Must see attractions in Uganda

  • Top ChoiceSights in Southwestern Uganda

    Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

    Home to almost half the world’s surviving mountain gorillas, the World Heritage–listed Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of East Africa’s most famous national parks. Set over 331 sq km of improbably steep mountain rainforest, the park is home to an estimated 340 gorillas: undoubtedly Uganda’s biggest tourist drawcard.

  • Sights in Southwestern Uganda

    Queen Elizabeth National Park

    This fabulous national park is on nearly all itineraries, and while you'll never be far from other safari groups, you're guaranteed to see a large range of wildlife, potentially including giraffes, lions, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes and elephants. The famous tree-climbing lions in the remote Ishasha sector of the park are a fascinating highlight, but many people also come specifically to see some of the amazing 611 bird species that can be found here.

  • Sights in Eastern Uganda

    Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

    Located 23km southeast of Entebbe in Lake Victoria, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, or 'Chimp Island', is home to over 40 orphaned or rescued chimpanzees who are unable to return to the wild. Humans are confined to one of the 40 hectares while the chimps wander freely through the rest, emerging from the forest twice a day for feeding at 11am and 2.30pm. This coincides with visitor arrival times to the island, with viewings of the chimps via a raised platform.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Murchison Falls National Park

    Top of the Falls

    Once described as the most spectacular thing to happen to the Nile along its 6700km length, the 50m wide Victoria Nile is squeezed here through a 6m gap in the rock and crashes through this narrow gorge with unbelievable power. The 45m waterfall was featured in the Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart film The African Queen. Murchison was even stronger back then, but in 1962 massive floods cut a second channel creating the smaller Uhuru Falls 200m to the north.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Mbarara

    Igongo Cultural Centre

    Located 12km from Mbarara on the road to Kampala, this cultural village features the best museum displays in Uganda. Set on the grounds of a former palace of the Ankole king, this quality museum explores the peoples of southwestern Uganda, particularly the Ankole, through artefacts, a cultural village replica and a heap of info. There's a restaurant serving traditional Ankole dishes, such as smoked Ankole cow's milk and boiled meats. There's also a new on-site hotel.

  • Sights in Entebbe

    Uganda Wildlife Education Centre

    While it functions primarily as a zoo, this centre is actually a world-class animal refuge that has benefited from international assistance in recent years. Most of the animals on display were once injured or were recovered from poachers and traffickers. Star attractions include chimpanzees (a good alternative to pricier Ngamba Island), southern white rhinos, lions, leopards and shoebill storks. Keep an eye out for the baby elephant wandering about too.

  • Sights in Murchison Falls National Park

    Budongo Forest Reserve

    The Budongo Forest Reserve is a large (825-sq-km) tract of virgin tropical forest on the southern fringes of Murchison Falls National Park. Its main attractions are chimpanzees and birds (366 species), but the huge mahogany trees are also worth a look. It’s a great add-on to your Murchison Falls National Park visit, with your park permit allowing you entry to Budongo too.

  • Sights in Gulu

    Taks Centre

    It's worth popping into this happening community arts centre to see what's on, whether it be an art exhibition, fireside chat or cultural performance. They sell beautiful Ugandan crafts and there's also a restaurant serving local food and banda accommodation for USh50,000, including breakfast. Proceeds go to job training for local youth.

  • Sights in Kampala

    32° East Ugandan Arts Trust

    This centre for Ugandan contemporary artists includes exhibit space, a library, workspace and resource centre. It is in the process of moving to a nearby space; keep an eye out for upcoming events on its website, including its biannual Kampala Contemporary Art Festival.

