TOP TEN DESTINATIONS IN UGANDA

 

Uganda the pearl of Africa has ten national parks displaying the best of East Africa. Uganda has a tropical climate with warm weather year-round. Highland areas are much cooler. the main rainy season is March – May but there are regional differences with more rain in the south year-round and semi-arid conditions in the north. Peak travel months include March-April, August and December-January. The Bayimba lnternational festival of the Arts around Kampala city in September is a multi-arts event with music, art and theater. The Kampala City festival has a carnival like atmosphere with colorful street parades, music and dancing.

Uganda as a country is landlocked encompassing the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria. Its wildlife includes Mountain Gorillas, chimpanzee as well as rare birds. Remote Bwindi lmpenetrable National Park is a renowned moutain gorilla sanctuary. Murchison Falls National Park in the northwest is known for its 43m-tall waterfall and wildlife such as hippos, water birds among others.

Kampala is Uganda`s national and commercial capital bordering Lake Victoria, Africa`s largest lake having Islands like Ssese lsland. Hills covered with red-tile villas and trees surround an urban centre of contemporary skyscrapers. ln this downtown area, the Uganda Museum explores the country`s tribal heritage through extensive collection of artfacts.

In southwest, Queen Elizabeth National Park`s wetlands, rainforests and rolling plains shelter big game like lions and elephants. There is hiking and climbing in the mountains forestance Mountain Elgon National Park whose namesake extinct volcano rises 4,300m above the park`s caves and hot springs. The vibrant capital city of Kampala is home to the Uganda Museum, which explore the country`s tribalheritage. The city`s Lubiri palace is the former seat of the the Buganda Kingdom. On the shores of Lake Victoria lies Entebbe, a British colonial town with popular beaches.

BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK

First and fore most is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda. The park is part of the Bwindi impenetrable Forest and is situated along the Democratic Republic of Congo border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the Albertine Rift. Composed of 321 square kilometers of both montane and lowland forest between 1,160m and 2,607m above the lavel, it is accessible only on foot. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a United Nations Educational, scientific and Cultural Organization-designated World Heritage Site declared in 1994, gazetted as a National Park in 1991.

The forest cabn be cold, especially in the morning and at night the annual average temperature range is 70 C- 200C with the coldest period being June and July. As well as warm clothing, wet weather gear is essential since Bwindi receives up to 2,390 mm of rain per year. As the park can be visited any time of the year. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park area is the home of the Bakiga, Local people of the Bakiga are known to be farmers responsible for the striking terraced hillsides that extend up to the edge of the forest to the south of Bwindi. Traditionally the interior of Bwindi was home to Batwa hunter-gatherers who now live on the adge of the forest.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has different activities and attractions which includes Mountain gorilla tracking which is the highlight of a visit to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to have a magical hour of being companed by a family of Mountain gorillas. Tracking the gorillas can last from a few hours to a whole day, depending on how far the group has moved since it was observed nesting up the previous evening.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has four trail heads which includes Buhoma in  the northwest of Bwindi, Ruhija in East of Bwindi, Nkuringo in the southern Bwindi and Rushaga. In case of a visit to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, A number of rules and regulations have to followed in order to protect the visitors and the gorillas through briefing of the visitors about these rules and giving out of copies of these rules to be followed.

Bwindi`s four trail heads all offer excellent birding opportunities with the prospect of checking off forest rarities. The River between Buhoma and Nkuringo is recommended, as Buhoma`s forest-edge Munyaga River Trail. Ruhija`s Bamboo Trail leading to the 2607m Rwamunyoni peak and Mubwindi Swamp Trail are renowned for Albertine Rift endemics including the localized green broadbill.

Community walks through forest edge villages at Buhoma and Nkuringo provide insights into the lives of the local Batwa and Bakiga people, not forgetting the Buniga Forest walk at Nkuringo is conducted by Batwa guides who demonstrate their traditional forest norms.

