1. Crater lakes surrounding Fort Portal
The surrounding of Fort Portal is known for its bright crater lakes, shielded from each other by green steep hills. My dad and I visited one of the lesser known crater lakes of Uganda, entitled Lake Kifuruka, about 20 km south from Fort Portal. The local bus and boda boda (motorcycle taxi) ride were quite adventurous as it rained heavily the night before. The sand roads were converted into muddy slides and we had to cover some parts by foot. At one point we even considered returning as the road was in such a bad shape but we still made it to our eco-lodge.
With our local guide Noah from the lodge we walked through banana plantations and hiked around several picturesque crater lakes. We discovered more about the plants of the region and the local community. At the end we found some refreshment in the ice-cold water of the Mahoma Waterfalls. This place is definitely for you if you like cultural immersions and rustic settings!
2. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park near Kisoro to climb Mount Sabinyo
Many tourists visit Uganda to see the rare mountain gorillas. However, in the same national park you can do some challenging hiking which has a cheaper price tag. Our goal was to reach the summit of the third and highest peak. Unfortunately, we only made it to second peak due to bad weather and our rather slow pace (we took too many photography breaks 😉 ).
During the hike we saw the ecosystem change with altitude and we could peek into the countryside of Uganda, Rwanda and DRC Congo. You also have the chance to encounter some big wildlife. We heard strolling elephants and saw buffalos crossing the road. My only regret is not seeing the endangered golden monkeys. Climbing the steepest parts with the aid of the slippery wooden ladders is definitely an experience you should try yourself! My dad and I were the only persons hiking Mount Sabinyo that particular day so we had the ranger, with Kalashnikov, and female guide all for ourselves. The hike was exhausting but very rewarding!
Read more practical information (incl. price and packing list) and my personal experience conquering Mount Sabinyo here.
3. Lake Bunyonyi near Kabale
Lake Bunyonyi was by far my most favorite place in Uganda. This destination even made it into the list of my highlights in East-Africa and several photos were displayed in the photo essay of Uganda. Our funny experience paddling in circles with the dug-out canoe, observing the rich birdlife, encountering grey crowned cranes, tasting crayfish, hiking up the hills to perceive the different islands from above while drinking fresh mango juice all made that I fell in love with this place. We had wonderful views over Lake Bunyonyi from our safari tent with comfortable beds, installed on a raised platform.
The lake is situated in the southwestern corner of the country and easily accessible from the capital Kampala. We took the night bus from Kampala to Kabale with Trinity Express. From Kabale the lake is reachable in 30 minutes with a local van or taxi.
4. Murchison Falls National Park
Leaving Uganda without visiting a national park? No way! Masindi, located in northwestern Uganda, is the perfect starting location for a 2-day safari to Murchison Falls National Park. Typically you will spend one day in a boat on the Nile combined with a hike to the top of the powerful Murchison Falls, while you go for a classic game drive on the second day. We stayed a third day in the national park for free as the jeep of our local safari company Yebo had some technical issues. Poor us 😉
Next to the animals in the photo collage below, we saw hippos, crocodiles, buffalos and different species of antelopes, monkeys and birds. I still have to laugh if I watch the picture of the Jackson’s hartebeests as we saw plenty of them and every time our guide called them ‘stupid animals’. I have to admit they don’t particularly look very bright…
5. The botanical garden in Entebbe
I didn’t love the crowded capital with all its traffic jams. Nevertheless, my dad and I had an awesome time thanks to Isaac and Mathius who hosted us in Kampala. Together we went to a baby shower, tried the street food and prepared a delicious breakfast. A much more pleasant city is Entebbe. Instead of just passing through to catch your flight, why not spend some time in this lovely city? We especially loved the botanical garden, beautifully located near the beach. Or what about exploring the city with a local guide and bike? More time? Take the ferry to the Sesse Islands where you can relax on the beaches, spot birds and monkeys, visit a pineapple farm or rent a kayak.
Wondering how much to budget for your upcoming trip to Uganda when all of the above activities are included? Check my budget breakdown here.
Other luscious places that are worth a visit in Uganda?
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