31 Best Things To Do In Uganda – 2022/2023 (What To Do In Uganda On A Uganda Safari?) | Unique/Top/Best Things To Do In Uganda | Popular Uganda Safari Activities?
Wondering what are the best things to do in Uganda in 2022/2023? OR what to do in Uganda on your Uganda safari? There is a variety of amazing unique things to do in Uganda things to do while on your safari in Uganda. The various Uganda safari activities show just how blessed the country is.
Uganda offers it all: a pleasant tropical climate, friendly locals, savannah grasslands, lust forest, abundant wildlife, hot springs, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, volcanoes, valleys, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. For these reasons, Sir Winston Churchill declared her the “Pearl of Africa”.
Most travelers who undertake safaris to Uganda enjoy viewing the wild animals of Uganda. Of all the Uganda wildlife safaris, mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda is the most amazing. The country has more than half of the world’s 1063 mountain gorillas. In fact, Uganda is one of the only three countries where gorilla trekking in Africa is possibly done – the other two are Rwanda and Congo. Aside from gorilla trekking, there are lots of other exciting safari activities to do in Uganda. Uganda is home to many primates including over 5000 chimpanzees. Kibale National Park offers the best chimpanzee trekking in Uganda.
Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Murchison Falls National Park are great for Uganda safari game drives and boat cruises in a savannah environment. These Uganda safari sparks contain plenty of Lion, Buffalo, Elephants, Zebras, Giraffes, Hippos, Crocodiles, and antelopes.
With 1,074 of the 2,250 bird of Uganda species recorded on the African continent, Uganda is also the richest birding destination in Africa. So, selecting what to do in Uganda is no easy task. But, we have been tailor-making Uganda safari tours for over 10 years. To help you decide, we have nailed down our 31 best things to do in Uganda:
List Of Top Things To Do In Uganda On Your Safari – Unique Safari Activities In Uganda.
- Gorilla trekking in Uganda
- Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi
- Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda
- Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Uganda
- Golden monkey tracking in Uganda
- Uganda safari game drives
- Boat trip to the bottom of Murchison Falls
- Nile Delta boat safari in Murchison Falls NP
- Visiting the top of Murchison Falls
- Boat cruise on Kazinga Channel
- Searching for the rare Tree-Climbing Lions
- Rhino tracking on foot
- Lion tracking in Queen Elizabeth NP
- Birding in Uganda
- Driving northeast to Kidepo National Park
- Game walk in Lake Mburo National Park
- Horseback safaris in Lake Mburo NP
- Forest nature walks in Uganda
- Canoe ride on Lake Bunyonyi
- Rwenzori Mountains trekking
- Hiking Virunga Volcanoes in Mgahinga
- Hiking Mount Elgon
- Hiking to the Sip Falls
- Hiking to Sempaya Hotsprings
- Visiting the source of the Nile – Jinja
- Sportfishing tours in Uganda
- Uganda Cultural Tours & community visits
- Visit Uganda Equator Crossing Kayabwe
- Looking For Shoebills In Mabamba Swamp
- Relaxation On Ssesse Island In Lake Victoria
- Kampala City Tour
1. Gorilla Trekking In Uganda
Coming in at number one on our list of the best things to do in Uganda is, of course, Mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda, one of the most unforgettable wildlife encounters in the world. Mountain gorillas are intelligent, social, curious, gentle apes. They live in families of 5-30 individual groups led by one adult male silverback.
There are only 3 countries in the world where you go mountain gorilla trekking; Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. Uganda boasts the highest number of gorilla families that can be trekked in the wild, with 19 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and 1 family in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes National Park and Gorilla trekking in Congo is done in Virunga National Park.
Because gorillas were once on the brink of extinction, trekking is a highly restricted activity. So, there are strict gorilla trekking rules in place to protect them.
You also need a gorilla permit to see gorillas. A Rwanda gorilla permit is more expensive at USD 1500 compared to a Uganda gorilla permit at USD 700. The gorilla trekking permit prices may seem high, but the revenue generated is used for the protection of these endangered giants.
