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Where to Go When You Visit Uganda For a Safari

Central Uganda Destinations

Kampala City

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, that’s why it’s referred to as the East Africa’s happiest city.

The city gets its name From Impala (Aepyceros melampus) a medium-sized African antelope that used to roam the jungles where Kampala seats today. Located just 40 Km from Entebbe International Airport, Kampala will amaze you with its beauty, culture and hospitality before you venture the rest of the country.

The city boasts of many attractions visitors warmly explore everytime they visit Uganda; including the National Museumthe 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’ Shrinevarious shopping malls and night clubs.

Uganda Wildlife Education Center

Set on the shores of Lake Victoria, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre is a must visit for anyone coming to Entebbe for a leisure or educational tour. The centre which sits on 72 acres, boasts of a wide variety of indigenous wildlife numbering well into the thousands, and housed in natural settings which depict three of Uganda’s ecosystems: The Wetland, The Savannah and The Forest.

The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) was opened in 1952 by the Colonial Government then, as an animal orphanage that offered sanctuary to young animals found abandoned in protected areas due to the death or poaching of parent animals.

In the early 1960s, it became a traditional zoo until 1994 when it was renamed the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre

Kasubi Royal Tombs

Kasubi hill was originally called Nabulagala. When Mutesa I established his palace on the hill in 1882, he changed its name to Kasubi, a village in Kyagwe where he grew up. This is a traditional site in an urban setting 5kms to the south-west of Kampala city, the capital of Uganda. Four of the last Kings (Bassekabaka) of the Kingdom of Buganda namely; Mutesa I (1865-1884), Daniel Mwanga II (1884-1897), Daudi Cwa II (1897-1939) and Frederick Mutesa II (1939-1966), were buried in this gigantic dome-shaped grass thatched house known as Muzibu Azaala Mpanga.

The magnificent reed and ring work representing the 52 clans of the Baganda, the equally long and straight poles wrapped with barkcloth and the tranquility inside the house all contribute to the mysticism, respect and awe which are the intangible values about the great house.

Indeed it is not only the cemetery of the Buganda royalty but also an active religious shrine of the Buganda Kingdom. Its traditional architectural design, its religious function and living relevance formed the criteria for its nomination as a unique cultural site of outstanding universal value. Kasubi Royal Tombs of the Kings of Buganda was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in December 2001. It is a famous tourist site which records more than 50,000 visitors a year.

Ssese Islands

The 84-forested island of the Ssese Group, float like green jewels on the waters of lake Victoria ,located 55km from Entebbe, these are one of Uganda’s greatest natural gifts waiting for you to be discovered.

To all professional Entomologists Ssese Group of islands provides an earthly insect paradise. Guests are required to bring with them bird watching and fishing gears.

The most famous and recommended tours and historical places of interest in Ssese include;

  • Nsirwe Island, famous for both bird and spider breeding.
  • Bugaba Island, the birth and home place of the African Grey parrots .It also hosts a living sample of a true African virgin Equatorial forest.
  • Bubembe and Funve Islands, and Serinya, Banda and Kitobo Islands.

Other islands on Lake Victoria include;

  • Kalangala, Ngamba Islands,and Kigungu among others.

Location

Northwest of Lake Victoria,

Getting there

Boats, ferries and vehicles are available to take you between and around the 84 islands, these are fully equipped with life jackets, sun canopies.

Masaka route: For those tourists who wish to enjoy the country side, travel arrangements can be made by road, from Kampala to Masaka Town (Nyendo, 2:30hrs drive) crossing with the Bukakata/ Luku Ferry to Bugoma (30 mins). One hour drive gets you to Kalangala the home of Islands.

Entebbe route: Nakiwogo to Buggala Island (3hrs boat cruise), departing everyday at 2:00pm.

What to do
While you are in and around Ssese islands,

  • honeymoon and vacation tours
  • sport fishing,
  • bird watching,
  • community tours
  • quad biking
  • primate and monkey tracking
  • marine life viewing, are all activities and discoveries, one can make.

When to visit

Anytime during the year, except during rainy seasons especially April – May and September – November.

Namugongo Matyrs Shrine

About 15 km east of Kampala city lies the Namugongo martyrs’ shrine where more than 20 catholic and Anglican martyrs were burnt alive on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga in June 1886. Consequently, christians from eastern and central Africa and indeed the world over flock to Namugongo to pay their respects and renew their faith by paying pilgrimage to the martyrs on June 3rd, every year. A church was constructed in the shape of a traditional Baganda hut (akasiisiira) in memory of the martyrs. It stands on 22 copper pillars representing the 22 catholic martyrs. In front of the main entrance to the church, below the altar is the spot where Charles Lwanga, the leader of the Catholics was burnt on June 3rd 1886.The church was consecrated by Pope Paul VI on August 2nd, 1969.

Location
In Namugongo, outskirts of Kampala city along Kampala – Jinja road.

Getting there
15km, by road from Kampala city centre along Kampala – Jinja road. It is accessible by public transport.

What to do

Exploring the roots of religion in Uganda, fellowships and restoration of faith.

When to visit
Any time during the year but prepare to reach there before June 3rd (Martyrs’ day) of every year.

Western Uganda Destinations

Kisiizi Falls

The Kisiizi Falls are located in Kisiizi Parish in Nyarushanje Sub County in Rukungiri District of Western Uganda. The falls drop approximately 30 meters off a cliff at Kisiizi on the Rushoma River that snakes its way to Lake Edward. Kisiizi has both historical and geographical significance.

About the Falls

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Historically the falls are known as a tragic place where unmarried pregnant Bakiga girls could be thrown to their deaths. This practice was discontinued and what had been a place of despair became a place of hope and healing as the Church of Uganda established Kisiizi Hospital in 1958.

Geographically, the falls are located in a forested area and gorge famous for bird life including endemic species like the Ross Turaco, Double Toothed barbet and the cinnamon Bee eater. As a tourist area, it is famed for the scenic environment and trekking activities. This area is also active from a social development perspective. The church of Uganda established a hospital, schools and a nursing institution to provide health care and educational opportunities to the surrounding community. The hospital management established a mini hydro power plant and water facility that serves the community of Kisiizi.

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The development of the Kisiizi Falls present strong tourist potential because of the historical, geographical and social significance, the falls are located along the tourist route linking the Virunga ranges famed for the Mountain Gorilla attraction and the Ishasha sector of the queen Elizabeth national park. They add to the attractions and variety for the tourist traffic.

This project is supported by a grant from The UNWTO ST-EP Foundation (Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty).

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Tourist Activities around Kisiizi falls

The location is attractive to nature lovers because of its rich concentration of bird species, site viewing and nature trekking. Visitors can also enjoy canoeing along River Rushoma and a trek to the top the falls.

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Bwindi Forest

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is located in Kabale/Kanungu Districts, South West of Uganda on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), covering an area of 321 sqkm. It is 530km from Kampala.

Bwindi Forest consists of a large primeval forest in East Africa, with altitudes spanning from 1,160 to 2,607 meters. The forest is at the edge of the western arm of the Great Rift Valley. Bwindi Forest was recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site for being the home of half the world’s population of endangered Mountain Gorillas as well as being one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is part of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, located Southwestern Uganda, covering an area of 331 sq Km of jungle forerst. It consists of 120 species of mammals, 346 bird species, 202 butterfly species, 163 tree species, 100 fern species, 27 frog species, as well as other many endangered species including chameleon, gecko to mention a few.

Best seasons to visit

The rainy season is from March till May and October till November. Light rain season falls in November and December. Dry seasons are from December to February and June to August. The best time, the best months of the year would be December to late February and from June to September.

Kitagata Hot Springs

Kitagata is a vernacular for warmth, but because of the popularity of the place, the village and sub-country are called Kitagata. The place is dotted with small houses, some grass thatched, others roofed with corrugated iron sheets, which act as private rooms for patients to hire. The scene of people almost naked resting in water in a pond-like formation is the first to inform you that you have arrived at the healing place. Women and men of all ages seem to be enjoying the water in flowing from the two nearby springs. The water in the springs can warm up to 80 °C (176 °F).

