There are things to do in Uganda. From the rare mountain gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi and Mgahinga to leisurely stays along the Lake Bunyonyi, there are several holiday activities to do in Uganda.
Gorilla trekking is one of the breathtaking activities one can enjoy while on a Uganda safari. Uganda is gifted by nature; with the deep lakes, spectacular greenery, exclusive cultures, soaring mountains and above all half of the world’s reaming gorilla population which live in the mountains in the southwestern part of the country. Mountain Gorillas can also be found in the Virunga Massif in Rwanda and DR Congo, the biggest percentage of the remaining population (about 60%) is found in Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. therefore Bwindi is a guaranteed area to trek gorilla or even do habituation.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is divided into 4 regions where trekking is carried out; Ruhijja region, Buhoma region, Nkuringo region, and Rushaga region. Among these, Buhoma is the famous area for most trekkers and it also has 4 habituated Gorilla groups.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is also a home to mountains gorillas which can be trekked in a secure and habituated area. The park has one habituated gorilla group “Nyakagezi.”
Mountaineering and Hiking
Uganda has various mountains that can be hiked and is a home to Africa’s highest mountains, Mount Rwenzori. If you are looking to a mountaineering safari in Uganda, look no further. Why not take an expedition to Uganda’s high mountains that include; Mount Rwenzori, Mount Moroto, Mount Elgon, mount Gahinga, mount Muhabura, mount Sabyinyo, among others. The varied vegetation zones on the mountains harbor plenty of wildlife that you may encounter during the trek. There are also fascinating features such as caves, water pools, falls, and wonderful scenery.
The most commonly hiked mountain is Rwenzori which requires at least 7 days on the mountain to reach the summit.
Leap over the source of the Nile from one of the most spectacular bungee jumping sites in the world. This activity will Challenge your fear of heights by touching the source of the Nile from free falling from a tall structure 44m into the Nile is not for the faint of heart. It is an unforgettable thrilling activity that will get your adrenaline pumping. Located 3km upstream from Bujagali Falls, the views of the Nile River and forest canopy is amazing.
When preparing for the jump, the instructor will ask you to choose a style you would wish to jump such that they can tie you accordingly, you can either use the ankle tie or the full-body harness. Adrift specializes in tandem jumps, water touches and full-moon jump at most times including at night. The age limit is 13 years with a weight limit of 235kg, so you can choose to make this dive with a friend.
The Nile is considered to one of the safest and yet wildest grade 5 whitewater rapids in the world perfect for adrenaline junkies and learners to face the mighty rapids. The trips include huge rapids and beautiful scenery, with time to relax and swim on calmer stretches and let you take a breath, ready for the next section of raging white-water action.
The trip on the water begins slowly and the first few kilometres give the raft guides an opportunity to train their crews fully on all aspects of Nile rafting. The river becomes much more adventures at Bujagali Falls and one major rapid follows swiftly after another for most of the morning. Once the rafts enter Wildwaters Reserve (protects the unique flora and fauna of the mid‐stream islands of the Nile), there is more time between the rough water but the rapids become larger and more spectacular. At Itanda (The Bad Place) the Nile is too powerful for the rafts and so the rafts are taken around the top by land.
The grading of the rapids rafted on this stretch of the Nile range from 1 – 5. At each of the higher graded rapids you are given the option of whether you want to go the hard way or the easy way. The choice is voted on, however, it might not always turn out the way you expected because you if do not paddle in the right direction you may not take the route you wanted.
The activity usually starts at 9 am and the age limit is 8 years. You will receive safety briefings, life jackets, helmets, spray jackets, custom-made rafting equipment, plenty of water, breakfast and lunch midstream. Every trip includes a professional guide, safety rafts, kayakers and a professional photographer will capture every memorable moment. You are required to carry loose clothing, shorts & t-shirt, hat, sunscreen, towel and a change of clothes.
The family rafting trip is a wonderful river journey for the whole family. Instead of choosing the biggest and wildest rapids, these rafts instead drift swiftly between the beautiful forested islands, bounce down smaller rapids and explore the many different channels of the river.
Hot Air Balloon Safari
Balloon safari is one of the adventure activities Uganda has to offer and can only be found at the Murchison Falls National Park and the Queen Elizabeth National Park and are managed by the Dream Balloons. Hot air ballooning is a perfect activity for those on honeymoon, the adrenaline junkies and those seeking a once in a lifetime adventure. The scenes up there are spectacular and the air fresh and soothing.
