Mount Elgon National Park, Uganda Mountain Climbing Adventure Safari Tours
Mount Elgon National Park Uganda, Mountain climbing adventure safari tour on Mountain Elgon Uganda. Uganda Mountain climbing at Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda, best time to climb mountain Elgon in Uganda, how to get there and where to stay/accommodation in Mount Elgon National Park Uganda. Mountain Elgon National Park is located on the border of Uganda and Kenya which are found in the East African region on the African continent on the geographical co-ordinates of 01o08’00”N 34o35’00”E. The park lies about 256km or a 5-hour drive from Kampala city the capital of Uganda in the eastern district of Mbale. The park is bordered by Kenya in the east, Kapchorwa district in the north, Kumi and Soroti disticts in the west and Lake Victoria in the south west. The park covers most of mountain Elgon which spans over a distance of 180km in diameter. Mount Elgon national park covers a distance of 1,276sqkm in total both in Uganda and Kenya.
In Uganda, the park covers 1,110sqkm while in Kenya it covers169sqkm. Formed by tectonic up lift, mt Elgon is an extinct shield volcano with crater lakes high above in its ranges, its believed to be about 24 million years old making it East Africa’s oldest extinct volcano. The highest peak of mt. Elgon is Wagagai at an elevation of 4,321m or 1,4177ft above sea level and its entirely found in Uganda and this makes it the 4th highest mountain in East Africa. Mt. Elgon has the largest volcano base for a single mountain in the entire world with a volcano base of 4000sqkm. The local people who live around mountain Elgon are called Bagisu people and they belong to the bantu ethnic group.
The Bagisu refer to mt. Elgon as “mt. Masaaba” and according to the Bagisu, Masaaba in believed to be their founding father. Mt. Elgon experiences variation in vegetation and climate due to variation in altitude and these are the climate and vegetation patterns on mt. Elgon The area below 2000m above sea level experience temperatures between 25-30oC, areas between 2000m-3000m above sea level have their temperature in the range of 15-20oC, areas between 3000m-4000m have their temperatures varying between 0-10oC. vegetation variations include; afro montane forests zone between 2000-3000m above sea level, bamboo forest zone between 2500-3500m above sea level, heather zone between 3500-4000m above sea level and afro alpine moor land zone between 4000-4300m above sea level.
Mountain Elgon has 5 different tribes of people settling on its lower slopes the Bagisu who the majority both in Uganda and Kenya, the Sabiny in Uganda, the Sapinjak in Kenya only, the Sabaot or Elgon Masai in Kenya and the Ogiek. Mount Elgon national park has various attractions and these include primates like monkeys such as the De brazza momkeys, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and other ammals include the serval cats, spotted hyenas, forest elephants and forest buffaloes, duikers and leopards but these are rarely sighted. Mount elgon national park has over 300 bird species and these include; Moorland francolin, moustached green tinker bird, Jackson francolin, Black collared apalis, Black shouldered kite, Tacazze sunbird and the endangered Lammergeyer bird. This park was gazetted in 1968 in Kenya and 1992 in Uganda.
MOUNT ELGON NATIONAL PARK AT A GLANCE......!
MOUNTAIN ELGON NATIONAL PARK
Welcome to “The World’s Largest Mountain Caldera”
Name: Mountain Elgon National Park
Location: continent- Africa, region- eastern Africa, country- Uganda, district- Mbale, direction- east of Kampala city Uganda’s capital.
Geographical co-ordinates: 01o08’00” N 34o35’00” E.
Year designation: 1998
Responsible Governing body: Uganda Wildlife Authority
Elevation of mt Elgon National Park: highest point is Wagagai at 4321m above sea level
Climate of mt. Elgon National Park: experiences a tropical montane forest climate with climate with 60mm or 2.4in of rainfall received every month, average temperature is (18-20)oC
Attractions in mt. Elgon National Park: primates like monkeys such as the De brazza momkeys, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and other animals include the serval cats, spotted hyenas, forest elephants and forest buffaloes, duikers and leopards but these are rarely sighted. Mt. elgon national park has over 300 bird species and these include; Moorland francolin, moustached green tinker bird, Jackson francolin,
Activities in mt. Elgon National Park: mountain climbing, birding, nature walks, rock climbing, biking, sport fishing, cultural encounters,
Accommodation in mt. Elgon National Park: Mbale resort hotel, Sipi river lodge, Noah’s ark hotel, Chepkui cottages and annex, Kapkwai forest camp
Access to mt. Elgon National Park: the park can be accessed by both air and road transport means
Travel distance and time to Mt. Elgon National Park: 256km or 5-hour drive away from Kampala city Uganda’s capital
Historical background and location of mt. Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park is located on the border of Uganda and Kenya which are found in the East African region on the African continent on the geographical co-ordinates of 01o08’00”N 34o35’00”E. The park lies about 256km or a 5-hour drive from Kampala city the capital of Uganda in the eastern district of Mbale. The park is bordered by Kenya in the east, Kapchorwa district in the north, Kumi and Soroti disticts in the west and Lake Victoria in the south west. The park covers most of mountain Elgon which spans over a distance of 180km in diameter. Mt. Elgon national park covers a distance of 1,276sqkm in total both in Uganda and Kenya. In Uganda, the park covers 1,110sqkm while in Kenya it covers169sqkm. Formed by tectonic up lift, mt Elgon is an extinct shield volcano with crater lakes high above in its ranges, its believed to be about 24 million years old making it East Africa’s oldest extinct volcano. The highest peak of mt. Elgon is Wagagai at an elevation of 4,321m or 1,4177ft above sea level and its entirely found in Uganda and this makes it the 4th highest mountain in East Africa.
Safari Attractions in Mount Elgon national park.
Mount Elgon national park has various attractions and these include primates like monkeys such as the De brazza monkeys, Blue monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Black and white colobus monkeys and other mammals include the serval cats, spotted hyenas, forest elephants and forest buffaloes, Duikers and Leopards but these are rarely sighted. Mount Elgon national park has over 300 bird species and these include Moorland francolin, Moustached green tinker bird, Jackson francolin, Black collared apalis, Black shouldered kite, Tacazze sunbird and the endangered Lammergeyer bird.
This is the 4th highest mountain in east Africa rising up to an impressive height of 4321m above sea level at Wagagai peak and its only exceeded by mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, mt Kenya in Kenya and mt. Rwenzori on the Uganda and D.R. Congo border. Mt. Elgon being an extinct volcano, it has beautiful crater lakes like Jacksons crater as you ascend towards its peak.
Birds species in Mount Elgon National Park
With over 300 bird species flying in the skies over mt. elgon national park, this becomes a magical treat for anybody who would be interested in birding. Birds in mt.elgon national park include Moorland francolin, Moustached green tinker bird, Jackson francolin, Black collared apalis, Black shouldered kite, Tacazze sunbird and the endangered Lammergeyer bird.
De brazza’s monkey.
The de brazza monkey has a grey agouti fur, reddish brown back, black limbs and tail with a white stripe running down its things. On the forehead of the de brazza monkey, there is an orange crescent shaped making and it has white eyelids that match with its muzzle aa well as its beard. These monkeys have cheek pouches in which they carry their food as they forage. These monkeys exhibit sexual dimorphism with males weighing at an average of 7kg while females come in at an average of 4kg. These monkeys have a lifespan that is over 20 years.