The Uganda Gorilla trekking experience is an emotional activity and it requires some physical fitness to hike up steep hills through dense jungle and sometimes swamp-like valleys. However, for those who have sat quietly in the jungle watching—and being watched by—these bulky intelligent apes so closely related to us, it is well worth any difficulty. Trekking rules are strictly enforced, for example:-
- Visitors must wear a face mask
- At least 10 meters away from gorillas must be maintained.
- You can take as many photographs as you want but no flash.
- Speak in whispers and don’t make sudden movements.
- Treks are limited to 8 persons per group and visits to one hour.
- You need a gorilla permit (at US$ 700) to trek the gorillas of Uganda. Permit fees go entirely to support the park and its wildlife.
Climate and weather are unpredictable and variable—almost any visit will include both hot and cool weather, rain, and sun.
Hiking boots are essential, as are a hat, gloves to protect against stinging nettles, long sleeves and pants, and a light waterproof jacket.
The best times are dry-season June–August and December–February.
2. Gorilla Habituation Experience In Bwindi
The popular Uganda gorilla trekking adventure allows you a wonderful opportunity to spend 1 hour with gorillas. But if you would like to spend 4 hours with the mountain gorillas, learn more about them and their habitat, the Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi offers just that.
Gorilla habituation is a crucial process of getting wild gorillas to accept the presence of humans. This process takes 2-3 years and involves daily visits to the gorillas by the researchers and trained park trackers until they tolerate human presence without perceiving them as a threat.
Visitors on Uganda gorilla safaris to Bwindi can take part in this process.
Habituation is physically more demanding than the gorillas trekking. This is because the gorillas here are not yet accustomed to human presence and hence move often. You need a good level of fitness, agility, and flexibility. You’ll be jumping streams, climbing steep, mossy slopes, and ducking and diving away from foliage in all directions.
Each Uganda gorilla habituation permit costs USD 1,500.
3. Chimpanzee Trekking In Uganda
Number 3 of our 31 best things to do in Uganda is chimpanzee trekking in Uganda. This adventure gives you the rare chance of tracking down wild chimpanzees on foot in the jungle.
It is a great opportunity to get into the lives of our closest relatives. Chimps and humans share 98.7% of DNA. And just like humans, chimps live in complex societies, can solve complicated problems, make and use tools, and communicate through a consistent range of sounds and gestures.
The Uganda wild chimpanzee population is about 5700, which is one of the highest in Africa. This is attributed to the abundance of protected forests reserves and parks. Uganda.
Therefore, Uganda offers the best opportunities to see chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
Kibale National Park with over 1500 chimps is especially best for chimpanzee trekking tours in Uganda. You can also trek Uganda chimps in Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu Forest, and Budongo Forest.
A Uganda Chimpanzee trekking permit costs:
- 200 USD in Kibale National Park
- 40 USD in Budongo Forest
- 50 USD in Kalinzu Forest & Kyambura Gorge
4. Chimpanzee Habituation Experience In Uganda
With number 4 of our 31 best things to do in Uganda, it is back to the primate-rich Kibale Forest and Budongo Forest with Chimpanzee Habituation Experience.
It is a great chance to spend a whole day or half-day in the forest with a community of chimpanzees that are undergoing habituation. It is an alternative to chimp trekking, which offers only 1 hour with chimpanzees.
Not just does this give you the chance to learn a huge amount about Chimpanzee behavior, but it also offers a rare ‘behind the scenes’ insight into primate science.
Habituation begins at 6.00 am when you have to go into the forest to observe the chimps waking up from their nests. You then follow them in the forest throughout the day as they go about their lives, until the evening when they make new nests to go to sleep! Chimps are quite active in the morning. You have to run to catch up with them as they swing through the forest canopies in search of food, including hunting Colobus monkeys which is a delicacy for them.
In the afternoon, they often come down from the canopies to escape the sun and relax on the ground, where they mate, play, and groom each other. At dusk, chimps make nests and go to sleep, at which point you return from the experience.
Elsewhere in East Africa, you can participate in Chimpanzee Habituation in Rubondo Island National Park in Lake Victoria in Tanzania.
Uganda Chimpanzee Habituation experience permit costs:
- 250 USD in Kibale National Park
- 150 USD in Budongo forest.
