Uganda Travel Guide

As per Winston Churchill, Uganda is the “jewel of Africa,” and its violent past does not burden it. You’ll be delighted by the people’s positivity in this friendly, secure, and safe nation.

Uganda’s Brief History

Since humans first appeared in Uganda between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago, it has drawn immigrants from all over Africa due to its lush red soil, pleasant climate, and equator-side location in the Big Rift Valley.

Even so, there are still cultural differences. Tourists today will come across the forest-dwelling Batwa native inhabitants who have only lately left the gorilla-inhabited woods of the south, the farming ancestors of Bantu communities, and the more migratory, pastoral ancestors of Nilotic cultures.

The area that is now Uganda was once separated into kingdoms controlled by tribal kings for many generations. Realms like Buganda had well-organized taxation systems, strong armies, and walled towns. Until the mid of 19th century, when ivory supplies near the coast became critically limited and Arab entrepreneurs started to trek deeper interior, it was unknown to Westerners, Asians, and Arabs.

Although Acholi sheep farmers sold their ivory to the Egyptians in the north, causing trade to expand internationally, Buganda traded their ivory for fabric and weapons. The Buganda king was converted to Reformation by British missionaries, who also established missions throughout the region. At the same time, the Arabs tried to spread Islam. A religious civil war quickly broke out as Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic conversions struggled for power as the French introduced Catholicism not long after.

The British started claiming this territory once the Protestants seized power at the end of the 19th century.

Tribal tensions increased as some tribes ceded power through written agreements, mercenaries routed others, and the devoted Baganda inhabitants were compensated with double their area. Uganda had become a British Protectorate, where local leaders were given disproportionate authority. Since these chiefs were mostly all Baganda and forced their tongue, Luganda, as well as their clothing, customs, and faith on other communities, this created colonization.

Export opportunities were made possible by the Uganda Railways, which crossed Kenya and went all the way to the Indian Ocean. Massive estates were used to cultivate cotton and then sugarcane. As more Christian missions were conducted, money started to flow in, and education rates increased. However, although Ugandan farmers toiled on the farms, the colonial administration preferred using Indian mediators to process and sell the products, excluding Africans from any administration or control roles. As a result, anger arose.

In response to Ugandan demands for the end of the Asian monopoly and the freedom to select their candidates in government, riots broke out in 1949. The British started making preparations for liberty, but the still-tribal Ugandans weren’t as eager to be ruled directly by Buganda as the British, especially in light of the catastrophic revolutions in Kenya and Rhodesia.

Despite disagreements and boycotts from governmental and tribal elements, freedom was eventually forced. In 1962 Milton Obote, leader of the Ugandan People’s Congress (UPC), was elected and then appointed prime minister of the recently established Uganda.

He did not take long to develop a powerful obsession. He declared Uganda a republic in 1966, overthrew the tribal kingdoms, and wholly controlled the new country. Five years later, Obote was defeated by Idi Amin Dada, a former supporter of Obote. He co-ruled the nation with the military, maintaining control via intimidation and force, killing around 100,000 and 300,000 Ugandans and expelling more than 500,000 Indians, which devastated the economy.

Because of their loyalty to Obote, he specifically targeted the northern Acholi and Langi tribes. Amin escaped to Libya after eight years in government, during which he nearly destroyed the nation as Tanzanian forces and Ugandan exiles engaged in a liberation conflict that resulted in the seizure of Kampala. Although Obote’s human rights reputation was hardly improved than Amin’s, he remained in office for six years as he worked to quell the rebellion led by Yoweri Museveni. In 1986, Museveni took over when Obote was once more toppled and is still in charge of Uganda.

However, the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony, became involved in a 20-year civil war in the far north after Museveni took office. Kony is infamous for the horrifying kidnapping of children from the area and forcing them to join the LRA as guerrilla soldiers. However, most of Uganda has accepted that Museveni will rule until he passes away. While living conditions have barely increased over the past three decades and Museveni’s presidency has been marred by corruption, many Ugandans are still happy to have him as their president because he is not a murderous autocrat like Amin or Obote, about the only representatives most Ugandans have ever recognized.

Although there are issues with the country’s infrastructures, water resources, energy, and educational system, most Ugandans have chosen peace over potential unrest.

Regarding traveling in Africa, Uganda is a genuine delight because it is safe, compact, and has a continuously springlike climate. But for its size, it contains a lot. More than half of the mountain gorillas in the world are protected in ten national parks, alongside chimpanzees and a unique golden monkey. A tremendous standard safari list includes leopards, lions, elephants, and hippos.

