The Biggest Tourist Attractions in Uganda

Uganda “The Pearl of Africa” is efficiently endowed with a variety of habitats plus corresponding flora and fauna with a diversity of attractions to act as a focus for tourist attractions making it the number one tourism destination in the whole of East Africa.

But, what the biggest tourist attractions in Uganda, that you absolutely CANNOT miss out on?

Keep reading to find out.

Biggest tourist attractions in Uganda

Below are some of the activities that visitors can take part in while in Uganda.

Gorilla Trekking

Almost half of the population of the rare Mountain Gorillas also referred to as “Man’s shy cousins” are found in Uganda. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is the number one tourist attraction in Uganda and a must do for every visitor to Uganda whether for the first time or not. In Uganda, the activity is done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in South-Western Uganda.

Several volcanoes known as the Virungas run through the western section of the East African Rift Valley, forming part of the border between Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. These magnificent mountains are also a haven for the endangered Mountain gorillas hence the activity is also done in Rwanda and Congo.

Chimpanzees Tracking

Tracking the noisy Chimps is another one of the exciting tourist activities in Uganda. Chimpanzees are man’s closest relatives, they mainly communicate by drumming trees, screaming or hooting and are tracked down by following their unique sounds.

Chimpanzee tracking is done in Kibale Forest, Murchison Falls at Kaniyo Papidi and Queen Elizabeth National Park Kyambura Gorge area. An opportunity to watch the impressive chimps climbing, playing, mating, feeding, looking after their young, and responding to the presence of human beings. Plus spending a night in the Kibale jungle six meters up in a tree house.

The Mysterious Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha

A visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park should include the two hour drive to the Ishasha sector of the Park with its extraordinary tree climbing lions plus other wildlife that is found in the area. Besides Ishasha, these mysterious animals are found in only one other place which is the Lake Manyara region of Tanzania. 

Ishasha Plains with its tree climbing lions, its abundant wildlife, its scenery and unique lodging opportunities should not miss on your tour itinerary in East Africa.

Bird Watching 

Uganda has over 1,000 bird species recorded although it is just about the size of Great Britain. It is a transitional point of the Savannah of East Africa and the western rainforests, making it Africa’s absolute and thrilling birding destination.

With over 10% of the entire world bird species and almost half the bird species known on the African continent, it is the most stunning destination for bird watchers.

Uganda’s 10 most commonly sought after birds include the following; hoe bill stork, African green broadbill, Green-breasted pitta, Nahans francolin, brown chested pullover, Karamoja apalis, black bee eater, rwenzori turaco, red fronted anti pecker, purcell’s illadopsis. There are several guides with expertise in birding who are always ready to give you every detail about birds in East Africa.

Quad Biking

Quad biking is an exciting activity where tourists ride on motor bikes while exploring the destination of their choice, the activity is offered mainly at Bujjagali Falls on ”the great River Nile”  and does not need any experience. It is a four wheeled bike and can ride on all terrains and very suitable for all age groups. 

This is done down the length of the Nile close to the Bujjagali Falls. The exciting safari runs for a number of hours as you explore the beautiful countryside up to top view point. Free training is offered to those who cannot ride and it is done before the safari.

The various packages offered include: a full day, an evening, 3 hours, two hours exploration, and a one hour trip.

The activity is also available for game drives in Lake Mburo National Park where you are able to view game at a very close range and around the “Romantic” Sipi falls on Mount Elgon.

Wildlife Safaris

Tourist attractions in Uganda include; national parks, forest reserves, wildlife reserves, cultural heritage sites, specific natural features for example mountain peaks and gorges, areas of specific scenic interest like mountains and craters. Among the significant activities are launch/ boat trips on Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Park, game drives in Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks, plus nature walks.

Numerous trail-networks have been intended in most of the protected areas to cater for nature walks, you will enjoy the tranquility of the wild broken now and again by the charming bird melodies and the cool breeze blowing the leaves atop the tropical trees. Unlike other countries in Africa, the word “safari” in Uganda refers to a very close encounter with animals, people, nature and the environment. Ugandan safaris offer a direct, appropriate and uncontaminated experience with wildlife.

Mountaineering, Hiking and Volcano climbing

Many tourists have the desire to participate in activities that provide them with the challenge, thrill or intense experience. Some of these tourists want to test their physical skills in new or unusual ways with activities such as mountain climbing, hiking etc. 

Mountaineering on the snow capped Rwenzori Mountains also known as “Mountains of the moon”, hiking on Mount Elgon, “The world’s largest mountain caldera” and Volcano climbing in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

The Rwenzori Mountains are at the border of Uganda and Eastern Congo, they provide a charming variety of terrain (from Rainforest to high altitude glaciers). These mountains are not as famous as Kilimanjaro on account of there relative inaccessibility and the effect of rebel activity in the late 1990s, otherwise the area is currently safe and accessible for visitors. A multi-day trip to any of these Mountains is highly recommended for those in love with challenging activities.