5. Uganda Safari Game Drives
Uganda is in the shadow of the regional safari giants: Kenya (Masai Mara) and Tanzania (Serengeti National Park) when it comes to safari game drives. Game viewing is indeed excellent on Tanzania safaris and Kenya safaris, especially in peak Great Wildebeest Migration season.
However, with its beautiful game savannah parks, Uganda also offers satisfying game viewing in custom-made 4×4 safari vehicles – and without crowds.
The famous “Big Five”, that is, Rhino, Lion, Leopard, Elephant, and Buffalo can be viewed on Uganda wildlife safaris.
Early morning game drives are the best way to view wildlife, explore the vast beauty of Uganda savannas and enjoy the magical African sunrise. The game drives usually start at 6 am when the cats are actively hunting. The nocturnal is still active by this time, and early risers have started feeding. Game drives in the bigger parks last from 3 to 4 hours before returning for breakfast.
Evening game drives are also for more wildlife sightings and to experience the African sunset.
The prime destination for Uganda wildlife safari game drives include:
- Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest national park with 4 of the Big Five
- Kidepo National Park is known for its spectacular landscapes and big herds of Buffalo.
- Queen Elizabeth National Park, is home to the rare tree-climbing lions and over 5000 Hippos.
- Lake Mburo National Park, the smallest big game park with many Antelopes and Zebras
6. Golden Monkey Tracking In Uganda
In addition to the popular gorilla and chimp trekking adventure, golden monkey tracking in Uganda is one of the top best things to do in Uganda for primate lovers.
Golden monkeys are very rare and found only in the majestic Virunga Volcanoes of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo – and nowhere on the planet. They’re very pretty, with shiny reddish-gold backs. They live in social groups of up to 100 individuals and love to feed on the bamboo shoot.
Golden monkey trekking in Uganda is done in Mgahinga National Park, which is also home to the mountain gorillas. You might not get as close to the monkeys as you may to the gorillas, but their antics are fun to watch and the bamboo forest, where they live, is an interesting environment. They constantly swing through the bamboo or chase each other in circles all around you.
Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) is the only other country where you can do golden monkey tracking. Since golden monkeys reside in gorilla habitats, you can combine golden monkey tracking in your gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda. A Uganda Golden monkey tracking permit costs 60 USD.
7. Boat Trip To The Bottom Of Murchison Falls
One of the Uganda safari activities which make Murchison Falls National Park stand out among the major East Africa safari parks is the boat safari along the world’s longest river (Nile).
All the popular East Africa parks like Masai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti and Ngorongoro in Tanzania offer big game viewing safaris from game drives but none offer a big game safari from a boat cruise like Murchison.
The 3 hours afternoon boat trip to the bottom of Murchison Falls offers sightings of plenty of animals that come to drink, bathe, and cool off in the historic Nile River.
You cruise upstream River Nile, enjoying wonderful sights and observing an array of wildlife along the Nile. Hippos and crocodiles are a common sight throughout the cruise, while Elephants, Buffaloes, and Antelopes come to eat fresh grass along the Nile and drink from the Nile. Waterbirds are in plenty and you can even spot the incredible shoebills.
The boat docks a few meters away from the crashing fall – the real highlight of the trip. Imagine the explosive force of the 50m wide Nile thundering through an 8m rocky gap before falling 45m to what has been termed the “devil’s cauldron” below, forming a plume of spray and a permanent rainbow. It is truly one of the top best things to do in Uganda!. A boat cruise to the bottom of the falls costs 36 USD.
8. Nile Delta Boat Safari In Murchison Falls NP
Almost all visitors to Murchison Falls NP make the boat safari to the bottom of falls.
Not many of them, however, do the Nile delta boat safari and we believe that’s a huge mistake! The Nile delta area is spectacular in landscape and you are likely to see huge crocodiles, bathing elephants, black and white colobus monkeys, giraffes, and the famous shoebill stork.
Your boat safari will be much longer than the trip to the bottom of Murchison Falls. And you’ll be on a smaller boat so you can get closer to the wildlife. Breakfast can be served on board!
A Nile Delta boat safari costs (4-5 hours) from 55 USD – per adult
9. Visiting The Top Of Murchison Falls
Visiting the top of the falls in Murchison Falls National Park is the best activity to experience this spectacular Murchison Falls, which is also the strongest waterfall in the world.
