experiencing uganda culture

15 Days Eastern Uganda Adventure and Cultural Safari

This tour will bring you ‘off the beaten’ tracks of Uganda’s hidden sites and people. We will start with the adventure safari in the Jinja and Mbale areas of Eastern Uganda. River Nile offers some of the best adrenaline rush activities and later hikes to watch the Sipi falls and abseiling experiences.  After these exhilarating experiences, we shall embark on the cultural aspects of the tour. The Karamoja region was previously not visited much due to the armed Karimajong.  All this is past and now they are down to keeping cattle and growing a few crops when the weather allows. They have a rich cultural heritage living in closed homesteads known as manyatta’s to see how they live and carry on their daily chores. You shall crown this experience with a safari experience first in Pian Upe game reserve and finally in the true African wilderness of Kidepo valley national park.

Safari Highlights

  • Water rafting
  • Source of River Nile
  • Sipi falls
  • Game drives
  • Cultural and Community experiences


Day 1: Arrival for the Eastern Uganda Adventure and Cultural Safari

On arrival at the airport, you will find a representative of Kagera Safaris waiting to pick you . They will transfer you to the hotel for overnight most preferably in Kampala. However if your flight is late in the night, an option of Entebbe will be considered. Your tour guide will pick you up the next day ready for your safari.

Journey time – 1,5 hours
Meal Plan – Dinner

  • Up market – Kampala Serena
  • Midrange – Cassia Lodge
  • Budget – Forest Cottages

Day 2: Transfer to Jinja via Sezibwa falls and Mabira Forest

Jinja is the adventure capital of Uganda and by extension East Africa. If you are thinking adrenaline rush then this is the perfect place for you. The journey to Jinja will include 2 major stops – first will be a visit to the Sezibwa falls with an interesting cultural back ground.

After about 2 hours in this area, you will move to Mabira forest for a 2 hour hike in this beautiful forest. After this freshness in the forest, proceed to Jinja for overnight and experience at the Source of River Nile.

Journey time – 2 hours
Meal plan – B, L & D

  • Up market – Wildwaters Lodge
  • Mid-range – Haven Lodge
  • Budget – Nile Cottages

Day 3: Whole day rafting on River Nile

The Nile is the longest river in the world with its source in Jinja off Lake Victoria ending up in the Red Sea. Today you will spend the day on the waters of River Nile rafting with the sun kissing your skin. You will first have a short training with your rafting leader before starting the rafting adventure. Depending on your interest you can choose to hit the rapids and flip over or choose are more less adventure trip.

You will experience grade 5 rafting with 4 rapids before lunch and another 4 after lunch. For adventure and adrenaline junkies, this is your kind of a fun filled day.  You will have a stop over for lunch and you proceed right after lunch ending with a barbecue.

B, L & D

Day 4: To Sipi falls via Mbale – Hike Wanale Hill

After an early breakfast, you will transfer to Sipi falls via Mbale known for its several mountains surrounding the towns.  Your first stop will be the Wanale hill with great views of Mbale town and beautiful waterfalls and caves, spend time hiking this beautiful hill with several stops to catch the beautiful views. Some part of the trail goes through gardens of the people.

Return to Mbale town, have lunch and proceed to Sipi falls area where you will overnight ready to explore this amazing destination of the Bamasaba people.

Journey time – 3 hours
Meal plan – B, L & D

  • Mid-range – Sipi River Lodge
  • Budget – Casa Sipi Falls Resort

Day 5: Hike the Sipi falls

The Sipi falls are 3 waterfalls in eastern Uganda coming out of different areas of Mt Elgon. They are beautiful waterfalls and were named as the most romantic waterfalls by the guide book – Lonely Planet.

You will spend the morning hiking up all the 3 waterfalls, please carry your swimming costume because you can swim at some of the pools below the water falls. In addition to hiking the waterfalls, You can spend some time visiting a home to have a coffee experience with the award winning coffee which is by far the best Arabica coffee you will find anywhere.

You can choose to take on abseiling at Robs Rolling Rock for those interested in even more adventure.

B, L & D

Day 6: Transfer to Pian Upe game reserve

Today after breakfast, we transfer to Pian Upe game reserve in eastern Uganda. It is one of the best places to see Cheetahs in Uganda. The main activity is having a game drive in the untouched reserve with some areas safe for a walking safari. For those interested in mountaineering they would plan to hike Mt Kadam but would need to be booked prior to the time. It is located in the Karamoja area so you have opportunities of visiting one of the Karamajong homesteads for an experience with them.