White Water Rafting

Uganda offers the best white water rafting on the Mighty River Nile in Jinja as compared to any other place in Africa. This is a must do on your adventure trip to Africa.

Other Water sports include Boat ridescanoeingkayakingbungee jumping and swimming on the Nile and the various lakes within the country. The river is gifted with many water falls & rapids, making it a popular water rafting place in the world. There are various opportunities to swim, relax and observe the rich wildlife including the red-tailed monkeys and a variety of birds such as the fish eagle, numerous cormorants and otters.

Sport Fishing

For those who love the activity and those who want to experience it, Uganda is the place to be. With a third of the country being covered in water, Uganda offers the finest opportunities for sport fishing.

The most common fish caught is the Nile perch which weighs an average of 60Kgs although there is a recorded great catch that weighed 100Kgs. These are plentiful in Uganda’s largest Lake Victoria which is also the 2nd largest in Africa, and also in the mighty river Nile. Other species in the Nile include the ferocious fighter and the tilapia, while the tiger fish is unique to Lake Albert. The Murchison Falls is an additional destination for sport fishermen.

Tourist attractions in Uganda
Lake Albert, Uganda

City Tours in Uganda

Not all tourist attractions in Uganda include nature and the outdoors. This includes a trip around the capital area zone. The capital area encompasses Kampala (do a Kampala cultural tour), Entebbe and Jinja (do a Jinja tour) plus areas between them.

Here you get to see the Source of the Nile, Bujagali falls, Ziika forest, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Ssezibwa Falls, Kasubi Tombs, National Museum, Bahai Temple, Uganda Martyrs shrine, Rubaga and Namirembe Cathedrals, Entebbe Botanical and Zoological gardens, Uganda Wildlife Education Center, Theaters like Bat Valley Theater, National theater and Theater La Bonita, Nommo Art Gallery, Cinemas like Cineplex cinema, dancehalls and night clubs, Educational institutions like Makerere University, Namboole stadium, Conference centers, Shopping and marketing places like St. Balikudembe Market (Owino Market).

Cultural Tours in Uganda

Uganda as a country is well endowed with different ethnic groups and cultures hence visitors have the opportunity to explore a diversity of cultures from the cultural dress, food, dances and beliefs. A chance to visit the Batwa “Pygmies” a group of people who have lived most of their lives in the forest feeding on wild fruits and raw meat.

During the even years, the Opening of the circumcision season is on in Mbale for the Bamasaba, don’t miss the exciting Kadodi (Imbalu) dancers plus the real circumcision exercise including a trip to the romantic Sipi Falls and a tour of the Nyero rock paintings.

Ssese Islands trip

Lake Victoria is one of the main tourist attractions in Uganda. The Ssese Island Zone covers all the Islands within Lake Victoria in the territorial boundaries of Uganda. Here visitors enjoy activities such as; bird watching plus other forms of Eco-tourism, scenic viewing, boat rides, sport fishing, swimming and diving, sunset cruises.

Here, you will also find the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary where visitors can participate in the feeding of the chimpanzees, watch the animals play and most of all contribute to their well-being and overall conservation of the species.

Tourist attractions in Uganda
Lake Victoria in Uganda

Lake Bunyonyi Trip

Nature’s prime Island Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest Lake in Uganda approximately 6500ft deep, located in Kabale district also known as the Switzerland of Africa. The district is characterized by a cool climate best for a soothing Holiday.

Lake Bunyonyi is dotted with at least 20 small islands with amazing people and historical facts. Here, one can enjoy a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, the trip can be included on the itinerary to one of the major destinations or climaxed with a visit to the Batwa (Pygmies) & most of all an encounter with Man’s shy cousins, the gorillas.

Activities around Lake Bunyonyi include; Boat rides, Hiking, Bird watching, cultural visits. Bunyonyi locally means “many small birds.”

Camping Safaris in Uganda

Camping in the wild in Uganda is quite a great experience. Just a piece of cloth between you and the typical African night. A choir of nocturnal birds, insects, laughing hyenas and distant roaring lions lullabies you to sleep. Sitting around an open camp fire having a barbeque dinner with the skies bright over head is the real way of appreciating Africa’s magic. There are several campsites and camping facilitates in all our safari itineraries, to any tourist destination of your choice.


Wellington Attractions Not to Miss

Not many travelers know much about Wellington, but this picturesque town is packed with attractions.

We’ve rounded up the top Wellington attractions to keep you busy while visiting. You shouldn’t get bored in Wellington, New Zealand with these travel tips.

