7 Reasons Why Uganda Should be your next Safari Destination & Tips for a Memorable Experience!
Have you ever considered to make Uganda a Safari destination on your Bucket list?
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Of all the destinations on our annual To-Go List, Kampala, Uganda is the one we are usually most excited about. Having been to a good number of countries, over 50 destinations and counting, taken & shared oodles of colourful insta-worthy photographs, it’s about time we introduce our first African destination to PKjulesworld.
When we talk about Uganda, most people immediately think about Idi Amin. A president that made Uganda his own private empire in the 1970s. In today’s post, we would like to change that mindset for you so you can consider Uganda a safari destination for the thrill seeking soul rearing to go!
Uganda looks like a small land locked East African country yet it is actually: the home of the Equator, Rift Valley, and Source of the River Nile one of the world’s longest Rivers and is the Pearl of Africa. We are convinced these are reason enough to travel to Africa, specifically to Uganda.
How to Get there:
Around 8 hours direct flight from UK, 14+ hours if you include transit. Yet once there, you will definitely be enthralled by this destination. From incredible greenery, views of typical roadside African trade centres, to some of the most picturesque waterfalls, national parks and lots more to See, Do and Be more in Uganda.
Driving over is an option if you are in Africa already. You will need multiple entry visas…We have some ideas for ya! So that you can take a leisurely Roadtrip across africa. An adventure we havent tried yet, but planning on soon! Watch this space! 🙂
For the Safari thrill seeker, you could hit the Big 5 in one visit. And the ride to the locations has such breathtaking scenery. You will want to stop ever so often to take some pictures! But we jump ahead of ourselves here…And what the heck are the big five? Keep your hair on, and come let’s go!
But, what do we know and why should you make Uganda a safari destination? Good question…
Paul and I were born and bred in Uganda, so we are definitely biased…who wouldn’t be! Hear is why…
We are not the typical tourists and safari thrill seekers. If you take a walk with us today, neither will you be. We hope to add to your bucket list by Firmly adding Uganda as your next safari destination by the end of this post! Ugandans are very warm and welcoming people, this place will stay in your soul forever.
You see, whether you’re interested in big game, seeing the mountain gorillas, trekking up the mountains of the moon, having breakfast with giraffes in Mweya, or chatting with Obama (the rhino), Uganda will not disappoint. 🙂
Our 7 Reasons why Uganda Should be Your Safari Destination:
Uganda, was in 1907 named by Churchill as the “Pearl of Africa.” We agree for sure, and it is in our view one of the top-safari destinations in Africa. Standing tall and proud besides, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania. Why is that, since it doesn’t have the white sand beaches or amazing 5Star resorts?
Uganda is the source of the Nile River, world’s 3rd longest river. Its home to 10 national parks where you are apt to find some rare species of animals and plants…Are you planning your safari to Uganda yet? Let us warm you up some more more…!
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#1. Hit 3 Safari Countries with 1 Tourist Visa.
If you have time and plan your safari well in advance, you can easily visit 3 countries for the price of 1. With a single-entry tourist visa to Uganda at $50, it’s more practical to buy a Multiple country Visa at $100. This is called the East Africa tourist visa. Its valid for 90 days and gives you entry to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya!
Remember an entry visa to each of these counties is $50. So, you would be saving $100 and have a more unique experience in each country. The Tanzanian Visa is seperate at $100 for US citizens.
This is particularly attractive if you are planning longer safaris, you also save time at border crossings.
#2. All of the Big Five can be seen in Uganda
What are the big five, pkjulesworld tell me already…? Well they are quite a huge lure for many safari visitors! One of the reasons why Uganda should be your next safari destination. The Big Five are: Lion, Buffalo, Rhino, Leopard and Elephant.
Your chances of seeing these magnificent creatures are the National Parks of which Uganda boasts a whopping 10! They include; Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park. Your greatest chance to spot rhino would be the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Quite close to Murchison Falls (approx. 2hrs.)
#3. Uganda is one of only 3 countries where you can see mountain gorillas.
Gorilla Tracking is an experience you will not get anywhere else in East Africa. This is one major reason to make Uganda a Safari destination for you! Unlike say Kenya Safaris, gorilla trekking is done completely on foot. No vehicles allowed.
By the way, you will walk for miles, often times through wet foliage. Yet, your reward is breath-taking and far outweighs the long trek. So be prepared for your safari with sturdy boots that you have worn before and got your feet broken in. Take your water, camera, and pay that Local porter! Thank us later 🙂
You see, these close cousins to humans are one of the reasons Uganda is so popular as a tourist and safari destination! Along with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Uganda is home to the protected, last remaining populations of mountain gorillas. Frankly speaking you need to be mobile and fit to spot these wiley creatures. They don’t want to be seen lol. You can track them for days on end in two places: at Mgahinga Gorilla Sanctuary and Bwindi Impenetrable forest! In these two locations, approx. 2/3 of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas reside & are protected!
How do the locals benefit from this tourism?