Journey time – 4 hours
Meal plan – B, L & D

  • Budget – UWA Bandas

Day 7: Game drive and Cultural Tour

Start early for a game drive in Pian Upe game reserve. We will mostly be looking out for Cheetahs which are easier seen here compared to any other  park in Uganda. Otherwise look out for  big herds of roan antelopes and water bucks, Bohor and Mountain Reebuck, Duikers, Dik-dik, Spotted hyenas, jackals, Common Elands, Cape buffalo, Uganda Kobs, Olive baboons, Vervet and Patas Monkeys, etc.

In the afternoon we shall visit a Karamajong family to learn more about their life and engage in their home.

B, L & D

Day 8: Transfer to Moroto

After the beautiful experience in Pian Upe, we shall leave for Moroto town to continue our cultural experience with the Karimajong people. The drive to Moroto will give you great views of beautiful scenery in this part of Uganda.

Enjoy stops along the way to take in the landscape until you arrive at your guesthouse in Moroto. On arrival in Moroto, check in to your accommodation and explore the small beautiful Moroto town or wait until tomorrow.

Journey time – 5 hours
Meal plan – B, L & D

  • Budget – Karamoja Safari Camp

Day 9:  Cultural experiences in Moroto

Spend today visiting a Karimajong manyatta taking part in different activities surrounding the cows and lifestyle of the Karimajong. You will learn about the different rights of passage from child birth to adulthood.

You can alternatively take on a day hike of Mt Moroto returning in the evening depending on your preferences. Mt Moroto is inhabited by the Tepeth tribe who originally inhabited the Karamoja plains but left for Mountains when the Karimajong raided them.

B, L & D

Day 10: Transfer to Kidepo valley national park

One of the things that will keep you in awe is the beautiful landscape of the Karamoja region. It just keeps getting better as you keep moving further north. This beautiful region will show you a side of Uganda you will not get enough of. Today transfer to Kidepo valley after breakfast with short stopovers for pictures along the way. You will carry packed lunch and you will have a picnic in the plains of Karamoja.

Journey time – 5 hours
Meal plan – B, L & D

  • Upmarket – Apoka Lodge
  • Mid-range – Kidepo Savannah Lodge
  • Budget – UWA Bandas

Day 11: Game drive in Kidepo Valley National park

Kidepo valley national park is the true wilderness of Africa with the largest herd of Cape Buffaloes found anywhere in Africa. It has amazing scenery of rock kopjes and mountains within the park.

The game drive will take you to Narus valley which access to water all year round as opposed to Kidepo valley which is seasonal. The wildlife to look out for include Cheetahs, leopards, lions, Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras, Water bucks, Bush bucks, Elands, Uganda Kobs and an array of bird life.

B, L & D

Day 12: Hike Mt Murungole

The Ik tribe are an indigenous tribe living at Mt Morungole which is borders with Kidepo valley national park. They essentially out of touch with most of the other local populations living in seclusion. Today morning after breakfast, you shall transfer to Mt Morungole and hike up to interact with the Ik tribe.

B, L & D

Day 13: Transfer to Gulu with stopover at Aruu falls

Today morning after breakfast, we transfer to Gulu town as a major break for the journey to Kampala. Again we shall have photography stops enroute to Gulu. We shall also detour to Aruu falls found outside Gulu town therefore arriving in Gulu later in the evening. Depending on time availability, we have an opportunity of visiting an Acholi homestead.

B, L & D

Day 14: Transfer to Kampala via Rhino Sanctuary

The 2 weeks long tour is quickly coming to an end. We start the journey to Kampala and proceeding to Entebbe. We shall have a stopover at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to trek for Rhinos on this private sanctuary. After this experience, we will have lunch and then proceed on our journey arriving in Entebbe later in the evening.

Journey time – 5 hours
Meal plan – B, L & D

  • Upmarket – Kampala Serena Hotel
  • Mid-range – Cassia Lodge
  • Budget – Apricot Guesthouse

Day 15: Departure

Thank you for exploring Eastern Uganda with us and visiting the different communities thus sharing your income with them. We hope you had a fantastic time and you are now an ambassador for this area. Invite your friends and family to visit Eastern Uganda and engage in the different activities.

Meal plan – Breakfast & Lunch

Tour includes

  • Ground transport
  • Park entrances
  • Boat trips
  • Bottled water in the safari vehicle
  • Full board accommodation
  • Service of an English-speaking driver guide
  • All mentioned activities except for the optional ones

Tour excludes

  • Extras at the accommodation i.e. drinks, telephone, laundry etc.
  • Tips to porters and driver/ guide
  • Insurance

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