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Uganda is a landlocked country on the eastern side of the African continent. It is bordered by Kenya, South Sudan, Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania on the eastern, northern, western, and southern sides respectively. The southern part of the nation is also washed by the waters of the gigantic Lake Victoria and water from the Victoria Nile River. A lot of political tension exists in Uganda and lots of precautions need to be taken care of while you are visiting the northern territories. However, Uganda is slowly coming up to be one of the top destinations to have a complete African experience.
The country has all kinds of natural features to attract oncoming tourists. Wildlife is thronging throughout nature covered in all kinds of natural features such as rainforests, tall and misty mountains, and singular volcanos. Waterfalls are also a common occurrence throughout the country. Kampala, the capital of Uganda is beautiful in its own way and is steeped in African tribal history, tradition, and culture. Here are some of the most impressive places that should be on your itinerary if you are planning to visit Uganda.
The Buganda Kingdom once ruled over the lands that now comprise Uganda and Kampala has been the capital then as it is now. It is a charming city that is loaded in history being of the first cities in Africa. You will also find a great inclination towards ancient African cultures and traditions in this beautiful city. The best way to enter Kampala has to be through the air. The Entebbe International Airport hosts regular flights from a number of international destinations and is situated about 35 km to the southwest of the capital. You have to get down at this airport and hire cab services to reach Kampala.
Kampala has an engaging atmosphere and gives you a good sense of being in a big city, albeit with a touch of Ancient Africa. The Kasubi Tombs have to be top on your list of places to visit in Kampala- you will find some of the thatched relics from days of yore. People watching would also be a great pastime in Kampala as you see the regular crowd moving onwards with their daily life. You should visit Owino market- this is the best place to experience daily life in Uganda and also happens to be the largest market area in central-east Africa. The Gaddafi National Mosque with its tall minarets is another site that you just have to visit. The Naskero Hills lies towards the edge of the city and has all the villas in the country.
Entebbe is a city that will come on your way as you travel through Uganda. In fact, this is the entry point into Uganda for international tourists. While you are here, it makes sense to explore the city. And what a truly beautiful city it is! The city has a laidback atmosphere unlike Kampala and serves as a great spot for resting before taking on your exciting journey through Uganda. The international airport itself is a beautiful sight with the runway being washed by the waters of Lake Victoria on one side. Signs of colonial rule are very prevalent in the city since the British first settled in Entebbe. There are beautiful churches spread throughout the city that you would like to visit. The National Botanical Gardens developed during the colonial rule is also a terrific place to visit. The Ugandan State House is the presidential residence and is also situated in Entebbe.
Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park is situated on the western side of the nation and is easily accessible from the Entebbe International Airport. You would have to pass through Kampala by road if you take this route. Kibale National Park will open up towards the southern fringes of Fort portal if you take this route. The national park covers an area of about 800 km2 and is covered in dense, wetland forests. This national park is a storehouse of simian lifeforms with chimpanzees being the most common ones to be found over here. Amongst other simians, you will get to spot such species as the Ugandan red colobus or the rare L'Hoest's simians. Efforts have also been put to develop sustainable coffee plantations in this region.
The Ssese Islands is an archipelago located on the pristine waters of Lake Victoria off the Ugandan coast. These are stunning and exquisite islands with golden, sandy beaches and easily rival those to be found on the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. These islands offer you a beach-like experience and are quite the spot for relaxation and leisurely activities. These are regarded as top-notch relaxation spots within the nation. Buggala Island is one of the most popular destinations among the islands closely followed by Bulago Island. The islands have beautiful hills offering you a chance to stretch your legs and explore through relaxing jungles. You could also partake in water sports activities such as kayaking on the islands over here.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is as much an exciting national park to visit as its name suggests. If you are traveling by road from Kampala, it will take you about 8 hours to reach Bwindi. It is about 3 to 6 hours away from Queen Elizabeth National Park depending on the route that you take. If you are traveling from Mburo National Park, it will take you about 6 hours to reach Bwindi. There are 4 entry points in Bwindi- Buhoma and Ruhija are situated towards the north while the southern side is accessible through Rushago and Nkuringo. Kihihi is the nearest airport to the northern trailheads as Kusoro is to the south. These airports receive scheduled domestic flights.
