08 Aug Are you overlooking Uganda for your next holiday? Here’s 13 reasons why you should consider it
Uganda, as we say, is ‘gifted by nature’. It is home to around 15 primate species, nearly 100 mammals and over 1,000 bird species. Coupled with spectacular scenery, this makes Uganda a nature lover’s paradise.
But Uganda has more to offer than its amazing wildlife. It is also well known for its outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, white water rafting, mountain biking and abseiling, to name but a few.
Uganda also has a rich, diverse culture with over 50 tribes, all with their own customs and traditions. Visit schools, farms and cultural/ religious sites or try your hand at cooking, drumming or craft making. All with the famously friendly and welcoming Ugandan people.
It is not all about history and tradition, though. Uganda has a thriving modern culture which a tour of Kampala will quickly reveal as you visit some of the trendiest shops, galleries, cafes, bars and restaurants and dance the night away in some of the hottest clubs.
After all that, you might need a little rest and relaxation, and Uganda has that covered too. Why not spend a couple of days at the beach, in the Ssese Islands, relaxing in the sunshine or indulge in a bit of pampering in an exclusive spa?
Uganda is a beautiful country to visit. Sometimes it’s overlooked because people don’t know much about it as a holiday destination. However, Uganda has so much to offer and provides a truly authentic African experience. If you’re still not convinced, here are 13 great reasons why you should consider Uganda as your next holiday destination.
13 great reasons to visit Uganda
1. Gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates
Uganda is home to the highest concentration of primates than any other African country. Bwindi Impenetrable, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks are hotspots for Gorilla Tracking and seeing first-hand the positive impact of conservation.
It’s a bucket list experience for many people as there is something very profound about trekking through a dense, lush forest to lock eyes with a family of gorillas in their natural habitat. In addition to mountain gorillas, you’ll find over 15 primate species in Uganda, including chimpanzees, golden monkeys, blue monkeys, and olive baboons.
Boasting the highest density of primates in an African country, you’ll find Uganda’s primate capital in Kibale National Park. But primates can be found at many other locations around the country too.
Our team will arrange visits, organise permits and pair guests with experienced rangers and guides to give you the best experience.
View our Gorilla Tracking Safaris in Uganda
2. Big Cats
You will find lions, leopards and cheetahs in the wild throughout Uganda. The most visible of the big cats are the imposing lions that roam Uganda’s savannah plains. Our wildlife safaris take you into the heart of Murchison Falls, Kidepo valley and Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you can catch them mating, lazing around in the sun and hunting in prides. In the southern area of Queen Elizabeth National Park, you’ll be mesmerised by the Ishasha tree climbing lions.
In contrast, leopards are shy and trickier to spot, often choosing to spend daylight hours hidden from view. Fast and stealthy, they cover large areas to find food, often storing their kill up a tree to the eat when the coast is clear. Twilight safaris are the best way to spot our Leopards. In comparison, Cheetahs are more easily seen during a daytime game drive, that’s if you can keep up with the fastest animal on land. You are likely to see other smaller cats in Uganda too including the African Wild Cat, Caracals and Serval cats. Each one is an amazing sight.
View our Wildlife Safaris in Uganda
3. Spectacular Wildlife Safaris
Ok, so we’ve talked about primates and big cats so far. If you are into other types of wildlife, you won’t be disappointed by what Uganda has to offer as a safari destination. Nature enthusiasts will see elephants, giraffes, buffalos, hippopotamus, Nile crocodiles, numerous antelope species, rhinos, zebras and more.
Essentially, Uganda is home to a large variety of mammals and our spectacular wildlife safaris give guests plenty of time in national parks and elsewhere to see, photograph or sketch many of these species in the wild.
4. Magnificent birds
Uganda is a birders paradise as its home to over 1000 bird species including the endemic Fox’s Weaver, Albertine Rift Endemics and sought-after species like Shoebill, Green-breasted Pitta and African Green Broadbill. It is a year-round birding destination with June-September being particularly popular.
Birds can be found in a range of habitats including forests, open woodland, open water, savanna, swamps, montane and riverine. We also have a number of Important Bird Areas (IBAs), Ramsar sites and 10 national parks where birds can be found alongside other wildlife.
We can design tours for avid or leisure birders and combine birding with other activities according to clients’ interests such as wildlife viewing and community visits.
Our birding safaris are thoughtfully put together and escorted by professional bird guides to ensure you see as many birds as possible: perhaps 400-500 species in a 3-week tour.
View our Birding Safaris in Uganda
5. Green Landscapes
For some people, the word Africa conjures up images of dry, savanna grasslands with thorny acacia trees but, if you like warm tropical temperatures and diverse landscapes and vegetation, Uganda has it all. Located on the equator and in the famous Great Lakes region you’ll find snow-capped mountains, glaciers, volcanic craters, rivers, lakes, tropical rainforests, rolling hills, lush green plantations, semi-arid areas and vast savannah plains. Uganda is one of the greenest and most fertile countries in the world but don’t take our word for it, come and see for yourself.
