A List of Ten Uganda Safari Activities

Uganda is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa with fantastic natural scenery, half the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population and some of the friendliest people you could hope to meet. It also offers world class white water rafting at the source of the Nile and some of the region’s more peaceful national parks where wildlife viewing doesn’t involve long waits in line behind a dozen or more vehicles.

1. Gorilla Trekking: this is one of the major reasons travelers come to Uganda. It is possible to trek to the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla national parks in the south west at a cost of US500$ per permit.

2. Chimpanzee tracking: primate tracking is a very popular activity in Uganda and there are several places where viewing Chimpanzees is possible. Most popular of these are Budongo central forest reserve (part of Murchison falls national park) and Kibale forest national park. The chance of seeing chimps at both of these parks is very high -as good as 85%. Kyambura gorge, part of queen Elizabeth national park is also a truly stunning setting in which to track chimps though sightings here are not as certain as in Budongo and Kibale but the walk is enchanting. Semliki national park also has a chimp habituation project. To guarantee seeing chimpanzees the sanctuary on Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria is the place to go, the chimps here live in a semi-tame, protected environment.

3. White Water Rafting: only in Uganda is it possible to raft the source of the mighty Nile River, the water here is very big, with four grade five rapids waiting for the uninitiated. Hit the water for a really wild ride! You don’t have to be super-fit or have rafted before, but this activity is not recommended for anyone who isn’t a reasonable swimmer, just in case you capsize.

4. Bird watching: Uganda is a twitcher’s fantasy with more than 1000 species in this compact country of contrasting terrain and climatic diversity. Bird watching legends such as the shoebill stork are found in the west while the country’s unique geographical position allows the visitor to view Albertine rift endemics in Semliki and the north east Kidepo valley national park. Even amateurs will be enthralled by the diversity of beauty among Uganda’s bird life.

5. Bungee Jumping: If the idea of throwing yourself from a great height with only an elasticized cord saving you from sudden death is your idea of a good time, then look no further. This activity is done at the source of the river Nile in Jinja.

6. Guided walks: guided walks are offered in many of the forested national parks and a number of smaller forest reserves throughout Uganda. The most popular are the chimpanzee viewing walks, however there are also a variety of other forest walks available at Bwindi Impenetrable, Kibale forest and Mgahinga Gorilla national parks offering an opportunity to view some of Uganda’s many birds and monkeys. Other areas that provide guided walks are Mabira and Mpanga forest reserves near Kampala, Sipi falls in eastern Uganda, at Lake Mburo national park it’s possible to undertake a walking safari with an armed ranger.

7. Wildlife drives: there are four national parks that offer the opportunity for wildlife drives; Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Kidepo Valley and Lake Mburo. The greatest variety of wildlife is to be seen on a drive through Queen Elizabeth, as it has the highest number of species of any park in Uganda. However Murchison falls north of the Nile offers the larger mammals in greater concentration and fast recovering populations of giraffes not seen in Queen Elizabeth. In Kidepo much of the wildlife is found within a short walking distance of the Apoka rest camp. Lake Mburo is famous for zebras which you see as you drive into the park.

8. Mountain climbing: the two main opportunities for Uganda safaris mountain climbing are the Rwenzori Mountains and Mount Elgon. The Rwenzoris present one of the most challenging mountain experiences in Africa and offer the chance for genuine climbing if you attempt one of the peaks. However Mount Elgon is a more affordable option for the casual climber. It is also possible to climb the three volcanoes at Mgahinga Gorilla national park -Mt Muhavura, Mt Sabinyo and Mt Mgahinga. The views towards Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo are spectacular.

9. Launch trips: there are three famous launch trips on offer in Uganda; the journey up the Victoria Nile River to the base of Murchison falls, the cruise along Lake Mburo and the cruise along the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth national park. All these trips offer the opportunity of viewing at close quarters hundreds of hippos, buffaloes and often a few elephants. Although it is often more common to see predators such as lions and leopards along the banks of the Kazinga Channel, the Murchison falls trip is ultimately the more spectacular- the falls themselves are awesome and there is a reasonable chance that bird watchers will spot the elusive shoebill stork.

10. Sport fishing: The Victoria Nile River is a favoured habitat of the massive Nile perch, some weighing more than 100kg. Sport fishing permits are available in Murchison falls national park. It can also be done on Lake Victoria.

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