The East and Northern part of Uganda has been less visited. This trail is one of the few off the beaten path that you should consider following while on a Uganda Safari. With some renowned places such as national parks to important world land marks such as the Source of the Nile, there is a lot to see and do while in Uganda. Here are the best places to visit on the road trip through this touristic trail and the popular ones include;
Source of River Nile – Jinja
Jinja is located in the south east of Uganda, approximately 87 kilometers from Kampala on the shores of Lake Victoria near the source of River Nile.
River Nile is the longest river in the world with its source found in Jinja. It flows through over 9 countries including Uganda, Egypt, Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo and pours its water in Mediterranean Sea.
Jinja is the main source of River Nile that cannot be missed on your road trip to eastern Uganda. Enjoy the boat cruise on river Nile which allows you to visit the source of the Nile, the different bird species of the Nile.
Jinja can be accessed from Kampala via Mabira forest -the biggest natural forest in Uganda, for about 2-3 hours drive.
You can also go for white water rafting on River Nile which you can choose to do half day or full day which can be done combined with sun set cruise on the Nile.
Tour Jinja town as the famous historical source of River Nile, you can also go kayaking as a part of leisure and adventure.
Eastern Uganda is a well-known destination for a road trip as you enjoy the great scenery, the shores of Lake Victoria, great views of mountain Elgon, sipi falls, Nyero rock painting, Makanaga wetland, Mount Elgon National park among others
Mount Elgon National park is situated in eastern Uganda covering an area of 1145 square kilometers on the border with Kenya in Mbale district. Mount Elgon is the highest volcanic mountain in Uganda with the highest peak wagagai at 4321 meters above sea level.
Mountain Elgon is home to so many wild animals, 300 bird species and with many activities that you can enjoy on your road trip.
Mountain climbing. You can go for mountain climbing on mountain Elgon and reach the top of the mountain, enjoy the beautiful scenic views of the whole park with the views of the wild animals like leopards, hyenas, lions, monkey species, bird species among others.
Cultural encounters. Visit the Bagisu community also referred to as the Bamasaba, participate in their cultural practices like the circumsion ceremony also known as Imbalu in the native language. The Imbalu is a bagisu cultural ceremony which is done every after 2 even years to boys who are 18 years and above.
Nature walks. You can go for nature walks especially to the sipi falls in the district of Kapchorwa in the north east of Sironko and Mbale the most fascinating tourist attraction in eastern Uganda. Enjoy the sound of the waters running down in the narrow gorge.
The sipi falls comprises of 3 falls each flowing from different altitudes with the highest running down 100 meters, it is found right on the foothills of mountain Elgon just at the edge of Mount Elgon National park. You can enjoy other activities including hiking the trails like piswa trail, sasa trail, sipi trail on your road trip.
A visit to Eastern Uganda cannot be complete without driving to Northern Uganda through the karamoja towns like Moroto with leafy streets and many NGOs, guided hiking on Kotido hills, tour pastoral villages who are cattle keepers and nomadic pastoralists among others then drive to Kidepo valley National park.
Kidepo valley National park is found in north eastern Uganda in the Karamoja region, it is the third biggest National park covering an area of 1,442 square kilometres.
Kidepo valley National park is also one of the places in northern Uganda that cannot be missed on your road trip to northern Uganda. Kidepo valley National park has been rated as one of the best places to go for a game drive.
It is home to many wild animals including elephants, lions, leopards, hyenas, water bucks, bush pigs, antelopes, elands, common duikers, giraffes, topis, jackals among others, many bird species that you will enjoy on your game drive.
Cultural encounters. A visit to the Karamojongo community is a memorable and unforgettable experience. The Karamojongs are naturally cattle keepers and nomadic pastoralists who move from one place to another looking for pastures and water for their animals. They stay in their traditionally made grass thatched houses known as the manyatta. The boys and the adult men of the Karamojong are supposed to look after the cattle while the girls and their mothers are supposed to look after the manyattas, cook food, paint the manyatta with cow dung, cultivate crops and so on. Learn about the Karamojong culture and their way of living, enjoy their traditional dances and songs.
The Indigenous Karamojong (IK) in the Morungole Mountains.
Visit the indigenous Karamojongs that stay up in the Morungole Mountains that were evicted from their land without being compensated. The indigenous Karamojongs were also cattle keepers but since the karamojongs claimed to be the only ones with cattle, they raided them and took all their cattle and turned to hunting and gathering, keeping goats, bees for honey among others and decided to move and stay up in the mountains. The visit to the ik group is a memorable experience as you get to learn about their way of living and life styles.
Nature walks. Tour the Narus river valley which has got a lot of concentration of wild animals due to availability of water. It is rich in wildlife like elephants, cheetahs, bush bucks, water bucks, lions, leopards, bush babies among others and over 500 bird species which can be seen on the river banks.
Visit the Kanangorok hot springs located on the border with South Sudan which is a good place to chill and relax while viewing the mountain ranges.
Murchison Falls National park is located in north western Uganda and largest National park in Uganda covering an area of 3840 square kilometers off Gulu – Masindi highway. It is also Uganda’s oldest reservation area which shelters over 76 mammal species and 450 bird species. The wild animals include elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards, warthogs, bush bucks, water bucks, antelopes, topis, elands, common duiker among others.
Game drives in Murchison Falls National park on your road trip can be done in the morning and afternoon where you catch up with the early morning risers that come out to look for food. Murchison Falls National park is the best place to spot all the big five animals including elephants, lions, buffaloes, Hippopotamus and the Rhinos which are seen from ziwa rhino sanctuary located in Nakasongola district along Murchison falls National park. Despite the extinction of the rhinos but there are over 30 Rhinos in Ziwa rhino sanctuary that have been rescued and conserved for future generations. On your road trip don’t hesitate to branch off to Ziwa Rhino sanctuary.
Boat trips on Murchison Falls
On your road trip, take a boat cruise down to the bottom of the falls where you spot more wild animals like crocodiles, hippos, elephants, buffaloes, many bird species at the shores of the falls. The boat cruise usually takes up to 2 hours that offers you an adventurous experience.
Nature walks to the top of the falls. Go for a nature walk to the top of the falls which offer you with beautiful scenic views and roaring sounds of the water of the falls running down forcefully through the narrow gorge of 7m meters
You can also view the game in Murchison falls National Park in a hot air balloon which is a more adventurous experience for game viewing.
You can go white water rafting on Murchison Falls National park for an adventurous experience, you can also go chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest where you meet the primate species and learn about their behaviours and life style.