Uganda has emerged as a must visit destination for adventure lovers. The East African nation offers beautiful scenery, exciting wildlife and diverse culture.
It is endowed with an abundance of tourist attractions that range from game parks to waterfalls and much more. In this article, we give you 21 reasons why you should visit Uganda – the Pearl of Africa in 2022.
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Spending a vacation in Uganda is the best way of exploring the natural and cultural heritage of this East African Country. There are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Uganda that make it a tourist destination for those who love to travel and explore different cultures.
The first ever World Heritage Site in Uganda is Murchison Falls National Park, which is named after its “creator”, Sir Samuel White Baker.
The park has more than 80 species of mammals and over 400 species of birds, including fish eagles, storks, falcons, kingfishers, bee-eaters and many more. Murchison National Park has an area of almost 2,000 square kilometres, making it one of the largest parks in Africa.
Other UNESCO World heritage sites include; Kasubi Tombs, Bwini Impenetrable National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kibale Forest National Park. Read more about these sites here.
A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention provided by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
These Sites are assigned by UNESCO for having social/cultural, historical, and scientific or various other kind of value to humanity.
River Nile – longest in Africa
The Nile is the longest river in Africa and the second-longest in the world, flowing north through Sudan and South Sudan, emptying into the Mediterranean Sea at the city of Alexandria in Egypt.
In its upper section, the river is called Bahr Al-Arab, meaning “River of the Arabs.” In its middle and lower sections, it is called Bahr Al-Azraq: “River of the Blue,” referring to water discoloration caused by sediments within the river.
At 4,160 miles long, the Nile flows northwards through the entire length of the continent before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea.
It has several tributaries, including Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga and the Blue Nile River. The might River Nile is definitely a good reason for you to visit Uganda.
Lake Victoria – world’s largest tropical lake
The world’s second biggest fresh water and largest tropical lake, Lake Victoria is found in Uganda. The lake borders three countries; Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
The size of the lake is estimated at 69,700 square kilometres (26,600 sq mi). With a depth of between 200 metres (660 ft) to 412 metres (1,352 ft), it holds approximately 33,850 cubic kilometres (7,500 cu mi) of water.
Lake Victoria is shared by Uganda on the north-west side with Kenya on the east side bordering Tanzania on the south-west side.
The lake is a prime destination for bird watchers and there are a number of bird sanctuaries. The most famous of these is the Murchison Falls National Park which offers a variety of activities including boat rides on Lake Victoria, bird watching, cultural tours and nature walks.
Lake Victoria which meets the Nile in Jinja has several vivid visitor activities that you shouldn’t miss out.
These including; Nile High Bungee– Uganda, Nile or a sunset cruise on Lake Victoria with BBQ and drinks, Kayaking on the White Nile, White-water Rafting, Fishing trip looking for the huge Nile Perch, Tubing the Nile and a lot more.
Lake Bunyonyi – Place of many little birds
Lake Bunyonyi (“place of many little birds”) remains in south western Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale, close to the boundary with Rwanda.
The lake showed up from 2004 to 2009 on the 5,000 Uganda shilling note, under the title “Lake Bunyonyi and terraces”.
Scientific literature typically estimate an optimum deepness of 40 m (130 feet), however some tourist guides and locals urge that it’s much deeper, about 900 m (3,000 ft), which would make it the second-deepest lake in Africa.
Bunyonyi is a paradise for bird watchers and fishermen alike, where travelers fish for Tilapia and Nile perch. Other activities include Ziplining and boat rides around the over 30 Islands.
The lake is also a heaven for those who want to relax and unwind. The surrounding hills are covered with pine forests and the occasional banana plantation, and the lake shore itself is crowned with white sandy beaches where you can sunbath or swim.
The luxury hotels and resorts in Uganda
Uganda, the pearl of Africa is home to numerous luxury hotels and resorts that promise to give you an enjoyable holiday.
The country has numerous tourist sites that are worth visiting like the Murchison Falls national park, Queen Elizabeth national park among others.
They also have outdoor recreation centers for game viewing, conference facilities and spa centers among others.
A luxury hotel or resort is a high-end hotel that offers luxury amenities. The amenities provided include an elite class of furnishings and services, distinguished cuisine, and superior accommodations.
Sometimes the term “luxury” itself is used as a brand for a hotel, not only to mean amenities but also to invoke feelings of exclusivity.
Here is a review of Uganda’s 25 most luxurious Safari Lodges by The CEO Magazine.
The Festivals – celebrate the local culture
A festival is a celebration of culture, arts, or tradition. Festivals can be organized around a wide variety of themes, from sports to food. It is a time when people gather from all over the world to enjoy each other’s company and engage in creative activities.
