MUST VISIT PLACES IN UGANDA
Planning a safari holiday is not always very easy especially when it comes to identifying those must visit places that provide better and all inclusive travel experiences. Uganda is a poetry wrapped in beauty and adventure, with a variety of wildlife, cultural, natural, historical and religious destinations. However, there are specific “must visit places in uganda” that should never miss on your list as you embark on a Ugandan safari! The list provided below will not only help you better plan for your safari but also ensure that you get the best safari experience in the Pearl of Africa.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Without doubt one of the greatest wildlife experiences is the thrill of the close encounter with the reclusive mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Located in south western corner of the country, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a UNESCO world heritage Site and is home to a big percentage of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas. Gorilla tracking is a humbling experience as it brings one close to the reclusive mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. It should be however noted that one requires a permit to track mountain gorillas and this must be booked well in advance to have this encounter.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Located in the south western part of the country and close to the historical mountains of the moon, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the most visited destinations in the country. With a variety of wildlife and other attractions, the park can be so overwhelming with the possibility of sighting four of the African big five during an early morning game drive. A boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel that connects the two lakes of George and Edward brings a breath-taking experience with the river bank filled with a variety of bird and animal species. A visit to the Ishasha part of this park is yet another mesmerizing encounter. Here, one gets to see the rare species of tree-climbing lions resting in the tree branches as they keep a close eye on their prey.
Whether you are headed for gorilla trekking, wildlife safari or just a business trip in Uganda, there are higher chances that you will pass through Kampala since it is the main hub to almost all the destinations in the country. A first time visitor to Kampala could be forgiven for being shocked by the apparent chaos in the cradle of happiness but please do not be alarmed for it is all part of the Kampala charm. Spread over various hills, the city offers a wide range of modern amenities amidst brilliant sunshine with numerous touristic sites including Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, Rubaga Cathedral, Namirembe Cathedral, Buganda Kingdom headquarters, the Gaddafi Mosque, Baha’i temple, the national museum, Makerere University and a number of craft markets. Kampala today bustles with an infectious jamming energy from various entertainment spots and shows throughout the year, no wonder it is referred to as the entertainment capital of East Africa.
Fort Portal Tourism City
Talking more about Must Visit places in Uganda, Fort Portal city comes as another interesting icon. Ranked as the cleanest city in the country, there is really a lot to see and experience in Fort Portal city and the surroundings. The city hosts the Palace to the king of the mighty Tooro Kingdom and provides scenic views of more than 60 craters that surround it. Not far away from the city center, one can enter a set of damp caves which host stalactites and stalagmites locally known as Amabeere ga Nyinamwiru that tell a sad traditional story. The hiking opportunities around the city environments provides the best scenic views while stretching a bit distant from the city to Semliki National park offers a lifetime experience of the captivating Sempaya hot springs.
Murchison falls National Park
This is Uganda’s largest National Park and takes its name from a narrow descending gap along river Nile. This is where the river literally thunders out to drop nearly 50 meters, making it the strongest waterfall in Africa, dividing the park in half on its way to the Mediterranean Sea. Arguably one on the best National Parks in Uganda, a safari to Murchison Falls National Park gives an opportunity to engage in a number of activities including game drives, boat cruise to the bottom of the falls and hiking to the top of the falls. A boat cruise is an essential part of the Ugandan safari experience in Murchison falls National Park as it is the wonderful way to see hippos, buffaloes, crocodiles, birds and a variety of antelopes at their ease along the banks of the river. If you are searching for the African big five, integrating a stopover at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in your Murchison falls safari will give you the best results.
Situated in south western corner close to the boarder of Uganda and Rwanda, Lake Bunyonyi is believed to be the second deepest lake in Africa with its deepest end estimated at 900m. The lake is dotted with 29 islands with the most prominent being the punishment island which has a rich cultural history attachment. There is a variety of birdlife that are always skimming and splashing over the waters in absolute harmony while others paddle on the surface or streak in the air and begin mock flights amidst loud screeches. While at the lake, one can take a canoe and hope around the different islands to explore a magical effect intensified by the overwhelming shades of rich green and breath-taking scenic views.
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale forest National Park is mostly about chimpanzee tracking safaris. The park prides itself as being Africa’s top protected area for primates, with an estimated number of 13 primate species. The most fascinating activity here is chimpanzee trekking which involves trekking through the humid rainforest in search of habituated chimpanzee families which then the visitors can be allowed to interact with for some time. Chimpanzees are our closest relatives, sharing more than 98% of our genetic blueprint! A close encounter with chimpanzees is just a brotherly visit to our cousins that gives one that thrilling wildlife encounter
Jinja and the River Nile
Located just about 80km from the capital city (Kampala), arriving in Jinja gives one a guarantee of crossing River Nile, the world’s longest river! Taking a boat cruise to the source of the River Nile is one of the major experience one can have while in this city. If you are adventurous and getting gloriously wet doesn’t scare you, then try out white water rafting, canoeing and bungee jumping. There are also many more enjoyable adventure alternatives around Jinja, no wonder it is the adventure capital of the country if not the entire East African region.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Another must visit place in uganda is Kidepo Valley National Park. Located in the North Eastern corner of the country, Kidepo Valley National Park ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses and had previously been ranked as the 3rd best Safari National Park in Africa by CNN. It is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, the largest buffalo herds in the country, the pristine ecosystems, intact local cultures and a number of wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else in the country. Both culturally and ecologically, Kidepo Valley National Park is a place a part from the rest of Uganda.