Red tailed monkeys
These monkeys are known as the Schmidt guenon. This monkey species is usually red, black or orange in color with a red coloring at its tail. This species has a body length of between 1-2 feet excluding the tail, the males weigh between 7-10 pounds by adulthood age while adult females weigh between 6-8 pounds. The red tailed monkeys are frictivoruous feeding mostly on a fruit diet. These monkeys can live in groups ranging between 7-30 individuals led by a dominant male. The red tailed monkeys are very active during early morning and late evening.
Unlike what its name suggests, the blue monkey isn’t entirely blue but rather it has little hairs on its face with a bluish color and these led to naming this monkey species blue monkey. The blue monkey in actual sense is mainly grey or olive but its face is dark with a pale or yellowish patch on the forehead. Its feet, front legs and cap are blackish while its mantle may be brown, olive or grey. The blue monkey has a body length of between 50-65cm with the tail included and an adult male weighs about 8kg while an adult female weighs about 4kg hence exhibiting sexual dimorphism.
These monkeys live in groups of 10-40 individuals and the females will stay in their natal groups throughout their lifetime while males live their parent group when they mature. The family is usually led by an adult female and its consists of many other females, babies and juveniles and one adult male. These monkeys practice allo-mothering with many female monkeys usually juveniles looking after the babies. Their gestation period is about 5 months while their diet consists of mainly fruits during periods of abundance but they can also feed on flowers twigs and insects, figs and leaves.
The Elgon mountains are a home to two indigenous tribes in Uganda, the Bagisu and the Sabiny.
Historical background and current status
The Bagisu are also referred to as the Bamasaba people and they are found both in Uganda and kenya but they are closely related and only separated by an international border line. It’s very common to find a Bagisu family in Uganda with some of their relatives living in the next village across the border in Kenya and they are legal Kenyan citizens by naturalization or birth. The Bamasaba people are believed to have migrated from the Ethiopian mountains and they finally settled in areas around Bududa. These people believe that their ancestry begins from Mundu and Seera. Mundu is believed to have fell in love with Nabarwa who was a Masai girl. It is believed that it was out of this love that the Masai family asked Mundu to get circumcised in order for him to marry their daughter to which he accepted hence leading to the practice of circumcision among the Bagisu people.
The lover birds Mundu and Nabarwa gave birth to a son who they named Mwambu. When Mwambu’s masai uncles saw him when they had visited the couple after one of their cattle wrestling raids to their neighbors they named him Nkisu which meant a bull but Mwambu failed to pronounce his nickname properly but rather pronounced it as Mugisu hence the tribe got its name from there. As of today the Bagisu of Uganda live in the eastern districts of Manafwa, Mbale, Budadiri, Sironko and Bulambuti. The Bagisu make up 4.9% of Uganda’s total population of 33.6 million people as of the final results of the 2014 population census by Uganda Bureau Of Statistics (UBOS).
Circumcision among the Bagisu.
Just like in many African cultures, the Bagisu as well undertake a circumcision ceremony called Imbalu as an initiation ceremony to usher adolescent boys into manhood. This is the only path these boys have to take so that they can secure their future of ever having to marry any girl of their dreams because without being circumcised no Gisu woman will ever allow to married to an uncircumcised man. It also gets to the point whereby men who evade circumcision as young boys are forced to get circumcised even in their old age in a very disgraceful manner. The ceremony is carried out biannually following even years. When the Gisu boys reach puberty, a local chum called itanyi is tied around their big toes and this is supposed to get them highly excited about the oncoming circumcision. Circumcision is preceded by a feast as the boys who are going to be circumcised go around villages dancing and collecting gifts to thank them for their bravery. The Imbalu cultural dance is the prime event as people especially young boys and girls move for long distances in multitudes dancing to the rhythmic and tantalizing Imbalu dance beat called “kadodi” in the local language. During the kadodi dance the young adolescent girls dance while shaking their behind to the amazement of on lookers. This can only be liked to an attraction display for boys.
The circumcision is carried by 2 persons, 1 person pulls the foreskin of the boy’s genitalia then the other cuts it off and also cuts an inner skin because it’s believed that this skin can grow to form another foreskin. This entire process takes less than 3 minutes to minimize the pain. After the circumcision, the boy is made to seat on a stool with legs wide open as he bleeds into basin with sand which is put below him so as to collect all the dripping blood. The newly initiated boy is taken home amidst jubilations and he is given a big feast but he isn’t allowed to eat anything using his hands as he is considered unclean so he is just fed. This continues for 3 days until the person who circumcised the boy comes to family and a ritual is performed and this finally marks the end of the boy’s transition from childhood to manhood.
As the newly circumcised man heals, he isn’t allowed to sleep on a proper bed but rather he is given a mat to sleep on the floor for the entire healing process time. The room which the newly initiated person sleeps in as he heals from his wounds, he is not supposed to use it again after his complete recovery but rather he is supposed to move out of his father’s house and goes into his own house because there can’t be 2 grown up men sleeping under one roof. Circumcision takes place between August-December and the official “Imbalu” flagship ceremony is held at Mutoto cultural grounds Bungokho sub county Mbale district every August of every even year. This ceremony flags off all the circumcision events to be carried out in the entire country and also in the Kenyan Gisu communities and its usually attended by state and cultural dignitaries from both Uganda and Kenyan governments.
Economic activities of the Bagisu
The Bagisu are seasoned farmers who grow coffee, bananas, millet, sorghum and maize. The coffee grown in Bugisu land is called Arabica coffee and it has one of the best aromas amongst all coffee beans. Because of this, the Bagisu formed a cooperative union to try and maintain the standards of their coffee and also market it to the external world. This co-operative union is called Bugisu Co-operative Union and it processes, packages and markets coffee products made from the Bugisu Arabica coffee.
Sabiny or Sebei people
These Sebei are part of the Kalenjin ethnic group which is believed to have migrated from as far as turkey southwards first to Egypt then later to Ethiopia, moved to Sudan and finally some of them continued further south to settle in the highland areas of Kacpchorwa, Kween and Bukwo and on the other side of mountain Elgon in Kenya. Many people know the Sebei for their Female Genital Mutilation or FGM but there is more to them than just FGM. The Sebei are fierce warriors and they are the only tribe in Uganda who managed to successfully raid cattle from the karamajongs. As of population census results of 2014, there are 104,580 Sebei people living in Uganda
Circumcision among the sebei
The Sebei circumcised both boys and girls to mark transition from childhood to adulthood. For anyone to get married he or she had to be circumcised. Circumcision especially for boys was a sign of maturity and one could only be allowed to associate or even raise an opinion in the male social circles and gatherings after he had been circumcised.
Economic activities of the Sebei
In as much as the Sebei are cattle keepers, they are also seasoned agriculturalists, growing crops like wheat, maize, sorghum, millet and coffee.
In Uganda the Sebei region is reknowned for producing super athletes that have went ahead to compete and win international medals in professional athletics competitions like Stephen kiprotich won a gold medal in the London summer Olympics of 2012, Moses Kipsiro and Chepsang have also gone ahead to win in international competittions of athletics.
