Short trips to do before or after a conference in Uganda
Short trips to do before or after a conference in Uganda. Uganda is known as the pearl of Africa, not in name but because of all the trips you can take around the country for fun and educational purposes. As you plan your conference, you can enjoy several short trips before or after, but these have to be planned. Uganda is often overlooked when it comes to safari destinations, with tourists heading to either Kenya or Tanzania. Still, in this article, we will look at the various short trips you can take to relax before the conference and after. Below is a list of activities and safari destinations that you can choose from for the trip.
Game drives/Game viewing in the Savannah National Parks
For tourists interested in game viewing, you can visit several national parks and carry out different activities, including day game drives, night drives, boat rides, and guided nature walks.
Explore Queen Elizabeth National Park: Queen Elizabeth National Park is a top safari destination in Uganda. The park is a 4 hours drive from the Ishasha sector to Bwindi, making it a great spot to go before and after a gorilla trek. Queen Elizabeth is home to over 615 recorded bird species, both endemic and international species, wildlife species including buffaloes, elephants, tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector, kudus, Topis, antelopes, crocodiles, warthogs, leopards, and many more others. Queen Elizabeth National Park has excellent views of the Rwenzori ranges, and some of the activities you can engage in on your short safari include boat rides along the Kazinga channel, chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge, watching the tree climbing lions in the Ishasha sector, game drives, guided nature walks and bird watching. Enjoy the beauty of Queen Elizabeth National Park with the backdrop of Lake Edward and the Rwenzori ranges.
Visit Murchison Falls National Park: A visit to Murchison Falls National Park is one of the short trips you should carry out before or after a conference. A game drive through Murchison is the best way to spot wildlife like leopards, crocodiles, lions, baboons, antelopes, hippos, spotted hyenas, and warthogs. Activities in Murchison Falls National Park include boat rides, game drives, bird watching, a hike to the waterfalls, and guided nature walks.
Take a short trip to Lake Mburo National Park: Lake Mburo National Park is located in the western part of Uganda and has some of the best breathtaking scenery in the country. The national park is a 4 hours’ drive from Kampala, and some of the things you should look out for include wildlife that is best seen during game drives, like elands, buffalos, zebras, elephants, Topis, Oribis, waterbucks, and buffaloes, among others. You also get to enjoy bird-watching boat rides along Lake Mburo and guided nature walks.
Kidepo Valley National Park: This is one of the least visited national parks in the country, located in a remote area. It is located in the far northeastern part of the country and has been recognized as one of the most beautiful national parks in the country. Kidepo Valley National Park is home to over 470 recorded bird species, including the Fox kestrel, ostriches, and Golden pipit, among others, making it the 2nd best birding destination after Queen Elizabeth National Park. Some activities you can carry out in Kidepo include cheetahs, giraffes, buffalos, elephants, zebras, elands, hyenas, wild dogs, and lions.
Primate Viewing in Uganda
Go for a gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga: Gorilla trekking in Uganda is carried out only in Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, both of which are found in the southwest part of Uganda. Bwindi has the highest number of gorillas in the world, with half the population and about 20 habituated families, whereas Mgahinga has one gorilla family. Enjoy trekking the gorilla families before or after a conference with the primates, where you get to spend an hour with the primates studying their behaviors and taking photos. If you want to spend more time with the gorillas, you can join in the habituation process where you spend 4 hours with the gorillas, and this is only carried out in Bwindi. If you are to participate in a short gorilla trekking trip, we advise you to book your permit in advance to enjoy your safari. Other activities that are carried out in Bwindi and Mgahinga include:
- Bird watching.
- Guided nature walks.
- The Batwa cultural trail.
- Golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga.
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda: Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is mainly carried out in Kibale National Park, where over 1500 chimpanzees have been registered. Kibaale National Park is also home to other primates like vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, red colobus monkeys, and black and white colobus monkeys. Other destinations in Uganda include Budongo Forest and Kaniyo Pabidi in Murchison Falls National Park, Kalinzu Forest, and Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Kampala short trips in Uganda
- Visit the Kasubi tombs: The Kasubi tombs are located in Kasubi, a few minutes away from Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. It is the final resting place of Buganda’s Kabakas (kings) and can be visited at any time of the year. The Kasubi tombs were destroyed by fire a few years ago, but they are being renovated, and a trip to the tombs gives you an insight into the Buganda culture. You also get to see the royal regalia that once belonged to the kings. Kasubi Tombs is a UNESCO Heritage site, and although there are over 31 tombs across the country, Kasubi tombs are special because there are 4 kings buried here: Sir Edward Mutesa II, Mutesa I, David Chwa II, and Mwanga II.
