If you are looking for somewhere to unwind, the Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria’s northwestern corner are the perfect retreat.
Ssese’s flourishing archipelago of 84 islands comprises white sandy beaches, clear waters, and tropical forests.
The islands are home to many primate species including colobus and vervet monkeys, sitatunga antelope and several rare birds.
The inhabited islands each have something unique to offer. From landscapes to activities, Ssese is very diverse.
Buggala is the largest and most developed island for tourism. Swimming is a popular activity here, especially at Mutambala beach. You can also hire bicycles or quad bikes to explore the island.
The privately-owned Banda Island is tranquil and serenely beautiful. Bring a good book, as the best thing to do here is read and soak up the sun.
If you do fancy venturing onto the lake, canoes can be hired, or you can gofishing for tilapia and Nile perch.
For animal lovers,Ngamba island, also known as chimp island, is a chimpanzee sanctuary, set up by the Jane Goodall Foundation.
Bulago Island is excellent for nature walks, the diverse terrain of rocky outcrops and woodlands means there are several trails to choose from and good opportunities to see uncommon birds and wildlife
Things to do
The clear cool water is perfect for a hot afternoon swim. Mutumbala beach on the Buggala Island is the most popular spot from which to swim, but it’s likely that your accommodation will also have designated areas for swimming.
In the Ssese Islands, there are no hippos, and crocodiles are extremely unusual. Be aware that Bilharzia, while very rare these days, is thought to be present in the lake so many choose to swim in the hotel pools instead.
Clear and cool waters are perfect for swimming.
Fishing in Uganda is becoming an increasingly popular excursion and the Ssese Islands are a fantastic fishing spot for tilapia and Lake Victoria’s largest fish, the Nile Perch.
For fishing on Lake Victoria, a UWA fishing permit is not required, but you must go with a licensed boat operator, registered by the Ministry of Fisheries. If you book with us, this will all be arranged for you.
Fishing equipment can be hired, or you can bring your own.
For those feeling adventurous, quad biking is a great way to get to know the islands.
The quad bike’s ability to cover all terrains means you can drive along the rocky cliff tops and sandy beaches, through the forest and stop by one of the local fishing villages for lunch and a chance to learn about the local culture.
Previous experience of quad biking is not required, and if you need, you can practice before heading onto more difficult terrain.
Hire a quad bike for the day and explore jinja on four wheels.
Places to Stay
The hotels and lodges within the Ssese Islands are comprised of budget and mid-range choices. There are no luxury options just yet.
However, the current choices will not leave you feeling disappointed. All the hotels and lodges offer uninterrupted views and access to the lake.
The mid-range options include bandas, cottages and self-contained rooms, while the budget accommodations include several campsites and a dormitory on Banda Island.
The Ssese Islands are an inland tropical paradise.
Mirembe Beach Resort
Mirembe(meaning peace in Luganda), is a beach-front resort with 30 private guest rooms and suites, which are perfectly secluded under the canopy of trees.
The resort is situated on Buggala Island near Kalangala. The rooms are basic, but stylish and Wi-Fi is included.
The restaurant serves a blend of local and international food and drinks, which can be enjoyed while sitting round the campfire or at a table directly overlooking the lake.
Mirembe also has a camping ground for those looking for a low-budget alternative. The campsite has access to the hotel’s facilities and amenities.
Brovad Sands Lodge
Located on Buggala Island, Brovad Sands Lodge is the closest to pure luxury you will get while staying in the Ssese Islands.
With beach front access, a spa, sauna and swimming pool, there are several ways to unwind.
For accommodation guests can choose between large suites, cottages or a family villa.
Free Wi-Fi, restaurant, lounge and bar and the many activities on offer has made Brovad Sands Lodge one of the most popular options in the Ssese Islands.
Ssese Island Beach Hotel
Situated in Lutoboka Bay, just five minutes from where the ferry docks from Entebbe, Ssese Island Beach Hotel is another great option for activities.
An on-site golf course, banana boating, quad biking, canoe rides, nature walks, and cultural visits will keep you busy, or opt to lounge all day by the cool waters on a sun bed.
There are several suites to choose from, which have views of the lake, forest or golf course. There is also a restaurant serving an à la carte menu, a bar and a campfire area.
How to get to the Ssese Islands
From Kampala or Entebbe to Kalangala Bay in the Ssese Islands, a large modern car ferry departs from Nakiwogo Dock, just south of Entebbe at 2pm every day.
The ferry returns to Nakiwogo Dock (Entebbe) from Kalangala Bay at 8am every day.
The journey is approximately three and a half hours. First and second class tickets are available. The only difference is that the first class is likely to be less busy.
A speed boat can be arranged to transport you to Bulago Island, and an airstrip is currently being built on the island.
Other Islands will be connected by lake taxis (large wooden boats) and private boats.
When to visit the Ssese Islands
The best time to visit the Ssese Islands is during the cooler dry seasons from late June to October.
During these months, there is a smaller chance of rain ruining planned activities, and wildlife viewing opportunities are better as the animals congregate around central water sources.
What are the top things to do in Entebbe town? Most Ugandans only go to Entebbe when visiting one of the beaches or on their way out of the country through the only international airport. This shouldn’t be the case because Entebbe town has so much to offer. Entebbe is one of the most naturally beautiful towns in Uganda. It is part of Wakiso District and is found 40 kilometers away from Kampala city. The town is surrounded by Lake Victoria, lush green vegetation and great landscapes giving it a cool temperature and natural charm.
Despite its small size, Entebbe is a key town in Uganda with important historical roles. Entebbe was the administrative capital of Uganda before the role was shifted to Kampala after independence. It is for this reason that the town is relatively well organized and built with great attractions considering its size. Entebbe still hosts the official state house, one of the largest UN logistics bases in the world, government offices and the only international airport.
For anyone visiting Uganda, Entebbe town is a place you must visit or explore in more detail if you have spare time. You can never be bored while in Entebbe. The town offers so many attractions that never bore even those who have lived there for decades. It is a town where you can spot amazing wildlife and visit some of the best beaches and hotels Uganda has to offer. Entebbe is arguably a better place to stay in than Kampala city or Mbarara town for those who want a clean town, cool temperature, clean air, a serene atmosphere and less crimes.
This article can be useful for those visiting Entebbe for the first time or those who have missed their flight and still have a day or two in the town with nothing to do. You might be interested in a similar article covering cultural tourism in Uganda as a country or car rental services in Entebbe. By the time you complete reading, you will have an idea of the best places to visit while in Entebbe. You will be surprised to find places you never knew existed.
We hope the article will help you know the popular places and plan accordingly. After finishing reading about Entebbe, you can also read our article about the tourist attractions in Mombasa Kenya. We have an amazing 1 day Kampala city tour package for those who want to visit the key landmarks in Uganda’s capital. If you are targeting Jinja, check out the Jinja tour package.
Let’s look at key some facts about Entebbe before discussing the major tourist attractions
Facts about Entebbe town
Entebbe is found on the northern section of Lake Victoria – the largest lake in Africa.
Entebbe has a population of about 70,000 people.
In the Luganda language, the word “e tebbe” means to sit on a chair. The town was named Entebbe because it was where the local Baganda chiefs sat to resolve legal cases.
Entebbe has Uganda’s largest and only international airport. Because of that, most visits to Uganda start and end in Entebbe.
Entebbe has the official residence and office of the head of state. It is therefore the main center of power
One of the Tarzan movies was shot at the Entebbe botanical gardens.
Entebbe is one of Uganda’s best birding destinations. The botanical gardens and Mabamba swamp are the first places a birder should check out while on a birding tour in Uganda.
Entebbe town has the oldest golf course in Uganda and East Africa. It was established as early as 1900.
Entebbe has some of the most amazing beaches in Uganda and the world when you factor in the amazing Ssese islands.