Vegetation. As a result of variations in altitude mt elgon national park has a vetational cover and these include the following;
Montane forests cover the lower slopes of the mountain, the montane forests are characterized by hard wood trees species like the African mahogany- This tree is also called khaya or I dont know tree. It belongs to the khaya genus. This tree is a very large tree towering up to 65m tall with a straight trunk and grows in an area with fertile soils. This tree species is highly sought after by loggers due to its fine wood which is very beautiful for furniture making. The montane forests exist on the lower slopes of Rwenzori between 1800-3000m above sea level.
The bamboo trees have a hollow stem, certain bamboo tree species can grow very rapidly growing up to 91 cm in a single day. bamboo trees rarely flower and some species have been recorded to flower once in a period of over 65 years and when they do flower they usually die off. The bamboo forests are found between 2500-3500m above sea level on the elgon mountain,
Tree heath and bog
Tree heather can also be referred to as heather and have a variety of species counting to 4250 known species. Heather can grow in infertile and acidic soils. Heather tree species usually have hermaphrodite flowers and these flowers have their petals in various shapes like narrowly tubular petals, funnel form petals and widely un shaped petals. Examples of tree species under heath include cranberry, blueberry, and huckleberry. The heather and bog zone is found between 3500-4000m
Hagenia rapanea scrub and Afro-alpine moorland.
Afro- alpine moorland has a diverse wildlife consisting of marshy deltas, open montane grasslands, lakes, peat bogs, enclaves of high elevation forests, temporary snow fields, giant rosette plants and various species of lobelias. This vegetation zone can be found between 4000-4500m above sea level on the elgon mountain. With all these present, it safe to say that this park is any botanist Disneyland!
Tourist activities in Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park has various tourist activities and these include mountain climbing, birding, cultural encounters, fishing, nature walks, rock climbing, sport fishing, mountain biking.
For any activity to be carried out in this park, a separate park entrance fee has to be paid at the park offices and this fee is 35$ foreign nonresidents adults while children 5$, 25$foreign residents adults while children 5$, 15000ugx east African citizens adults while children 2500ugx, 3000ugx local university students and high school students and 1500ugx for local primary pupils.
For anyone who would wish to enjoy any form of mountain climbing without much hustle of needing technical abilities and without great multitudes of people, then mt. Elgon is surely your mountain to take on the climbing challenge. Elgon has a variety of trails that lead you its top but without so much difficulty and you are likely not to suffer so much from altitude sicknesses as it is of a fair altitude but make no mistake of thinking that it’s not worth a trail because it will give you everything you need for a mountain climbing expedition and even a few more surprises up its sleeves that only unfold as you take on the challenge. The trails used to go up the Elgon mountain include the following
The Sasa trail.
This trail kicks off from Budadiri town at an altitude of 1,250m above sea level as you explore the Bamasaba or Gisu communities and have glimpses at their rich culture that ranges from the circumcision or imbalu dance, to their farm gardens perched on mountain slopes, to their settlements. The trail then proceeds through the afro montane forests then the bamboo forests which will finally give way to open moorland vegetation as you reach elevations beyond 3500m as you ascend to the mountain peak of Wagagai via the Jackson pool. This trail can be completed in about 4 days hence making it the shortest route to the top but moderately strenuous.
The Sipi trail.
This trail begins its journey to the top from Kapkwai forest exploration center at 2,050m above sea level via the northwestern side of the Elgon mountain taking you to the Tutum cave then proceeding to the caldera as you finalize with the ascent to the Wagagai peak at 4321m. This is the longest trail covering about 56km round trip and can be completed in 4-6 days. It becomes a bit strenuous from Kajeri camp on the 3rd day but it begins gently as you ascend from 2050m to Kajeri camp.
The Piswa trail.
This trail embarks on its journey to conquer mountain Elgon from Kapkwata on the northern side of the mountain. This trail is revered as the gentlest trail to trek to the top of mountain Elgon. The trail passes through the afro montane forests giving you an opportunity to view a myriad of forest wildlife such as forest birds, and primates like the black and white monkeys and the De brazza monkeys. Still while on this trail, you get the once in a life time opportunity to glance at the Karamoja plains in the far distance as well as the Nandi and the Kapeguria hills in Kenya. It also ensures to take you to the hot springs of the Elgon mountain which serve as the remainder of the violent past of this mountain about 24 million years ago then to the caldera and finally Wagagai mountain peak. This trail takes you through 49km of mountain climbing in about 7 days’ round trip.
Climbing mountain Elgon on an of the trails costs 90$ per day per person hence requiring you to make up your mind on the trail route you are to use before arrival. Porters are paid 15000ugx who carry all your luggage cooking equipment and food and another 15000ugxx for camping per night while on the mountain. As you come for the mountain climb on mt. Elgon, please come with your frozen food ratios because the local equivalent to frozen food ratios might not suite you taste but you can try some if you are adventurous with food. Don’t also forget to pack a light rain coat or jacket, insect repellant, hat, sunscreen, a good pair of hiking boots will do wonders here for you that can keep out water from reaching your toes just in case it rains, long sleeved shirts and trousers that are water proof. The proceeds from climbing mountain Elgon go directly in conserving this pristine natural beauty and also a considerable percentage goes into community support activities such as setting up of local service infrastructures like schools and health centers. Provision of employment opportunities to local residents that are hired as guides and porters.
Nature walks in Mount Elgon National Park
Nature walks in Elgon mountain can be done starting from a few hours to a full day package. Nature walks can be done following the 3 falls of Sipi river, Mudange cliffs also known as the wall of death. The Mudange cliffs are located in the afro montane forests of mountain Elgon and while on this nature trail expect to be in the company of man’s close relatives the primates such as the black and white colobus, blue monkeys, and the baboons. The Sipi trail takes you through communities of the Sebei people as you ascend to the 3 different falls on the Sipi river with the biggest and highest fall plunging over 100m below a cliff.
Still in Kapchorwa, there is a 20-minute sun set nature trail that takes you to the Tewei hills to experience the breath taking view as the sun rolls down the gorgeous Karamoja pains and believe me this will leave you in a sense of euphoria. Day time walks cost 30$ for foreign non-residents, 15$ for foreign residents and 1000ugx for east African residents while night time walks cost 40$ for foreign non-residents, 20$ for foreign residents and 20000ugx for east African residents.
Rock climbing in mt. Elgon takes place in 14 different areas that require different levels of techniques in rock climbing. For anyone who is looking for an extreme thrill in rock climbing come and try out our 35m free wall climb with breath taking views of the Sipi falls as it plummets 100m below you on a cliff hunger. But if you are also a rock climber who is looking for a minimal challenge but highly rewarding in excitement and thrill, we still got you covered with our 15m free wall climb that is equally rewarding with picturesque landscape views of the Sipi falls. For rock climbing here, you don’t need to carry your own equipment as most of it can be hired from the the Sipi Falls Guiding Association. For you to indulge in this activity, you need to part with only 50$ and have an adventure of a life time.
Birding in Mount Elgon National Park
With over 300 bird species, it’s only natural that any birder out there should really consider visiting mt. Elgon national park so as to indulge your senses in your favorite hobby. The bird species found here include. moorland francolin, moustached green tinker bird, Jackson francolin, black collared apalis, black shouldered kite, tacazze sunbird and the endangered lammergeyer bird, chinspot batis, cinnamon bee eater, bronze naped pigoens,mackinnon’s fiscal, doherty’s and kuhders bush shrikes, white chinned prinia, African blue fly catcher. Bird watching costs 30$ for both foreign nonresidents and foreign residents and 10000ugxfor east African citizens.
