Visit Uganda

Tourism in Uganda : Guide to Visiting Uganda

Visit Uganda – This is a complete travel Guide for tourist planning to Visit Uganda for a Safari and other reasons. Uganda, also known as the pearl of Africa is one of the top tourist destination in East Africa with several attractions for you to visit and enjoy. Tourism in Uganda has developed over the past years and therefore the number of people visiting Uganda has greatly increased. 

Things to Do in Uganda: What to See when you visit Uganda

Top places and attractions in Uganda, Uganda sight seeing

Tourism in Uganda – Uganda is one of the countries which welcomed explorers, missionaries and other travelers from Europe who had come on different missions but were amazed at the beauty that was hidden in this part of Africa. They saw a lot of interesting things in the region and appreciated, they named some of them after themselves or their leaders. Churchill was overwhelmed by Uganda’s wondrous environmental attributes, good climate and other things and termed it “the Pearl of Africa” which is today her brand name.

Karamojong People in nothern Uganda

Uganda is a comfortable place to stay because of the good climate. It has a tropical climate characterized by two seasons; the dry season and the wet/rainy season. There are two dry seasons from December to February and the second one from June to July and two rainy seasons in the months of September to November and from March to May. During the hottest months (January and February) the temperatures rise to a maximum of 330 C but the case is different in the northern part because it is hotter and temperatures can reach about 400 C.

There is a variety of things to see when you visit Uganda, including wildlife, mountains, water bodies, museums and historical sites among others. The highlight for travel to Uganda is an experience of the wildlife though a range of non-wildlife activities are combined with the tour to make it an incredible Uganda safari. This article summarizes the top attractions in Uganda and the things you can do when visiting Uganda it for a safari tour. They include;

Bwindi impenetrable national park

Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park is a popular African destination because it is the prime gorilla trekking destination. It is home to approximately half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas and trekking in this park offers the highest chances of seeing the gorillas more than in any other mountain gorilla destinations. Apart from gorilla trekking, other things to do around Bwindi include birding, Batwa experience, community walk and cultural encounters and nature walks. Its therefore recommended that you include Bwindi Gorilla trekking on your to do list when you visit Uganda.

Mgahinga national park

Mgahinga national park is located near Bwindi national park and it is also a home to mountain gorillas. It is located in the far southwestern part of Uganda and is part of the Virunga Conservation area. Mgahinga is also home to golden monkeys and many other forest mammals including forest elephants, forest buffaloes and bush pigs among others and about 300 bird species. Mgahinga also hosts three of the eight Virunga volcanoes. Things to do in Mgahinga national park are gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking, bird watching, hiking the volcanoes and nature walks. You can also go for Batwa trail experience to get an insight of how the Batwa lived in the forests around the region before they were evicted.

Murchison falls national park

Murchison falls National Park is located in the northwestern part of Uganda. It is Uganda’s largest national park and has a large popular of different kinds of animals which are easily spotted around the savannah grasslands, the acacia grasslands and in other vegetation of the park. The park is divided into two parts by the Nile which at some point forces through a 7meters gorge and forms the strongest waterfalls in the world known as Murchison falls. Getting to the waterfalls and watch the thunderous water flow through the gorge gives an exceptional thrill. This is one of the destinations with a lot of exciting things to do including hiking to the top of the falls, a boat cruise along the Nile, game drives, bird watching, nature walks, chimp trekking in Budongo forest and Hot air balloon. Murchison falls National Park is laos a great place for honeymoon and relaxation.

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa after Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. This lake is beautifully dotted with 29 islands which you can visit by use of a canoe. This place has a lot of small birds from which its name was derived. Bunyonyi locally means “small birds”. The area offers spectacular views of the Virunga volcanoes. You can go canoeing, bird watching or ride bikes when you are at Lake Bunyonyi.

