Mountain Gorilla Tracking
Uganda is well known worldwide as home to over half of the worlds population of mountain gorillas. These primates have their natural habitat in the tropical rain forests located in the South West of the country. Gorillas are the main attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, where ten gorilla families are habituated for the tourist visits. Gorilla tracking is the first choice for any visitor travelling to Uganda, as it is an unforgettable and unique experience.
Acacia Safaris offers the opportunity to experience the gorilla tracking safari in Uganda.
Uganda is the home of different species of primates, like chimpanzees, black and white colobus, red tailed monkey, blue monkeys, golden monkeys, bush babies. The Chimpanzee trekking is an enriching experience that Uganda offers to its visitors and this activity is possible in Kibale National Park, Budongo Forest and Kyambura Gorge (in Queen Elizabeth National Park). Uganda counts an estimated number of 5.000 chimpanzees and there are many habituated families.
Wildlife Safaris Game Drive in the National Parks
Uganda has ten gazetted National Parks , as well as a number of Natural Forests and Natural Reserve areas, with a broad range of safaris and wildlife experiencse. Among the significant attractions are: the boat – launch trips (in Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, Lake Mburo), naturae walks and game drives in any park with private vehicles. Very different from other African countries, “safari” in Uganda means a real closeness to nature, the animals, the people, the ambience. Safari in Uganda is a unique opportunity of true, direct and uncontaminated wildlife.
Uganda has gained a popular reputation as an exceptional worldwide destination for “bird watching” activities. Although the size of Uganda is not particularly big, it hosts over 1000 species of birds (whereas in Europe there are 700 species) owing to the diversity of its territory (from the Lake Victoria, to Rwenzori mountains, to the desert land of Karamoja). Bird watching activities are available basically everywhere: from the Ssese islands of Lake Victoria, to the National Parks and game Reserves. Amongst the birds are the special Shoebill stork, Papyrus gonolek, African fish eagle, horn bills and lyre tailed honey guides.
The best sites for bird watching are: Semliki National Park and Wildlife Reserve, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Queen Elizabeth National park, Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Mabira Forest and Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary.
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda, with over 1.2 milion inhabitants (Census 2002). Originally, like Rome, Kampala was founded on seven hills, each with its own particular function (Namirembe, Makerere, Kibuli, Kololo, Rubaga, Mulago and Old Kampala). It is named after “impala”, which is an antelope specie common in the region. Kampala is also the political capital of Buganda Kingdom, and hosts the Parliament (Bulange), the Royal Palace and the tombs of the kings (Kasubi tombs). The Buganda tribe represents over 20% of the whole population in Uganda and they speak Luganda, which is the spoken language in Kampala and most of Southern Uganda. Kampala is a modern and safe town, and it offers her visitors a number of cultural and artistic sites, apart from the entertainment and the possibility of walking through the shops, craft centres and markets of the centre.
Water Rafting and Source of the Nile
The legendary Source of the river Nile from Lake Victoria is located in Uganda, close to Jinja town. This is the starting point for the white water rafting route, which is widely regarded to be as exhilarating as the more famous Zambesi Gorge below Victoria Falls. About 10 kms down the river is the Source of the nile and a series of impressive rapids, fantastic scenery even for spending a relaxing day. The whitewater rafting activities have three options: half day, full day and two days activity, from a minimum of 5 kilometers to 30 kilometers. All levels and ages are considered; safety is guaranteed by highly professional staff and equipment.
Rwenzori Mountaneering, the “Mountains of the Moon”
Rwenzori is the biggest mountain range in Africa, running for over 120 kms along the border of Uganda with Congo. Originating from the geological phenomena along the Albertine Rift Valley, It does not have a volcanic origin unlike many other African mountains. Today it is enclosed within the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Acacia Safaris offers the opportunity to experience the gorilla tracking safari in Uganda. In the central part, there are six main mountains. The highest is Mount Stanley, whose main snow covered peak, Margherita, 5.109m, is the third highest in Africa, only after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. Rwenzori Mountains are also known as the “Mountains of the Moon”. The first climber to ascend the highest peaks of Rwenzori was the Italian Prince Luigi Amedeo of Savoy the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906.
Visitors to the Rwenzori can undertake the nine days long “central circuit” trekking, with the possibility climbing up to the main peaks. Otherwise a number of hiking options (one day, two days or more) are possible from the locations surrounding the Park (Kasese, Fort Portal, Ibanda). It is remarkable that many people visit Rwenzori to experience the extraordinary vegetation, the colorful flowers and lobelias. Visits to Rwenzori are advisable during the dry season from December to February and from June to September.
Ecotourism and Cultural Tours
Uganda is a multicultural and multi tribal society, with at least 33 tribes and languages. Many regions in Uganda have kingdoms including the Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro and Toro. Kingdoms and tribes are still very meaningful for people’s life and beliefs. The main Ugandan tribe is the Baganda, corresponding to the area of Kampala and Entebbe, today represented by the Buganda king and Buganda Parliament in Kampala (Bulange), where the chiefs (head of tribes) sit to discuss the problems and life of their people.
As a result Uganda promotes cultural tourism, traditional handicraft, dance and music performances, local medicine demonstration, local brewery production (banana beer, sorghum beer), local beliefs and their traditional sites. “community tourism”, also with a proper association, UCOTA (Uganda Community Tourism Association), which is working to improve the livelihoods of the local village communities.
Uganda is the paradise of “ecotourism”, where visitors are welcome as the people see them as a vehicle for a sustainable tourism development. In Uganda tourist activities are carried out with respect to the environment and culture.
Ssese Islands and Lake Victoria
Much of the Uganda territory is covered by, rivers and lakes. The biggest lakes are: Victoria, Albert, Edward, Kyoga. In particular, Lake Victoria – the biggest in Africa – is a tourist destination in Uganda thanks to the attractions offered by the archipelago of the Ssese Islands , though it is still a virgin place. These are 84 in number: some of them are very small; others have big extension and population, like Bugala Island, which is actually hosting most or the accommodation, beach and activities, like fishing, bird watching excursions, and boat riding. The second and spectacular island is Bukasa, where you can experience real fishermen village life, natural walks in an uncontaminated forest, experiencing African crops and fruits.
You can use public transport boats from Kasenyi Landing Site or by ferry boat from Entebbe Pier to Lutoboka Bay in Bugala Island. Other internal transportation can be arranged by hiring private boats.
Sport fishing is done on Lake Victoria and Murchison Falls National Park. The main catch of the Lake is the Nile Perch, which is the largest fresh water game fish in the whole world; the method of fishing is by use of trolling lures. The most common fish of the lake is tilapia. At Murchison Falls, fish are often caught using live bait. Fishing is generally done over a few days, requiring some level of fitness and experience.