The focus of tourism in Uganda is undoubtedly the Mountain Gorillas, being one of only three places where you can trek to see these particular primates, neighbouring Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo being the other two. Uganda is a landlocked country in eastern Africa and largely relies on transport connections through Kenya, with international travellers often flying into Nairobi before transferring to Uganda’s capital Kampala, which is said to be built on seven hills, although in reality there are many more. Here you will find ‘western’ style shopping in Garden City and modern-day living (compared to the rest of the country) not an obvious choice for sightseeing, but if you are interested in the heritage and religious history you may wish to visit Gaddafi National Mosque built by former Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi now known as the Uganda National Mosque in Old Kampala, Baha’i Temple, the Christian Cathedral Namirembe, and Rubaga Cathedral displaying a memorial to the first African Catholic bishop in Uganda. There are guided tours around Lubiri (Mengo) Palace the royal compound of the Kabaka or king of Buganda, and within the grounds, let us not forget, the infamous torture chambers of Idi Amin.
Leaving the city, Uganda really comes to life. In the words of Winston Churchill, “ For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life - bird, insect, reptile, beast - for vast scale - Uganda is truly the pearl of Africa". It lies in the region of the African Great Lakes, a series of lakes forming part of the Rift Valley Lakes, surrounding the East African Rift. So, lots of water-sports on offer from white water rafting and kayaking on the rapids of the River Nile at Jinja, to fishing and leisure boat rides exploring the lakes of Victoria, Mburo and Bunyonyi for buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles and a wide variety of birds. The Rwenzori Mountains and the peaks of Mount Gahinga, Sabyinyo and Elgon also offer a wonderful landscape perfect for mountain climbing, hiking and nature walks.
The wildlife of Uganda makes game viewing the most popular tourist activity and there are several national parks where you will see giraffes, antelopes and elephants, but the unique tree climbing lions can only be admired in Queen Elizabeth National Park and the vast majority of Mountain Gorillas live in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where visitors have been allowed restricted access since 1993.
Investment in tourism is increasing and adventure, eco and cultural tourism are all being developed by Uganda’s Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage. However, it is the responsibility of the world at large to help protect this very special habitat and its very precious and exclusive residents, and for us as tourists, to tread very carefully when pursuing our dream to watch.