Entebbe became famous in July 1976 when a team of Israeli commandos stormed the airport and rescued over 100 hostages (mainly Jews) who had been kidnapped while on board an Air France jet. The Ugandan dictator Idi Amin supported the hijackers.
To reach Entebbe town from the airport, you will need to hire an airport taxi for about 20,000 Uganda Shilling. While in town, there are three modes of transport – by boda boda, special hire or public minibuses.
Getting decent accommodation in Entebbe for long term use is not easy and can be quiet expensive. This is partly because of the large UN personnel living and working in the town.
Best Things to do in Entebbe town
Visit Lake Victoria: Lake Victoria is the largest fresh water lake in Africa. It is also the second largest in the world after only Lake Baikal in Siberia. The lake is one of the leading tourist sites in Uganda and Entebbe is arguably the best place to explore it. Lake Victoria surrounds the town on almost all sides. There are several activities that can be done around the lake including swimming, fishing, boat cruises, canoeing, island hopping or simply relaxing by the lake shores.
Visit the beaches: As a town surrounded by water, Entebbe has arguably the best and most popular beaches in Uganda. Some of the beaches include white sand beach, Sports beach, Lido beach, Aero beach, Imperial resort beach and Spena beach among many others.
The hotels and resorts in Entebbe also have their own beaches like Anderita and Botanical beach hotels. On weekend, these beaches are full of revelers from Kampala and other nearby towns. Almost all the beaches have loud music playing in the background while some organize boat cruises on the lake in different shifts for revelers.
Swimming in these beaches is not 100% safe (because of the possibility of catching bilharzia) but it is a great way of mingling with the locals and seeing how they go about their daily lives.
Despite the obvious poverty, Ugandans love to enjoy life. Ugandan’s are very friendly and you will find this out while visiting one of the beaches. If you are afraid of swimming, you can just go and relax by the beach and swim in one of the high end hotels in town.
Visit the Entebbe Sailing Club or go for a sunset boat cruise: Entebbe has one of the oldest sailing clubs in Uganda. The club is busy over the weekend and you will spot several dhow looking boats floating out into the lake with a number of revelers. The Club organizes sporting competitions to reward the fastest boats.
Entebbe Sailing club is a perfect place to go with your friends or family for a truly amazing weekend. Sunset boat cruises are also organized with food and drinks starting from the Uganda Wildlife Educational Centre all the way to some of the Ssese Islands.
Visit Entebbe International Airport: Entebbe town is host to the only international airport in Uganda. The airport is built close to the shores of Lake Victoria and is about 25 miles away from Kampala city. Entebbe international airport is also host to one of the largest UN logistics bases in the world.
You can find several UN and other humanitarian aircraft stationed here and ready for missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and South Sudan.
Visit the UN Base in Entebbe: As mentioned earlier, the United Nations uses the old Entebbe international airport for keeping some of their heavy military and humanitarian equipment before being taken for use in peacekeeping missions around Africa.
Visiting their offices is not easy without appointment. Security is tight because they have their own customs and immigration procedures. Easiest way to visit is to befriend one of their staff in the town bars or hangout places and request for a tour of the site. You might have interest in our article about the things to do in Dar es Salaam.
Visit the Entebbe Botanical Gardens: These gardens were founded around 1901. It is believed that one of the original Tarzan movies were filmed here. The gardens are a popular hangout place for locals and tourists who want a quiet place for relaxation and experiencing nature. In terms of biodiversity, it is one of the best within central Uganda.
The Entebbe Botanical gardens are considered important learning centers by academics within and outside Uganda. You can visit the center for plant identification and birding. Expect to also spot Colobus and Ververt monkeys. The gardens are also home to several species of birds and if you are a birder, this is the perfect place to start from.
If you are planning to visit the gardens, expect to find Guides at the entrance. There is an entrance fee but the Guides will ask for a separate fee. The Guides know all the tree, bird and animal species. They will take you to the different zones of the gardens ending with a visit to the beach on the shores of Lake Victoria.
The species of birds to look out for are African Open-billed Stork, Black headed Gonolek, Black-headed herons, Common Squacco, Grey headed gull, Hammerkop, Long tailed Cormorant, Orange weavers, Red- chested Sunbird, Swamp Flycatcher, Verreaux’s eagle owls, Yellow billed duck, Giant and Pied Kingfishers. It is recommended that you visit these gardens on week days to enjoy a more private tour.
Visit the Uganda Wildlife Education Center: Popularly known as Entebbe zoo, this facility has become one of the best educational centers for wildlife in the African continent. The center was opened in 1952 for rescued animals before later turning into a zoo. The Centre still helps rehabilitate animals rescued from poachers before their release back to the wild when possible. The Centre has an amazing collection of wildlife and beautiful scenery.
It is a quick place to go if you cannot visit Uganda’s national parks. Here you will see DeBraza monkeys, baboons, hyenas, pythons, lions, ostriches, antelopes, leopards, buffaloes and chimpanzee among many other creatures. Over 121 species of birds can be sported at the Centre including the African fish eagle, Hammerkops, sun birds, Giant Kingfishers and the Great Blue
Most of the animals are held in spacious areas which resemble their natural surroundings. You will not only see but learn how the animals communicate, play, eat and live together. The Centre strives to educate visitors about wildlife conservation and their importance to prosperity and the ecosystem. After seeing all the animals in the zoo for about 2 hours, you can go down to the beach and take a swim or relax with the family as you enjoy camel and donkey rides.
As already noted earlier, the Uganda Wildlife Education Center is one of the most visited places in Uganda and is a favorite learning place for schools and other educational institutions. The Centre receives generous funding from donors and institutions around the world enabling it to expand and put together an excellent team of caretakers.
Visiting the center costs $15 for international visitors and about 10,000 for Ugandans. For those interested in a more comprehensive visit, they can opt for the Keeper for a Day Experience, the behind the Scenes Tour and the Chimpanzee Close-up experience. Tour operators in Uganda can organize trips to the Entebbe zoo but at an extra cost. We have a new article about the things to see in Nairobi that you might find interesting.
The Reptile Sanctuary: Visiting the Uganda Reptiles Village is excellent for those who are fascinated with reptiles. The sanctuary takes care of all kinds of reptiles including crocodiles, turtles, tortoises, lizards, chameleons and snakes (vipers, cobras, mambas and puff adders).
Most of these reptiles where rescued and rehabilitated after being found in people’s homes and gardens. After the Centre receives a call from someone about spotting a reptile in their compound, they send staff to go and pick them up. When their numbers increase, some are released back into the wild.
The staff at the sanctuary will help educate you about these often misunderstood creatures. The Reptiles village is located a short drive away from the town. You stop at a small town called Abaita-ababiri as you head towards Kampala. From Abaita, you leave the main highway and follow the 4km dusty road to the Reptile village. Entrance to the Reptile sanctuary is 15,000 Uganda Shillings at the time of writing this article. The Entrance fee includes a Guide to take you around the site.
Visit the Uganda Virus Research Institute: If you are an academic spending time in Entebbe, a good place to visit is the Uganda Virus Research Institute. This is a government institute that was built to help in researching about communicable diseases among animals and humans. The Uganda Virus Research institute is a leading Centre for research in East African and has been responsible for some amazing findings in the area of communicable diseases. It houses some of the brightest minds in Uganda as well as international researchers from all over the world on short assignments.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary: This sanctuary is home to more than 40 orphaned chimpanzees that have been rescued from within and outside Uganda. The young chimps are brought at the Centre for rehabilitation and to start a new life in a beautifully forested island. Here they are looked after by some of the best caretakers and researchers. To reach the Ngamba island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, one would need to take a boat or public ferry to the island.
Once in the island you have an opportunity to observe the chimps feeding from an enclosure before retreating back to the large forest. Visitors to the island can also feed the chimps or volunteer for a while in the facility. There are flights arranged from Entebbe International Airport to the sanctuary at a cost.