Queen Elizabeth national park

This is the second largest national park in Uganda after Murchison falls national park and it is popularly known for the Tree climbing lions found in the southern sector called Ishasha. The park has five vegetation types which include savannah grasslands, acacia grasslands, swamps and wetlands, bushes and thickets and forests which harbor a range of animals such as elephants, buffaloes, water bucks, warthogs, Uganda kobs, leopards, lions and hyenas among others. Its forests are habitats for primates including chimps, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys and olive baboons among others. Queen Elizabeth national park has the highest number of bird species in East Africa. Queen Elizabeth national park also has a range of things to do. They include; lion tracking, game drives, bird watching, chimp trekking, boat cruise, nature walks, a drive around thye craters, a visit to the bat cave and forest walks.

Kibale national park

Are you looking for an outstanding destination fopr chimp trekking? Kiable national park is the ultimate place to offer an extremely thrilling tour for chimp trekking. This park is a tropical forest with a dense population of chimpanzees. Booking for your chimp trekking tour in Kibale offers a chance of 98% to see the primates. Apart from chimp trekking, you can do birding, community walk and chimp habituation in Kibale national.

Source of the River Nile, Jinja

The length of the River Nile is debatable as some documents say that it is the longest river while others say that it is the second longest river in the world. Regardless, it is clear that the river’s source is in Uganda. River Nile starts its journey from East of Uganda as where it exists from Lake Victoria flowing northwards through Lake Albert. This initial section of the Nile is a great site for a number of activities including boat cruise to the source of the Nile, white water rafting, kayaking, horse riding, riding quad bikes and relaxing at the River.

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is the largest fresh after lake in Africa and second in the whole world after Lake Superior. It is shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. It is on this lake where we find the beautiful Ssese islands which you can visit for different activities. Lake Victoria has cool relaxation areas like beaches and resorts.

Lake Victoria also hosts the Ngamba Island where we have the only Chimp sanctuary in Uganda. A visit to the sanctuary offers an opportunity to participate in activities of caring about the chimps there.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Ziwa Rhino sanctuary was established to re-introduce rhinos in Uganda after they had got extinct many years back. The sanctuary is located in Nakasongola district off Kampala-Gulu highway before Kaffu from Kampala city. You can visit Ziwa Rhino sanctuary on your safari to Murchison falls national park. Rhino tracking is the main thing to do at Ziwa rhino tracking. Other things to do at the sanctuary include bird watching and nature walks.

Rwenzori Mountains

The Rwenzori Mountains are the major destination for hiking in Uganda. They have the highest peak in Uganda standing at a height of 5109m above the sea level. The hike Mount Stanley which is one of the ranges leads you to the snow caped peak. As you hike along the Rwenzori mountains, you come across waterfalls, streams of water, rare vegetation and rare species of wildlife like the three horned Jackson’s Chameleon among other things.

Sipi falls

The Sipi falls in Kapchorwa district in Eastern Uganda are one of the most beautiful place to visit when travel to Uganda. There are three waterfalls at different but close location. Getting to the falls requires a hike and once you reach there, you will be thrilled at what you will see.

Fort Portal

Fort Portal is a tourism town in western Uganda. It is a beautiful town with several hills and a range of attractions including Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru, the palace of Toro kingdom, Karambi tombs, the crater lakes and the tea plantations. You can also camp in the nearby areas like at Lake Nkuruba Nature Reserve.

Kampala city

Kampala is the capital of Uganda. Located in the central region, Kampala is the largest and busiest city in Uganda. The city was established in an area with a hilly terrain which gives it a unique beauty on the various hills. There are 7 main hills on which the city started though it later on extended further. Places to visit in Kampala include the Uganda Museum, Namugongo martyrs shrine, Kasubi tombs, Bahai temple, Mengo palace, Rubaga Church, Namirembe Cathedral and Nakasero among others.