Uganda has a rich cultural landscape. It is blessed with events which are celebrated by the locals and tourists on an annual basis.
The country’s festivals are always fun to be part of for both locals and tourists. They are usually traditional in nature and they bring people together for amazing celebrations.
The Nyege Nyege festival is arguably the largest music celebration in East Africa; Nyege is a four-day music party that sees party people from across the continent.
According to Nyege founder, this event means tranquility, love and bountiful delight for underground music as well as musicians in Africa.
Before the pandemic, the festival held its fifth edition at their common place ‘Nile Discovery Beach’ Jinja.
Here is a list of 15 top festivals to look out for when you visit Uganda – complied by Watch Dog News.
The Mountains – breathtaking sights
Uganda is a landlocked country with an extensive range of mountains and hills, plus it has some of the most dramatic and interesting scenery in East Africa.
The spectacular scenery that surrounds Uganda makes it easy to forget that the east African nation has a rich cultural heritage and a fascinating history.
Uganda has been described as a land of mountains – from the Rwenzoris and Virunga Hills on its western boundary, to Mount Elgon on the eastern flanks.
Uganda’s peaks offer breathtaking sights throughout the savannahs, lakes, and forests of East and Central Africa.
Here are some recommended tourist activities around Mountains by Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The Forests – a major attraction for Eco-tourism
According to The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Uganda, Forestry and Tourism are essential contributors to Uganda’s economic situation with a 6% and 9% contribution to GDP respectively.
Uganda’s touristic products are largely nature based and centered on distinctive geographical areas.
Such areas include; the Albertine rift area – home to five forests, namely; Echuya Forest Reserve, Budongo Forest Reserve, Bugoma Forest Reserve, Kalinzu-Maramagambo Forest and Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve.
In total, the National Forest Authority (NFA) is mandated to manage all the 506 Central Forest Reserves in Uganda.
Forests and forest reserves in Uganda are a major attraction for tourism and Eco-tourism – helping to drive the economy of the country.
Forests provide “Eco-tourism” opportunities for tourists looking to enjoy the beauty of nature. Forests also give shelter to various species of animals including primates, big cats, elephants and insects which attract Eco-tourists.
Budongo Central Forest Reserve for example, is the largest survival natural forest in Uganda and residence to 24 species of little animals, 9 varieties of primates and also 280 butterflies.
It’s also the natural habitat of more than 600 chimps, of which a small community has been habituated for Eco-tourism functions. This family consists of 80 individuals, allowing vacationers the one-of-a-kind opportunity to view these amazing apes in their natural environment.
Other popular forest reserves include, the Mabira Forest, along the Kampala – Jinja highway. This rain forest covers about 300 square kilometres, with attractions like the Griffin Falls and activities like Ziplining.
Gorilla tracking experiences in Uganda
Gorilla Tracking is one of the most thrilling wildlife experiences in Uganda. Tracking these gentle giants in their natural habitat is a real privilege.
It’s also a good way to support the conservation of the species and the forest as a whole as you visit Uganda.
A gorilla tracking experience in Uganda is an once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are only two gorilla species in Africa, both of which are endangered.
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in southwest Uganda is the only place where the Mountain Gorilla can be found.
The park covers 1,169 square miles, making it the second largest forested national park in Uganda. There are nine Gorilla groups living in the park, containing around 300 gorillas.
There have been over 1,000 sightings of wild mountain gorillas since researchers started keeping records.
Each year, thousands of tourists visit Uganda to track gorillas. The industry has grown considerably over the last few years, and with it has come an increase in quality of service on offer.
On record, Uganda is residence to half the world’s populace of endangered mountain gorillas. These can only survive at altitude in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Intend to trek with them? This is what we want you to learn about watching gorillas in their all-natural habitat;
Though an endangered species, the number of gorillas on the planet has actually quadrupled in the last 40 years.
Understanding the inter-dependencies in between these mild giants, locals that live near them, and and the travelers that wish to observe them is important for safeguarding them and keeping the populace growing.
The night life – vibrant and diverse
Uganda is a beautiful country full of beautiful women and beautiful people in general. It has nine national parks and the largest refugee population in Africa.
It is also one of the most strategic countries in East Africa and home to some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet.
When it comes to the night life, Uganda is very good with so many clubs and bars to choose from. There are always parties going on, whether for a birthday, graduation or just a get together.
There are many different types of music played in Uganda ranging from high-life to rap to R&B and even reggae.
When we think of Uganda, we don’t necessarily think of a bustling nightclub scene – the night life in Uganda is very vibrant and diverse.
Nightclubs in Kampala, Entebbe and other cities in Uganda are hosting live bands and DJ’s that play a myriad of different genres.
