As the best Country to visit in Africa, Uganda is well known as the “Pearl of Africa” because of so many adventure Activities that Visitors can Participate in and enjoy while on their Vacation tours. Uganda is the perfect travel destination in Africa for people interested in doing gorilla trekking adventure in the jungle, unlike other places that offer gorilla tours in the bushy volcanic mountains of East Africa.
Again despite how interesting it is to visit local markets in Kampala, cultural places and historical places of Uganda, It is also an amazing experience to go and take some of the most thrilling adventure tours and activities in the wild and have fun as you enjoy nature. Therefore on your visit to Uganda for your holiday trip or any other Africa Safari Vacation to Uganda, don’t miss to visit Jinja an adventure tours capital of Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable forest, Murchison falls national park, Sipi falls, and Mgahinga. Choose the best adventure tour activities that you can do on your trip. Here are the top 10 Best Adventure activities to do on an adventure Vacation Safari in Uganda.
1.Mountain gorilla trekking
2. Mountaineering & Hiking adventure
3. Bungee Jumping
4. Hot Air Balloon Safari
5. Boat Cruise
6. Sport Fishing
7. Zip lining in Mabira Forest
8. Jet Boating on the Nile
9. White water rafting and Kayaking
10. Cycling and mountain Biking
Mountain gorillas are one of the two subspecies of eastern gorillas that is listed on IUCN red list estimated to a population of 1004 individuals living in 3 African Countries. Uganda is a home to a half of this world’s population with the rest of the population living in Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).
In Uganda mountain gorillas are found in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Gorilla trekking is regarded as number one most enjoyable activity by many travellers among the 10 listed best adventure tours that we have here. In Uganda it takes place in 5 places, that’s Ntebeko in Mghahinga National Park and Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, Nkuringo. in Bwindi forest. There are only 18 groups or families of habituated mountain gorillas in Uganda and 8 people are only allowed to track one gorilla family a day. Gorilla tracking/ trekking can be done all throughout the year but the best time is in the dry season that is June to September and December to February.
Trekking gorillas during the rainy season is also possible and with advantages that the group may not be congested by people, gorillas doesn’t move very far as they have plenty of food. You need to book a gorilla trekking permit in advance which costs $ 700 with a reputable tour agency that deals directly with Uganda wildlife Authority. This will guarantee you the chance of seeing these endangered animals in their natural habitat. On a gorilla trekking adventure trip, you are allowed to spend only one hour with these animals once you find them but the whole trekking experience may take around 2 to 6 hours and sometimes full day depending on the family being tracked and their movement.
Uganda being a land of hills, valleys and volcanic mountains, it offers the most unforgettable hiking experiences in the different national parks and mountains hence offering many opportunities for the best adventure activities of your Safari. These include mount Rwenzori national park, Mgahinga national park, Sipi falls and Mount Elgon.
Rwenzori Mountains, found at the boarder of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo is the 3rd highest Mountain in Africa with snow filled at the highest peak known as Margherita. The snow flows down inform of glaciers, rivers and lakes. It also has stunning wildlife making it the best destination for mountain climbing and hiking in Uganda and Africa at large. There are at least four trails to the summit of this mountain with central circuit being the longest taking approximately 8 days and 7nights, Mahoma loop taking 3 days, chimpanzee trail 1day and Kilembe trail 1day.
Mount Elgon is another hiking adventure that one should not miss out, it lies on the boarder of Uganda and Kenya with its highest peak Wagagai being the 8th in Africa and 4th in East Africa. The varied vegetation zones along the slopes harbor plenty of wildlife that one may encounter during the trek. There are two major trails leading to the peak, the Sasa trail that can be accessed from Mbale and Piswa that is more gentle than Sasa trail also known as Budadiri.
Sipi falls located along the foothills of Mount Elgon and are arguably the most beautiful falls in Uganda. The trek to all the three waterfalls is about 7km and it takes at least 3 hours and can be accessed from Kampala – Mbale- Kapchorwa road. It is well known for day hikes.