State House Entebbe: Uganda has two main state house buildings. One in Entebbe and the other in Nakasero. Although visiting is only by invitation, you can still take a walk around the structure to admire the beautiful gardens. If you are lucky you will spot the presidential convoy entering and departing from the man gate.
Entebbe Golf Club: This 18 Hole Golf Course is the oldest in Uganda. It was founded as early as 1901 close to the shores of Lake Victoria. It is a large golf course that offers a unique feeling of privacy and serenity even on busy weekends.
This gold course remains green throughout the year because of the cool weather from the lake and good rains throughout the year. At the entrance, you may see a sign post stating that playing is for only members but tourists are allowed in at an affordable fee.
Golfing is now becoming very popular among the middle class in Uganda and has received wide media coverage. Because of that, you will meet some of Uganda’s top businessmen and the middle-class citizens playing side by side. You can learn a lot about Uganda, the politics and opportunities available while playing and hanging out at the club. Apart from the golf course, the club also has a basketball court, a cricket oval and a basketball court. Members can also play snooker, darts and badminton.
Visit Entebbe’s main Markets: The best way to learn about a new place and the local people is to visit the main markets. Entebbe has two main markets. One is close to the first shell petrol station from the Kampala side and the other is in Kitoro.
There are also smaller markets opened on specific days of the week such as the one close to Manyago. I shouldn’t forget to mention the Nakiwogo Market.
The Nakiwogo market is a beehive of activity and the best place to watch vendors sell off their products or offload goods from the different Ssese Islands. While in all Entebbe markets, you can buy Uganda’s tasty tropical fruits and foods from a kiosk. If you have nothing to buy, you can just choose a place to sit and observe the local Ugandans hustling to make ends meet. You might even get a chance to hear some of the most current gossip.
Explore Kitubulu Forest and Beach: This forest and beach are located just as you enter Entebbe town from Kampala and start getting a clear view of the lake. Kitubulu forest is perfect for nature walks that end at the beach or Lake shores. Entrance is free but be cautious while there. Avoid taking forest walks late in the evening or in the night. The beach is open to the public at no cost but security is non-existent hence you could be prone to pick pockets.
Visit Zika Forest: This is the forest where the Zika Virus was first discovered by scientists in 1947. This strain is different from the one that troubles certain parts of the world recently.
In fact, to be clear, there is no strain of the Zika Virus in the forest these days. A group of researchers are currently studying the insects trapped in the forest to come up with groundbreaking findings that will be of benefit to the world. Zika forest is a favorite for birders and those who just want to explore a tropical forest within reach. Expect to spot monkeys, birds and countless butterflies.
Nkumba University: Nkumba university is a private university founded in 1994. It started as an institution specializing in promoting business management but has now grown to also offer science based courses. Unlike many private universities in Uganda, it is not affiliated to any particular religious’/Christian organization. The University is built on Nkumbi Hill which is 10 kilometers away from the Entebbe airport in the District of Wakiso. The University compound spreads all the way to the shores of Lake Victoria.
Mabamba Swamp: Mabamba bay wetland is found along the shores of Lake Victoria. This extensive marshland covers an area of 16,498 hectares and consists of mainly of Miscunthus sp along the main bay and papyrus towards the clearer waters of Lake Victoria.
A narrow water channel extends inside the swamp allowing for birders to visit the inside by boat. The most popular bird species sighted here is the amazing shoebill stork. The Mabamba wetlands sanctuary is considered the best place to spot Shoebill storks in Uganda. These elusive birds are often found standing on drifting papyrus islands as they fed on insects and frogs. Apart from the Shoebill storks and other birds, swamp antelopes (Sitatunga) thrive on these swamps.
Sport Fishing on Lake Victoria: Uganda is home to the largest fresh water fish in Africa – the Nile Perch. Entebbe provides one of the best and most organized fishing areas in Uganda.
You can hire a boat and go out with your equipment for an adventure of a lifetime with the possibility of a big catch to show your buddies and fellow anglers. Some of the hotels and resorts can help you acquire fishing gear and a professional angler to take you to the best fishing spots while on a whole day sport fishing trip in Uganda.
Visit the Ssese Islands: The Ssese Islands are a collection of 84 Islands in Lake Victoria. Only 43 have constant human presence. All the islands offer pristine tropical vegetation with amazing wildlife. The Ssese Islands offer some of the best fishing spots in Uganda.
So prepare for a whole day of fun, fishing, swimming, canoeing, quad biking and even horseback riding in some of the islands. Visiting the Ssese Islands should be done in three days to experience the best of what the Islands have to offer.
Go shopping: Entebbe is a major shopping Centre with large supermarkets like Victoria shopping mall, Imperial Mall, Pearl Supermarket, Shoprite and many other smaller one built within the magnificent hotels and resorts. All these shopping malls have ATM Machines which accept Visa and MasterCard. The banks with branches in Entebbe town include Stanbic, Ecobank, Diamond Trust bank and Standard chartered.
The Entebbe Craft Village: This Craft village was built in 2002 and is believed to be one of the largest in Uganda. While visiting the craft village, you can buy wood carvings, bags, African fabrics, sandals, paintings, batiks, place mats, tableware, clothing’s, ornaments and jewelry. You can also buy the fabric and have it made and adjusted to your size if you are staying in town for a while.
Eat Out: If you want to taste some of Uganda’s local dishes as well as international ones, then you should check out 4 Points for their calming environment and Indian food.
They even have a pool table and bar that is frequented by Entebbe’s expert community. Gately Inn Entebbe is one good open-air restaurant with beautiful gardens and all kinds of international dishes. For the best pizza, visit Bologna or hotel Anderita. Other pizza points include Arthur’s Café, Goretti’s Pizza.
We can’t forget to mention Faze 3 for Indian and continental food. Faze 3 is built close to the airport and has some of the tastiest fried pork, chicken and tilapia.
Go Drinking and Clubbing: To find out about Entebbe’s night life and sample some of the local beer, you should start with 4 Turkeys Pub located along Kampala road. They have international beer brands in stock like Guinness and Heineken. Red Rooster Sports Bar is a favorite of UN Personnel and hence security is tight.
You will find a pool table and giant TV screens to watch your favorite sports teams over the weekend in all the bars. If the two are not to your taste, you can visit O’s Bar located close to the golf course with its indoor lounge and large television screens. Club Knight Riders is arguably the most popular dance club in Entebbe.
Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequalled for its natural beauty and scientific value, it has the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa
The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was established in 1952. It is home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth – the great migration of wildebeest and zebra. The resident population of lion, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, and birds is also impressive. There’s a wide variety of accommodation available, from luxury lodges to mobile camps. The park covers 5,700 sq miles, (14,763 sq km), it’s larger than Connecticut, with at most a couple hundred vehicles driving around.
The Park can be divided into 3 sections. The popular southern/central part (Seronera Valley), is what the Maasai called the “serengit”, the land of endless plains. It’s classic savannah, dotted with acacias and filled with wildlife. The western corridor is marked by the Grumeti River, and has more forests and dense bush. The north, Lobo area, meets up with Kenya’s Masai Mara Reserve, is the least visited section.
Two World Heritage Sites and two Biosphere Reserves have been established within the 30,000 km² region. It’s unique ecosystem has inspired writers from Ernest Hemingway to Peter Mattheissen, filmakers like Hugo von Lawick and Alan Root as well as numerous photographers and scientists – many of which have put their works at our disposal to create this website.
The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. The essential features of climate, vegetation and fauna have barely changed in the past million years. Early man himself made an appearance in Olduvai Gorge about two million years ago. Some patterns of life, death, adaptation and migration are as old as the hills themselves.
It is the migration for which Serengeti is perhaps most famous. Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then swirl west and north after the long rains in April, May and June. So strong is the ancient instinct to move that no drought, gorge or crocodile infested river can hold them back.