One hot spring is famously known as Mulago while another is called Ekitagata kyomugabe, meaning the hot spring for the king of Ankole. Mulago is national referral hospital in Uganda, while Ankole is a sub region in Western Uganda.

People with ailments on the body dip that particular part in the water to get healed. If someone is having stomach problems, they draw the water directly from the burble source locally called Akaswonswo and let it cool to the temperature they can drink it.

It is indeed as busy as a hospital. As other patients come in, others go out, admitting themselves to the hospital and discharging themselves after treatment. Kabasekye says that they get around 800 visitors (patients) every week, people of all ages and from all corners of the country.

Location
The hot springs are located in Sheema District, Western Uganda

Size
50 sq. km

Getting there
350kms west of the Ugandan capital Kampala, 72 kilometres by road, west of Mbarara

What to do
The usual visitors are patients who use the water from Kitagata twice a day to drink and to bathe. Here, you witness patients taking turns to lie in the water for treatment. The official schedule is four hours in the morning and up to 7 hours in the evening. Other tourists visit to view the uniqueness of the feature.

When to visit
Throughout the year.

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi is believed to be the second deepest lake in Africa with its deepest end approximately 900m. The lake is dotted with 29 islands. The most prominent of these include the Akampene Island also known as the punishment island, Bushara, Kyahugye, Bwama and Njuyeera, and Bucuranuka. Also the deepest lake in Uganda, home of Otters, crayfish and a place of many little birds in South-western Uganda lies between kisoro and kabale districts close to the border with Rwanda.

Location

In the south-west, north of kabale district and is located at 1,962m above sea level.

Size

It is about 25 km long and 7 km wide covering an area of 61 square kilometers.

Getting there

466km from Kampala

What to do

Camping, the bamboo walks are guided trails which have been established and are highly recommended for anybody who may be looking for a serious leg stretch.

When to visit

Any time during the year.

Fort Portal

 

Fort Portal in western Uganda is in the seat of both kabarole district and toro kingdom and is named for Sir Gerald Portal, a British Special Commissioner for Uganda, whose statue graces the main road of the town. Situated between the Rwenzori Mountains, Kibale National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, it is a significant market town.

Location

The coordinates of the town are: 0° 39′ 36″ North, 30° 16′ 30″ East

(Latitude: 0.6600; Longitude: 30.2750).

Size

A population estimate of approximately 47,100 according to UBOS in 2011.

Getting there

298 Km – Distance from kampala Region to Fort Portal by road.

261 Km – Flight distance between kampala Region and Fort Portal

What to do

View of rock paintings, landscape sceneries, several crater lakes and the Semiliki valleys near the municipality.

When to visit

Any time during the year.

Northern Uganda Destinations

Kidepo National Park

Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. From Apoka, in the heart of the national park, a savanna landscape extends in all directions, far beyond the gazetted area of 1442km2, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges.

The park has a semi-arid climate with just one rainy season per year (April-September) and rainfall is light. The valley of the Narus river in the south of the park receives some 890mm of rain/year while just 635mm of rain/year falls in the Kidepo valley to the north. Both rivers are seasonal, and dwindle and disappear in the dry season. During these months, the only permanent water in the park is found in wetlands and remnant pools along the southern Narus valley near Apoka and as a result, wildlife is concentrated in this area. This consideration, combined with the valley’s open, savanna habitat, makes the park a prime game viewing location on a Uganda safari. Indeed it is possible to sight a good variety of wildlife simply by scanning the valley with binoculars from the comfort of the Apoka lodge.

Location – Located in the North-eastern corner of Uganda, some 700 km from Kampala and tucked between the borders with Sudan and Kenya.

Size – 1442 sq km

Getting there
The park can be reached by both road and air. Driving is more rewarding, as much of Karamoja, like Kidepo itself, is a vast and unspoiled wilderness. However, road conditions are sometimes difficult and 4WD vehicles are usually essential for a safari in Uganda.

There are four possible routes by road: routes via Mbale pass to the east of Lake Kyoga to reach northern Uganda; routes via Karuma pass to the west.

  • Kampala-Mbale-Soroti-Kidepo (792km)
  • Kampala-Mbale-Sironko-Kotido-Kaboong-Kidepo (740km)
  • Kampala-Karuma-Lira-Kotido-Kidepo (705km)
  • Kampala-Karuma-Gulu-Kitgum-Kidepo (571km)

What to do
Game viewing and wildlife study.

When to visit
Any time throughout the yea

The Murchison Falls

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. One of Uganda’s oldest conservation areas, it was initially gazetted as a game reserve in 1926 to protect a savanna that Winston Churchill described in 1907 as ‘Kew Gardens and the zoo combined on an unlimited scale’.

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. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most memorable wildlife spectacles on a Uganda safari. Regular visitors include elephant, giraffe and buffalo while hippopotamus and Nile crocodile are permanent residents.

Size

The park covers 3,893 sq km and is Uganda’s largest protected area. Today it is part of the even larger Murchison Falls Protected Area (5,072 sq km) which includes the adjoining Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves.

Getting there

By road, the Nile river crossing at Paraa, in the centre of the park, is approximately 5hrs drive from Kampala (305km). Paraa is 85km from Masindi town by the direct route. A longer (135km) alternative route passes through Budongo forest and enjoys spectacular views across Lake Albert from the riftvalley escarpment above Butiaba. Paraa can also be approached from the north, via Chobe Gate near Karuma Falls and Tangi Gate near Pakwach (25km to Paraa), and Wankwar Gate near Purongo.

What to do

Five regular launch trips to the base of the falls offer fine game viewing and bird watching. Boat trips to the Lake Albert delta provide the best chance in Africa of sighting Shoebills. Chimpanzee tracking at Rabongo Forest, and en route from Masindi in the Budongo Forest.

When to visit

A Uganda tour to Murchison Falls is suitable at any time of the year, but not advisable during rainy seasons. Uganda is sunny most of the year with temperatures rarely rising above 29 degrees (84 degrees Fahrenheit). The average annual temperature is about 26 degrees Celsius (78° Fahrenheit).

The rainy season is from March till May and October till November. Light rain season falls in November and December. Dry seasons are from December to February and June to August. The best time for Murchison falls safari, would be December to late February and from June to September, but rain is possible due to unpredictable seasonal changes

Eastern Uganda Destinations

The Source Of The Nile

Flanked today by the city of Jinja, the waterfall described by Speke now lies submerged beneath the Owen Falls Dam, Uganda’s main source of hydro-electric power. Still, a visit to the source of the Nile remains a moving and wondrous experience, no less so to those who have seen the same river as it flows past the ancient Egyptian temples of Luxor some 6,000 km downstream.

The source of the Nile, alluded to hazily in the ancient writings of Ptolemy, stood as one of the great geographical mysteries of the Victorian Age.

Closer to home, the Nile downriver from Jinja offers some superb white water rafting and game fishing. Its crowning glory, however, is Murchison Falls, where the world’s longest river funnels through a narrow fissure in the Rift Escarpment to erupt out of the other side in a crashing 43 metres plume of white water. The river below the falls is no less spectacular in its own way, with its profuse birdlife, thousands of hippos, and outsized, gape-mouthed crocodiles.

Mt Elgon National Park
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Mount Elgon is a popular destination for nature lovers providing an exclusive domain for backpackers with numerous birding trails. The extinct volcanic mountain is an important watershed supporting a rich variety of vegetation zones ranging from montane forest to high open moorland studded with the other worldly giant lobelia and groundsel plants.
The recent development of the Forest Exploration Center at Kapchorwa allows birders access to extensive montane forest as well as the arid savanna around Moroto.

Location
On the Eastern border with Kenya near Mbale

Size
1,121 sq km

Getting there
3-4 hours from Kampala to Mbale (along Kampala – Jinja Road). The trailhead at Budadiri is only 20km from Mbale and is accessible by public transport.

