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12 Reasons Why You Should Visit Uganda

As the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is like vintage-inspired jewelry with the simple yet sacred allure of “Grandma’s pearls.” It has the exoticness that connotes, in equal parts, romance and mystery. The sheer power of Uganda’s natural beauty has an engaging or even hypnotic effect on everyone who comes in contact with it.

If Uganda is not on your bucket list, then there’s a hole in that bucket. Here are some of the 12 wonderful reasons why you should consider travelling there soon.

 

Silverback gorilla walking in the jungle
A silverback gorilla moving through the lush undergrowth of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Did you know that Gorillas, just like chimpanzees, trundle on their knuckles with their entire weight supported on the back of their folded fingers?
  1. Mountain Gorillas

Uganda is the mountain gorilla capital of the world with more than half of all the world’s mountain gorillas found within its two national parks; Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Within these two parks are over 5 tracking points and more habituated mountain gorilla families to track than anywhere else in the world. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is also famous for its rare golden monkeys and giant earthworms. Mgahinga was also recently ranked as the third best ‘must-photograph’ travel destination in the world and first in Africa, so don’t forget your camera.

 

Birding in Uganda
Egrets captured at the instant of landing on a hippo in Murchison Falls National Park
  1. Birder’s paradise

Uganda is a birders dream destination, with over 1000 unique bird species. That’s over 11% of the entire world’s total bird species and close to 50% of all bird species found on the continent of Africa. The country also has the highest number of bird species per square kilometer. This high concentration is because of its diverse range of altitude, big water masses, and wonderful climate which suites the different birds. The country is on a major migratory route for many birds escaping the cold winters of Europe. In just one park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, you find the highest concentration of birds in the world of any protected area. One of Uganda’s birding spots, Bwindi Impenetrable Park was recently ranked as the best birding spot in Africa by the Africa Bird Club. Another location in Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park, was ranked as the 9th best birding spot in Africa by the Africa Bird Club.

  1. Hike to the top of the “Mountains of the Moon(opens in a new tab)

Here on one of Africa’s highest peaks, fantasy becomes reality as nature unfolds with the elements of a gripping ensemble drama alongside a rich ecosystem. Claudius Ptolemy, the Greco-Roman mathematician, astronomer and father of geography, called the Rwenzori range the Mountains of the Moon, and we think he got it about right. If you love outdoor adventures, plan a hike to the summit of the Rwenzori Mountains (Mountains of the Moon). You probably may never want to come down. These are some of the most scenic and beautiful mountains in the world and are a source of wonder and great joy for many who climb to their snowy peaks. From the roof of Africa, Margherita Peak (Africa’s third highest peak), the views are magnificent. Not Just the views but the scenery you find on your way up seem like they are from another planet. This is also the highest mountain block on the continent of Africa.  This massif is part of the permanent sources of the Nile River. If you’re really lucky, you’ll catch sight of the weird looking three horned chameleon, which make their home in the slopes of these toweringly majestic Rwenzori Mountains.

  1. Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites

These include the:

–                 Rwenzori Mountains National Park has the tallest mountain range in Africa and has over 240 bird species which hop over the wands of grass as if they had springs in their delicate feet, as if the world was their trampoline. And, as they do so, they move to a sweet birdsong sung by ethereal beauty of the land.

–                 Kasubi tombs, Burial place of the last four hereditary kings of Buganda kingdom. Buganda Kingdom was the most powerful kingdom in East and Central Africa in the18th the 19th century.  Buganda Kingdom was a fully fleshed-out, unapologetically Black universe, a world woven into a tapestry of the rich cultures and traditions. The tombs are in the form of a large conical building made out of reeds, timber, and thickly thatched. It only has one door on one end with no windows, making the interior look weird and mysterious.

–                 Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has over 1,000 flowering plant species and approximately 200 tree species (more than 50% of Uganda’s tree species). The rainforest is home to revered hardwood trees such as the Mahogany that can grow to a staggering 55 meters high. With more than 400 mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the undisputed global center of mountain gorilla tracking. The park accounts for almost half of all the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population. The park also has Africa’s second best hiking trail according to CNN Travel 2019 rankings.  Since this park can only be explored on foot, this presents a wonderful hiking opportunity.

 

 

  1. Best country to see chimpanzees

Uganda’s Kibale National Park holds legendary status as the “primate capital of the world”. The park has the highest diversity and concentration of primates in the whole world. It is home to 13 different primate species(opens in a new tab) such as the Vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives, sharing more than 98 percent of our genetic blueprint. It is thought humans and chimps share a common ancestor who lived some 4 to 8 million years ago. By swinging from branch to branch they move quite efficiently in the trees, and thereby remind us that we must all take a swing at life in order for enjoyment. Come take a swing at visiting Kibale National Park.