Wellington attractions, New Zealand
Wellington attractions, New Zealand

Related Read: Things To Do in Wellington for Under $5

Top Wellington attractions

Te Papa

The national museum. Good if you have children to entertain on a rainy day. But also without kids it’s definitely a highlight of Wellington. Free (except for the occasional special presentation).

Museum of Wellington City & Sea, Queens Wharf

A well-presented museum of the history of Wellington, including its maritime history. Free.

It is open 10AM-5PM every day except 25 December.

City Gallery, Civic Square

Lacks a permanent collection but runs a consistently avant-garde set of exhibits. It also has the excellent cafe Nikau attached to it. 

The Wellington Cable Car

From Lambton Quay (next to the McDonald’s), 04 472 2199. Open 7 days until 10PM. The easiest way to get a nice view of the city and harbor, the Cable Car runs on rails from Lambton Quay to the Botanic Garden in Kelburn every ten minutes. $2.50 one way, $4.50 return (Concession prices are available for children, students and senior citizens over 65).

Frank Kitts Park

A great place to wander around, with walls to climb, inline skates, and jet ski rental.

Karori Cemetery 

An interesting picnic spot.

Elmscourt 

An historic art deco apartment block on the corner of The Terrace and Abel Smith Street.

Oriental Parade

A new beach. However if you are not from somewhere really cold it is unlikely that it will be hot enough for you to be in desperate need for a swim. There is a spa pool (jacuzzi) in Freyberg Swimming pool (on Oriental Parade) which is inexpensive if you enjoy “people soup”.

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary

End of Waiapu Rd, (first left after the Karori Tunnel). 10AM-5PM (last entry 4PM) every day except 25 December. A predator-proof fence encloses an old water catchment area, forming a mainland island that provides a natural haven for endangered native birds, tuatara, and other indigenous flora and fauna, safe from introduced predators. By far the most convenient place in the country to see rare New Zealand wildlife.

Plimmer’s Ark

Under and in the Old Bank Arcade on the corner of Lambton Quay and Customhouse Quay – near Plimmer’s Steps. A hundred years ago a Bank was built on top of a wrecked ship that had been used as a market. When they renovated the building they discovered the ship’s timbers and preserved the remains in the building! Just take the escalator down through the bank vault doors. 

Parliament Buildings, the Beehive (or Executive Wing), and the Parliamentary Library.

The grounds of Parliament are open to the public. Known as the hill, Parliament grounds are at the foot of Molesworth and Bowen Streets, where they meet Lambton Quay.

Parliament House in Wellington, New Zealand
Parliament House in Wellington, New Zealand

National Library of New Zealand

Corner of Aitken and Molesworth Streets (across the road from the Cathedral and Parliament). The library regularly holds exhibitions.

Turnbull House, Bowen Street (just across the road from Parliament Buildings).

This imposing brick mansion now seems small and out of place amongst the surrounding high-rises.

The Old Government Buildings

With the cenotaph in the foreground and NZ Post headquarters behind. Old Government Buildings opposite Parliament at 15 Lambton Quay. This is the largest wooden building in the southern hemisphere and the second-largest in the world. It is now the home of Victoria University Law School.

Old St Paul’s (one block east of Parliament)

This was the Anglican center for decades. Superseded by the new cathedral north of Parliament, this one is popular for weddings and funerals.

Statues and sculptures

Statues and sculptures appear in some intriguing places around town. Famous prime ministers, memorials, and works of art have all been erected in the streets of Wellington.

Wellington Central Library, (in the city square, next to the information centre)

It’s huge with great places to sit and read or if you bring your laptop to connect home via one of the city’s paid-for wi-fi networks. Entry is free.

Matiu/Somes Island 

Out in the middle of the harbour, this island has its share of history. It was once a quarantine station for immigrants, and later (and more extensively) for animals. It was also an internment camp for “dangerous” individuals during both World Wars. The ferry leaves from Queen’s Wharf and Day’s Bay (on opposite sides of the harbour). Only at certain times will the ferry stop at the island and only upon request. The best choice is to leave Queen’s Wharf at noon and return at 2:30 or 3:25.

The Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden is a nice place to go for a picnic, or just an afternoon walk. You can take the Cable Car from Lambton Quay for a quick 5-minute trip to the top; but it is not designed to be exciting, despite being photogenic. If you’re keen on walking up, take the lifts in the The James Cook Arcade (or one of several others along Lambton Quay) up to The Terrace, head south uphill until you reach Salamanca Rd. Head uphill up Salamanca Rd until you reach Victoria University. A set of stairs on the opposite side of the road to the Hunter Lawn goes uphill right to the top of the Gardens.

