Uganda is one of the most scenic places in Africa offering visitors with much more attractions. There are various safari activities you can engage in while on safari in Uganda which can provide you an enthralling experience in Uganda. These include the following;
- Primates Tracking
When we talk about primates, expect many species such as the closest relative of man (chimpanzee), the mountain gorilla, golden monkeys and many more. In other words, Uganda has over 14 primate species. Primate tracking is known to be one of the most famous and sought after activity in Uganda and Africa at large. All these primates stay in some of Uganda’s national parks such as; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the most visited park in the country as well known for famous endangered Ape that is the gorillas with eleven habituated families namely; Rushegura, Habinyanja and Mubare situated at the Buhoma region of the park, the Oruzogo and Bitukura groups are to be found at Ruhija and other 5 groups that is Nshongi, Kahunge, Busingye, Mishaya and Bweza are found at Rushaga and lastly is the Nkuringo group in the Nkuringo region. Each region offers a different gorilla safari experience and would advise visitors planning for to go gorilla trekking twice, to track from different sections of the Bwindi forest.
Mgahinga National Park is known for golden monkey tracking with one remaining group of gorillas and Kibale Forest National Park, a primate capital of the world with over 13 primate species including the Chimpanzees. There are also other various places where viewing chimpanzees is very possible in Uganda. You can visit Budongo central forest reserve (part of Murchison falls national park), Kyambura gorge, part of Queen Elizabeth National Park and Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria.
Participating in these kinds of activities require physical fitness since they involve moving up and down in the slippery hilly areas of the national parks within the thick tropical rain forests of Uganda. One can only participate in the activity after making a booking for the permits in advance from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Staying with a chimpanzee for the whole day is something one can never miss out as long as he is still alive.
2. Bird Watching
Uganda being a pearl of Africa has been regarded as the birders’ paradise due to its increasing list of bird species. Almost in every Uganda’s tourism destination is fully occupied with different bird species. The country boasts of over 1037 bird recorded species, about 60 % of the total bird species on the African Continent. These include both tropical and savanna species with the former reaching their eastern limit of their territory. Some of these species are migratory only coming to Uganda to breed and then go back later after breeding; a live example is of the grey headed gull.
If you are interested in bird watching, you are recommended to surely travel with your camera and Binoculars because you might find out new species to add on your birds list. Some of the most exciting bird spots include Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park with the highest number of birds for any single destination on the continent; about 607 recorded bird species.
Other destinations include; Kibale Forest National Park, Murchsion Falls National Park, Mabira Forest, Mabamba swamp, Botanical gardens in Entebbe, Kasenge forest and many other places across the country including sanctuaries.
3. Wildlife Viewing
Traveling to Uganda for wildlife is something exciting and enjoyable. The viewing is done in Uganda’s National Parks. It is also game viewing where travelers are driven in tourist vans with a pop up through the park as they enjoy seeing different animal species. The commonly seen mammals are the elephants, buffalos, kobs and several antelopes. In the cat’s family, lions and leopards are also present in the morning and late evening. More so, we cannot forget to talk about the several reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and moths among others.
Best places for wildlife or game viewing are Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park each with a unique particular species. However, Kidepo’s 28 endemic species keep stand out among all. The bat-eared fox, the aard wolf, the cheetah and ostrich are some of those animals you will not find elsewhere in Uganda.
Despite the fact that Kidepo is very far from Kampala the capital city, it remains one of the best National Parks in East Africa and the African continent at large for game viewing. No wonder, it was voted by CNN as the 3rd best park in Africa for 2014 and is still recognized as a true African wilderness. It is also known to have the largest single herd of Buffaloes on the continent.
The smaller Lake Mburo National Park is yet another game for wildlife viewing with species like the Impala which is not found elsewhere in the country as well as the zebra only found in Kidepo. The park is the only one in the country that offers visitors an opportunity to view wildlife on the horse backs.
4. Nature and Community Walks
For those who are interested in wildlife, community walks are available in Uganda. The pearl of Africa has a variety to offer for both domestic and international tourists among which are the Nature and Community walks. Uganda is endowed with beautiful forests where activities such as forest/nature walks can take place to view primates and birds. Some of the forest include; Mabira Forest, Budongo Forest, Kibale Forest, Bwindi Forest, Mpanga Forest Reserves,
Uganda also offers opportunities to appreciate nature at close range by taking a walk to some of the most stunning features the country has. A nature walk to the top of the falls will leave you captivated and stunned by the force of the river through a narrow gorge as it plunges several meters deep, while a walk to the hot springs in Semuliki will leave you in awe as you marvel at God’s might power and art in creation
Community walks are also available for those who would like to discover more beyond wildlife into the culture and life style of the people around. A guide is available to take you through the community as you interact and with the locals and find out their way of life. Some communities are already organized to receive tourists and have a well selected package of things to showcase to the visitors like traditional dance and drama, storytelling, merry making and many more activities that vary from one society to another.
More scintillating and refreshing is a visit to the remotest and more authentic societies which have strong cultural ties like the Batwa and Karamajong. Their activities are quite amazing and will leave you with unfading memories.
5. Water Based Activities
Uganda is an adventure capital where by water based activities range from the calm and chilling spot fishing on the tranquil water of Lake Victoria, to speed boating, jet boating, quad biking and to the adrenaline shading white water rafting, Uganda is an adventure capital.
The country offers one of the best white water rafting opportunities in the world along the Nile River as well as the thrilling bungee jumping where only the strong hearted can participate. Check out your adrenaline levels as you sail through different grades of rapids as the rescue team sails by your side on kayaks to offer a hand in case the rapids over power you. Bungee Jumping- Jump and touch the sky, because sky is the limit! This activity is done at the source of the river Nile in Jinja.
6. Mountain hiking in Uganda
Uganda offers some of the most challenging and thrilling hiking adventures in the world. Taste your physical fitness as you try out on Mountain Rwenzori to reach its snow cape (summit). It is a great opportunity to view a snow covered summit near the equator. You can also have a hike to mountain Elgon the largest extinct volcanic base in the world. Rwenzori Mountains provides the most challenging mountain experience in Uganda starting from 7 Days Rwenzori trek. Mount Elgon is an affordable option and ideal for a casual climber. You can also explore and try to climb the 3 volcanoes in Uganda such as Mountain Muhavura, Mountain Sabinyo and Mountain Mgahinga. The south western part of the country has volcanoes like Mgahinga which are also good for hiking.
7. Cultural and community visits
Uganda has a number of cultural spots which have been gazzetted to exhibit different cultures from over 60 different ethnic groups. In Buganda, Kasubi tombs which is also a world heritage site and Wamala tombs are some of the special places in Buganda kingdom, sheltering the remains of the former kings of Buganda. The Nagalabi coronation site is yet another important cultural site in Buganda where the kings are coroneted.
Several other sites like Bugembe coronation site for Busoga, Mtoto hill for the Imbalu cerebration of the Bamasaba and Nkokonjeru tombs for the Ankole former kings are all significant sites for cultural enthusiasts. During such visits, you will learn a lot about the norms and customs of the respective cultures.
Uganda is an exciting place to visit at any time of year, but the best time to visit is between December to February, this is the time when the countryside is green after a rainy season in August. All the above activities can be arranged for you depending on your preference and the number of days you would prefer accordingly.