The wide array of tourist attractions in Uganda makes the country is one of Africa’s major travel destinations, welcoming visitors from all around the world. Tourists in Uganda enjoy classic wildlife safaris out on the savannah as well as close encounters with the great apes – chimpanzees and mountain gorillas.
The beauty and diversity of both nature and the people are what make Uganda unique and truly live up to its name, the pearl of Africa.
With warm and sunny days all year round, Uganda is a perfect destination for tourists from all around the world. Whatever the interests and budget, we know that Uganda will deliver on the promise of a spectacular and authentic African travel experience.
In this article, we’ll highlight some of the top attractions in Uganda that are worth visiting. Whether it is gorillas, wildlife, culture, or mountains that you want, there are several options for you.
We have linked to some of our safari packages and you can check them out for inspiration towards your own journey.
Best places to visit in Uganda in 2024
1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a renowned home for endangered mountain gorillas. Although it is not the only place where these incredible animals can be observed, it is the most popular destination for gorilla trekking.
Visitors to Bwindi get to hike through dense forests and navigate steep slopes to reach their assigned gorilla family. The challenging hike is well worth the effort, as the experience of spending time with the gorillas is truly unforgettable. The hour you are allowed to spend with the gorillas will pass by in the blink of an eye.
In addition to its famous residents, Bwindi is also home to a wide variety of other animals and birds, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. A visit to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an unforgettable and rewarding experience.
Here is a standalone itinerary for gorilla tracking in Bwindi. Gorilla tracking Safari in Uganda (by road) – 4 Days
2. Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area. The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 40 meters over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80 km stretch of rapids.
A boat ride along the Nile River to the foot of Murchison Falls is a spectacular experience of seeing a lot of wildlife such as crocodiles, elephants, hippos, buffalos and many birds among others. A hike around the top of the falls brings the thump of the powerful fall below your feet, and right at the falls, the endless spray and ever present rainbow can only be described as remarkable.
Beyond the most powerful waterfall in the world – and the river Nile, Murchison falls is home to 70+ mammal species including giraffes, elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, and many other antelope species. Many of our wildlife trip include Murchison Falls because it offers a great experience that can’t be had anywhere else.
Here is a standalone safari to Murchison Falls to give you a great idea of what await you there. 3 Days Murchison Falls Wildlife Safari
3. Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park is regarded as the Primate capital of the world because it is home to 13 different species of primates. It is most popular as a home for chimpanzees.
It is the best place where you can see chimpanzees in their wild habitat. With around 5000 wild chimpanzees, tourists go to Kibale every day of the year to have their own encounter with our closest animal cousins – the chimps.
Besides the chimpanzees, you will see many other primates – even before entering the park, as well as many bird species that call the thick forests home.
Here is a popular safari package that includes Kibale as well as the other attractions in western Uganda. Group Adventure Holiday in Uganda – 7 Days
4. Kampala City
Kampala is Uganda’s biggest city and a melting pot of culture. From the Buganda Kingdom, Religious & cultural spots, and the fast paced nature of Kampala downtown. visiting and exploring Kampala is a great way of truly understanding what makes Uganda hard to describe.
Places like the Gadaffi Mosque, Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Bahai Temple, and Uganda Museum are full of history. As the biggest urban center, Kampala is also the place where one can witness the mix of many Ugandan and foreign cultures to make something that is truly beautiful.
5. Rwenzori Mountains.
While Uganda enjoys warm sunny days all year round, the highest altitude in Uganda is covered by permanent glaciers. The Rwenzori Mountains, also called the mountains of the moon are a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of their astounding beauty.
Whether you want to climb up to the summit at 5,109 meters above sea level, or you prefer a shorter climb, Rwenzori’s beauty is out of this world. Forests, ridges, glaciers, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, animals, birds and views like you have never seen before – it is all in the Rwenzori mountains.
Here is a safari program that perfectly combines climbing to the peak of Mount Rwenzori with gorillas and chimps. Gorilla & Rwenzori Expedition Safari in Uganda – 15 Days
6. Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria
The Ssese Islands are a group of more than 80 islands in lake Victoria, Uganda. The Islands are well-loved for their perfect beaches that call for an evening of relaxing and watching the sunset disappear in the distance.