What to do
Day walks within the Mount Elgon Forest Exploration Centre, mountain climbing and hikes, Bird watching and the breathtaking Sipi Falls is definitely worth a visit.

When to visit
Throughout the year especially during the drier seasons (January – March and June – August).

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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Safaris

The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) is Currently in southwestern Uganda. The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is located along the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) boundary next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the Albertine Rift. Composed of 321 square kilometres (124 sq mi) of the two montane and lowland forest, it is available only on foot. BINP is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization-designated World Heritage Site. Species diversity is a feature of the park.It provides habitat for 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and several endangered species. Floristically, the playground is among the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than plant species, including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern (low elevation) sector has several species of Guineo-Congolian flora, including two endangered species, the brown mahogany and Brazzeia longipedicellata. In the elevated levels of endemisms of the Albertine Rift, the place shares Specifically. The park is a sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, and many birds such as hornbills and turacos. It is notable for the 400 Bwindi gorillas, half of the planet’s population of the endangered mountain gorillas. 14 habituated mountain gorilla groups are open to tourism in several sectors of Buhoma, Ruhijja, Rushaga along with the Nkuringo all under Uganda Wildlife Authority’s management. Find Out about a Uganda Safari Here or Best Uganda Lodges To Stay In

Queen Elizabeth National Park Safaris

Queen Elizabeth National Park occupies an estimated 1,978 square kilometres (764 sq mi) The park extends from Lake George in the north-east to Lake Edward in the south-west and includes the Kazinga Channel connecting the two lakes. Queen Elizabeth National Park is known for its wildlife, including African buffalo, Ugandan kob, hippopotamus, Nile crocodile, African bush elephant, African leopard, lion, and chimpanzee. It is home to 95 mammal species and over 500 bird species. The area around Ishasha in Rukungiri District is famous for its tree-climbing lions, whose males sport black manes. Poachers killed six elephants in the park in 2015, triggering both anger and frustration within the Ugandan conservation community.

Queen Elizabeth National Park together with the adjacent Virunga National Park is a Lion Conservation Unit. The area is considered a potential lion stronghold in Central Africa, if poaching is curbed and prey species recover. The park is also famous for its volcanic features, including volcanic cones and deep craters, many with crater lakes, such as the Katwe craters, from which salt is extracted. S

ervices in the park include a telecenter run by Conservation Through Public Health and the Uganda Wildlife Authority, neighboring the Queen’s Pavilion, park lodges, game and scenic drives, and boat launches. Enquire about Uganda Safaris here

Murchison Falls National Park Safaris

Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest national park. It measures approximately 3,893 square kilometres (1,503 sq mi).The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile from east to west for a distance of about 115 kilometres (71 mi). The park is the location of the Murchison Falls, where the waters of the Nile flow through a narrow gorge only 7 metres (23 ft) wide before plunging 43 metres (141 ft).

Also in the park, adjacent to the Masindi-Gulu Highway, are the Karuma Falls, the location of the 600 megawatt Karuma Power Station, which will be Uganda’s largest power station when it comes online circa 2018 Murchison Falls National Park sits on the shore of Lake Albert, in northwest Uganda. It’s known for Murchison Falls, where the Victoria Nile River surges through a narrow gap over a massive drop.

Park wildlife includes elephants and hippos, and there are chimpanzees in the Kaniyo Pabidi mahogany forest. The Lake Albert Delta is home to rare shoebill storks. There are game fish in the cascades of Karuma Falls.

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Cultural Tours and Travels – Western Uganda Safaris

The pearl of Africa has a very strong cultural heritage well-endowed with different cultural and historical sites. With more than 50 different indigenous languages belonging to two distinct linguistic groups, and an equally diverse cultural mosaic of music, art and handicrafts, Uganda is a one stop center for a rich African cultural experience, ranging from Bantu in the Central, West, South-west, and East, to Nilotic groups of people in the North, North-East and North-West.

Ugandans are remarkably hospitable and hail from a diversity of rich cultures and lifestyles with each tribe having its own distinct cultural values that describe who they are. All these values are based on tribal traditional activities from all spheres of life; including, food and welfare, traditional dances, clothing and organization of societies. Many regions in Uganda have kingdoms, including Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro and Toro. Other regions still value their heritage of chiefdoms which is traceable and equally treasured.

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Long-horned Ankole cows, a treasured domestic animal in many tribes from the western part of Uganda.

 

The western region is also rich in culture, consisting of; Bakonjo/Bamba, Batooro, Banyoro, Banyankore, Bakiga, Bafumbira, Batwa and Bachwezi among others, who are well recognized for their wealthy culture connected with their strong link and love for their long horned cows – thought to have originated from the former rulers of the mighty Bunyoro-Kitara Empire called the Bachwezi – demi-god people who introduced the centralized system of governance and led to the birth of the inter-lacustrine kingdoms that occupy the area between Lakes Kyoga in Central Uganda and Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania.

Currently, the dominant kingdoms in western Uganda include, Tooro and Bunyoro, and the famous Batwa community.

Traditional dances:

Entogoro is danced by Banyoro and Batooro of western Uganda. The dance takes its name from the pod rattles (locally known as ebinyege) that the boys tie on their legs to make different rhythms as they dance.

Ekitaguriro is traditional fascinating dance of Banyankole and Bakiga characterized by energetic stamping and tangling rhythms using the feet and aerial arm movements that depicts their relationship with their beautiful long horned cattle.

Traditional food:

Eshabwe: A traditional Banyankole dish comprising of ghee, skimmed from milk. This is usually eaten with Akaro. It’s a meal one would certainly get acquainted with on a visit to the western parts of Uganda. Others include; Firinda and Akaro which is millet flour mixed with cassava and then mingled.

Cultural and historical sites:

There are so many cultural and historical sites that you would not love to miss in this region including; Kitagata hot springs, Sempaya hot springs, Karambi Royal Tombs, Igongo Cultural Center in Mbarara, Great Lakes Museum in Kabale, Amabere Caves, Mparo Tombs, and Bigo Bya Mugyenyi among others.

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An group Batwa from the Batwa community, an entertaining indegenous tribe from the western part of Uganda.

When to do it:

Cultural tours in Uganda can be done during any season of the year. There are quite a number of festivities that run throughout the year, and you find such a great time to catch up with the celebrations – to experience the epitome of African culture in the Pearl of Africa.

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Cultural Tours and Travels – Central Uganda Safaris

The pearl of Africa has a very strong cultural heritage well-endowed with different cultural and historical sites. With more than 50 different indigenous languages belonging to two distinct linguistic groups, and an equally diverse cultural mosaic of music, art and handicrafts, Uganda is a one stop center for a rich African cultural experience, ranging from Bantu in the Central, West, South-west, and East, to Nilotic groups of people in the North, North-East and North-West.

Ugandans are remarkably hospitable and hail from a diversity of rich cultures and lifestyles with each tribe having its own distinct cultural values that describe who they are. All these values are based on tribal traditional activities from all spheres of life; including, food and welfare, traditional dances, clothing and organization of societies. Many regions in Uganda have kingdoms, including Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro and Toro. Other regions still value their heritage of chiefdoms which is traceable and equally treasured.

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Nandujja and The Planets performing the Kiganda dance from Central Uganda at one occasion.

 

The central region is dominated by the Baganda, a tribe belonging to the Bantu group, forming the Buganda Kingdom with over 17% of the total population of the country.

The Buganda monarchy presents one of the best documentations of kingship in Uganda, with its highest leader locally known as the Kabaka.

The current King of Buganda, His Majesty Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II was crowned the 36th Kabaka of Buganda in July 1993 after his father Sir Edward Muteesa II.

Buganda is renowned for the distinct ceremonial occasions organized for observance, commemoration, inauguration, initiation, remembrance or fulfillment of cultural rituals and norms. Some of the common (highly recognized) ceremonies in Buganda include; the initiation of twins (okwalula abalongo), the introduction (okwanjula) and last funeral rite (okwabya olumbe).

Traditional dance:

The Kiganda dance is a unique dance of the Baganda, with many variations for different occasions. Most common are bakisimba, muwogola and amagunju, all perfomed on totally different drum beats to amuse and honour a particular occasion.

