The Eastern region is one of the four regions in the country of Uganda. The region boasts some of the tourists’ jewel in the crown. An intoxicating blend of adrenaline adventures and superb scenery makes eastern Uganda a must on any East African journey. Here the mighty Nile begins its epic journey north. White-water rafting the Nile River is the main draw for adventurers seeking a wild ride, but there’s also the subtler, sweatier pleasure of trekking through Mt Elgon National Park or relaxing with a visit to the stunning Sipi Falls.
The regional capital of Jinja offers a charming and friendly base on the shores of Lake Victoria where travelers can spend a few days or more enjoying the chilled atmosphere and top-notch outdoor activities. Going on a road trip to Uganda in the eastern region? Below are some of the key attractions you should not miss to visit:
Jinja is a city in eastern Uganda and it comprises so many attractions. On your way to the city is the beautiful Mabira Forest which you can visit and engage in so many tourist activities like zip-lining, and so many others. In Jinja, there are also so many tourist activities to be done such as white water rafting (at the source of the Nile), kayaking, visiting the source of the world’s longest River – River Nile, and so much more.
Mount Elgon is an extinct shield volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya, north of Kisumu and west of Kitale. The mountain’s highest point, named “Wagagai”, is located entirely within Uganda. It is one of Uganda’s major attractions and it is the second-highest mountain in Uganda after the Rwenzori Mountains in western Uganda. Hiking this snow-capped mountain is an experience to remember. The Mountain is protected in the Mountain Elgon National Park that also boasts so many other attractions like wildlife species and bird species which you will also enjoy viewing during your hike.
The Sipi Falls:
Located close to Mountain Elgon National Park, the beautiful and romantic Sipi Falls is another attraction to fond of in eastern Uganda. The Sipi Falls is so beautiful and eye-catching and once you land in this area, there are so many memorable tourist activities waiting for you.
Nyero Rock Painting:
The Nyero rock paintings are located in eastern Uganda in Kumi District, 8 km west of Kumi town, about 250 km from the capital city Kampala. The Nyero rock paintings are among the most important rock art in Uganda. It is another beautiful attraction you should visit in your self-drive car in Eastern Uganda.Read More
There are places you travel to in this world that were made to take our breath away, places that leave you marvelling at the wonders of nature. When you go to such places, you feel like you never want to leave.
Such places were created to bring out the zen lost within you; the moment you behold them you feel all the peace in the world descending on you.
Lake Bunyonyi is one of those places. Tucked away in the hills of Kabale and Kisoro districts in south-western Uganda near the border with Rwanda, the lake has one of the most beautiful views that are worth the five-hour drive from Kampala.
The lake is estimated to be 25km long and 7km wide and with an altitude of 6,437ft. It is surrounded by hills that are 7,218 to 8,130ft high. These hills are quite beautiful when viewed from an aerial point due to the farming activities carried out by the people who live in this area. Lake Bunyonyi is rumoured to be the second deepest lake in Africa, estimated to be 44m to 900m deep.
The biggest population of people in the area are Bakiga and Batwa who have resided here for centuries and live by cultivating the land and rearing cattle.
The area has wonderful weather throughout the year, with rain and mildly hot days coming through the months. This area is very suitable for farming and, best of all, vacationing for tourists. As is always the case all over Uganda, the residents around Lake Bunyonyi are very friendly, meaning your stay there will be warmly welcomed.
There are enough hotels and lodgings such as Arcadia Lodges plus campsites where one can find good accommodation for their stay whilst taking in the beauty of Lake Bunyonyi.
Over the lake, there are 29 islands that can be seen almost floating and in the morning before sunrise, there will be mist slightly rising off the surface of the lake, hiding the islands.
The islands make the lake look magical. When you see them from a distance, it is easy to think that you are somewhere in the Maldives without the coral of the ocean. One of the best locations to view them throughout the day is up in the hills. You can take a day from dawn to dusk and watch how they always seem to emerge from the shadows of the morning and glow throughout the day and gaze at the reflections of the stars in the sky dancing over the lake at night.
Lake Bunyonyi literally means “Place of many little birds”. True to its name, you will find here so many different bird species that call the islands and the shores of the lake home. Some of them are indigenous to the area while others migrate in. There are over 200 bird species that can be found in the area, meaning any birding enthusiast would be amazed by what they would find here. Species ranging from shoebills, wobblers to the ever beautiful crested cranes and of course the “little birds” can be easily sighted during a birding expedition.
