The new year is around the corner, and with fresh new possibilities on the horizon. It may be time to start thinking of your next adventure! Since it’s a new year and a new start, it’s also the perfect time to do things a little differently than you may have done before. Why not entertain your adventurous side, or visit a destination that’s off the beaten track.
We at African Overland Tours are passionate about Africa. It’s no secret we believe every person should experience Africa’s magic at least once in their lives. So, if you’re looking for ideas for your 2019 travel itinerary you’re in luck. We can certainly recommend this life-changing, thrilling, heartwarming and very special continent. (We could throw in a bunch more adjectives, but we’ll spare you).
There are so many incredible places to visit on the African continent. Each offering something unique and beautiful, but we thought we’d let you in on one of our favourite destinations – Uganda. If you are looking to be deeply moved by a place, keen for true adventure and an authentic experience that will change you forever then this is it. Not much can compare, even Winston Churchill himself coined it “The pearl of Africa”.
Take a look at our eight reasons why Uganda should feature on your 2019 travel itinerary:
Uganda is one of the best places in the world to go gorilla trekking
There are less than 790 mountain gorillas left in the world and Uganda is home to almost three quarters of this population. While you can visit the gorilla colonies in Virunga Mountains and Murchison Falls, the most cost effective gorilla trek is through Bwindi National Park. This area is home to the biggest population of mountain gorillas in Uganda.
You can gorilla trek in both Uganda and Rwanda, yet Uganda is definitely the favourite of the two. There are a few reasons why this is the case – and we’ll delve into these.
- Uganda charges around 600 USD for a permit, while Rwanda charges a steep 1500 USD. However Uganda is increasing their rates from December 2019, so best you book before the spike!
- The country is also popular for their reasonable lodging/accommodation rates which are ideal for travellers on a budget. Conversely Rwanda remains the more expensive option. The scenery in Uganda is yet another reason why eager trekkers opt for this location. Most of the lodges are in or near the forests and not in the towns. This means you could be waking up with the view of your dreams (depending on which national park you’re visiting).
- Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Virunga Mountains is just a 3 hour drive from Kigali. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in May 2017 CNN picked it out as one of the best parks in Africa.
- English is more often spoken in Uganda.
See our gorilla trekking tours, here.
Uganda tours and safaris also offer Big Five wildlife experiences
Undoubtedly, Uganda is one of the most untouched landscapes in all of Africa. Uganda tours and safaris don’t only focus on gorilla treks or chimpanzee spotting. You’ll also be able to experience authentic wildlife safaris too. Expect sightings of Africa’s most coveted wildlife species.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, is home to numerous species including forest elephants, primates and bush buck. If you’re visiting the park it’s likely your travel guide will point them out to you. If you venture just a little further out to the Kasenyi Plains or Queen Elizabeth Park, you’ll spot leopard, lion, hippo, buffalo, giraffe to name a few. These extraordinary experiences and sightings make Uganda a once in a lifetime trip.
The country of Uganda has a creative edge, with a blooming cultural scene
Some of the most promising, up and coming artists in Africa hail from Uganda. The rapid growth of Uganda’s inspiring art scene has seen many new inclusions and aims to encourage artists to showcase their works. Influenced by the strong Ugandan culture, traditions and social and political upset. The ever popular Kampala Biennale – an art festival focusing on African contemporary art is a must see for all who share an interest in understanding Ugandan culture, core beliefs. Influences of the past and present day is visible in their work. Kampala, Uganda’s capital, is the country’s urban hub and is where you will find museums, art galleries, historical monuments and the commercial city centre.
You can visit the source of the famous Nile River
The Nile is famous for being the longest river in the world at just over 6, 800 km. Did you know the main source of the Nile is in Jinja, Uganda? The river flows north, meeting up with the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, which has its source in Rwanda. It flows all the way to Egypt, exiting into the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile may cover vast land, but it was also the main source of life for the ancient Egyptians. The Nile is incredibly beautiful, and home to a vast number of species including the infamous Nile Crocodile.
It is home to the biggest population of Chimpanzees on earth
The Chimpanzee populations reside in Kibale National Park. Though this trek is not as popular as the gorilla trek, specifically because the chimps are difficult to spot. Unlike the gorillas, the Chimps don’t often come as close to the visitors, though it should still feature on your travel bucket list. These creatures are incredibly interesting, and are likely our closest living relatives, sharing 99% of our DNA. Perhaps this great population is proof we really all did originate from Africa.
Uganda is a true ‘off the beaten track’ adventure filled with extraordinary activities
A trip to Uganda isn’t just about wildlife. There’s the thrill of adventure too! When you’re not exploring the forests, spotting wildlife, or taking in the exquisite surroundings – you can indulge your adventurous side and get your adrenaline pumping! Jinja is Uganda’s adrenaline hub. With some of the best rapids on the continent, you can enjoy blood pumping white water rafting excursions or you could spend the day kayaking. For those who aren’t keen on water activities – bungee jumping, quad biking or horse riding may be just the thing for you.
Experience immense cultural diversity unlike anywhere else on the continent
Uganda is a world all its own. With over 50 languages spoken in this small country and a vast number of ethnic groups,cultures and traditions – the country is rich with the energy and life. In fact, it’s so different, that you’ll likely travel through the country with your jaw permanently ajar. With colourful, heartwarming and unique memories to carry with you for a lifetime. Ugandan culture, possibly due to the many different ethnic groups and tribes, is one of acceptance. The people are warm and welcoming and are always eager to teach visitors more about their culture, of which they are incredibly proud.
Uganda is cost effective
While Uganda is a lot less expensive than its neighboring countries, it’s a great destination for budget travellers. The tourist attractions are the greatest expense, such as the permit for the gorilla trek. Although, it’s still a lot more affordable than Rwanda. Flights can also be fairly expensive, ranging from around $270 for domestic flights. While accommodation, food and shopping for souvenirs is the least of your expense. If you travel with African Overland Tours, you can bet you’ll be getting an even better deal – with transport added to the ‘budget-friendly’ list!
Uganda travel tips:
Visa requirements for most foreigners coming from outside of Africa will need a visa for Uganda. You can apply for the visa on arrival or online before you leave, or you can apply at the Ugandan embassy nearest to your home. Either apply for a single Ugandan visa or an East African tourist visa which is valid for 90 days and allows for multiple entry into Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.
Embark on a life-changing journey through Africa, with us. See our Ugandan tour offerings to begin.