The video below shall give you a glimpse of what you’ll experience in the Kiganda dance.

Traditional food:

Nearly every tribe or region has a distinguished food delicacy. The most popular local dish in the central is matooke (bananas of the plantain type) which is best served with peanut sauce, fresh fish, fresh meat and chicken. The best way Baganda cook it, is by piling peeled banana fingers into a bundle of banana leaves tied with banana fibers, which is then cooked and left to steam. When ready and tender, the matooke is squeezed into a soft and golden tasty yellow mash. Another delicacy in the sauce locally known as ‘Luwombo’, comes when cooked in a similar way; by tying up fresh pieces of beef, fish, chicken or even ground nuts in a fresh banana leaf. This style of cooking preserves all the flavor, that’s why in the central region, the food production process revolves around banana plants.

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A sample of luwombo, a traditional delicacy in central Uganda.

Cultural and historical sites:

From spiritual to cultural and historical sites, the central region presents a rich experience for visitors traversing the Pearl of Africa. The heritage of this region can be felt at the different cultural and historical sites, some of which were recognized as world heritage sites by UNESCO. Among these sites include; Kasubi Royal Tombs, Kabaka’s palace in Lubiri Mengo, Bulange Mengo (Buganda Parliament), Wamala Tombs, Naggalabi Coronation site, Kabaka’s Lake in Ndeeba, Katereke prison ditch, Walumbe Tanda Archeology center, Ndere Cultural Centrethe National Museum, the Uganda National Cultural Center (former National Theatre).

When to do it:

Cultural tours in Uganda can be done during any season of the year. There are quite a number of festivities that run throughout the year, and you find such a great time to catch up with the celebrations – to experience the epitome of African culture in the Pearl of Africa

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Chimpanzee Tracking Uganda Safari
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Chimpanzee tracking is a very fascinating experience. Prepare today and set out to Uganda’s natural jungles as you spend a number of hours tracking these impressive creatures.

You will be allowed to spend some time as you observe them swing from one tree to another, feed, play about or progress speedily on the ground right in front of you.

Where to do it from From the Kibale Forest National Park to Budongo Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary and Kyambura Gorge; your trip shall be an enormous encounter of these primates.

When to do it The best time to track chimpanzees is usually during the dry seasons, though some visitors may prefer an adventurous experience during the rainy seasons. The rainy season is usually between March to May and October to mid-December. Dry seasons are usually from mid-December to February and June to August.

Where to do this Queen Elizabeth National Park Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Bwindi Impenetrable forest Kibale Forest National Park Budongo Forest Reserve.

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Boat Cruise Safari in Uganda

A boat cruise at the Source of the Nile is one of the amazing experiences awaiting for you here in the Pearl of Africa. Uganda offers some of the unique and amazing water trails for breath-taking boat rides including the Source of the Nile, Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls in Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Victoria and Ssese Islands. Along these trails you’ll be able to see scenic wonders of forests, rocky islands; reptiles, wildlife, and a myriad of birdlife.

Where to do it from: Source of the Nile, Murchison Falls, Kazinga Channel at Queen Elizabeth Park, Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Victoria and Ssese Islands, Lake Mburo at Lake Mburo National Park

When to do it: A boat cruise can be done on any day throughout the year

Where to do this The Murchison Falls Ssese Islands Lake Mburo National Park The Source of the Nile Lake Victoria Lake Albert Kazinga Channel
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Canoeing Safaris in Uganda

Discover the peace and tranquility of Uganda’s beautiful waterways, and experience wildlife like never before, while learning the pleasure of being at one with the water and nature. The rivers, lakes and wetlands cover about 18% of Uganda’s total surface, including Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa and the source of the Nile river, the longest river of the world. All these provide a prime environment for canoeing and kayaking across the Nile, Lake Victoria basin and several other numerous water bodies across the country. Where to do it from: Ssese Islands, Mabamba swamp, Lake Mutanda, Lake Bunyonyi, Semuliki Wildlife Reserve, Katonga Reserve and several parts on the shores of Lake Victoria When to do it: The rainy season is from March till May and October till December. Light rain season falls in November and December. Dry seasons are from December to February and June to August. The best time, the best months of the year would be during the dry seasons. Where to do this Ssese Islands Semuliki Wildlife Reserve The Source of the Nile Lake Bunyonyi Lake Victoria Katonga Game Reserve

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Ecotourism in Uganda Safari Parks

Tourism in Uganda is built on the concept of ecotourism and the main focus is placed on sustainable use of the natural and cultural attractions which are the foundation of Uganda’s tourism, as well as empowering the local communities to benefit from tourism. Uganda has ten national parks offering a diversity of attractions and activities. This makes the country a one stop destination for all your adventure expectations.

The national parks are rich in flora and fauna with some endemic species of birds, wild animals, butterflies, aquatic life and vegetation. The forests in Uganda are mainly managed by the National forest Authority (NFA) together with other stakeholders such as the Ministry of water and Environment, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage (MTWH) among others. In which sites can I enjoy eco-tourism activities?

Mabira Central Forest Reserve One of Uganda’s largest surviving natural forests covering an area of 306 sq km. The forest is a habitat of over 312 species of trees including the endangered Cordia Milleni, Mililia Exclesa and the vulnerable Prunus Africana which cures Prostate Cancer and boosts the Human Immune System. Accessibility Mabira Central Forest Reserve is located on the main Kampala – Jinja Highway in Mukono District, 54km from Kampala and 26km from Jinja town.

Lutoboka, Kampala and Bunjazi Central Forest Reserves Described as medium altitude moist forests, they are found on the legendary Ssesse Islands, with a gentle slope from the shores of Lake Victoria to the center. There are 31 gazetted Forest Reserves in the Islands with a total of 7,324 hectares. Lutoboka Forest reserve is 378 Ha; Kampala Forest Reserve is 139 Ha; and Bunjazi Forest Reserve is 80 Ha. Accessibility The Islands can be accessed by ship departing from Nakiwogo landing site near Entebbe, usually at 14:00 daily. Its return journey from Lutoboka Landing site is at 8:00am.

Alternatively, you can use the ferry from Bukakata/Kachanga landing site near Masaka Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve A natural forest teeming with terrestrial Bio-diversity located in Bushenyi District (Western Uganda). Famous for 414 species of trees and shrubs including the Ficus, Prunus Africana while harbouring over 378 species of birds. Accessibility Approximately 375km, a five (5)hours drive from Kampala City Centre. It is only 30km from the District Headquarters.

Mpanga Central Forest Reserve Mpanga Central Forest Reserve is a natural forest with unique tree species like the Celtis with large buttresses; the Ficus family; and Mahogany. The forests boasts of a number of primates especially the Red-Tailed Monkeys; an array of birdlife including the Ross’ Turaco, Weaver-birds, the Grey Parrot, Owls and Cuckons.

Others include: Budongo Central Forest Reserve, straddling across three (3) districts of Masindi, Hoima and Buliisa, covering over 825 sqkm.

  • Busingiro Eco-tourism site, located in the south-western part of Budongo Forest Reserve. It inhabits several primate species including Chimpanzees, Monkeys and Baboons.
  • Bugoma Eco-tourism site, located in Hoima district covering over 41,144 Ha.
  • Kaniyo – Pabidi- Ecotourism site
  • Kasyoha- Kitomi Forest Reserve

The forest eco-tourism reserves in Uganda are endowed with an abundance of wildlife and ever green vegetation. The key attractions include apes, birds, butterflies, unique vegetation, reptiles, flowers and wild animals like elephants, warthogs, bush backs, bush pigs, buffaloes and cool fresh air among others. The sites also provide luxurious accommodation facilities especially high class lodges, hotels and guest houses. uganda safari lodges

Where to do this Ssese Islands Semuliki Wildlife Reserve Uganda Wildlife Education Center Queen Elizabeth National Park Kibale National Park Bwindi Impenetrable forest Lake Bunyonyi

The Uganda Martyrs’ Uganda Safari Trails

The Uganda Martyrs Trail is Uganda’s exclusive faith-based tourism product that takes you through different places where the first Christian missionaries passed and preached from, and where some of the Uganda Martyrs were killed before their bodies were taken to be burnt at Namugongo.

