Nicknamed the “Pearl of Africa”, Uganda is home to vibrant wildlife, lovely people, and stunning lakes. With a welcoming warm tropical climate and lush landscapes, any adventure here is sure to be more than memorable. From mountain gorilla trekking through Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to having both feet in two different hemispheres at once, Uganda offers plenty of unique things to do and see that can’t be experienced anywhere else. If venturing through the thick forests and observing nature in its purest form is at the top of your list, Uganda is where you need to be. Here are the best things to do in Uganda, home of mountain gorillas and endless adventures.
Go Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi
Home to almost half of the mountain gorillas in the world, one of the best things to do in Uganda is to hike your way through Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and observe gorillas in their natural habitat. To reach Bwindi, it’s an eight-hour journey by road but is worth every mile. The forests, mountains, and valleys seen along the way is why the region is often referred to as “the Switzerland of Africa”.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to apply for a trekking permit which usually costs around $600 alone. With eight people allowed to visit a gorilla family a day, we always advise booking your trip well in advance. Locating the gorillas can take anywhere from one to five hours as the trackers have to locate where the gorillas have gone each day.
Luckily Gorilla trekking in Bwindi is a year-round activity as permits are issued every day. Most travelers visit during Uganda’s dry season which is May-September and January and February to stay dry. With an abundance of sunshine during these months, visitors are much less likely to experience jungle showers.
Spotting Tree Climbing Lions in Ishasha
While Tree-Climbing Lions are not something that you will encounter on a typical African safari, the rare encounter is beyond unforgettable and is easily one of the best things to do in Uganda. After the sun rises, the lions return from the night’s hunt and climb into the trees to rest before venturing out as the sun settles again.
These lions typically climb both acacia and sycamore-fig trees as they provide enough shelter during both the sunny and rainy season. With temperatures reaching over 80 degrees, it’s easy to see the need to escape the heat from the ground. The trees also protect the lions from insect bites especially tsetse flies that are abundant during the wet season.
After a long day of hunting, the wide branches on the trees provide a good resting place as they are wide enough for a comfortable nap or two. When not resting, this viewpoint is great for spotting the various prey that can be seen roaming within the park. This allows the lions to easily pounce on their food without easily being noticed making for an easy meal.
Exploring The Magnificient Murchison Falls
Murchison Falls National Park is the largest park in Uganda and is home to several attractions including over 76 mammal species and 450 recorded birds species including the rare shoebill stork. The highlight here is visiting the Murchison Falls where River Nile forces its way through a narrow gorge into the “Devil’s Cauldron”, creating the trademark rainbow.
Murchison Falls is only four hours away from the capital Kampala which is usually a starting point for exciting Uganda safaris. Here you’ll encounter dense forests, woodlands, and several acacia trees. You also can experience the falls from two different views as the Nile squeezes through the gorge above and below while on the boat safari on Victoria Nile.
The most common animal encounters are; Bushbucks, Oribi, Buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, Elephants, Jacksons Hartebeests, Giraffes, and Warthogs to name a few. It is also home to several primates including Baboons, Red-tailed monkeys, Chimpanzees and more that are found in the forested area of Kaniyo Pabidi which is part of Budongo forest.
Discover The Deep Waters Of Lake Bunyonyi
Known for being one of the deepest lakes in Africa, Lake Bunyonyi is located in southwestern Uganda near the Rwandan border and is easily considered one of the country’s top natural treasures. With the translation into English being “place of many birds”, it’s a point of relaxation before and after adventures in Queen Elizabeth, Kibale and Bwindi National Parks.
With its natural beauty and calming nature, it’s easy to see why travelers frequent the area to enjoy the quiet essence and beautiful surroundings. For those who have itchy feet, you can go canoeing or island hopping and even visit one of the local communities to learn about their way of life. Don’t forget about hiking the terraces of the Kigezi highlands for some spectacular views.
The dry months from June to August and December to February at the best times to visit Lake Bunyonyi. To reach Lake Bunyonyi outside of a guided tour, you have to first make your way to the town of Kabale, which is about an eight-hour bus ride from Kampala. From there, the lake is 20-25 minutes by taxi and well worth the journey.
Venture Into The Heart Of The Equator
The Equator crosses into Uganda at a point located south of Kampala along the Kampala – Masaka road and is a popular stop for travelers visiting the region. Here, water drains straight down and those that are living around the equator experience a tropical climate all year round. Even more, you actually weigh less due to less gravity.
One of the most visited landmarks in Uganda, the Equator crossing in Kayabwe is a must for any traveler. Located along a major route that is frequently used by tourists visiting Uganda’s main national parks, here you have the opportunity to take photos and even snag the popular “I have crossed the Uganda Equator, have you?” t-shirt to bring back home with you.
Now that you have more insight into the top things to do in Uganda, now is the perfect time for you to start planning your adventure. Get in touch with one of our safari experts and we will tailor the perfect experience based on your travel style and needs. What are you waiting for? Your dream trip is waiting for you in Africa!