Enjoy the charming town of Jinja
No visit to Uganda is complete without a trip to Jinja, the country’s second-largest town and the location of the Source of the Nile. Jinja is also the departure point for a host of adventure activities on and around the river, and a very pretty place in its own right.
Experience Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This special forest, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, is a sanctuary for around half the world's remaining mountain gorillas. The park is also home to colobus monkeys, various species of chimpanzee, hundreds of species of birds and many other animals, including snakes, lizards, chameleons and butterflies.
Explore the Budongo Forest Reserve
Situated near Masindi on the road to Lake Albert, the Budongo Forest Reserve is the largest mahogany forest in East Africa and one of the most diverse, with around 465 plant species. The forest is home to Uganda’s largest chimpanzee population, along with 366 bird species and blue monkeys, black-and-white colobus monkeys and the implausibly cute potto (another primate).
Get out and about in Kisoro
With breath-taking views of the volcanic peaks of the Virungas, Kisoro is a popular stop for travellers visiting Mgahinga National Park and going gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. There are many walks outside of the town with lakes, craters and caves to explore and bustling markets every Monday and Thursday.
Get your adrenaline fix at Bujagali Falls
The adventure capital of Uganda, the stretch of the White Nile between Jinja and Bujagali is a playground for rafters and kayakers. Adrenalin-junkies can ride the rapids – where the volume of water is equivalent to ten times that of the Zambezi – while looking out for hippos, crocodiles and monkeys along the way.
Hike through Rwenzori Mountains National Park
One of Uganda’s ten national parks, Rwenzori is regarded as one of the continent's most spectacular. The highest mountain range in Africa runs almost 120km (75 miles) along the Congolese border and is known for its incredible hiking and climbing opportunities. It’s also a hotspot for wildlife including the endemic Angola colobus monkey.
Kick back on the Ssese Islands
This archipelago of 84 islands scattered along Lake Victoria’s northwest shore boasts some beautiful white sandy beaches and famous sunsets. Buggala is the most accessible island, while Banda is more of an old fashioned backpackers retreat. A great place for relaxing with a good book and then sipping a few drinks around the bonfire at night.
Marvel at the wildlife in Murchison Falls National Park
The largest protected area in Uganda, this national park is named after the stunning and dramatic waterfall which cascades 45m (148ft) over the rift valley wall, after travelling an 80km (50 miles) stretch of rapids. Keep your eyes peeled for lions, Nile crocodiles and elephants in the park, or visit rhinos at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Head to this popular and picturesque park’s remote Ishasha Plains for a rare opportunity to see the feted tree-climbing lions. The park boasts 96 mammal species in total, and more than 600 bird species. Comprising a wide array of landscapes and ecosystems, it has an almost unparalleled biodiversity rating.
Take time out in Fort Portal
One of the country’s most attractive towns, Fort Portal is a hub for travellers wanting to explore some of Uganda’s best wildlife destinations, including Kibale, Semliki, Bigodi, Rwenzori and Lake Nkuruba. Try and find time to check out the nearby crater lakes, Karambi Tombs and the recently restored Toro Palace.
Track chimpanzees in Kibale National Park
There are around 335 bird species and at least 60 species of mammals in this impressive park, including 13 primate species. Kibale’s most famous inhabitants are its chimps, which you’ll have a high chance of spotting on a guided tracking tour, whilst night treks reveal some amazing animals of the nocturnal kind.
Trek to the summit of Mount Elgon
Head to Mount Elgon to explore sky-soaring mountains, lush forest-clad hills and vast wetlands. Straddling the Kenyan border, Elgon is a must for trekkers, with excellent walks including the Karamoja, the Central Circuit trail and the Sasa River Trail, as well as the Sipi and Sisyi waterfalls.
Visit the lovely Lake Bunyoni
Almost certainly the prettiest lake in the country, Bunyoni is surrounded by steeply terraced green hills and scattered with fascinating islands. Like Ssese, it’s a perfect spot for some beach relaxation, but there are also a number of interesting historical sites and activities to experience.