Uganda, known as the “Pearl of Africa”, offers a wide variety of tourist attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. From wildlife safaris and hiking to cultural experiences and relaxation, there is something for everyone in this beautiful country. In this post, we will explore 20 things to do in Uganda that will leave you with lasting memories and a desire to return. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a culture enthusiast, these top tourist attractions will give you a taste of the best Uganda has to offer. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey through this stunning country.
1. Spot the Big five
A wildlife safari in Uganda’s national parks is a must-do for any nature enthusiast looking to spot the Big Five, which includes the lion, leopard, African elephant, Cape buffalo, and rhinoceros.
Uganda is home to several national parks, such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, which offer the perfect opportunity for visitors to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.
2. Hang out with the chimpanzees, who are man’s closet relatives
Get up close and personal with our closest relatives, chimpanzees, as you embark on a thrilling trek through the forests of Uganda. With over 98% of DNA shared between chimpanzees and humans, observing these primates in their natural habitat is a truly fascinating experience.
Visitors can trek through the Kibale or Budongo Forest, where they can observe chimpanzees swinging from tree to tree, feeding, playing, and even moving swiftly on the ground just a few meters away.
3. Go Birding Watching
Sir Winston Churchill described Uganda as a fairy tale land, calling it the “Pearl of Africa”. Here you find an incredible variety of birds that can be seen.
Uganda is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 1,000 species of birds that call it home. From the savannas to the wetlands, forests, and islands, Uganda offers a diverse range of habitats that attract a wide variety of bird species. Visitors can go birding in a variety of locations, such as Mabamba wetland, which is home to the elusive shoebill stork, or Queen Elizabeth National Park, where visitors can spot the colourful African skimmer.
Visitors can also go birding in the forests of Kibale, where they can spot a variety of forest birds, such as the African pitta, or in the wetlands of Murchison falls, where they can see a variety of waterbirds, such as the Goliath heron.
4. Go Mountain Climbing
Uganda boasts two of the most majestic mountains in East Africa, the mystic Rwenzori and the magnificent Mountain Elgon. The Rwenzori Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers nature at its best, with a trek through the mountain being a truly fantastic and unique experience. Visitors can witness the wonder of high glaciers, the beauty of the valley of nine lakes, and the bearded lichen hanging from giant heathers, all against a backdrop of rocky cliffs, crags, and snow-capped peaks.
Mountain Elgon, an extinct volcano located at the Uganda-Kenya border, offers a different kind of adventure. Visitors can explore ancient caves and witness spectacular cliffs, over which Mount Elgon’s streams cascade as dramatic waterfalls.
5. Go Fishing on the Nile and Lake Victoria
Fishing on the Nile and Lake Victoria is a unique and exciting experience that visitors to Uganda should not miss. The Nile which is the longest river in the world starts its journey in Uganda and offers a great opportunity to catch a variety of fish species such as Nile Tilapia, elephant-snout fish, Catfish, and Nile Perch.
Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa and 2nd the largest freshwater lake in the world., is also a great spot for fishing. The lake is known for its abundant fish population, including the Nile perch, Tilapia and the exotic Victoria Sardine.
6. Experience the Thrill of Bungee Jumping over the Nile River
Experience Uganda’s best well-kept secret and one of the most spectacular bungee jumping sites in the world, the thrill of bungee jumping over the Nile River, one of the most exhilarating activities in Uganda. You’re guaranteed gallons of fun and Adventure bungee jumping over the world’s longest river.
Bungee jumping over the Nile is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is not to be missed by adrenaline seekers. The jump is operated by experienced professionals and provides safety equipment and instructions.
7. Participate in Cultural Tours
Uganda is not only a fairly tale land, a place with great weather, and breathing taking landscapes but also with a rich diversity of untapped culture and heritage. With 56 recognised tribes and over 41 languages shared among these, Uganda is definitely the ultimate place to experience diverse cultural immersion.
Some of Uganda’s various tribes include the Baganda, Basoga, Acholi, Batwa, Karimojong, Bagisu, Banyankole etc. Each tribe has its own tradition and culture.
8. Spot the Rare Tree-Climbing Lions
Experience the unusual and one of the most unique sightings in Uganda: tree-climbing lions. The lions of Ishasha, a remote region in the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, are known to climb trees to rest and sleep, making it a rare and unique sight to see. Visitors can take a guided safari to this area, where they can witness the lions lounging in the branches and even catch a glimpse of them hunting for prey.
9. Experience the magic of straddling the equator
Experience the magic of straddling the equator, a unique adventure that visitors to Uganda should not miss. The equator, an imaginary line that circles the Earth, passes through the country, offering visitors the opportunity to stand in both the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time.
Visitors can visit the Equator Monument, located in the small town of Kayabwe, where they can take a guided tour and learn about the history of the equator and the scientific phenomena that occur at the equator. Visitors can also participate in a variety of experiments that demonstrate the effects of the equator on the Earth’s rotation, such as seeing water draining in different directions in a toilet bowl depending on which hemisphere you are in.
10. Relax and Unwind at the Beaches on Lake Victoria
Visiting the beaches on Lake Victoria is a perfect way to relax and unwind while enjoying the natural beauty of Uganda. The lake, the largest in Africa, offers a variety of beaches, from secluded and peaceful to lively and bustling, where visitors can soak up the sun, swim in the warm waters, and take in stunning and picturesque views. Ssese islands is one of the most popular beach destinations on the lake, with white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees.