You can find everything from salsa to hip-hop to deep house at these venues. Just visit Uganda.
The Food – diverse and delicious
Uganda is a beautiful country, filled with warm and welcoming people.
It is a country located in eastern Africa, and is known for its beautiful scenery, including waterfalls and mountains. It’s also known for its food, which is diverse and delicious.
This is a section on the food in Uganda. These recipes will show you all the delicious foods that Ugandans eat every day, including the national dish of Ugali, fish ball soup, and a lot more.
Allow us make your culinary experience a little more authentic by introducing you to some of Uganda’s favorite traditional foods, in this article that we first shared on Medium. The article analyzes 10 top traditional foods not to miss when you visit Uganda.
The Culture – unique and diverse
The people of Uganda have a rich culture filled with a love for family and a strong faith in God.
The culture of Uganda was formed from the diversity of its peoples. Many tribes live within the borders of the country, which has shaped the cultures into what we are today.
Uganda’s history spans from as far back as 500 A.D., when people lived as hunter-gatherers.
In 1000 A.D., Bantu tribes moved into the region from central Africa, bringing with them new farming techniques and iron-working skills.
The history of Uganda is one of the most diverse and complicated histories in Africa. It is also a country that is steeped in tradition and culture.
One of the most interesting aspects of Ugandan culture is the diversity among its people.
There are 56 tribes and about nine indigenous communities that formally came to be recognized in the 1995 constitution amendment of 2005.
There are also over 40 languages – making the Country a multilingual one and very unique.
As stated, Uganda is a nation composed of a large number of different cultures.
The common thought is that there are two major cultures, the Baganda and the Banyankole, but there are many others which include the Basoga, the Batoro, the Bakiga, the Bahima, and many others.
In Uganda’s culture, the family is very important. The family is not only composed of your blood relations but includes your clan and its entire people. This has led to a strong sense of collectivism.
Each Ugandan tribe has their own special belief system and religion, and that’s what makes us unique.
Traditional Dances – a reflection of the life and culture
Traditional dances in Uganda are a reflection of the life and culture of its residents and their enjoyment.
Uganda is a country full of cultural dances from the eastern part to the western part. The western region has been seen to have more cultural dances when comparing with the eastern region.
As specified above, Uganda has a selection of tribes and each of these people has a signature cultural traditional dance that defines who they are.
All these dances are made up based upon tribal traditional activities from all ball of life. Many of these are based upon harvest, sex and marriage, love and reproduction.
Some of these dances include; Ekitaguriro dance, performed by the Banyankore, Acholi traditional dance, Nankasa, Baakisiimba, Muwogola, performed by the Baganda, Ekizino dance, Akogo dance, Runyege Batooro, Edonga dance, Agwara dance, and many more.
A safari to Uganda will certainly ensure you an opportunity to not just be delighted, but taught musically.
Safaris (wildlife) Home of the Big5
Uganda safaris, now one of the most sought after safaris destination in Africa is home to the Big-5.
With an estimated 1000+ elephants and over 400 lions and increasing every day, Uganda Safari is a must see for wildlife enthusiasts.
As a traveler and explorer, here are some of the highlights that you shouldn’t miss when you visit Uganda;
The Nile River Cruise: This is an amazing tour to do with your family and friends. You will be able to see Nile crocodiles, hippos and many other animals as you cruise down the majestic Nile River.
Game drive in Murchison Falls National Park – this is the best place for seeing Uganda wildlife.
It is located near the Nile River, coming with different tourist activities. The park is named after Murchison Falls, which is a beautiful landmark that you can see on your drive into the park.
Wildlife – Uganda has been called the “Pearl of Africa” and is a country of great beauty and diversity.
Its natural heritage includes a stunning array of animal species, with a total of 1090 confirmed species of birds as of August 2021 (of them, one is endemic, and three have been introduced by humans).
There are over 1200 species of butterflies, and 345 species of mammals – including a good percentage of the world’s endangered gorilla population.
The National Parks – numerously protected areas
The national parks in Uganda are the most numerously protected areas of the country.
They are managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and are under protection due to their biodiversity, cultural heritage and environmental importance.
These protected areas were established in 1926, with the establishment of Murchison Falls National Park. Later on, they increased rapidly due to demand for conservation of wild animals that had greatly dwindled.
According to UWA, Uganda has ten National Parks that include; Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo, Murchison Falls, Kidepo Valley, Kibale, Mount Elgon, Rwenzori Mountains, Semuliki, Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks.
The Museums – learn about the history & art
Museums are one of the best places to learn about the history and art of a country.
