Uganda

I was fortunate enough to do a lot of fun things in Uganda. I’d recommend almost all of them:

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Whitewater Rafting (Jinja) – if there’s one “must-do” in Uganda, this is probably it. Some of the best whitewater rafting in the world according to people in the know, and very cool to get to spend time on/in the Nile River. If you stay at Nile River Explorers (+256 077 242 2373) – a very fun, young, backpacker place right on the Nile that’s clean enough – it’ll cost you $135 for rafting plus one night in the dorms. Worth it to stay two nights, though.

Giraffes Sepia

Safari: Murchison Falls National Park (Masindi Area) – One of the parks in western Uganda. We went through an organization called Matooke Tours – the driver/tour guide can pick you up/drop you off in Kampala, if you’d like. Absolutely beautiful park. Another popular tour operator is Red Chili, but including accommodation they’re quite expensive.

Banda Island Boat

Ssese Islands (Lake Victoria) – Fun weekend getaway on Lake Victoria. Leave the Entebbe area and get carried onto a boat (really) to take you to the islands. Go to Banda Island and hang out with its watcher, a British guy named Andrew, for backgammon, bonfires, and beer – a lot of beer. Andrew: (+256 077 472 8747)

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Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest (Bwindi) This is one of the only places in the world to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat (others are in nearby Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). I didn’t do that. But I did hike through the forest, as I was told it was the fastest way to get to Kisoro, right on the border. Highly recommend the forest hike, and there’s almost universal raving about the gorilla tracking, too

Lions QENP

Queen Elizabeth National Park (Kasese) – QENP is… fine. It’s beautiful, of course, but not teeming with wildlife in the same way that Murchison Falls does. If you want to see lions in Uganda, this is the place – some hang out in the trees! – but there are definitely better places in east Africa to see lions, too.

Sipi Falls

Waterfall Rappelling/Hiking: Sipi Falls (Mbale region) – If you’re based in Mbale or a surrounding village this is a must-do. Can make it a day trip or overnight camp-out; either way, you’ll enjoy the picturesque waterfalls and beautiful surroundings. Rappelling is a bit expensive (~$50) but a fun thing to do – even if you get stuck halfway down the waterfall for the better part of a half hour.

Sunrise over Lake Victoria

Busia (Lake Victoria) – A relaxing getaway at a cheap, well-run resort near Busia. Swim in Lake Victoria, look at the stars, and see hundreds of lightning bugs.

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