Adventure is one of the main reasons why travelers visit Uganda. With the longest river in the world, the Nile, half of the world’s mountain gorilla population, 13 species of primates including chimpanzee and 10% of bird species in Africa, it’s easy to arrange an adventure packed itinerary.
It can be difficult to break down the activities but there are some that every traveler must try. Here are the top 5 that offer unforgettable experience.
Mountain gorillas are the main tourist attractions in Uganda. With half of the gorilla population about 400 individuals found in Bwindi impenetrable forest national and Mgahinga gorilla national park, it’s easy to arrange a gorilla safari to one of the parks. It takes at least three days tour to Bwindi the most popular with 14 habituated gorilla families found at four gorilla trekking centers including Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo while Mgahinga has only one.
Despite the physical exhaustion of trekking through thick forests and steep terrain, many tourists however say that seeing gorillas in their natural habitat changed their lives. On top of the excitement of spending seeing how gorillas play, feed and groom each other, the most important thing is that you’re helping them to survive. Seeing the gorillas also breaks down the misconception that gorillas are dangerous animals. But make sure you attend to briefing and follow the gorilla guidelines.
If it wasn’t the money generated after purchase of gorilla permits which is meant to fund conservation activities and also benefits locals, gorillas would have gone extinct due to habitat loss, human diseases and poaching. Locals who benefit from revenues and also earn a living from their eco-tourism enterprises like community visits, cultural tours, selling craft products and food now understand the value of conservation and have kept off the gorilla habitats paving way for successful conservation. Unlike in the past where locals used to illegally encroach on the forest for food, firewood, honey and medicinal plants, today they no longer do such unsustainable practices because of the benefits they get from gorilla tourism.
Kibale forest national park, the 795 sq km tropical rainforest believed to be home to highest population of primates in East Africa. There are 13 species of primates including 1400 possibly the highest number of chimpanzees in Africa. This makes Kibale forest one of the best parks to track chimpanzee in the wild. Five groups of chimpanzee are habituated and tourists can see them on guided walk with guides and rangers. While time to spend with chimps is limited to one hour, tourists can as well book chimpanzee habituation, an experience where you spend the whole day observing chimpanzees with researchers. Chimpanzee tracking permits are affordable but you need to book in advance with a tour operator or directly through Uganda wildlife authority. Chimp tracking is done early in the morning at 08am and 3pm in afternoon. During nature walks you can spot lots of primates, butterflies, birds with 372 species.
Ziwa rhino sanctuary is located in Nakasongora district along the way to Murchison Falls National park about 4-5 hours drive from Kampala. The sanctuary provides protection for 20 white rhinos with the aim of releasing them back to Uganda’s national parks.
Visitors are allowed to track rhinos on foot accompanied by expert Uganda Wildlife Authority guide. This is the first rhino tracking experience in Uganda. Both black and white rhinos become extinct in Uganda during the civil conflicts of 1980’s. Your visit to rhino sanctuary not only offers a thrilling adventure but allows you to actively help towards conservation of the endangered rhinos. The place has accommodation and camping opportunities. Staying at ziwa is a great experience with activities like birding and nature walks. In addition, you can visit Murchison Falls National park for a great wildlife viewing experience.
With only 13 countries on planet crossed by the equator line which divides the earth into northern and southern hemispheres, a visit to the equator crossing in Uganda is a life changing. It can be visited as part of your itinerary stopover on a safari to other national park in western Uganda. At equator you can stand in both sides of the planet, carry out some geographical experiments such as Coriolis Effect. Unusual weather events tend to occur such as green flush sunsets, equal hours for daylight and nights.
White water rafting
While everybody knows that River Nile is the longest in the world, you might not know that its real source is in Jinja town. You can see evidence where the Nile starts to flow northwards from Lake Victoria also includes grade five rapids offers extreme adrenaline adventures. There are calm sections of the river for amateurs but advanced rafters will feel at home in the strongest rapids that often make rafts flip upside down.
Along the journey, rafters have a chance to spot birds, lizards and take in views of the Nile valley. Jinja area receives fresh breath from Nile and is recommended for a weekend holiday. The place also features many hotels, guest houses with hot tubs, nice beds and great food. If you need to do something else after rafting try horseback riding, biking, boat cruise, all terrain quad biking