Only 8 passengers are permitted to fly up in the balloon. Children below the age of 6 and below are restricted. Some of the things You will experience include; the general scenic view of the park, the Lake Albert and Victoria Nile views, the Off-road animals hidden, the bush breakfast experience in the wild, the pickups from the different destinations, the participation certificates, crossings by ferry and the ride on the hot air balloon. This ride is done at sunrise and at sunset and it takes an hour.
The sunrise ride starts at 6pm and comes along with a bush breakfast. As you ride, you will expect to see animals like buffalos, lions, hippos, elephants, zebras, and different antelope species that live in the specific national park.
The Sunset hot air balloon safari starts exactly at 4pm however, it does not come with any special offers like the bush meals after the ride. They are short rides for large groups and students.
Horseback riding is an exciting activity to explore the tranquility of nature, wildlife and birds. It is done in the east of Jinja or in Lake Mburo national park. This experience can be suitable for all ages including children and aged persons. The activity caters for people of different skill levels from beginners to advanced riders. So, you do not have to worry if you have no prior experience. The horses are well trained to react to your skill level which makes you at ease to enjoy the ride. The guides are professional and well trained and will take you at a comfortable pace. Horseback riding packages are short rides of 1 to 3 hours with packages such as pony ride, mixed group safaris, advanced rider safari and overnight horse safari. For safety reasons, there is a weight limit of 90kgs.
When riding through the park, you will expect to spot animals like elephants, buffalos, zebras, topi, waterbucks, kobs elands among others.
Kayaking is an alternative to rafting. You can choose to go solo through the raging river or take a more leisurely paddle on flat water. You can challenge the Nile and use the double-sided paddle to explore the mighty river. There is a kayak school that aims to ensure your experience is enjoyable, feel confident and gain control of your kayak. At the rolling clinic you will learn forward paddling, capsize, control skills, backward paddling, rescue techniques and rolling.
The activity can be done half day or full day depending on the kayaker’s interest. The package includes an experienced and knowledgeable guide, high-flotation life jackets, helmets, spray jackets, light snacks and drinks.
Stand Up Paddle
You will start off from the Owen Falls dam and cruise down to Bujagali. The stand-up paddle expedition is an experience you will learn from a calm water introduction and then move forward to a river trip. The flat water here provides the ideal environment for you to learn how to control the board and for your instructor to give you some tips along the way such as basic strokes and rescue techniques. You will test your skills and tackle your first rapid with your guide leading the way at the first free-flowing section of the Nile that contains up to grade 3 rapids.
Nile is a safe place to learn SUP with experienced guides, safety equipment, no rocks to hit, warm water and the deep rapids. You will enjoy achievement from a beginner to being able to control your kayak on the white water. The scenery is spectacular with a variety of birdlife and plant life to enjoy.
This activity is done on river Nile at breathtaking speeds and enjoy the wild 360 degree spins at the River without being immersed in it except a bit of spray. Jet boating is an unforgettable awesome experience for the whole family from 5-85 years on a custom-made 12-seater jet boat. You don’t need any swimming experience and you will be guided by a professional jet boat pilot. The trip package includes; high-floatation life jackets, helmets, spray jackets, light snacks and drinks.
River Boarding or River Surfing
The Nile has 8 major rapids for which you will experience different skill challenges depending on the water levels. River surfing is a memorable experience for serious whitewater enthusiasts and the activity entails rafting and river boarding. You can relax during flat sections and safely raft the fewer rapids that are considered unsafe for river boarding. Some rapids form waves that you can try surfing. Every trip includes safety raft, kayakers and professional photographers to capture those memorable moments. You will engage in extensive safety briefings and practice drills. You’ll be equipped with your river board, flippers, helmet, life jacket and you’ll follow the experienced guide into the heart of the rapids. The minimum age for doing this activity is 14 years. The package includes; boarding equipment, experienced guides, food and drinks, and free photographs.
Boat cruises are done on most of Uganda’s water bodies like Lake Victoria, Lake George, the Kazinga channel, river Nile, lake Bunyonyi among others.
River Nile is the world’s longest river and can be explored with a 2-hour river boat cruise which usually starts from newly formed Bujagali Lake which is between Owens Falls Dam and the Bujagali Dam. The cruise will take you to the source of river Nile and you will be able to see beautiful scenery, birdlife, and animals. You can enjoy lunch cruises or even breathtaking sunset cruise.
