Uganda is land locked country surrounded by various lakes and among the lakes include Lake Victoria is the biggest and stunning lake with fresh water in the Uganda and the whole of East Africa region. Lake Victoria is considered to be the third largest fresh water lake in the world and it’s approximated to be covering an area of 68800square kilometers. The prominent water body located in the heart of Uganda is one of the interesting wonders in the pearl of Africa attracting many tourists into the country.

lake victoria sunset
Lake Victoria Sunset

Lake Victoria derived its name after the explorer John Hannington Speke who was on his Uganda exploratory trip to discover the source of River Nile in the year 1858 and from that time to date various travelers and explorers have been traveling to Uganda to follow the footsteps of the first explorer who discovered the lake.

Exploring Lake Victoria is an experience which visitors planning their safaris to Uganda should get involved because the Nalubale Lake popularly known as Victoria Lake has various beautiful different beautiful Islands which are dotted in various parts in the lake for instance the magnificent Ssese Island, Ngamba islands. These Islands provide best relaxing grounds and centers for visitors interested in different refreshing, mind relaxing activities like swimming; others have beaches, Resorts where leisure seeking travellers can spend good time while on their holiday to Uganda.

The varied Victoria Island are endowed with the stunning nice looking sandy beaches and resorts, lodges campsites, served with calm, cool atmosphere coming from the lake especially in the evening and morning hours. The lake is the only place where one can maximally enjoy his or her adventure safaris in the pearl of Africa because taking cruise ship in the Victoria’s waters is so marvelous with rewarding scenic views of different eco-systems surviving in the bank of the lake.

Exploring Lake Victoria enables the traveler to enjoy the sights and views of a various wild animal species that are easily watched in the banks of the lake and some of the wildlife is water dwelling such as the hippos, Crocodiles, and water based bird species. One can also explorer different tourists activities like spot fishing in the white waters of Nalubale lake as well as kayaking, water rafting, boat cruising among others.

Rwenzori National Park

The 996sq km Rwenzori National Park lies at the base of snow-capped Rwenzori, Africa's third highest peak. Among the attractions here include primates like Baboons, chimpanzees, L’hoest monkey, Rwenzori Colobus monkeys, Tree hyraxes, Red duikers, Leopard and Elephants. Bird-watching is also popular, and visitors can learn about the local Bakonjo and Bamba people through homestead visits.

Climb Mount Muhavura

At 4,127m above sea level, this extinct volcano is the third-highest mountain in Uganda. Even if you don't climb to the upper slopes, it is worth spending time on the bamboo forested lower slopes.

Climb Mount Elgon

This is a distinctive volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya. 24 million year old Mount Elgon is a dormant volcano, crowned by a vast crater some 8 km wide, honeycombed by labyrinthine caves, fissured by valleys, cascaded by streams and cloaked in forest; it straddles the border between Kenya and Uganda. The hike can take between 4-6 days.

Day Trip to River Nile

River Nile is located in Jinja only 80km from Kampala city. Today, you can enjoy white water rafting, Kayaking and Bungee jumping on the Nile escarpment overlooking the stunningly beautiful Nile River.

Explore Uganda’s Water Bodies

Visitors can choose between boat riding, waterskiing, swimming or surfing along Uganda’s Lake Victoria shoreline. The most popular resorts near Entebbe include Entebbe botanical beach resort, water front beach and pineapple bay resort in Ssese islands. Another good base for water sport is the Nile River about 1.5 hours drive from Kampala.

Explore Kampala City

Set strategically in the heart of Uganda, Kampala is a charming city with many historic attractions and fine old houses with impressive carved wooden doors: highlights include the Uganda Museum, the Kasubi tombs and the Rubaga and Namirembe cathedrals.

Gaze at the Great Rift Valley

Take in the sweeping views of the great east African rift valley by visiting Queen Elizabeth or Murchison falls national park. Here you can enjoy Butiaba escarpment near Hoima town or Kyambura escarpment with high walls and flat-bottomed valley floor below, which is dotted by a small string of lakes and savannah.

Visit Mabira Forest

This lovely rainforest near the Uganda’s capital city is arguably the prime bird watching site in Uganda, thanks to presence of several dozen forest species found nowhere else in the country. For non-birders, the shady forest paths and plentiful monkeys still have plenty of charm.

