Alfy K Nsamba
Top five reasons to visit Uganda
The secret is out, Uganda is fast being recognised as the off the beaten track destination that surprises visitors who didn't know what to expect and surpasses the expectations of those who did!
We believe this is because Uganda has a unique combination of natural beauty that you won't find anywhere else in the world. We are talking waterfalls, rivers, lakes, mountains, forest, savannah plains and the jewel in the crown, Uganda's people.
So here are 5 reasons why we feel you should visit Uganda.
Uganda's people and traditions are reflected in an assorted mosaic of legends, beliefs, music and dance as well as art and food all under the custodianship of ancient kingdoms.
The number and diversity of these kingdoms not only add to Uganda's culture, but they are unrivalled in East Africa.
Every region you travel to in Uganda has a distinct and proud cultural identity that is evident and celebrated. One of the true highlights of any safari to Uganda is to participate and understand not only the differences but also the similarities in culture and traditions on display in the areas of Uganda you visit. One thing is for sure you will always be welcomed with a smile.
2 - Birdwatching
Uganda has 1,063 of the 2,250 bird species recorded on the African continent, making Uganda not only the richest birding destination in Africa but also the 10th worldwide going by the number of species per square kilometre. Uganda’s birds have no shortage of habitats to inhabit, the dense tropical rainforests of the Albertine Rift Valley, the montane forests of Eastern Uganda, the scenic shores of the Great Lakes, and the River Nile.
Uganda has 2 endemic birds, the Fox Weaver and the Stuhlmann’s Double-collared sunbird and 23 Albertine endemics. The great thing about bird watching in Uganda is that you don't have to be a bird enthusiast to enjoy and appreciate all the birds, because you literally see stunning birds species everywhere you go.
3 - Wildlife
Uganda’s biodiversity and ecology are an eclectic and rare mix of both the East African Savannah and the West African Jungle. Despite the fairly small size of the country, the sheer variety of natural habitats, each with their own peculiarity, is quite mind-blowing.
In Western Uganda there are Lakes Albert, Edward and George, the snow-peaked Rwenzori Mountains and large swathes of lush equatorial rainforest; including Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Semiliki Forest and Kibale Forest, and expansive grasslands; in Queen Elizabeth Park, Murchison Falls Park and Lake Mburo Park.
North-eastern Uganda including Kidepo Valley Park is mostly a semi-arid wilderness, it is still a favoured habitat for many animals. Eastern Uganda is also home to Mount Elgon and the River Nile. All these wonderful habits are places where wildlife can be seen, from the Big Five to other safari favourites like Giraffes and Cheetahs as well as Hippos and Monkeys. With the National Parks dotted around the country a well-planned safari in Uganda will give you an opportunity to view incredible wildlife without the crowds. Some animals that are either unique to Uganda or can be more easily seen when on safari to Uganda include Tree Climbing Lions, Rothschild Giraffes and Southern White Rhinos.
4 - Gorillas & Chimpanzees
Uganda offers the highest number of Gorilla families (22) that can be tracked in the wild, in Bwindi Impentrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is one of the most exciting wildlife activities you can experience. To get up close to one of our closest living relatives in their own environment is truly unique. There are only two ecosystems left in the world, spanning three countries where Mountain Gorillas live, with over 50% residing in Uganda. Thankfully numbers are increasing making Gorilla Conservation one of the few success stories.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda should definitely be on your list when doing a safari. Kibale Forest has the highest population with about 1,500 followed by Budongo Forest with about 650. In Queen Elizabeth National Park, about 250 chimpanzees live in the Kyambura Gorge and on Ngamba Island Sanctuary, 49 orphaned and rescued Chimpanzees undergoing rehabilitation. The Kalinzu Forest Reserve also has Chimpanzees.
Gorilla and Chimpanzee Trekking are both very different activities the general consensus is that Gorilla Trekking is a tough hike on account of the forest terrain but once you find the Gorillas because they tend to spend a longer period of time in one place you don't have to move around much to observe them. This is different to Chimpanzee Trekking where the terrain is not a challenging, but the Chimpanzees do move around more which in turn mean you are constantly on the move. That being said they are both remarkable experiences.
5 - Adventure
In Uganda, adventure is synonymous with Jinja and the River Nile, and a trip to Uganda is never complete without visiting both. Although Jinja is a small quiet town, one only needs to venture a short distance from the town centre to find that it is also a giant playground for thrill-seekers. From mountain biking, white-water rafting, quad biking, horse riding and even cycling safaris. You can also take part in paddle boarding and fishing excursions.
However the adventure in Uganda doesn't stop there, the Ruwenzori Mountains and Mount Elgon offer world class hiking and mountaineering. In both areas you are able to either challenge yourself with a multi-day excursion or do something a bit more gentle over half a day or a full day.
There is also real excitement over cycling safaris which offer a different way in which to experience the wildlife and scenic beauty of Uganda.