Its highlands, forests, marshes, and the shoreline of Lake Victoria, the Nile, are home to over 1,000 types of birds, or even more than 10% of all species worldwide. The rough “Mountains of the Moon” contain the third-highest summit in Africa, which is covered with tropical snow.

There are more than 40 acknowledged languages in Uganda, which is still a tribal society. As you move throughout this small nation, the music, dance, and clothing vary virtually hourly. However, one phrase you’ll always hear is “Welcome!” paired with the amiable term “mzungu!” meaning “foreigner,” from tour guides, waiters, drivers, and roadside corn vendors.

 The national bird of Uganda is a grey-crowned crane. Its traits are considered to be similar to the Ugandan public: graceful, devoted, strong, and somewhat fond of dancing.

Activities in Uganda

    • Tracking chimps

    The most well-known of Uganda’s preserved forests, Kibale, is home to 1,500 chimpanzees and 13 primate types, where chimpanzees can be found. The most fantastic time to explore Budongo, where chimps can also be monitored, and the breathtaking “underground” forest of Kyambura, which is situated in a narrow, mist-filled ravine in Queen Elizabeth National Park, is between February and September. 

    Mountains in Rwenzori 

    Along Uganda’s western border, the “Mountains of the Moon” form an insurmountable, rocky chain constantly covered in snowfall, clouds, and mist. Extended excursions take you across surreal Afromontane forest, bamboo, and gigantic heathers, with the chance to climb Margherita Peak, Africa’s third tallest mountain at 5,109m. Lowland walks reveal crystal-clear rivers, luxuriant vegetation, and bustling towns.

    Enjoy an afternoon enjoying cultural activities at Kampala’s Ndere Centre, which features songs, dances, costumes, and traditions from all across the nation, along with amusing background information on each state’s cultural heritage.

    Visitors regard Uganda as one of the friendliest African countries, which is why the country’s motto is “you’re welcomed.” With up to 80 language groups and a culture still predominantly tribal, there are many differences across villages regarding singing, dancing, music, and rituals. Amazingly enthusiastic entertainers participate in the southwest to see who can thud their bare feet firmly on the ground the loudest while flailing their arms in ecstatic dance.

    Join the ancient jungle residents, the Batwa, as they guide you into their sacred cave in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The Batwa will show you how to gather honey, create fire, and “hunt” antelope with sticks. Enjoy cheerful singing and dancing in each new area of the nation you explore. The adunc, a plucked device in many sizes, is native to the dry northeast. The smallest may fit your hand, while the biggest resembles a dual bass. Learn how to mix bread, crush millet, gather medicinal plants, and interact with a medieval blacksmith.

Raft the Nile in Uganda


Rafting, which involves tackling the Grade III–IV–V waves as you speed 20 km downriver, is naturally one of Jinja’s most renowned activities. Kayaking trips that don’t require as much passion are also an option, as are hikes or mountain bike tours through the neighboring Mabira Forest, where tree hyrax screams fill the air. Jinja is Uganda’s adventure capital. The mighty Nile begins here – in an exhilarating froth of whitewater.

Explore the parks

The national parks of Uganda are well-kept secrets. They have lakes and rivers for boat rides and regular game drives, making them more luxurious than their Kenyan or Tanzanian equivalents. Queen Elizabeth National Park’s scenery is breathtaking and dotted with volcano basins against a mountainous backdrop.

Take a cruise down the Kazinga Channel in the park, bordered by elephants, marabou storks, buffalo, and Nile crocodiles. The Nile River divides the vast Murchison Falls National Park, located further north. There are leisurely boats that take you through animals and up to the base of the falls, where the strong river thunderously squeezes through a 7-meter fissure. Enjoy your days riding through this untamed savannah or climb on top of the falls.

The tiniest national park in Uganda, Mgahinga Gorilla, is home to rare golden monkeys found in the rainforests on volcanoes’ flanks. Lake Mburo Nature Reserve is a haven for bird lovers. You can get close to hyena dens here by taking early morning treks.


Accessible for wheelchairs

Using a wheelchair or having mobility limitations is not a barrier to seeing the primates in Uganda. Being transported into the trees in a royal chair is a part of wheelchair accessibility of gorilla and chimpanzee tracking expeditions. You’ll have traveled in greater comfort, but rarely to such a wonderful place.

Gorilla tracking in Uganda


More than half of the 850 mountain gorillas on earth reside in Uganda. Most of them are found in the fogy forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Reserve. The most captivating exercise in Uganda is monitoring one of the 11 trained families, which involves a 2–6 hour hike up the rough hillsides of the Rift Valley and a meeting with one of our nearest ancestors that can last up to an hour.

  • The Murchison Falls

With all the sprays and thundering you would anticipate, Boat rides downriver take you past hippos to enjoy the falls; if you don’t mind getting wet, climb to the top instead.