If you already shelled out for a Daytripper ticket, just catch the Mairangi bus, get off at the stop after the University, and walk back along Upland Rd until you reach the Cable Car Museum. At the top of the Gardens, there are several attractions:

  • The Cable Car Museum has two of the old cars in semi-restored and fully-restored condition and some of the original Cable Car machinery from the system that was replaced in 1978. *
  • The Lookout has a great view day or night, and the large map next to the round tree usually has a few pamphlets with maps of the Gardens.
  • The Carter Observatory is a stones throw from here. This is the perfect place to explore the Garden from, or wander back to the city. 

Bolton Street Memorial Park

Watch out for the friendly black cat who haunts this hillside cemetery. If you’re returning from the Botanic Gardens by foot, this is great place to meander through and check out the epitaphs of early pioneers and historical figures. 

Red Rocks/ Seal Colony

This is one of the great Wellington attractions. Red Rocks is an interesting walk named for its distinctive red rocks (probably Jasper). Take the number 1 bus to the end (Island Bay). Walk across the park towards the ocean and hang a right. There is another bus, number 4, that goes to the end of the road, but only at certain times. Travel west (right side, if facing the water) until you run out of road. Here you will find a disused quarry and a soon-to-open visitors center.

The walk along this beach is pleasant but rocky and often very windy, so dress accordingly. If one walks for about 1 hour you will come across a distinctive pass though the rock face. Just on the other side of this is a seal colony that is worth the walk. Please bear in mind that these are wild animals and so require a certain level of respect, so keep your distance and do not get between them and the sea, especially if you value your health!

Continuing on from here, you will eventually arrive at Makara (but this is a long distance, and the seal colony is a recommended turn-around point).

Red Rocks in Wellington
Red Rocks in Wellington


Offbeat attractions in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is known for its amazing beaches, but the lesser-known historic sites have been gaining popularity lately, for good reason too.

We have a few of the best picks on the island here for you:

South Bolgoda Lake

The Bolgoda Lake offers plenty of opportunities to have a fun-filled day, as water sports are quite the hit here. Being the biggest natural freshwater lake on the island, this lake spreads out across the districts of both Colombo and Kalutara with a mighty 350 square km to its name.

Canoeing and kayaking are favourite things to do for the people who visit the place, and you should try it too, as it can be a very calming experience to sit out on the lake with nothing but deep waters around you, as you make your way through the gentle waves.

Nachchimale

In a typical Kalutara travel guide, the next place on the list would be Nachchimale, the Buddhist hermitage that is also a meditation centre. Only people interested in actual meditation should visit the place though. If you are a noisy bunch travelling for joy, its best to forego this visit as the monks here are serious about the worship and meditation they do and can be quite offended if you cause disturbances in any way.

Fa Hien Cave

Yatagampitiya, the village in which Pahiyangala resides, is about 5km away from the town of Bulathsinhala in Kalutara. One of the more prominent places to visit in Kalutara District, the cave is frequented by school children for class trips and such. The place is also a popular picnic site; therefore, if you like the quiet and peace, visiting the cave on weekends and Poya days aren’t advised. The cave itself is about 400ft above sea level, the inner ceilings go up to 175ft height and the cave stretches out to a length of 200ft.

According to blogs, this is one of the oldest known places in Sri Lanka, and if the measurements are right, about 3,000 people can stay inside the cave at a time without it getting too uncomfortable. Divided into four parts, the cave has restricted lanes too, which are now blocked and not accessed by the usual visitor due to the dangers that lie within it.

The Archaeological Departments in Sri Lanka dug a pit and found human skulls that date back to about 37,000 years, based on the carbon dating available in the United States of America. A few weapons from the same era were found in the pit too, and it is believed that these weapons were made out of animal bones and heavy stones.

They were used to kill deer, monkey, porcupine and more animals that were easier to hunt down with minimal weapons. With the evidence collected from the pit, archaeologists also say that, apart from the meat, the people of that time also ate snails and wild fruits. The residents of the cave were known as Pahiyangala Manawakaya or Pahiyangala Man and are said to have prominent bone structures, like broad jaws, huge teeth, a short vertebral make-up and an immense palette.

Berwuala Light House

Located on the Barberyn Island this lighthouse is also known as the Barberyn Lighthouse. Built back in 1889, this structure has seen many a natural disaster, like the Tsunami in 2004 and stood tall through it all. You can reach the lighthouse by getting a fisherman with a ferry to take you there for a price.

It usually will not cost you more than Rs.3000 for a round trip, therefore, beware of being scammed with higher fares. The lighthouse itself is not accessible now, but you can walk around the tiny island freely and explore the place.

The island is not crowded during the off-season, and you are also allowed to take a dip in the sea and cool off if you want to. Camping on the island hasn’t been allowed in recent times, but if you are really interested, you can always ask around and see if it is possible to get a permit to camp overnight.