The Wildebeest travel through a variety of parks, reserves and protected areas and through a variety of habitat. Join us to explore the different forms of vegetation and landscapes of the Serengeti ecosystem and meet some of their most fascinating inhabitants.
Village Tours in Uganda Most villages in Uganda still hold their traditional way of life and many still follow the way their ancestors lived; it is evidenced by the traditional rituals, music, dance and drama, traditional way of harvesting, food preparation and cooking, among other things. Some of these villages have been mentioned below to guide you on which to visit. The most amazing thing about it, is that all these villages are located in the famous tourist sites such as National Parks, Forests, and Lakes among others.
Boomu Cultural Village
Boomu Cultural village also known as Boomu Women’s Group is an African setting neighboring Murchison Falls National Park. It was formed in 1999 by subsistence farmers from villages of Kigaragara and Kihaguzi, in a time when the northern region of the country was dry, there was less produce to sell and consume hence poverty and malnutrition levels increased. So these people resorted to making crafts and what began as a small group, today is a beautiful community with gardens, traditional accommodation facilities, exceptional guided tours and a restaurant. In fact to enjoy this village to the fullest, you could spend a night in a real African hut, before getting to bed, sitting at the fire and listening to stories about this place from the elders is unforgettable. Visiting this village introduces you the way the locals live; how they grow crops, how children get education, how baskets are woven, their traditional dances and cultural performances, and also how food is harvested, prepared, cooked and served in the authentic African way. At Boomu you truly experience what is termed as an African authentic village setting. There is no solar or hydroelectric lighting, food is harvested directly from the garden and put on a locally made stove, then to your plate, most of the locals eat with their hands, tourists are given forks if it is what they want. There is even no refrigeration since all foods are fresh.
The Batwa Cultural Trail
The Batwa are an indigenous group of people famously known as pygmies. They used to live in unity with other forest inhabitants about 500,000years ago in huts made out of leaves and branches hence were referred to as the “Keepers of the Forest”. Their stay in the forest never destroyed the forest since even their shelters were eco-friendly. They entirely depended on the forest for shelter, food, firewood, and fruits among others. It is said of them that “the way they love their bodies is how they love the forest”. The Batwa lived in Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks, these parks are homes to the remaining endangered Mountain Gorillas. Around 1991, the lives of the Batwa totally changed when these parks were permanently established to protect the Rain forest and wildlife especially the Mountain Gorillas hence by 1992 all people living in these National Parks were evicted and were not given any compensation either in form of money or land from the Government. But in 2011, the Batwa Cultural Trail was started in Mgahinga National Park by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). The members of the Pygmy community guide the visitors through the jungle and expose them to their ancient way of living including their old way of gathering fruits, hunting, collecting honey, traditional healing, and also other traditional performances like rituals done in caves and dances. Today this cultural trail is so famous and every visitor to the park shouldn’t miss out on this great experience, it has helped the Batwa keep their traditions and beliefs. The trails are two; both a long one and a short one, the visitor is at liberty to choose the trail they will go for. All proceeds from the visit support the community of the Batwa; they help in the development and sustaining of the community projects such as the maize mill, microfinance and the secondary school.
Entanda Cultural Village
Entanda village is a unique cultural tourist village that is aimed at preserving arts and crafts, traditions, culture, and performances of Uganda hence described as a Community Based Tourism Organization. All tourists to this village can be assured to experience and also participate in the old way of life for the Ugandan culture and the natural beauty in the village. Entanda is a small village situated in Mityana district among green rolling hills about 1 hour drive from Kampala. People in Entanda have also ensured to preserve their traditional ways of animal keeping, bee keeping, farming, food harvesting, preparation, serving and cooking, growing of vegetables and fruits plus the traditional playing of games. Entanda has a great historical background; it is said to have existed thousands of years ago when Kintu “the first man” to live in Buganda met death spirits that wanted to kill Nambi his wife. The death spirits also locally known as Walumbe used to dig very deep pits to hide and kill people. This is proved by the existence of about 240 deep pits and the Nambi rocks which today are used for traditional worship. Tourists while at Entanda can engage in activities such as traditional dances, hunting, walks through forests, banana and coffee plantations, fruit harvesting, food preparation and cooking, and lessons about the traditionally made musical instruments.
Katwe Village Tour
The village is situated in Kasese district at the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The village is close to Katwe Lake, it is a salt lake and one of the economic activities carried out in this area is salt mining. A day in Katwe village is exceptional since visitors get a chance to meet the local people and involve in their day-to-day lives. Visitors are welcomed in a local homestead where they get to observe how the residents harvest salt from the lake, they can also observe how food is traditionally prepared, cooked and also be able to taste it. During the village tour, visitors should always keep in mind that by visiting they are giving back to the people, they can also visit a primary school in this village and see how the children get education. All proceeds from the visit go towards improving the health sector of this area and provide income to those that can’t mine salt to earn a living especially the elderly.
Nshenyi Village Tour
Nshenyi Village exposes visitors to the Ankole culture and traditions. This cultural village is situated on a farm at the edge of Ntungamo district in Kitwe Town. It is an hour’s drive if someone is coming from Mbarara town and takes only 30minutes to drive to this village from Ntungamo Town. Nshenyi is a beautiful areas characterized with acacia trees, savannah grass, and lush rolling hills. This environment favors cattle rearing. The people in Nshenyi are pastoralists with agriculture as the main economic activity carried out. This is evidenced by a number of commercial crops and large banana plantations owned by various residents. This place has activities that are unique for visitors hence it is visited by a number of people on safari in the western part of Uganda.
Activities include; traditional cooking, nature walks, visiting primary schools and local markets, milking the Ankole long-horned cattle, visit local homesteads, engage in tree planting, observe the processing of milk, discover how the homesteads do food processing and cultivation of crops, birders are also sure to spot a number of beautiful bird species, among other activities.
Rubuguri Village Tour
Rubuguri Village is situated at the edges of Bwindi Impenetrable NP a natural habitat to the world’s remaining endangered Mountain Gorillas. So it is very easy for the tourist to track Gorillas and wrap up the trip with a walk in the Village of Rubuguri. Rubuguri village is a small isolated village with friendly inhabitants and can be accessed by a rustic road along the steep hillsides. While here, you can engage in a village walk through small homesteads, where you are able to meet the locals and enjoy their day to day way of life in this area. Tourists can visit the local schools in the area, and also have a remarkable time watching people perform the Kikiga dance and sing amazing joyful traditional songs.
Karamoja Village Tour
Apart from sightseeing, a tour to a Karamojong community is defined as a participatory experience, because the tourist gets an opportunity to engage with the locals and learn more about their culture. One can also plan to have an overnight stay in a traditional hut. A Karamojong Village is also locally called a “Manyatta”. Karamoja Manyattas are traditional homesteads for the Karamojong located near Kidepo National Park. It is where they live in harmony just like their ancestors lived and their culture and traditions have been preserved, so visiting a manyatta you get exposed to this amazing group of people. The Karamojong live in an unspoiled part of the country; in the North Eastern part of Uganda. They are described as a tribe of fierce warriors, they are pastoralists who even feed on mainly animal products like milk, meat, blood among others. The women have tried to develop themselves by involving in the making of beads and crafts. Therefore if one is on safari to Kidepo National Park, you could include visit a Manyatta on your itinerary.
Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing form of tourism world wide where a number of adventurous people move from one place to another to view or be part of a given sports activity. Many countries worldwide have embraced the idea of sports tourism and usually benefit a lot from it especially during extensive sports events like the Olympics, soccer and many other international sports.
