Situated at the crossroads of East Africa and Central Africa, Uganda is a wonderfully diverse country. As you’ll see from our list, almost anything you can do elsewhere in Africa, you can do in Uganda – it’s almost as though all the best bits of the continent have been rolled into one. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the best things to do in Uganda!


Uganda is blessed with many pristine lakes. If you enjoy being in or on the water, Kyaninga Lodge should be on your list – the nearby lake is rated as the cleanest in all of East Africa. For a more terrestrial experience, check out Ndali Lodge, where local guides will lead you on walks around the rims of extinct volcanoes, and through local farms and villages. This will give you the chance to see how rural Ugandans live, and their ingenuity in solving the challenges that come with being a farmer.


Also in ‘QEP’ (as Queen Elizabeth National Park is affectionately known), the Ishasha Sector is one of only a handful of places in Africa where you may see a lion in a tree. Yes, you read that right – a lion, not a leopard! While lions may not possess quite the same agility as their spotted cousins, they are no slouches when it comes to getting up into the branches. It’s thought they do this to find extra shade and cool breezes on hot days, or to escape from insects that may be bothering them. It also gives lion a great vantage point and means that, in Ishasha at least, the old advice about climbing a tree if you come across a lion, may not be too helpful!


Much of Uganda is very lush, and you’ll find that you’re often close to water. Uganda is home to some of Africa’s most ancient rainforests, and it’s worth spending an extra day in Bwindi (after your gorilla trek) to check out some of the smaller details that make the forest so fascinating, including the multicolored butterflies and orchids. Uganda is also known for its waterfalls – including Murchison Falls, where the entire Nile River squeezes through a gap in the rocks just 23 feet wide. And you thought you were under pressure! For a more tranquil, but equally beautiful, waterfall experience, try the Buhoma waterfall trail in Bwindi, which connects three wonderfully serene falls.


The Batwa indigenous people have lived in and around Bwindi for millennia, and are known as ‘the keepers of the forest’. They were practicing sustainable lifestyles long before this became a thing. Their deep knowledge of the plants, trees, and animals lets them see the forest as a larder and as a medicine chest – all without doing any harm to the ecosystem on which they depend. A Batwa cultural experience lets you learn some of their secrets, including traditional hunting techniques (with bows and arrows) and hearing from a traditional healer about the medicinal properties of forest plants. Very few people still have such a close connection to their environment – the Batwa could just hold the key to survival for all of us.


Boat safaris are a wonderful way to spot wildlife whilst relaxing in a comfortable chair and not having to worry about bumps in the road. Nowhere is this truer than on the Kazinga Channel, a natural, 20-mile-long waterway that connects two of Uganda’s westernmost lakes – Edward and George. It also happens to flow through Queen Elizabeth National Park, arguably Uganda’s top wildlife destination (by now you’ll have realized that many Ugandan placenames have quite a retro, colonial feel). Kyambura Gorge Lodge is our lodge of choice near Queen Elizabeth National Park. If you’ve not yet seen hippo or elephant, this waterlily lined channel is the closest thing to a guarantee you can find.

If you’re keen to look for more elusive wildlife, then an excursion along the Nile below Murchison Falls might yield a sighting of the enigmatic – and enormous – shoebill stork. Nile Safari Lodge is the best option in Murchison Falls.


After years of debate, explorers eventually established that the source of the White Nile is at Jinja on the shores of Lake Victoria (the river flows from here to Egypt, and ultimately into the Mediterranean). This fact has fueled tourism in the area, which is now firmly on the map as East Africa’s adrenaline capital. You may not see any pyramids at this end of the Nile, but you can enjoy some of the region’s best whitewater rafting and kayaking. Luckily, there are calmer stretches of water between each set of rapids for you to get your breath back and admire the scenery.


If you’re a birder, you’ll find much to delight you in Uganda – and you’re bound to add some exciting new species to your list. The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a birdwatching hotspot, with some 138 species having been recorded there. The star of the show is the unmistakable great blue turaco, but you could also see flufftails, nicators, tchagras, and sunbirds from the carefully sited boardwalks and viewing platforms. Don’t forget your binoculars!


This is a quite different experience from hiking to see mountain gorillas (which you can also do in Uganda). Whereas the gorillas tend to be quite chilled and almost contemplative, chimps are altogether more active and vocal. A guided walk through Kibale Forest is a great way to see habituated troops of our closest animal relatives – and you’ll almost certainly get to every possible chimpanzee behavior from playing to feeding to grooming to mating – plus all the incredible sounds that accompany these pastimes!


One of the most interesting things about visiting a new country is getting to try the traditional foods enjoyed by the people there. It’s also a great way to break down barriers and become a friend rather than merely a visitor. Tinka’s Homestead, close by Kibale, offers not just delicious meals (think plantain – a less-sweet type of banana that’s a staple in Uganda, greens, beans, lentils, and spicy beef curry) but also the stories behind each recipe – and the chance to try your hand at recreating some of the dishes. Uganda will steal your heart, it’s true – especially if the way there is through your stomach!


Located in Lake Victoria, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary provides a safe place for orphaned chimpanzees that have been rescued from across East Africa. Here, the chimps can recover from past traumas and learn to simply be chimpanzees again in a natural environment, with the company of other orphans and NGO workers dedicated to their wellbeing. If you want to see chimpanzees at close quarters and contribute to chimp conservation, this is the place to come to.


Kidepo Valley National Park is the place to head to if you want to escape from your inbox or social media. This remote wilderness is very definitely off the grid – you can switch your phone off, as you certainly won’t have Wi-Fi. What you will have, however, is the privilege of spending time in a pristine wildlife habitat, with excellent opportunities to spot ‘the Big 4’ (only rhinos are absent).


We’ve saved what is arguably Uganda’s best experience until last. The mountain gorillas of Bwindi and Mgahinga are perhaps Uganda’s biggest ecotourism drawcard, and it’s not hard to see why. Many people find that spending time with these gentle giants is a life-changing experience – the slow pace of their lives and the obvious bonds between family members might just make you wish for a simpler, less busy life when you return home…

Contact our Africa travel experts to plan your Uganda adventure!