Museums in Uganda tell stories and preserve memories and artifacts from decades and centuries past. They also offer opportunities for lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and fun for all ages.
These spaces play a crucial role in the society and culture of the country. They are places where objects of historical or cultural importance are preserved and displayed to the public.
In Uganda, Museums range in size from small institutions with just a few artifacts to massive institutions housing millions of objects.
The most important ones are often accessible to the public, and they are thus used as educational institutions as well as tourist attractions.
Uganda is home to several historical museums. For example, the Uganda Museum features artifacts, books, and artwork related to the history of this nation.
The Buganda Museum is another worth visiting if you are interested in learning more about the history of the Baganda people.
The Buganda Museum was initially established as the Kabaka’s Palace Museum in 1967 to preserve and display royal artifacts that were damaged by fire.
There are different museums registered for different things. Here is a list of museums in Uganda.
The Sunrise and Sunset Cruises
Uganda is full of Sunrise and Sunset cruises, which are events organized by different tour organizers for customers. The cruises are designed to take advantage of the beautiful nature of Uganda.
Cruise participants have the opportunity to interact with the crew who are experts in their fields, as well as learn more about the nature around them.
All cruises are led by experts who are experts in their respective areas of expertise.
Every cruise includes a boat trip, which is one of the most popular activities in Uganda. The boat trip takes you through the different lake sides, where you get to view many different attractions.
The sunrises on the mighty Nile River, Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Mburo National Park and Lake Mpanga are breathtakingly beautiful. The sunsets in these places are equally calculatingly beautiful.
With that in mind, there is no better way to wake up in the morning than on one of these sunrise cruises, or spend your evenings than on one of these sunset cruises.
The sunrise and sunset cruises are an excellent way to spend time with loved ones or friends when you visit Uganda.
The History – values, traditions and culture
Uganda is a very interesting country to visit as a tourist. But it is important to know its history as a tourist attraction as well as the current situation as a tourist destination.
The history of Uganda should be studied by all those intending to visit the country. It gives the values, traditions and culture that have been inherited from generation to generation.
Though not many people may realize it, but Uganda has a rich cultural heritage which was first influenced by the first Bantu people, then the Nilotic tribes and finally by the Arabs.
Uganda is a multi-ethnic country with cultural diversity. It is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in East Africa.
It is home to Mount Elgon, estimated by geologists to be at least 24 million years old. This makes it the oldest extinct volcano in East Africa, some say in the world.
The mountain covers an area of approximately 20,000 sq km and has nine peaks that rise above 4,000m.
The People – welcoming, social and friendly
The tourism sector has been identified as one of the engines for economic growth and development in Uganda.
As a major player in the tourism industry, the people of Uganda have a role to play as regards ensuring that they preserve their culture and traditions.
One of those traditions is a practice centered on welcoming strangers and hosting them as guests with hospitality.
The culture is also characterized by respect for other people’s personal space, generosity, friendliness, socialization, equality, cooperation and peaceful coexistence.
The weather and climate
Weather and climate in Uganda are near perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities.
Seasonal variations in weather in Uganda occur between dry and wet seasons. The main rainy season is between April and May, but precipitation can occur at any time of the year.
The average temperature is around 24 degrees Celsius all year round. Temperatures are warmest during the months of December to February when the days are dry and sunny with cool evenings.
Uganda has a tropical climate with two seasons; the rainy season and the dry season.
The long rainy season is between March and May, while the short rains occur between October and November. The period between June and September is considered the dry season, but can still see rainfall.
The climate in Uganda is hot throughout the year, making it a perfect holiday destination. The hottest months are February through April, while December through February is cooler.
Adventure – white water rafting on the Nile
The Nile River is one of the world’s longest rivers and has been a major waterway for over 3000 years.
It runs 4176 miles from Uganda to Egypt, and forms part of the boundary between Sudan and Ethiopia. The White Nile formed the border between Egypt and Uganda before the construction of Lake Nasser, now part of Egypt.
White-water rafting is a high-adventure activity that involves navigating a river or other body of water with a small inflatable boat. It can be done as a team-building exercise either competitively or non-competitively, as a source.
It is arguably among the most interesting water experience activities– among the leading things to do in Uganda.
The Source of the Nile River in Jinja is the best, most stunning destinations for White-water Rafting in East Africa.
You will certainly delight in long, rollicking strings of Grade 4 and Grade 5 rapids, with a lot of delights and spills of white-water rafting on river Nile – among the best experiences in Africa.
Conclusion: Uganda is an incredible country and is perfect for adventure seekers, nature lovers and those who wish to learn more about the rich African culture.
For these reasons and many others, we recommend that you add Uganda to your travel bucket list. Visit Uganda soon!