While the islands are quite well known, they are still not very popular and do not have many crowds, which makes them ideal for a quiet beach getaway in Uganda. This could be a lone trip or the final part of a trip that goes to the other parts of Uganda.
If you’re looking for a convenient and exciting destination near the airport in Uganda, look no further than Entebbe. This historic town, located near the airport, offers a variety of attractions for travelers of all interests.
You can spend the day relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Lake Victoria, explore the Entebbe Botanical Gardens, or learn about Uganda’s unique wildlife at the Reptile Village and the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (Entebbe Zoo).
Additionally, Entebbe is rich in history, with its origins as a colonial administration center still evident in the town’s architecture and landmarks. The various places in Entebbe are ideal for a quick visit especially if you have little time and would like to stay near the airport.
Related article: Top 5 places to visit in & around Entebbe in Uganda
8. Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is found in western Uganda and still stands as Uganda’s most popular savannah park. From the tree-climbing lions to the schools of hippos along the Kazinga channel, QENP is a top attraction worth visiting for all the rich wildlife.
Animals like elephants, buffalos, and hippos can even be spotted easily while crossing on the Kasese-Mbarara Highway. It is deep in the park that you will see bigger herds of animals on game drives, as the Rwenzori mountains peak out from distant clouds to give you the perfect backdrop.
Another huge advantage to visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park is its proximity to other attractions like Rwenzori, Kibale, Semuliki, and Bwindi all of which are easy to drive to in a short amount of time.
Here is a safari package that combines a visit to Queen Elizabeth with other activities like rafting, tracking chimps & gorillas, and much more in an epic 2 weeks of adventure. Uganda Wildlife & Activity Holiday – 15 Days.
9. Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon is the main physical feature of the Mount Elgon National Park and sits on the border that separates Uganda and Kenya. Rising to more than 4000 meters above sea level, Mount Elgon is full of astounding beauty in the various climate zones as you ascend up to the summit.
At the top of Mount Elgon, there is the biggest mountain caldera in the whole world, with hot springs, geysers, and generally an out-of-this-world feeling. In of June 2023, UNESCO designated Mount Elgon Biosphere Reserve (share between Uganda and Kenya) as a World Heritage Man And Biosphere Reserve.
For those interested in Mountain climbing, Mount Elgon is the easier alternative to the Rwenzori ranges which happen to be a tougher challenge than Kilimanjaro.
10. Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is often described as a compact little gem of wildlife. It is the closest, national park, to Kampala and can be reached in about 4 hours of driving along the Kampala – Mbarara Highway – just before reaching Mbarara.
Lake Mburo is more popularly known for its large population of zebras. The giraffes that were only introduced a few years ago are also thriving and can be seen on your visit.
Unlike the other savannah park, Lake Mburo doesn’t have dangerous predators and visitors can go on long guided walking safaris in the park to get close to the zebras, giraffes and kobs.
Lake Mburo is neighbored by private ranches of the Bahima and guests can learn about the Ankole traditions as well as try some experiences like milking the Ankole long-horned cows.
11. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the other national park in Uganda where mountain gorillas can be seen. The park is located in the southwestern corner of Uganda and directly borders the other parks in Rwanda and D.R. Congo where gorillas live.
Beyond the gorillas, Mgahinga is home to golden monkeys and the three volcanic mountains are worth climbing. One of the mountains, Sabinyo can be hiked and at the summit, you will be able to stand in 3 countries at once.
12. Sipi Falls, Kapchorwa
The Sipi Falls is a group of 3 waterfalls in Eastern Uganda, just outside the borders of the Mount Elgon National Park. They are probably the most popular waterfalls for Ugandans, because of the engaging hike through the local villages.
Beyond the waterfalls, the more adventurous visitor can engage in activities like rock climbing or abseiling down the waterfall. Sipi is in the coffee growing area and a coffee tour and tasting are something to not miss.
Related article: Things to do in Sipi Falls.
13. Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Africa’s purest Wildernesses. It is located in Uganda’s northeastern corner on the border with Kenya and South Sudan. It is quite far from all the other parks and tourist attractions and this has helped keep it different and untamed in the most beautiful way.
In Kidepo, you will be able to see elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, hippos, zebras, giraffes and so much more in animals, birds, and stunning landscapes.