Go Wild at Queen Elizabeth National Park

Boasting a dramatic setting in the Rift Valley, this park is dominated by Lake Edward and George whose edges are frequently home to hundreds of thousands of shimmering landscapes. It is also one of Uganda’s best parks supporting high concentration of birds (over 612 species), over 95 mammal species and you may spot a leopard in savannah grasslands.

Sample Local Culture at Ndere Cultural Centre of Uganda

At this cultural centre, a short distance outside Kampala’s city centre, you can see displays of traditional dancing and explore mock-ups of traditional cultures.

Shop Until You Drop In Kampala

Owino market is a great place to buy cheap clothes, fresh foods and vegetables. Nakasero Market, off Kampala road is the main city market. Serious souvenir shoppers should also head for the National theatre craft shops, where high-quality leatherwork, jewellery and other crafts are produced.

Mountain Gorilla Tracking

Uganda is a home to almost half of the world's last remaining population of the mountain gorillas, found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, located about 9 hours drive from Kampala (Uganda's capital) and 4-5 hours drive from Kigali, Rwanda's capital. A wide variety of gorilla safari packages available online offered by different Travel Agents and Tour Operators in Kampala and Kigali Rwanda. This means one can book a safari in Rwanda and track gorillas in Uganda, or book a Uganda safari and track gorillas in both countries because the gorilla parks are close to each other.

Stay a Night at Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Situated a short distance from the main highway between Kampala and Gulu/Masindi, this small private sanctuary near Murchison falls national park doubles as an extra activity and well-positioned hide that frequently attracts aggregations other mammals.

Take To the Skies in a Hot Air Balloon

Float over herds of game in Queen Elizabeth National park. Hour-long excursions set off at dawn and end with champagne breakfasts. Mweya safari lodge in the park offer this experience, which gives ballooners the chance to see the game from the air between July and September.

Tour Kampala's Museums

Explore the ethnographic and archaeological exhibits of the National Museum, which lies within walking distance of the city centre.

Kampala Shopping and Nightlife

The city and town centres usually have markets which sell curios such as African drums, old brass, and wooden carvings of animals or salad bowls carved from a single piece of teak, mining or ebony. Other items such as beaded jewellery and decorated gourds make good souvenirs. Most of the tourist areas have abundant stalls and markets selling these items; you will be expected to haggle good-naturedly over prices.

Probably the best market in the country is Owino market, which lies in the city centre off Nakivubo Street. Comprising perhaps 100 stalls, it has the full range of handicrafts on offer, and prices tend to be quite competitive. It is safe enough by day, but some first-time visitors to Africa find the atmosphere a bit daunting, so opt for an organized tour.

Shopping Hours

Monday-Saturday 0830-1730.

Nightlife in Uganda

Most of the major hotels in Kampala and the holiday resorts along the shoreline have dancing with live bands or discos each evening. There are also a few local nightclubs in Kampala that stay open until dawn; these can get very crowded and prostitution abounds - go in a group and take a taxi.

Increasingly, modern multi-screen cinema complexes are appearing in Kampala, which shows mainly Hollywood movies, while in the smaller towns are old colonial-style cinemas showing old Kung Fu or Indian films. Theatre is popular in Kampala. Quite often, traditional tribal dancing and drumming is performed in the game lodges.

Uganda’s Food and Drink

Meat in Uganda is outstandingly good, as are tropical fruit and vegetables. Inland, a local freshwater fish, tilapia is popular and tasty. Indian and Middle Eastern food is available in most areas, and there is a wide range of international restaurants in Kampala. Tourist hotels provide buffet meals and hotels in smaller towns offer a dish of the day, such as chicken and chips or stew and rice. Sumptuous tropical fruits, ranging from pineapples to mangoes, can be bought seasonally at local markets.

Specialties

  • Nyama choma (barbecued meat served with a spicy tomato relish)
  • Tilapia (freshwater fish associated with the Rift Valley lakes and often grilled whole)
  • Matoke (cooked banana, with a constitution similar to boiled potatoes, most commonly eaten in the Uganda border area)

Tipping

Optional. Most hotels and restaurants include a 10-15% service charge in the bill; if they don't a small tip is customary.

Regional Drinks

Nile and Bell (locally brewed lager beer)

Uganda Waragi (A gin from Matoke)

Chai (tea boiled with milk and sugar)