Uganda is known as the pearl of Africa for a reason. It is probably Africa’s best-kept secret, offering a fantastic variety of experiences and landscapes while maintaining its serene beauty. A country truly gifted by nature, Uganda supports a diversity of habitats, from snow-capped mountains to lakes, winding rivers, forested reserves and jungles.
Uganda is a thriving destination with various opportunities for the more adventurous traveller. It forms an East African Community with Kenya and Tanzania, with Tanzania located pretty much in the heart of the continent and bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, Rwanda to the south, and Sudan to the north.
Home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, Uganda offers trekking expeditions through local villages and canopies of rainforests. Here you can get the rare opportunity to see a family of gorillas nesting among the bamboo. And as if that’s not enough of an adventure, you can also stand at the foot of the continent’s tallest mountain range and see the source of the White Nile.
But Uganda is not only about meeting majestic gorillas and chimpanzees. You can also enjoy a traditional East African safari in one of the game parks dotted around the country. The Queen Elizabeth National Park is famous for its unique tree-climbing lions that rest in the giant fig tree branches.
Whatever your adventurous spirit seeks, our East Africa Travel Experts can make it happen!
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Uganda
Most airlines can be used to get to Entebbe, whether via Nairobi, Dubai, Addis Ababa, Amsterdam or Doha. The East African Tourist Visa is a collaboration between Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya designed to make the region more attractive as a tourist destination by making travel easier through the purchase of a single visa. However, because visa requirements are constantly changing, our Travel Experts can provide you with the latest requirements to make your dream trip possible.
For travelling within Uganda, it is recommended to use a reliable taxi service for transportation to and from the airport. The use of four-wheel self-drive vehicles is highly encouraged for trips around the cities.
Uganda has various cultural groups speaking over 30 different languages, with English and Swahili as the official languages. Ugandans can be classified into these broad language categories: Bantu, Nilotics, Madi-Okoru or the Sudanic speaking, and the Pygmoid (who live mainly isolated in the rainforests of western Uganda). One-third of the Ugandan population is comprised of Roman Catholic, one-third is Protestant, 16 percent is Muslim and 18 percent believe in local religions.
In the countryside, a variety of festivals, ritual celebrations and familial gatherings demonstrate the culturally rich experience a traveller could enjoy.
The largest and most noteworthy museum in the country is the Uganda Museum in Kampala. Others include those at Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth national parks. Although Kampala's vibrant city is a traveller’s favourite, it is located outside of the city. However, it's Uganda’s national parks and reserves that lure most travellers.
Uganda is a thriving destination with a range of diverse offerings for the more adventurous traveller. Here are our top five things to see and do in Uganda.
1. Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a national park that is home to almost one-half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorilla, making it an extremely valuable conservation site and one of Uganda’s chief tourist attractions. It is situated in the south-west of Uganda on the edge of the Great Rift Valley and is considered the most diverse forest in Uganda.
2. Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale National Park
Kibale is one of the best places in the world to go chimpanzee trekking with about 500 of these primates spread around the park. The chimpanzee trekking tours leave twice a day with an expert guide who will lead you on a trek through the verdant rainforest. The Kibale forest is rich in wildlife and is most noted for its primate population. Other than chimpanzees, Kibale has populations of red-tailed monkey, diademed monkey, olive baboon, and black and white colobus.
3. Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda is not just about gorillas and chimpanzees. You can also enjoy a traditional East African safari in one of the game parks dotted around the country. The Queen Elizabeth National Park is located at the base of the Rwenzori Mountains, and the views from some of the camps are simply spectacular. The park boasts an array of wildlife such as lion, leopard, elephant, antelope including the native Ugandan kob and the park is home to over 600 bird species which makes up a quarter of Africa’s total birdlife.
4. The Mountains of the Moon
In ancient times, it was reported that the much-debated source of the Nile was a group of massive mountains in East Africa. It was said that the Nile flowed from the mountains into a series of large lakes. The natives called this range the Mountains of the Moon because of their snow-capped whiteness. These impressive mountains can be admired from afar or, for the more adventurous, can be traversed with challenging multi-day hikes. In the foothills of the range lie the crater lakes, also called explosion craters, which are extinct volcanoes. These picturesque crater lakes (some over 400m deep) are ringed with improbably steep hills. It’s a great spot to settle in for a few days to explore the footpaths or cycle the seldom-used roads.
5. Murchison Falls
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest park and where the park’s most significant drawcard, the famous Murchison Falls is located. Here, hippo, crocodile, waterbuck and buffalo gather on the river banks. Other wildlife includes lion, leopard, elephant, giraffe, hartebeest, oribi, Uganda kob, chimpanzee, and many bird species.
It is recommended that you get vaccinated against the following before your trip: Diphtheria, Malaria (there is a considerable risk), Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A and B, HIV in Africa, Meningitis and Tetanus, Tuberculosis, Typhoid and Rabies. You are advised to have your Yellow Fever vaccination card with you at all times, as well as all other vaccinations administered, when travelling between countries. It's best to seek advice from a specialist travel doctor when planning your East Africa trip.
Ugandan cuisine consists of traditional and modern cooking styles, practices, foods and dishes, with English, Arab, Asian and especially Indian influences. Most tribes have their own speciality dish or delicacy. Many dishes include vegetables and fruit, such as potatoes, yams, bananas and other tropical fruits. Chicken, fish, beef, goat and mutton are commonly eaten, although among the rural poor meats are consumed less than in other areas. Tea and coffee are popular beverages and important cash crops, served English-style or spiced. Coca-cola, Pepsi and Fanta, as well as traditional and Western beers are widely available. Fermented banana wine is popular, as is Waragi (distilled spirits).
The Equator runs through the country, although the average altitude of 1,000 meters provides some relief from the heat and humidity. The average temperature is 26°C, and the high summer is from December to February. The rains occur from April to May in the south and again from October to November, so we advise against travelling there during these months, as locomotion can be difficult. The north is humid from April to October, but it is largely off the tourist trail.