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27 January 2023

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Amazing Places I Have Visited in Uganda

In a country so richly blessed with abundant wildlife, spectacular physical features, never ending natural phenomena and the most favourable weather, regardless of when you decide to travel to or around Uganda, there will always be something grand for you to explore.

While some attractions are more evenly distributed in some regions than others, each region has just as breathtaking marvels to gape at and overall hospitable people to interact with on your safari, hike or whatever activity you choose to do.

Here is a list of the best places I have visited and would 100% recommend for your bucketlist;

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Murchison Falls National Park

Sights at Murchison Falls National Park are nothing short of mesmerizing; whether you are on a boat ride to the bottom of the falls for a clearer view of the Devil’s Cauldron, out in the field watching the dreamy sunsets with Giraffe interludes or at the Nile River bank witnessing Shoebills prey on unsuspecting water residents.

Located in north-western Uganda, the 1,952-kilometre wide Murchison Falls National Park in Masindi is home to 451 bird species that can be easily viewed across the park in the woodlands, the Savannah grasslands and the riverine forests. Murchison has also been recognized as the best spot to view the Prehistoric-looking shoebill stork in Africa.

The park spreads inland from the shores of Lake Albert, around the Victoria Nile, up to the Karuma Falls, covering parts of Buliisa, Nyoya, Kilyandongo and Masindi districts. It is about 283 kilometres by road, north-west of the Capital, Kampala, a journey of about 6 hours.

Murchison Falls National Park has Uganda’s largest population of Nile Crocodiles. It is home to 450 known bird species including Martial Eagle, Yellow billed stork, Rock Pratincole, Senegal thick-knee, Giant Heron, Squacco Heron, Marachite Kingfishers, Palm Nut vultures among others and 76 species of mammals. While in Murchison Falls National Park, tourists can enjoy game drives, boat cruises, chimpanzee trekking, bird watching, hiking among other fun activities.

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Sipi Falls

Nothing beats the relaxation that comes with an afternoon away in Kapchorwa, watching and appreciating the beauty of the natural phenomenon that the Sipi Falls is.

Tucked away on Mountain Elgon’s North Eastern foot slopes, the calm yet chaotic energy that comes with every white gush will have you spellbound as you take in the undisputed beauty of Sipi.

Only 55km from Mbale town, the 3 series of the Sipi falls are an ultimate wonder in Eastern Uganda, with the highest and main waterfall dropping from an altitude of 100 metres, the second at 85 metres and the shorted at 75 meters, a view that’s nothing short of mesmerizing.

The Falls are constantly poured into by the Sipi River as it makes its wind from the upper slopes of the Mountain into the Kyoga basin.

For more adventurous individuals, abseiling the Sipi Falls is the ultimate reward.

Abseiling as an activity involves descending a near vertical surface by using a pulley hinged at a higher point and a harness around the one’s midsection. At Sipi, tourists descend a cliff of 100 metres, their feet touching the wall for the first 20 metres before launching into a free hang as they enjoy the views of the roaring falls on the side.

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Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Kazinga Channel

While the game drives and watching the prey food chain unfold is amazing as you traverse the wide fields of Queen Elizabeth National Park, there is one section of the Park that particularly rattles the wanderlust in me.

Located in the Western region, Queen Elizabeth National Park spans the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi, and Rukungiri. The park is approximately 400 kilometres by road south-west of Kampala and occupies an estimated 1,978 square kilometres.

The Park is home to animals like the hippopotamus that are resident in the Kazinga Channel, the African elephant, Uganda Kobs, lions, Nile crocodile, spotted hyena, buffalo, waterbuck, the hyena, warthog and the chimpanzee among other hundreds of terrestrial mammals.

The Kazinga channel is a wide, 32-kilometre-long natural water channel that links two lakes; Lake George which lies on the East and Lake Edward in the west. The Channel is a major feature in the Queen Elizabeth National Park – the most well-liked game reserve in Uganda.

Kazinga Channel flows from Lake Edward, which receives water from the Rwenzori River, to Lake Edward, a natural treasure shared by Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The shores of Kazinga channel draw a large number of wild animals, birds in addition to reptiles all through the year, with one of the largest population of hippos in the whole world as well as plentiful Nile crocodiles.

While most of the animals can be viewed during an excursion along the shores, close encounters with the hippos and Nile crocodiles are more possible on a boat cruise.

The Boat Cruise on the Kazinga Channel is extremely rewarding and among the finest and most liked launch – trips in the country. The boat cruise is operated from 3pm and 5pm local time, whereas additional expeditions are done at 11am and 1 pm local time basing on the tourists’ preference.