Munyaga River trail in the valley below the Buhoma trailhead provides a short walk to view birds and primates along the forest edge. Water falls Trail leads through one of Uganda`s most pristine tracts of rainforest, passing beneath tree ferns and orchids to visit three sparkling crystal clear water falls. Rushaga Hill Trail provides expansive views across the plains of the Albertine Rift Valley and (on clear days) to Lake Edward and the Rwenzorin Mountains to the North.

Accommodation facilities at the four trailheads cater for up-market, mid range and budget visitors. Ruhija trailhead can also be reached from hotels in Kabale and Lake Bunyonyi while visitors to Rushaga and Nkuringo  have the option of staying in Kisoro or Lake Mutanda.

Bwindi`s Buhoma trailhead is about 460kms from Kampala and can be reached by road from several directions, the main one from the north through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park providing a chance to to search for the famous tree climbing lions, Bwindi is 160 kms from Mweya in central of Queen Elizabeth National Park and 62 kms from Ishasha.

The most direct route from Kampala is Rukungiri via Mbarara and Ntugamo. Ruhija trailhead  is best accessed from the Kampala-Kisoro road, turning north from the surfaced highway 18 kms beyond Kabale town. Rushaga and Nkuringo trailheads can be reached using dirt roads leading west from Muko, midway on the surfaced Kabale-Kisoro road and north from Kisoro town. Also travellers can fly from Entbbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield in Kampala to Kisoro (for Rushaga, Nkuringo and Ruhija) and Ishasha airstrip (for Buhoma).

QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK

Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda, one of the leading Uganda Wildlife safari destinations was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park by the British colonial government. But before it was gazetted,It used to exist as Lake Edward and Lake George game reserves since 1920s. it was renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth ll.                 The park occupies an estimated 1,978 square kilometers which extends from Lake George in the south-west and includes the Kazinga Channel connecting the two lakes.

Queen Elizabeth National Park in the Western Region of uganda, spanning the district of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi and Rukungiri. The park is approximately 400 kilometers by road south-west of Kampala the capital city of Uganda and the largest. The town of Kasese is just outside the northeastern edge of the park, while the town of Rubirizi is just outside the park`s southeastern boundaries. The park includes the Maramagambo Forest and borders the Kigezi Game Reserv, the Kyambura Game Reserve and the Kibaale National Park in Uganda, and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The park has two rainy seasons, from March-May  and from September-November, but rainfall varies greatly within tha park. The highest is about 1,250 mm per year and occurs in the Maramagambo forest but only 750 mm per year falls in the area along the Kazinga Channel. The onset of the first rains is typically around late February for all four stations. The onset of the second rains is typically around mid-August. There is no significant difference in the duration of the two rainy seasons at any station.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is known for its largest  wildlife which includes African buffaloes, Ugandan kob, hippopotamus, Nile crocodiles, African bush elephant, African leopards, lion abd chimpanzee. It is home to 95 mammal species and over 612 bird species. The area around Ishasha  in Rukungiri District is famous for its tree-climbing lions, whose males sport black manes.

Queen Elizabeth National Park together with the adjacent Virunga National Park is a Lion Conservation Unit. The Park is considered a potential lion stronghold in Central Africa. Queen Elizabeth National Park and Queen Elizabeth country Park in England are twinned in aproject of cultural exchange, mutual support and has its main emphasis on supporting Conservation through working closely with and empowering local communities.

Goegraphers will say that the park has around 57 vegetation but in actual sense, it has five levels of vegetation. Namely bushy grassland. The grasslands of the park settles wildlife such as Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, waterbuck, warthog, lion, loepard, hyena, giant forest hog as well as elephants. Topis can only be discovered in Ishasha and forest primate found in Kyambura gorge in addition to Maramagambo forest.

