As we are hoping to resume our trip to Africa once travel becomes part of our life again, we are hoping to eventually make our way to Uganda. Previous trips to the region allowed us to visit Rwanda and Tanzania, but other countries like Uganda will be new for us. While we are currently under stay-at-home requirements, we are taking the opportunity to research and plan what might be the best Uganda places to visit during our future trip.

As to why travel to Uganda? Well, the small country is packed with spectacular landscapes and impressive wildlife. Who would not want to see the amazing wildlife species found in the national park, enjoy the climate, meet warm people, and take in the breathtaking landscapes? No wonder many call Uganda the Pearl of Africa.

Have you been to Uganda, we would love to hear from you!

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Travel to Uganda:

Top Uganda Places to Visit

As adventure travelers, we tend to look up for national parks and any other outdoor activities. From the many Uganda destinations, we picked these places.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The popular park is known for its tropical forests, but even more so for the 400 endangered mountain gorillas that call it home. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has an abundant wildlife population, with over 300 bird species and 100 mammal species like baboons, chimpanzees, elephants, and antelopes. Chameleons are also present there – we would love for a chance to spot one!

Queen Elizabeth National Park

The park is known for its populations of elephants, crocodiles, hippos, cheetahs, lions, buffalo, hyenas, topi, and baboons, but even more for its famous tree-climbing lions.

Coffee and Tea Tasting

Uganda is known for its top-quality tea and coffee – a cup for everyone’s taste! Tea and coffee plantations are also worth a visit, as we experienced in Kerala, India.

Murchison Falls National Park

In addition to its 43m-tall waterfall that gave the park its name, the hippo population is pretty impressive to see. Giraffes, crocodiles, antelopes, lions, warthogs (called “pumba“), and elephants are also present.

Why Travel to Uganda: Places to Visit & Things to See // Murchison Falls - Photo Credit: Irene Kooiker - Pixabay Free for commercial use-No attribution required

Murchison Falls – Photo Credit: Irene Kooiker from Pixabay

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

With snow-capped mountains over five thousand meters, the Rwenzori National Park features rainforests and numerous trails, making it a perfect hiking paradise.

Lake Victoria

The Ssese Islands archipelago is popular thanks to incredible beaches and the waves of Lake Victoria. Probably some of the nicest beaches in Uganda!

Lake Bunyoni

Filled with small islands, the lake is somewhat iconic, and what’s best, is bilharzia free, no hippos, and no crocodiles! Meaning swimming is possible and considered safe!

Kibale National Park

The park is known for its rainforests covering almost 80% of the area and the large population of 500 chimpanzees.

Kidepo Valley National Park

With over 75 mammals and 450 birds, the park is known for its big game population, especially elephants.

Jinja

Situated on the source of the White Nile, Jinja is the perfect hub for adventure and outdoor activities. Think kayaking, horseback riding, cycling. Extremely challenging Class V white-water rafting is also available at the Nalubaale Power Station (formerly Owen Falls Dam) for experienced rafters.

Lake Albert

A lake of many names: currently called Lake Albert but also known as Mwitanzige and formerly named Lake Mobutu Sese Seko! This lake is the second biggest of Uganda’s Great Lakes and at the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Ugandan Markets

For a feel of African life, a visit to one of the markets like Nakasero or Owino gives a chance to taste fresh produce like the Ugandan pineapple. Search for fabrics and other local items.

Uganda Hiking

In addition to the Rwenzori mountains, there are about 20 mountains in the country. The other hiking destinations in Uganda are Elgon, Mt. Moroto, Napak, and Kadam. In Elgon, the most popular trails are the Karomoja trail, the Sasa River Trail, and the Central Circuit Trail.

Kyaninga Crater Lake

A swim in Crater Lake in the Kyaninga Lake is a great stop.

Karamojong Nomadic Herders

Learn about the Karamojong, semic-nomadic herders that are present in north-east Uganda. They mostly live off their livestock, and to some limited agriculture. We got the opportunity to spend a day with the Hadzabe in Tanzania and would welcome the chance to learn from the Karamojong as well.

