The ever-present threat of one Joseph Kony and his so-called Lord’s Resistance Army has tarnished the image of Uganda in the minds of many tourists. But it this is truly perhaps one Africa’s up-and-coming jewels.
Actually, you must also be cautious, because there are precautions to take when visiting the disputed and disputed regions of the northern territories.
Uganda, on the other hand, is a safe and fascinating place in the most part. Hippos humph around the marsh, and lions lounge in the acacia trees. It’s a country of rain-streaked forests and foggy hills where chimps can be found. It has Lake Victoria’s lapping waves, as well as the Victoria Nile’s flowing channels.
The peripheries are dominated by views of rock-ribbed peaks and isolated volcanoes, which rise to craggy summits where waterfalls and thunderstorms converge. Besides that, Kampala is a bustling metropolis rooted in tribal lore and culture. It’s a fantastic African safari experience in every way!
Now let us take a look at the best places to go in Uganda:
The Buganda kingdom’s ancestral capital is also Uganda’s current capital. But it has a lot of panache and elegance for an African capital city. Between the sun-cracked streets of Central Kampala, there is a place of throbbing markets.
You can indeed see some of the thatched remnants of the former glory years, or you can taste the frenetic energy of day-to-day Ugandan life.
The city’s Owino market is said to be the biggest in Central-East Africa. There are mosque minarets ringing in the background (the towering Gaddafi National Mosque is a must-see!).
Nakasero Hill, on the outskirts of town, is a more formal neighborhood with well-to-do villas housing the country’s elite and expats mingling in the ramshackle bars.
2. Kibale National Park
You will not be disappointed if you venture into the thick jungles and wetland woods of Kibale National Park. On game drives and safari expeditions of all kinds, you will see these magnificent simians of Central Africa scouring through the underbrush and controlling the canopies, and you’ll see them on one of the world’s most awesome arrays of wild chimpanzee sets.
There are also a variety of other interesting little monkeys to see, such as the rare L’Hoest’s and Ugandan red colobus.
Also it’s feasible to marvel at prehistoric fig trees to see some of the area’s more recent attempts to develop sustainable coffee plantations.
3. Ssese Islands
The Ssese Islands archipelago is Uganda’s response to the tropical jewels of the East African coast on the Indian Ocean, with white sands reminiscent of Latin America, sun-kissed shores, and splashing waves.
They are considered the country’s premier rest and relaxation venue, with the famous Buggala Island and Bulago at the top of the list.
You have the choice of relaxing at one of the lakeside properties or lacing up your hiking shoes and heading for the countryside, where hippo-dotted marshes hide between some of the ridges. Buggala also has kayaks and other watersports available.
4. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is really impermeable!It is rich in some of Africa’s oldest primaeval forestry and is a land of rugged peaks and limitless green.
The area’s ecosystem like geckos beside the gorillas next to a slew of strange insects earned it UNESCO World Heritage status, but most Uganda safari goers come here to see colobus monkeys and chimps.
The Albertine Rift is known for its stunning landscapes. With quartzite massifs here and teak-shrouded riverways there, they rise and fall to untrodden valleys and summits. It’s certainly something to brag about!
5. Murchison Falls National Park
The wilderness of Murchison Falls National Park are undoubtedly among the most impressive in north-western Uganda, named after the raging cataracts which carve directly through their centre.
With approximately 4000 square kilometres of conservation area between its boundaries, the wildlife sanctuary is the country’s largest national park.
The Victoria Nile’s most popular feature is, of course, the point where it falls through a narrow gorge and over a 40-meter-high escarpment. However, visitors can expect to see hyenas, giraffes, elephants, lions and other animals.
Entebbe, at least for many of these foreign travellers, will indeed be Uganda’s entry point. The nation’s International Airport is located here, with its runways running parallel to Lake Victoria’s waters.
Many will depart on time, en route to Kampala or one of Uganda’s other far-flung adventure attractions.
Many who stay will relax in a laid-back environment that still hums to the rhythm of its old British Colony – after all, this is where the European settlers set up shop in previous decades.
The magnificent National Botanical Gardens is one of the remnants of that period, as are elegant religious institutions and the president’s main residence, the Ugandan State House.
7. Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda’s most popular national park, dubbed simply QENP for simplicity, is a vast expanse of reserves located near the shores of Lake Edward and also the DRC border in the west.
Thousands of visitors tour every year in pursuit of the snoozing Congo lions and leaping chimps that roam freely in between the Maramagambo Forest and the grassy savannah.