The park has luxury accommodation that will favour all visitors. it also caters for the budget travelers. Mweya safari lodge and jacana lodge have excellent services and Ishasha wilderness camp with favouring accommodation. Budget accommodation include Mweya hotels and Ishasha bandas with average standards that will make your stay memorable. The park also has camping sites such as Maramagambo, lshasha and Mweya alternatively. At Mweya there is an up market lodge, a acampsite and budget hostel. Another up market lodge fringes a Crater Lake in Maramagambo Forest. A low-key camp is found in the lshasha Sector.

Queen Elizabeth National Park has many different  adventures and activities which include Game drives, Hot Air Ballon Ride, chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura and Kalinju forest, Local community visit including coffee tour, Hiking and guided nature walks, Bird watching, Boat cruise, lion tracking and Katwe salt works among others.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is stuated about 5-6 hours on the road from Kampala going through Mbarara, Bushenyi and can also be reached from Bwindi, It`s accessible by public or private transport. The main Camp and Headquarter at Mweya is a convient base for exploring the sites in the northern part of the park, whilst the road network running from Ishasha Camp and Ranger Post, 80 km to the south, provides access  to the Ishasha area.

MURCHISON FALLS  NATIONAL PARK

Murchison Falls National Park locally known as Kabalega National Park located 305 kilo meters north of Kampala (capital city of uganda) in Masindi District and can be accessed by road or flight. Murchison Fall became one of Uganda`s National Park in 1952.Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, First gazetted as a game reserve in 1926, It is Uganda`s  largest and oldest conservation area, hosting 87 species of mammals, 14 reptiles and 451 birds. The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls.

The Park`s unique attraction and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The northern section of the park contains savanna and borassus palms, acacia trees and riverine woodland. The south is dominated by woodland and forest patches. The vegetation of Murchison Falls National Park is made up of Savannah, Riverrine forest and woodland. Some of the wildlife includes Kobs, elephants, Giraffes, hartebeests, oribi, leopards, lions, chimpanzees among others plus many bird species. This safari park is an all year wildlife destination but can best be visited during the months of june to late September or January to mid-March.

The climate in Murchison Falls National Park is Tropical and hot. Being close to the equator, temperatures are quite uniform throught the year. Daytime temperatures of around 310C/880F are common, with it cooling down at night to around 180C/640F. The altitude ranges from 615-1,187m, so climatic variation occur within trhe park as temperatures drop by about 6.50C for every 1,000m you climb. The wet season runs from March to November, with a period of less rain from June to July. There is little rain during the Dry season, Which occurs from December to February. It doesn`t rain that much in the Wet season either, but heavy storms can be expected.

Acccommodation ranges from campsite, lodges, hotels and guesthouse. Some of these are built on top of the Falls. They have better facilities that are eco-friendly. Budget accommodation is also available for the budget travelers and the most suitable places include Nile safari camp, Paraa safari lodge as well as Sambiya river.,. incase you want to stop in Masindi, there is luxury accommadation such as Masindi Hotel along with Court view hotels that have excellent services.

Murchison Falls National Park has many different adventures and activities including Game drives,  Boat cruise, Bird watching, Nature walks, Chimpanzee tracking among others. The Park supports four of the Big Five; only rhinos being absent. Buffalo and elephant are particularly common. There is a very healthy population of lions that like to prey on the abundantly available Uganda Kob. Hyena is present but rare.

The Victoria Nile is a magnent for wildlife and it teams crocodiles and hippos. Chimpanzees can be tracked in neighboring Budongo Forest Reserve. Large herds  of the localized Rothschild`s giraffe are found in the park. The rare Patas monkey can sometimes be spotted on the grassy plains. The park can be visited anytime throughout the year and game viewing is always good but it is best in dry season (December and February) and between June and September.

Some one may wonder how to get to the park. But by means of road, it will take you around 5 hours from Kampala with about 305 km. Paraa covers a distance of about 85 km from Masindi town by the shortest route. The Park, together with adjoining wildlife reserves of Karuma and Bugungu are jointly managed as Murchison Falls protected area this totals to 5,072 km2. The Park alone covers 3840 km2. Kampala -Paraa alone covers is 305 km while only 86 km from Masindi, the closest town.

