Home / Adventure Activities / 8 Reasons Why Uganda Should Be On Your Bucketlist [Guide]

8 Reasons Why Uganda Should Be On Your Bucketlist [Guide]

Uganda, often described as the “Pearl of Africa,” is a vibrant country with a tapestry of landscapes, wildlife, and cultures that are rich and diverse. It’s a place where the sunrise greets you with calls of the wild and the sunset bids you goodbye with fiery hues painting the African sky. Here are eight compelling reasons why Uganda should be next on your travel bucketlist.

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 2023 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 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.

One of the most profound wildlife encounters is gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Home to almost half of the world’s mountain gorillas, this experience offers a rare glimpse into the lives of these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

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 630 – 730 USD for a permit, while Rwanda charges a steep 1500 USD. 
  • 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.

  • Tour Length 46 days
    Group Size Max 16
    Starts & Ends Starts: Nairobi Ends: Pretoria
    Countries Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa
    Overview This Nairobi to Kruger Accommodated Tour provides a fantastic insight into East Africa’s greatest attractions and gives you a glimpse of the incredible things that Southern Africa has to offer. Our unique itinerary has been carefully mapped to maximise your experience in the time you spend exploring this magnificent continent with us. We go primate trekking in Uganda and climb the rolling hills of the Masai Mara and walk along the flat plains of the Serengeti.
    • Price Beat Guaranteed
    • 10% early bird discount (6 months or more)

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    R195,750

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    Nairobi to Kruger and Gorillas Comfort Adventure (46 Days)

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    13 Jul 2024 → 27 Aug 2024

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  • Tour Length 28 days
    Group Size Max 16
    Starts & Ends Starts: Nairobi Ends: Dar es Salaam
    Countries Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania
    Overview 28 Day Nairobi to Zanzibar Overland Comfort Tour includes gorillas, game parks and beach trek in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania National Parks and Zanzibar beaches.
    • Price Beat Guaranteed
    • 10% early bird discount (6 months or more)

    Price from

    R135,900

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    Gorillas, Parks & Beach Trek Comfort Tour (28 Days)

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    07 Sep 2024 → 04 Oct 2024

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  • Tour Length 13 days
    Group Size Max 16
    Starts & Ends Starts: Entebbe Ends: Entebbe
    Countries Uganda
    Overview Africa's tallest mountain range, the continent's largest lake, the world's longest river, the biggest living primates, and, of course, the iconic Big Five - Uganda is home to colossal natural wonders. This 13 day expedition sees you hiking in misty forests to spot wild gorillas and the lesser-known sights of tree-climbing lions, exploring verdant waterways teeming with pods of hippo, and discovering a world apart as you encounter the region’s colourful cultures.
    • Your tour requires participation from all group members. This entails assisting with the food preparation, washing of dishes, keeping the truck clean and the setting up the camp. Please keep in mind that flexibility and an open mind is needed on the trip. Your guide is registered with the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) and this tour has been designed to include all highlights in the price, thereby avoiding any hidden surprises.
    • The camping tour provides all equipment, including camp stretcher beds, tents, camp chairs. Travellers can bring supplementary mattress if desired. Travellers are required to bring sleeping bags, towels and travel pillows.

    Price from

    R52,270

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    Best of Uganda Adventure

    Tour start → end dates Price Enquire
    02 Jun 2024 → 14 Jun 2024

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    R52270
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    16 Jun 2024 → 28 Jun 2024

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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.

  • Tour Length 18 days
    Group Size Max 16
    Starts & Ends Starts: Nairobi Ends: Nairobi
    Countries Kenya, Uganda
    Overview 18 Day Masai Mara and Gorillas Explorer travelling around Kenya and Uganda allowing you to see the gorillas in the wild. Ending off with two nights game viewing in the Masai Mara Game Reserve , home to the wildebeest migration - this is a memorable African wilderness experience.

    Price from

    R82,320

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    Masai Mara and Gorillas Explorer Overland (18 Day)

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    13 Jul 2024 → 30 Jul 2024

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    R82320
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  • Tour Length 15 days
    Group Size Max 20
    Starts & Ends Starts: Nairobi Ends: Nairobi
    Countries Kenya, Uganda
    Overview This 2 week accommodated budget safari allows you to experience the best game reserves in Kenya and Gorillas in their natural habitat. This is an affordable Gorilla and Kenya Game Park experience.

    Price from

    Original price was: R60,150.Current price is: R48,120.

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    Kenya Game Parks and Gorillas Safari (Comfort)

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    25 May 2024 → 08 Jun 2024

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    R60150
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    08 Jun 2024 → 22 Jun 2024

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    R60150 R48120
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  • Tour Length 8 days
    Group Size Max 20
    Starts & Ends Starts: Kampala Ends: Kampala
    Countries Uganda
    Overview This 1 week  budget  accommodated Uganda Gorilla Safari allows you to experience the beauty that is Uganda and trek to see Gorillas in their natural habitat. This is an affordable Gorilla adventure tour experience.

    Price from

    R32,250

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    Uganda Gorillas Safari Tour (Comfort) (8 Days)

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    29 May 2024 → 05 Jun 2024

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    R32250
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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.


 

 

About Leandra Slabbert

I don't think God intended for any of us to just be ordinary
Article by: Leandra Slabbert
on April 4, 2024
Filed under  Adventure Activities • Africa Blog • Destinations • Only in Africa • Uganda • Wildlife 
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