The death of these martyrs has always been memorable in the hearts of many people especially Christians who celebrate the lives of the martyrs on 3rd June of every year – a day the republic of Uganda considers as the Uganda Martyrs’ Day and a public holiday.

Their remembrance was amplified when the Catholic Church of Rome beatified the martyrs of its faith in 1920 and canonized them in 1964. Many pilgrims, especially Christians, from all over the world descend to the Pearl of Africa to join together with Ugandans to commemorate the martyrs’ day.

This is celebrated in remembrance of 45 young men (recorded) both Anglicans and Catholics who were killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II (then the King of the Buganda Kingdom in Central Uganda), for refusing to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ or Christianity. The execution took place between November 1885 to June 1886 with a climax at Namugongo on 3rd June 1886, after the Kabaka (king) thought the Whites were ‘infiltrating’ his subjects with Christianity to cause rebellion against him. As a result he killed most of his servants at Namugongo. Since its launch in 2014, the Uganda Martyrs Trail was expanded to cover such places like:

1. Mapeera site in Ssese ‘Mapeera Site’ at Bugoma, Buggala Island in Ssese is the spot where Fr. Simeon Lourdel, who was later named “Mapeera” and Brother Amans first touched Ugandan soil when they landed at the site to spend the night of 15th February 1879 on their way to Lubaga to meet with Kabaka Muteesa I, seeking permission to set up a camp in Buganda to preach, teach and spread Christianity.

2. Kigungu Church, Entebbe This is the second spot where Fr. Simeon Lourdel & Brother Amans landed on 17th February 1879 after spending a night at Bugoma, Buggala Island in Ssese, en route to Munyonyo to meet with Kabaka Muteesa I.

3. Mapeera site in Kisubi On their way to meet with King Muteesa I at Munyonyo palace, the missionaries also stayed at Kisubi, on the shores of Lake Victoria along Entebbe road, a place the Catholic Church later revamped and established a seminary, schools and a well maintained beach and gardens.

4. Uganda Martyrs’ shrine, Munyonyo In the same area where Kabaka Muteesa I had his palace lies the Munyonyo Matryrs’ Shrine. This is the place where the missionaries met with the Kabaka who had earlier on written a letter to Queen Victoria of UK in 1876 inviting Christians to come, teach and preach in the Buganda Kingdom. It’s also the place where the journey of the Martyrs, both Catholics and Anglicans, began before their martyrdom at Namugongo, happening after Kabaka Mwanga had assumed power when his father (Kabaka Muteesa I) died in 1884. It was at Munyonyo where King Mwanga took the crucial decision to begin putting Christians to death. The blood of Uganda’s martyrs was shed on the soil around Munyonyo.

The first three Christians to render their lives for Christ’s sake after the king’s decision did so on 26 May 1886. They included, St. Denis Ssebugwawo and St. Andrew Kaggwa. It is also in this place where in 1886 Saint Charles Lwanga, leader of the Christian community in Uganda baptized St. Kizito, St. Mbaga, St. Gyavira and St. Muggaga. The place has now been refurbished with a Cathedral and a monument which were inaugurated by Pope Francis on 27th November 2015, when he visited the Pearl of Africa.

5. Uganda Martyrs’ shrine, Namugongo (both Anglican & Catholics’ side) The climax of the plight that befell the Uganda Martyrs between 1885 and 1886 happened at Namugongo, and the place was earmarked by the construction of a church. The construction of the Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine (Catholics section) began in 1967 and it was completed and formally opened by the special Papal envoy, His Eminence Sergio Cardinal Pignedoli on 3rd June 1975.

The Uganda Martyrs minor basilica/Shrine is a Catholic church dedicated to the Martyrs of Uganda who shed their blood because of the Christian faith. The Shrine is well known for its beautiful and unique interior and exterior, but it is especially notable for its shape and architectural plan: the 22 copper pillars-over 100 feet long that support the shrine built in form of an African hut and its wooden doors that depict the history of the Martyrs. The Shrine has a capacity 1000 seats arranged in a circular form. It is here that 14 of the 22 Catholic Uganda Martyrs were burnt alive, on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II in 1886, having refused to denounce their Christian faith.

Following the holocaust of these Martyrs which reached a climax on 3rd June, 1886 Namugongo has steadily taken on the image of attraction as a place of pilgrimage, as God simultaneously has honoured them before Believers. On 6th June 1920 Pope Benedict XV beatified the Uganda Martyrs. Pope Paul VI canonized them on Mission Sunday, 8th October, 1964 in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome.

The same Pope honoured the Martyrs with a pilgrimage on 31st July to 2nd August 1969 – the first visit ever by a pope to the African Continent. Remembering the work executed by St. Charles Lwanga when still a page in King Mwanga’s palace, when he spearheaded the excavation of the legendary Kabaka’s lake in Ndeeba, a Martyrs’ lake was excavated at Namugongo. Many pilgrims have often drawn water from this lake and later given testimonies about this water healing them of various diseases. T

he Pavilion (Island) in the lake is another unique feature at Namugongo with a clear view that can be seen from all angles of the over 15 acres Shrine compound. It is inside this pavilion where the main celebrant sits on big occasions like Martyrs’ day, June 3. This grass thatched pavilion, also in circular form like the Shrine is supported by 4 pillars and can accommodate more than 300 priests and a number of bishops that turn for the High Mass on Martyrs Day. In remembrance of the 23 (recorded) Anglican martyrs, the Anglican Church of Uganda also constructed a museum that collects all the information of the story, right from the coming of the first missionaries, to the torture of the martyrs and the spread of Christianity all over Uganda. Visiting these places shall provide you with all inspirational and spiritual knowledge.

Both sites have so far been visited by three Popes; including; Pope Paul VI in 1969, Pope John Paul II in 1993 and Pope Francis in 2015.

When to do it One can visit at any time of the year but the most favorable time is between May and July every year, during which you can also join in the annual celebrations of 3rd June every year.

Where to do this Namugongo Matyrs Shrine Rubaga Cathedral namirembe cathedral

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Nile River Water Rafting Uganda Safaris and Tours

Thinking adventure? Believe rafting! You have no idea how much fun you will experience when you come for one of the wildest marine activity right here in the Pearl of Africa. For adventurers, without at least a one day white water rafting trip, no safari to Uganda would be complete. Right at the source of the Nile (the longest river in the world) you’ll truly experience and conquer these wild waters whilst bouncing on and off the untamed river. Where to do it from: Travellers coming for safaris in Uganda can also enjoy White water rafting at Itanda falls in Jinja, the rafting base on the banks of River Nile in Eastern Uganda. When to do it: Rafting can be done every day throughout the year, though dry seasons between January – April and July – October are the most favorable

Kayak The Nile Uganda Safaris Tours

A trip to Uganda, is not complete without visiting the River Nile, and we believe that the best way to explore the world’s longest river is on the water itself. There is something for everyone (at Kayak The Nile) from adrenaline seekers to birdwatchers. Grade 5 Tandem Kayaking is the ultimate activity for thrill seekers and allows you (with little or no experience of kayaking before) to take on some of the biggest and best rapids in a single day.

Our introductory day to White Water kayaking is an opportunity to learn the skills that you need, even if you have never been in a kayak before, to enjoy some of the whitewater that the Nile has to offer. This is sure to give you a memorable experience, off the tourist trail.

