If Uganda is your destination, a world of adventure awaits you. Uganda is called “The Pearl of Africa” and with good reason. Among the highlights you will find the endangered mountain gorillas, tree climbing lions, rafting on the source of the Nile, mystical villages hidden in the mist, volcanoes and a smile on every face.
Uganda is situated in Eastern Africa, and it is the fastest growing country in Africa when it comes to population, estimation: 31 million. It borders Kenya and Tanzania in the East, Sudan in the North, Rwanda in the South and Democratic Republic of the Congo in the West. It is a landlocked nation, but borders the biggest lake in Africa, Lake Victoria, which is rich on fish. While traveling in Uganda you will realize that the locals are proud and very polite people and they are world class when it comes to hospitality.
If you arrive in Uganda by air you are most likely to land in Entebbe. Entebbe is a small, but lively city next to Lake Victoria. Beautiful gardens, fantastic for birdwatchers and a nice view of the lake is some of the highlights here. Around one hour away is the capital Kampala. The largest city in Uganda is bubbling with life. Though the traffic can be a pain, and small distances can take massive amount of time. It is nice to explore Kampala at daytime, but like many other African capitals it is also better to do a city tour.
Uganda has a total of 10 national parks. Many of them offer a variety of game watching and scenery. Queen Elizabeth National Park lies in the west of Uganda, and is Uganda’s most visited game reserve. This park is well known for its wildlife, but especially the tree climbing lions, which aren’t found many other places. It is still under constant research to find out what exactly makes these lions climb trees, because it is most definitely not common among lions to do so. If you want to experience chimpanzees, Kibale National Park is your park.
The endangered mountain gorilla might very well be the biggest wildlife adventure you will experience. Roughly, there are about 700 gorillas left in the world, and they are only to be found in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. In Uganda they can be spotted in two places, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The latter is not a reliable place to see them, because the group reciding there has currently moved across the border to Rwanda. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has almost half of all the mountain gorillas in the world, nearly 340 individuals. Gorilla tracking is an intense experience, and costly as the trekking fee is currently 500 USD. But this is truly well spent money. Upon start of the tracking you will be informed of which group of gorillas you are heading towards, and more or less how far away they are. Bring lots of water, and long pants. You are not walking in open areas, but straight through the rainforest aka bush. After hours of walking you will find them. And the sight takes your breath away. To be sitting 2 meters away from a huge silverback is pretty awesome. After spending a total amount of 1 hour with the gorillas you will head back.
Southwest in Uganda you will find the little town of Kisoro. It is an 9-10 hours drive from Kampala. The bad road takes you through a beautiful landscape called the "Switzerland of Africa". You pass mountains, lakes, hills with cultivated terraces and tropical rainforest and bamboo forest. On the last hill the landscape unfolds beneath you and in the vast plane of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo the Virunga volcanoes dominate the view. Here is where the famous Travellers Rest Hotel is situated. The hotel is built in a somewhat colonial style and was entirely renovated in 1999. It has 12 rooms at very reasonable prices, and it offers a cozy environment to relax in after gorilla treks or day visits to the area. In the sixties the famous American “gorilla-woman” Dian Fossey visited the Travellers Rest Hotel many, many times to do paperwork, relax or meet people.
If you want to experience some first class rafting, go to Jinja. Here you can raft the source of the Nile. And here the Nile is verified as a rank 5 river, which offers some extreme experiences.
Uganda is situated on the equator and here you can experience tropical climate with rainy season lasting from March – May. This is also known to be one of the best times to visit the country, as it never becomes greener than this and the rain is not that extreme anyway. Going down south-west to Kisoro will give you a more temperate climate due to the elevation.
Quickest and easiest solution is to join an adventure tour in Uganda. The country has a poor infrastructure and extremely bad roads, so be prepared for “shortcuts” and bring an open mind.
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