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.
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.
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.