With a swathe of activities in Uganda, it is no surprise that Lonely Planet has ranked this African destination as the #1 country to visit in 2012. This distinguished ranking is strongly related to the growing stability in the country as evidenced by the capital, Kampala, being one of Africa’s safest capitals. Safety and security aside, Uganda is a veritable paradise for a variety of tourists with activities that range from bird watching and safaris to cultural attractions and ecotourism.
Uganda’s scenery and wildlife is amazing and draws in many visitors. The country is home to more than 1,000 bird species, which make up over half of the birds in Africa. Some of these are globally threatened, endemic and near endemic, forest/papyrus/woodland rarities, and vulnerable bird species. For these reasons and others, Uganda is one of the best bird watching sights in Africa. Visitors can expect to spot birds like the African Green Broadbill, Shoebill, Grant’s Bluebill, Archer’s Robin-Chat, and Dwarf Honeyguide. In addition to birds, travelers might happen upon tree-climbing lions, rhinos, elephants, and chimpanzees. For more information about the birding opportunities in Uganda, please visit Collection member Birding Uganda.
While wildlife and safaris are a huge draw for visitors, the rich culture of Uganda provides endless opportunities for exploration. The Bawta people, an indigenous group of fierce hunter-gatherers and fierce warriors native to the dense forests at the foot of the Virunga Volcanoes, offer a glimpse into their culture and former home on the Batwa Trail. This nature walk shows visitors where the Batwa used to reside with its rich culture and diverse wildlife inside the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The Batwa tour includes demonstrations of the local hunting techniques, honey gathering skills, and a view of the various plants that can be used for medicinal purposes.
For another glimpse at local life, Katwe Salt Lakes offers visitors the opportunity to watch locals participate in traditional salt-mining activities. The Mubako perform vibrant songs and dances around the campfires at local lodges bordering Murchison Falls National Park. Additionally, visitors can find exceptional handmade carved wooden sculptures and hand-woven items created exclusively by these local community members. More cultural community attractions and experiences can be found on the Pearls of Uganda website
While visitors are in Uganda, they have many opportunities to partake in various give back programs that help out the local community. For example, money generated during the Katwe Salt Lake tours and sales of handcrafted wares are used to help improve the educational facilities and send children to school.
These are a few of the many reasons why people should visit Uganda in 2012. Additionally, this is why Lonely Planet has ranked Uganda as the #1 destination in 2012 and why Uganda is a very important member of the Undiscovered Travel Collection. We hope you will discover Uganda soon!