If an adrenaline rush is not what you’re after and you’d prefer to relax, float down the river with a cooler of chilled drinks then a ‘Sit-On-Top’ Tour at the Source of the Nile is for you. Our knowledgeable local guide will help you spot some of the 80 species of birds on the Nile whilst sharing his local knowledge at the source of the Nile and Lake Victoria. We can arrange pick-ups from Kampala or Jinja and taylor our trips to suit your needs. Where to do this The Source of the Nile

Uganda Wildlife Safaris

With 10 national parks, various large and small game reserves and an endowment of natural resources, largely covered by vegetation and huge expanses of tropical forests which are rich in flora and fauna; and unique physical landscapes, lakes and rivers, Uganda has always been home to a diverse wildlife that forms a bedrock of Uganda’s tourism industry. The Pearl of Africa boasts of over 330 mammal species, of which none are critically endangered, 7 are endangered, 21 are vulnerable, and 17 are near-threatened.

The wealth of invertebrate life of more than 100,000 species has been identified countrywide and an astonishing 1,200 butterfly species, including almost 50 endemics, have been recorded, not forgetting birdlife of over 1,000 specifies including the Albertine rift endemics.

Here, both animals and nature are in complete harmony with each other. A wide range of wildlife exists in the national parks and game reserves, providing one of the distinctive tour destinations on the continent. Parks like Kidepo Valley and Queen Elizabeth are easily accessible yet not crowded, offering a wonderful game drive and wildlife experience. These parks offer safe and excellent environment for Uganda safari opportunities since they are; including game reserves, wildlife animals and all visits to the parks are monitored and carefully protected by the Uganda Wildlife Authority with its team of rangers. Several transport means can be used within the parks. This is dependent on the travel agent organizing your trip.

There are scheduled flights organized to almost all the national parks by Aero Link, with daily departures to Kisoro, Kihihi, (Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park), Mweya, Kasese (Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, and Kibale Forest National Park), Semliki (Semliki National Park), Bugugu and Pakuba (Murchison Falls National park), Kidepo (Kidepo Valley National Park). Charters can be organized to any part of the country, thus seek advice from your local operator for clarification and booking terms.

Accommodation is also available both within and nearby all the parks in the country and this varies from high end, mid range to budget establishments with the Uganda Wildlife Authority managing campsites in most of the national parks. Whether your interest is birds, primates, butterflies or wildlife, Uganda has got you covered and most of these being in close to undisturbed environments, which are not heavily populated giving you the chance to exploit everything in their very natural habitat.

When to do it: Game drives safaris in Uganda can be done at any period of the year, although many travelers prefer dry seasons (between January – April, and July – October); while others prefer wet seasons (between October – January and April – July). Where to do this Queen Elizabeth National Park Murchison Falls National Park. Kidepo Valley National Park

Mountain Climbing Safari in Uganda

Besides lying on the equator, Uganda fascinates so many climbers in the whole world, because of the snowcapped high ranges of the Rwenzori and Muhabura in the west, alongside the wonderful experience in rugged rocks of Mt. Elgon and Mt. Moroto in the East.

While climbing the Rwenzori mountain ranges, expect to see the green tropical rainforests under the equator submerge into the sky as heath forests, while alpine plants like lobelia and everlasting flower appear – a lifetime experience for adventurers with no acrophobia.

Both Mt. Elgon and Mt. Rwenzori are popular destinations for nature lovers providing an exclusive fascination for backpackers trailing the numerous bird species and the rich variety of vegetation zones and wildlife. Where to do it from: Rwenzori Mountain ranges, Mt. Elgon, Mt. Muhabura, Mt. Moroto and several other hills across the country including Kagulu Hill in Eastern Uganda.

When to do it: Dry seasons are advisable from late December – March and July – September. Where to do this Mt Elgon National Park Rwenzori Mountain Ranges

Uganda Gorilla Safaris

Without doubt one of the world’s greatest wildlife experiences is the thrill of a close encounter with the reclusive mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Uganda has the best chance of viewing these delightful apes with the fact that it boasts two parks where they have been habituated for human visits that is; the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which harbor over half of the remaining world mountain gorillas.

Uganda is undoubtedly home to twelve (12) habituated gorilla groups located in both Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks, with Mgahinga gifted with one group, that is, the Nyakagezi gorilla family while the remaining groups are spread around Bwindi National Park in 4 different sectors namely; Buhoma which has Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura; Ruhijja has Butukura, Oruzogo, and Kyaguriru; Rushaga sector has Nsongi, Mishaya, Kahunjye, and Busingye; and the Nkuringo sector having one gorilla family (Nkuringo). Since eight permits are allocated to track each group daily, 96 Gorilla Tracking permits are guaranteed in Uganda. The time spent tracking gorillas in Uganda depends and varies from half an hour to eight hours depending on the gorilla movements.

This activity starts with a briefing at 8am at the park headquarters of any sector you are booked to track, and after the tracking, you set off to the forest with the guide of the rangers who guide you to the spots where the gorillas may be found. You are allowed only one hour in the midst of these great apes so as not to distract their behavioral patterns. The cost of each gorilla permit in Uganda is USD 600 although low season offers are often provided by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, be sure to check with your local Uganda Safari operator for a guide on low season months and their respective prices.

Gorilla tracking permits can either be bought directly from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala or through your preferred local tour operator. Gorilla Tracking does not present a serious physical challenge to any reasonably fit adult whatever their age, although the hike in some groups can be tough going.

The toughness of the trek varies and the major factor here is luck, specifically how close the gorillas are to the trailhead on the day of the trek. Also how recently it has rained affects conditions underfoot. Important to note is; June to September are the driest months, and March- May and October – December are the wettest months. When to do it: Uganda is suitable to travel to at any time of the year, since it is sunny most of the year with temperatures rarely rising above 29 degrees (84 degrees Fahrenheit). The average annual temperature is about 26 degrees Celsius (78° Fahrenheit).

The rainy season is from March till May and October till November. Light rain season falls in November and December. Dry seasons are from December to February and June to September. The best time, the best months of the year would be December to late February and from June to September. Where to do this Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Bwindi Impenetrable forest Bwindi forest National Park

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Bungee Jumping Safaris in Uganda

Would you like to challenge your acrophobia? Or you would wish to experience a lifetime striking adventurous jump to touching waters right at the source of the Nile. The source of the Nile in Jinja offers one of the most spectacular bungee jumping sites in the world. You can opt for tandem jumps, water touches, full-moon jumps or jumps in the dark (for those who are more daring). Where to do if from: The source of the Nile in Jinja, Eastern Uganda When to do it: Any day throughout the year.

Bird Watching Safaris Uganda

From the source of the White Nile on Lake Victoria to the Snow-capped Rwenzori mountain ranges, the montane Forests of the Virunga Volcanoes to the desert plains of Karamoja, Uganda is an Equatorial Country of astonishing and amazing diversity of habitats and this richness is reflected in the ever-burgeoning bird list of over 1000 species. Uganda is immensely endowed with over 1,000 bird species; some of which are endemic to the country; mainly in the Albertine region.

These constitute 67% of Africa’s and 11.1% of the world’s total population, making the country a must visit for bird lovers. Some of the most interesting birds include; the crested crane (recently named ‘Gray crowned crane’), Shoebill, Wattled plorer, Africa Fish Eagle, African Jacana, Saddle Billed Stock, Pelican, African Pigmy Geese and Narina’s Trogon. These special birds, such as the Shoebill and the numerous spectacular endemics of the Albertine rift Valley are difficult or impossible to find elsewhere.

The huge bird list is so remarkable given the small size of the country of over 235,000 sqkm; approximately the size of Great Britain. Making it arguably, the richest African birding destination. Best seasons for birding You can watch birds across the country, though between August and February is the optimal season in most concentration areas.

 WILDLIFE

Elephants.

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Elephants have miles of unbroken savanna to roam inside Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth Park, where their numbers total 2,500, a dramatic rise after heavy poaching in the 1980’s. Outside the preserve villagers kill elephants that trample and eat crops, though attacks have diminished with the digging of trenches to protect fields from wild trespassers. Elephants have longer pregnancies than almost any other mammal. They carry their calves for 22 months, and cows usually only bear one calf every two to four years. Reproduction rates are not sufficient to sustain population numbers at the current poaching rates. They are mostly found in the landscapes of KidepoMurchison- Semliki, and the greater Virunga Landscape. Visit Uganda

Spotted Hyena

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The spotted hyena’s famous “laugh” is actually a sound made to alert other group members to a source of food. This noise can be heard up to three miles away, and is one of many sounds made by this sociable species to communicate with each other. Hyenas are skilled hunters as well as scavengers, and their large, powerful jaws allow them to chomp through every part of their prey, including the skin and bones. The only parts which cannot be digested are hair, horns and hooves the hyena will regurgitate these in pellets.