This activity gets you to riding from the Sebei trading center of Sipi through local communities of the Sebei to give you a front seat as you get to see the local residents go about their daily lives in their gardens and home steads. The trail ends at Chema hill in Kapchorwa with spectacularly beautiful view of the Karamoja plains and with a back drop of the Sipi falls which leaves you totally awestruck with nature’s wonders. For this activity, you can hire the bikes from Sipi river lodge.
For angling enthusiasts, mt. Elgon National Park provides you with a chance to battle it out with the river Trout fish due its fighting spirit it puts up against your baited hooks. This fish species is a darling to anglers due to its multi coloration that dazzles. Some of the biggest of the river Trout caught usually weigh in at 3kg. Sport fishing usually occurs at the highest fall on river Sipi with also incredible views for the wilderness around and beyond you. Fishing permits can be obtained from Sipi river lodge at a cost of 50$ for a single day and 150$ for four days or an annual fishing permit at 300$
There are two most popular communities visited by tourists outside mt. elgon national park ie Sipi Widows Group and Budadiri Community Walks and eco-tourism. Any of these communities will take on a journey to give insights about the culture and way of life of people in these localities.
Sipi Widows’ Group will lead you on a walk to the home steads of local residents to their Arabica coffee farms and learn how one of Uganda’s finest product on the international market is prepared, harvested, processed and packaged to give you that authentic Ugandan Bugisu coffee aroma that you won’t find in any other coffee you will ever taste even in 5 star hotel coffee shops. A visit to the hand craft shops of these ladies will leave you beaming with happiness as they teach how to make hand craft materials like beads, mats indulge yourself in the social daily life of the Sabiny people by taking part in food preparation, weaving, traditional dance and drama and get one on one recounts of stories about female genital mutilation from people who have lived these scary stories first hand. Proceeds from this activity are directed towards maintenance of coffee plantations and also creating awareness about the dangers of FGM
Budadiri Community Walks.
This group will take you on a journey through the Gisu people homestead through their banana and coffee plantations. Indulge yourself in activities like Arabica coffee seedlings nurturing, planting, wedding, coffee harvesting and processing to give you that best aroma you feel from every cup of the Bugisu Arabica coffee you taste regardless of where you in are on the planet. Engage in the local cultural activities such as Imbalu or circumcision ceremonies in case you have visited in times of this cultural experience between august- December of every even year, traditional dances and folklore and handcraft making. A tour through the community coffee plantation and culture goes for about 15$
Accessing Mount Elgon national park
This park can be accessed using both road transport and air transport means.
There are two major route to access Mbale
Kampala-Jinja-Tirinyi-Mbale which 256km or a 4-hour drive or kampala-Jinja-Tororo-Mbale route is 320km or 4.5-hour drive. If you are going to climb mountain Elgon, your next journey section will entirely depend on where your trek to the top is going to start from
For the Sipi trail you head to Mbale- sipi is about 66km which is 1.5 hours due to the winding nature of the road but its tarmacked so you are advised to go slow.
For the Piswa trail you head to Sipi-kapakwata is 45km is also 1.5-hour drive
For the Sasa trail you head to mbale- budadiri is30km or an hour drive approach slow because it is slippery when it rains.
You can still use public means of transport by buying a bus ticket from Namuyiba bus park for a bus to Mbale there are many bus company that ply this route so you will be able to get one on the go and the bus fare ticket goes between 20000-25000ugx. From Mbale to Sipi there are taxi and the fare goes around 4000ugx for one way. from Mbale-Budadiri there are commuter taxis that charge about 2000ugx for one-way fare.
Chartered flights from Entebbe international airport and kajjansi airfield are available to Mbale airfield
Aerolink club has daily flights operating from Entebbe international airport to mbale airfield usually departs in the morning but timing may change depending on the flight routing. Aerolink club uses an 11 seater and 2 flight crew Caravan aircraft equipment that is highly comfortable.
Fly Uganda. Fly Uganda operates private flight charters around Uganda from Kajjansi airstrip. The minimum number of passengers required is 2 passengers. The flights usually depart from Kajjansi airfield in the morning hours but this is subject to flight routing and demand.
Air-Serve Limited and Mission Aviation Africa (MAF) also do private charters to Mbale.
Accommodation in mount Elgon national park
Accommodation in mount Elgon national park can be attained from the following facilities
Luxury accommodation facilities in or near mount Elgon National Park
|Name||Location||Number of rooms||Nature of rooms||Other amenities and services||Prices|
|Mbale resort hotel||Mbale town||98 guestrooms||All rooms are self contained||Restaurant
|Price ranges from 32.5$-485$|
|Sipi river lodge||Kapchorwa||Restaurant
Fishing gear for hire
Bicycle for hire
|Price begins from 183$-444$|
Mid-range accommodation facilities in or near mount Elgon National Park
|Chepkui cottages and annex||Kapchorwa||Guesthouse with 5 beds and 1 cottage||All rooms are self contained||Restaurant
|Price ranges from 126$-651$|
|Kapkwai forest camp||Kapchorwa in kapkwai forest||4 bandas||All bandas are self-contained||Restaurant
|Price ranges from 15$-40$|
Low budget size accommodation facilities in or near mount Elgon National Park
|UWA Bandas and cottages||98 beds||Some guestrooms are self-contained||Restaurant
|Price ranges from 20000ugx-55000ugx.|
Mbale Resort Hotel. Located in the heart of Mbale town, Mbale Resort is the idyllic show of elegance in this part of the pearl of Africa. The resort comes with a total of 94 rooms that have been designed with only one goal in mind and it’s to meet your absolute needs in a comfort lodging experience. The hotel is set on a hill to give you a panoramic view of the entire Mbale sky line from the Wanale hills to the sprawling Mbale town. The guest rooms in Mbale Resort are undeniably spacious with en suite bathrooms that have hot and cold running water to give you a relaxing bath as you embark on your day’s activities. The executive rooms have extended terraces to give you an amazing view of the tropical paradise that is set all around you from its gardens to the forest covered hills of Wanale and the town of mbale all from the comfort of your terrace. Other services and amenities include a swimming pool to give a relaxing bath as you enjoy your relaxation, a well-stocked bar with best assorted wines and spirits, lounging area, dining area, conference facilities, a restaurant that stops at nothing until you are served with the best local and continental dishes and free wi-fii internet connection. Lodging here begins from 32.2$ per person per night for a standard single to a presidential suite at 485.7$ per person per night
Sipi River Lodge. If you want to experience tranquility and nature at its best while in mt Elgon region, then Sipi River Lodge is the place for you to stay. Sipi river lodge is perched near Kapsurur falls which plunges 80m below the hill to give a magnitude of nature’s roar that is compensated by the tranquility of the entire surrounding creating a natural rhythm that is so nerve calming. The lodge offers cottages that have been given an African finish décor using the best natural wood curvings and African print fabrics to give you the African experience of leisure. The cottages are self-contained with en suite bathrooms with hot and cold running water for a relaxing bath. They also have a private terrace to give an edge for taking the best views of nature’s never ending beauty from the afro montane forests to the roaring falls of Sipi. Other amenities include a restaurant with delicious local and continental dishes and our confectionaries are freshly baked by a team of seasoned bakers and are freshly served to you on breakfast, dining area, lounge area, campfire to warm you up on chilly nights and a bar for you to sip a drink as you reflect on your just concluded or next adventure to come. Lodging here begins from 183$ per person per night on half board arrangement to 444$ for four (4) persons per night per night on full board arrangement.