Located 80 kilometers east of Kampala, Jinja is regarded as the adventure capital of East Africa because of all the things one can do and enjoy on a visit to Jinja. Besides the source of the Nile, jinja is popular for activities like rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, quad biking, and much more.
Jinja is a perfect place to visit on its own or as part of a longer safari that includes several other places around Uganda. The adventure side of Jinja makes it one of the top attractions in Uganda worth visiting.
15. Semuliki National Park
Semulki National Park is the only park in Uganda that perfectly combines the ecosystems of Eastern Africa with those of Central Africa. This makes it a home for animals from both sides of the continent.
Semuliki is also known for its hot springs (male & female), which are believed to have many healing powers for the locals. Semuliki is often visited for the great birding opportunities that come as a result of the blended ecosystem.
Here is a birding safari that goes to Semuliki for colorful birds. Uganda birding safari for Albertine Endemics – 20 Days
16. Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi is located in Kabale, just close enough to the top Uganda tourist attractions of Bwindi and Mgahinga where mountain gorillas can be seen. Bunyonyi has positioned itself as a perfect relaxing spot for tourists, especially after their gorilla-tracking experiences in the rainforest.
It is Uganda’s deepest lake and has more than 20 small islands which can be explored by local wooden boats. The lake is free of any dangerous animals and completely safe for swimming.
Birding on the lake is a fun activity that can also extend to the neighboring local community for some cultural encounters with the Bakiga people who inhabit the area.
Related articles: Top places to visit in Uganda for a honeymoon
17. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Because of instability during the 1970s, rhinos in Uganda became extinct due to poaching. In 2005, rhinos were reintroduced and given a new home – the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. The number of rhinos has since increased steadily and they are able to live in the wild with many other animals that live in the sanctuary.
Many visitors to Ziwa love to observe the rhinos on foot and feel like one with the surrounding environment. Ziwa is a popular stopover for people continuing to Murchison Falls National Park.
18. Uganda Martyrs Shrine
In the late 1880s, Kabaka Mwanga – the king of Buganda at the time ordered the capture and execution of his subjects who wouldn’t renounce the new Christian faith for traditional beliefs. This culminated in the burning alive of 26 young men who decided to die rather than renounce their faith.
This happened at Namungongo where the Uganda Martyrs are celebrated every year on June 3rd. If you are someone of Christian faith, you can also try to organize your safari around the start of June so that you can join in on the celebrations with all the Ugandan and international pilgrims.
Christian faithful might be aware of these martyrs of religion, but the story is inspiring to everyone regardless of the faith you practice. Because, instead of slowing down the spread of new religions and ideas, the Uganda Martyrs accelerated the growth of the faith.
19. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a community-driven local conservation project for preserving and protecting the Magombe swamp. Bigodi is located just outside of Kibale National Park where visitors get a chance to see chimps in the wild.
The swamp is home to more than 10 species of primates and hundreds of bird species which makes the Swamp walk interesting. Given that this is a local community project, a visit here directly gives back to the community and further conservation of the wetland.
20. Nyero Rock Paintings
The Nyeo rock paintings were first documented in 1913 and are believed to be older than 800 years. They are among the most important rock painting in Uganda and are believed to have a connection to the Batwa hunter-gatherers who might have lived in the area at the time.
Currently, the Batwa form a minority tribe that lives near the various forested areas along the border of Uganda and DR. Congo.
21. Mabamba Swamp
The Mabamba Swamp on the shores of lake Victoria is the best place to see the shoebill stork in Uganda. It is probably the best place in the whole of Africa and the world.
The shoebill is fascinating to both casual and avid birders and many tourists enjoy a birding experience in Mabamba where they see the shoebill among many other birds. Its close location makes it ideal as an activity at the end of a longer safari, or as a standalone birding experience for someone who is only in Uganda shortly for other business and can only spare a day.
It goes without mentioning that this list of top attractions in Uganda only scratches the surface, and serves to give you an idea of what most tourists love doing in any of the various places. Depending on your own interests, some places might be more appealing than others.
Most of our safari packages often include several of the above attractions but they are highly customizable to fit our guests’ preferences, schedules, and interests. Therefore, rather than overwhelm you, we hope this list of top attractions in Uganda inspires your next safari to Uganda.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to talk to us and we shall give you all the answers from our experience of living, working, and running tours in Uganda for years.