6 Best Places to Visit in Uganda

Uganda could be considered a rather unknown destination for most travellers seeking beautiful places to experience in Africa, given its small size and landlocked position. Although there is no surrounding ocean, 25% of Uganda comprises lakes and rivers, and it certainly packs in many more wonderful places of interest that make those who visit Uganda yearn to come back for more.

Of the top Uganda destinations, the mountainous, forested Bwindi National Park is right up there as one of the best places to visit in Uganda for gorilla treks. But the Uganda tourist attractions don’t stop there, as the country is also home to large savannah reserves, lowland rainforests and enchanting lakes which – in combination – make for one of the biggest wildlife experiences in Africa.

1. Kampala: Capital City & Gateway to Uganda

A typical African capital with a compact, high-rise centre surrounded by sprawling suburbs, busy Kampala is Uganda’s commercial, political and logistical hub but also one of East Africa’s most laid-back and friendly cities. Uganda’s only international airport is set next to Lake Victoria in Entebbe 35kms away. This small town serves as the country’s main entry and exit point and many visitors will spend a night here or in Kampala before and after their Uganda safari.

2. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest: Gorilla Trekking & Rainforest Wildlife

Don’t be put off by its intimidating name: Bwindi is, in fact, penetrable and considered one of the best places in Uganda for an unforgettable gorilla trekking experience. You’ll be led into Bwindi by naturalist guides and trackers and the reward is worth the effort – this majestic forest is a truly magical experience. Spend an hour with a gorilla family, observing these gentle giants in their pristine rainforest habitat before slipping away and back to your comfortable jungle lodge. A gorilla trek is wet, humid, muddy and tough, but the experience is absolutely extraordinary.

3. Murchison Falls National Park: Game Viewing, River Cruises & Birding

With the Nile River neatly bisecting Uganda’s largest park, you’d expect a wide range of animals at Murchison Falls and you’d be right. It’s where to go in Uganda for classic big game species such as elephant, buffalo, lion and hippo. In addition to a bird count of nearly 500, Murchison Falls also boasts chimpanzees and colobus monkeys in its forests. The piece de resistance, however, is a boat cruise to the spectacular falls themselves where the thundering Nile is squeezed through a 7-metre cleft in the Great Rift Valley Escarpment.

4. Queen Elizabeth National Park: Birding, Game Viewing, Chimps & River Cruises

Combining easily with Bwindi Forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most popular and most accessible savannah reserve and is home to elephant, buffalo, leopard, numerous antelope species and the famous tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha Plains. Take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel to spot hippo and crocodile and don’t forget your binoculars: with a staggering 600 recorded bird species, Queen Elizabeth NP is one of the world’s premier bird-watching destinations.

5. Kibale Forest National Park: Primates, Birds & Butterflies

Rapidly becoming one of the must-visit places in Uganda, Kibale Forest offers visitors an accessible and enlightening insight into life in a tropical rainforest. Large mammals aren’t so easily seen but the clouds of dazzling butterflies and gorgeous forest birds more than make up for it, with Kibale in fact being most famous for its primates. Go on guided chimpanzee treks in the majestic forest and see how many of the other 12 primate species you can spot.

6. Lake Mburo National Park: Serene Game Viewing & Birding

Halfway between Uganda’s capital and entry point Kampala and the gorilla trekking forests of the south-west lies Lake Mburo, a perfect overnight stop-over for travellers making their way between the two destinations. Although the heavyweights such as elephants are missing, the great mix of wetland and woodland habitats makes for a wide range of mammals and birds and Mburo’s tranquil atmosphere and soothing views provide welcome relief after a tough journey.