Chepkui Cottage and Annex. This cottage offers a chance to a family travelling together to enjoy a quality time without having to hustle a lot as it offers a cottage that’s big enough to house up to 5 guests at once and a private and cozy cottage just adjacent to the main cottage for the parents to have an intimate time without worrying so much. The cottages have en suite bathroom with hot and cold water for a perfect wild shower and flushing toilet. Incredibly beautiful views of the Sipi falls together with well-maintained natural flower gardens that form the backdrop of the natural beauty of this cottage. Other services and amenities include a restaurant, private garden perfect for kids’ relaxation and play, fireplace and parking space. Lodging here begins at 126$ per person per night on half board arrangement to 651$ for 8 people per night on full board arrangement.
Noah’s Ark Hotel. Located 30km along the Mbale -Kacpchorwa road, Noah’s Ark Hotel gives you a rendezvous with nature one on one without holding anything back. The hotel is located a few meters away from the highest of the 3 Sipi falls that forms the backdrop of its amazing natural beauty. The hotel prides itself from its ability to tap into nature’s giving and reflecting it into their amenities and services. The hotel has manicured lawns to give you a relaxing place, a bar that serves locally inspired cocktails with a modern touch that will leave you going back for more and an assortment of the best wines and spirits on the market, a restaurant that serves local and continental dishes to delight your taste buds with happiness. Adjacent to the main hotel is an annex with 30 guest rooms that have been furnished with the inspiration from nature to you in touch with the outer wilderness. Accommodation here starts from 30000ugx.
Kapkwai Forest Cottages. Kapkwai forest cottages are located on the entrance of mt. Elgon national park, they were initially acting as a student center for students to use them as a launch pad into the Kapkwai forest but that did all change when the cottages were refurbished to serve all guests. The cottages have 4 bandas that are self-contained and 4 tents that use shared toilets and bathrooms which are maintained in a very clean and hygienic condition. The cottages have a canteen to serve you with snacks and drinks. These cottages provide accommodation on a low budget size basis with a single non self-contained room going at 15$ to 40$ a single self-contained banda
Accommodation Managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority. UWA runs a number of accommodations in mt. Elgon national park to serve low budget size tourists with accommodation options that are quite decent. This entire region has 89 beds that are found in cottages and tents. These are found in Kapakwai with a dormitory that can accommodate 70 guests, 3 cottages that host 5 guests. Suam guest house has 3 houses that can host 14 guests. Next to mt. Elgon national park is Pian upe wild reserve this has 4 bandas and that can house 4 guests. single rooms go for 20000ugx, double rooms go for 55000ugx and dormitory goes for 20000ugx for adults and 5000ugx for students.
Uganda travel health Advice, Uganda Travel Information
Uganda travel health Advice – Uganda Travel Information
Vaccinations and Immunizations
Vaccine recommendations are based on the best available risk information. Please note that the level of risk for vaccine-preventable diseases can change at any time. The following information was obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Uganda.
Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications
The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to East Africa. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.
Routine- Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots such as, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc.
Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)- Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in countries with an intermediate or high level of hepatitis A virus infection (see map) where exposure might occur through food or water. Cases of travel-related hepatitis A can also occur in travelers to developing countries with “standard” tourist itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behaviors.
Hepatitis B-Recommended for all unvaccinated persons traveling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission (see map), especially those who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment (e.g., for an accident).
Malaria: your risk of malaria may be high in all countries in East Africa, including cities. See your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug.
Meningococcal (meningitis)- Recommended if you plan to visit countries that experience epidemics of meningococcal disease during December through June.
Typhoid- Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in East Africa, especially if staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water.
Polio- Recommended for adult travelers who have received a primary series with either inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) or oral polio vaccine (OPV). They should receive another dose of IPV before departure. For adults, available data do not indicate the need for more than a single lifetime booster dose with IPV.
Rabies – Recommended for travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, especially in rural areas, involved in activities such as bicycling, camping, or hiking. Also recommended for travelers with significant occupational risks (such as veterinarians), for long-term travelers and expatriates living in areas with a significant risk of exposure, and for travelers involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats, carnivores, and other mammals. Children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals, may receive more severe bites, or may not report bites
Yellow Fever- Recommended for all travelers from 9 months of age. Uganda requires travelers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever virus transmission to present proof of yellow fever vaccination. Vaccination should be given 10 days before travel and at 10-year intervals if there is ongoing risk. Find an authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccination clinic.
How to stay healthy while on Uganda Safari, Uganda Travel Information
Wash your hands often with soap and water or, if hands are not visibly soiled, use a waterless, alcohol-based hand rub to remove potentially infectious materials from your skin and help prevent disease transmission.
In developing countries like Uganda, drink only bottled or boiled water or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, learn how to make water safer to drink.
Take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your health care provider for a prescription.)
To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot, even on beaches.
Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Protect yourself from mosquito insect bites: Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats when outdoors. Use insect repellents that contain DEET (N, N-diethylmethyltoluamide). If no screening or air conditioning is available: use a pyrethroid-containing spray in living and sleeping areas during evening and night-time hours; sleep under bed nets, preferably insecticide-treated ones.
What you are supposed to do while on your Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda.
Do not eat food purchased from street vendors or food that is not well cooked to reduce risk of infection (i.e., hepatitis A and typhoid fever).
Do not drink beverages with ice
Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized.
Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as schistosomiasis.
Do not handle animals, especially monkeys, dogs, and cats, to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague). Consider pre-exposure rabies vaccination if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas.
Do not share needles for tattoos, body piercing or injections to prevent infections such as HIV and hepatitis B.
Avoid poultry farms, bird markets, and other places where live poultry is raised or kept.
Getting There and Around Uganda, Uganda Travel Information
Getting There and Around Uganda, Uganda Travel Information
There are both international and regional flights to Uganda being offered by various airbuses including British Airways, Kenya Airways, Brussels and so much more. You can as well charter a flight but this can be damn expensive. Uganda has all means of transport although the most accessible is by bus; it’s cost effective and safe when it comes to traveling. Bus companies for instance Regional Coach, Link and Scandinavian Express and Akamba have strict departure time if travelers can’t adhere to this, they are often left behind.
The Min buses usually go for shorter journeys. Transport in Uganda has been improved with well-maintained roads, speed governors as well as seat belts to ensure the safety of all passengers. The buses assemble in the new taxis park and some may be got along the public roads. The bus fares are fixed but cheaper to all the passengers. In the villages, there are motorcycles, bicycles, taxis for hire that can take you to your destination and remember to get small denominations of money to ease on transport. Ugandans are friendly people and are so willing to give directions when required. A visa to Uganda guide has also been put here.
Flights in Uganda, Uganda Travel Information
There are 12 airports in Uganda and the 4 biggest are
Entebbe Airport (Entebbe, Uganda)
Right now, 31 airlines operate out of Entebbe Airport.