Explore Kampala City: There are so many things you can carry out within Kampala City, and we are going to list a few of them below, but note that Kampala is not for everyone. It is always crowded, and you have to look out for your property. Some of the places you can take short trips to within Kampala before or after your conference include the following:
- Owino Market is one of the best chaotic places to see, and even though you have seen a lot of local markets, Owino is on another level, filled with everything you can think of, including bags, clothes, food, vegetables, medicine, electronics, kitchenware, and herbs among others. Anything you can think of Owino market has, and the market receives over 20,000 people daily. As you plan a visit to Owino, make sure that you are not alone because prices are hiked when they see a foreigner, and you will need someone to help with bargaining. We advise that you leave your valuables at the hotel because of the large crowds of genuine people and, at the same time, pickpockets and petty thieves. It is an excellent place to shop cheaply and safe for tourists.
- The Bahai temple in Uganda is one of the only 11 remaining Bahai temples in Africa, located on one of the Kampala hills. Located on Kikaya Hill, Bahai Temple offers excellent views of the surrounding area, and tourists can walk through the gardens and enjoy a peaceful stay at the Temple with little or no interruptions. You should, however, note that taking photos while in the Temple is prohibited.
- Uganda Martyr’s Shrine, Located in Namugongo, is a religious site where the martyrs were killed under the orders of Kabaka Mwanga when they failed to comply with his rule. Every year on the 3rd of June, there are celebrations to remember the martyrs, but due to the large crowds, it is better if you go on a different day.
- With impressive architecture, the Gadaffi mosque, also known as Kampala Central Mosque, is one of the best places to visit while in Kampala city. The mosque that Idi Amin Dada initially constructed was completed by the then-president of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, hence the name. It is the largest mosque in East Africa, and when you get there, don’t forget to remove your shoes as you enter the mosque.
Other places that you can check out while in Kampala include:
- The Art galleries
- Uganda National Cultural Centre
- A boda boda ride through the city
- Mengo palace
- Namirembe Cathedral
- Rubaga Cathedral
- Nightlife around Kampala city
Uganda is known as the pearl of Africa due to all that the country has to offer, and below is a simple itinerary of 6 days you can spend in Uganda on a short safari before or after a conference. It is a mixture of wildlife viewing, primate tracking, and a trip to the Nile.
Day 1: Kampala-Jinja
We start our safari from Kampala to Jinja with a briefing about what to expect on the trip at the pickup area either within Kampala or Entebbe. With our experienced driver guide, you head to eastern Uganda, passing through Mabira forest with a stopover at Namawojjolo for the roadside roasted beef, chicken, plantain, and drinks. It is almost two hours from Kampala to Jinja without the traffic jam. Some things we get to see and do while in Jinja include a stopover at the Itanda Falls, a boat cruise, bungee jumping, white water rafting, and sport fishing, among others. We drive to Jinja town for lunch and dinner and spend the night at the hotel as we prepare for day 2.
Day 2: Jinja to Lake Mburo National Park
After breakfast, we started our journey from Jinja, drove through Kampala, and headed towards Western Uganda to Lake Mburo National Park just in time for lunch after stopping at the Equator monument to take as many photos as possible. After lunch, there are a few activities that you get to engage in, like boat rides along the Lake for about 2 hours, a game drive where you get to see the different wildlife species in the park, and bird watching before dinner and then spend an overnight at the park.
Day 3: Lake Mburo to Bwindi
After breakfast, you enjoy a morning drive around the national park with views of wildlife species, including elands, antelopes, zebras, and leopards. We then head to Mbarara town for lunch before transferring to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for a gorilla trek exercise.
Day 4: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The gorilla trek safari starts with an early morning briefing after breakfast at the headquarters, with experienced guides reminding tourists about the gorilla trekking rules and regulations. Note that this activity is the highlight of the safari. You will be then divided into groups of 8 and assigned a gorilla family to trek for a day. After locating the gorilla family, each group spends an hour with the gorillas, studying their behavior, watching them feed, and taking photos. Other activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include going on the Batwa trail, bird watching, primate walks, and cultural trips.
Day 5: Bwindi to Queen Elizabeth National Park
On day five, we set off for Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is a four-hour drive from Bwindi to the Ishasha sector, where the climbing lions are found. Queen Elizabeth is one of the most visited parks in Uganda, and activities you engage in while here include bird watching with over 615 bird species, game drives with views of animals like antelopes, lions, crocodiles, kudus, zebras, buffaloes, elephants, leopards and hippos among others.
Day 6: Departure to Kampala or Entebbe
After breakfast and a morning game drive around Queen Elizabeth, we head back to Kampala or Entebbe, which marks the safari’s end. If you are through with the conference, you will be driven to the airport for departure; if not, the driver guide will take you to your preferred accommodation facility, marking the end of the trip.
When to visit Uganda
Uganda is an all-year-round safari destination with different safari activities offered. The best time, however, is during the dry season when the wildlife can easily be spotted. However, it is peak season, and you must prepare and book for the safari in advance to enjoy it and the conference properly.
We are always available to help organize the short trips for you before or after a conference, and all you have to do is get in touch with us to plan and answer all the necessary questions you might have.