Uganda’s unique attractions 

A panoramic view of  Lake Bunyonyi  in Kabale. PHOTO | EDGAR R. BATTE

What you need to know:

  • The beauty. Uganda has been gifted with a wealth of incredible geographical features that are worth visiting. Her rich diverse culture and hospitable people are unmatched, writes Edgar R. Batte.

Uganda is a beautiful tourism destination whose uniqueness is anchored on a diversity of attractions that earn it the moniker- Pearl of Africa. From richly endowed national parks to picturesque landscapes, waterbodies and more, you cannot have enough of what the landlocked country has to offer.

Entebbe Botanical Gardens

The gardens are a beautiful green patch established in 1898 on the northern shores of Lake Victoria virtually on the Equator. It has an approximated 309 species of plants, 199 indigenous to Uganda, 122 with known medicinal value and 110 exotic plants.

Mabira Forest Reserve

Mabira is not far off the capital city, Kampala. There are 10 trails within the forest on which you can take a guided or unguided tour to discover the adventurer in you. There are also beautiful lodges within this green jungle, like Rain Forest Lodges which is ideal for an out-of-town experience. 

Nyero Rock Paintings

The rocks in Kumi are listed as a UNESCO site andcomprise three-tiered rocks with primitive paintings on their inner surfaces. Archaeologically, the site dates tothe later Iron Age.

The makers of the paintings have not been identified, but the ingenuity with which they were painted demonstrates a high degree of appreciation of their aesthetic values.

Tororo rocks

The rocks are in the eastern district of Tororo and picturesque, beautiful. They are visible from almost any point in this town. Their highest altitude of Tororo Rock is 4,865 feet.

Amabeere Ga Nyina Mwiru

Hidden away in the heart of the Toro kingdom in western Uganda are the Amabeere ga nyina mwirucaves. Directly translated, Amabeere Ga Nyina Mwirumeans the “breasts of Nyina Mwiru.”

Toro folklore has it that the caves acquired the name after King Bukuku of Toro chopped off the breasts of his daughter Nyina Mwiru and had them thrown inside these caves, following a prophecy that the daughter would one day get married and have a son, Ndahura, who would kill the king and take over his throne.

Ngamba Island

It is a chimpanzee sanctuary is home to more than 50 rescued chimpanzees. Ngamba Island, situated on Lake Victoria, offers a close-up experience with the chimpanzees.

You will set off is at the Zoo in Entebbe from where you will be led to the pier down at the lake. By speed boat, it is an approximately 45-minutes cruise and about two hours by a motorised boat.

Source of the Nile

It is one of the places to see the best sunrises and sunsets. It is one of Uganda’s most beautiful tourist features found in Jinja, Eastern Uganda where it emerges out of the Lake Victoria before embarking on its journey to the gigantic Mediterranean Sea.

Karuma Falls

They falls energetically hit the rock, giving off a beautiful white display. The smoky water is a result of water hitting a series of natural rock formations at the bottom of the Nile, on the Kigumba-Gulu Highway.

Lutembe bay

This bay is home a big bird population as a migratory stopover site on Lake Victoria. It home to more than 100 species of birds. It is found at Namulanda, on Entebbe Road.

Uganda Muslim Supreme Council Mosque/Gaddafi Mosque

Located in Old Kampala, this is the largest and most beautiful mosque in Uganda with a seating capacity of 15,000 people. The mosque was an idea of fallen President Idi Amin had that came to pass 30 years later.

Bwindi National Park

Located in Kisoro, Southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley, is the home of the sought-after Mountain Gorilla. The national forest and park is thick and rich in biodiversity, making it the perfect home for the primates that earn Uganda a handsome foreign exchange fortune.

Lake Mburo National Park

It is the park closest to a town- Mbarara. Lake Mburo has the biggest number of burchell’s zebras in Uganda. It is the main attraction in the park. The national park, covering the size of 260 square kilometres, takes its name after the lake which is one of the excursion conduits that is relaxing to a tourist as theywatch several birds, wildlife, and beautiful views of landscapes.

Kibale National Park

There are about 1, 500 chimpanzees in the 766 square kilometres of Kibale Forest in western Uganda. There are also 12 other primates, including the red colobus and L’Hoest monkey.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, Queen Elizabeth National Park, is a destination of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel, diverse ecosystems, classic big game, 10 primate species including chimpanzees and more than 600 species of birds.

Murchison Falls National Park

Located in Masindi District, there is a variety of game to see advisably on an early morning park drive. The spectacular smoky falls plunge on the southern banks through eight-metre, narrow rocky gorge.

You can also do a boat ride along the Albert delta for a good view of hartebeest, Rothchild’s giraffe, crocodiles, elephants walking by the grassland shoreline, kobs and lions among other animals. The park is home to 424 bird species including the kingfisher, goliath heron and shoebill stork.

