Uganda is renowned for its mountain gorillas and often times that sheds a shadow on other attractions especially towns. There are amazing towns that are worthy visiting in Uganda. In towns like Entebbe, Fort Portal, Mbale, Jinja there’s something that makes such towns look attractive to visit on a safari. It could be the beaches in Entebbe and Sesse islands of Lake Victoria which are pleasant for sunbathing, swimming, the presence of adventure activities like rafting and bungee jumping in Jinja or nature and wildlife excursions in Fort Portal or Mbale, less traffic and crowds or food and culture. Below are the 5 favorite towns of Uganda and attractions you can see when you visit one of them.
Jinja Town on River Nile, the adventure capital of East Africa
Jinja Town is the adventure capital of Uganda. Located along the shores of Lake Victoria, Jinja is most known for being the the source the Nile River! Being a prime location of the Source of the world’s longest river makes Jinja a well known town in Uganda. It is the adventure capital given that lots of adventure activities most developed basing on aquatic tourism. Jinja is the best destination for white water rafting in East Africa.
Jinja it has good access to the River Nile and Lake Victoria providing the best outdoor adventure and recreation activities such as white water rafting from grade 1-5, family floats, sunset boat cruises, house boat stays, kayaking, bungee jumping, swimming, horseback riding, all terrain quad biking, backpacking and camping trips, cycling, bird watching and fishing.
For weekend holiday breaks, visitors can plan 1 day or 2 days tour to Jinja town which is only 2 hours drive from Kampala city. If you are worried about where to stay, there is a lot of options that await you. Accommodation ranges from luxury to budget lodges and hotels as well as camping places! There are lots of bars and restaurants located on the river side. The town can also be explored on foot if you want to shop crafts, food or take photos of Indian architectural buildings like Indian temple. Just minutes from the town, you can also visit the Nile breweries, where popular beer brands like Nile Special, Club, Nile Gold, and Castle Lite are produced.
Other attractions, you can visit include the Hydro-electric power stations of Bujagali and Owen Falls Dam which generate electricity to Uganda and Kenya.
Situated on the shores of Lake Victoria the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the world, Entebbe Town is an another enchanting town that is worthy exploring. The town is the ultimate gateway to Uganda given that it has the International Airport, the main gateway to Uganda. There are numerous white sand beaches ideal for beach goers and those who want sunshine, relaxation and chilling on a weekend or honeymoon.
Entebbe has Uganda’s international airport, military base and the state house of the president. As a gateway to Uganda, its where most travelers land and depart the country hence one can explore the town prior or after a safari.
Founded in 1893 as a British colonial commercial center, the history of Entebbe is worth to discover sites such as Kigungu, the first catholic martyrs church. To explore this beautiful town, there are must visit attractions and better. Entebbe zoo, the Botanical gardens, the snake park are worthy to spend a day doing activities like feeding animals including lions, giraffe, python, get up close with the chimpanzees, or walk around the gardens to sport birds. Serious birders are recommended to visit Mabamba wetland, to sport the shoebill stork but this important birding area is home to over 300 birds and accessible by a dug-out canoe.
Entebbe is especially popular for beaches like Spennah, Aero beach, Lido with restaurants, bars and direct access to water based activities like speed boating, fishing, sunset boat cruises, swimming. Tourists who may not want to stay by the shores, you rather head to Sesse islands which are accessible by a ferry that departs Entebbe every day at 08am and 2pm. Bulago are the islands with luxury, budget accommodation as well as camp sites with campfires. Plenty of activities can be done like visiting fishing villages, boat cruise, canoeing and cycling.
For more chimpanzee experience, Ngamba islands accessible by 2 hours boat ride is home to 49 chimps which are taken care of after rescue from poachers.
Fort Portal Town
Fort Portal Town is located on the foothills of Mountains of the Moon in Kabarore district western Uganda. Fort portal is set to become a forest city, due to the tree planting policy that has made it the cleanest town in Uganda.
The variety of natural attractions surrounding the town such as the 40 plus rift valley crater lakes, Kibale forest, Semuliki hot springs and the views of Mount Rwenzori is what sets fort portal town apart. Tourists can stay in the town and arrange nature and wildlife day tours such as chimp tracking, game drive, birding, nature walks and top of the world’s hike, exploring the Amabeere caves, bathing in the healing waters of Sempaya hot springs of Semuliki national park and many more.
Fort Portal is also one of the historic and cultural towns in Uganda. Named after Gerald Portal a British Imperialist, Fort Portal still holds traditional. Home to Toro Kingdom, the palace is a fine piece of architecture and the burial grounds of the former three kings of Toro lie about 7 meters south of the town. Cultural rituals like Batooro name giving ceremony are usually conducted at the palace and open for travelers.
Particular historical sites to visit include Amabeere caves with cascading waterfalls on the side are located about 10km from the town. Although the caves are stalagmites and stalactites, there’s an interesting myth of the Bachwezi Empire you can listen to while enjoying a walk through the forest to the waterfalls.
The weather is cool, scenery is beautiful, Fort is a romantic town and there’s always some event or festival going on every night/day. Every day local people flock to Mpanga market, where farmers including women sell fresh fruits, locally grown tea and craft products. Visitors can try exploring the Mpanga Tea plantations.
Tourists can get to Fort Portal town from Kampala by 4 hours drive. From Queen Elizabeth national park or Kibale forest, getting to the town takes less than 1 hour drive.
Mbale Town is located in Eastern Uganda about 52km from Mount Elgon, the world’s largest caldera base and 5th tallest mountain in East Africa. Mbale is the gateway to uganda’s attractions in eastern and northern Uganda including Pian Upe Game Reserve, Kidepo Valley National Park and Mount Elgon National Park.
Mbale used to be the cleanest town of Uganda and it is one of the best towns to relax and wind in Uganda.
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda. This is the administrative town and business capital of Uganda. Frequented by many tourists this is the ultimate gateway to Uganda’s other towns. Visitors and residents of Kampala are familiar with its major shopping malls, craft and food markets, hotels, restaurants, night life, places of warship, historical and cultural heritage attractions, etc.