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Epic Shots in Uganda: Top 5 Photographic Safari Highlights

Author: Selene Brophy - 12 March 2024

Part of the African Safari Collection

Uganda’s  lush rainforests, rolling hills, and shimmering lakes make it an ideal  landscape photography safari destination. 

Known as the ‘Pearl of Africa’, Uganda is one of the few places in the world where you can embark on a gorilla trekking experience to capture intimate scenes of these remarkable creatures in their natural habitat. 

Beyond the gorillas, the country is also home to a variety of other primate species, including chimpanzees, golden monkeys, and baboons.  

Coupled with over 1,000 bird species recorded, Uganda provides the ideal backdrops against which to capture its endemic birdlife. 

Home to a variety of big game species, including elephants, lions, leopards, and buffalo, Uganda offers wildlife photographers ample opportunity to capture wild animals in a variety of scenic habitats. 

For a completely different perspective, photographers can head out on a boat safari on Uganda’s numerous lakes and rivers to capture pods of hippos, elephants drinking, and thriving birdlife along the riverbanks. 

Uganda’s diverse ethnic groups and rich cultural heritage provide photographers with the chance to capture unique culture and traditions, from ceremonies and dances to daily village life.

Here are our top 5 destinations for a photographic safari in Uganda:

1. Lake Bunyonyi

With its crystal-clear waters, verdant islands, and surrounding hills, Lake Bunyonyi is often described as one of the most beautiful lakes in Uganda. 

Dotted with over 29 islands, photographers can take boat trips around the lake and explore traditional fishing villages and lush vegetation. 

Over 200 bird species have been recorded in the area, making it a prime destination for avian photographers.

For photographers seeking a bit of adrenaline, the lake offers a range of adventure activities, from canoeing and kayaking to mountain biking and hiking. 

Lake Bunyonyi is surrounded by communities of the Bakiga people, who have lived in the area for centuries. Visitors to these enclaves can document traditional activities like fishing, farming, and basket weaving.

In fact, a number of community tourism initiatives have been established around the lake to provide authentic, ethical cultural experiences that shine a light on the local way of life. 

Easily accessible from major cities like Kampala and Kigali, this stunning destination is an ideal stop on a photographic safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda.
A trip to the landlocked country in Africa reveals visual surprises. | Photo credit: Unsplash

2. Sipi Falls

A series of three spectacular waterfalls cascading down the slopes of Mount Elgon, Sipi Falls offers excellent opportunities for long exposure shots of the flowing water. 

Surrounded by lush greenery, rolling hills, and terraced farmland, the falls are a delight for landscape photographers. 

There are a number of hiking trails leading to epic viewpoints, and plenty of guides on hand to show you the best locations for unforgettable shots. In addition, the forests and wetlands surrounding the falls are home to a variety of colorful bird species, including sunbirds, turacos, and kingfishers.

Sipi Falls is situated in the heart of the Bugisu region, home to the Bagisu people. Photographers looking to add a human element to their portfolios can engage with these communities and ethically document their traditions, customs, and way of life. 

The falls also offer a host of adventure activities, from abseiling and rock climbing to mountain biking and canyoning. For an agricultural perspective, photographers can visit one of the many coffee plantations in the area to capture Arabica coffee being harvested among the verdant landscape.

3. Ssese Islands

Easily accessible from Entebbe or Kampala by speedboat or ferry, the Ssese Island are a group of 84 islands located on Lake Victoria. 

The islands offer photographers a tropical paradise, complete with crystal-clear waters, lush vegetation, and palm-fringed beaches. Ideal for island hopping, photographers can explore the unique charms of these islands and capture captivating landscapes. Home to a vast variety of bird species, the islands are a haven for avian photographers who can look forward to capturing interesting species like kingfishers, herons, and weavers.

Lake Victoria offers a range of water activities you can enjoy between capturing island life, including kayaking, fishing, and boat cruises offering a picturesque perspective of the shoreline. 

The Ssese Islands are inhabited by the Baganda people who are very welcoming and happy to share their traditional dances, cultural ceremonies and daily life. Some of the islands are also home to primate species like vervet monkeys and colobus monkeys – great subjects for wildlife photographers. 

At the end of a day in paradise, the sunset views over the lake make for spectacular golden hour photography. 

A pair of lions rest in the shade. | Photo credit: Unsplash

4. Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world, where the Nile River plunges down a narrow gorge. 

Capturing these mighty waters is a thrilling experience for any landscape photographer, but the park also offers other diverse landscapes, from savannah plains and woodlands to riverine forests. 

Wildlife is abundant here, and wildlife photographers will be kept busy capturing animals such as elephants, giraffes, buffalo, lions, leopards, and an array of antelope species.

Boat safaris along the Nile offer photographers the chance to capture unique scenery and wildlife like hippos and crocodiles from a completely different perspective. 

Over 450 bird species have been recorded here, including the rare shoebill stork, kingfishers, eagles, and vultures, so avian photographers can expect plenty of winged action. 

Located within the park, you’ll find Budongo Forest Reserve, which offers fascinating chimpanzee tracking experiences. The park is also home to diverse ethnic groups, including the Acholi, Alur, and Jonam people, always keen to share their customs and traditions with visiting photographers.

5. Lake Victoria

The largest lake in Africa, Lake Victoria offers visiting photographers a wealth of photographic opportunities, from fiery sunsets and bustling fish markets to lush islands and picturesque shorelines. 

Home to diverse ethnic communities, including the Baganda, Basoga, and Luo people, life along the lake’s shores is filled with cultural traditions and customs that make for fascinating shots. 

Easily accessible from Entebbe, Kampala, and Kisumu, the lake is part of a network of protected areas aimed at conserving natural beauty and biodiversity. 

Visitors can look forward to a range of water activities in unspoiled settings, like swimming, kayaking, sailing, and fishing. Lake Victoria has played an important role in the history and development of East Africa, and there’s no shortage of historical landmarks and colonial-era buildings to photograph around the lake.

As you can tell by now, Uganda offers photographers abundant wildlife, epic scenery, and thrilling encounters with animals in the wild. Wherever you choose to go, speak to a safari expert at Discover Africa today about planning your tailor-made, luxury photographic safari.

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