Hyenas are found in many habitats, including woodland, savannah and desert, though being nocturnal, they are rarely observed. Human-wildlife conflict has long been a problem. Hyenas are known to have eaten people, though it is more likely that they will kill livestock, which results in them being targeted by hunters.

Golden Monkeys

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Uganda is one of African countries that offer an opportunity to see golden monkeys and the best place to track golden monkeys on a Uganda tour is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Mgahinga national park is one of the 5 mountain gorilla parks in the world. Due to the park’s setting amidst the thick bamboos forest of Mgahinga National Park well as the forest being in the shadows of the 3 Virunga volcanoes in Uganda. This kind of atmosphere provides a simply amazing backdrop to the tracking of the Golden Monkeys and therefore the best setting for Golden Monkey tracking and this activity is done at the lowest price.

In the Mgahinga Gorilla Forest, Tracking Golden Monkeys like Gorilla Tracking and Chimpanzee Tracking in Uganda starts at 8 am with an orientation and then setting off in a small group with guides up into the Bamboo Forests in search of the Golden Monkeys and of course the other mammals you will see along with birds and the scenic setting of the park.

Golden Monkey are simply attractive looking monkeys with color, their playful ways, and since they have been habituated – they are used to seeing humans and do not scamper off as you approach a bit of advice is in taking pictures of the monkeys, they move rather quickly and you will need to set your camera on fast shutter speed and due to the bamboo forest on low light setting.

Leopards

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The striking leopard is one of the hardest large species to observe in Uganda, thanks to its nocturnal, solitary behavior and well-camouflaged coat. Their survival is partly due to their adaptability to warm and cold climates and ability to climb trees while carrying heavy prey – keeping it safe from other predators such as lions and hyenas. They can run at incredible speeds of up to 58 km (36 miles) per hour, and hunt antelopes and monkeys as well as fish, birds, insects and reptiles. Historically, leopards were hunted for their beautiful fur; loss of habitat is now their greatest threat.  Mainly spotted at Kidepo valley national Park, Queen Elizabeth national Park, semiliki National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Murchsion Falls National Park.

Lions

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Lions are among a few big cats found in Uganda’s National Parks and it is among the most wanted to be seen animal while on game drive. Research indicates that 90% of most clients from all Tour Companies will ask their drivers to look for lions. And there will always be big excitement on spotting the King of the jungle, after the lion, the demand goes on to the Leopard.

A fully grown lion will normally weigh between 150-250kg for males whereas females can weigh between 120-182kgs, and can live in the wild up 14years. And in zoos, they can live for even 20years. Females will normally do most of the hunting.

Male lions will need atleast 7kgs of meat per day and 5kgs of meat per day for the females. After a big hunt example a Buffalo, a lion can consume up to 30kgs of meat and can sleep by for a simple digestion to consume more of the meat if other lions fail to finish the hunt. In open areas like Murchison falls National Park overlooking the Albert Nile, where there are many thickets, lions will normally pull Uganda Kobs, into the thickets so that they don’t get any disturbance from hyenas and moving Safari cars around.

Lionesses normally produce by the age of 4 years, and can mate with any male before it conceives and the mating can take up to several days. The gestation period is 110days after which a female will give birth from 1- 4 cubs normally in a secluded area like thicket which cannot be easily reached especially like the Hyenas who will normally want to kill and eat the cubs. The cubs will normally weigh 1.2–2.1 kg.With a close look at a cub (baby lion) there are brown spots on their bodies, but they will always fade as they reach adulthood

See tree Climbing Lions in Uganda at Ishasha. The lion being found up in the tree branch is a unique adventure moment as lions are often found in the open savannah grasslands roaming around, sleeping, resting or hunting. These lions will normally climb and rest in these fig trees when noon approaches. It is hard sometimes to find them up in the trees when it is raining, or when it is still slippery in the morning. These tree climbing lions of Uganda are found in Queen Elizabeth National Park in the Southern section near the Congo boarder.

The best places to find the lions are kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls national park, Queen Elizabeth National Park.

– LAKES AND  RIVERS

Semliki River

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Semliki River (sometimes Semuliki) is a major river, 140 kilometres (87 mi) long, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda in Central and East Africa. It flows north from Lake Edward to Lake Albert in the Albertine Rift west of the Rwenzori Mountains. Along its lower reaches, it forms part of the international border between the DRC and the western Ugandan district of Bundibugyo, near the Semuliki National Park. It empties into Lake Albert slightly west of the border in Orientale Province of the DRC.

Victoria Nile

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The mighty Lake Victoria was thought for a long time to be the source of the Nile. It is in a sense. Waters from the large lake leave by the Victoria Nile to head north to join the Albert Nile in northern Uganda. When the water leaves the massive Lake Victoria, it does so in a spectacular fashion. The water pours out of the lake at the Ripon Falls, also known as Owen Falls Dam, in Uganda. It then goes by the Victoria Nile to Lake Kyoga before joining the Albert Nile. The lake itself is shared by three countries: Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. The headwaters for the streams that feed the lake, however, originate from the mountains of Rwanda and Burundi.

Lamia River

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Lamia River is a river in western Uganda in Bundibugyo District. It flows near the Semuliki National Park.

Kazinga Channel

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The Kazinga Channel in Uganda is a wide, 32-kilometre (20 mi) long natural channel that links Lake Edward and Lake George, and a dominant feature of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The channel attracts a varied range of animals and birds, with one of the world’s largest concentrations of hippos and numerous Nile crocodiles. Lake George is a small lake with an average depth of only 2.4 metres (7.9 Ft.) and which is fed by streams from the Rwenzori mountains. Its outflow is through the Kazinga Channel which drains into Lake Edward, water levels fluctuating very little.

Katonga River

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River Katonga is located in the southwestern part of Uganda. It starts from Lake Victoria and flows, first, northwards into Lake Wamala. The river then flows westwards to empty into Lake George, which connects via the Kazinga Channel with Lake Edward, on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The source of River Katonga is located in Lukaya, Kalungu District River Katonga enters Lake George at Mpanga in Kamwenge District On its course westwards, the river traverses or forms the borders of the following districts: Kalungu District, Bukomansimbi District, Mpigi District, Butambala District, Gomba District, Mityana District, Mubende District, Sembabule District, Kiruhura District, Ibanda District and Kamwenge District. The length of River Katonga is approximately 220 kilometres (140 mi) from source to end.

Kagera River (Akagura River)

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The Kagera River, also Akagera River, is an East African river, forming part of the upper headwaters of the Nile and carrying water from its most distant source. The section of river named Kagera begins in Burundi, flowing out from Lake Rweru. From the lake, it flows east along the Rwanda-Burundi and Rwanda-Tanzania borders to a confluence with the Ruvubu River. The waters of the Kagera are thus provided by two major tributaries, the Nyabarongo of Rwanda, which feeds Lake Rweru, and the Ruvubu of Burundi. It is unknown which of these two feeder rivers is the longer and hence the ultimate source of the Nile. From the confluence, the Kagera flows north along the Rwanda-Tanzania border, over Rusumo Falls and through Akagera National Park. It then takes a turn to the east, following the Tanzania-Uganda border and emptying into Lake Victoria in Uganda.

– ECO-TOURISM

Mabira Forest

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Mabira Forest is one of the last remaining rain forests and biggest in Central Uganda, the Forest is a rainforest area in Uganda, located in Buikwe District, between Lugazi and Jinja. It has been protected as Mabira Forest Reserve since 1932. It has an enormous biodiversity comprising 315 bird species, 312 tree species, 218 species of butterflies, 97 species of moths, 40 species of small mammals including the red – tailed monkeys, vervets, grey-cheeked mangabeys and many nocturnal animals. A substantial Ecotourism development has taken place in this Forest since 1996 as a means of conserving the vulnerable ecosystem and a community ecotourism site has been developed

Size

Covers a total area of 306 sq km

Getting There

Located only 54km along the Kampala – Jinja highway.