When you look at Uganda, it is not just a place for unique wildlife experiences especially with gorilla trekking and wildlife safaris viewing unique wild animals like, the big five in Murchison falls national park or mountain gorillas in their natural homes – the forested mountains. The pearl of Africa has also proven to be a number one sport tourism destination because of the different exciting sports tourists engage in while on their visit. There are a number of tourism sports held in Uganda some of which including the following
Horse Back Riding
This is one of the most enjoyable sports activities in Uganda especially if done while in the national park. Today, lake Mburo national park has taken the initiative to enable tourist’s get up close to the wildlife while on horses. It may sound a little scary but its very safe because the horses used in this sport are very familiar with the major wild animals in the national park and are not usually afraid to take tourists for rides depending on ones preferred time period ranging from 30 minutes to several hours. The horses are managed by Mihingo lodge one of the luxurious lodges offering the best hospitality services in lake Mburo national park. The horse back ride does not require experiences as many first timers usually head for the adventure with the help of horse guides who are very skilled and take photographs of you while in the wild to capture memorable moments. Horse back riding is surely a tourism sports activity you must not miss while in Uganda.
This is the most practiced sport today in a number of high schools and universities in Uganda. Every Friday, a number of local Ugandans gather at YMCA comprehensive institute in Wandegeya to cheer and have fun as they watch a number of players compete in what is commonly known as Friday night-lights. Some times bigger basketball competitions are held at the Lugogo indoor stadium that also attracts a number of domestic tourists. Do not hesitate to visit any of the two events to discover the sports skills the Ugandans have and also to have fun as you cheer out some of your best players.
Usually prepared by the Uganda golf tournament, golf is another sport that can be greatly enjoyed while in the pearl of Africa. Uganda has a number of golf courses for example those around the golf course hotel in Kampala city just near the Uganda golf club while other golf courses are in Jinja and Entebbe. Golf is a very relaxing sport and playing it in Uganda is very unique as it gives one a chance to feel and enjoy the cool climate of the pearl of Africa.
This is usually enjoyed by a number of tourists on different water bodies in the country even along the great river Nile – the longest river on the planet. Sport fishing in Uganda introduces tourists to the Ugandan fish species, which include the Nile perch, Tilapia, lungfish and many others. The major sport fishing grounds in Uganda include the Nile in Murchison falls national park which gives tourists a chance to fish as they view a number of unique wild animals along the river banks like the hippopotamus. Sport fishing activities are also done around Lake Victoria the third largest water body on earth and the source of the great river Nile as well as in other lakes like lake Mburo also located in a national park and therefore giving one a double experience of the wildlife and the sport itself. Do not miss to be part of this adventurous sport while in Uganda as you may likely come out with a big catch.
Tourism sports in Uganda can not be fully exploited because they are many most of which are very adventurous like bungee jumping in Jinja, white water rafting along the Nile in Jinja, squad biking, local football usually held at Mandela international stadium or Nakivubo stadium, beach volley ball held at the different beaches along Lake Victoria especially Lido and Speenah beaches and so many others.
Involving in tourism sports is very exciting and is a way of physical exercise and enables tourists to easily connect and interact with the local people therefore while in Uganda, ensure to participate in one sport of your choice.
Just as described by Sir Winston Church hill in his book “My African Journey”, indeed Uganda is the Pearl of Africa. Its moderate climate, bird species, hospitable people, landscapes ranging from Mountains, to the rolling hills, valleys, forests, and the savannah grasslands. Wildlife including the Big 5 is another thing that catches the attention of most travelers, not forgetting half of the world’s remaining number of Magnificent Gorillas that live in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and some in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks.
The country hosts over 1,061 bird species found in different areas. The lakes, rivers, water falls are spectacular and Uganda has the source of the second longest river in the world known as the River Nile, also the country shares part of Lake Victoria the third largest lake in the world. Most tourists enjoy sunset cruises, canoeing, and sport fishing on this lake.
Uganda has 10 National Parks, a number of game reserves, wildlife sanctuaries among others where a number of wildlife have found habitation. So these places offer the best to sightseers. In Murchison falls, Queen Elizabeth, and Lake Mburo National Parks tourists can enjoy game drives, boat cruises, sport fishing, nature walks, birding, and in some of these parks you can spot the Big 4 if you are lucky. Queen Elizabeth National Park even offers an opportunity to spot the climbing lions in the Ishasha sector.
Another Park is Semuliki, it is a great spot for bird watching. It also has beautiful hot springs and an ancient rain forest. Kidepo Valley National Park is found in the north eastern part of Uganda and amongst all parks has a unique kind of landscape, wildlife, culture and also one can spot a cheetah while there.
Travellers that want to see Chimpanzees also known as closest relatives to human beings can visit Kibale Forest National Park to trek chimps in their natural habitat or take a boat to Ngamaba Island to see some these orphaned gentle creatures in sanctuary where they are being taken care of.
Hikers are also catered, there are a number of Mountains that can be hiked to the top such as the Rwenzori Mountains, Mount Elgon, and Mount Sabinyo, Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga which are part of the mighty Virungas and many more.
Indeed Uganda has a lot to offer and tourists can only be sure to have a remarkable time, the choice is with the traveler who also has to plan his or her trip accordingly and make all the inquiries needed. Below we have also indicated some of the major towns in Uganda where you can enjoy sightseeing.
Sightseeing in Entebbe
It’s inevitable to fly into Uganda and your first town is not Entebbe. Entebbe is found is in Wakiso District on a Lake Victoria peninsular and hosts the country’s International Airport. Entebbe is currently proving to be a great tourism town of Uganda. A sightseeing tour in Entebbe is an unforgettable experience mainly to those tourists that plan to spend a day or two in Entebbe before or after their wildlife safari.
Entebbe town offers many opportunities for half day and full day sightseeing tours, it being a small town, a number of attractions are within hence some can be accessed on foot, by boat or driving there.
There is a popular spot for both international and local tourists called the Uganda Wildlife Education Center or UWEC ZOO as many prefer calling it. It is home to different wild animals kept in a semi-natural environment, there are a number of activities tourists can engage in; Viewing chimpanzees at a closer range, keeper of the day, behind the scenes programs, general wildlife viewing.
A visit to Ngamba Island is remarkable, this Island is a sanctuary to orphaned chimpanzees. It is situated about 23km from the mainland in Entebbe hence it is accessed on either a speed boat or a motorized canoe. You can engage in any of the sessions either morning or afternoon which include being transferred to the island, listening to the care givers, viewing chimpanzees, community visits, nature walks and also birding.
Travellers interested in botanical gardens cannot miss out on the Entebbe Botanical Gardens, which are located 19 minutes away from the International Aiprot. The gardens were founded in 1898 and host over 320 exotic plant species, 115 bird species and abundant mammals. Also since Entebbe is on a peninsular there are a number of sand beaches on the Lake, you can visit any of them to relax from the long safari, be sure of the delicious fish. These beaches include; Spennah beach, Anderita Beach, Imperial Beaches, Lido Beach, Aero Beach and many more.
When a tourist is a birder, his/her trip is not complete without seeing the Shoebill, and Mabamba swamp is home to this bird. There also other bird species like the pallid harrier, papyrus yellow warbler, and the blue swallow. Birding is mainly done on a canoe as you navigate through the waterways to spot various birds. Also a sightseeing city tour in Entebbe can take you to different roadside markets where you can buy some souvenirs or just see how Ugandans conduct trade.
For a long time now, most tourists have been engaging in city tours in Kampala and its outskirts. Kampala is the capital of Uganda and it is the first city to reach when you are coming from Entebbe. It has the busiest markets, shopping mall, arcades among others. Don’t be surprised with the much traffic and roadside vendors who are trying to earn a living by seeing their products to the people in their cars parked in traffic.
Some travellers prefer to walk around Kampala to its popular attractions, others drive along with a tour guide, but many both local and international use the Kampala sightseeing bus. It is a double decker open-roof bus that started to operate in December 2017. Using this bus gives you a unique road tour to visit different attractions while in Kampala. This bus has two daily tips with the first one starting at 9:00am, the journey can take 4 hours depending on the traffic.