The world’s longest river squeezes through a small gap between the rocks measuring about only 8m only to emerge with such a roaring explosion, splashing into the plunge pool about 45m down where the crocodiles have their jaws open all the time for an easy catch of the Nile Perch.
The hot sunny creates magical rainbows into the splashing droplets. A visit to the top of waterfalls offers such beautiful photo moments and is indeed one of the best things to do in Uganda! A visit to the top of Murchison Falls costs 15 USD.
10. Boat Cruise On Kazinga Channel
Another of the amazing best things to do in Uganda is the 2-hours boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel through Queen Elizabeth National Park, the most popular Uganda national park with over 95 mammals in Uganda species, 5000 hippos, Tree-climbing lions, Chimpanzees, and 611 bird species.
The Kazinga Channel is a 32km long natural stream of water that connects Lakes Edward and George. It harbors the world’s densest concentration of hippos and hundreds of waterbirds. An afternoon cruise along this beautiful channel rewards you with wonderful sightings of hippos, Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards, Elephants, Buffaloes, and Antelopes.
You view an exciting variety of waterbirds such as Pink-backed pelicans, Great-white pelican, Saddle-billed stork, Yellow-billed stork, and more. It is also the best place to catch the African Fish Eagle in action, and the African Skimmer doing skimming on the water for fish. A boat cruise on Kazinga Channel costs 36 USD.
11. Searching For The Rare Tree-Climbing Lions
Tree-climbing lions are not something that you will encounter anywhere on your Africa safaris.
Even seasoned animal behaviorists agree that lions are not evolutionarily adapted to climb trees and perch atop branches. And no one knows exactly why the lions in the Ishasha plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park prefer to spend their days perched in trees, and not on the ground like other African lions.
Many sources say that maybe the love of the cool weather up in the branches compel them to rest up in the trees while others think that the bites of tsetse flies are less in the trees than on the ground that’s why. Whatever the reason may be, everyone agrees that the sight of the lions resting in the branches of huge fig trees is unmatched. Tree climbing lions are also known to exist in Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania.
12. Rhino Tracking On Foot
But the good news is that you get up close to these prehistoric-looking heavyweights on foot in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a breeding program for Rhinos in Uganda that intends to reintroduce Rhinos back into Uganda’s wild.
Yes, to reintroduce them because they once thrived in abundance in Uganda’s wildlife reserves, but the insurgencies of the 1970s saw intense poaching leading to the heavy decline not only of Rhino numbers but also other big game like Elephants. By 1982, it is believed the last Rhino in Uganda’s wilderness was poached.
It is until 2005, that the idea of a Rhino sanctuary was established in Nakasongola to breed Rhinos, which will ultimately be released into Uganda National Park to once again flourish! The sanctuary covers 7000 hectares. At the time of writing this piece (Feb 2022), it had 32 White Rhinos.
Elsewhere in East Africa’s you can go rhino tracking on your Kenya safari tours in Sera Community Conservancy near the great Samburu National Reserve. A Rhino tracking tour in Uganda Ziwa Sanctuary costs 50 USD.
13. Lion Tracking In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Run by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in cooperation with the Uganda Carnivore Program (UCP), Lion tracking is one of the best things to do in Uganda.
This Uganda safari experience offers you an opportunity to get close to the lions in their natural habitat and see them from a brand new perspective! It involves following radio-tagged lions closely as you learn about their behaviour, natural habitat, and feeding habits. The activity is led by knowledgeable researchers from the UCP.
By paying to take part in Lion tracking, you contributing to a worthwhile wildlife conservation initiative. In Kenya, you can go lion tracking in Ol Pejeta Conservancy. A lion tracking tour in Uganda costs 100 USD.
14. Birding In Uganda
Uganda boasts a list of 1074 Uganda bird species, which is about 50% of Africa’s total species and 11% of the world. Birding in Uganda will give you both east African and West African species as the country is located at the meeting point of the East African savannahs and the West African jungles.
Uganda being a small country means you can bird the whole country in 3 weeks and record more than 600 bird species. And a top reason you should go bird watching in Uganda, Uganda Africa’s number one birding spot. There are also over 30 Important Bird Areas.