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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

The beauty of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is arguably way more pronounced in the duty it bears towards endangered animal species such as the mountain gorillas and the golden monkey.

Mgahinga National Park is Uganda’s smallest national park, located in the southwestern district of Kisoro bordering with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Park was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m.

Gorilla trekking is the commonest activity done in Mgahinga, however, golden monkey trekking, volcano hiking, birding for Albertine Rift Endemics and the Batwa cultural experience are other items your itinerary should bear.

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Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Now, Bwindi might not be your everyday forest trail kind of adventure considering it’s mist-covered and sheltered by one of the ancient and biologically varied rainforests in Uganda that dates back to more than 25,000 years.

However, for all that it is worth- being home to the gorillas both habituated and none, a safari to Bwindi will be one memorable activity you will ever do.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a large primeval forest located in south-western Uganda in the Kanungu District, on the edge of the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. It is home to 17 gorilla groups making it the best place where you can see the gorillas in the wild. The Park is also home to other 90 mammal species, 11 primates and over 348 bird species.

Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Groups include the Ruhija Trek with gorilla families, Mukiza, Oruzogo, Bitukura and Kyaguliro, the Buhoma Trek with Habinyanja, Katwe, Mubare, Rushegura families and the Nkuringo Trek with Christmas, Nkuringo, Bushaho families.

Apart from Gorilla Trekking, tourists can do Gorilla Habituation, Bird watching, forest walks, mountain biking, Batwa cultural experience and a visit to Lake Mutanada.

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Jinja

It’s a no-brainer that tourists who flock Jinja are usually enticed by their curiosity to see the Source of the Nile, the World’s longest river.

However, the City, often referred to as East Africa’s adventure capital, is much more than just a landmark mounted at a point where the waters of the Nile leave Lake Victoria through a gorge before spreading out and turning into what forms the River Nile.

80 kilometers away from Uganda’s capital, Kampala, Jinja City buzzes with waterfalls, rapids, and elated people, a destination infused with rich culture and history.

A host to Owen Falls Dam, Bujagali Dam and the Itanda Falls famous for its white-water rapids, among other fun adventure sports, Jinja triggers unending adrenaline rush among those who heed the call from its pristine mother nature.

Activities like quad biking around the rural villages and forest paths in Jinja, tubing the Nile- a relatively new activity can be done along the White Nile River in Jinja where whitewater tubing, flat water tubing and extreme tubing are viable options for visiting tourists depending on their level of adventurousness.

One of the most thrilling adventures in Jinja is Bungee Jumping over River Nile. A cliff tower was built along the shores of the Nile at a height of 44 meters high so that people can safely jump towards the waters with a rope tied to their feet/legs.

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Kidepo Valley National Park

Isolated in the Northeastern corner of Uganda, Kidepo Valley is a hidden gem in the Karamoja sub-region. The Park is 220km by road northwest of Moroto, the largest town in the sub-region.

Clearly with all the infamous reports that make Karamoja seem like a dead zone, exploring Kidepo National Park will give you a new perspective to this gold-rich area.

Despite the semi-arid climate that prevails in Karamoja, the 1,442 square kilometre national park supports both flora and fauna life, thanks to the Kidepo and Narus rivers that are a beckon of hope in the dryer months.

In the dry seasons, River Kidepo becomes an oasis in the semi-desert, hosting over 86 mammal species including the spotted hyena, lion, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, elephant, giraffe, zebra, African buffalo, bat-eared foxes, Rothschild’s giraffe and about 500 bird species.

The National Park is also blessed with Mount Morungole, towering at 9,020 ft, a sight that compliments the vast low lands that dominate the region. Temperatures can go as high as 40°C/104°F, but average around 29°C/84°F in the afternoon and 17°C/63°F at night.

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A take home

Travelling around Uganda, whether you are a local or foreigner, will be more enjoyable if you do your research on major concerns like accommodation, travel requirements, personal effects and what to pack as well as identifying a travel company or tour guide to work with.

Once you are at per with the above, your travel around Uganda will be as seamless and as exciting considering the myriad of activities you can do in all the different places, the various species of wildlife you are likely to encounter, the endless possibilities of seeing new features and the cultural experiences you are about to partake in, if you are open to it all.

I hope you find solace and the fun you are yearning for as you travel to and a round Uganda.

Related Posts

Destinations

Queen Elizabeth national park

Queen Elizabeth national park

Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park

Murchison Fall National Park

Murchison Fall National Park

Bwindi Forest gorilla

Bwindi Forest National Park

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