This bus accommodates 64 passengers, basing on how much is paid drinks and snacks are inclusive. It begins the journey from BMK House near Hotel Africana. The choice is in your hands to go by the sightseeing bus or walk or by a hired private vehicle with a guide.
Whichever means you use you can visit the best spots in Kampala such as the Kabaka’s Lake, Uganda Museum, Rubaga Cathedral, Nakaseero Market, Namirembe Cathedral, Baha’i Temple, Kabaka (King’s) Royal Palace, the Gadhafi Mosque, Uganda National Theatre, Uganda martyr’s shrine Namugongo the Independence grounds, the Hindu Tempel, Kasubi Tombs, different craft shops and many more other places.
Kampala offers almost everything one would expect to find in a city, above all spending a night in one of Kampala’s hide outs is unforgettable since like many say, “Kampala offers the best night life”. You can’t worry of where to spend a night since hotels are easily accessible such as the high end hotels like Sheraton Hotel, the Kampala Serena Hotel, Hotel Africana and mid-range hotels like the Fat cat backpackers in Kamwokya, SS Hotel Kampala and many more.
Jinja is located in Eastern Uganda about 81km from Kampala. It is a famous Adventure Capital in East Africa for adventurous tourists, it lies on Lake Victoria and the White Nile.
Firstly visit the source of River Nile, the world’s second longest River. It was discovered in 1858 by John Hanning Speke, he was the first European explorer to discover it. Near the river is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi and some of his ashes were scattered in the Nile. There are also various craft shops as you slope to the river. In order to experience this fully you can take a boat-ride along the Nile to its source and continue to Lake Victoria. Today this site is one of the most visited in Uganda.
The Itanda falls are found on River Nile and are situated about 27km northwest of Jinja town. These falls define what is called the Whitewater Nile, the sights and sounds in this area just mesmerize you. It is a perfect place for picnic outings, camping and birding. Most tourists prefer visiting it in order to relax and unwind before driving out of Jinja.
Other attractions include; Kyabirwa falls located about 8km form Jinja, beaches on Lake Victoria such as the Tilapia club, Sailing club, islands in Lake Victoria like Samuka, Lwabitooke I & II, Ndaiga. More about these beaches is that apart from Samuka Island the other islands have not been fully exploited for tourism purposes.
Activities that can be done in Jinja include; Bungee jumping, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Whitewater rafting, camping, boat rides, sunset cruises, Quad biking, birding, standup paddling, community market visits and many more.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, there is something to do for every person in Jinja even many activities for the adventurous traveler, that is why Jinja cannot miss on your safari itinerary to Uganda.
A Travel Guide To Africa For starters, you must prepare the best way how your Africa travel will be; among these include a combination of African safari tours, African safaris as well as Africa tour, whichever you decide on, you will appreciate the actual beauty of Africa. Taking up an African safari vacation may be a little confusing because it offers a wide range of travels which include West Africa, North Africa, East Africa Travel, South Africa Travel and many others. Whichever you decide on taking, you will be able to access cheap African flights to all the destinations. As you travel to different countries, you come across Africa hotels of all kinds ranging from 5 star hotels to lodges with varying prices. Therefore your budget will determine the best place where you will stay. The Africa travel organized must suit your tastes and preference and remember luxury Africa hotels are also available.
One thing you must keep in mind is that whatever holiday destination you choose, be aware to have the best of your time. Taking up any of these hotels such as East Africa hotel, North Africa and South Africa hotel will be amazing and your vacation will be memorable for a lifetime. If you decide to stay in a lodge, this may be a bit far from the wilderness safari but we can as well guarantee the best time of your stay. Truth be told, the easiest destinations to reserve your African safari tours will be North, East and the south. As you take your time thinking of the best safari to plan for, any choice you come up with will not disappoint you. For budget friendly people, you can organize a group safari and if not your tour operator may take you on a cheap private safari. It will be so hard for anyone to go without making any choice. If you are a kind that wants to take pictures of all animals that you see in the wilderness, remember to come well prepared with the best safari gear including the major gadget called a camera. Other people may decide to take a safari and specifically desire to see only the big five and at times the wildebeest if it’s the season.
Something you must take note of is that private safari tours are expensive when compared to the group tours. Thus the choice is always yours to make the best decision. Planning for Africa safari tours will definitely be the right choice because it’s quite cheap and yet you get the opportunity to see all the attractions that you have been dreaming about. Right after your days of safari, you can sit back and relax at the resort as you enjoy the cool environment. Just in case it’s your first time to visit Africa, you will have a lot to talk about with friends and relatives. The pictures will actually say it all in one sentence “you guys had fun” making them jealous and believe me they will definitely pan for the best Africa safari tour. With the information got, you can change the image of Africa to something like visit the true wonders of Africa.
Uganda, also known as the pearl of Africa is perhaps one of the most beautiful places on the African continent, and has the friendliest people too. The wilderness in this small country is very uncorrupted, so if you are looking to experience authentic African wilderness, this is the country to visit. It has beautiful natural scenery, plenty of wildlife such as lions, gorillas, chimpanzees, leopards, buffaloes, exotic birds, giraffes and so much more. There are also plenty of exciting tourist activities such as bungee jumping, gorilla trekking, white water rafting and so many more. There is something for every member of your family. And it is a whole new world for you and your children to experience. What your children usually only get to see on television, they will get to live and in real time. The scenic wonders in Uganda are another reason for a family safari in Uganda.
Uganda has some very amazingly beautiful sights that you will enjoy visiting with your family, and taking some very awesome pictures to capture the memories. There is the historic river Nile which is the longest river in Africa, the magnificent Murchison falls which is the most powerful waterfall in the world, the Rwenzori mountain ranges, which are taller than the alps, these are the tallest mountain ranges in Africa, the beautifully scenic Lake Bunyonyi which looks like a still from a movie scene, the Virunga volcanoes, the explosion craters that you will probably seen on national geographic and so much more. Family safari in Uganda gives you the amazing opportunity to experience some new and interesting cultures. You and your family will learn how these very friendly people live and maybe adopt a new way for two of doing things. You could pick a new recipe, or a new food, or fruit. It makes for good exposure for your children.
How about all the negative and scary stories? And will my children be safe?
Many of the scary stories are myths; some are exaggerations of the fact. There have are stories about safaris in Uganda being dangerous and that you need a body guard everywhere you go. This is a myth. Uganda is actually one of the safest places on the African continent. The hotels, lodges and tented camps you will be staying at will have very good security. And there are guides for your game drives, gorilla trekking, nature walks, bird watching, and any other activity you might want to enjoy. Dangerous is definitely not the word that should come to mind when you think of a safari in Uganda. You should be thinking fun, and exciting. When planning for a safari whether it is family safari or a one man private safari especially where there are children involved. Safari companies like us take safety as a very serious issue. Your children’s safety is important and we do our best to ensure it. There are well experienced and qualified guides and rangers for every activity be it a nature walk or a game drive. So the answer to whether your children will be safe is a definite yes. Another myth is the idea that a Uganda Safari means roughing it and that some strange bugs will make you very uncomfortable. There is no roughing it on a safari in Uganda, the country is way past the stone ages so your children will not be sleeping in bushes or eating strange things. There is very good accommodation, good food, laundry services, and good washrooms. You and your children will be very comfortable Another myth is that your children will be very bored. Uganda is an exciting place for people of all ages. There is something new for you and your children to enjoy at every turn. And if you let the safari company you hire know, they will take your children’s hobbies and interests into consideration while designing an itinerary for you. Your children will not be bored at all. Depending on their ages there are various activities they can enjoy such as: guided nature walks, game drives, horseback riding safaris, cultural visits, hands on lessons in craft making, dancing, drumming, white water rafting and even gorilla trekking if they are above 15years.