Kampala

The capital of Uganda is as well being the largest city in Uganda, deserves a visit on its own. The top things to see in Uganda are:

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site Kasubi Tombs, the burial site of four Buganda kings
  • The 1885 Mengo Palace (Lubiri) is the historic official residence of the Buganda king
  • Uganda National Mosque (Gaddafi National Mosque)
  • Bahai Temple
  • Wamala tombs

Animals in Uganda

Uganda is home to one of the richest biodiversity areas in the world. Indeed, the country has a high concentration of wildlife, including the mountain gorillas and the common chimpanzees, both endangered species.

Wildlife Reserves

With ten national parks and thirteen wildlife reserves and sanctuaries, the abundant wildlife that composes the animals of Uganda includes the famous yet endangered mountain gorillas, as well as red-tailed monkeys, elephants, African wildcats, Uganda Kob (Uganda national animal), chimpanzees as well as rare birds.


What to Do in Uganda: Safari!

With such impressive wildlife and many national parks, it’s no surprise that one of the top things to do in Uganda is going on a safari. The must-do Uganda trip experience! Indeed, an Uganda safari is something every traveler would wish to have on their bucket list, and we are no different! We got the chance to come close to wildlife in their native habitat, seeing leopards in Sri Lanka, or orangutans in Indonesia, and can wait to explore what Uganda has to offer!

Safaris tend to be on the expensive side, but we found that, regardless of the country, there are always budget traveler safari options. When we do our budget travelers’ planning, we are usually looking for small companies, preferably local agencies. They have knowledge of the local fauna and culture, which would give more in-depth travel experience. And they usually have less overhead costs which make for more affordable safari budget prices.

Why Travel to Uganda: Places to Visit & Things to See // Sunset on Safari - Photo Credit: Fixers Andy - Pixabay Free for commercial use-No attribution required

Sunset on Safari – Photo Credit: Fixers Andy from Pixabay

Budget Safari in Uganda 

Whenever we can, we try traveling in a group of friends and family, where we are sharing costs on the safari trip hence being cheaper for everyone. Indeed, the standard price for a safari vehicle doesn’t change regardless of the number of people traveling on the safari. It is always cheaper for people who travel in the group! One option we are also considering during our travel is small groups, where we share the same accommodation, transport services and engage in the same activities. When we join a group tour, we share costs with other travelers hence saving some money on the Uganda safari. We are also considering traveling independently by simply booking everything on our own. We look for accommodation facilities and hire a car with a driver from a rental company. By booking the travel items directly from different services providers, we can control what we really want (which parks, which services, what food, what accommodation) and are more likely to strike a budget safari deal when adding up the cost of the discounted services. And the more we can save on safaris, the longer our Uganda travel itinerary can last!

Best Time to Visit Uganda

The best time to travel to Uganda is January and February, and then June to September. During these months of the dry season, there is no or little rain, which makes travel easy. There are, however, some regional variations due to the landscape. The Rwenzori mountains by the DR Congo border tend to see heavy rain all year round. The dry season, from December to February and between July and August, is the best for hiking in the Rwenzori. North of Lake Victoria, where Entebbe and Kampala are, March to June and the November/December period are the rainy months.

Whenever possible, we try to travel in the shoulder or the low seasons. Indeed, where the demand for travel is high, the prices for services like lodges, ground transport, air transport services, and food and beverages always get high. In the low season where tourists are less, the prices get low. Therefore, as travelers looking to keep costs low, we usually try to travel in the low season where the prices of the travel services are low. The best way to be able to go on a budget gorilla safari!