Iteso People and their culture

The Teso people are one of the Ethnic Groups in the Eastern region of Uganda and they occupy some parts of Kenya. The Teso is the name given to the traditional inhabitant for the Teso people. The Teso people occupy the sub regions of the current districts of KUM, Amuuria district, Kumi District, Katatwi district, Palisa district, Kaberamindo district, and Bukedea district. The Iteso people speak the Nilotics language. The eastern Nilotics are divided into two categories such as the Teso Speaking plus the Maa speaking who known as the Maasai branch. The Iteso people are further divided into other category, the Ateso Speaking people and the Karamojong group such as the turkana, Jie, Ikaramojong as well the Dodoth in Uganda and Kenya.

Historical background and culture of the Iteso People

The Iteso People are believed to have originated from Sudan over some period back though it not possible to calculate their period of movement. Other theories assume that Iteso Originated from the Karamojong and took the south direction. This is believed to have happened sometime back since the Iteso don’t bear the cultural names and rituals like the Karamojong. Most of the Iteso clan names are mixed with the Bantu speaking people and the Nilotics. The Iteso people are also mixed with the Japadola due their migration.

During the Colonial era, the Iteso had a cool relationship with the pre-colonial period and they were acrimonious. Due to the intermarriages, the Iteso were intermixed with their neighbors and this diluted their customs and traditional element that can be as well spotted in the nearby surrounding people.

The Iteso situated in the Kenya and Uganda, are as a result of the britsh colonial rule who indirectly ruled them. In the 1902 the western Kenya was transferred from Uganda to Kenya.

The Economic set up of the Iteso

The staple food for the Teso people is Finger Millet and Sorghum however the colonial offices introduced cassava to act as a supplement to their food and to assist them with stand famine. The cassava was cooked together with millet and sorghum. The women were good at growing vegetables, in their small gardens near their houses and they could gather wild foods such as the Mushrooms Delicacy, whilst the Men were busy cattle herdsmen grazing cattle.

The Teso as well depended on agriculture and the main cash crops grown were cotton and this grown by both women and men and they had separate plots of land and they each earned individual income. The oxen were used for plowing other household could hire labor. Other cash crops that were grown include; the tobacco and Maize which were grown during the long rains. The commercial activities included owning small shops, trading cattle and also employment in the public sector jobs to act as local administrators and school teachers.

Marriage and Family

The Marriage among the Teso people was recognized from two points of views; the spouses come together as an alliance it happens between two exogamous clans. The first alliance is expressed in the practical arrangement of establishing a household while as the second one is expressed in the ceremonial rituals as well as healing practices. Most Iteso people both man and women entered in polygamous marriages although this reduced in the early colonial era. One man could marry about 4 or more women who will less than one umbrella and they respected their husband. Divorce was rare thing since whenever divorced happened then the parents of girl were required to return bride wealth that was paid when taking the girl from their parents.

Bokora Coriddor Game Reserve

Also known as Bokora Corridor Game reserve, Bokora Wildlife Reserve is the second wildlife reserve in Uganda. It covers an area of 794 square miles in northeastern Uganda. Bokora wildlife reserve was gazzeted in 1964 and made part of the large Karamoja wildlife conservation region which also consists of Matheniko game reserve and Pian Upe wildlife reserve. The three game reserves in the region were named after the ethnic group that lives close to it, for example the Bokora live near Bokora wildlife reserve, the Matheniko live close to Matheniko wildlife reserve and the Pian and the Upe live close to Pian Upe wildlife reserve.

Bokora wildlife reserve is mainly covered by savannah grasslands and then shrubs, bushes and short trees. The reserve also has swamps like Loporokocho swamp. The northern side of the reserve hosts two moiuntains; Kadam and Napak. The scenery of the entire reserve is beautiful.

Wildlife in Bokora Wildlife reserve

The vegetation in Bokora wildlife reserve is mainly dry and hard because of the semi-arid conditions of the area. The trees and grass in the reserve and the region survive there because they have adaptations that make them stand during the long dry weather conditions. Bokora corridor game reserve is a habitat for a wide variety of animals including buffaloes, elands, gazelles, lesser kudu, Oribi, Roan antelopes, Uganda kobs, Reedbuck, zebra, Hartebeest, Topi, Bright’s gazelle, the Rothschild’s giraffes, spotted hyenas, stripped hyena, cheetah, lions and leopards and many others.

