Top 50 things to do on safari in UgandaOctober 9, 2012
As Uganda celebrates 50 years of Independence today, the Journeys Discovering Africa team has compiled their ‘Top 50’ things to do in Uganda. So if you’re planning your Uganda safari and need some inspiration, you need look no further!
- Stare into the eyes of a Silverback on a gorilla trekking safari to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. There are only 800 mountain gorillas left in the wild, and Bwindi is one of two locations that habituated groups can be ‘tracked’, for an unforgettable wildlife encounter.
- Learn how to prepare traditional Ugandan food, from cassava to matoke to G-nut sauce, and get to sample it afterwards, with the friendly ladies at Boomu Women’s Group near Masindi.
- See the famous tree-climbing lions of Ishasha where big cats recline on the broad branches of the giant fig trees for an afternoon snooze.
- Dine at one of Kampala’s restaurants, and enjoy world-class cuisine – from the most perfectly formed ravioli at Mediterraneo to melt-in-your-mouth sashimi at Yujo – the Journeys Discovering Africa team can make a recommendation to suit your tastebuds.
- Hike down the cliffs at Murchison Falls for incredible views of the Nile as it explodes through a narrow rocky gap in the gorge, to continue onwards on its long journey to the Mediterranean.
- Walk through local farmland, learning about traditional agricultural crops, and tasting whatever fruits are in season, as well as understanding the challenges faced by farmers living next door to Uganda’s wildlife parks.
- Enjoy the untrammeled wilderness of Kidepo Valley National Park in the remote north east of Uganda – about as far off the beaten track as one can ever get.
- Swim in the cool, clear waters of Lake Kyaninga, one of western Uganda’s prettiest crater lakes, whilst staying at the lodge of the same name.
- Cruise the Kazinga Channel on a birding and wildlife boat trip in Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to over 600 different species of birds and the highest number of mammal species in any Uganda national park.
- Take the plunge and abseil down the scenic Sipi Falls (or if you’re not the abseiling type, simply take a hike to the base of these incredibly pretty falls).
- Learn how to roll a traditional Uganda paper bead at a craft workshop with the ladies of the Kikorongo Community Group.
- Enjoy the adventure of rafting white water rapids on the mighty River Nile – a day of thrills (and possibly spills). Watch this video to see what to expect.
- Spend a fascinating hour observing man’s closest relatives when chimp trekking in the forests of Uganda (our favourite places to see chimpanzees are Kibale or Budongo Forest).
- Relax on the palm-fringed beaches of the Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria.
- Contribute directly to an important conservation exercise by helping to count hippos in Lake Edward as part of a census of this important herbivore.
- Cross the Equator in style – on a sundowner cruise on Lake Victoria.
- Listen to the women of the Batwa sing their songs in the eery acoustics of Garama Cave – once home to the king of this ancient forest people – on the Batwa Trail in Mgahinga National Park.
- Dare to climb the Rwenzoris – the highest mountain range in Africa – the fabled ‘Mountains of the Moon’.
- Track families of mongoose at Mweya and study their social behaviour with animal researchers.
- Hike up a volcano in the Virunga mountains on the border between Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. This region offers some of the most stunning scenery in the world and was named one of National Geographic’s Top 20 Trips for 2012.
- Visit a working salt lake at Katwe and learn how communities there have produced valuable salt with which to trade – using the same production techniques for hundreds of years.
- Enjoy a new birding cruise at Bujagali on the Nile and spot the rare White-backed Night Heron.
- Paddle across the beautiful island-studded Lake Mutanda on a traditional canoe safari.
- Track troops of Golden Monkeys in the bamboo forests on the slopes of Mt Gahinga.
- Visit the BBC Honey Project, taste some of their delicious honey, and learn how to make your own beeswax candle to take home!
- Enjoy waiter service in the wild savannah plains of Ishasha with a private bush breakfast.
- Take a local canoe through the wetlands on the edge of Lake Victoria to spot the prehistoric-looking Shoebill in Mabamba Swamp.
- See the source of the Nile in style – with a scenic flight in a private charter plane or helicopter.
- Experience the thrill of seeing white rhinos in their natural habitat, tracking them on foot at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
- Walk with chimpanzees at Ngamba Island Chimp Sanctuary – an incredibly unique behind-the-scenes primate experience.
- Hike through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest on the Ivy River trail and enjoy a restorative cappuccino served at the end of your trek through this ancient rainforest!
- Take a horseback safari through herds of Zebra and Topi in Lake Mburo National Park – a serene and peaceful way to experience wildlife in its natural habitat.
- Indulge in a lazy soak in your own outdoor bathtub, on your private deck at Wildwaters Lodge, overlooking a set of rapids on the Nile.
- Go behind the scenes at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre and walk with Shoebill, feed the giraffe, handle a Python, or meet an orphaned baby elephant.
- Up the revs with a quad bike safari along the banks of the Nile at Jinja – great for seeing local communities as well as the adrenalin!
- Witness the nightly feeding of wide-eyed bush babies from the viewing deck at Mihingo Lodge.
- Taste a cup of freshly ground Mount Elgon coffee on a coffee tour at Sipi Falls.
- Visit one of the elephant trenches or beehive fences created by Uganda Conservation Foundation to help solve human-wildlife conflict (and by travelling with Journeys Discovering Africa you can rest assured you are helping this great conservation organization – they receive a donation for every safari we send to Uganda).
- Enjoy a walking safari across rolling plains with big game – in Kidepo Valley or (coming soon) in Murchison Falls National Park.
- Go birding on the Royal Mile at Budongo Forest – one of the most significant birding destinations in Uganda – with 2 endemic species, the Yellow-footed Flycatcher and Illadopsis Puveli.
- Hike to the top of one of the world’s largest intact calderas at Mount Elgon.
- Try your hand at dying natural fibres for basket weaving at Rubona Basket-Weaver’s Association and watch how the local women skillfully weave these fibres into beautiful basket creations.
- Drive the rocky and challenging Explosion Crater Track for dramatic views of rift valley scenery and ancient volcanic craters.
- Enjoy the privacy of your own mobile camp at Murchison Falls National Park – wilderness luxury at its best in perfect big game country.
- Watch the loom-weavers at the Kilombera co-operative in Jinja skillfully create their famous organic cotton kikois, throws and cushion covers.
- Go ‘lion monitoring’ with a team of big cat researchers in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
- Sit on your porch at Ishasha Wilderness Camp and watch the wildlife go by – from the Colobus monkeys that frequent the top of the fig trees to the busy weaver birds – and maybe if you’re lucky you’ll see a herd of elephant crossing Ntungwe river right in front of you.
- Take a night drive in Lake Mburo or Ishasha and look out for our nocturnal friends – the Pangolin, the Porcupine, the Genet, and of course, bigger predators like the Leopard and Hyena.
- Watch the sunset over the River Nile with an ice-cold Nile Special (the local beer of choice for many a visitor to Uganda) after exploring the waterways and wildlife-rich papyrus islands by boat.
- Plant a tree at Mahogany Springs, a lovely lodge next to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and do your bit to increase the ‘buffer zone’ between the Mountain Gorillas and the community in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Believe it or not, we still had more suggestions – Uganda has such a wealth of different habitats and scenery that it seems you can never run out of exciting safari activities – from cultural exchanges to wildlife encounters and adventure experiences. So if you are planning a visit to Uganda soon, make sure you leave enough time to appreciate all the country has to offer!
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