When you arrive at their village, children shout with joy and greet you with pan-fried grasshoppers, a national delicacy, which elevates you to VIP status. You can’t help but laugh out loud when you read that, let alone let that be your first impression of adventure travel in Uganda. Once deemed as the pearl of Africa by Winston Churchill, Uganda is far beyond words. It’s expansive bushland and abundance of wild animals, to the modernization of the Kampala, makes Uganda a nation with many layers just waiting to be discovered.
Best Places to Travel in Uganda
Well for many, Africa is incredibly publicized yet so mysterious; familiar yet unknown. Your experience is what you make it-you just have to go in with eyes wide open and your head on a swivel.
Kampala. The capital city is home to the 1.5 million people. Once you step foot on Ugandan soil, you’ll realize the landscape consists of rolling hills. It was once surrounded by seven hills, but today only four make the list. As any part of any culture, religion is very important, and one of seven Baha’i Temples in the entire world is located here. These temples focus on building community and the grounds are certainly not to be missed with their sprawling green lawns and various, colorful animal and plant species.
Jinja. When referring to Jinja, you might as well call it the “Adrenaline Capital of East Africa.” It has established itself as a funky city, one where almost anything goes. The term “pics or it didn’t happen” takes on a new meaning as whitewater rafting and many other blood pumping adventures await you. Part of Jinja’s added charm is that it is the start of the Nile River.
Popular Adventures in Uganda
Uganda, like most countries in Africa, has had a dark history, but is coming into the light now that the travel and tourism industry is booming. Uganda is able to offer such a diverse selection of activities because it has some of the most astounding landscapes.
The Jungle Book. Some of the most popular adventure travel programs in Uganda happen to be in the heart of the jungle. Trekking through the jungles on safaris and trying to photograph the notorious mountain gorilla should be the next thing crossed off your bucket list. While some of you adventure travelers love going out by yourself and seeing how wonderfully lost you can get it (within reason) others prefer a little more structure and guidance which is a perfect fit for our nature tours.
Let it Rain, Let it Pour. Uganda experiences the wet season for only a quarter of the year, but these water activities never seem to suffer (in popularity at least). If you want to earn your water wings, try out deep-sea fishing. The river kayaking program is great for anyone who wants to see the interior of Uganda on one of the quickest modes of transportation. River rafting down the Nile headwaters, anyone?
Cool Down. Adventure travel can mean something entirely different for you than it does for your best friend. Well fear not because there is something for every type of personality. If practicing yoga listening to the sounds of the rainforest seem more your style, all I can say is “Namaste.”
Costs of Traveling in Uganda
Ugandan prices, doled in Shillings, are considerably less than many other countries around the world. For example, a studio apartment in the city center costs around 780,000USH, which translates to $220 a month. In the western world, you would be hard pressed to find a couch for that much.
Depending on your program length, they will either house you in dorm style living with others in your program or offer help finding a place to live within the city. One way to really immerse yourself in the culture is to participate in homestays. This is where you live with a local family and are incorporated in their day to day activities as well the program that you are in country for. Most of what is included in these programs are transportation around country (and sometimes to and from the airport), orientation, any training that is needed, accommodations, and some include food allowances.
Accommodation in Uganda
In most of the programs, accommodations are provided. They either place you in a dormitory style living arrangement or offer a plethora of options of rooming within the city at hostels, hotels, or homestays- what suits your type of travel style. What you’ll pay over there to be housed is almost unheard of and these prices don’t seem to be changing any time soon.
Visas for Travel in Uganda
If you plan on being in country for longer than six months, make sure you speak to the proper authorities both in country and at the local Ugandan embassy for all the details that could slip through the cracks. You will need a tourist visa to get in country but there are different variations that will correspond with the type of travel. You’d hate to get all the way there and realize you can’t enter the country! Check out the Ugandan Embassy page and direct any and all questions their way.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Uganda greets you with a cheerful “Olyotya” as soon as you enter the region. The people are rich in spirit and welcome foreigners as if they were their own. Make time to experience the music culture of East Africa, as seeing this blend vibe together is something you’ll never forget. One of the many natural wonders of Uganda is Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. It borders three different nations and many other cities — talk about cultural.
The midday sun is brutal and the animals know that so make sure to get there early in the morning to catch glimpses of the king of the jungle, crocodiles, giraffes, hyenas, and more. To travel around the country, you’ll definitely want to take a boda-boda (a motorcycle taxi), but some say if seeing the country’s hospital system isn’t on your bucket list, then you should hire a taxi car. We travel for the adrenaline rush and stories though, right?
The markets in each of these cities are brimming with fresh fruits and chapati pulled straight out of the ovens. Experience the sensory overload that is adventure travel in Uganda!