At Murchison Falls National Park, the launch trip upstream from Paraa to the foot of Murchison Falls presents an amazing display of wildlife and birdlife. The launch departs at 9 am and 2 pm daily and takes three hours. A boat trip to the Nile-Lake Albert Delta is a 4 to 5-hour return voyage also takes in a variety of other wildlife and birds. This voyage is recommended for birders on a morning cruise downstream to be able to sight the elusive Shoebill. Alternatively, a tranquil sundowner cruise offers the classic view of an equatorial sunset reflected on the river.
At Queen Elizabeth National Park, The boat cruise at Kazinga channel is extremely rewarding for viewing most wildlife that comes to the banks of the channel for water. The boat cruise is operated from 11 am – 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm local time. The boat cruise begins at the Mweya peninsula, to the start of Lake Edward.
Sport fishing is done in various parts of the country like, on river Nile, Murchison falls national park, Lake Victoria among others.
Sport fishing in Jinja can be explored by first time or experienced anglers. They usually target species like Nile perch, tilapia, yellow fish, and catfish using the following techniques, trawling, spinning and bait fishing. All fishing gear, camping equipment, safety gear, and drinking water are supplied. More serious fisherman can go look for big Nile Perch using GPS, fish-finder, the latest rods and reels, the latest lures, and an experienced and capable skipper.
Sports fishing in Murchison falls national park is conducted along the River Nile rocky surfaces, the bottom of the falls at the Devil’s Cauldron, and at the banks of the Nile. The two fishing sites are at Murchison Falls and below Karuma Falls. Nile perch and some catfish provide exciting challenges to anglers using casting lures. Smaller fish like the Tigerfish can be caught using the live bait or spinning method. Fishing spots can either be accessed by boat or by walking down from the top of the falls to the gorge which can take 45 minutes. Be cautious of the Hippos and Nile crocodiles while fishing at the River banks.
The activity can be done at any time of the year though the best catches are seen early in the morning and late in the day. When the water level is low and clearer from Mid-January to early-April, you can catch more when fish feed more when there is a dramatic variation of weather conditions. All anglers are advised to have rods that are between 8 ft and 11ft with a multiplier reel and 7” spinning rod for smaller fish.
This is a relaxed and mellow ride for family or young children. It is an ideal trip for younger children to get a chance to float and swim down a peaceful stretch of the river. Drift down calm green pools in the sunset while getting up close to the remarkable birdlife along the Victoria Nile.
You can also take the houseboat safari with the capacity to accommodate 8 people and has 2 crew members who will also provide the meals. You will relax and enjoy fishing, scenery landscape, primates and birdlife.
Zip-lining in Mabira Forest Canopy Super Skyway was started in 2014 by Aaron Blanchard from Carnation WA. The zip line system is a canopy tour of the Mabira forest where you will soar between the ancient tall trees. While up there you will experience a unique perspective of Mabira Forest, primates like grey-cheeked mangabeys and red-tailed monkeys, a variety of bird species and the roaring Griffin falls. There are six platforms in the treetops in a network of 5 zip lines
stretching 250 metres across River Musamya. For safety reasons, the weight capacity is restricted to 250kg.
The activity is done in 2 sessions; the morning session which starts at 8am and the afternoon session which starts at 2pm every day.
Quad Biking is an exhilarating “all ages, all levels, all adventure” muddy adventure to be experienced by the whole family and is managed by All Terrain Safaris. The packages are tailor-made to suit different abilities from easy, scenic rides to tough, challenging sections. The package includes a professional guide, protective clothing and refreshments. Even without experience, you will be trained and can enjoy scenic sights of River Nile. The rides in Jinja move along river Nile and in the local settlements. There are also multi-day packages for game-viewing and adventure safaris at Lake Mburo National Park. As you ride, you will expect to see animals like elephants, zebras, kobs, topis, waterbucks among others and various bird species.
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Mountain biking and cycling is an enjoyable experience which both exercises your body but also you can enjoy the scenery and beauty with a panoramic view of the lakes, forest and birdlife. You can go through different trails to marvel at the birdlife, trees and cultures such as Bujagali ride, Bugembe Viewpoint and Mabira Forest reserve ride.
Lake Mburo National Park also provides cycling tours in the park of which you can enjoy wildlife viewing and beautiful scenery.
Cycling is also done in the highlands of Kigezi in southwestern Uganda, this trip will offer you with beautiful view of the Kigezi hills, and some of the Virunga Mountains.