The most remarkable is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (the home of mountains gorillas), which was voted ‘Africa’s top birding site’ in 2014.
All 10 National Parks in Uganda host a long list of birds.
Here Are Some Of The Most Attractive Birds Of Uganda:
- African Green Broadbill
- Black Bee-eater
- Green Breasted Pitta
- Great-blue Turaco
- Nahan’s Francolin
- Doherty’s Bushshrike
- Short-tailed Warbler
- Bar-tailed Trogon
15. Driving Northeast To Kidepo National Park
Travel off-the-beaten-track to the true wilderness of Kidepo Valley National Park. The park is located in the extreme northeastern corner of Uganda. It is the remotest of Uganda’s national parks, located over 600km from Kampala.
To reach Kidepo Valley National Park by road takes no less than 12 hours of drive which is why it is one of the least visited parks in the country leaving it isolated from the popular Uganda safaris and tours circuit.
It is one of the most pristine and least disturbed of Africa’s wildernesses, and according to CNN Travel, Kidepo is one of Africa’s best parks with the most beautiful landscape.
16. Game Walk-In Lake Mburo National Park
This is one of the most interesting game walks in Uganda, in the beautiful savannah landscape of Lake Mburo Park.
You’ll be accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide. The activity begins at around 6:30 am. You’ll have an up-close with wild Giraffes, Zebras, Impalas, Elands, Impalas, Waterbucks, Topis, Bushbucks, and Warthog.
Elsewhere in East Africa, you can enjoy game walking safaris in Tanzania Serengeti and Tarangire National Parks as well as Kenya’s Masai Mara. Many of these bush walks are led by local Maasai warriors who teach you how to make fire, find food and stay out of trouble on the East African savannah.
Longer, multi-day walking offered Tanzania’s Nyerere National Park (previously Selous Game Reserve) and Ruaha National Park, and Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve. These are not for the faint-hearted but for those who want a genuine adventure. The terrain is rugged but the reward lies in seeing what few travelers ever see: Africa that is still as wild as it was a century ago.
A game walking tour in Lake Mburo National Park costs 15 USD.
17. Horseback Safaris In Lake Mburo NP
If you are in or passing near Lake Mburo National Park, don’t miss the opportunity of going on a horseback safari. It is one of the most unique things to do in Uganda.
Mihingo Lodge one of the most luxurious Uganda safari lodges started running horseback safaris outside Lake Mburo back in 2008.
In 2009, the lodge received a concession to operate these within the park where they have chosen several wonderful routes that can cater to riders of different levels of experience.
You can ride for 2 full hours sighting Elands, Buffalos, Impalas, Warthogs, Topis, Bushbucks, Waterbucks, and the horse’s equine cousin, zebra while also enjoying wonderful landscapes along the way. Apart from Lake Mburo, you can also go horseback riding along the Nile in Jinja.
Elsewhere in East Africa, you enjoy a horseback safari in Kenya across the rolling plains of Masai Mara, galloping among herds of wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, and gazelle; or in Laikipia Plateau’s Ol Pejeta and Lewa Conservancies.
You can also enjoy horse-riding safaris in Tanzania, across the endless plains that border Serengeti, and get up close to giraffe and zebra. However, note that riding here is only available for intermediate and more experienced riders: no beginners, please!
18. Forest Nature walks In Uganda
Forest nature walks in Uganda bring you up close with nature and expose you to a lot of native wildlife including birds, butterflies, monkeys, reptiles, amphibians, important plants such as medicinal ones, and trees.
There are many forests and natural places for nature walks in Uganda such as;
- Mabira Forest which is just an hour’s drive from the capital Kampala
- Budongo Forest
- Kibale Forest National Park
- Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
19. Canoe Ride On Lake Bunyonyi
When considering the best things to do in Uganda don’t forget the canoe ride Lake Bunyonyi.
The lake is located in southwestern Uganda near the border of Rwanda, close to Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. This picturesque, irregularly-shaped lake and its 29 islands are undisputedly one of the most beautiful, tranquil areas of Uganda. It is often visited as part of Uganda gorilla safaris.