The islands are so massive you just have to take a day off and have a tour of the ones closest to the mainland, see nature’s little wonders with beautiful views of the lake. Take a canoe ride with a professional guide on Lake Bunyonyi or set sails on a boat and have a romantic picnic while at it.
Nature walks and hikes
Most of the shores and neighbouring areas around Lake Bunyonyi are hilly and forested, which make for good nature walks. You can enjoy a day communing with nature or hike up one of the hills especially in the morning or evening when the weather is cool and breezy.
Kibale National Park
A little distance from the lake, you will find Kibale National Park, where you can go for chimpanzee trekking through the thick forests that cover most of the park and learn something new about the other animals that live in that area.
There is always a great place in Uganda; a place where people travel to from far away just to experience what it has to offer.
There are places in Uganda that are full of magnificent natural wonders that you are bound to fall in love with at first sight. Jinja and the great Nile river can be the highlights of Uganda, but certainly they are not the only natural wonders you come across when you visit this country.
Located in eastern Uganda, Jinja is a stopover for commuters heading to the border between Uganda and Kenya or just travelling back to the other districts in the region.
Origin of Jinja
The name Jinja originates from the tribes that live around the region. The word Jinja means “rock” in both Luganda and Lusoga languages. The place is named after the rocks that surround Ripon Falls.
Jinja is largely home to one of the biggest tribes in Uganda: the Basoga. Being of the Bantu ethnic group, their language, Lusoga, is very similar to Luganda and in dialect can be mistaken for Lugisu or Lunyole, the other Bantu languages spoken in Eastern Uganda.
It is hard to believe that a century ago Jinja was just a small fishing village that was in the middle of the trade routes in Uganda. After the completion of the Owen Falls Dam, Jinja became a bustling little town with several immigrants, especially Indian and Chinese, who stayed behind opening up businesses that invited other investors, resulting into economic growth in the region.
The town was the base for British operations in Busoga, which also contributed to its rapid growth during the colonial era.
Tea estates, sugarcane farms and cotton estates slowly sprouted up in the long run all over the plains and hills of Jinja, especially near the Nile. The untapped opportunities attracted several new investors who engaged in the production of sugar and tea.
Over the years, Jinja has become one of the most visited locations in Uganda with large number of tourists coming from the rest of Africa and the world. The area around the district is bursting to the seams with touristic potential that is slowly being harnessed to grow tourism and hospitality in Jinja and eastern Uganda.
If you find yourself in Jinja, try out some of these fun activities:
Bungee jumping over the Nile
There is nothing more nerve-wracking than throwing yourself into the mercy of a rope and the strong winds of the Nalubaale, yet the moment you take the plunge your mind frees up and you feel the freedom to fly with the many birds buzzing next to you. Bungee jumping has become one of the best things to do when in Jinja, it can cost an average of Shs100,000 per person. The people who handle it are professionals who take you through every step as you plunge over the Nile.
White water rafting
Being home to one of the most popular water rafting locations in the world, Jinja is definitely the best place to be excited and thrilled at the same time on the Nile. Bujagali, known to the Basoga as Budhagali, is one of the best white water rafting locations Uganda has to offer. Right on the White Nile with refreshing rapids, you will want to do this over and over again.
After a little plunge over the Nile, there is more to do. Jump into the wildlife and explore it with a lot of speed at your side. The quad bike experience is a very enjoyable adventure especially if you have several other people doing it with you.
Just like white water rafting, you will have professional guides taking you through this world famous sport on the Nile; it is an experience you do not want to miss while in Jinja.
You need to take time away from the thrills and commune with nature. Enjoy what Mother Earth has to offer by trekking through the Mabira just right on the fringes of Jinja on your way back to Kampala to complete your experience.
Source of the Nile
Track the Nile’s journey right from where it all starts and bring your school geography to life by visiting the source of the Nile with guides explaining to you how it was formed and why it flows upwards.
Right within what used to be the largest forest in Uganda, the Mabira is home to an array of bird species that attract bird watchers from all over the world. Take some time and learn about the many beautiful species that Uganda is known for.