Entebbe Airport offers nonstop flights to 22 cities.
Every week, at least 49 domestic flights and 490 international flights depart from Entebbe Airport.
Arua Airport (Arua, Uganda)
Arua Airport offers nonstop flights to 2 cities.
Every week, at least 28 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Arua Airport.
Gulu Airport (Gulu, Uganda)
Gulu Airport offers nonstop flights to 2 cities.
Every week, at least 14 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Gulu Airport.
Kasese Airport (Kasese, Uganda)
Every week, at least 14 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Kasese Airport.
English is the national language. There are other local languages like luganda, runyankore, lusoga, luo, runyakitara, lugisu, lugbara and many more spoken by different tribes in Uganda. For those who can only communicate using languages like Chinese, Germany, French, Arabic and others, we can organize special interpreters for them while taking their tours in Uganda.
Uganda’s climate is humid; it combines hotness and coldness in some parts. Uganda has dry spells from June-September and rains from November to mid-January and many rains from March-June but at times such seasons change unexpectedly.
Uganda travel clothing/dress
Carry along lightweight, washable clothes plus a coat, jacket or sweater for morning wildlife game drives or any cold as a result of any weather changes. Items like sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen etc. are also important. Trousers or long sleeved shirts save you from dangers of insect bites. Any other form of dressing by one’s preference is good as long as it isn’t offensive for public displeasure. Women travelers need to carry a wrap to cover legs in the village and towns. At Lodges and hotels with swimming pools, better to carry a swimsuit along with you.
Baggage on safaris
Baggage on safari is limited to one bag, plus one small piece of hand baggage per person (excluding a camera bag). In total this should not weight more than 20kg. Suitcases and other heavier items can be stored in town hotels whilst clients are on safari.
Uganda tour and travel photo shots
To make your tour unforgettable, its better you carry along with you a video and a digital camera with enough charged batteries for shooting anything that interests you throughout your trip. Keep cameras from dust, sunshine or rain. It is advisable to seek permission first before photographing anyone or anything.
Uganda travel security
Uganda is a very safe and sound country in African continent .The country presently has no rebel activity going on inside of Uganda. Even the north of Uganda is enjoying a state of peace and rebuilding since the LRA has signed a cease-fire in the summer of 2006.
Hence Uganda is a very safe country to visit, work and stay, but still precautionary measures have to be ensured while traveling. Below are some guides on how to be cautious so as to keep safe.
Money should be hidden:
The best way to carry your money is when you keep it at your front pocket where you can put your hand over it rather than a back pocket where it can easily be stolen. Do not flash money or count it in public, pull out what you need and pay, never carry large amounts with you. Keep money and any other valuables in your hotel safe.
Carrying Passports and Return Tickets:
It’s very risky carrying your passport on you, it’s best to make a copy of your travel documents and leave the originals at your hotel safe. If you are traveling on a safari, keep it all such things in a small backpack that you can easily carry with you. It is best to carry that small Backpack even if you go on a game drive while on safari. It is always best to be on the safe side of life instead of having later sorrow.
Keep your Jewelry at home or hotel safe:
Take inexpensive jewelry with you (you can buy some lovely items here in Uganda at a low price). Gold chains and jewelry can be torn off you. Avoid expensive watches and if you are wearing one, have one preferably with leather strap that can be tightened and safely worn.
Buy some local Ugandan crafted jewelry and support a local artisan and their families and you will safe-keep your expensive items at home and at the same time make a difference in Uganda through your purchase of local hand-crafted items.
Keep your Mobile Cell-Phone in your pocket and do not carry it in your hands. If you carry it in your hands, someone may take a cigarette burn your hand and you drop the phone when pain strikes and it is gone.
Do not put in on a table in a restaurant or bar since again someone might just come and grab it – Stay on the safe side. Mobile phones are stolen daily in Uganda – hold on to it tightly.
Walking at night:
Do not walk alone on your own in most neighborhoods to be on the safe side – what you would do at home, do here while visiting Uganda. You do not hear of many cases where Visitors to Uganda are robbed or harmed but it is best to be wise and smart.
Visits to Slums:
Slums in Kampala happen to be a place of misery and where you can find quite a few people who would not have the best intentions in mind when it comes to dealing with you. Most slum-dwellers are there not because of choice but because of circumstances in life.
Visiting a slum unless you are visiting a school, an NGO, a charitable work such as an orphanage is ill-advised. We do not offer slum tours as is the fashion in Kenya in order to make money and once company does here in Kampala. We believe in the dignity of all human beings and do not want to benefit off another person’s misery.
Gay Travelers Safety:
In February of 2014 President Museveni signed the stronger anti-gay bill into law. 97% of Ugandans concurred with his decision. Uganda had been in the news for five years regarding the anti-gay bill and it had an effect on Uganda’s image in the world even though it is one of 38 African Countries and over 80 worldwide with strong anti-gay laws.
What does it mean to a gay traveler wanting to come to Uganda? In Uganda there is no public affection between any gender. No promotion of homosexuality and simply discreet behavior that does not draw attention to a visitor to Uganda. The traditions of held values of Uganda and most African Nations are simply different.
The law is there – the choice is up to the gay visitor to Uganda whether to come or whether to stay away – the previous anti-gay law was hardly enforced since in Uganda personal relationships are kept private.
Statement from Stephen Asiimwe -Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Tourism Board “no gay visitor to our country will be harassed or not welcome for the only reason that he or she may be gay. Cultural policies are important in Uganda. We ask visitors to respect them. They include touching in public for example or engaging in sex with children.”
Is it safe for single travelers?
It’s very safe for tourists to travel solo on safari in Uganda. It’s always best to travel with a reliable tour company like Africa Adventure Safaris Ltd to run your safari in Uganda.
Uganda Currency, Uganda Travel Information
Uganda Currency, Uganda Travel Information
Major foreign currencies – like the US$, Pound Sterling and Euros, South African Rand and currencies for the Uganda’s neighboring countries can be exchanged in the local forex bureaus and banks. Travelers’ cheques are accepted in Uganda and are exchangeable at banks and forex bureau in Kampala City and other major towns and hotels. Credit cards are getting common and are acknowledged in some shopping and banks. Majority of banks have ATM facilities. In some national parks or tourist centre, visitors can pay using foreign currencies if they didn’t get time to convert into local money. It is not suitable to exchange money on the streets from individuals as you may be given fake notes of Uganda shillings.
Bank and money transactions in Kampala Uganda;Where to get and how to make money transactions in Kampala.
Uganda Banks, Money exchange, Forex rates, in Uganda
The simplest way to acquire money on your initial arrival is using a Visa ATM card (MasterCard is more challenging; do not bother using anything else). The ATMs are scattered across Uganda, beginning at the airport, and nearly all of them offer the favorable Visa logo. It is a good idea to talk to your bankers back at home and inquire about any kind of deals they offer within Ugandan banks – for example, as I write this, in case you use your Bank of America ATM card in any of Uganda’s Barclays ATMs, you will not be charged that annoying ATM fee. Western Union is as well an alternative for quick cash from foreign countries, although the fees are somewhat large. On the other hand, if it is a better option for you, there are several Western Union places throughout Kampala.
Do I need my International Banking card While in Kampala Uganda?
