Looking for the best places to visit in Uganda? In this huge guide, you'll learn about 26 of the most beautiful and most interesting attractions in Uganda.
Often called the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda is a country jam-packed with breathtaking scenery, natural wonders, exotic wildlife and fascinating culture. Learn more with these 22 facts about Uganda.
26 Beautiful Places to Visit in Uganda
If you are traveling to Uganda for the first time, you may be hard-pressed to decide which places are best to explore. To settle your dilemma, we have compiled a list of the most beautiful places to visit in Uganda.
1. Murchison Falls
Whether you visit by a boat cruise on the Victoria Nile or a safari tour, you don’t want to miss Murchison Falls in northwest Uganda. Here, you can witness enormous waters bursting through a narrow gorge before crashing in powerful, roaring cascades.
While you are visiting this breathtaking sight, you may also want to explore the surrounding protected area that makes up Murchison Falls Conservative Area to spot some of Africa’s icons such as lions, elephants, leopards, giraffes, buffaloes and more.
2. Lake Victoria
If you really want to experience the heart of Uganda, the story begins with Lake Victoria, which is the birthplace of the Nile River. Not only is it Africa’s largest lake and the world’s largest tropical lake, but Lake Victoria also boasts one of the world’s largest ecosystems.
There is so much natural beauty and wildlife to see here – from scenic mountain views to islands, beaches, fishing boats and various bird and animal species.
3. Jinja, Start of the Nile River
While you are touring Lake Victoria, you may want to check out Jinja, the colonial town that is positioned at the start of the Nile River.
The town is regarded as East Africa’s adrenaline capital, so not only can you view where the world’s longest and most historic river begins, but you can also get your blood pumping with activities like whitewater rafting, mountain-biking, quad-biking and kayaking.
4. Ssese Islands
A major tourist attraction in Uganda, the Ssese Islands are a group of about 84 islands dotted along the northwestern shores of Lake Victoria. Each island differs in size, shape and exotic flora and fauna.
Here, you can relax amid beautiful scenery, see chimpanzees, walk on white-sand beaches, enjoy horseback riding and windsurfing, as well as interact with the Bantu people and learn about their culture.
5. Kampala, Capital of Uganda
When visiting places in Uganda, you don’t want to miss checking out the country’s capital city, Kampala. This city is home to a steady expat community and offers plenty of things to see and do.
You can tour beautiful temples, cathedrals, art galleries and museums that include the popular Uganda National Museum. You can also browse various markets for clothing, foods and crafts. Kampala also offers a good range of restaurants and bars.
6. Kasubi Tombs
While in Kampala, a visit to the Kasubi Tombs is well worth your time. A palace consisting of 35 buildings, this important historic site is the burial place of four former Ugandan kings and other royal family members. A tour allows you to see interesting artifacts and learn about the rituals and traditions of Uganda’s largest tribal kingdom, the Buganda Kingdom.
7. Ndere Centre
Also in Kampala, the Ndere Centre is a great place to experience the colorful dance and music that is traditional to Uganda.
Opened Sunday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, the Centre offers a 700-seat amphitheater where you can enjoy dinner along with a spectacular performance of colorful, high-energy dancing and music that displays the lively culture of the Ugandan tribes.
8. Owino Market
One of the largest markets in the region, the Owino Market is a must-do experience when visiting Uganda. Located in the capital city, Kampala, this busy market is full of color and character from its wide array of produce, clothing, electronics and crafts to its lively vendors and customers.
9. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Breathtaking mountain views, lush landscapes and an abundance of African wildlife are just a few reasons Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the top places to visit in Uganda. Moreover, it is home to some of the world’s last mountain gorillas.
There are many gorilla trekking tours you can join here to suit your level of skill or preference that will allow you to experience the sheer beauty of this place, and to see mountain gorillas up close in their natural habitat.
10. Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is like a sample platter of Africa. You can try a little of everything African here with diverse habitats and exotic wildlife.
Wetlands, forests and savanna grasslands offer ample opportunities to see the likes of elephants, leopards, hippos, chimpanzees, giraffes and the tree-climbing lion. There are various safaris, lake cruises, and even hot air balloon tours available here for you to explore this amazing area.
11. Lake Katwe Explosion Crater Drive
If already in Queen Elizabeth National Park, you should consider reserving space on your itinerary for one of Uganda’s most scenic drives, the Explosion Crater Drive.
It takes about 2 ½ hours, but it is well worth the time. Not only will you have the chance to see wildlife like buffaloes and elephants, but also magnificent views of natural landmarks like Mountains of the Moon, Crater Lake, the Blue Mountains of the Congo and Lake Edward.
12. Kazinga Channel
Taking a boat cruise on the scenic Kazinga Channel is another way to see amazing wildlife and gorgeous scenery if you are in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park. With the boat hugging the banks of the channel, you may see water buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, elephants and numerous bird species.
13. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Although there is only one family of gorillas living here, the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers great trekking tours for you to experience striking vistas of the Virunga Mountains, bamboo forests, volcanoes and the endangered golden monkey.