Jinja is very remarkable and romantic. The sceneries over the Nile right to its source at Lake Victoria will live you entranced, adding exciting memory to your honeymoon. It is also enclosed with over 50 hotel properties, including the Jinja Nile Resort, Black Lantern and the Jinja Nile Village, to accommodate you as you take your love to the next level.
Unlike other East African countries, Uganda is a primate capital. It is surely the best country to see the mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons and many other primate species. It is one country where no one can fail to spot a primate.
Uganda’s cool climate and the dense rain forests have attracted several species dwelling in here. Uganda is a home to about 300 mammal species and almost 20 of them are primates, making it a popular safari destination in Africa.
When it comes to primate safaris in Uganda, you have a wide array of where you can go, what you can see and what you can do with these mighty primates. And if found anywhere in or around Uganda, you better be sure of spotting these apes depending on your itinerary.
Mountain gorillas in Uganda. These are the prime attractions in the country, big numbers of tourists come to the pearl of Africa just to trek the gorillas in their natural habitats and have up close encounters with the mighty silverbacks. Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda head to Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park, homes to almost three quarters of the world’s total population of the mountain gorillas. A journey to see these great giants of the forests might also expose one to the tree climbing lions at Ishasha sector in Queen Elizabeth national park, the Batwa pygmies, Lake Bunyonyi and other different attractions that are simply beautiful to behold.
Chimpanzees in Uganda. These are our closest cousins in the forest with almost an equal DNA to humans. More than 5000 chimps live in Uganda, it being with vast rain forests that are important homes to these primates. The prime home to Uganda’s chimps in Kibale forest national park also referred to as the primate capital of the world with almost 1500 chimps. Most travelers to this park have trekked or habituated them and had lifetime experiences with these bright primates. Other chimps in Uganda can also be found in Kalinzu Forest reserve, Kyambura gorge and Budongo forest reserve.
The Golden Monkeys. These are only found in Mgahinga national park, the only place where silver meets with gold. Travelers to this park can trek both the gorillas and the golden monkeys. Walk through the bamboo trees of the forest, on the lower slopes of Mgahinga volcano, with a hand stick as the only support, and finally meet the beautiful golden monkeys, watch them play with each other, jumping from one tree branch to the other and also taking many pictures of these impressive creatures.
Olive baboons. These live in savannas, forests and steppes, so they can be spotted in any park of forest reserve in Uganda except the montane region parks like Mgahinga national park, Rwenzori Mountains and Mountain Elgon national park. They usually live in groups and the commonest destination to spot them is Kibale forest national park, though you can still find them in Murchison Falls national park, Kidepo valley national park and many other places.
Still you can find different monkey species anywhere and anytime, as long as it’s a natural place. In Uganda every day can be a primate day. Black and White Colobus and colobus guereza are probably the commonest and widespread forest monkeys in Uganda, on every safari in Uganda, you can never fail to spot one. Whether in Entebbe Botanical gardens, Lake Mburo national park or even Rwenzori mountains, you can meet these monkeys anywhere in Uganda.Read More
White water rafting is one of the best things to do on a Uganda safari holiday! Taken along the Nile in Jinja, the adventure capital of Uganda, rafting is an outdoor adventure that will help you discover the country’s unspeakable beauty. Reaching Adrift, a person books at their Kampala office at 14 York Terrace, Kololo in Kampala. The wide range of accommodation includes chalets, dorms and camping overlooking the Nile, to suit all budgets, ages and tastes. Additionally, rafters can purchase souvenir pictures of their Nile Adventures from professional photographers at the site.
With Uganda continuing to win more accolades for being a major tourism destination, more great wonders possibly not known to local tourists continue to emerge, astounding people who visit the Pearl of Africa.
A recent visit at Adrift that is little known to Ugandan tourists showed stunning scenery most especially at the Wild Waters lodge, the magnificent birdlife at the site and professional gracious guides and waitresses who all add an appeal of the Adrift rafting trip. Being the only adventure company having a one stop centre offering white water rafting, bungee jumping, jet boating and river surfing on the Victorian source of the Nile near Bujagali Falls in Jinja, Adrift has managed to attract attention of majority adventurers.
With a daily free shuttle from Kampala to Jinja, after booking at their Kampala offices with a modest fee of $125 (about 325,000) for a day and $115 (299,000) for half day rafting respectively, guides are always ready to offer you breakfast upon arrival and take you through the drills of white water rafting.