READ MORE: These are the 10 best beaches in Uganda
11. Explore the charming town of Jinja
Jinja offers a unique blend of adventure and culture. Known as the “adventure capital of East Africa,” and the country’s second-largest town, Jinja is the perfect destination for thrill-seekers, offering a wide variety of activities such as white-water rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, and quad biking. The town is also home to the source of the Nile River, which offers a great opportunity for boat rides and fishing.
But Jinja is not only an adventure destination, it’s also rich in history and culture. Visitors can visit the source of the Nile, the Bujagali falls, and the local craft markets to take home souvenirs. The town also offers a variety of dining options, from street food to fine dining, where visitors can sample the local cuisine.
12. Discover the Beauty of Lake Bunyonyi
Almost certainly the prettiest lake in the country, Bunyoni is surrounded by steeply terraced green hills and scattered with 29 fascinating small islands.
The lake is also known for its crystal-clear water. Visitors can take a boat ride to explore the islands and take in the stunning views of the surrounding hills.
13. Explore the Paradise of Ssese Islands
If you’re looking for a place to slow it right down, Ssese Islands are a must-see destination for visitors to Uganda.
Ssese’s lush archipelago of 84 islands offers a tropical paradise of some stunning white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, and crystal clear waters. The islands are located on Lake Victoria and are accessible by boat, visitors can take a boat ride to explore the different islands and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
14 . Explore the thrill of Kampala
The city feels like Africa with an Asian flare and is the centre of everything to do in the country. There are a variety of restaurants to try, new things to experience like a ride on a Boda Boda (motorcycle taxi), or even just getting to know what life is like in the capital city of Uganda. Don’t forget to check out the churches, Bahai Temple, and museums in the city.
Kampala is also known for its lively nightlife, with a variety of bars, clubs, and music venues offering entertainment for visitors of all ages. The city is also a great base for exploring the surrounding areas, such as the nearby hills and lakes, or taking a day trip to the nearby towns and villages.
READ THIS NEXT: Top 20 Things To Do In Kampala 2023
15. Check out the largest Manyata in Eastern Africa
A visit to the largest Manyatta in Eastern Africa is a must for anyone interested in experiencing the traditional culture of the Karamojong people of Uganda. Manyatta is a traditional homestead of the Karamojong people, which is typically made up of several beehive-shaped houses and is home to several families.
Not many people visit them, so prepare yourself to get very, VERY big attention – maybe for some, an unpleasant one, but this will definitely be one of the most unforgettable experiences, you will do on your Ugandan travels.
Visitors should be prepared for a long and bumpy journey as the village is located in a remote area, but the experience is definitely worth it.
16. Enjoy the diverse and beautiful landscapes
I almost could say, Uganda offers every landscape, you can see in Africa. Uganda has it all from lush rainforests to rolling hills, mountains, glaciers, lakes, rivers, and sprawling savannahs… The only thing it is missing is the desert and the sand dunes.
In short, the beautiful landscapes of Uganda will leave visitors with lasting memories of the natural beauty of the country.
17. Try out the traditional Ugandan food
Trying out traditional Ugandan food is a must for anyone visiting the country and Ugandan food is not really as boring as you might think. Some of the most popular traditional dishes include:
- Matoke/Matooke: This is a traditional dish made from steamed green bananas and is often served with a G- nut peanut sauce or meat stew. Check out this Recipe for Groundnut sauce with posho and Matooke
- Luwombo: This traditional dish is made by steaming beef, vegetables, or fish in banana leaves.
- Rolex: This is a popular street food made of a chapati-like flatbread filled with eggs and vegetables.
- Posho/Ugali: This is a staple food made of ground corn and often served with beans or meat stew.
There are also many local restaurants, street vendors, and local markets where you can find a wide variety of traditional Ugandan foods. And if you’re feeling adventurous, don’t hesitate to try some of the more unusual options such as roasted grasshoppers or roasted termites.
18. Delve into the local markets
Visiting local markets is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of Uganda and experience the everyday life of its people. Some of the most popular markets to visit include the Owino market in Kampala, Jinja Central market, and Nakasero market which is known for its fresh farm produce. These markets offer a wide variety of items to explore, from colourful fabrics and traditional clothing to handmade crafts and locally grown fruits and vegetables.
19. Swim and Relax at Lake Kyaninga
Swimming in Lake Kyaninga is a unique and refreshing experience that should not be missed by visitors to Uganda. This crater lake, located in the Fort Portal area, is surrounded by lush green hills and forests, making it the perfect spot for a dip in the cool, clear water.
The lake is also a great spot for a boat ride, where you can admire the natural beauty of the area and spot some of the different bird species. Visitors can also enjoy a picnic or barbecue on the shores of the lake, and take in the stunning scenery that surrounds the lake.
20. Hike at the 100-meter-high Sipi falls
Hiking at Sipi Falls, a trio of cascading waterfalls should not miss on your list of things to do in Uganda, It is the most beautiful and powerful waterfall in the country. The waterfall is located in the foothills of Mount Elgon and offers a challenging hike through the lush rainforest and beautiful terraced landscapes. The hike takes about 3-4 hours, and visitors will be able to take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
21. Visit the endangered Mountain Gorillas
Visiting the endangered Mountain gorillas at Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is an unforgettable experience. Both national parks are home to half the population of critically endangered mountain gorillas in the world. Gorilla trekking is one of the most popular activities in Uganda, and visitors can take a guided tour through the dense rainforest to see the gorillas up close.