KAMPALA

The city grew as the capital of the Buganda kingdom, from which several buildings survive including the Kasubi Tombs, the Lubiri palace, the Buganda parliament and the Buganda Court of justice. in 1890, British colonial administration administration Captain Frederick Lugard constructed a forum along Mengo Hill within the city, Which allowed for the British to occupy much of the territory and in 1896, the protectorate expanded to cover the Ankole, Toro Kingdom and Bunyoro kingdoms as well.

In 1905, the British government formally declared the entire territory to be a british colony. from that time until the independence of the country in 1962. the capital relocated to Entebbe, although the city continued to be the primary economic and manufacturing  location for Uganda. Following the 1962 independendce, Kabaka Edward Muteesa a Buganda King, became the first executive President of Uganda but later over thrown by Milton obote who was then the prime minister and became president of Uganda and held the position until 1971, when former sergeant Idi Amin deposed his government in a military coup.

Kampala has a tropical rainforest climate with no true dry season month, it experiences heavier precipitation  from August to December and from February  to June. However, It`s between February and June that Kampala sees substantially heavier rainfall per month with April typically seeing the heaviest amount of percipitation at an average of around 169 millimetresof rain. Kampala has been frequently mentioned as a lightening-strike capital of the world.

Kampala is the capital and largest city of Uganda. The city is divided into five divisions that oversee local planning: Kampala Division, Kawempe Division, Makindye Division, Nakawa Division and Rubaga Division. Surrounding Kampala is the rapidly growing Wakiso District , whose population more than doubled between 2002 and 2014 Wakiso was reported to stand at over 2 million. Kampala was named the 13th fastest growing city on the planet, with an annual population of 4.03 percent and ranked the best city to live in East Africa ahead of Nairobi and Kigali by mercer, a global developent consulting agency based in New York City.

Kampala has many different sites of interest including Cultural centres, sports centres, Transport sectors among others forestance Nelson Mandela National Stadium, Gadafi Mosque, Rubaga cathedral, Ivory Tower, National Theatre, Uganda Museum, Independence Monument, Namugongo Shrine among others.

LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK

Lake Mburo National Park`s diverse habitat of open savannas, dry savannas, Lakes, swamps, rocky outcrops, forests, woodlands, thickets and dry hills sides provides suitable ecosystem to a wide range of fauna and flora. The Impala, slender mongoose and bush rat that are no where else in Uganda, are better conserved here. A small population of antelopes still remains in few isolated outcrops. African Hunting dogs, black rhino, giant forest hods, roan antelopes and elephants have been extinct from the area.

Lake Mburo National Park has a semi-arid climate with just one rainy season per year (April-September) and rainfall is light. The valley of the Narus River in the south of the park receives some 890mm of rain throughtout the year, The best time to visit is October to March, When wildlife congregates around the few remaining water holes.

Lake Mburo National Park has 325 bird species and 68 mammal species have been recorded. Six swamp-interconnected lakes are home to a variety of water birds including rare and endangered African finfoot and shoebill and mammals including the shy and elusive sitatunga. On a boat trip, you come closer to such wildlife including hippos, Nile crocodiles and water birds. On a game drive, large mammals includes impala, zebras, buffaloes, eland, bush-bucks, monkeys, oribi, duikers, antelopes, bush pigs among others. Small mammals include rock and tree hyraxes, bush babies and dwarf mongoose.

Lake Mburo National Park is the second last smallest National Park after Mgahinga National Park covering approximately 260km2. The Park is 253km from Kampala to Rwunyo, the park headquarter and 54km from Mbarara.

