Uganda, nicknamed the “Pearl of Africa”, is a beautiful country with plenty of natural and cultural attractions. It boasts a rich diversity of flora and fauna, as well as a warm climate and stunning landscapes.
From the towering peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains to the lush forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda offers a range of outdoor activities for nature lovers.
Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a nature enthusiast, Uganda has something for everyone.
This article highlights the top 10 tourist activities in Uganda that attract visitors from around the world.
Popular Uganda Tourist Activities
1. Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla trekking is a popular activity that involves hiking through a rainforest in search of mountain gorillas. These gorillas are an endangered species, and Uganda is one of the few places in the world where they can be seen in the wild.
Uganda’s gorillas live in the thick forests of Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. This is where you will go to see the gorillas up close.
To take part in gorilla trekking, you will need to buy a gorilla tracking permit in advance. These permits are required in order to protect the gorillas and regulate the number of visitors who can see them each day.
Gorilla tracking permits often get sold out early, because of the high demand. We usually buy them early to make sure that our guests’ trip runs smoothly.
Once you have your permit, you will join a group of other trekkers and a guide who will lead you on a hike through the rainforest in search of the gorillas. The hike can be challenging, but the experience of seeing these amazing animals up close is well worth it.
Gorilla trekking is an unforgettable experience and one of the top tourist activities in Uganda. If seeing gorillas is on your bucket list, feel free to talk to us about your plans.
2. Chimpanzee Tracking
Chimpanzees are our closest animal relatives, sharing over 98% of the same DNA as humans. A chimpanzee tracking experience offers the opportunity to see these animals in their natural habitat and understand how related we are to them.
In Uganda, one of the best places to see chimpanzees is Kibale National Park, where approximately 5,000 chimpanzees live in the dense rainforest. Like gorilla trekking, chimpanzee tracking also requires a special permit that allows visitors to see the chimps on a specific day.
If you’re planning a trip to Uganda, be sure to include a chimpanzee tracking experience in your itinerary. It’s a unique and memorable way to learn more about these fascinating animals and our own evolutionary history.
3. Wildlife Game Drives
A wildlife game drive is a safari experience where you drive in a customized vehicle to see wildlife in the national park. These safari vehicles are 4WD and capable of handling the wilderness.
The vehicles are also raised and equipped with a pop-up roof to easily and safely watch wild animals.
In Uganda, the best parks for game drives are Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, and Kidepo Valley National Parks. These parks have lots of animals like elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, hippos, crocodiles, and giraffes among others.
You can see these animals from your safari land cruiser while you drive around the park. Game drives are a fun and exciting way to see wildlife in Uganda.
4. Bird Watching
Uganda is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 1,000 bird species – about half of Africa’s total. This makes Uganda the top birding destination in Africa, with both common and rare species to be found.
The best places for birding in Uganda include the various national parks and game reserves, as well as the forests and swamps throughout the country. Mabamba wetland is known for its rare shoebill stork. Places like Semuliki and Bwindi are home to a wide variety of Albertine rift endemic species.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned birder, Uganda offers countless opportunities to spot a wide variety of beautiful birds.
5. Cultural Encounters
Uganda as a country has so many tribes with different unique cultures. From these cultures, people have learned how to identify themselves. Some of the tribes include; Bakiga, Batooro, Baganda, Karamajong, and many others.
With more than 50 different tribes, there is so much you can do to enjoy Uganda for a cultural experience. From visiting and learning about hunter-gatherer tribes to enjoying traditional dances, local foods, nightlife, and contemporary art.
The only limit to how much you can indulge in your Uganda cultural encounter is your schedule and preference.
6. White Water Rafting
White water rafting in Jinja is the ultimate thrill for anyone who enjoys a flood of adrenaline. Rafting alone is thrilling but doing it on the Nile among strong grade-5 rapids is the ultimate adrenaline activity.
Rafting in Jinja can be done for half a day or for an entire day depending on how much excitement you can handle.
White water rafting is often included as part of an all-inclusive safari that also goes to other parts of Uganda. It can also so be organized independently of any other activities depending on one’s interests and schedule. Rafting is very popular with both locals and foreign visitors.
Hiking is the best way to enjoy nature at a slower pace. Uganda has many places where hikes are simply magical – with great views and connections to nature.
Sipi Falls is very popular for people who want to hike to all the 3 waterfalls on the side of Mount Elgon. Other great alternatives are in Mgahinga, Bwindi, Bunyonyi, Kidepo, Fort Portal among others. Truthfully, there are so many places where hiking can be enjoyed.
8. Mountain Climbing
Mountain Climbing is the next level for those who want a tougher challenge than hiking. Uganda is blessed with several mountains which are ideal for anyone ready to conquer the challenge.
The Rwenzori ranges are the ultimate challenge and climbing to the summit takes more than 5 days – making it one of the hardest mountains to summit. The Rwenzori is snowcapped and has several glaciers which make one forget that they are standing close to the equator.
Aside from Rwenzori, mountain climbers can also scale Elgon, Muhabura, Sabinyo, and Moroto among others.
9. Agricultural Tours
Uganda is a fertile place and agriculture is part of the national fabric. Throughout most of Uganda’s countryside, you will see locals engaged in agriculture as the main activity – whether it is crop planting or animal rearing.
The most common agricultural tours are based on experiences of coffee, tea, or cattle farming in the traditional Ugandan way. Agricultural tours take you through a typical process of looking after animals or looking after a coffee/tea plantation until the final product.
With the Ankole cattle experiences, you will learn how to milk the cows, and after you will enjoy the same milk – to complete the farming circle.
10. Ziplining and Bungee Jumping
Ziplining and Bungee jumping are becoming increasingly popular in Uganda – especially for the younger groups of visitors.
In someplace you zipline over a lake and in some you zip through a thick natural forest, either way, the frightening and yet freeing feeling of zipping through the air is exciting – and Uganda has many places where all this can be enjoyed.
These 10 Uganda tourist activities are meant to demonstrate to you the possibilities of what you can experience in Uganda. Depending on what activities speak to your curiosity the best, these and many more tourist activities can be enjoyed for an unforgettable Uganda experience.
The best way for you to enjoy your safari holiday is by going to those places and activities that interest you.
We have handled safari tours in Uganda for more than 10 years and our knowledge and experience are at your disposal. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you might have regarding any of the above activities or visiting Uganda and East Africa in general. No pressure, no obligation.