What about the Food and Water?
Many people who have never been to Africa think their families will have to survive on strange food and drink. Well that is not the case, there is drinking water available, and normal decent food. There are various international dishes, and the local food is also amazing. There is soda, water and juice, and beers and wines. So your children will be fine, there is plenty of good food, and soft drinks for them in Uganda
Will my children get sick on a Uganda safari?
The disease people are usually worried about is malaria. The truth is Uganda is not a sea of mosquitoes and other insects waiting to get you sick. When you go out camping in west you take bug spray and repellant, same thing applies to mosquitoes in Uganda. You can carry or buy mosquito repellent or talk to your doctor about other preventive measure. However chances of your children catching malaria during your safari in Uganda are very minimal. You can also get some advice from you tour operator.
How could my very young children possibly benefit from a Uganda safari trip?
Children are always looking to learn new things even when they are very young. Children are perhaps the most excited guests we receive, they are excited by everything they see and hear. They learn quite a lot during the time they spend watching television, and more and more children dream of seeing faraway places from the programs they watch,. You could be surprised by how many children’s programs take your children on safaris to Africa. It would be a very exciting experience if they got to visit Africa for real. A Uganda safari will be learning and exploring experience for them.
What will my children do if the adults go gorilla trekking?
There are a number of things your children can do and enjoy while you and the other adults are off trekking gorillas or chimpanzees. They could go on forest walks with friendly well trained tour guides, who will show them a variety of interesting things in the forest from monkeys in the trees, to exotic birds, and exotic butterflies. They could also go on nature walks, or village walks, still with guides. On the village walks they will get to see cultural activities like dance performances or learn a few new things like drumming on local drums. Game drives are often best experienced as a whole family. Your children will not be bored and idle when you off tracking gorillas.
Are there special clothes for children on safari?
Safari clothes for children are usually just miniature replicas of adult safari clothes. Just remember to keep the colours neutral and avoid shorts and short sleeved shirts on hikes. A wide brimmed hat for each child is also recommended and a good pair of light boots.
Are there any vaccinations I should take note of, or some anti-malaria medication?
We recommend that you schedule a visit with your family doctor or a tropical clinic or travel clinic. These will give you advice on what vaccinations you need to have, and anti malaria regiments.
What about Passports and Visas?
You do need passports and visas for everyone in your travelling party. You ca get a tourism visa to Uganda at a low cost of 50 USD per person. We hope we have answered most if not all of your burning questions about bringing your children on a Uganda safari trip. Enjoy you time in the pearl of Africa.
Every person is entitled to a social right of enjoying safaris irrespective of their abilities or disabilities. That is why PWDs or People with Disabilities can also enjoy tourism by visiting their dream destinations. It is on record that about 15% of the world’s population lives with a kind of disability such as physical disability in mobility, hard of hearing, visual impairment, and also the elderly among others.
Therefore a number of hotels in East Africa especially in Uganda are being encouraged to offer services like rooms that can accommodate people with disabilities, wheelchairs, sign language interpreters among other services in order to make it easy for the traveler to enjoy their safari to the fullest.
Assessing Your Needs as a Traveller
It is not that all special needs or disabled people have the same needs that is why it is so important that you are mindful about your unique condition even as you research about accommodation, travel, safari holidays and the activities that come along with where you want to go. Tourists who are visually impaired or in their hearing might not have the same requirements as the one with limited mobility. Therefore, today different safari operators have increasingly mastered the needs of travelers with limited mobility and other similar disabilities.
That is why as a traveler you should inform them your condition; whether you will need a walker, cane, manual wheelchair or you are permanently confined to using a power chair. As you plan for your safari, ensure that every step of your trip is catered for. From the flight, to the safari vehicle that will transfer you to the sites and throughout the safari. Some vehicles have lifted hydraulic lifts which are helpful to people with limited mobility. On top of this some tour operators offer vehicles with a wheelchair locking system which allows the tourist to remain in their chair. Also a personal caretaker can be offered at the request of the traveller that might require certain medical needs.
It is important for the tourists with extremely limited mobility to put into consideration their needs concerning the sleeping (the type of beds)/sitting and above all hygiene. This is because most lodging facilities in Uganda might not offer wheelchair accessible bathrooms, and in order to make your trip memorable you will somewhat need to be flexible at some point. Bathing is usually one of the main adjustments for any western traveller. Some of the facilities in the tourism destinations are not fully developed, hence some might end up resorting to using buckets or bed baths, which is why you are advised to travel with someone you are comfortable with to assist you.
The people with hearing loss or the Deaf people, also have special needs to consider. Whereas it is very possible for your tour operator to help you get a sign language interpreter on your safari, it might come at an extra cost. However, most tourists come to Uganda for safari with family members or friends, so one of the people you travel with can act as your interpreter while on safari, this may be one of the most economical options.
Traditional African safaris are mainly visually oriented, hence visually impaired tourists will need an extra and unique set of needs. That is why in order for the tour operator to cater for such travellers, they try to use the client’s other senses to recreate all the things they might miss out in the experience. The operators go ahead and use detailed and descriptive explanations as a way of interpreting the experience and painting a picture of the traveler’s surroundings such as landscape and wildlife.
Safaris for visually impaired travellers are usually so different from the standard safaris because travellers even get chance to get out of the safari vehicle to smell and touch certain things to make their experience remarkable. In fact, visually impaired travellers usually get an all-inclusive experience than those that solely rely on vision.
It is also important to note that in most tourist sites especially national parks, guide dogs or other animals may not be allowed because there are rules and regulations that have been put in place to prevent the spread of disease between animals, and there is also a danger of attracting predators, so it is not allowed to bring animals from outside into the park. Also some travellers are not permitted to putting animals on long international flights. But, if the visually impaired travellers listen to their guide and also get enough human assistance, they will enjoy their safari perfectly.
Accommodation is also a major thing to consider as you plan your safari in case you are physically disabled. There are a number of accommodation facilities that offer special needs to these travellers, even some that need to use oxygen tanks.
Gorilla Tracking for People with Disabilities
Gorilla tracking is one of the most common activities tourists engage in while on their visit to Uganda and someone who has physical limitations or is elderly could be wondering whether it is possible for him or her to trek Gorillas. And the answer is yes it is possible, Gorilla trekking is not only for those that are young or energetic you can also have an unforgettable encounter with the mighty giants. In fact most people that track gorillas are above 40 years hence you can never be too old to track gorillas as long as you are allowed to take flights. The only limitation to Gorilla trekking is to children below 15 years and those who are sick.
Today Sedan chairs are available in Bwindi to help those with disabilities to also trek gorillas. Basing on the tour operator you choose to plan your safari, inform them about your condition such that they plan accordingly and that your sedan chair is booked. The hiring of Sedan chairs is paid for separately from the gorilla permits, the cost ranges from USD300 to USD500 and this depends on the weight of the client and distance covered to meet a gorilla family.
The people (porters) that carry disabled clients make sure that the client’s dream of seeing the Mountain Gorillas is met and experienced beyond expectation. People with disabilities are also usually taken to the nearest gorilla families. The sedan chairs are also available in all the four sectors (Ruhija, Rushaga, Buhoma, and Nkuringo) of Bwindi Gorilla National Park. Prior booking is recommended because the chairs are given pout on first come first serve basis.
For the elderly people even those above 80 years can successfully trek gorillas in Uganda using Sedan chairs by the help of the porters and ranger guides who are skilled and above all patient with clients. That is why you can miss out on seeing these mighty giants in the jungle.
A Photographic safari in Uganda is a very unique experience. Abundant wildlife viewing, long days, different environments, changes of weather and variable Geography all offer special and excellent opportunities for a remarkable photography experience. Today many tourists engage in these safaris since it is one of the best ways to capture and at the same time keep the safari moments which you can share with your friends or family back home or for future referral.