The Virunga mountains; Uganda has 3 of the 8 Volcanoes of the Virunga mountains located south west of Uganda along the border of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. These Volcanoes give excellent day hikes with beautiful scenery and these also harbor the rare and unique wildlife like the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys so one may be lucky to encounter them during the hike. These volcanoes are Muhabura whose hike experience takes about 10 hours, Mgahinga is the smallest and easiest to hike and takes 5 hours, and Sabinyo which is the most challenging of the three due to rugged terrain and many craters, it’s called Sabinyo which literally means old man’s teeth because it has three peaks shaped like teeth of an old person.
Bungee jumping in Uganda is also one of Africa’s best Adventure tour activities that you can do. It is only done on River Nile in Jinja and it’s a very good and safe sport that someone needs to experience so as to challenge the fear of heights that most of us have. Located 3km upstream from Bujagali falls stands a 44km tall cliff where a person jumps from to touch down on the Nile waters. After signing some papers and payments a visitor is prepared psychologically and tied to a bungee jump by trained staff before dive and fall freely to touch the Nile. Some one interested must be above 13years weighing a minimum weight of 35kg and a maximum of 260kg, so if one is scared of jumping alone the experience can be done in pairs. Pregnant women, people with chronic diseases like heart diseases are not allowed. The views are so amazing that people always want to do it again if not for the cost. Safe procedures have been put in place to ensure the activity is as safe and fun as possible.
The hot air balloon safari is a perfect activity to undertake on a Uganda safari among the many adventure tours offered to those on luxury honeymoon trip and those seeking a once in life time safari experience in Africa. In Uganda, this is only done in Murchison falls national park early in the morning to explore the park and view varieties of animals. This hot air balloon experience is handled by Dream balloons. The views from up the sky are spectacular and the fresh air give unforgettable experience in one’s life. There are two options for having a hot air balloon safari, Sunrise/ Sunset hot air balloon safari with or without bush breakfast that starts early morning and lasts an hour giving you a chance to have a morning breakfast in the bush. The Sunset hot air balloon safari that starts at 4pm though it doesn’t give any special offers like bush meals after the ride. The minimum age is 6 years and only 8 passengers can be permitted to fly in the balloon. The experience gives you the general view of the park, views of the off road animals hidden away, views of lake albert and Victoria Nile, the bush breakfast experience in the wild plus the certificates of participation.
Uganda has at least 20% of its land occupied by water in form of beautiful lakes and rivers and about ride on one of these gives you an amazing experience with nature. The lakes include Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga, Lake Albert, lake Mburo, Lake George, Lake Edward and Lake Bunyonyi. The rivers are River Nile, River Katonga, River Kagera, River Sezibwa and many other small crater lakes. There are different boat trips taken in different parts;
Kazinga channel boat ride, Kazinga channel is a 40km natural channel that connects lake Edward and lake George and divides queen Elizabeth National park into two found in the western rift valley, boat rides taken at Kazinga channel gives you a spectacular view of wildlife like hippos of which the channel has the highest number of hippos in Africa, the elephants, buffaloes, monitor lizards, crocodiles not forgetting the various bird species of birds that will catch your attention like the long tailed cormorants, papyrus gonolek, African spoonbills, martial eagles, Wattled plovers, Squacco heron, black bee eater and so many more so if you’re a lover of birds, you need not to miss this boat ride. The launch cruises are done twice a day for two hours each that is at 9am and 2pm local time. Some more animals that you would see include waterbucks, antelopes and the unique Uganda Kob.
Lake Victoria being the largest fresh water body in Uganda and Africa it offers the best luxury boat cruise trips in Uganda, these boat rides go to the different islands on the lake especially Ngamba island well known for chimpanzees, Ssese island for those on honey moon and Kalangala island. The beautiful views of the fishing villages and other human activities are worth experiencing o this lake. Speed and engine boats have been introduced to ease the cruising.
Murchison falls national park offers the best boat rides in Uganda having River Nile flowing through the park ending with the magnificent water falls. With the help of a good boat man the boat come close to the falls not getting into the dangerous zones which is so adventurous enough to dare. Moving down from para to the falls different animals can be seen like elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, crocodiles, and a variety of birds. There is a lot of history to be learnt on these boat rides and the scenery along these boat rides make it even better.
