions including different bird and animal species, such as lizards, monitor lizards, crocodiles, hippos, and islands on the lake. In addition to boat cruises, Lake Victoria also offers other activities like sports fishing and horse riding. If you are interested in these activities, it is recommended to book in advance.
Located in western Uganda, Lake Mburo National Park is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. It is the smallest lake in the country, and the only national park in Uganda that is entirely encompassed by a body of water. Visitors to the park can enjoy a boat cruise, which departs from Rwoyo jetty at either 9:00 am or 2:00 pm and lasts for approximately 2-3 hours. During the boat tour, you may spot various animals such as hippos, crocodiles, buffalos, antelopes, giraffes, and zebras. Additionally, the park is home to a variety of bird species, including the shoebill, black crake pelicans, fish eagle, heron, king fisher, hammer kops, cormorants, and the African finfoot.
Located in southwestern Uganda’s Kabale district, Lake Bunyonyi is known for its stunning beauty and safe waters. It is the second deepest lake in the country, after Lake Tanganyika. While Lake Bunyonyi does not have hippos or crocodiles, it is still a great place for a boat cruise. Visitors can take a dugout canoe tour and listen to their guide share stories about the lake and its 29 islands. The islands have their own unique histories, such as the Island of Retribution, which served as a jail for pregnant girls who were not married, and Akakuranika Island, which is thought to have turned upside down. The canoe tour offers a fun and interesting experience as you explore all the islands on the water.
During the boat cruise on Lake Bunyonyi, you will have the chance to meet the local people living on the islands, as well as take in the stunning views of the terraced hills and community homesteads. The tour also offers the opportunity to spot a variety of bird species, such as the African fish eagle, white-tailed blue monarda, grey crowned cranes, weavers, and cardinal woodpecker. In addition to its rich biodiversity, Lake Bunyonyi is a great place to relax and unwind after a gorilla tracking adventure in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Located in southwestern Uganda’s Kisoro district, Lake Mutanda offers a dugout boat tour on its tranquil waters. The morning is the best time to take the tour, when the waters are calm and easy to navigate. During the boat ride, you will have the opportunity to take in beautiful views of the island and mountain ranges, as well as participate in bird watching. The lake is also a popular spot for fishing, and local people often use it for transportation via canoe. In the morning, you may even catch a glimpse of children crossing the lake to attend schools located on the island.
Boat cruise safaris and excursions in Uganda are available year-round and do not have specific schedules. The best time to take a boat tour in these national parks is during the dry season, when there is little or no rainfall. This typically occurs during the months of June, July, August, December, January, and February. During this time, you may have the opportunity to observe various animal species drinking and feeding along the water banks.