The forests in Bwindi are as old as Africa, even older. You will find a mass of the densest forests interspersed with rocky peaks making the national park truly impenetrable. The region also has huge biodiversity to offer from gorillas to geckos to a huge variety of insects so much so that it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Chimpanzees and colobus monkeys are a common sight as you take a safari through the national park. The landscape, being part of the Albertine Rift, is simply breathtaking!
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park could either be entered through the south from Kampala or the southwest from Fort Portal. The distance from the former is about 300 km and will take you about 5 hours while the national park is about 280 km away from the latter and takes about 6 hours. Several scheduled and chartered domestic flights are available from Entebbe International Airport to arrive at the Pakuba Airfield, the nearest airport to Murchison Falls National Park.
The national park gets its name from the roaring waterfalls that cut through the middle portion of the park. You will find some of the most astounding wildlife activities in north-western Uganda as you explore this national park. It covers an approximate area of about 4,000 km2 and is regarded as the largest national park in the country. Amongst wildlife, you will find a huge diversity of animals on the park premises ranging from lions to giraffes to elephants and so much more. The most prominent attraction within the park has to be the 40 m drop of the Victoria Nile River through a tightly-knit gorge.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park, concisely known as QENP is situated about 400 km away from Kampala towards the west and takes about 8 hours to reach. Nearby airstrips include Kasese, Kihihi, and Mweya which receive chartered or scheduled flights from Entebbe International Airport. It is close to the shoreline of Lake Edward and lies on the DRC Border and is regarded as the best national park to visit in Uganda.
QENP is one of the most popular attractions in Uganda among tourists and sees a footfall of thousands of tourists every year. Tourists frequent this place in search of the exotic Congo lions and chimpanzees who swing and mingle in the grassy savannahs as well as the Maramgambo Forest. Volcanic features are also abundant on this stretch of wildland, the terrific Katwe crater being one of the most famous ones. Exploring the national park is captivating and is sure to leave a mark on your heart.
Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Uganda. It is situated on the eastern side of the capital at a distance of about 235 km. the road passes through Mbale town and leads on to Jinja, both interesting places in Uganda to visit. It would take you about 11 hours to reach your destination either by bus or by car including the time taken during transits.
Mount Elgon National Park has a rocky appearance covered in jungles and hides away a plethora of natural wonders. Mount Elgon is one of the oldest volcanos in Africa and you will find a series of waterfalls, rugged canyons, and terrific cave systems as you explore the region. There are also several hot springs in the area which give off an interesting vibe allowing the visitors to experience the power of geothermal energy firsthand. If you climb further up you will find clear skies wherein African goshawks and bush shrikes fly freely. There are also different simian species to be found aplenty in this national park including colobuses, De Brazza’s, and blue monkeys.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Uganda but comes with quite the punch! It is situated on the route from Kampala to Bwindi and is generally used as a resting halt during the long journey. However, you should spend some time here to enjoy several activities and wildlife features. Grasslands mingled with wetlands give this area interesting biodiversity to explore.
While you are exploring the Lake Mburo National Park you will find a variety of animals such as warthogs, vervet monkeys, lions, crocodiles, zebras, impalas, olive baboons, leopards, and so on. If you are an avid bird watcher, the wetland areas offer you a majestic opportunity since about 300 species of birds have been spotted over here. The area around Lake Mburo is great for game-viewing in the summer months when all the animals congregate around this area!
Jinja is a quaint town located about 80 km away from the capital and best known as the source of the longest river in the world, the Nile. It is a relaxing place and you can either do a visit or stay in this town to bask in the relaxed atmosphere. If you have a thing for adventure activities you could also go white-water rafting on the initial cascades on the Nile. You should also visit the Jinja Market situated in the town center. It is lined with vibrant shops selling all kinds of wares from chicken hearts to parts of a motor.
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