It attracts a wide diversity of birdlife – over 200 species, of which it is said 50 can be spotted within an hour – and the name Bunyonyi aptly means ‘place of many little birds. Its depth of 3,000 feet makes it the second deepest lake in Africa. While here, embark on a canoe ride and enjoy the peace as it looks like the time stopped here a few centuries ago.
Interesting fact: One of the 29 islands on the lake is Punishment Island, which was used as a place to leave unmarried pregnant girls as punishment for having pre-marital sex. Bunyonyi is also is one of the few places in Uganda that’s perfect for swimming: no bilharzia, no crocs, and no hippos. A canoe ride on Lake Bunyonyi costs 30 USD.
20. Rwenzori Mountains Trekking
Climbing Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain (5,895m) in Tanzania is the most sought-after Africa Mountain hiking adventure, attracting tens of thousands of tourists and adventurers every year. However, Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains Range in Rwenzori Mountain National Park or ‘Mountains of the Moon’ at 5109m offers a more challenging and exciting trek.
Rwenzori has been declared by the international mountain climbing community among the best in the world, offering a good hiking challenge and incredible beauty.
The range is located in Rwenzori National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. It contains 6 of the 10 tallest mountains in Africa. Despite lying just kilometers from the Equator, the tallest peaks are perennially covered in snow.
There are several trails for both short day hikes in the lower areas of the park and long treks to the snow-capped peaks. The most popular Rwenzori hiking trail is the Central Circuit which was rated the best mountain climbing trail in Africa and 9th in the world.
It takes up to 8 days (7 nights) to cover the Central Circuit, but with experience and fitness, it can be done in 5 days. The central circuit allows seeing closely the main mountains, Speke, Baker, Stanley, Savoia, with possible climbing up to the peaks including Margherita 5109m.
The circuit also offers the experience of five different vegetation zones, from tropical rainforest and the bamboo zone up to the alpine area and the glaciers.
21. Hiking Virunga Volcanoes in Mgahinga
Uganda shares 3 of the main 8 volcanoes of the magnificent Virunga Mountains which straddle along the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo.
The 3 volcanoes include Muhabura (4127m), Mgahinga (3474m), and Sabinyo (3645m). They are located in Mgahinga National Park. They have lots of unique wildlife; Gorillas, Golden Monkeys, endemic birds, and mountain vegetation.
Mt Sabinyo offers the most popular ascent. It takes you through vegetation ranges from the bamboo zone between 2400 – 2800m, this is also a habitat for the Golden Monkeys which you are chanced at seeing. Between 2800 – 3200m is a beautiful forest patch of Hagenia Hypericum, over 3200 is that Sub-alpine zone that has fewer trees. This is also the territory of the famous Rwenzori Turaco, a stunning bird that is also endemic to the Albertine rift region. At the peak (3669m), you will be in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo at the same time!
You can also go Virunga volcano hiking in Rwanda’s gorilla safari destination of Volcanoes National Park or in the Congo gorilla safari destination of Virunga National Park. The most amazing volcano trek is the Mount Nyiragongo Volcano hike in Congo. Standing some 3,470m in height, Mt. Nyiragongo is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful and most active volcanoes, in the center of which sits the largest lava lake on Earth. A volcano hiking adventure in Mgahinga National Park costs 80 USD.
22. Hiking Mount Elgon
Hiking in Mount Elgon Park is among the fantastic Uganda hiking safari adventure tourism activities to do in Uganda. Lying in eastern Uganda on the border with Kenya, Mount Elgon’s highest peak Wagagai (4321m) is situated on the Ugandan side.
At 4,000km², Elgon has the broadest volcanic base in the world. It was one time, thousands of years ago Africa’s tallest mountain, far exceeding Kilimanjaro’s current 5,895m but was gradually eroded at the peak reducing it to the current height of 4321m – 8th in Africa, 4th in East Africa.
The mountain also possesses the largest caldera in the world measuring 50km by 80km. Climbing Mt. Elgon is not one of simply targeting to reach the summit, it is more about discovering the fascinating wildlife along the slopes.
The varied vegetation zones harbor plenty of wildlife that you may encounter during the trek. There are also fascinating features such as caves, water pools, falls, and wonderful scenery.