There is a range of bird species in different points of the reserve. Bird lovers get remarkable birding tours after seeing birds such as ostriches, Dusky Turtle, the Thick-billed Honey, Jackson’s hornbill, Eastern bronze pigeon, Hartlaub’s Turaco, White-headed Buffalo weaver, African hill babbler, Black-throated wattle-eye, Grey-cuckoo shrike, Lemon dove, the Alpine chat, the Mountain yellow wabbler and many others. Loporokocho swamp is one of the best bird watching sites in Bokora Wildlife reserve.

Things to do at Bokora Wildlife reserve

The major activities done at the reserve include;

Game drives

Bokora Wildlife reserve has mainly open grasslands that offers clear and spectacular views of vast areas around the reserve. The combination of the vegetation and the weather are perfect for game drives. You can clearly see your sightings such as lions, cheetahs, hyenas and other animals like the antelopes.

Birding

Bokora wildlife reserve has a wonderful range of bird species. It is home to the world’s largest bird “the ostrich”. Ostriches are the common and popular birds in Bokora game reserve because the conditions are ideal for them. They can survive in dry weather conditions. The open plains help the ostriches to see predators that want to prey on them as well as animals that want to feed on their eggs.

Visiting the Karamajong

When planning to visit Bokora Wildlife Reserve, endeavor not to miss meeting the Karamajong people who live in this region. They are one of the ethnic groups that have kept their culture original by failing to embrace modernity. The Karamajong are nomadic pastoralists who depend on their cows for milk, meat, blood, hides and manure. They are great entertainers who dance and sing for visitors and their traditional dance involves jumping high in the air.

Accommodation in Bokora wildlife reserve

The reserve doesn’t have standard accommodations. The best option there is camping and good news is that camping is enjoyable and rewarding as the tents are set in areas where you can watch the animals and other features. Those who don’t want to camp can stay in hotels in Kotido and Moroto towns.

Best time to visit Bokora wildlife reserve

Bokora Corridor Game Reserve can be visited any time of the year but the dry season is the best because it is easy to access most areas. There are two dry seasons; from December to February and from June to September. The region experiences the rainy season from March to May and October to November. It may become quite hard to maneuver through some roads at the destination during the rainy season because they become slippery. However, during the driest months of January and February, it gets very hot that it may be unbearable. Temperatures rise over 350 C.

The transport infrastructure to and in Bokora Wildlife Reserve is poor, roads are not good which makes them impassable during the rainy season. Accommodation as well needs to be considered in this place so that visitors who wish to enjoy typical wilderness in Uganda have a range of places to visit with convenience.

Lake Mutanda, formation of lake mutanda,  Lake mutanda activities

Lake Mutanda is one of the most beautiful lakes in Uganda. Find out about the formation of lake mutanda,  Lake mutanda activities

There are so many beautiful things in Uganda, a reason to why it is called the Pearl of Africa and Lake Mutanda is one of them. The lake is found in the southwestern part of Uganda surrounded by the numerous hills of the region. Everything about this lake is simply wondrous; its location, cool breeze, islands, the stunning reflection of the bright light and the calmness of the water.

Anyone that advises you to visit Lake Mutanda truly wants you to see one of the most scenic and beautiful lakes in Africa. It is dotted with a number of stunning islands, a backdrop of the Virunga volcanoes at a distance and many other hills surrounding the lake.

Lake Mutanda is located in the southern region of Uganda close to the habitats of the endangered mountain gorillas Bwindi impenetrable and Mgahinga national parks. A visit to Lake Mutanda is one of the things you ought not to miss out on your Uganda gorilla safari. There are a number of things you can do when you visit this beautiful lake and they include;

Canoeing at Lake Mutanda, it is done in dugout canoes which are sailed on the water by well experienced locals from the area. This activity offers an opportunity to tourist to have an experience that takes you back to the ancient times where these were the only means of transport on water.

