If you’ve entered the new decade with the desire to explore, then it’s time to think outside the box. Berlin, Barcelona, Brussels…they’re all a little bland, right? You’ve done Thailand and Vietnam, ticked off Turkey and Morocco, and you’re hungry for a new adventure a little further flung.
Well, have you considered Uganda? This East African country boasts some of the most diverse landscapes and incredible wildlife you’re likely to come across anywhere on the planet. What’s more, it has the highest mountain range, the Rwenzoris, on the continent and its largest lake. Enough of the superlatives, we think. Instead, it’s time to get your online VISA for Uganda, have a search for affordable flights to Entebbe International and get your itinerary started, with these; our 7 IDEAL places to visit in Uganda in 2020.
The cosmopolitan, charming capital city is the heart of Uganda. The residents here are fiercely proud of Kampala, and as such, the welcome is warm and it feels an incredibly safe city to stroll around. Those who dip their toes only briefly before heading to the countryside miss out on all this great city has to offer.
If you are wise enough to stick around a while, start with Kampala downtown to experience the vibe as the locals do; laid back yet lively. You’ll find some of the best action at Owino market, the largest and busiest markets in the Kampala, which boasts a wide display of colourful products, clothing, crafts, and electronics. Just be prepared to barter! Make sure you make time to visit the Uganda independence monument, too.
While in the capital, a visit to Kasubi Tombs is well worth your time. This historic palace consists of 35 buildings and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Four former Ugandan kings and other Buganda royal family members are buried here, and to this day the site plays both an important political and spiritual role in Ugandan society.
Lake Victoria needs little in the way of introduction. Not only is it the largest in Africa, but it’s also the mouth of the River Nile, its starting point, and the lifeblood of not only Uganda but its neighbouring countries, too, extending into Tanzania and Kenya. The lake offers plenty of opportunity for tourists to explore; there are several resorts housed on the islands on the lake, and fishing excursions a particular highlight. What’s more, many of the country’s famous gorilla and chimpanzee sanctuaries are found on the lake’s islands (more of that later).
ENTEBBE BOTANICAL GARDENS
The spectacular National Botanical Gardens are located in the city of Entebbe, just 23 miles south of the capital. Here, you’ll see spectacular flora and fauna native to Africa, as well as extoric birds flying and monkeys. Interestingly, the ‘rainforest’ area of the gardens provided the backdrop to legendary film Tarzan.
This breathtaking natural wonder is situated in Eastern Uganda (on the edge of Mount Elgon’s national park). Hike up that mountain and the views of the Sipi Falls (actually three separate waterfalls) below, at the beginning of the hike, are simply superb. Many tourists choose to spend a few days here, with several excellent hotels and resorts at the base of the mountain offering serenity and calm in abundance.
MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK
This enchanting dense forest is located in Southwestern Uganda and is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, as well as the inactive Virunga Volcanoes. The 34 sq kilometre space is in fact home to half the world’s mountain gorillas, and trekking into the park to catch a glimpse of these incredible animals is a must when visiting the country.
NGAMBA ISLAND CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY
Should your interest in great apes still not be sated, then the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, established in October 1998 to care for orphaned chimpanzees who have been rescued by UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority), is one of the best of its kind on the planet. The sanctuary covers 100 acres of the beautiful, remote Ngamba Island, part of Lake Victoria. It’s only accessible by boat, but regular one day trips are available from Entebbe Dock (speedboats will get you there in under an hour).
If you’re keen on continuing your African adventure, then just a three hour flight north east is Ethiopia. There are so many incredible things to see and do here that we wrote this; our 5 IDEAL reasons to visit Ethiopia. Check it out!