 

  1. Source of the Nile

Uganda is home to the source of the White Nile in Jinja where it begins its remarkable journey from Lake Victoria to South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt before it finally joins the Mediterranean Sea (a very unusual direction for a river to take). The historian Waterson notes, “The Nile has played a vital part in the creation of Egypt, a process which started about five million years ago when the river began to flow northwards into Egypt.” Again, the river Nile became known as the “Father of Life” and the “Mother of All Men”.    There are many ways to enjoy this legendary river in Uganda, you can fish on it, white water raft on its white water rapids, cruise it, bungee jump over it or kayak it – it is all up to you.

 

  1. Most powerful waterfalls on earth

The Murchison Falls are the most powerful falls in the Africa. They are located along the world’s longest river, Nile River. It is fascinating to hear the thunderous roar of the Nile River as it squeezes through a 7 meter wide canyon before it plunges with a thunderous roar 30 meters below into the “Devil’s Cauldron” creating its signature rainbow. A visit to the top of the falls is one of the most exhilarating experiences you will ever have. Here, you witness both the power and the brilliance of these falls. Although a place of beauty, one is awed by the roar of the water. The white water cascades canyon, giving the effect of many waterfalls rather than just one. When it has fallen, it flows on its way, nonchalant, as if nothing had occurred before swirling in a plunge pool below. From the bottom it is awe inspiring, from the top it is brutal and beautifully terrifying. You must see these falls in person so you can witness the true power of its waters.

 

  1. Tree climbing lions

Ever heard of the tree climbing lions? If you haven’t been to Uganda yet then probably not for there are only two populations of tree climbing lions in the world. One of these populations is found within the Ishasha sector of the Queen Elizabeth National Park within southwestern Uganda. Amidst herds of buffalo, elephants, and antelopes striding across a wide vista, toward wherever, these lions lie languidly in trees way above. With The Circle of Life soaring in the background, this majestic scene draws us into the unhurried and unspoiled world of these rare lions.

 

  1. Friendly People

The people of Uganda are considered as some of the friendliest people in the world. Across Uganda, from urban areas to the rural hearth where country folk dwell at one with nature, there is a passion for love and welcome. Ugandans are characteristically smiling and supportive of those who wish to get to know the country better.  If you happen to make friends with Ugandans during your safari, chances are they will try to make your visit to Uganda as amazing as possible. They are a people who seem to have found an inner peace from feeling happy about being happy.  When around them, you’ll feel a sense of self from the love they share. Embrace that sense of yourself in the quiet moments you spend with them on safari and it will unlock the joys of the little things which bring a soft happiness, a sense that is akin to gratitude and sheer passion.

 

  1. Water Sports

Uganda contains within its boundaries a staggering range of water bodies worthy of a far bigger country. Uganda is known as the white water capital of Africa due to its wonderful rapids on the Nile River. People visit Uganda from all over the world just to dip their raft paddles in the waters of the world’s longest river. There are also numerous lakes all over the country offering fishing and sailing opportunities for people of all ages and skill levels. The section of the Nile River north of the Murchison falls has numerous shoals of Nile Perch from just a few kilograms to over 100 kilograms. These can bring great delight to any angler. If someone tells you that you that in Uganda you will also find the second largest freshwater lake in the world, you’re going to have to believe it because it is true. This sea like lake (Lake Victoria) is the major source of the White Nile. Numerous island of immense beauty abound in the lake.

 

  1. The Wildlife

 

3 zebras standing in a line in a field
Zebras in the early morning mist of  Kidepo Valley National Park

Like they say, in Africa you are supposed to see wildlife. And in this vein, Uganda doesn’t disappoint. With over 22 national parks and game reserves all laden with wild game, you can’t go wrong when you choose Uganda as your game viewing destination.   You can visit Kidepo Valley National Park in the northeastern corner of Uganda to see the largest herd of African buffalo in the world ambling though the park. Kidepo Valley National Park has also been named as the best wilderness park by CNN Travel on three separate occasions.  Trek through the Bwindi Impenetrable rainforest trails and you’ll be able to find families of endangered mountain gorillas. Cruise on the Kazinga Channel which has one of the largest hippo numbers in Africa. You will likely find hundreds of log like crocodiles lying on the shores or half submerged in the Channel. In Murchison Falls National park, you will probably have the greatest game drive thrills as it is teaming with lots game from buffaloes, elephants, baboons, hippos, warthogs, some odd wandering lions etc. The park also hosts some good bird watching. Indeed, Uganda is a wonderful place for a naturalist or animal lover.

 

Uganda roads

  1. Perfect Weather

Due its location along the equator, Uganda is blessed with almost perfect summer weather year round. The days are generally just hot enough while the nights are mostly comfortable. There is plenty of sun and lots of refreshing rain showers which leave the air so velvety on the skin. It is a spa from the time the light filters over the seven hills of the south until it too takes its rest in the lowlands of the north. Even in foul weather, clouds drift by on the most relaxed of breezes, helping our eyes to appreciate the bluebird sky all the more. The rain, when it comes, alights as softly as the shoes of a ballet dancer, adorning and rejuvenating the only stage that matters: life.

 

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