What to do

Forest walks (Day and Night), Specialty bird watching, Mountain biking, Environmental Education (Study Tours), camping, sightseeing, pinic trail, grass trail

When to Visit

Throughout the year

Otzi Forest Reserve

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Otzi Forest Reserve is found 18km northeast of Moyo Town and covers an area of 188km2 with an altitudinal range of 7601,667m. The forest is located on an escarpment overlooking the White Nile as it flows northward, and is bounded to the northeast by the international border with Sudan. The vegetation is broadly classified as Butyrospermum-Hyparrhenia and Combretum savanna with some undifferentiated semi-deciduous thicket and riverine forest.

Surveys have recorded 261 tree species and show that the reserve comprises 8% bushland (>4m), 40% grassland, and 52% forest/woodland. Otzi has been identified as one of Uganda’s Important Bird Areas with 168 bird species recorded. Of particular interest is the fox kestrel (recorded elsewhere in Uganda only in Kidepo Valley National Park), one of 14 of the 22 Sudan–Guinea savanna biome species found in Uganda.

The others are the white-crested turaco, red-throated bee-eater, Uganda spotted woodpecker, Emin’s shrike, the red pate and foxy cisticolas, chestnut-crowned sparrow weaver, black-bellied firefinch, brown-rumped bunting, black-rumped waxbill, bronze-tailed glossy starling, purple glossy starling, and the piacpiac. This total is matched in a Uganda protected area by the far larger Murchison Falls National Park and exceeded only in Kidepo (16) and Mount Kei Forest Reserve (15) north of Kiboko. A population of chimpanzees was recorded in the reserve during the 1995 Forest Department survey but their present status is unclear.

Baikiaea Insignis

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Commonly knows as Nkobakoba or Nkoba, is a species of legume in the Fabaceae family. It is found in the South Buddu forests of Uganda.

Acacia Seyal

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The Red acacia, known also as the shittah tree (the source of shittim wood), is a thorny, 610 m (2030ft) high tree with a pale greenish or reddish bark. At the base of the 310cm (14in) feathery leaves there are two straight, light grey thorns, growing to 720cm (38in) long. The blossoms are displayed in round, bright yellow clusters approximately in 1.5cm (0.5in) diameter. In Acacia seyal var. fistula, which is more common on heavy clay soils, some of the thorns are swollen and house symbiotic ants. It often grows in damp valleys.

Acacia Nilotica

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Acacia nilotica is a tree 5–20 m high with a dense spheric crown, stems and branches usually dark to black coloured, fissured bark, grey-pinkish slash, exuding a reddish low quality gum. The tree has thin, straight, light, grey spines in axillary pairs, usually in 3 to 12 pairs, 5 to 7.5 cm (3 in) long in young trees, mature trees commonly without thorns. The leaves are bipinnate, with 3–6 pairs of pinnulae and 10–30 pairs of leaflets each, tomentose, rachis with a gland at the bottom of the last pair of pinnulae. Flowers in globulous heads 1.2–1.5 cm in diameter of a bright golden-yellow color, set up either axillary or whorly on peduncles 2–3 cm long located at the end of the branches. Pods are strongly constricted, hairy, white-grey, thick and softly tomentose. Its seeds number approximately 8000/kg. Grows around the banks of the Nile.

There are enormous luxury accommodations in almost every touristic corridor of the country where tourists can safely rest and can be booked directly on TripAdvisor. Examples among others include; Amuka safari lodge nestled in a pristine woodlands forest, in the heart of the world-renowned Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Chobe Safari Lodge which is located within the Murchison Falls National Park and offers panoramic views of the Nile River, Mweya safari lodge, Pakuba lodge, Simba safari lodge, Jacana lodge, Nile safari lode, Buffalo safari lodge among others.

THE UGANDA WILDLIFE ACT 1996

This was put up by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to provide for sustainable management of wildlife; to
consolidate the law relating to wildlife management; to establish a coordinating, monitoring and supervisory body for that purpose and for other matters incidental to or connected with the foregoing.

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Customer Reviews

Ngoni Safaris Uganda

Customer Reviews

Justo Nov 18, 2019

Safaribookings
I went on an 11 day safari visiting Kampala, Jinja, Lake Mburo NP, Bwindi NP, Queen Elizabeth NP and Kibale NP. Communications with Ngoni were prompt and easy from the start. As soon as I made my booking, Sedrick contacted me through WhatsApp and guided me through the rest of the process. Leading up to the tour he made sure I was well-prepared to begin. He was always very clear and friendly. Service was exceptional. I had the pleasure of going on this safari with three members of Ngoni's staff - Sedrick, Nelson and Joel. These guys made my comfort their priority from the moment we met. Whether it was checking if I was okay with the accommodations or making sure I always had a bottle of water, I always felt like I was being well taken care of. Nelson is an excellent guide. His knowledge about the flora and fauna of Uganda was extensive, always able to answer any questions I had and was eager to teach - it's obvious that he has a great love for his country and it's environment and is eager to share this love with his clients. My experience with Ngoni and Uganda surpassed all expectations I had. Absolutely amazing, and thanks to the guys at Ngoni it feels like a new home - can't wait to come back and visit. Webale, brothers!

Stephany Aug 13, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
Sedrick was unique and stood out from the rest in the high quality communication he provided since the first inquiry. He called me to provide information about the itinerary and see if I had any questions even before booking the tour. We communicated through WhatsApp for any other questions that came to mind after that call. After picking me up from the airport, he and Pilot (additional tour guide) provided plenty of information about the country to give me some context and we started our long drive to the impenetrable forest. The food was delicious with many options; the accommodation was very clean with exceptional service; and the transportation from Entebbe to Bwindi park was very comfortable (although long). As a solo female traveler, both tour guides (Sedrick and Pilot) did an exceptional job at enduring I accomplished everything intended to in Uganda, and always made me feel safe. I highly recommend to book your safari with this company because the quality and professionalism will not let you down.

Shakira Dec 14, 2018

Ngoni safaris uganda is the best tour operator in Uganda. A few weeks back we traveled to Bwindi impenetrable with sedrick to explore the beauty that is Uganda. This company took care of us . with most comfortable car , Great guide .We highly recommend it to the next travelers

Winnie Dec 19, 2018

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
I was going on a gorilla safari with my friend and this was going to be the first ever safari for the both of us. Luckily, the communication with the office was super easy and we got answers to all of the questions we needed. The driver / guide (Sedrick) was very professional and funny and made our time very pleasant. Also, he had a proper knowledge of the local area close to the Mgahinga national park and he promptly spoke some 7 languages which we thought was super positive. The safari was surely the highlight of out East African trip!

Ritah Jan 2, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
My Team and I did a five day trip, including Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls and Kidepo. It was truly an incredible experience. Our guide, Sedrick, was knowledgeable, skilled in driving in some challenging settings and just plain fun to hang out with for five days. The lodging was perfect, especially Savannah Lodge. The tents and beds were high quality. The views were spectacular. Meals were delicious and varied. I recommend Ngoni safaris Uganda with all my heart and soul!

Pilot May 28, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
Our six days trip was amazing. The driver/guide had an incredible knowledge of animal and bird-life and are so interesting to talk to. His driving skills through lashing rain and massive puddles was admirable! The cooks managed to produce varied and delicious meals from the kitchen, which we ate both at accommodation or roadside when we were travelling from one place to another . At all times we felt safe and well-looked after. All in all, an incredible experience, due not only to the abundance of wildlife we were lucky enough to see, but also to the great efforts put to have our Safari a better one . The safari was full of fun. Traveling with ngoni safaris is my life time memorable experience and I highly recommend it to travellers who would love to visit uganda or EastAfrica for holidays, vacations or Adventure.. Even five stars are too small .