A Uganda safari can be an adventure packed, soul soothing or memory worth keeping for life. It is also possible that your holiday spent on a safari to Uganda could be less adventurous, underutilized or even frustrating when one does not have a plan on what activities to do while in Uganda. Here is a list of ten things you can add onto your to-do list while on your Uganda safari to make it worthwhile.
1. Gorilla trekking
Exploring the forest while searching for the famous mountain gorillas feeding their offspring or just being their majestic selves is what a Uganda gorilla trekking experience is about and way more. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park will give you the ultimate feel of a gorilla trekking experience. Remember to heed to your ranger’s instructions, prepare physically for a considerable amount of walking and participate while in good health lest you leave the gorillas infected. Gorilla trekking is an adrenaline stirring experience and worth every minute of your time.
2. Chimpanzee trekking
Uganda is a primate hub with over 13 different primates and the chimpanzees being among them. Kibale forest national park, Queen Elizabeth National Park in the Kyambura Gorge, Kalinzu forest, Tooro-Semliki wildlife reserve and Budongo forest are among the places to trek chimps in the wild. For extended time with the chimps in the wild you can take on the chimp habituation experience which lasts longer than chimp trekking experience. Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary and Uganda wildlife Education centre are some places to view orphaned rescued chimps. Enjoy the sight of chimpanzees going about their daily life, eating fruit, watching and grooming each other.
3. Bird watching
The birds of Uganda chirp by the waters of Lake Victoria, they fly over the current of the River Nile and wade through the swamps of Mabamba Island. With over 1050 bird species recorded in Uganda, a safari in Uganda would be incomplete without engaging in birding. The tropical rain forests, the savanna, the swamps and lakesides are a home to many birds. The famous shoebill is one of the must see birds, a glimpse of which may be caught at Mabamba Island. A visit to Bwindi Impenetrable National park would lead you to the Albertine Rift Endemics; the Bigodi wetlands could allow you the sight of a Great Blue Turaco, the Murchison falls national park for the savanna endemics such as Denham’s Bustard; Mabamba Swamp for the shoebill and the central Africa species at the Semuliki National Park.
4. Cultural experiences:
The birds, animals and plant species are not the only form of diversity Uganda has to offer. Our culture is a cocktail of colour, taste, sights and sounds. Each tribe and local community will offer you a different recipe, cultural dress or sense of style, language, traditional song and dance. Try the famous Luwombo from Buganda, Eshabwe from Ankole, Atapa from the land of Teso, Malakwang from Acholi and Maleewa from the Bagisu of the East while exploring Uganda’s cultural and staple food. Participating in the Batwa trail, stopping by the museum, Igongo Cultural Centre, Ndere Centre, the national theatre, a home visit while at Queen Elizabeth National Park and stopping by a souvenir shop in and out of Kampala could give you a feel and taste of Uganda’s culture.
5. Water Rafting
The mighty current, electric breeze, adrenaline stirring waves of the River Nile make White water rafting a bucket list activity while on your Uganda safari. This thrilling experience lasts about 6 hours along 25 kilometers of the River Nile. Water rafting is not for the fainthearted; it is for the wild hearts that crave a spectacular exploration of the Nile one rapid immersion at a time. The options range from the Grade 5 Extreme Rafting, the Raft River Board, Grade 3 Full day rafting or the 2 day water rafting. After your thirst for adventure has been sated by this exhilarating activity, local music, bonfires, barbeque and dancing await you on the banks of the Nile.
6. Canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi turns and twists along a picturesque landscape speckled with 29 islands surrounded by prissily terraced food gardens. Canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi will allow your eyes to saunter up the hills and as deep down into the waters as your eyes can take you while listening to the traditional tales about the Lake and watching the birds. A traditionally dugout canoe will be your transport means around the site while you visit island to island. For the serenity it brings and how deep into the Bunyonyi Region it takes you, canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi is Bucket list Material.
7. Game drives
4X4 wheels, an open roof, binoculars, a good camera, your eyes, the wilderness breeze and wildlife are a summary of what a game drive involves. It is most convenient way to go about wildlife viewing. The tour or ranger guide will be your compass; knowing where to lead you to view the tree climbing lions, the warthogs, elephants, giraffes, buffalo herds, ostriches, hyenas, zebras and birds. This activity is available in the Savannah parks i.e. Kidepo Valley National Park, Queen Elizabeth National park, Murchison falls national park and Lake Mburo National park. The options available are morning, afternoon and nocturnal game drives.
8. Volcano Hiking
Uganda is a land of hills, valleys, picturesque planes and Volcano Mountains. To the east of Uganda stands Mount Elgon at 4,321 meters with the largest caldera in the world. The west of Uganda is home to the mighty Virunga Ranges; Mount Mgahinga, Muhavura and Sabinyo which stand at 3,474 metres, 4,127 metres and 3,645 metres respectively, beckoning to adventurous souls. To hike up the volcanoes is not a merely a rocky climb; rather, it is a walk through the dense forests that grow on the fertile slopes of the volcanoes, a peek at the gorillas that tread the bamboo in the Virunga Ranges and the rare birds that have made these highlands a dwelling place. Hiking up a volcano is a test of character, strength and finally an accomplishment that leaves you prouder of your capabilitiesthan you were before the hike.
9. Boat safaris
The swish-swash of light waves is the nature’s sound track to tourists on a boat safari along the Kazinga Channel one of the top sites for a boat safari in Uganda. Water birds, hippos dunking themselves in the fresh water at high noon and the wild sauntering to the shores to quench a day’s worth of thirst are some of the sights you would catch as you set out on a boat safari at the Murchison Falls. A Boat Safari is a laid back and one of the most tranquil ways to explore Uganda and an activity that should earn its place on your bucket list for things to do while on a safari in Uganda.
10. Kampala City Tour
Kampala is Uganda’s Capital that as of now sits on 22 hills. Whether you choose the bicycle tour, vehicle ride or a walk tour exploring Uganda without touring her capital Kampala would be an injustice to your Uganda safari. Kampala’s greatness lies in her architectural and historic sites like the Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo, Rubaga Cathedral, Namirembe Cathedral, the Bahai Temple, the Hindu temple and the independence monument, Kasubi tombs. While the sites are a sight to behold remember to eat a Rolex while on your tour of Kampala; it seals the deal.