Uganda - The "Pearl of Africa." Uganda offers a vastly different experience from the standard safari itinerary, with lush jungles, volcanic mountains, plenty of primates, and the Nile River all creating a fabulous adventure.
Uganda has earned the well-deserved reputation of being the friendliest country in Africa, and you will be delighted by the local hospitality. While having quite a turbulent history, the people of Uganda have remained warm and welcoming.
With wonderful birdlife, a vast array of plains game, and the most extensive species list of primates, a wildlife safari in Uganda offers something special.
As asked on Uganda's Tourism website, "where else but in this uniquely lush destination can one observe lions prowling the open plains in the morning and track chimpanzees through the rainforest undergrowth the same afternoon, then the next day navigate tropical channels teeming with hippos and crocodiles before setting off into the misty mountains to enjoy viewing the unique mountain gorillas?"
Located in the south-western corner of Uganda, in the Virunga Mountains along the border with the DRC, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a thick, lush, green jungle, housing heaps of wildlife and half of the world's remaining mountain gorilla population.
This pocket of huge primeval forest is one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth. It has
an eco-system that defines the very essence of the continent and has therefore been designated as a World Heritage Site.
For centuries the location of the source of the Nile River intrigued the world, with numerous adventurers searching deep into the African continent to find it. Although still somewhat disputed due to the rivers which flow into Lake Victoria, it is generally accepted that where the Nile flows out of Lake Victoria, that is the beginning of the world's longest river.
The town of Jinja has grown on the banks of the Nile River and offers travellers Uganda's adventure centre, keeping in the tradition of the early explorers.
The Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve has great significance, as it is part of the Albertine Rift of Uganda, which is famous for its variety of landscapes, ecosystems and biological diversity. This diversity is maintained in the continuous string of forest reserves and wildlife protected areas. The areas extend from Mgahinga National Park in the south to Murchison Falls in the north.
Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, is located in the central region on the shores of Lake Victoria. The city has many attractions, destinations and tourists activities ranging from events to prime time venues and hotels, and is referred to as East Africa’s happiest city.
40 Km from Entebbe International Airport, Kampala will amaze you with its beauty, culture and hospitality before you venture to the rest of the country.
The city boasts many attractions, visitors warmly explore everytime they visit Uganda; including the National Museum, the famous Kasubi tombs, Kabaka's Lake, Bulange Mengo, Kabaka's palace (Lubiri, Mengo), the Uganda National Cultural Center, various religious centers like Bahai Temple, Kibuli & Gadaffi Mosques, Namirembe Cathedral, Rubaga Catholics Cathedral, Namugongo Martyrs' Shrine, various shopping malls and night clubs.
With it southern edge joining Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale National Park helps make up a 180 km long corridor for Africa's wildlife, and is home to some wonderful creatures, as well as an astonishing 13 species of primates.
As one of the most beautiful tropical forests in Uganda, Kibale Forest provides a beautiful location for chimpanzee trekking, and is one of Uganda's most delightful parks.
Although a very small national park, at only 260 square kms, Lake Mburo has an amazing diversity of habitats including forest galleries, seasonal and permanent swamps and rich acacia wood valleys, all which support a wealth of wildlife.
With an extensive area of wetland, Lake Mburo attracts some beautiful waterbirds, and provides a habitat for a wide range of both fauna and flora.
Shared between the 3 countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Lake Victoria is surprisingly seldom visited by tourists, despite being splendidly scenic, and historically famous. As the source of the Nile River, Lake Victoria is an important body of water, and was searched for by many explorers.
Although a common sight to visitors to Uganda, due to the location of Entebbe and Kampala, travellers to Kenya and Tanzania generally do not make the journey to the lake shore, despite its proximity to both the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. And having been lucky enough to visit a fishing village on one of the lake's islands off Tanzania, we really think it is a pity that it is so overlooked.
Admittedly, there are relatively few accommodation options available within easy access to Lake Victoria, and it does add to time and costs when including a stopover in an itinerary, but if you have any inclination in seeing this majestic expanse of water, it does provide a very special experience.
Uganda's smallest and probably most scenic National Park is situated in the extreme south western corner of the country, forming part of a large conservation area that straddles political boundaries to include Parc des Volcano in Rwanda and Parc de Virungas in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mountain gorillas form the main attraction at Mgahinga National Park, which protects the Ugandan portion of the Virungas, an imposing string of 9 freestanding extinct and active volcanoes that runs along the border with Rwanda and the Congo.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.
As well as being important for wildlife, the park also has a huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivalled.
Mgahinga’s most striking features are its three conical, extinct volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga Range that lies along the border region of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. Mgahinga forms part of the much larger Virunga Conservation Area which includes adjacent parks in these countries. The volcanoes’ slopes contain various ecosystems and are biologically diverse, and their peaks provide a striking backdrop to this gorgeous scenery.
Described by Winston Churchill in 1907 as "Kew Gardens and the zoo combined on an unlimited scale" the Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the bulky Bunyoro escarpment merges into the vast plains of Acholi land.
The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile which first races down 80km of white-water rapids before plunging 40m over the remnant rift valley wall at Murchison Falls, the centre piece of the park. The Falls drains the last of the river's energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor for 55km to Lake Albert.
Stretching from the crater-dotted foothills of the Rwenzori ranges in the north, along the shores of Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River in the South, Queen Elizabeth National Park incorporates a wide of variety of habitats that range from savanna and wetlands to lowland forest.
Besides fantastic wildlife sightings, the park is also famous for its volcanic features, comprising volcanic cones and deep craters.
Combining with Kibale National Park in the north, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in the south to form one of the most remarkable safari regions in Africa.