14. Lake Mutanda
Found nearby the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the African Great Lakes region, Lake Mutanda is one of Uganda’s jewels. Surrounded by the Virunga Mountains and dotted with lush islands, this lake is a beauty to behold. A visit here offers wildlife sightings, birdwatching, canoeing, fishing, hiking, biking and trekking with the Batwa People, the native people of the nearby forest.
15. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Located north of Kampala in Nakasongola, this sanctuary is home to Uganda’s only population of wild rhinos, but that is not all it offers. Scenic nature walks, canoe cruises and guided trekking tours award you with sights of hippos, crocodiles, antelopes and more than 250 different bird species.
16. The Equator
A visit to Uganda offers you the unique opportunity to stand on the equator and be in two hemispheres at once. Uganda is one of the few countries in the world where the equator crosses through it.
The best equator landmark in Uganda is found on the Kampala-Masaka Road, where you will find a few restaurants and craft/souvenir shops as well. Other equator markers in Uganda are found in Queen Elizabeth National Park and near Entebbe.
17. Entebbe Botanical Gardens
The locals say that the original Tarzan movies were filmed here, but whether that is true or not, the Entebbe Botanical Gardens is a wonderful place of beauty and discovery where you will find numerous trees, flowers, butterflies, monkeys, squirrels and birds.
Located near Lake Victoria, this 40-hectare (98 acres) garden complex is a breath of fresh air where you can picnic, walk through a rainforest or just enjoy birdwatching.
18. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park
If you want to experience Uganda’s most extraordinary natural beauty, a visit to the Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a must-do.
Home to the “Mountains of the Moon,” this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers stunning scenery consisting of waterfalls, lakes, rivers, glaciers and forests that shelter many bird species and chameleons. Hiking, mountain climbing and culture visits with the Village of Ruboni are just a few of the exciting things you can do here.
19. Rubaga Cathedral
If architectural beauty is your thing, the Rubaga Cathedral in Kampala is well worth a visit. Built in 1914, this historic cathedral sits on a hill overlooking the capital city. A free, guided tour gives you the chance to see the attractive interior, impressive stained-glass windows and artifacts. There are also two tombs here that contain the remains of the first African Archbishop of Kampala Diocese and the first African Catholic Bishop.
20. Mount Elgon National Park
Home to the extinct volcano it is named after, Mount Elgon National Park offers diverse landscapes, wildlife and activities. You can amble through heath or hike through dense evergreen and bamboo forests to view magnificent waterfalls, stunning peaks, interesting plants, fascinating birds and primates like the blue monkey and colobus monkey. If you are lucky, you might glimpse a hyena, buffalo or even an elusive leopard.
21. Sipi Falls
Named after the wild banana plant that grows nearby, Sipi Falls is a popular site located in eastern Uganda on the border of Mount Elgon National Park.
This series of three waterfalls offers spectacular views no matter how you look at them, whether you hike to the top or the bottom. Nearby, you can also check out the coffee farms, explore caves or enjoy a nature walk.
22. Semuliki National Park
It may be one of Uganda’s newest and smallest national parks, but the Semuliki National Park packs awe-inspiring beauty and plenty of attractions that include its most famous, the Sempaya Hot Springs.
After watching the boiling hot springs blast off into a steamy spray, you can hike through the forest to catch glimpses of its many bird species and exotic animals such as flying squirrels, red-tailed monkeys, pygmy antelope and the endangered shoebill stork.
23. Ssezibwa Falls
The Ssezibwa Falls site is more than just magnificent waterfalls. It is part of an incredibly beautiful oasis just outside of Kampala that is steeped in legend, history and culture.
The Buganda people can tell you how a woman gave birth hundreds of years ago to the two rivers that flow around a serene island here. Others will tell you how the Ssezibwa Falls area is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the capital city.
24. Lake Bunyonyi
The locals call it “place of many birds,” but many tourists call it paradise. With its 29 islands, terraced hillsides, charming shore towns and attractive resorts, it is no wonder that Lake Bunyonyi allures people from all over the world.
Many safari tourists choose Lake Bunyonyi as a base because the lovely setting is relaxing and peaceful. Additionally, the lake offers water sports and birdwatching while the nearby towns provide colorful markets and cultural experiences with the local villagers.
25. Lubiri Palace
Lovers of history and architecture may appreciate a visit to the Lubiri Palace, home of the former king of Buganda. Situated on a hill overlooking Kampala, this domed, colonial-style building was involved in the Battle of Mengo in 1966. Today, you can take a guided tour to see the torture chambers and learn more about Uganda’s history and culture.
26. Nyero Rock Paintings
It is not every day that you get the opportunity to see prehistoric rock paintings, so if you are in Uganda, a trip to Kumi town to see the Nyero Rock Paintings is more than worth the effort.
Found in three separate rock shelters, these beautiful, well-preserved paintings portray concentric circles, animals and canoes. The hike to the site is relatively easy, and you just may see monkeys, lizards and birds along the way.
And there you have it – 26 beautiful and interesting places to visit in Uganda.
Which places are on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments.