Uganda — Attractions
One of seven of the world’s Bahai temples sits atop Kikaaya Hill, a district in the capital city of Kampala. Uganda’s largest mosque, the Gaddafi National Mosque, sits in the middle of Old Kampala atop the Kampala Hill, while the city’s Mengo district is home to the 800-year old Lubiri Palace. Any of these can be seen by matatus, which are minibuses that run throughout the city. The main things to see in Uganda are the wildlife and landscapes that can be witnessed in the country’s plentiful national parks. These are best seen on a hiking tour or a safari. Fort Portal is a picturesque highland town with widespread tea plantations and lovely colonial buildings that have magical backdrops of the mountains and the rainforest.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
This is the most visited park in Uganda, spanning between Lake George and Lake Edward. The park has a diverse ecosystem offering a plethora of things to see, including savanna, wetlands, forests and lakes. It is home to over 600 species of birds, chimpanzees, hippopotamus, elephants and the famous tree climbing lions. These are set in some spectacular scenery such as magnificent volcanic cones, craters and the beautiful Lake Katwe. On a clear day it is possible to witness fantastic views of the Ruwenzori Mountains. The park was established in 1952 and was named after Queen Elizabeth II, while Lake George and Lake Edward were named after Prince George and Prince Albert Edward. The most popular way to explore the park is by combining game drives with walking tours.
Address: western Uganda
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest park, spanning for 1,480 square miles. The Victoria Nile River cuts through the park resulting in the magnificent Murchison Falls waterfall, from which it gets its name. The park is home to some of Africa’s most dominant animals, including leopards, elephants, lions and giraffes. Because of the river it is also possible to spot crocodiles and hippopotamus here. Murchison Falls National Park is a popular spot for white water rafting, bird watching and hiking. This famous park has been visited by Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway, and was the setting for parts of the famous movie ‘The African Queen’.
Address: northern Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This is the prime spot for gorilla tracking, and half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorillas lives here, along with Bwindi gorillas, chimpanzees and colobus monkeys. Many other creatures live in this magnificent park, including 348 species of birds, 120 species of mammals, 220 species of butterflies and a number of endangered species. The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, which is the area’s last primary forest and one of Africa’s richest ecosystems. In 1964 the park was designated as an animal sanctuary and in 1994 it became a protected area and was established as a World Heritage site. It is filled with accommodation options that make hiking very comfortable, including campsites, tented camps and high-end resorts.
Address: western Uganda
Uganda Wildlife Education Center
This also acts as the country’s zoo and is a great opportunity for those not going on a safari to catch sight of some of Africa’s wildlife. The center occupies 72 acres of land along the edge of Lake Victoria and boasts wildlife set in ecosystems such as the savannah, the wetland and the forest. Most of the animals that live here have been rescued from thieves and smugglers, and many are later released back into the wild after being rehabilitated. Lions, tigers, leopards, zebras, rhinos, warthogs, colobus monkeys, vipers, pythons, eagles and parrots all call the Uganda Wildlife Education Center home. For a truly unforgettable experience, visit the centre during feeding times or become a volunteer for a day.
Address: Uganda Wildlife Education Center, 56/57 Johnstone Street, Entebbe, Uganda
This is the largest of all the African Great Lakes and is also the world’s largest tropical lake. It has a total area of 26,600 square miles, of which 45 percent is within Uganda. It is a popular spot for fishing and boating, and its Ssese Islands contain the country’s only beaches. Buggala Island is the most visited and the largest of all of the lake’s islands and is often visited by residents of Kampala and Entebbe on the weekends and national holidays. The smaller islands of Banda, Bulago and Bukasa are less crowded and are very serene.
Address: central and eastern Uganda
Kibale Forest National Park
Around 250 species of trees can be found in this predominantly evergreen rainforest. Still, it is home to some diverse landscapes and features both montane and lowland forests. There are two major indigenous tribes that inhabit the park, the Bakiga and Batooro. It is also home to a large concentration of primates that includes endangered chimpanzees, the red colobus monkey and the L’Hoest’s monkey. They all live peacefully among the 350 species of birds while swinging from the trees. There are also other animals here, including leopards, otters, duikers, warthogs and buffalo. Within the forest are some scenic hiking trails as well as tree houses, campsites and a high-end lodge.
Address: western Uganda