Uganda is Africa condensed, with the best of everything the continent has to offer packed into one small but stunning destination. Uganda is home to the highest mountain range in Africa, the Mountains of the Moon in the Rwenzori National Park. It is the source of the mighty Nile, and around Jinja offers the best white-water rafting in the world. It has the highest concentration of primates on earth, including the majestic mountain gorilla, one of the rarest animals on the planet. Head to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for a chance to get close to these great apes.
On top of all this, the scenery is so striking that it looks like an oil painting, the beautiful national parks see far fewer visitors than in neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania, and the capital, Kampala, is safer and friendlier than most in Africa. In 1907 pioneering tourist Winston Churchill called it the ‘Pearl of Africa’. He was right.
Mention Uganda to most people today and the first thing they’ll think of is the brutality of Idi Amin. Their naivety is their loss as, thankfully for Uganda, the big man died in exile in 2003. The reality is vastly different. Stability has returned to most parts of the country and tourists are welcomed with open arms (some areas, particularly in the north, remain unsafe for travellers - see more in the Health & Safety section). Despite the trials and tribulations of the past, Ugandans have weathered the storm remarkably well. The people offer heart-warming hospitality up and down the country, their ever-present smile accompanied by ‘Hello Mzungu!’. They are truly some of the finest folk on the continent.
Take the plunge now, before the world wakes up to this magical microcosm of Africa.
Ready to go?
These tours & activities make it easy:
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi National Park (331 sq km), aka the Impenetrable Forest, is home to half of the world’s known mountain gorillas, about 330 of them – there’s just one Bwindi gorilla for every 20 million people! Penetrating the Impenetrable Forest is no picnic, as the terrain is steep and the foliage unforgiving, but what a reward.
East Africa travel guide
Gentle gorillas, stampeding wildebeest, snow-capped peaks, paradisiacal beaches and an amazing array of tribal cultures - all this and more await you in East Africa, one of Africa's most enticing corners.
Where to hang out with Uganda’s chimpanzees
Eyes trained on the canopy, the hunters slipped with speed and agility across the forest floor. Although communication was kept to a minimum everyone seemed certain of their role. Occasionally one of the party turned and shot a glance back at me, sweating and stumbling over branches and roots, far behind...
The ultimate primate experience, trek through local villages and lush rainforests with the breathtaking reward of finding yourself in the company of a family of gorillas. One of Africa's major highlights, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the home to approximately half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, the world's most endangered ape.
Top things to do in Kampala
Best places to stay in Kampala
Africa - Uganda (Chapter)
Emerging from the shadows of a dark history, a new dawn of tourism has risen in Uganda. It’s home to the tallest mountain range in Africa, the world’s longest river and the continent’s largest lake. And with half the remaining mountain gorillas...
Gorilla & Volcano Trek
Combine the ultimate primate experience with a day of trekking volcanoes in the incredible Ugandan scenery bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. First, trek through local villages and lush rainforests with a breathtaking reward at the end: finding yourself in the company of a family of gorillas.
Rwenzori National Park
The fabled, mist-covered Mountains of the Moon, the Rwenzoris stretch for about 100km, and include several mountains that are permanently covered by snow and glaciers. The highest peak is Margherita (5109m) on Mt Stanley.
In addition to its many other attractions, Africa offers incredible linguistic diversity. Most African languages belong to one of the following four language families: Afro- Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo (with the Bantu languages as the major...
Nail-biting wildlife encounters
Ever peered through the razor-sharp jaws of a great white shark? Or gone fishing with a grizzly bear? Here are nine animal experiences to get your adrenalin pumping. Track gorillas in the Ugandan jungle Gorilla trek by Hjalmar Gislason. Creative Commons Attribution Licence...
Rwanda and Uganda Gorilla & Chimp Adventure
They're the closest animals out there to us homo sapiens, and on this trip we aim to bring you as close as possible to these majestic creatures. There'll be gorillas, monkeys and chimps in abundance on this 9-day trip through Rwanda and Uganda.
Africa travel guide
Something special about Africa touches the soul; it is a continent of 54 immensely diverse countries that is both deeply troubled and profoundly uplifting.
Kibale Forest National Park
The chimpanzees are the stars at Kibale. There are hundreds and hundreds here, plus great hordes of monkeys, giving this small national park (admission 1/2/3 or more days US$20/30/50) one of the highest primate population densities in the world. It’s not as strenuous as tracking the gorillas, but you don’t get as up close and personal either.
Primates and Wildlife of Rwanda and Uganda
Track mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and chimps in the wild and enjoy game viewing and bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Climb Africa's third highest peak in the spectacular Mountains of the Moon region
Jinja has some of the world’s best white-water rafting on its doorstep, and is emerging as the adrenaline centre of East Africa, picking up punters as fast as Zimbabwe is losing them. Check out the leafy ‘suburbs’ in the northwest to get an idea of how grand this town must have been in its heyday.
Gorillas & Rhinos In Depth
The stunning beauty of East Africa’s steamy rainforests and sprawling savanna is a breathtaking backdrop for an adventure into the habitat of the magnificent gorillas and majestic rhinos.
Gorillas, Chimps & Game Parks
A close encounter with gentle giants on a gorilla safari in Rwanda is an extraordinary African experience that will always stay with you - and it's just one of the many wildlife spottings this unforgettable African overland adventure has to offer.
The world's best secret islands
Looking for a romantic spot that's (almost) all yours? Here’s a list from our brand new Best in Travel 2011 guide to reignite your love affair with desert islands, with picks from across the globe. 1...
Why Uganda should be on your must-see list
Travel alert: Lonely Planet refers would-be travellers to Uganda to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice on the country: "There is very little social tolerance of homosexuality, which is illegal...