Many of the most famous and well-travelled safari trails in Africa take the wanderer through the country of Uganda and yet it rarely comes to mind when considering a safari holiday. With the River Nile running through it, some fantastic lakes and endangered wildlife to see on your trails, it is a little-known gem that deserves a visit.
As few tourists have yet to discover the country, it is so far relatively unspoiled. With lush green mountain forests and crystal clear lakes, it’s a perfectly peaceful place to enjoy the scenery and take in the natural beauty of the setting. The Ugandan people are also incredibly friendly, hospitable and welcoming, which makes for a wonderful holiday retreat.
The source of the Nile
The prime destination for any traveller in Uganda is Lake Victoria, where the Nile starts its progress towards Egypt through Africa and the Mediterranean Sea.
There are wonderful bird watching opportunities on Lake Victoria
Jinja overlooks Lake Victoria and the river and offers a range of campsites that give safari travellers the opportunity to relax and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the lake, take boats out to explore and spot the birdlife habitats around the lake itself and even enjoy some more high adrenaline activities such as white water rafting or even bungee jumping over the rushing waters near Owen Falls.
The capital city of Uganda is also near Lake Victoria and has a whole host of things to see and do. It makes a great place to start a Uganda safari with the airport on the doorstep and the city and its many hotels to put you up until you join your tour. The National Museum holds some interesting artefacts, while Buganda Road has a whole range of shops and stalls with women selling local hand-crafted items for sale. You can haggle over the items then enjoy some of the best coffee in Africa in one of the many small coffee shops serving locally grown beans.
When it comes to wildlife in Uganda, one of the biggest draws is the chance to spot the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
The majestic mountain gorilla in its natural forest habitat
The gorillas are a protected species as there are now fewer than 800 of them remaining in the wild distributed across Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Visiting them is expensive, as you will need to get a gorilla permit in order to trek near these endangered animals. While this doesn’t guarantee that you will see one on your trip, as the families are carefully tracked to ensure their safety it is highly likely that you will be able to see and spend time with them on your visit and all those who take the trip find it very worthwhile. Your trip into the gorilla parks need to be paid for locally and will give you the opportunity to see some of the rarest creatures on earth and one of our closest animal relatives
Although many of the safari trips tend to take in Uganda as part of a wider tour covering Kenya and Tanzania, but there are plenty of things to see and do in the country itself. The experience of being close to the source of one of the world’s greatest rivers is an experience in itself, but combined with the lush, dense mountain forests it makes Uganda a varied and fascinating destination.
If your inclination to spend time with wildlife includes meeting our closest primate relatives, Uganda is the best place to visit. The trips into the forests to observe the gorillas are a life-changing experience and worth the trip in itself.