KIBAALE NATIONAL PARK

Kibaale National Park is an evergreen rainforest National Park whose mammal fauna is dominated by primates. 13 species have been recorded of which the Chimpanzee and the Red colobus Monkey have both been assessed by IUCN as endangered or critically endangered. The rare L`Hoest`s  Monkey live in the this forest too. The Park`s population of elephants travel between the park and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Other large mammals within the species of duiker and two species of otter. Bird life is also prolific, two species of pittas (African and Green-breasted) and African Grey Parrots.

Kibaale National Park has 71 species of mammals have been recorded, 375 of birds, 250 of butterflies, 350 of trees and shrubs, 27 of frogs and toads plus 14 of snakes. Among reptile, the rock python is the biggest in here. Kibaale National Park has habituated chimpanzees for tourism. Chimpanzee tracking/ primate walk and bird watching are the major tourist activities here. With well developed nature trails, tourists spend time exploring several kilometers of the forest.

Kibaale National Park was gazetted in 1993, The park covers 795km2 of rainforest, swamps, rivers and few areas of grassland. The park headquarters, Kanyanchu, is easily accessed from the nearest town of Fort Portal, which is 36km of marram road. While Kampala to Kanyanchu via Fort portal is a distance of 358km.

ENTEBBE

The word came from Luganda language e ntebbe  which means chair. Entebbe was the seat of the colonial governor in the early 1900s when the country was a British protectorate and is now the location of the official office and residence of the President of Uganda hence the name Entebbe is the seat of power in the country.

Entebbe as a city is located in Central Uganda. On Lake Victoria peninsula, covering approximately 37 kilometer  southwest of the Protectorate of Uganda prior to independence in 1962. Entebbe is the location of Entebbe International Airport, Uganda`s largest commercial and military airport, best known for the dramatic rescue of 100 hostages kidnapped by the resistance group and Revolutionary Cells organizations. Entebbe is also the location of State House, the official office and residence of the President of Uganda.

Entebbe  sits on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, Africa`s largest lake. The town is situated in Wakiso District approximately 44 kilomaters south of Kampala, Uganda`s capital nad largest city. The municipality is located on a peninsula into Lake Victoria covering a total area of 56.2 square kilometers, out of which 20 km2 is water. Neighbourhoods within Entebbe Municipality include Bugonga, Katabi, Nakiwogo, Kitooro, Lunnyo and Lugonjo.

Entebbe as a city has many different tourist attractions which include the National Botanical Gardens laid out in 1898, Uganda Virus Research Institute, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Entebbe International Airport, State House among others.

Entebbe experiences tropical rainforest climate and classified as the city has no real dry season throughout the year. The driest season is January with precipitation total 65 millimmetres. The temperature is moderated by the altitude. The hottest month is February with average temperature 22.80 C  while the coolest month is July with average temperature 20.60 C.

MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK

Mgahinga National Park is Uganda`s smallest  park but most scenic National Park. Located in South Western Uganda. Mgahinga sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. It is an important habitat to the remaining mountain gorillas in the World. At 33.7 square kilomaters, Mgahinga National Park is the smallest National Park in Uganda. It is located in the remote South-western district of Kisoro. It lies close to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest another home to the endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda.

Mgahinga National Park forms part of the much larger Virunga Conservation Area which includes adjacent parks in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republiuc of Congo. It is bordered to the south by the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and to the west by the Virunga National Park of Rwanda and to the the west by the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The volcanoes`s slopes contain various ecosystems and are biologically diverse and their peaks provide a striking backdrop to this gorgeous scenary.

Mgahinga National Park mainly experiences cold climatic and weather conditions and this can be attributed to a number of factors. During day, temperatures in Mgahinga National Park range from 200C and at night, they drop up to about 90C.

Mgahinga National Park provides habitat for the Mountain Gorilla and Golden Monkey, the two world`s rare and endangered apes. The Park has 76 mammals among which are buffaloes, elephants, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, jackals and porcupines, have their home here. Because of the difficult terrain and most being nocturnal, they are rarely seen. At least 127 bird species have been recorded.