Why Travel to Uganda: Places to Visit & Things to See // Sunset - Photo Credit: Age Scripts - Pixabay Free for commercial use-No attribution required

Sunset – Photo Credit: Age Scripts from Pixabay

Lodges and Camping Uganda

As budget travelers, we usually try to camp whenever possible. From our research, camping is the cheapest accommodation option in Uganda, at around US10 per night. Moreover, the camping grounds are all over the different national parks in Uganda. Travelers can book a camp tent from lodges or can hire from travel companies. The camping grounds in the national parks are popularly owned by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, an organization responsible for managing all the national parks and wildlife in Uganda. When not available, community bandas (basic budget facilities), guesthouses or hostels are cheap options.



Booking.com

How to Travel to Uganda

Traveling to Uganda

The number of direct flights to Uganda is limited. These flights are available via Ethiopian Airlines from/to Addis Ababa, Qatar Airways from/to Doha, Egypt Air from/to Cairo, KLM from/to Amsterdam, Kenya Airways from/to Nairobi, Brussels Airlines from/to Brussels, Rwandair Express from/to Kigali, Turkish Airlines from/to Istanbul, and South African Airways from/to Johannesburg. There is only one international airport in Uganda, the Entebbe International Airport (IATA: EBB) in Kampala, the country’s capital.

Find the latest International Flight Deals

From Kampala Uganda airport to Kampala city proper, it takes about 50 minutes to 1 hour to go along the 29-mile (47-km) road.

Traveling in Uganda

  • By Air: via local companies such as Fly Uganda.
  • By Bus: domestic buses are usually cheap, but not necessarily on a fixed schedule, usually via matatu (taxi minibus). A coach service exists and connects the main cities in Uganda.
  • By car with driver: A car hire in Uganda is easily done through a tour company or travel agency. A driver will know the roads and you can define your itinerary in advance
  • By car rental: The most independent option but which requires more preparation in terms of road trip planning, insurance, and finding one’s way. Note that most national parks require a 4WD car.
  • By boda-boda: small mopeds or scooters, when you are looking for a quick ride to a closeby destination

Travel Tips for Uganda

Though we haven’t been to Uganda yet, from our experience traveling to other East African countries and safari trips to see wildlife in other destinations, our Uganda travel tips would include the following items. Of course, we will update that list as soon as we are able to resume our trip to Africa and explore Uganda by ourselves.

  • Check travel advisories to ensure borders are open
  • Make sure to check the travel vaccinations for Uganda, and visit your doctor at least 8 weeks prior to your trip if you need to schedule repeat shots
  • Review the visa requirements ahead of time in case you need to apply physically at the nearest Uganda consulate.
  • Bring an international plug or at least a three square-pin plug similar to the United Kingdom sockets. The voltage runs on 230 – 240 volts so you might need a voltage converter if you are from the US.
  • Bring light-colored long-sleeved shirts and trousers to protect yourselves against mosquitoes. Closed walking shoes are a must as well. That, and insect repellent! A scarf is important to protect your face from the dust, and a fleece and a wind jacket will keep you warm at night and for safari rides at dawn.
  • Avoid swimming in Uganda lakes (expect Lake Bunyoni) due to the presence of the bilharzia parasite (schistosomiasis).
  • Boil water and bring a water filter for your reusable water bottle.
  • Don’t forget a headlamp for the nights at the campsite, as well as a couple of carabiners which will help you hang small items in the car and in the tent. A pair of binoculars is a must-have!
  • Buy a travel guide book like the Lonely Planet Uganda that will help understand the country better. And speaking about comprehension, consider taking a phrasebook with you. English is widely spoken by educated Ugandans, though the major indigenous languages are Central Sudanic, Bantu, and Nilotic. Swahili is also spoken by a large part of the population. So a phrasebook in any of these languages should be useful.



We can’t wait to be traveling in Uganda! From there, we will share more travel tips and experiences through our future Uganda travel blog posts.

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This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a percentage if you make a purchase using these links – at no cost to you. Our opinions are our own and are not impacted by these partnerships.
Why Travel to Uganda: Places to Visit & Things to See // Tree Lion - Photo Credit: Sarah Pipher - Pixabay Free for commercial use-No attribution required Pinterest

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