Two major trails lead to the peaks, taking 4 to 5 days. One is called the Sasa trail, accessible from Mbale, is the more direct to the peaks and goes through the largest area of bamboo forest. The second trail is called Piswa and is known to be a gentler hike than the Sasa. You can also hike Mount Elgon on your Kenya safari in the Mount Elgon National Park of Kenya.
23. Hiking To The Sip Falls
Sipi Falls is a set of three stunning waterfalls: 85m, 75m, and 100m. The falls are the most beautiful in Uganda and one of the iconic attractions of eastern Uganda enjoyed by those who enjoy Uganda hiking safaris.
They’re located in the Mt. Elgon foothill and offer an amazing hiking experience and thus a lovely adventure getaway from Kampala. If you are a hiking enthusiast and want an adventure on the weekend, the Sipi falls are a great option.
The drive from Kampala to Sipi Falls is a little long, about 5 hours, and therefore you need to depart a little earlier, say 6 am.
In addition to the hiking, you can do the thrilling abseiling along the 100m waterfall, and also do a coffee tour in the Sipi community which does coffee growing as one of the commercial activities and going through the process of coffee growing to harvest and processing it the local way, is a lovely experience.
The falls also provide the starting point and endpoint of climbing Mt Elgon and also provide a wonderful stopover to break down the long Uganda trip to the Kidepo Valley National Park.
24. Hiking To Sempaya Hotsprings
The eye-catching Sempaya hot springs are located in Semuliki National Park in western Uganda along the border with Congo. The park is often overlooked by travelers which is a shame because it has wonderful scenery and is home to a good range of primates, and many rare birds.
It supports an extension of Guinea – Congo biome forests thereby bringing in species and features associated with the central Africa area that cannot be found anywhere else in East Africa. On a Semuliki tour, you, therefore, have a feel of central Africa without having to leave East Africa.
The hike to Sempaya hot springs takes 2-4 hours. It goes through a forest habitat that harbors many species of birds and monkeys that you will enjoy sighting during the trek.
At the hot springs, you marvel at these geological wonders. The largest spouts up to 2 meters into the air from an opening in a low salt sculpture. The emerging water has a temperature of over 100 °C and the surrounding pools are so hot – they can hard boil an egg in 10 minutes.
25. Visiting The Source Of The Nile – Jinja
It is one of the most iconic places in Africa – the point at which River Nile – the world’s longest river, exits the world’s largest tropical freshwater lake (Lake Victoria) to commence an epic 6700km to the Mediterranean Sea.
Although Jinja is a small quiet town, it is a giant playground for thrill-seekers. From mountain biking to white-water rafting; from bungee jumping to quad biking; from horse riding to jet boating; from paddleboarding to fishing excursions, there are enough adrenaline-fuelled activities in Jinja to keep everyone’s pulse racing.
For those less eager, a sunset cruise or simply lounging on an island in the middle of the Nile River are all options to be enjoyed.
Here Is A List Of The Best Things To Do In Jinja:
- White-water rafting on Grade 5 rapids of the Nile River
- Kayaking along the Nile
- Bungee Jumping in the Nile River
- Jet boating on the Nile
- Stand-up paddling on the Nile
- Sportfishing on the Nile
- Launch Cruise along the River Nile
- Quad biking around Jinja
- Mountain biking around Jinja
- Horseback riding along the Nile
- Visiting the source of the Nile
- Visiting markets, churches, and old Indian buildings
- Tubing the Nile
- Relaxation in the middle of the Nile River
26. Sport Fishing Tours In Uganda
Sportfishing in Uganda is among the fun things to do in Uganda. It offers a lot of holiday fun and enjoyment as you magical fish of Uganda including the Nile Perch (one of the largest freshwater fish species in the world), Tilapia, Catfish, Tigerfish, and several of the country’s other 350 fish species. Here Are The Best Places To Go For Sport Fishing Tours In Uganda:
- The Nile River in Murchison Falls National Park
- Lake Victoria, Entebbe
- Ssesse Islands In Lake Victoria
- Lake Mburo National Park
- The Nile River In Jinja
- Sipi Falls On The Slopes Of Mount Elgon
27. Uganda Cultural Tours
The 56 different tribes of people with unique cultures can be witnessed through different traditions, arts, dances, economic activities, leadership organization through kingdoms and chiefdoms. Ugandans are also some of the friendliest people in the world.
