What to Do & See in Uganda on a Guides or Self Drive Safari

Uganda is the pearl of Africa with a variety of tourist attractions one can explore on a guided or self drive safari, ranging from Fauna to Flora. Uganda is situated in East Africa, bordered by Kenya in the East, Democratic Republic of Congo in the west, Republic of South Sudan in the north and The Republic of Tanzania in the South.

Uganda has currently ten national Parks namely Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Semliki National Park, Mountain Rwenzori National park, Mountain Elgon National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mgahinga National Park and Murchison Falls National Park. Along side national Parks, Uganda also has game reserves like Mabira game reserve, Semliki game reserve, Kalinzu game reserve, Katonga game reserve, Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve among others.

Wild life sanctuaries includes Uganda Wildlife Education center formally known as Entebbe Zoo, Ziwa Rhino sanctuary in Nakasongola, Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary among others. To that note, a lot of tourist activities include the following:

Mountaineering – this involves climbing mountains like Elgon, Rwenzori and so on. It involves clients moving from the bottom to the high altitudes. The clients sleep in Tents through out the trip while on the mountain.

Birding – Uganda has over 1.000 bird species some of which can not be found any where in the world. The activity involves moving with birding specialists while viewing birds. A variety of Uganda birds are sighted on the shores of Lakes, rivers, swamps and in forested areas like Kibale National park.

Gorilla trekking – Uganda has 440 mountain gorillas out of the 880 world population according to 2011 gorilla census. Mountain gorillas live in groups and each group is led by a Male Siverback. Today, Uganda has 14 habituated gorilla families available to tracking by tourists. It involves moving in the forest while searching for the Gorillas in their natural habitat, up in the misty jungles of Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in South Western Uganda. It is mostly done on foot under the guidance of park guides and armed rangers. Once you meet the gorillas, you are given 60 inutes maximum with them, take photos and videos as gorillas feed, play and enjoy their leisure. The number of visitors per each gorilla group is limited to 8 per day, each gorilla permit costs US$600.00 for foreigners and MUST be secured in advance because their demand is very high throughout the year.

Mountain gorillas are only found in East and Central African countries namely; Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. No where in the world you will find the mountain gorillas in the wild. This is one of the endangered species of apes in the world. In Rwanda, mountain gorillas are found in Volcanoes National Park, located in the northern part of the country, about 2 hours drive from Kigali International Airport. Gorilla tracking attracts many tourists into Rwanda mainly to see the gorillas in the wild and genocide memorial museums. Gorillas in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are found in the Magnificent Virunga National Park. However, gorilla tourism in this park is not popular due to political instabilities in that area.

Chimpanzee tracking and Habituation Experience – Chimpanzee tracking is done in Kibale Forest National Park, Kyambura Gorge of Queen Elizabeth National park and Budongo Forest reserve in Murchison Falls National Park. It should be noted that Kibale forests hosts the majority chimpanzees and seeing them is guarantee. Chimps tracking takes half day and it involves walking through the forest in search for the habituated group of chimpanzees.

Habituation experience on the other hand takes full day with chimps, right from the time chimps get out of their nest in the morning, until in evening when they get back to their nests. You must have packed lunch and water for this activity and takes place in Budongo forest and Kibale National Park.

Chimpanzee viewing is another activity in Uganda – no searching but they are seen in cages like in Ngamba and Uganda Wildlife Education center. Chimpanzee viewing involves seeing chimpanzee in a gazette places- no need to chimpanzee.

Game viewing in the parks like Kidepo valley, Murchison falls, Lake Mburo N.P, Semliki N.P, Queen Elizabeth National Park- visitors on safari vehicles with pop up roofs view a variety of animals and birds while driving through the parks.

Walking to see a variety of attractions like water bodies, rivers, birds, plants among others. Walking safaris are conducted in the forests like kibale Forest, Mgahinga forest, Bwindi Impenetrable forest and so on.

Water rafting – this is done on water bodies like Lake Victoria and River Nile. It involves cruising on the water on rafting crafts. In Uganda, white water rafting is common on River Nile / Bujjagali falls.

Sports Fishing – this involves catching fish from water bodies. It is mostly done by hooks and the fisher man stands on the shore of the water body or in a boat. Sports fishing is mostly done for fun but it can be done for money and food.

Canoeing – this involves moving on a lake or River in a canoe- this is more adventurous but threatening to coward visitors. Canoeing is done on Lake Victoria, Kyoga, Lake Edward, Lake Gorge, Lake Mutanda and many others.

Boat riding – it involves travelling on water by an engine boat. For long distance travelers and tight scheduled tourists are recommended to use an engine boat.