Photographic safaris in the Pearl of Africa are for all kinds of Photographers whether Amateur or Professional Photographers, what is important is for you to have the best experience during your safari. There is a lot to capture while in Uganda, so your safari is organized basing on your personal interests.
Any passionate photographer should not miss the chance to capture the best photos of the Chimpanzees during a Chimpanzee trek or Gorillas on during Gorilla Habituation or on a Gorilla Trek, the climbing lions in Ishasha Sector and other picturesque areas like Lake Mutanda, the Crater lakes region, Lake Bunyonyi, River Nile, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Rwenzori Mountains, among others.
Although most photographic safaris include more of wildlife and geographical features, it is still possible to visit your other areas of interest whether they are historical, cultural, and religious sites. What is needed as you plan for a photography safari is dedication, preparation, patience and a guide who understands the exact spots you would position yourself to take best photos. Also hire a vehicle with enough space to accommodate the photography equipment.
Below we have listed for you some of the picturesque places in Uganda where you can have remarkable experiences during your photographic safari.
Every one planning a photographic safari cannot miss out on this Park because it has a lot to offer. Of all the Parks, this park is the biggest in Uganda covering 3,893km2 and was gazetted in 1952. It hosts the world’s strongest waterfall called the Murchison Falls, where water makes its way into the Devil’s Cauldron with a thunderous roar through an 8m wide gorge, therein creating a beautiful rainbow.
The park is divided into two section; the northern bank which is covered by savannah grasslands, riverine woodlands, and acacia trees and the southern bank mainly covered by forest and woodland patches, all these sections are great spots for photographers.
Photographers can take amazing wildlife photos of Lions, Buffaloes, Elephants, Warthogs, Antelopes, Nile Crocodiles, Hippos, Leopards and various bird species. While in the park, one can go for hot air balloon safaris, game drives, hiking, nature walks, birding, launch cruises to the delta or the bottom of the falls. Also this park also offers Night game drives. Whatever activity you opt for, you are sure to have fun and above all take the best photos.
This Park has been used in filming movies such as the African Queen film in 1951 starring Humphrey Bogart, also famous people have visited this park including Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill a number of British Royals.
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest is home to over 13 primate species including the L’Hoest’s and Red-tailed monkeys, Baboons, Red colobus, Bush Babies, Blue Monkeys, Mangabeys, Pottos, and the Black & White Colobus monkey, also including over 1500 Chimpanzees. It is situated in the Western region of Uganda. It also hosts about 370 bird species, about 70 mmmals, a number of butterflies as well as different tree and plant species. Other wild animals found in this forest include buffaloes, duikers, elephants, antelopes, bush pigs, otters and giant forest hogs among others.
The park is made up of beautiful tracts of tropical forest, swamp vegetation, grasslands hence makes it more photogenic. Photographers can engage in different activities such as chimpanzee tracking or habituation, nature walks, birding, research among others. Also around the park are scenic carter lakes which can be reached on foot and they are indeed so picturesque.
Though the less visited National Park in the country, it still ranked among Africa’s most beautiful National Parks by CNN. It is found in the North-Eastern part of Uganda and choosing this park among the place to visit during your photography safari would reward you with the amazing views of the Narus and Kidepo valleys, the beautiful culture and history of the Ik people an indigenous tribe and the shadows of the Morungole Mountain.
Apart from the breathtaking landscapes, the park hosts various wildlife species such as over 5,000 buffaloes, lions, herds of elephants and if you are lucky sometimes you can spot the cheetah and the ostrich.
The location of this park is usually off-putting for many travellers but spending time and money to get to the park is rewarding as you discover what many call the “True African Wilderness”. You can get to this park by road which is approximately a 12 hour drive or be transferred in a fairly expensive charter flight.
This park was gazetted in 1991 and was recognized as a World UNESCO Site in 1994. It is located in the South-western part of Uganda and its misty hills are covered with one of the most diverse and oldest rain forests which is over 25,000 years old. It is home to over 400 Mountain gorillas which is half of the world’s remaining population and the main activity done here is Gorilla trekking and Gorilla Habituation.
It also harbors over 350 bird species, 120 mammals, 27 frog species, 202 butterfly species, 346 tree species, and 400 plant species. So whatever your interests are, everything is at your disposal to take photos. The park also has spectacular waterfalls not forgetting the amazing Batwa tribe which has a rich culture with a lot to learn and engage in. in other word, Bwindi cannot miss out among your options for the photographic safaris.
Any photographer should not miss out on visiting this Park. The Park is one of the country’s most visited attractions with diverse ecosystems such as the spectacular lakes, extensive savanna, humid forests, and wetlands which make it a great place for photography. It is home to over 600 bird species, 10 species of primates including the Chimpanzees and the Big game such as lions, buffaloes, elephants, forest hogs, leopards, hippos, antelopes, among others.
The park also offers spectacular views of the Rwenzori Mountains, the rolling hills, enormous carter lakes, the Kazinga Channel which has amazing banks covered with elephants, buffaloes and hippos plus the outstanding Ishasha plains which harbor Climbing Lions. This park also gives chance to photographic visitors to visit different local communities which have a mesmerizing cultural history, they can take part in any of the activities such as dance, music, and storytelling.
Semuliki National Park
Originally, Semuliki was a Game Reserve in 1932 but as time went on, in 1993 it was established as a National Park. This park is mainly dominated by the extension of the Congo Basin’s Ituri forest which is said to be between 13,000 to 18,000 years old. It is home to over 441 bird species and 53 species of mammals.
The park stretches across the Semuliki Valley floor on the distant western part of the Rwenzori region. The Semuliki Valley comprises of a number of features including the Sempaya Male and Female Hot springs which are one of the greatest photogenic features of the Park. River Semuliki is also a beautiful small version of the Congo River.
As you move in the park to get more photos you can come across different wildlife species such as the buffaloes, crocodiles, forest elephants, chimpanzees, hippos, different types of monkeys, bay duikers, and target rats among others. You can also visit the local communities around which includes the Batwa pygmies which a great indigenous community with great history and culture.
This is the country’s smallest National Park with breathtaking picturesque landscapes which can be well experienced while on a game drive or a nature walk or a boat cruise or even on a horse ride. The Park is a 4hours drive away from Kampala, meaning it is one of the easily accessible photogenic attractions in the country.
The savannah plains, rolling hills, the beautiful lakes, and the metamorphic rocks that are about 500million years old are not to miss out. The park also hosts over 350 bird species and you will be sure to spot numerous wildlife scattered all over the park such as Giraffes, Elands, Buffaloes, Zebras, Oribis, Leopards, Hippos, Topis, Reedbucks, Defassa Waterbucks and many more.
This is said to be the country’s deepest lake ranging from 44metres to 900metres in depth. It is situated in the southwestern region and is one of the most photogenic lakes in the country. It is a fresh water lake with an amazing scenery including the surrounding terraced hills not forgetting the most remarkable 29 islands, some of the islands can be accessed by a motorized canoe and be sure to hear the most amazing stories about them.
Lake Bunyonyi can be accessed from Kampala on an approximately a 7hour drive or through Rwanda on a 2hours drive. Take more photos like you wish, if you are a good swimmer you can enjoy it here because the lake is Bilharzia free.
It is said to be one of Uganda’s most beautiful lakes, it is a fresh water lake surrounded by picturesque Mountain landscapes including the spectacular background of peaks of the Virungas. It is located in the Southwestern part in the southern region of Bwindi. Any photographer cannot miss out the experience at this lake.
Well we can go and on because there is a lot that Uganda has to offer to photographers, some areas that have not been mentioned above include; Lake Mulehe, Mt.Mgahinga National Park, the Rwenzori Mountains, Sipi Falls, Mirambi and Katinda Crater Lakes, Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, Pian Upe, Mabira Forest, the source of the Nile and many more.