Well, as strated above, you are encouraged to hire a porter to carry your gear up the mountains tracking them gorillas. This fee goes directly to the porter. Also, to help the locals who rarely benefit from tourism, a portion of tracking fees are paid forward to these communities. They help with farmer suppliments, and the local schools get some much-needed school supplies.
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#4. The Source of the Nile & White Water Rafting – Jinja, Busoga
The historical source of the River Nile, the Town of Jinja, in Busoga (Eastern Uganda) is an old-world colonial town that one would not be far off the mark to consider more of a trading centre. Yet when you get to the source of this world renown river, the view is postcard pretty, indeed it’s one of the main attractions for tourism to Uganda.
While you are in Jinja, absolutely go live a little and have an adventure White water rafting and you will never be the same!
This should cost you about $140 for a day tour, which starts early morning about 6am and runs on till after 3pm. Price includes breakfast, pick up, lunch and drop off. Get your adrenaline pumping, swim a lot and have a laugh. You will be a few pounds lighter when done riding the rapids and laughing your head off. lol!
If you chance a visit to Jinja town and markets, you will have a great opportunity to experience what life must be like for the locals. You will see the old-style colonial buildings that still make up Jinja town. Right by the Nile bridge; you will also find many wooden shack-like souvenir shops with: local handicrafts, kitenge scarves, cute little trinkets to take home that will actually get more use as fashion items. (No fridge magnets here lol!)
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#5. Shop in Style – Local Fresh Food Markets & Roadside Boutiques
If you arrive at Entebbe airport Uganda’s International and main airport, during the day, you will have a feast for your eyes. You will drive towards Kampala and if you can stop and check out the roadside markets with fresh, local produce, you will also find some fresh lake produce, a great selection of fresh fruits and all organic, even fashion items lol.
As you travel throughout Uganda you will find these Roadside markets on major highways and you will never go hungry!
Then You will also be hit with an array of fashion on these roadside boutiques. 🙂 Ever heard of the word “Kitenge?” Well now you do. Kitenge is traditional African patterned textile or material. You can have it tailored into a beautiful, customized one off dress or even suit at a very affordable price and within a very short time.
It can be turned into long evening or party outfits, men’s casual shirts, fashion scarf, sarong, beach mat. You can also find it artfully crafted into bracelets, elegant necklaces, Kid’s toys, etc.
These bright, colourful, materials can be found in upscale city boutiques, at much higher prices! The kitenge will surely get your fashion eye on a roll.
Word to the Wise: Don’t forget to be vigilant in any market place. Read this article so you know. Also, mind your purse or wallet, do bargain its expected or you will be overcharged for seemingly simple purchases. Don’t eat any fresh produce before washing it thoroughly…make sure to have your own travel First Aidf Kit. You know the drill! 🙂
For the best local produce and textile deals, head to the Kampala, down town Owino Market. If that’s not your style, head to the more upscale Buganda Road Women’s craft market (Prices much higher) or the National Theatre Craft market by the Parliament buildings! By the way do bargain for goodness sake, you are a tourist, its expected!
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#6 Wild Quad Bike Rides
If you are an adrenaline Junkie you won’t go hungry on your Ugandan Safari. Various tour companies offer Quad-bike rides as part of the safari experience. Personal Safety is not very strict so look after #1. Insist on the helmets, belts, knee cushions and above all make sure you got insurance.
Uganda has a few Bike circuits that are welcome for any user, unless there is an event! Plus you can drive on the roads…No road tax needed. (not recommended.) Lots of local tour companies offer them. Check out the happy faces in feature image above!
#7. Unique Digs – Accommodation (where to stay)!
Like any country, Uganda has some great locations/accommodation and some “eeerrr no thanks,” depending on who is talking. If you are part of a World travel community, it will be Yes Please. And there is no reason why not, so Check Our Travel Club Out & Come join us.
For your Safari Adventure, you can’t go more right than Wild Waters Lodge for your digs. We’ll let you be the judge of whether you would stay there or not. Let us know in the comments below!
Before you do that Here’s a Short Highlight on Kampala and another reason to add Uganda a Safari destination to your list. The Nile High Banjee Jump in Uganda and much much more. Presented by Folustorms of NdaniTV.
The New Africa Kampala- Uganda a Safari destination that is super Fun!
Final words on Uganda a Safari Destination to Remember:
If you are a #naturelover and a safari has been on your radar for a while, then Uganda is the place to go! Get your plans on priority and start saving up for your vacation! 6 Nature reserves, 10 national parks, 4 regional parks, you will surely be spoilt for choice!
Please do not forget your Jabs, this is tropical Africa, and Absolutely bring your mosquito/insect repellent and anti malaria protection! Visit your GP for more on what jabs and vaccinations you need before you travel to Uganda!
Visa entry requirements are favourable; although more could be done to reduce the cost for the tourist so Uganda can favorably compete with other Safari destinations.
So did you enjoy our very First Post on Africa- Uganda a Safari Destination to die for? Check out this VIP Travel Club where Safaris are taken to a whole new level. Who knows which amazing destination we might meet at on Dreamtrips soonest!
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See, Do, and Be more!
Julie Syl & Pauli Kalungi
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