Eastern Uganda

While Western Uganda has the wildlife, Eastern Uganda has the adrenaline adventures. The source of the Nile River lies in the region, and this mighty body of water is where you can experience some of the best white-water rafting on the planet. Lying on the shores of Lake Victoria, charming Jinja is known as East Africa’s adrenaline capital, and rafting is not the only activity that gets hearts pumping: bungee jumping and paragliding are also in the mix. There are more sedate activities on offer in Jinja too, from stand-up paddle boarding on gentler stretches of the river to boat cruises. Straddling Uganda’s eastern border with Kenya, Mount Elgon National Park is a fantastic trekking destination and offers the chance to climb Africa’s eighth tallest mountain. enter image description here

Highlights

Jinja is the top destination in Eastern Uganda, and the regional capital makes a perfect place to base yourself for a few days. There’s lots to do here at the source of the Nile River, whether you’re looking for high-paced adrenaline thrills or more laidback fun. White-water rafting on the Nile’s powerful rapids over a day or on two-day trips is the biggest draw, while other water-based activities will keep you entertained: choose from kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, fishing trips and relaxing boat cruises to islands. On land you can go bungee-jumping off a riverside cliff, quad biking, mountain biking or go on horseback safaris along the banks of the Nile.

Running along the Kenyan border, Mount Elgon National Park is centred around Mount Elgon, a huge extinct volcano which is Uganda’s second highest peak and the eighth tallest in Africa. The appeal of climbing Mount Elgon lies in the ease (you don’t have to have any special experience or equipment to climb the mountain – just a good level of fitness), low numbers of other climbers and budget-friendly cost compared with other peaks in East Africa. The climb is a four- to six-day round trip, and you’ll pass through beautiful scenery of tropical montane forest and bamboo glades and spot blue monkey and black-and-white colobus while trekking. enter image description here

Lying on the edge of Mount Elgon National Park, Sipi Falls is made up of a series of three beautiful waterfalls and is the starting point for hiking routes that take you up Mount Elgon. It’s a great place to base yourself for a few days if you want to do some gentle day hikes in the scenic foothills of the volcano.

Practical information

  • If you’re going to climb Mount Elgon, pack appropriate warm clothing with you as it can get very cold at night. While you can hike year-round, the best months to go trekking are the dry ones – from June to August and December to February.

  • The Isimba Dam, a controversial hydroelectric power project on the White Nile, is under construction some 60 kilometres downstream from Jinja. It’s unclear when it will be completed, but once finished, the dam will flood some of the rapids on the one-day rafting trips offered by the activity companies in Jinja. If you’re planning to go rafting on the Nile, it’s a good idea to check the status of the dam and what rafting trips are being offered with the adventure companies in Jinja before you travel.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 1

Entebbe, arrival
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 2

Semliki, a birders paradise
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 3

Semliki, focus on Shoebill

day 4

day 5

to Kibale for some Chimps
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 6

Kyambura Gorge, Queen
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 7

Ishasha, Queen's wild side
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 8

Bwindi and more forest birds
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 9

Gorillas while you there

day 10

day 11

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Getting around in Uganda

One way to travel Uganda independently is by hiring your own car. Hiring a 4x4 is highly recommended, because most roads are unpaved and are often extremely bumpy and potholed, and most of the roads in the national parks are only suitable for 4x4s. However, driving on rough Ugandan roads is not for the feint hearted, and if you don’t have much experience driving in Africa it might be…

An affordable safari in Uganda

Credit: Gopackup Travel during the low season rainy months of April, May, October and November for discounts on travel packages, lodges and gorilla tracking permits. If you’re planning on going chimpanzee trekking, do some research on the cost of permits in different reserves, as the prices vary as widely as US$40 in Kalinzu Forest up to Kibale Forest’s US$150. To save on…

Is Uganda safe?

Uganda is generally a safe and stable country but there are a few things to be aware of. When in cities and towns use the same precautions that you would anywhere; don’t flaunt your valuables, be aware of your bag when you’re in crowded places and don’t leave valuables in your car. Be careful when you’re walking or driving at night. Avoid political demonstrations in cities as…

Family safari in Uganda

Credit: Steven Dieveney Uganda is a wonderful choice for a family safari holiday, offering some of the most memorable wildlife experiences on the continent, game drives in national parks without the crowds, island and lakeside beaches to while away relaxing days and more outdoors activities than you can shake a GoPro stick at. For a family holiday in Uganda, Western Uganda is the top…

Uganda in February

Credit: Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp February is a relatively dry month in Uganda, so it’s a good time to visit national parks in the south and go gorilla trekking. In the north of the country it’s particularly hot and dusty and not an ideal time for wildlife viewing. ...

Food and tipping in Uganda

Tipping in Uganda is not obligatory but many travellers do leave tips – and this extra money really helps boost the income of people working in the tourism industry. For restaurants, you can tip 10% for good service, and if you want to tip a taxi driver, then you can round up your fare. It’s usual to tip drivers, safari and gorilla tracking guides and porters at the end of a safari…

Popular Uganda Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

Birding through Uganda

This is a safari for the serious birder wanting to see exciting new bird species, as well as chimpanzees and mountain gorillas...

Chimpanzee | The Primates of Uganda & Rwanda

Primates and wildlife of Uganda and Rwanda

See mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, golden monkeys and tree-climbing lions, take a boat cruise and visit Rwanda's genocide memorial ...