Uganda is a great destination to visit in East Africa. There are lots of amazing places offering great experiences in Africa. Here are the 5 most beautiful places to explore in the Pearl of Africa;
Kidepo valley national park
Kidepo valley national is ranked among the top 5 African beautiful savannah wilderness safari parks. Stretching on 1,442 sq km of land, Kidepo valley national park is most cherished for its Narus valley, open grassland plains dotted by acacia trees, semi-desert dates, rocky outcrops surrounded by the dry mulongole mountains to explore on a game drive safari. The park is also known for rich wildlife about 77 species of mammals including the cheetah, lion and largest single herd of buffalo. In addition to the beauty of the park, the Kidepo and Narus Sand Rivers provide water that support wildlife and most animals congregate around the rivers during dry season, the best game viewing months are September to March. A guided nature walks or game drive in the valley offers a chance to see elephant, cheetah, buffalo, lion, and zebra, hartebeest, and Uganda kob. Kidepo is also notable for excellent bird watching with about 475 species of birds. Hiking to the murongole dry mountains with views of karamoja plains, you can spot many treasured birds like Karamoja Apalis, Black breasted barbet, and Abyssinian ground hornbill, ostrich, and Egyptian vulture among several birds of prey.
To complement wildlife viewing, Kidepo is home the smallest ancient indigenous tribes of Ik mountain people and Karamajong cattle warriors. Cultural visits can be arranged to the homesteads of these tribes outside the park. Their ancient culture and ways of life are interesting to learn in this modern civilized world as cultural practices are fading away.
There are camping area, mid-range, budget and luxury lodges with swimming pool to cool off after a long game drive. Kidepo valley is located in Karamoja region north eastern Uganda along South Sudan and Kenyan border. Traveling to get there takes over 13-15 hours by vehicle from Kampala, but visitors with money can hire a charter plane and fly for 1-2 hours.
Lake Bunyonyi is located in southwestern Uganda in between Mgahinga volcanoes and Bwindi rainforest the area most popular for mountain gorilla trekking safaris. The lake has 29 islands which form part of its beautiful landscape with a backdrop of virunga volcanoes. Most visitors go to Lake Bunyonyi to spend 1-2 night after a tiresome gorilla trekking to relax and chill on the lakeside, enjoy scenery, sunsets and eat Cray fish which is a delicate dish for visitors.
At 900 meters in depth, Bunyonyi is the 2nd deepest freshwater lake in Africa but good enough the waters are free from crocodile, hippo or bilharzias infection hence suitable for swimming which is done at some of the lodges.
Apart from swimming and scenery; tours and activities to do include touring islands by a boat, riding a traditional wooden canoe, hiking and nature walks, birding, cycling through local villages, and cultural visit to BaTwa pygmies. Other natural attractions are African otters, over 100 species of birds. Birding can be done by using a canoe or hiking on the shores early morning.
A wide range of accommodation can be found right on the shores of the lake such as Bunyonyi rock resort with a wooden extension platform into the water. Others include Bunyonyi Bird Nest resort, Bunyonyi overland resort.
Sesse islands-Lake Victoria
Sesse islands are a group of 84 islands located in Lake Victoria, the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the world. The surrounding blue waters of Lake Victoria make Sesse attractive for honeymoon or romantic vacation. When you finish a safari around Uganda, Sesse islands being near Entebbe airport, will make a good end of your holiday.
From Entebbe town, it takes 2 hours by a ferry at 08am or 2pm, to access Bugala and Kalangara which are the most visited islands with white sand beaches, breathtaking sunsets, and blue waters of Lake Victoria in Of course a wide range of luxury, mid-range, budget and camping accommodation and food that match needs of every visitor make Sesse islands affordable. Swimming, sunbathing, boat cruising, speed jet boat riding, are popular activities and culture lovers can visit fishing villages by boat. There are also nature walks on the Bugala islands if you want to spot birds or visit local homesteads, we advise you to pack boots.
Lake Mutanda is located in Kisoro district southwestern Uganda on the foothills of Mgahinga volcanoes. Somehow similar to Bunyonyi, Lake Mutanda also has beautiful scenery including 15 islands. Most islands are not inhabited such as python island while others are cultivated. The main island is the punishment islands where girls were dumped for getting pregnant before marriage. A boat ride gives access and there are still human skeletons under the cave rocks as a sign of brutal cultural ritual though it’s no longer practiced.
The few lodges available are located on the shores of the lake giving direct access for on water for canoeing, boat riding, and island tours. Mutanda is about 1 hour drive to Mgahinga; hence visitors can arrange trips to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for golden monkey tracking.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is made up of three Virunga dormant volcanoes which are one of the beautiful landscapes found in southwestern Uganda. The park shares the border with volcanoes national park Rwanda and Virunga national park which are part of the Virunga conservation area.
Mgahinga was gazetted in 1991 as a habitat to protect mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The park is also home to 115 birds and many are endemic birds of Albertine rift like Rwenzori Turaco, regal sunbird. Tourists mainly come to track several troops of golden monkeys and Nyakagezi the only habituated gorilla family. But adventure travelers, who want to experience the beauty of Mgahinga, should arrange for hiking trips. Trails go through beautiful ecosystems like tropical forest, bamboo and giant lobelias. There are good views to be enjoyed if you hike to the summit of Mount. Muhabura, the tallest at 4,127meters can take up to 8-9 hours. Shorter hikes of 6-7 hours are possible on Mt. Gahinga and Mt. Sabinyo.
During your adventure trip to Mgahinga, make sure you visit the BaTwa pygmies, well known as hunter warriors. Visitors can take the BaTwa trail and its definitely amazing experience to talk to BaTwa and learn their cultural practices like hunting, traditional dances, food preparation, fire making.