Lake Mburo national park offers peaceful boat rides along the shores of lake Mburo giving you a chance to get a site of a lot of wildlife like zebras, antelopes, hyenas, impalas, buffaloes, crocodiles and a variety of many birds like pelicans, African fit foot, heron cormorant and fish eagles, white winged warbler, red necked spur, southern red bishop, yellow throated long claw and blue napped moosebird. Some boats are also meant for fishers who love sport fishing.
On River Nile sports fishing can be experienced by first time or experienced anglers, they usually target tilapia, yellow fish and catfish using techniques like trawling, spinning and bait fishing, all the fishing gear, safety gear and drinking water are supplied. In Murchison falls sport fishing is done along the rocky surfaces at the bottom of the falls, Nile perch and some catfish provide the most challenging experiences to anglers. Small fish can be caught using the live bait or spinning method. The two fishing sites of Murchison falls and below Karuma falls can be accessed by either boat or walking down the falls which takes approximately 45 minutes. Fishing in Murchison falls can be done any time of the year. People are cautioned about the hippos and Nile crocodiles while fishing at the banks.
Mabira forest is located 4km east of Kampala city outside of Lugazi town at Griffin falls camp, zip lining makes one behave like monkeys where by you are led across a network of zip lines that stretch 250meters across river musamya and one gets a view of the forest layers and different mammals like the red tailed monkeys, different birds and the roaring Griffin falls making your day a memorable one. Zip line activities are done from 8am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm in the evening. A maximum weight of participant is 250kg.
Jet boating gives a breathtaking speeds and 360 degree spins at River Nile without getting immersed in the water except for the little sprays making it one of the best adventure activities offered for the tour in Uganda. It allows all ages from 5 to 85 years and can be enjoyed in a custom made 12 seater jet boat guided by a jet boat pilot making it fun and safe as you power along at amazing speed and race through the rapids, turning and spinning. The jet ride races up to 90 kilometers per hour. Therefore, jet boating is a must do adventure when you visit River Nile.
River Nile is considered one of the safest and yet has the wildest grade 5 white water rapids in the world making it perfect for learners to face the many mighty rapids. Grade 3 rafting is milder than grade 5 rafting of which grade 4 and 5 are the most challenging. Water rafting is done with help of a river guide making it safe. This trip includes huge rapids and beautiful scenery with time for relaxation and a swim on calmer stretches before meeting the next section of raging water. Children minimum age of 8 years are allowed to go for rafting but only for grade 3 trips of which they must fit in the adult life jackets and must take a compulsory walk around two rapids. The white water rafting starts at 9am after the safety briefing and receiving the life jackets, helmets, spray jackets, plenty of water, custom made rafting equipment, breakfast and lunch midstream. Every trip has a professional guide, kayakers, safety rafts and professional photographer to capture the memorable moments.
Alternatively, to white water rafting one can opt for kayaking as one of the best adventure activities in Uganda through the raging Nile river or take a more leisurely paddle on the flat water. There is a kayak school that aims at making your experience enjoyable giving you confidence so as to gain control of the kayak. Here you learn paddling, capsize, control skills, backward paddling and rescue techniques. This trip includes an experienced guide, high floatation life jackets, helmets, spray jackets, light snacks and drinks.
For mountain biking enthusiasts looking for the best Adventure activities to include on their Safari, Uganda is the ideal place for the exciting mountain biking routes. Uganda’s weather allows for biking whole year round though in rainy seasons some routes become a little tricky so you should be prepared to enjoy the adrenaline pumping mountain biking in Uganda. Every region in Uganda provides mountain biking in one way or another to satisfy any level of rider. In the western Uganda Mountain biking takes you through valleys, rivers and woodlands where as in the Eastern part it’s so amazing being on top of the Elgon mountains.
In Bwindi, cycling follow a well maintained community road where you may meet and interact with local people. This trail is organized by Buhoma Ride for women initiative, a community development initiative. In mount Elgon, mountain biking trails run from Sipi trading center to Chema hill in Kapchorwa town taking 1.5 hours giving good views of the water falls and Karamoja plains. Bikes can be hired at Sipi river lodge. There are more trails like Nile special loop, The Via via Entebbe loop, Mburo National park loop, Budongo forest loop, Kampala to Sezibwa falls and many more across the country.