Apart from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park , gorillas in Uganda can also be tracked here too. In this small park gorilaas has been habituated for tourism. Golden Monkey Tracking. A troop of Golden Monkey has been habituated for tourism. Bird watching is an activity here too. The three mountains of the Virunga volcanoes which include mountain Muhabura (4,127m), Mountain Gahinga (3,474m) and Mountain Sabinyo (3,645m) provides good challenge to mountain climbers. Nature walk at Batwa Heritage Trail cannot be put aside as it offers cave exploration of the ancient Garama Cave.

LAKE BUNYONYI

Lake Bunyonyi is a place of many little birds located in the south western Uganda between two district of Kisoro and Kabale close to the border with Rwanda. It`s located 1,962 m above sea level, it is about 25 km long and 7 km wide. The depth of the lake is expected to vary between 44 m and 900 m, which if true would make the lake the second deepest in Africa. It is one of the few lakes in the region that is rumored to be free of bilhatziz and safe for swimming.

Lake Bunyonyi also called Place of Five Islands and each Island has history attached to it. They include: Bushara Island, Akampene Island, Kyahugye Island, Bwama and Njuyeera (sharp`s Island) and Bucuranuka = Upside Down Island. Geographically, Lkae Bunyonyi is a body of water seven kilometers or 4.3 miles west from Kabale Town, southwestern Uganda. It is 25 km long and 7 km wide, covering an area of 61 square kilometers. The Lake`s altitude is 1,950m above the sea level and it is surrounded by hills that are 2,200 to 2,478 meters high and intensely cultivated.

Lake Bunyonyi`s main Centre is Bufuka Village which is the area`s inhabited by two tribes of the Bakiga and the Batwa. Towns on its shores include Kyenvu and Muko, while its 29 islands include Punishment Island and Bushara Island. It is a popular location for watersport and is known for the surrounding terraced hillsides. It is popular with both foreign and domestic tourists and there is a wide variety of tourist accommodation.

Activities at Bunyonyi include canoeing, boat riding and local tour, swimming, hiking the highlands around the lake and birding. Visitors who usually take safaris to Uganda at Lake Bunyonyi generally enjoy and experience a breathtaking nature of Lake Bunyonyi which is a bilhazia free swimming lake. Walking around the Lake Bunyonyi`s waters while listening to bird songs and the tearing water and consequently the feeling of the fresh breeze of Lake Bunyonyi and community around. The interesting walk can be done along the lake`s shores and it involves tourists moving  Bunyonyi different islands.

JINJA

Jinja as a city is located in Jinja District, Busoga sub-region, in the Eastern Region of Uganda. It is approximately 81 kilometers, by road, East of Kampala the capital city of Uganda. It sita along the Northern Shores of Lake Victoria near the source of WhiteNile. Ther city sits at an average elevation of 1,204 metres above the sea level.

Jinja is commonly regarded regarded as the adventure capital of East Africa due to the very many activities in the town that one could engage in especially for tourists which includes Water rafting, Bungee Jumping among others. About 5 miles North of Jinja is the Bujagali Power Station . The hydroelectric facility is providing 250 megawatts of electric power. Bugembe also has the Headquarters of Jinja District.

Jinja is the major station on the Uganda Railway and is a port for Lake Victoria ferries. In 1993, construction began on a extension of the original Nalubale Powe Station. The extension was complete in 2003 named the Kira power Station and is capable of producing 200 megawatts of hydroelectric power at maximum utilization.

Jinja has a tropical climate. Most months of the year are marked by significant rainfall. The short dry season has little impact. In Jinja, the average annual temperature is 22.00 C. The rainfall here averages 1317 mm. The driest month is january, with 59 mm of rainfall. The greatest amount of precipitation occurs in April with an average of 195 mm. The difference in precipitation between the driest month and the wettest month is 136 mm. The variation in temperatures throughout the year is 2.10C.

 

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