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Dive into the wonderful diversity of Uganda’s landscapes, wildlife and culture. Uganda is amazingly very beautiful and natural as Sir Winston first discovered it in 1908. The country is still pure and untouched, it is one of the country that has not been affected by mass tourism, and offering that ultimate distant feeling that every tourist looks for in an African adventure and no wonder its has been named the Pearl of Africa. Uganda is no wonder a lonely planet ranked it as number one destination to travel for the year 2012.
Uganda has long been at the vanguard of eco-tourism. Community tourism, as it’s known here, means the country’s cultural heritage and archaeological sites are showcased and protected. And because Uganda remains free from mass tourism, you can even enjoy the big game at Queen Elizabeth National Park in relative peace.
Uganda’s biggest draw is still its endangered mountain gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Parks are home to more than 300 of them (half the world’s population). Tracking these magnificent creatures is an experience you just can’t put a price on. That said, gorilla passes cost significantly less in Uganda than they do in neighbouring Rwanda.
When Winston Churchill came to Uganda in 1907, he called it “the Pearl of Africa”. The moniker has stuck because Uganda really is a knock-out. From its verdant forest and vertiginous mountains to its glassy lakes and rolling savannah, you’ll be hard pushed to find more stunning scenery anywhere.
Uganda has a matchlessly diverse landscape, and this wide range of habitats is home to 1,117 of the 1,998 bird species found in Africa. In fact, there are more birds per square kilometre here than anywhere else on the continent. Top bird-watching spots are Mgahinga, Bwindi and Queen Elizabeth National Parks, and the wetlands around Lutembe Bay where you can spot papyrus canaries, white-winged warblers and African skimmers.
People have rhapsodised about Uganda’s mountains ever since Ptolemy speculated that the the ‘Mountains of the Moon’ were the source of the Nile in AD 150. There are mountain trails here for climbers of every level. You could take the challenging route up the glacial Rwenzori Mountains, follow in the Duke of Abruzzi’s footsteps up the twin peaks of Mount Stanley and Magherita, or see the equatorial snow of Mount Gahinga, famed for its gorillas and birdlife.
Uganda is swiftly becoming Africa’s go-to place for adventurous activities. Top of any outdoor type’s to-do list is the white-water rafting at Jinja. Not only is the scenery along the White Nile stunning, the river is more than 10 times the volume of the Zambezi, making it the most exhilarating set of rapids in Africa. Uganda is home of the well-known River Nile, the longest river on earth. The Nile offers a life time of adventures which includes grade 6 white-water rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, canoeing, jet boating, river surfing and lots of more
Fresh-water fishing has now been introduced in Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo and Murchison Falls National Parks and Semliki Wildlife Reserve. Angling here is quite an experience – Nile perch can grow up to 2m long and you’ll be fishing in the company of crocodiles and the occasional hippo. Boat trips and sports fishing tours are also available.
The source of the Nile and the world’s second largest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria has been a must-see for visitors since the 19th century. It’s studded with 84 islands, some of which are still uninhabited. If you only have time to visit one, it should be Ngamba Island, home to a chimpanzee sanctuary.
Hotel with a view
Why go there? The main draw here are the 300 gorillas who inhabit Bwindi’s Impenetrable Forest. The rare tree-climbing lions of Isasha live nearby. Bwindi’s brilliant for bird watching too, with more than 340 species calling the area home.
If you’re heading near Lake Mburo, make time to go on the latest All Terrain Vehicle (quad bike) tour: the cultural safari. The trail, devised in collaboration with Mburo Eco-Cultural Village, takes in local homesteads and gives visitors the opportunity to mix and mingle with the Ankole tribe – and try some mwenge, a potent banana brew. Best of all, the proceeds are split between protecting the area’s wildlife and funding community projects.