A green and friendly country straddling the equator in the Great Lakes region of East Africa, it is the outstanding natural beauty and special animals that attract travellers to Uganda. Although game viewing doesn’t equal that of neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania in terms of numbers and variety of species, some parks do have savannah animals, as well as enjoyable boat cruises to see hippo, crocodile, buffalo and waterbirds. But what Uganda has in abundance is an exceptionally rich population of primates living in the beautiful tangled forests. And with more than half of all Africa’s bird species, it’s also one of the world’s top birdwatching destinations.
Bwindi’s ‘impenetrable’ forests and the slopes of the Virunga volcanoes at Mgahinga are home to the fragile population of mountain gorillas. An hour’s audience with these magnificent creatures is truly one of the most exciting and memorable wildlife encounters on earth. Chimpanzees can be tracked in several forests too or can be seen in Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, and the striking golden monkey has recently been habituated in its natural habitat for people to visit.
With much of the country dominated by lakes and rivers, you can raft or kayak the whitewater rapids on the River Nile, paddle a traditional dugout canoe across picturesque Lake Bunyonyi, or fish for the mighty Nile perch around the Ssese Islands. And in Uganda’s misty mountains there are challenging glacier climbs in the Rwenzoris or volcano climbs in the Virungas or Mount Elgon.
The urban areas too have distractions. Kampala, a fast-growing characterful city spread over numerous hills, is as famous for its pumping nightlife as it is for its chaotic traffic, while many of the regional towns are surrounded by brilliantly green terraced hillsides and are home to exceptionally friendly people, colourful markets and thousands of boda-bodas.