Rwenzori National Park

It is located close to the Uganda-DR Congo border and listed as a UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. It has waterfalls, glaciers, lakes and of course the ice-capped third highest mountain peak in Africa.

Semliki National Park

It is in Bundibugyo District in western Uganda, seated at the Ituri Forest conservatory, popular for both flora and fauna, particularly the birds. There are 400 species of birds which include unique types such as the Forest Ground Thrush and Sassi’s Olive. Greenbul.

Elgon National Park

It is in eastern Uganda and is home to wildlife, painted caves, hot springs and a crater at Budadiri. Within driving distance are the Sipi falls. According to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Mount Elgon National Park is home to over 300 species of birds<>, including the endangered Lammergeyer.

Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga National Park shares borders on Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo in the Southwestern town of Kisoro, taking its name from Mountain Mgahinga. It is home to the endangered mountain gorillas spectacular Virunga Volcanoes at Mt. Muhavura. It offers packages for tourists to visit trek the Nyakagezi gorilla group,

Kidepo National Park

It is in Karamoja and is one of Uganda’s major parks. There are eye-rousing savannah tree stretches and landscapes that run afar and into the horizon. It is home to 500 plus bird species. This semi-desert park that is also home for over 80 mammal species. These include the black-backed jackal and side-striped jackals, bat-eared foxes, lions, giraffes, spotted hyenas, cheetahs and over 500 bird species.

Fort Lugard

It is named after a British soldier during the colonial era. The fort, found in Old Kampala was between 1908 and 1910, and was the seat of British government for many years. The ramparts were destroyed during the Amin period in the 1970s.

Sir Samuel Baker Fort

It is in Patiko Sub- County, in Gulu District and still has the British explorer’s name inscribed on them since 1872 when it was constructed.

Zika Forest

It is a small forest full of vast mature trees, with luxuriant undergrowth and a thick canopy of leaves. It is located in Entebbe. It is home to a sizable population of birds and butterflies, and a noisy troop of red-tailed and colobus monkeys.

Kitagata Hotsprings

The two hotsprings are located in Sheema District in western Uganda. Legend has it that one of the springs was used by the former Omugabe (King of Ankole) and is known as Ekyomugabe. The other spring is believed to have healing powers and is known as Mulago, after Uganda’s largest National Referral Hospital.

Nakayima Caves and Tree

The caves and trees are estimated to have existed for over 400 years, the oldest tree in the country. They are in Mubende District. People visit the tree to traditional pray and connect with the spiritual world.

Budongo Ecotourism Site

The forest has high biodiversity with an estimated 24 species of small mammals, nine being primates, 465 species of trees and shrubs, 359 species of birds, 289 species of butterflies, and 130 species of moths.

Sipi Falls

Sipi Falls is a series of three waterfalls in eastern Uganda in Kapchorwa District, northeast of Sironko and Mbale.

The waterfalls lie on the edge of Mount Elgon National Park near the Kenyan border. 

Ssezibwa Falls

Located in Mukono, on the Kampala-Jinja highway, the falls are a place where Christians and cultural believers go to worship. There are birds and water falls to see and marvel at.

Mpanga forest reserve

It is located on Masaka Road at Mpambire. It has a rich eco-system where plant life suitably survives alongside animals. There are exploratory trails for butterflies and hornbill, among others.

Ssese Islands

It an archipelago of 84 islands in the world’s largest tropical lake in Kalangala District. Of the 84, 43 of these are inhabited by people. You might want to spend some time with the various fishing communities. Ssese’sIslands such as Bulago are popular get-always and camping sites.

Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo

This is where the Uganda martyrs were burned to death for their refusal to renounce Christianity. Some of the men were of the Anglican faith and others were of the Catholic faith. It is said that even some muslims were burnt that day. On June 3, Christians from all parts of Uganda, East Africa and other parts of the world congregate at Namugongo to commemorate the lives of the Uganda Martyrs and their dedication to their religious beliefs.

Naggalabi Buddo Coronation site

It is the official coronation site for all Kabakas (kings of Buganda Kingdom). It is located on Budo Hill, a few metres from King’s College Budo. It is believed that it is here that Buganda Kingdom was born during the 14th century.

Kabaka’s Lake

It is the biggest manmade lake having been built under the orders and supervision of Kabaka Mwanga in 1885. It is in Mengo, a haven for birders and a place that could do with some culinary infrastructure to exploit its beauty.

Kawere African Museum

This is a private museum owned by Godfrey Kawere, in Nsangi, on Masaka Road. The artist and researcher has collected art-pieces, newspaper cuttings and photographs depicting the political history and culture of Uganda, Africa and the world.


This place in Mityana District is characterised by many holes which traditional myth in Buganda say is the way through which Walumbe (translated to mean death) is believed to have disappeared to. Walumbe is believed to have been Kintu’s first brother, the first Muganda.