The majority of properly-ATMed banks are Barclays plus Stanbic that appear to have ATMs almost anyplace you would require one. A properly-informed friend informed me that Barclays, regardless of its international name, is pretty short on service, and that its competitor Stanbic could be a better choice. Additional alternatives include Centenary bank whose ATMs and branches can be accessed in most of the rural parts of the country plus Standard Chartered, that has fewer branches as well as ATMs although fairly good service.
How do I make mobile money transactions with my cell phone in Kampala Uganda?
One new and expanding approach to handle money within Uganda is using cell phones commonly known as Mobile money. You can Sign up with any of the local carrier and then send and also receive money directly on your phone, obtainable almost any place across the country. But of course, you need to have some money deposited on it.
Shopping in Uganda
From jammed but fascinating markets filled with collectable handicrafts, to glitzy malls in our big city with the latest must have name brands, more so because our favorable exchange rate makes your retail therapy last longer too. Uganda’s shopping centers provide world-class shopping, plenty of entertainment, the latest movies and delicious food in conveniently situated and safe surroundings. Whether you are looking for something specific, have time on your hands to browse around or just love to shop, the boutiques, chain stores and specialist shops in the country’s malls have it all. The quality, cost and variety of goods on offer along with the safe, sophisticated environment provided by Uganda’s shopping centers should not take visiting international holidaymakers and business people by surprise.
Uganda’s malls are famous for their excellent shopping and entertainment facilities. When you leave the country after your holiday or business trip, you will lament the baggage restrictions of the international airlines and wish that you could take more of Uganda home with you! Vacationers can choose from dining and enjoying a drink at local or hotel bars and restaurants, seeing a movie at the cinema, attending a theatrical production at the cultural centre or gambling at one of the two casinos in town. Some bars host live music sessions at weekends. Uganda is known for their woodcarvings, handcrafted jewellery, textiles and attractive basketry – all make a memorable souvenir of your trip.
Nightlife in Kampala
From a night of fine dining to raucous all-night party in Kampala city Ugandans love to have a good time. Let your hair down and live it up in our clubs, pubs, late-night bars, theatres and live music venues. You won’t just find the best wildlife in our game parks…come on, the party’s starting! Experience a sundowner. Sip a cool drink and enjoy a glorious sunset at the end of a satisfying afternoon game drive. In the tourist towns of Kampala, there are a handful of restaurants, cinema and a clutch of places to grab a cold beer with fellow travelers and the friendly locals.
Casinos in Uganda
Bet on having a good time around Uganda. From our most famous Kampala casino for high-rollers to family entertainment venues– we’ve myriad casinos where you can take chance with Lady Luck. Ugandan casinos, including several large entertainment complexes, can be found countrywide. These entertainment destinations are typically designed around a specific theme and include a large range of activities for the whole family. Many are also geared towards business tourism, providing hotels and conferencing facilities as well.
Uganda’s casinos can be found on the fringes of most major centers. The emphasis is on being a one-stop leisure destination, with access to both indoor and outdoor entertainment. In Uganda, casinos are designed around a specific theme, offering a vision of life somewhat different from the run of the mill expectation of Africa. Nor are they typical casinos, most offering entertainment that goes beyond the usual slots and gaming tables. Among the most popular casinos in Uganda is the famed Kampala casino, in the city centre. Garden city is as famous for its golf course, game drives and outdoor activities as it is for gambling.
Uganda offers a wide variety of hotels lodge’s guesthouses, safari lodges available for travellers ranging from budget, midrange and high-end accommodation that are distributed in all parts of the country. For any destination you want to travel to, there accommodations that you can book at. Feel free to contact us for any of your travel accommodation plans and you will find all answers for Uganda accommodation.
Uganda Public Holidays
Below is the list of Uganda’s public holidays that are officially noticed by all citizens: Liberation day(26 Jan),Women’s Day (8 March),New Years’ Day (1 Jan),Independence Day (9 Oct),Labor Day(1 May),Heroes Day(9 June),Martyrs Day(3June),World Aids Day (1 Dec),Boxing Day (26 Dec),Christmas Day (25 Dec),Human Rights’ Day (10 Dec),Africa Day (25 May)
What are the interesting activities I can Do while in Uganda?
What are the interesting activities I can Do while in Uganda?
Tours and Adventures in Uganda
There are so many activities and adventures on a Uganda safari that it is difficult to stick to the details on your plan. Here are some of the top interesting tourist activities in Uganda that most tourists have come to love through the years.
Gorilla Trekking Safari, Uganda Travel Information
This ranks as the most important part of any Uganda safari itinerary. The once-in-a-lifetime experience takes you through the dense forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National park on the slopes of the Rwenzori ranges in search of the gentle giants. Groups of 8 people launch every day into the forest canopy behind the lead of a trained and armed ranger! It is surely exciting and a challenge that may take you up to eight intense hours of trekking. Without mountain gorilla trekking expeditions, Uganda safaris are not same!
Chimpanzee tracking and the Primates of Uganda
Uganda’s forests are home to an estimated 13 or more species of primates include the black & white colobus, red tailed monkeys, bush babies, olive baboons, gorillas and the habituated chimpanzees. Chimpanzee tracking is a fascination in Kibale Forest National park but there are also a few of these primates in Semliki National Park and Ngamba Island on Lake Victoria.
Wildlife safaris and National Parks in Uganda
There are 10 National parks and 12 game reserves in Uganda gifted with a wide range of flora and fauna. The most visited include Murchison Falls Park (which is the largest) and the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Take a game drive or a guided safari walk in the wilderness and encounter Uganda’s best kept mammals like the tree climbing Lions, zebras, Uganda kob, elephants, buffaloes, hippos, Harte beest and many more. Unique safari experiences take you to Lake Mburo National park for a canoe ride for sights of Uganda’s birds and animals visiting the vast lake.
Lake Bunyonyi tours
Lake Bunyonyi is found in South Western Uganda in the district of Kabale. It is Africa’s second deepest lake dotted with a few islands that are historically important to the people in this area. The lake is named after the birds that nest on the lake’s shore and surrounding swamps such as kingfishers, malachite eagles, sun birds, bee eaters, the rare shoebill stork and a few of the Albertine endemic species. Take a canoe ride to the island, nature walks around the lake or go swimming – Yes…the lake is Bilharzia free and good for swimming!
Bird watching safaris
If you are a nature enthusiast, then Uganda must have a special place in your heart. Over 3,000 species of birds are recorded to have nests in papyrus swamps, forests, lakeshores and national parks all over the country. Some of the best birding destinations like Lake Bunyonyi, Bwindi forest park, Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth Park and also in the different cities. Kampala city also has a few swamps with notable species like the stork and sun birds among others.
Hiking is not a popular sport In Uganda but you can be among the few tourists to reach some of the peaks of Uganda’s skyline. The ‘mountains of the moon’ popularly known as the Rwenzori mountain offer great hiking experiences often challenging but worth when you reach the glaciated peak. Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano in Eastern Uganda is also good for hiking and at the same time discovers some unique plant species that grow on the slopes of this fertile rock.
River Nile Adventures
It is the world’s longest river with its source on Lake Victoria in south central Uganda. The river has a number of rapids and water falls on its course to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt. Bujagali falls is particularly good for kayaking and water rafting with class I, II and IV rapids while Bungee jumping is also done near the falls. You can continue pursuing the river to the spectacular Murchison Falls on the Victoria Nile in the west and so on
Kampala City Tours, Uganda Travel Information
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda and the busiest town in the country. It is Uganda’s largest town and an important centre for business, industry, transport and administration. There are also many interesting things to note and tour about this friendly town such as the independence monument, Uganda Museum & art galleries, Makerere University, Kabaka’s palace, the National theatre, Uganda Martyr’s Shrine at Namugongo and the different religious centres around the capital.
Shopping in Kampala
Kampala being the capital city of Uganda, it has plenty of modern and western style shops with a feel of western typical malls with luxury goods and fast food outlets. You can visit numerous local and upscale shopping places like local markets for fresh foods, supermarkets, boutiques and departmental stores. In some parts of the city there are shopping complexes offering designer labels, computer equipment and other wide range of goods available let it be specialist or luxury. From colorful and bustling markets to newly developed shopping malls, Kampala now has it all. There are many upscale hotels that cater to the influx of tourists.
Kampala is famous for its intoxicating overcrowded markets, streets and arcades with upscale goods and services. Very chaotic but with pretty experience, Owino market normally acknowledged as Balikuddembe market is the most admired local market in Kampala. Sprawling around Nakivubo stadium, Owino is well stocked with everything from manufactured goods to traditional medicine. Eminent for its second hand clothes “Ebikadde” in Luganda, new clothes can be made as well by local tailors after making a selection for a piece of cloth material. Visitors are bound to spend much time here not because they are having much fun but once you are inside it’s really difficult to find your way out.
Apart from these local markets, Uganda is endowed with shopping centers with a feel of typical western styles and among the best places for shopping are 5 big shopping centers; if you want luxury goods especially the American and European brands. This is your best bet because you are likely to do your shopping in one place from one of the following malls; Lugogo shopping mall, Acacia mall, Garden city, and Freedom city. Shopping places indoors include; big supermarkets like Nakumatt, Capital shoppers, Uchumi, Game and Payless, departmental stores, fast food outlets, jewelry and book shops.
Looking out for the best rates for changing large amounts of foreign currency, Kampala is the best way to go. Try out bureaus in Kampala for the best rates this time especially the dollar house and half east all located conveniently next to each other at king Fahad plaza along Kampala road. There are many more bureaus and rates change from time to time but are usually printed in local papers and white boards at the entrance.
There are several sophisticated craft shops around the national theatre and Uganda crafts 2000 limited that sell locally made Arts and crafts. Original and smart local items like bark-cloth clothing, drums, wood carvings, sandals, basketry, beaded jewelry and Muzungu t- shirts plus other items from all over Africa are sold. Look out for many cheaper crafts at park headquarters and the nearby communities, Entebbe airport, Garden city and Lugogo mall. Pieces of valuable handcrafts are available at relatively low prices compared to imported crafts; therefore don’t hesitate to snap a chance. Your purchase of arts, crafts, souvenirs and gifts impact the lives of ordinary Ugandans.
Look out for the best places for English language publications, with the great selection of books like novels and as well as Uganda at very reasonable and affordable prices. The best place is Aristoc, where books are stocked up to satisfy the customers’ needs. Get a reading material before heading on to long road trip. You can also have second hand books with a good selection of novels at a bit cheaper price down town. Bargaining is acceptable and the way to the business. You can bargain for better prices especially on souvenirs and your bargaining power determines what you pay in the end.
Cultural tours and safaris
Uganda is home to many tribes and peoples who live in harmony. Almost every part of Uganda has a tribe that relates to it with a unique heritage and institution called a Kingdom. The most popular kingdom is Buganda in central Uganda with proper institutional structures headed by the Kabaka who is the king. Some of its significant tourist sites include Kasubi Royal tombs, the Kabaka’s palace and lake in Mengo, Sezibwa falls and a host of cultural/spiritual sites dotted around the country. Other kingdoms worth visiting include Toro Kingdom Palace in Fort Portal and Busoga in Jinja among others.
Lake Victoria tours
Lake Victoria is Uganda’s largest lake seen on landing at the Entebbe International Airport. Catch a ferry or hire a charter boat to the spectacular Ssese Islands for a treat of the best beaches in Uganda. Ngamba Island is also another island to visit on the lake, synonymous with the Ngamba Chimpanzee sanctuary. The best ways to relax on one of these islands is by taking nature walks, forest walks, go fishing or treat yourself to some of the best fish in Uganda’s waters. It is the perfect place to relax after hectic safaris in Uganda before you take your departure flights.
Spot fishing in Uganda
Go fishing in Nile River and in Lake Victoria to explore a world of untouched, mystical beauty. Take advantage of some of the other activities on offer such as gliding along the scenic waterways of the Nile and Victoria on a dug-out canoe. For game fisherman, the Nile River teems with Nile perch one of the biggest fish species in Uganda. Catch your biggest one yet and be amazed at the size that the fish grow to in these areas. Houseboats offer 360 degrees of lush greenery filled with the music of chirping birds and beautiful waterways and absolutely luxurious living conditions. Glide through the Nile and Lake Victoria fringes to find fish-rich water
Lake Mburo national park is one of fewest parks that offer horseback riding in safari Uganda, but for the adventurous this is an experience not to be missed. Uganda is a land of immense natural beauty with diverse terrain and landscapes of which Lake Mburo national park with a lush emerald paradise of swamps and Precambrian metamorphic rocks, rich savannah grasslands is undoubtedly living proof of. On horseback you can truly absorb the magnificence of park like unique spectrum of ecosystems that supports an unbelievable variety of bird, plant and wildlife waiting to be discovered. Venture further into the park and get much closer to the abounding wildlife. Encounter exciting moments along the game trails as your horseback safari ride brings you upon great herds of buffalo, zebra, elands and other antelopes. Be assured that this activity is a magical and humbling experience that will touch your soul and remain in your heart for an eternity.
Flights to Uganda, Uganda Travel Information
Flights to Uganda, Uganda Travel Information
Flying to Uganda is simple and affordable. With many direct flights to Entebbe from Europe, Asia and Africa, Uganda can now be easily accessed from any part of the world. Below are the major international airlines that fly to Entebbe International Airport, Uganda:
KLM / Amsterdam – flights to and from Entebbe 5 times a week.
Brussels Airlines / Brussels – flights to and from Entebbe 3 times a week.
Emirates / Dubai – flights to and from Entebbe daily.
South African Airways / Johannesburg – flights to and from Entebbe daily.
Kenya Airways / Nairobi – flights to and from Entebbe 5 times a week.
Ethiopian Airways / Addis Ababa – flights to and from Entebbe daily.
Qatar Airways / Doha – flights to and from Entebbe daily.
Feel free to contact Prime Safaris and Tours Ltd for advice on flights to Uganda and which airline would be most suitable for you.
Domestic Flights, Uganda Travel Information
Prime Safaris and Tours Ltd would be delighted to book your scheduled domestic flights or private charters, providing excellent access to most of the national parks within Uganda. Daily domestic flights are available at affordable rates from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip, flying to Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi and Kidepo National Park among others.
Contact prime safaris and Tours Ltd for more information and prices on charter and scheduled flights to Uganda’s national parks or regional flights within East Africa.