Being famous for its National Parks and rich cultural heritage, Uganda Tourism is flourishing day by day. This land-locked country in Eastern Africa is often referred to as ‘the pearl of Africa’ because of its charm and allurement. Here’s my quick yet pragmatic Uganda travel guide for those prospective travelers to Uganda.
From roaring waterfalls and majestic lakes to national parks teeming with wildlife, it is an indispensable part of African journeys. Though troubled by political turmoil for some time, the country has shed the memories of its painful past. Today Uganda points of interest attract as much tourists as any other popular destination. A quick look at the choicest places for every traveler with a love for the unconventional destinations.
Uganda Tourism – Places of Interest
1. Murchison Falls National Park
The largest among Uganda national parks, Murchison Falls sits pretty on the waters of Lake Albert. It is simply amazing to watch Lake Victoria Nile surging ahead to finally fall from her heights to meet Lake Albert at the bottom. Nile crocodiles and hippos have made the place their home, so are the regular visitors, elephants and giraffes. No matter whether you are an admirer of the gushing waters or bustling wildlife, Murchison is sure to live up to your expectations.
2. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Another jewel in the crown for Uganda tourism, Bwindi National Park thrives on its gorilla population. More than half of world’s remaining crowd of mountain gorillas are gathered in these forests. True to its name, the forest is indeed very dense. The thick jungles are also home to some of the rarest of birds and butterflies. So all bird lovers, get a good guide and dive into these jungles. Who knows? You might chance upon some of them which you have only seen in pictures!
While booking tickets for group tours to Bwindi National Park is a possibility, there are several hotels, jungle lodges, and tour operators in Kampala and near Bwindi National Park can help you with several interesting packages to this place.
3. Kampala, the capital of Uganda
Kampala city, the capital of Uganda, is considered as the happiest city of East Africa. With warm people and wonderful nature surrounding you, you do feel that the title is well deserved.
- Kasubi royal tombs are one of the most visited among Uganda’s places of interest. A burial site for Buganda kings, it is looked upon with great reverence by locals. Make it a point to respect their feelings by following the etiquettes. The intricate reed work and thatched roof makes the place look homely, unlikely for a tomb.
- Kabaka palace near Kampala was the home of ancient Buganda kings. More than the palace, it is the torture chambers of Idi Ameen which draw more visitors. Surely not a place for the faint hearted, the messages written on the walls by the tormented souls will leave even steeliest of hearts melting.
- There are also interesting places like Gadhafi Mosque, Ndere Centre, Uganda Museum, Baha’i Temple, Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Namirembe and Rubaga Cathedral, and others that offer a blend of cultural and historical journey to the past of Uganda.
4. Kidepo Valley National Park
This one also deserves its place among Uganda national parks, courtesy to its magnificent landscape. Savanna lands bounded by rocky terrain, it is a place that will extract an exclamation of joy from every visitor. The park is famous for safaris where tourists get to spot striped hyenas, bush buck, lions and a lot more. Cultural performances of traditional dance forms by locals come as a pleasant addition to the myriad of attractions.
5. Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Do you have a heart that goes out for the endangered wildlife? Yes? Then head to Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Situated on the banks of Lake Victoria, this is one of the best among Uganda’s places of interest. Hundreds of orphaned chimpanzees from all over Uganda are taken care of in this amazing place. Take some time out for these tiny tots. They too are part of our world.
6. Ssese Islands
An archipelago of eighty four exotic islands of Lake Victoria in Uganda is one of the major tourism attractions of the country. The amazing white sand beaches of Ssese’s lush islands are famous as a weekend getaway location from Kampala and Entebbe. Relax on a hammock, watching the stunning sunset, and enjoy the thrilling bonfires with a few drinks in one of the beach guesthouses to cherish the pleasantness of Uganda tourism. However, swimming in the waters of these islands are not advisable due to the the risks of crocodiles, hippos and bilharzia.
A town on a peninsula in Lake Victoria was the seat of government for the Protectorate of Uganda prior to independence. Entebbe hosts the International Airport which is the nearest to Kampala, the capital of Uganda. This small town boasts for its tranquil beaches (except for weekends) and beautiful hotels. If you are in Entebbe, you can visit the zoological park and the botanical gardens.
8. Mount Elgon National Park
Close to Mbale, a town that is located on the Eastern edge of Uganda that borders Kenya, Mount Elgon is an extinct shield volcano. With a moderate climate and rich vegetation, the park hosts several species of wildlife including African elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, blue monkeys, and red tailed monkeys. Cave explorations, waterfall treks, and bird watching are the major activities that Uganda tourism promotes here.
9. Source of the River Nile
Under 90 kilometers from Kampala lies a silent town that earned its name for hosting the farthest source of the longest river on the earth. Jinja, the city that was planned during the colonial rule has left the architectural designs that reminds the European streets and buildings of 1930s. Visiting Jinja gives you the opportunity to walk the steps of John Hanning Speke, the discoverer of the source of the Nile.
10. Lake Mburo National Park
Located in western Uganda on the shores of Lake Mburo, the national park is one of the best to sight Zebras in Uganda. The park that consists of extensive area of wetland offers shelter to several species of flora and fauna. A boating in the lake helps you spot crocodiles, hippos, and many birds. While traveling from Kampala to Lake Mburo National Park, you can also enjoy the Equator of Uganda.
While I have selected just 10 from a large list of significant attractions from Uganda tourism, some of the most important places like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountain, Fort Portal and Mpanga Forest should not be undermined.
Best time to visit Uganda
While most of the Uganda tourism operators agree that the dry months are the best to visit Uganda for wildlife safari, most travelers do agree that the country can be visited anytime throughout the year for enjoying its weather and exploring its natural phenomenon including equator and the source of river Nile.
However, during the dry months of Uganda from, June to August, vegetation reduces in the country and it become easier to spot wildlife. Yet, during the wet months greenery will be in full glory. The entire landscape puts on a fresh, inviting look. But if you are wary of torrential rains, it is better to avoid the rainy season.
An incredibly beautiful place with nature to soothe, wildlife to astonish and people to warm you- there is not a trace of exaggeration in calling Uganda as the pearl of Africa. Take a journey to this country and you will have your hearts brimming with joy.
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com