The Best Places to See In Uganda

The Best Places to See In Uganda

Often referred to as the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda is becoming a top travel destination for eco-tourists and those looking for unique and memorable wildlife encounters.

Uganda’s landscapes are incredibly diverse, ranging from dense forests and mountains to savannahs and lakes.  This in turn provides the chance to witness a wide range of plant and animal species, including the rare opportunity to book mountain gorilla trekking adventures.

Compared to some other African destinations, Uganda is often considered more budget-friendly, making it an attractive option for travelers looking for an authentic African experience without breaking the bank. Here are some of the country’s most incredible destinations you’ll definitely want to consider adding to your safari in Uganda.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to almost half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Bwindi stands as a testament to Uganda’s commitment to conservation and provides a remarkable and unforgettable experience for those seeking a close encounter with mountain gorillas in their natural habitat through their dedicated gorilla trekking tours.

In addition to the regular gorilla trekking that most travelers book, Bwindi also offers a gorilla habituation experience that provides a limited number of visitors the chance to spend an extended amount of time with a gorilla family undergoing habituation.

Bwindi is located in southwestern Uganda’s Albertine Rift Valley, along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Apart from gorillas, Bwindi is also home to various other primate species, including chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, and L’Hoest’s monkeys.

The park is also a top spot for bird enthusiasts, with over 350 bird species recorded. Notable species include the African green broadbill, bar-tailed trogon, and the handsome francolin.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park actively involves local communities in conservation efforts. Revenue generated from gorilla permits and park fees contributes to community development projects, including education, healthcare, and infrastructure.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a rich and diverse safari experience, combining game drives, boat safaris, and primate trekking. It has also become famous for its tree-climbing lions.

Situated in western Uganda‘s Western Rift Valley, Queen Elizabeth NP is the nation’s second-largest national park. The park is home to a variety of animals, including elephants, leopards, buffalo, hippos, and crocodiles. The Ishasha sector is where the park’s famous tree-climbing lions can be observed.

The 32-kilometer-long Kazinga Channel connects Lake George and Lake Edward. This is where you can coordinate boat safaris in search of hippos and crocodiles. The Mweya Peninsula between Lake Edward and Lake George is the main tourist hub of the park and starting point for game drives and boat safaris.

Kyambura Gorge is home to a population of habituated chimpanzees which makes guided chimpanzee trekking quite popular. The park also features numerous crater lakes to explore which were formed by volcanic activity.

Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park just celebrated its 30th birthday this year and over that period has helped to protect large tract of rainforest which is home to a large population of chimpanzees. It’s one of the best places in Africa to track habituated chimpanzee groups, providing a rare up close and personal look at these intelligent primates in the wild.

The park is home to a dozen other primate species, including red colobus monkeys, black-and-white colobus monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and L’Hoest’s monkeys. Birdwatchers are eager to seek out African grey parrots, great blue turacos, and the yellow-spotted nicators.

The park features lush tropical rainforest with towering trees, ferns, and colorful orchids. Next to Kibale is the community-run Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is home to otters. Some tours offer cultural experiences as well, allowing visitors to interact with local communities and learn about their traditions and daily life.


Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi is a freshwater lake that’s nestled between rolling hills and is surrounded by lush greenery. It’s actually regarded as Africa’s second deepest lake and sports nearly 30 different islands. 

The islands of Lake Bunyonyi are a major attraction and include Punishment Island (Akampene), where unmarried pregnant girls were historically abandoned. Bwama Island is another popular island known for its natural beauty and birdlife.

The area around Lake Bunyonyi is inhabited by the Bakiga people who welcome visitors wishing to witness traditional dances and learn about their customs and traditions. The calm waters of the lake make it perfect for kayaking or trying out traditional dugout canoes.

Murchison Falls National Park

This park is named after its main attraction which is Murchison Falls. Boat trips can be organized to take you to the base of the falls for incredible views. The park is Uganda’s largest and is home to a wide variety of animals including elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, lions, leopards, and numerous antelope species.