6. Culture and special interest holidays
Uganda is awash with culture, being made up of many ethnic groups who live in the central, south-east, west and north regions. Each has its own distinctive customs and social norms that include different takes on dress, language, art, dance and food. There are many native tongues, but the three main languages spoken in Uganda are English, Luganda and Swahili.
We create bespoke tours that combine wildlife with cultural or community experiences which show our guests aspects of daily life like farming, cattle-keeping, markets, preparing local food and drink or traditional medicines. We can also take our guests off the beaten track to visit remote tribes and villages found in faraway places in Eastern and Northern Uganda or to stay in local home for a fully immersive experience. In contrast, much of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, reflects a more modern Uganda, a lively and cosmopolitan mix of shopping, live music, restaurants and bars but it also has some great historical, religious and cultural sites which reveal more about our country.
As well as tailoring our tours to meet our clients’ individual interests, we can offer special interest tours designed for small groups. These could focus on photography, crafts, heritage or bird watching.
7. Warm welcomes
Uganda is a very safe and secure country and regarded as one of the friendliest countries in the world. International tourists are especially treated to warm welcomes and traditional hospitality wherever they travel in Uganda. Local people will always show their appreciation to those who have come a long way to visit Uganda. As with other countries, you will hear tales of petty crime however, this is at low levels and Ugandans are more focused on going out of their way to make tourists feel welcome.
8. Adventure holidays
Jinja, a mere 1.5 hours east of the capital, Kampala, is a hotspot for adventure travellers. Harbouring the source of the River Nile, Jinja also offers the best rapids for thrilling white-water rafting and kayaking experiences. The adrenaline rush continues with bungee jumping over the river but don’t worry, there are no crocodiles here! You can also enjoy flat-water kayaking, tubing, paddleboarding and sunset boat cruises with BBQs and beer. If water is not your thing, try mountain biking, quad biking or horse-back riding. There is something for all travellers looking for excitement and adventure while on holiday.
View our Adventure Holidays in Uganda
Many of our tours include opportunities to get out of the vehicle and stretch your legs on local countryside or village walks and, for those wanting something more challenging, we have full-day hikes. And don’t forget Gorilla, Chimpanzee and Golden Monkey tracking also involves trekking through tropical rainforests.
Our verdant landscapes and varied terrain offer something for everyone, regardless of your ability or fitness level. Two of our most popular hikes include the three falls walk at Sipi falls near Mt Elgon, a walk to the Top of the World in the stunningly beautiful crater lakes region. And, village walks in our home village provides guests with great access to the local community.
View our Hiking Holidays in Uganda
10. Mountain ranges and crater lakes
There are some spectacular mountain ranges in Uganda, the most well-known being the Rwenzori’s aptly known as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’. This snow-capped mountain range is beautiful and offers the most adventurous travellers arduous mountain climbing challenges that are supported by experienced and professional guides. Once at the top (5,109m) you’ll be rewarded with breath taking views over the clouds to distant peaks. It’s a quiet, often peaceful climb as you find very few other climbers along the way.
Another focal point is Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano that erupted 24 million years ago, making it the oldest volcano in Africa. It has peaks, caves, waterfalls and, of course, the caldera all of which can be visited on a choice of routes.
In the Virunga volcanoes chain, you’ll find Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhabura and Mount Sabinyo standing tall on the border between Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda and we offer hikes from a few hours to a full day.
From mountains to crater lakes, you’ll find the whole Rift Valley region fascinating both geologically and geographically but one of the most beautiful features is the Ndali-Kasenda crater field with over 30 small lakes created millions of years ago as volcanic cones collapsed and filled with water.
The main conservation projects in Uganda cover ten national parks, eight wildlife reserves, four wildlife sanctuaries and nine Ramsar sites and many protected forests. The key focus of conservation authorities is to ensure biodiversity thrives while protecting endangered species, sustaining livelihoods in vulnerable communities, and providing social, economic opportunities to Uganda as a whole. When tourists visit our country, you contribute to these projects and give back to our country.
12 Responsible Travel
We like to think we are a responsible tourism company that cares for our staff, local communities, wildlife and nature. When people choose to travel with Venture Uganda, we really try and help our clients travel responsibly.
This means we think about how we deliver our services to ensure that, on balance, our holidays and educational visits have a positive impact on people, wildlife, and the wider environment. Further details about our responsible travel policy can be found here.
13. Ugandan food
Ugandans love their food and most meals are prepared using fresh, homegrown or local ingredients. You can get international cuisine in Kampala, other major towns and tourist lodges and local delicacies in smaller villages around in the country. You can experience everything from 5* hotels to sampling street food at traffic lights. We encourage you to try the infamous Rolex, a chapati filled with an omelette, onion and tomato. It is delicious and a bucket-list snack you must try when visiting Uganda. Overall, you’ll find food to be a mix of traditional and modern cooking styles influenced by English, Arab and Indian tastes.
We hope we’ve convinced you to travel to Uganda. You won’t be disappointed. Read our blog for more information or chat to our travel advisor Philo to answer any questions you may have.