“You shouldn’t carry any valuable save for the consortium you are going to raft in,” Yasin Magembe, a guide said at a recent visit of Adrift.
Equipped with paddles, life jackets and helmets, guests are treated to an exciting paddling of the inflatable boat/rafting boat as you navigate through Africa’s longest river, the Nile.
Minutes after the paddling, leads you to a great challenging but exciting experience as you are advised to hold on to the inflatable boat as the waves lead you to the rapid falls that force you down with the high water pressure.
With kayak operators and other rescuers waiting down the falls, one is most amused by the cheers from fellow rafters who have already completed the challenge giving an occurrence you can’t find anywhere in Uganda.
As one is marveling the rafting challenge, Captain Gav Fahey comes in with his wild jetting battle racing up and down the Nile rapids. At about 90kilometer per hour, the boat that comes with propulsion directed from side-to side gives another experience as it spins up to 360 degrees similar to
driving a car in a muddy surface.
The challenge that goes for $75 (about Shs 19500) per person also gives an experience you will long to forget.
As one marvels the country’s great wonders on the Nile, guides then take you to another exciting Nile High Bungee Jumping at a modest pay of Shs $115 (about Shs 299,000). Here, one is taken to a Nile High Tower of about 44meters and left to jump to the bottom with the first bounce near the water before rebounding high above the river and back.
Mr Fahey says the challenge is 100 percent safe and is built and operated to high specifications. “Because our tower has been built and operated to such high specifications, jumpers are much more likely to get injured on the road travel from or back to Kampala,” he says.
After the jet race, bungee jumping and water rafting, a guest is treated to spacious meals at the magnificent wild waters lodges. The beautiful scenery at the lodges and rare setting provides another experience that no guest will leave before paying $250 (about Shs 650,000) to spend a night.
The 1km raised wooden walkways connecting the rooms with the restaurant, bar and swimming pool in a forest naturalistic setting with rear birds squawks and a beautiful River Nile falls view leave lasting memories to a guest.
Although various prices have been tagged on different adventures, a person can take on one challenge or do them once for one day to five leaving Jinja concurring that ‘Uganda is a Perl of Africa’.Read More
There are 3 rocky-islands found approximately 5km from the Kasensero Landing site on Lake Victoria in Rakai District. Musambwa Island is not only a gem of mythical wonders, but also a place where wildlife and nature calls home. The island is a recognized Ramsar site and it’s classified as one of the 6 IBAs (Important Bird Area) in Uganda.
The Island harbors the largest breeding colony of the Grey headed Gull in Africa.
There are over 2000 snakes and reptiles of all sizes as well as enormous bird species. It is a breeding site for the Grey-headed Gulls, Long-tailed Cormorant, Greater Cormorant and Little Egret, all of which breed in internationally significant numbers. It therefore offers opportunities to watch the Grey Headed Gull breeding as well as a chance to watch several other species of birds.
Other birds here include the White-winged Black Tern, Sacred Ibis, Egyptian Goose, Spur-winged Plover, Black Crake, Cattle Egret, Yellow-billed Duck, Grey Heron, Lesser Flamingo, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Moorhen, African Fish Eagle, Pink-backed Pelican, Open-Billed Stork, Water Thick-knee, Common Sandpiper, Herring Gull, Green-backed Heron, Hamerkop, African Marsh Harrier, Black-headed Heron, Pied Kingfisher, and Squacco Heron among others. These can be sighted with ease unlike other birding sites where one has to use binoculars.
Locally, the residents in this place say, two spirits; a male and a female came to the lake and separated each occupying one of the islands. The female musambwa (spirit) is believed by the inhabitants to occupy the smaller, uninhabited twin island and is said to hate women. The male, purportedly went to the busier twin island, and is also said to hate women. As a result, to appease the spirits women and sex on the islands are prohibited.
Interestingly, tourism is regaining with visitors arriving on the island for bird watching, nature walks, boat rides, spot fishing and watching reptiles like rock pythons, cobras, vipers and monitor lizards and how they live together with man harmoniously. These can be easily seen as one takes a walk along the island. You can’t afford to miss being one of the tourists to discover this superstitious island. Come discover authentic pearl of Africa. Email us at email@example.com for a birding safari or visit their website http://www.terrain-safaris.com for more packages to perfect your trip.Read More