The most prominent national reserve in Uganda, the area around it, offers miles of open savannah to enjoy and is home to lions, buffalos, elephants, and other animals.

Drives for game

Many visitors travel to Uganda for the gorillas and leave immediately for Kenya to explore the Big Five. Safaris in Uganda take place in front of magnificent volcanoes, landscapes, and lakes. In so many nature reserves, you can go on strolling, driving, or boat safaris, and you can explore a lot of land because of the proximity of the locations. With rhinoceros present in Ziwa Conservancy, four Big Five can be observed in the wild.

  • Over landing

Among the considerable savannah game reserves of Tanzania and Kenya, the gorilla-inhabited woods of Rwanda, and Uganda’s essential position are these destinations. Chimps with conventional safaris and outdoor fun can be included on East Africa road tours that explore how the traditions and scenery vary from one state to the next. Or, for a real adventure, take a trip via Uganda from Cairo to Cape Town.

Tours of pygmies

The Batwa are Uganda’s largest underprivileged ethnic group. The Batwa are still without land and extremely poor after being driven out of their forest home more than 20 years ago when it was turned into a national park. Because of their desperation, dishonest businesses have profited by providing tasteless “pygmy tours” where they perform as needed. To avoid being exploited, look for responsible tours incorporating the Batwa at every stage.

Overland Safari in Uganda

    • The Equator.


    Every tourist to Uganda, including the author of this article, has a photograph of themselves standing on the equatorial within the enormous concrete “O” that designates the location. You’re willing to cross this boundary at some points, so pausing is not damaged. However, unless you’re eager to visit the tacky gift stores or watch somebody pour water down a drain in the name of “science,” it’s hardly worth investing a few minutes here. 

    • Orphanage travel


    Annually, well-intentioned volunteers and tourists travel to Africa to tour orphanages where they distribute presents, sing songs, and embrace the children. Unless you start to read about the damage this kind of tourism may bring, everything seems pretty incredible. Look into assisting out at after-school activities or, if you have the relevant abilities, volunteering in the health industry if you want to create a distinction in the lives of youngsters.

    Speed & efficiency

    This is Africa, T.I.A. Ready yourselves for both of these on your Uganda vacation because you will hear many people talking about “Africa Time,” too. Even though activities don’t always go as planned or expected, they always turn out perfectly fine in Uganda. That is taken care of by the chaotic roadways, as well as by the unexpected tropical downpours and by “load shedding”—regular power outages that, luckily, are occurring less frequently.

    • Eating & drinking in Uganda

    Because of the emphasis on carbohydrates in this culture, traditional foods typically include thick, gooey posho, which you use to sop up the sauce and is frequently cooked with peanuts. Uganda has a significant Indian impact, and excellent curry sauces are often served with vegetables, chicken, or goat. The local fast food is called Rolex. The term “rolled eggs” refers to a type of omelet wrapped up in a chapatti.

    “Don’t anticipate someone to be on the call when they claim they’re off for a “brief call”; instead, they’re likely headed to the restroom!” Knowing this expression is helpful. 


Uganda Equator Safari

  •     People & language

Uganda has a significant Indian impact, and excellent curry sauces are often served with vegetables, chicken, or goats. The local fast food is called Rolex. The term “rolled eggs” refers to a type of omelet wrapped up in a chapatti.

“Don’t anticipate someone to be on the call when they claim they’re off for a “brief call”; instead, they’re likely headed to the restroom!” Knowing this expression is helpful.

Luganda is a common local language; here are a few words to get you started:

 (Also used as a greeting) “Oli ya?” – How are you?

Thank you – “Weebale” 

Nice to meet you- “Nsanyuse okulaba” –

Goodbye – “Welaaba” 

  •     Gifts & shopping

Uganda’s top export is coffee. Purchase a jar of beans from the beautiful Good African Coffee. All profits are retained in Uganda because the coffee is cultivated, packaged, and processed there.

Wood carvings, beads, cow horns, and other fantastic souvenirs may be found in Kampala’s craft market, but many of these items are imported. To assist regional artisans, try purchasing goods from villages while traveling through Uganda.

Kampala is home to Afri-Pearl Assortment stores. They purchase top-notch handicrafts from around the nation, such as bark cloth handicrafts, mats made of banana fiber, and handcrafted stationery. They back several neighborhood projects. 

Throughout the rainy seasons, rows of oil drums, aluminum sheets, and strong lamps are placed up to catch grasshoppers. Try them cooked in hot oil with chili.

Get in contact with our Tour team and experience your unforgettable safari in Uganda and East Africa if you do like to explore Uganda or want assistance in finding a Safari Uganda Holidays itinerary that suits you.


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