  • Canoeing on Lake Mutanda exposes you to the magnificent isles all over the lake, lovely views of the Virunga volcanoes and hills in the region and different bird species on the islands. These canoes here are also used for transportation of people and goods between the mainland and the islands and they are also used for fishing on the lake. Another place where you can have an experience related to this is on Lake Bunyonyi which is also found in the same region.
  • Hiking, the far southwestern region is also known as the region of hills because of the numerous beautiful hills all over. Lake Mutanda has very many hills around it. A blend of these forms magnificent sites in the area. There are many trails on the hills that can take you through the most thrilling nature walk and hiking experiences in this place. You can take on the two days hike from Buhoma to Nkuringo which is combined with canoeing on Lake Mutanda.
  • Fishing is one of the most thrilling activities that will make your Lake Mutanda visit complete. You will move on the canoe with a local fisherman, through the beautiful islands to areas where they expect to get the fish. Deep the line into the water and try your luck, some tourists have been able to catch one and others didn’t and the trip still remains impressive because of the beauty and wild whispers all over the area.
  • Mountain biking, the place is hilly and you therefore require mountain bikes to manage this experience. The activity is adventurous, it takes you through trails in the area to different lovely areas and takes you closer to different hills where you’ll have clear views and perfect photos. If you do not have a mountain bike, you can rent it from Kisoro town.
  • Chilling at the lake, Lake Mutanda is the best place that will stress out the fatigue and exhausted mind after trekking for gorillas the whole morning or day in the hilly Bwindi forest. It has the best sites where you can sit, relax and have your mind rejuvenated. Enjoy the cool breeze, soothing sounds of the birds, scenic views as you sip a glass of wine and have a taste of the delicious fish from the lake.

Major and exciting activities to do in areas surrounding Lake Mutanda, that is Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park include; Gorilla trekking, Batwa trail experience, Batwa visit and hiking the Virunga volcanoes.

 

Lake Mutanda is one of the most beautiful lakes in Uganda. Find out about the formation of lake mutanda,  Lake mutanda activities

Uganda Visa Cost – Anyone entering Uganda is required to present or obtain a Uganda visa before they are allowed to proceed beyond the entry points and borders. You can obtain it on arrival at Entebbe international airport or apply for it at the Uganda embassy or a trusted consulate in your country though this can be very tedious. You can as well apply for it online before departing from your home country by completing the e-Visa application form. The cost of a Uganda visa therefore depends on the method one uses to obtain it. All these methods have different prices, applying online can be convenient but you will still be asked to wait in the queue to get to the immigration office so that you are verified that you have the actual visa and also get your passport stamped.

Acquiring the Uganda visa at Entebbe international airport on arrival is the easiest and convenient because it doesn’t require a lot of hustle as well as much processes like it is when filling online forms.

Requirements for applying for Uganda e-Visa

  • Passport personal details scan
  • Last page of passport (if applicable)
  • Yellow fever vaccination card
  • Invitation letter (if applicable)
  • Applicant photo

Cost of a Uganda visa

When planning for your Uganda visa, get informed that there are two options; the uganda Tourist Visa and the East African Visa which cost different prices.

  • Single entry                                         US$50 per person
  • Multiple entry visa 6-12 months     US$100
  • East African tourist visa                    US$100

The East African visa is a single visa that allows you to access three countries Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. It saves you from processing multiple visas to each country. You are reminded that the country through which you apply for the East African visa limits you to visit it first before you proceed to the other two countries. Therefore, when you apply for your visa through the Uganda authority, then you will visit Uganda then to Rwanda or Kenya.

Applying for a Uganda visa online requires you to pay an extra amountof USD 50 which is paid using a credit card.