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Uganda is referred to as ‘The Pearl of Africa’ due the fact that the third largest country in East Africa is gifted by nature. Uganda safari is synonymous with gorilla trekking tours. This is because mountain gorillas in the wild will only be found in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of the three countries, Uganda boasts of nearly half the mountain gorilla population in the wild, the reason for the popularity of gorilla safaris in Uganda. It would be good to know that from 2009 to 2011, there has been over 30% growth in the population of the great apes. There is more to offer than gorilla safaris in Uganda and below are some activities that can go with your Uganda gorilla trekking safari:
Big Game Safaris
Uganda has several national Parks that include Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and the rarely visited Kidepo Valley National parks that are famous for the big game safaris. These are the best places to see four of the ‘Big Five’ that includes the Lions, the elephant, the elusive Leopard and the Buffalo. You may not be able to see the Rhino as they were cleared from the parks during the unstable period. If you are interested in rhinos in Uganda then you will have to go to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. There are also the Zebras, Uganda Kobs, Hippos, Cheetahs, among other herbivores and carnivores.
Primate Tracking Tours
Uganda boasts of more than 13 primate species other than the mountain Gorillas. This includes the Chimpanzees, the l’hoests, the black and white Colobus Monkeys, Baboon among others. This is one of the highest primate population not only in Africa but in The world. Kibale Forest National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kaniyo Pabidi in Budongo south of Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National park are some of the best places to enjoy primate tracking safaris in Uganda. You can also track chimpanzees in Ngamba Island of Lake Victoria.
Uganda Birding Safaris
With the remnant of equatorial forest, Uganda is one of Africa’s major birding safari destination. Some unique bird species to be seen in Uganda include the archaic looking shoe bill. The Turaco, ground hornbill, Red billed, black wattled, black bill and white crested hornbill, African piculet, Zenkel honey-guide, Black chested cuckoo, red rumped tinker bird, rufous sided broadbill, Nkurengu rail, White bellied, dwarf, and Pygmy kingfishers, piping, white thighed, black and white casqued, and African pied hornbills, fire crested alethe, red bellied and blue billed malimbe, swamp palm bulbul, forest scrub robin, Green tailed bristle bill, Leaf love, red breasted sparrow hawk, Long tailed hawk, pale fronted and chestnut breasted negrofinches, black winged oriole are just a few example of birds may be able to see in Uganda.
Mountain Climbing Adventure
Uganda has two known mountains that are Mount Ruwenzori also referred to as the ‘Mountain of the Moon’ and Mount Elgon at the Kenya Uganda Border. Mt. Rwenzori is one of the toughest mountain to climb despite it being the 4th highest in Africa. One can climb Uganda’s highest peak in between 7 to 12 days depending on his/her fitness. Unlike Mount Kilimanjaro, you will need some level of fitness to go up Mt. Rwenzori with several up and downs as this is a block mountain. Mount Elgon is much easier to climb as this is a volcanic mountain.
Uganda shares the second largest fresh water lake in the world with the other two East Africa neighbours which are Kenya and Uganda. Lake Victoria boasts of some of the largest Nile perch species in the world and is a good place to go fishing. Other places to fish include the Albertine Nile in Murchison Falls National Park and in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kazinga Channel.
White Water Rafting
If you are looking for high adventure activity then white water rafting in the Nile is one thing to consider. This can be done in Jinja for half a day or full day depending on what you are up to. White water rafting can be combined with bungee jumping which is also done in Jinja. The full day white water rafting will include lunch.
Uganda is home to various ethnic groups that includes the Bantus and the Nilotes. Each ethnic grouping has its own tradition and culture. From their dressing to daily activities some of the cultures are quite attractive. You can sample this at the Ndere cultural centre or go to the region where the ethnic group stay. Some cultural places to go to include the Kabaka Kingdom, the Batoro Kingdom among others. This will let you understand each ethnic group you are interested in.
The next time you plan an Africa safari to Uganda, know that you have much more to spice up your Uganda safari experience and not just settle on Uganda gorilla trekking safari. Go and enjoy yourself in Uganda.
write by Jon Brecht