10 Incredible Things to do in Uganda Off the Beaten Path

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Looking for unusual adventure activities to engage in during your holiday in Uganda? Here are 10 incredible things to do while on safari in Uganda;

Visit the Top of the Falls

Once described as the most spectacular thing to happen to the Nile along its 6700km length, the 50m wide Victoria Nile is squeezed here through a 7m gap in the rock and crashes through this narrow gorge with unbelievable power. The 45m waterfall was featured in the Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart film The African Queen. Murchison was even stronger back then, but in 1962 massive floods cut a second channel creating the smaller Uhuru Falls 200m to the north. There’s a beautiful walking trail from the top down to the river, and the upper stretch of this path offers views of Uhuru Falls, which a boat trip will not bring you close enough to to appreciate. Though it’s straight forward, a ranger guide is required. If you take the launch trip, the captain will let you off at the trailhead and a ranger will meet you there. The boat can then pick you up later if there’s an afternoon launch, or you can prearrange a car to take you out. This is also a good way for campers to get to the campsite at the top of the falls before returning to Paraa the next morning. The hike takes about 45 minutes from the bottom.

Visit the Ndere troupe

If you are interested in traditional dance and music, try to catch a dinner-theater performance of the Ndere Troupe at Ndere Centre. It presents dances from many of Uganda’s tribal groups with high-energy shows taking place in a 700-seat amphitheatre on Sundays at 6pm and Wednesday at 7pm. On Fridays it’s afro-jazz from 7pm. Dinner is optional. It is one of the best places to learn more about the culture of Uganda and is particularly famous for its rich and elaborate music and dance shows and traditions.

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi translates to the ‘place of many little birds’ and that is as good a description as you can expect. This beautiful lake is by far the prettiest lake in Uganda. Its shore presents terraced hillsides and 29 islands, reminding travelers of certain parts in Nepal. Lake Bunyonyi is truly a magical destination, particularly during the morning hours as you see the mist rising off its serene waters. Are you looking to a budget safari in Uganda? Lake Bunyonyi is one of the best destinations where you can spend less and stay more within Uganda.

Kampala city Tour

Kampala city ensures that visitors get a proper introduction to the country. Kampala is quite safe (unlike its eastern neighbor) and presents a number of sights and attractions that are good enough to keep visitors occupied right through the acclimation period. The ideal way to explore Kampala is through a walking tour. These tours let you take a glimpse into the local lifestyle as you wander around those lively streets, marvel at the unique architecture and spend time in those busy markets. Some of the top attractions you are likely to come across in your walking tours include Kampala Hindu Temple, Lubiri Palace, Uganda National Mosque and the Nakasero Market, Rubaga and Namirembe cathedrals.

Visit the Ssese Islands

The Ssese Islands consists of 84 islands in the north-western section of Lake Victoria. Many of the Ssese Islands are un-inhabited; you can only find a few fishermen there. Forests and swamps on the Ssese Islands are therefore ideal for birding Safaris. The wildlife you expect to find on the islands includes hippos, crocodile, waterbuck, sitatunga, antelope, chimpanzees and monkeys. The islands can be reached by a nine-hour steamer trip from Port Bell or a 45-minute ferry trip from Bukakata. Visitors wanting to escape the hustle bustle of Ugandan cities find Ssese Islands to offer some much-needed respite. The slow-paced lifestyle makes the island an ideal retreat for leading a relaxed lifestyle and those breathtaking white-sand beaches present outstanding sunbathing opportunities. The lack of permanent settlements means that the area is largely unspoiled. Most travelers restrict themselves to the Buggala Island, the most accessible Ssese Island, but those who dare to venture out to the Banda Island or Bukasa, can enjoy secluded surroundings and even better sights.

Game and bird viewing                                     

Game viewing is the most popular tourist activity in Uganda. Wild animals like lions, buffaloes, Leopards, giraffes, antelopes, elephants are common in Uganda’s ten national parks normally refered to as the big 5. Uganda is one of only ten countries where it is possible to visit endangered gorillas.

Mountain gorillas are Uganda’s prime tourist attraction. The majority of these are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park with a few in Mgahinga both in southwestern Uganda. In Bwindi, visitors have been allowed to view the mountain gorillas since April 1993. The development of gorilla tourism and the habituation of gorillas to humans, is proceeding very carefully because of the dangers to gorillas, such as contracting human diseases.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to the tree climbing lions. Lions do not normally climb trees, except when chased by another lion group or wild buffalo. However the tree climbing lions found in Queen Elizabeth National Park intentionally climb trees and rest in the afternoon when the sun is high. This is a truly unique phenomenon.

Boating and Water Sports

With its great location in the African Great Lakes region, Uganda has a variety of water bodies that are popular spots for tourism as soon as you visit Uganda. White water rafting and kayaking are popular activities on the rapids at the source of the Nile found in Jinja. Boat cruises are commonly done on Lake Victoria, Lake Mburo, Lake Bunyonyi, Kazinga channel, Murchsion falls and River Nile. This is a perfect way of exploring the buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles and a wide variety of bird species that inhabit the banks of these water bodies. Sport fishing is another favorite tourist activity. Fish like the Nile perch, and tilapia can be caught in designated areas of Lake Mburo and the banks of the Nile. Canoeing can also be done at Lake Bunyonyi.

Hiking and Mountain Climbing

Uganda has many opportunities for mountain climbing, hiking and nature walks. The Rwenzori Mountains, which are found at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo include the snowcapped Margherita Peak, the highest Mountain range in Africa and also one of the highest peaks. Mgahinga National Park also has the three peaks, Mount Gahinga, Mount Sabinyo and Mount Muhavura. Mount Elgon is found in Eastern Uganda can be used also for hiking and climbing. It has one of the largest calderas in the world.

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