Make sure you request your safari planner to include a cultural activity in your Uganda safari itinerary. To learn more about the different cultures of Uganda, you may need to include a community village walk, participate in activities such as the Batwa Trail experience, or hand milking Ankole long-horned cows. You may also try cultural trails, such as the Buganda kingdom cultural trail as well as visiting museums in Uganda.
28. Visit Uganda Equator Crossing Kayabwe
Uganda is in the middle of the planet. And the Equator line Kayabwe is one of the most photographed landmarks in Uganda.
It is where you can stand with one leg in the Northern hemisphere while the other remains in the Southern! It makes for great photographs and memories. You can participate in water experiments that prove to you that indeed this point is the middle of the Earth.
It is also an impressive site for purchasing memorabilia to take back home as a memento of these incredible safaris in Uganda.
29. Looking For Shoebills In Mabamba Swamp
Another worthy addition to our list of the top 33 best things to do in Uganda is looking for shoebills of Mabamba Swamp, a Ramsar-recognized wetland near Entebbe.
Here, you will be taken by local boat or canoe on a shoebill sighting safari along the narrow papyrus fringed channel on the shore of Lake Victoria.
The swamp teems with over 300 species of birds, but the ultimate prize is a glimpse of the odd-looking shoebill. Uganda is one of the few countries where you can find the shoebill in the wild. And Mabamba is the best and most convenient place in the world to see this rare bird, which resembles something from the dinosaur era.
Many birders come to Uganda and the shoebill is always high on their list. Even those not normally excited by birdlife won’t want to miss out on spotting this ancient-looking bird.
Other places/countries where you can find wild shoebills include South Sudan, eastern DR Congo, Rwanda, western Tanzania, and northern Zambia.
30. Relaxation On Ssesse Island In Lake Victoria
One of Uganda’s legendary chillout spots, the Ssesse are all about powdery white-sand beaches, whispering palm trees, exotic flora and fauna, celestial sunsets, bonfires on the beach, and a remote location in the middle of Africa’s largest lake.
Comprising an archipelago of 84 islands, most travelers head straight to Bugala Island, which has the nicest beaches as well as a great choice of accommodation with prime beachfront positions. Aside from basking in the sun, there are a variety of other things to do in Ssesse, including;
- Canoe ride across the lake
- Sportfishing for the Nile Perch
- Sunset boat cruise
- Forest nature walks
- Community village walks
- Quad biking
- Island hopping
- Island Tour on a motorcycle (Bodaboda)
- BBQ and nightly bonfires
- Bird watching
31. Kampala City Tour
And last, but not least, on our list of 31 best things to do in Uganda is the Kampala city tour.
Kampala city is the capital of Uganda, located about 40km from the International Airport in Entebbe City. The city is best known for its vibrant nightlife. It is also the largest metropolitan area in the country with a population of about 2 million people.
Before the British came to Uganda, Kampala was reserved as a hunting ground for the Kabaka/King of Buganda Kingdom. It had one of the largest populations of Impala in the country and that is where the name Kampala (“The hill of the Impala”) comes from.
The Kampala city tour takes you through crowded streets and mixes with the locals, visit the local markets, shopping centers, and commercial malls to witness a bee-hive of business activities, see the big taxi parks the center of Uganda’s chaotic public transport, etc…
The tour through Kampala puts you into the day-to-day socio-economic life of the Kampala people. During the walk, you also visit some important landmarks and sites of the country such as:
- Independence monument
- National Museum
- Ndere Cultural Centre
- Kasubi Tombs
- Baha’i temple
- Uganda National Mosque
- Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo
- Kabaka’s Palace
- Craft making centers and markets
Uganda is truly an amazing country. And you’ll find all kinds of things to do in Uganda!
It is also sometimes called a minified Africa because she has a bit of what almost every African country has. The best things to do in Uganda stretch far beyond gorilla trekking – though that is still top of our bests Uganda safari activities. If you are not satisfied with the list so far, then you might want to check out the Entebbe Botanical Gardens for a nature walk, visit the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, or Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Lake Victoria.
If you are ready to start planning your Uganda safari, you can contact us to help you tailor-make a Uganda trip around what you want to do in Uganda.