Kampala is the capital city of Uganda bordering Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. Hills covered with red-tile villas and trees surround an urban Centre of contemporary skyscrapers. There is the Uganda Museum explores the country’s tribal heritage through an extensive collection of artifacts. On nearby Mengo Hill is Lubiri Palace, the former seat of the Buganda Kingdom. Most people come to Kampala for business, travel, or visiting family and friends. While here you may consider taking a day off your schedule to travel and engage in something else. A re you planning a guided or self drive Uganda day trip, below are some day trips one might take while in Kampala.
Mabamba swamp visit
Mabamba swamp is home to the globally endangered shoebills, the birds can be seen at any time of the day but it’s best to be there in the morning hours when they are more active looking for what to eat. During this time, the shoe-bills stand for good minutes negotiating how to get the prey making it best for taking good shots. The birding activity is carried out in dugout canoes which add to the whole experience surrounded by nature. The swamp has been recorded to have over 300 bird species, over 200 butterfly species, fishing is another activity that can be arranged and community guided nature walks.
Other amazing bird species at the swamp include African Jakana, Black crake, Common moorhen, Blue-headed coucal, purple heron, swamp flycatcher, long-toed lapwing, pied kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, grey heron, among others.
Mabira forest walk tour
set off from Kampala to Uganda’s remarkable forest with lots of exciting features such as huge trees that have survived decades of years, a variety of butterflies, streams, monkeys, and lots of plant life. Expect to see different bird species while on the walk. In the afternoon after the walk, you will rest and have a lunch break, and then we set off to see spectacular waterfalls at a cultural site where you will have your eyes feast before our return journey to Kampala to your accommodation.
Traditional food experience
Uganda is one of the blessed countries with rich culture and heritage distributed in the different regions and you will appreciate the different delicacies and cuisines. In central Uganda, where the Baganda people are the majority, food is prepared in a traditional way, which is, by steaming. On this tour, we will visit Entanda Cultural Centre, take you to a traditional garden and you get to see the different foods and thereafter take you through the all process of preparing a traditional meal.
You get to test the traditional food and tell us which foods stood out for you. If you are not hesitant about eating insects, rare delicacies like roasted grasshoppers and white ants are the in thing when it’s the season. A food experience would not be complete without a series of drinks, and here we are talking about the traditional drinks which a hygienically made in a local way. The banana juice traditionally is what would catch your attention! After it’s squeezed out by using a special kind of grass, the juice is boiled to kill all the germs making it very safe for you to taste. Other drinks include local brew which is an evening drink for the guys after work. Upon special request, a tour to explore how the local brew is made can be organized as well.
Lake Mburo National Park
Set off from Kampala at 6.30 am and drive to the park. It is the smallest national park in Uganda but unique in its own way. As soon as we are out of Kampala, gradually the landscape will keep changing, seeing greener, low rolling hills, open grasslands, and small townships. Approximately after 2 hours’ drive, we shall have a stopover at the Uganda Equator, where we shall test the Coriolis forces and a chance to get a to-go coffee and snacks from the Equator restaurant.
We shall do a game drive around the park where we expect to spot animals like giraffes, zebras, impalas, topi, buffaloes, water-bucks, and plenty of birds. The park is home to 350 bird species.
We thereafter shall have a lunch break of 30 minutes, to be on time for the 2:00 PM boat cruise. While on the boat cruise, you shall feast your eyes on crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes, and magnificent birds such as the kingfishers, hammerkops and their giant nests, fish eagles, on a lucky day the endangered shoebill. The cruise will take around 2 hours and then drive back to Kampala.
Jinja tour to the Source of the Nile
Set off from Kampala at 7 am and our first stop-over is at a cultural site with waterfalls after approximately an hour drive on a good day with less or no traffic. At the waterfalls, we take a nature/cultural guided walk of approximately 30 minutes up to the top of the falls. We thereafter drive off to go into the Mabira rain forest where we do 1-2 hours guided forest walk. On the forest walk, you will see a variety of plant life and trees, red-tailed monkeys, butterflies, and if you have a good camera you can as well capture some forest birds which hide in the canopies.
After the adventurous walk in the green, we continue to our last destination, the source of the Nile; driving past commercial tea and sugarcane plantations, making a stop-over upon request. We take a guided boat ride starting it on Lake Victoria, thereafter connecting to river Nile waters to see the spot where the mighty river begins its journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Water and forest birds, monitor lizards, and otters are never missed while on this boat ride adventure.
Drive back to Kampala and end of the tour.
Rhino tracking tour at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
The sanctuary is located 176km north of Kampala towards Murchison National park and is the only place in Uganda where you get to see Rhinos. After an early breakfast, we will set off to Ziwa Rhino sanctuary. Upon arrival at the Rhino sanctuary, a site-guide will take over, briefing us thereafter we shall track the rhinos on foot. Consider the tracking activity as well nature walks, because you get to see the landscape, flora, and fauna of this place, not forgetting more than 150 species of birds.
After the rhino tracking adventure, we shall have lunch at the sanctuary and rest before we start our journey back to Kampala. Time allowing us to stop over to visit a community, best known for making handicrafts in Uganda.
What to pack for this tour; Sunscreen lotion, a hat, Long trousers, long-sleeved shirt, camera, closed shoes, Bottled water.
Entebbe birding tour
Entebbe is a more relaxing and calm city and with this kind of atmosphere, it’s not surprising that birds love Entebbe. The tour kicks off with visiting a haven in Entebbe that is home to more than 100 bird species, this haven also has lots of plant life and indigenous trees. The nature walk shall take up to 3 hours looking out for both water and forest birds.
We can also check in to the Uganda Wildlife Education Center, where you will treat your eyes to a chimpanzee family, giraffes, hyenas, white rhinos, peacock, and many more primates. After a lunch break, we shall then drive off to a bay on Lake Victoria to catch the water birds in the evening. Be sure to see the sunset over Lake Victoria before we drive back to Kampala or drive you to your accommodation in Entebbe to catch your flight the next day.
Ngamba Island trip
Drive from your accommodation in Entebbe or Kampala to where the boats that go to Ngamba island dock that is in Entebbe. We take a motor canoe or speed boat to the island. Ngamba is a Home to 48 orphaned chimpanzees rescued from different parts of Uganda. Both day and overnight visitors are facilitated at the island offering you an exceptional opportunity to closely observe and interact with the fascinating great apes in a unique setting.
Some activities while at the island include;
Scenic viewing both to and from the island and while the island, you will appreciate the unique beautiful views.
Chimpanzee Feeding time at the visitor’s viewing platform.
Kayaking around the island bay searching for wildlife to mention; monitor lizards, otters, plenty of birdlife with over 130 species recorded, and going to a local fishing village.
Care-giving experience. Here, you get 24 hours opportunity to participate in the daily routine for example preparing the food, cleaning facilities, health checks allowing you to generally learn more about what it takes to take care of the Chimpanzees.
White water rafting tour
This is an interesting activity done on the river Nile and the tour will take us a full day. At 7 am, drive from Kampala to the start of the activity where you will be served breakfast and later be briefed about the whole activity and the dos and don’ts while participating. We will be given the rafting gear, helmet, life jacket, and a bat. While on water, the guide will practically brief us on how it is done. In the company of kayakers (rescue team), we will start the activity which will take us through 5 rafts that range between grade 2-5 waves. The activity takes between 5-6hours.
Lunch will be served along the way and at the end of the activity, we will have a barbecue and some drinks (Ugandan beer and some soft drinks). We will then drive back to Kampala and end of the tour.