Numerous volcanic features, ranging from the amazing Katwe craters to great rifts in the earth, scar the entire region, making it an exciting and eye-catching location to visit on safari drives and game-hunting expeditions.
8. Mount Elgon National Park
The Mount Elgon National Park’s rock-ribbed, jungle-topped highlands are sprinkled with so many natural wonders that describing them all at once can be challenging.
There are waterfalls, dank cave systems, and rocky canyons cascading down from the extinct caldera of one of Africa’s oldest volcanoes.
Tourists may also experience geothermal action at a range of hot springs, or look up to see African goshawks and graceful bush-shrikes flitting through the sky.
There will be De Brazza and colobus monkeys, as well as blue monkeys and other uncommon simian animals, to name a few.
Tin-shack Mbale has been one of eastern Uganda’s largest transit and administrative hubs, with its own local administration and a slew of decent accommodation establishments.
It’s extremely effective for those heading to Mount Elgon’s peaks and the popular summit of Wagagai. This is a twenty four million-year-old volcano that’s Africa’s seventeenth tallest.
Take a local minibus out to Bududa for the best base for exploring the hiking trails and magnificent mountains that erupt around Mbale.
Back in the city, tourists can take in the pressures of everyday Ugandan life, as well as a plethora of stores and street markets.
10. Lake Mburo National Park
Despite being one of Uganda’s smallest national parks, Lake Mburo’s swaying savannah grasses and riparian ecosystems pack a powerful punch.
They’re seen with buffalo herds and zebras, joined by sashaying reedbucks, and hyenas are stalking them.
Most of the region is now covered in young woodland that has sprouted from the swamplands that surround the banks of the inimitable lake.
During the warmer months, when the wildlife huddle at the watering holes, these make for some good game watching.
Lake Mburo National Park is also one of the more convenient, with quick access from Kampala, Uganda’s capital, via the highway.
11. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
The huge prancing creatures of the uplands, mountain gorillas, can only be found in Uganda’s far southern depths.
With its indelibly lush rainforests crashing down from the windswept peaks of cloud-shrouded volcanoes, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the best places to find them.
The region, which borders the popular Virunga Range, is home to rare mountain gorillas as well as other amazing creatures including forest elephants, golden monkeys, wild hogs, and jackals.
Yes, you could also see them in Rwanda and the DRC as well, but things are a little safer here!
12. Kidepo Valley National Park
The Kidepo Valley National Park is a perfect fly-in experience hidden away in Uganda’s northeastern part (in one of the country’s most questionable and dangerous areas).
It is located 700 kilometres from the capital and is well-known for its isolation. The area is the old home base of the Dodoth pastoralists, mostly undeveloped and unaffected by mass safari tourism.
These quasi-nomads enjoyed the savannah and mud plain habitats with a plethora of buffalo, hippo, oryx, and wild dogs. The latter can still be observed darting among grey-haired acacia woodlands and wetlands today.
The river town of Jinja, which juts out into the waters where the Victoria Nile rises from its iconic lake, is only a short drive east along the highways. The place is a great antidote to the energy of life in the city, being sleepy, sun-cracked, and happy.
It has a number of excellent restaurants, but it is best known for the abundance of wetland resorts that border the banks.
You’ll be sure to locate something to fit your needs, with options ranging from pool-side fancy hotels to much more picturesque ecolodges surrounded by primates
And if you really want to keep your blood pumping, proceed to the river’s whitewater rapids for some rafting!
14. Fort Portal
The area town of Fort Portal, that is still burbling after the arrival of tarmacked roads in 2007, does have a truly impressive location below the sharpened peaks of the majestic Rwenzori National Park.
Chimpanzees and gorillas prowl the nearby backcountry, offering the region a wild feel. The action in the middle, on the other hand, is far from wild, with human energy overwhelming the scene.
It’s all about crowded markets and bartering for fresh produce from local farmers. Fort Portal also is a great starting point for trips to the Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Edward, all of which are close by.
Lira is a small town in north-central Uganda that serves as a crossroads. Despite becoming the nation’s fourth-largest city, it manages to maintain its quaint regional vibe and sleepiness.
Tourists are uncommon here as well, adding a splash of off-the-beaten-path personality and uniqueness to the region.
Others who do find their way to Lira’s roads will be seeing a genuine Ugandan city in motion, as well as experience sobering and visceral accounts of past civil wars – this area was especially hard hit by Joseph Kony and his small army.