  • Sights in Southwestern Uganda

    Kibale Forest National Park

    The 795-sq-km Kibale National Park is a lush tropical rainforest, believed to have the highest density of primates in Africa. It's most famous for being one of the best places in the world to track wild chimpanzees, with five groups habituated to human contact. It's home to 13 primate species, with the rare red colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys the other highlights.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Northwestern Uganda

    Murchison Falls National Park

    Uganda’s largest national park is one of its very best; animals are in plentiful supply and the raging Murchison Falls, where the Victoria Nile crashes through the rock and descends dramatically towards Lake Albert, is an unforgettable sight. Despite a decimation of animal numbers during the war years, numbers have recovered well and you can expect to see elephants, Rothschild giraffes, lions, Ugandan kobs (antelope), waterbucks, buffaloes, hippos and crocodiles, not to mention some 460 species of bird.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Northeastern Uganda

    Kidepo Valley National Park

    Offering some of the most stunning scenery of any protected area in Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park is hidden away in a lost valley in the extreme northeast of Uganda. The rolling, short-grass savannah of the 1442-sq-km national park is ringed by mountains and cut by rocky ridges. Kidepo is most notable for harbouring a number of animals found nowhere else in Uganda, including cheetahs, bat-eared foxes, aardwolves, caracals and greater and lesser kudus.

  • Sights in Eastern Uganda

    Mt Elgon National Park

    Spread out over the slopes of a massive extinct volcano, Mt Elgon National Park is a good place to spot various primates and lots of birds, including the rare Jackson's francolin, alpine chat and white-starred forest robin. Larger fauna, including leopard, hyena, buffalo and elephant are far harder to spot, but most visitors come for the hiking and impressive landscapes that are peppered with cliffs, caves, gorges and waterfalls.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kampala

    Mengo Palace

    Built in 1922, this small palace is the former home of the king of Buganda, though it has remained empty since 1966 when Prime Minister Milton Obote ordered a dramatic attack to oust Kabaka Mutesa II, then president of Uganda. Led by the forces of Idi Amin, soldiers stormed the palace and, after several days of fighting, Mutesa was forced into exile. The building's interior cannot be visited, but the notorious underground prison here is open to tours.

  • Sights in Southwestern Uganda

    Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

    The smallest of Uganda’s national parks (34 sq km), Mgahinga punches well above its weight. Tropical rainforest cloaks three dramatic extinct volcanoes and, along with the contiguous Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Parc National des Virunga in the DRC, this is the home of half the world’s mountain-gorilla population. Mgahinga also serves up some challenging but rewarding treks and an interesting cave, plus golden-monkey tracking is almost as fun as hanging out with the big boys.

  • Sights in Southwestern Uganda

    Rwenzori Mountains National Park

    The legendary, mist-covered Rwenzori Mountains were named a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1994 because of both their beauty and biodiversity. It’s the tallest mountain range in Africa and several of the peaks are permanently covered by ice and glaciers. The range, which isn’t volcanic, stretches for about 110km by 50km wide and is a haven for an extraordinary number of rare plants and animals, and new examples of both are still being discovered.

  • Sights in Jinja

    Source of the Nile River

    The birthplace of the mighty Nile river (or one of them anyway…), here the water spills out of Lake Victoria on its journey to the Mediterranean flowing fast from the get-go. It's estimated no more than 5% of water here will end up in Egypt. There's a landmark identifying the source and a few restaurants and bars, which can make for a nice place for a sunset beer. Exploring the source by boat (per person USh50,000) is another popular option.

  • Sights in Kibale Forest National Park

    Kihingami Wetlands Sanctuary

    This eco-tourism site, set up with the help of Fort Portal’s Kabarole Tours, preserves an attractive 13-sq-km valley that otherwise would have been gobbled up by the surrounding tea plantations. Despite its small size, a remarkable 230 bird species have been spotted here, including Jameson’s wattle-eye and white-spotted flufftail. There’s also a good chance of seeing red colobus monkeys and spotted-necked otters.

  • Sights in Mbale

    Nabugoye Synagogue

    An unexpected find in this neck of the woods, the synagogue is a simple, yet appealing, rustic red-brick building (with plans to revamp). The Jewish Abayudaya community in the outskirts of Mbale on Nabugoye Hill dates from the early 20th century. Services in English and Hebrew are held on Fridays from 6pm to 8pm and Saturdays at 9am. There's also a guesthouse.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Kasubi Tombs

    The Unesco World Heritage–listed Kasubi Tombs are of great significance to the Buganda kingdom as the burial place of its kings and royal family. The huge thatched-roof palace was originally built in 1882 as the palace of Kabaka Mutesa I, before being converted into his tomb following his death two years later. The tombs were destroyed in an arson attack in March 2010, however, and are still being rebuilt, with no end to the work in sight at present.