The Victoria or White Nile, which commences at Lake Victoria, flows through the park, creating a diverse range of habitats, including grasslands, savannahs, and riverine forests. The river is the main focal point for boat safaris and wildlife viewing.

The northern sector of the park, known as the Delta, is particularly good for game drives, while the park’s southern boundary neighbors Budongo Forest, which is known for yet another chimpanzee population.



Jinja lies not too far from the capital and is famous for being the source of the White Nile. The source is well marked by a point within beautiful gardens where Lake Victoria flows into the Nile making it a must-visit spot for tourists in the area.

Formerly known for its rapids, Bujagali Falls on the Nile River was transformed into a dam to generate hydroelectric power. While the falls are no longer in their natural state, the area around Bujagali Dam is still popular for water activities.

Some travelers in the know refer to Jinja as the “Adventure Capital of East Africa” due to the ability to enjoy white-water rafting on the Nile, kayaking, jet boating, bungee jumping, and quad biking. Itanda Falls is another section of the Nile River near Jinja that provides white-water rafting.

Don’t forget to visit the Speke Memorial which commemorates John Hanning Speke, the first European to discover the source of the Nile.

Kidepo Valley National Park

Visitors looking for a less touristy and more remote park should think about adding Kidepo Valley National Park to their itinerary. This large park is home to cheetahs, giraffes, ostriches, and zebras, It’s also the traditional homeland of the Karamojong people which welcomes visitors.

The parks most notable natural features include Mount Morungole, the Narus Valley which provide incredible game drives, and Kanangorok Hot Springs. Kidepo Valley remains a destination for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path safari experience in Uganda and the journey by road may take several hours. There are also scheduled flights from Entebbe International Airport to the airstrip near the park.

Ssese Islands

Lake Victoria is home to an archipelago of more than 80 islands collectively known as the Ssese Islands. Easily accessible from the capital, the islands offer a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Kampala.

The Ssese Islands are home to pristine beaches that provide a perfect setting for relaxation and unwinding. Those looking for a bit more action can enjoy swimming, kayaking, sailing, and fishing. Kalangala is the main town on the Ssese Islands, offering accommodation options, restaurants, and markets, as well as serving as the gateway to exploring the various islands.

The best way to experience the islands is with an organized island-hopping tour. And while not technically part of the Ssese Islands, Ngamba Island which is known for its chimpanzee sanctuary is located nearby. Visitors can take boat trips from the Ssese Islands to Ngamba to observe and learn about rescued chimpanzees.

The Ssese Islands can be reached by ferry or speedboat from Entebbe or Bukakata on the mainland. The ferry journey provides a more relaxed travel experience but there are also flights available to some of the larger islands.

Efforts are underway to promote eco-tourism and conservation on the Ssese Islands. This includes initiatives to protect the natural environment, preserve biodiversity, and engage local communities in sustainable practices.


Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Known as the “Mountains of the Moon,” this park is famous for its stunning glacial peaks. The Rwenzori mountain range includes some of Africa’s highest peaks, with Margherita Peak on Mount Stanley being the highest at over 5,000 meters.

The park is rich in biodiversity, featuring montane forests, bamboo zones, and alpine meadows. The park is home to many endemic and rare species, contributing to the park’s ecological significance. The park is home to glacial lakes and is the source of several rivers, including the Mobuku, Mubuku, and Nyamwamba, which flow into Lake George.

The park offers several trekking routes, with the Central Circuit being one of the most popular. This multi-day trek takes visitors through diverse landscapes, allowing them to experience the park’s different ecosystems.

The Nyunzubura and Lake Mahoma Trails offer shorter day-hikes for visitors looking to explore the lower slopes of the mountains. The Bakonzo people have lived in the foothills of the Rwenzori for generations, and their traditions and lifestyle are part of the park’s cultural heritage.


Please follow and like us:

Author: Michael Jerrard

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *