Uganda does not always factor into avid travelers’ bucket list. And that ought to change. This East-Central African country has so much to offer those with a thirst for culture and adventure. Bordered by countries including Kenya, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania, landlocked Uganda sits in the heart of the African Great Lakes region. What it means is while you won’t find yourself on a hammock by the beachside sipping a margarita in front of the ocean, you’ll probably find yourself on a boat cruising through a peaceful lake with Swahili music playing in the background. And that’s just one of the many things you can do. Here’s a list to get you even more excited to see this awesome country.
1. Go on a safari tour
Uganda’s biodiversity is a source of pride for the country. Here you’ll find 11 percent of the world’s bird species. Also, you’ll see butterflies of different colors as well as primates of different sizes. You can witness all of them if you join a safari tour. The Bwindi and Kibale National Park should be first on your list.
2. Have your photo taken on the equator
The equator is not just an imaginary line. It exists and you’ll find it in Uganda. And Ugandans built a monument to mark the exact spot where the globe’s North and South sides meet. Here you can have your photo taken with one foot up the Global north and another down the Global south. Think of it as standing in two places at once.
3. See the mountain gorillas
Your Ugandan adventure won’t be complete without you seeing the mountain gorillas. Sign up on a gorilla trekking tour so you do not miss out on the experience. The mountain gorillas are an endangered species. There are approximately a thousand of them left, scattered across three countries, including Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda.
4. Visit Lake Bunyoni
Lake Bunyoni is a picturesque area where you get a tranquil body of water backdropped by green hills and the flight of birds perfect for birdwatching enthusiasts. If you want to slow down and recalibrate, this is where you want to do it. Usually, those who climb the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park stays within the area to either prepare or recover from the hike.
6. See the majestic Murchison Falls
Murchison Falls is located in Uganda’s largest national park which shares its moniker — Murchison Falls National Park. To explore its biodiversity, you can either go on a water or land safari tour. The animals you’ll see include warthogs, elephants, crocodiles, buffalo, and Rothschild giraffes. With the Murchison Falls as the main event, your adventure will be one for the books.
7. Trace the origin of the Nile River
The Nile River is the world’s longest river. You can trace its origin in Uganda. After visiting the Murchison Falls National Park, go straight to the nearby town named Jinja. That’s where you’ll find where the Nile River begins. Jinja and its surrounding areas are also home to extreme adventures such as bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, and mountain biking so you won’t run out of things to do.
8. Hike the Rwenzori Mountains
The Rwenzori Mountains are also known as “the mountains of the moon”. That rather romantic moniker is well-earned given the majestic views these mountain ranges offer. Uganda’s tallest mountain, Mount Stanley, is part of the Rwenzori Mountains. The snowcapped Mount Stanley is the third-highest in Africa. If you’re not physically fit enough to climb the peak of Mount Stanley, staying in a nearby town to admire its magnificence will suffice.
9. Try local dishes
Your experience of a local country is not complete without tasting the local dishes. So skip those Western meals or any other familiar dishes your palate is used to and literally get a taste of Uganda. Start with the famous Luwombo and go deeper into the country’s culinary culture with Posho and Muchomo.
When visiting Uganda, be mindful of the local culture and etiquette. Doing so will prevent you from unwittingly offending the locals. For example, public display of affection is frowned upon. So is using your left hand when passing something to another person, eating, or shaking hands. Once those potential concerns are out of the way, feel free to have all the fun you can get. Experience as much of the country as you can and while you’re at it, tell everyone about your adventure. Uganda’s travel industry could use more signal-boosting. That way you’ll be helping the local economy a little.