Tourism is a booming sector in Uganda. Over recent year’s tourism has significantly contributed to the growth of Uganda’s economy. Tourism is a major driver of investment, employment, and foreign exchange. It contributes a lump some amounts to Uganda’s GDP every year.
Uganda tourism is majorly focused on the country’s landscape and wildlife. Key tourist attractions include national parks, game reserves, tropical rainforests, and traditional sites. Here is everything travelers need to know about Uganda tourism:
Uganda tourist numbers
In 2019 alone Uganda registered close to 3 million international tourists. In 2018 the country received 1.8 million tourists and 1.4 million in 2017. Uganda’s tourism statistics show a steady rise in the number of tourists that visit the country with each passing year.
Uganda’s tourism spectrum
Uganda’s tourism is diverse. Uganda receives different kinds of tourists who come to do and see different things all year round:
Uganda Leisure tourism
Uganda tourism thrives on the country’s many fun and leisure destinations. Tourists flock national parks, game reserves, and recreational centers to pass their time on game viewing drives, boat cruises, sightseeing, birding watching, hiking expeditions, primate walks, and treks.
Uganda Cultural tourism
Uganda hosts big cultural festivals and exhibitions throughout the year. Several museums, galleries, crafts, and cultural centers are usually flooded with tourists who are interested in knowing more about the country’s diverse culture. Uganda tourism undoubtedly flourishes because of the country’s cultural wealth.
Uganda Religious tourism
All-year-round Uganda receives tourists who are interested in exploring the various religious monuments and sites found in the different parts of the country. In late May and early June, Uganda hosts thousands of pilgrims who come to commemorate the death of the Uganda martyrs on 3rd June.
Uganda Business tourism
The county receives a significant number of foreign nationals each year who enter the country for the purpose of business and investment. With the government offering incentives to foreign investors, business tourism becomes inevitable.
Educational Uganda tourism
Uganda receives students and education tourists throughout the year. Foreigners from various nations come to Uganda for the purpose of studying and learning, or with the intent of teaching and transferring skills to a group or school for a specified period of time.
Though the numbers are still low, Uganda does receive nationals of other countries who travel to obtain medical treatment in the country. Most medical tourists come to Uganda to receive lower-priced medical treatment.
Uganda National Parks and Game Reserves
Uganda tourism has been greatly boosted by the country’s national parks and reserves:
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a habitat to over 600 bird species and 95 mammal species including the famous tree-climbing lions.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are the only places in the country where mountain gorillas can be observed in their natural habitat. Uganda has more than half of the world’s endangered mountain gorilla population.
Uganda tourism is also boosted by Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Kibale National Park, Semuliki National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, and Mount Elgon National Park. The parks are flooded by tourists all year round.
Pian Upe, Toro-Semiliki, Matheniko, East Madi, Kambura, Kigezi, Katonga, Karuma, Kabwoya, Bugungu, Ajai, and Bokora Corridor, are some of the wildlife reserves most visited by tourists in Uganda.
Uganda is home to over 350 mammal species including Africa’s big five; the African Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, and Rhinoceros. More wildlife to see in Uganda’s national parks includes; 29 antelope species, 18 habituated mountain gorilla families, chimpanzees, golden monkeys, hippos, giraffes, spotted hyenas, warthogs, and over 1061 bird species including the prized shoebill stork. Uganda tourism is greatly boosted by the country’s noteworthy mass of wildlife.
The Mountains in Uganda
Most famous are the Rwenzoris, a mountain range situated on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The mountain range is the location of Margherita, Africa’s third highest mountain peak. The highest peaks in the range are snow-capped throughout the year.
Hiking the Rwenzori peaks is a major – adventure in Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Also found in the park are many lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers.
The other mountains that attract tourists include; Mount Elgon; an extinct shield volcano situated on the border of Uganda and Kenya, Mount Morungole found in Kidepo Valley National Park close to Uganda’s border with Sudan, Mountain Gahinga, Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Kadam, and Mountain Muhabura.
Lakes in Uganda
Found in Uganda is Lake Victoria; Africa’s largest lake by area and the world’s largest tropical lake. Lake Victoria is the location of many beaches, islands, and recreational sites where tourists go on holiday and leisure safaris. Fishing, boat cruising, bird watching, sightseeing, beach soccer, and swimming, are some of the fun activities’ tourists enjoy on Lake Victoria and its shores.
The other lakes that have encouraged Uganda tourism include; Lake Bunyonyi (translated the place of many little birds), Lakes George and Edward found in the vicinity of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo, Lake Albert, and Lake kyoga.
Rivers in Uganda
Most famous is the River Nile, the longest river in Africa and disputedly the longest river in the world. Several researchers have argued that the Nile only comes second-longest after the Amazon river.
Whichever way, River Nile stands out as a major Uganda tourist attraction. Thousands of tourists visit its source in Jinja town throughout the year.
White water rafting, quad biking, bungee jumping, canoeing, jet boating, and fishing, are some of the adventure tourists get to enjoy when they visit River Nile in Jinja.
The other rivers commonly visited by tourists include; Kidepo and Narus rivers in Kidepo Valley National Park, Sezibwa, Semliki, Katonga, and Kafu rivers, found in the different regions of Uganda.
The Hotsprings in Uganda
Uganda’s hot springs are a fascinating tourist attraction. Most amusing are the myths surrounding each spring. Most visited hot springs include; Sempaya, a pair of hot springs that boils to over 100 degrees Celsius. The male and female Sempaya hot springs are believed to be the residence of gods responsible for financial prosperity and childbirth, respectively.
Kitagata, Rwagimba, Buranga, Amoropii, Ihimba, and Kibiro, are the other usually visited hot springs. Locals can be found bathing in the hot springs for healing, and boiling food especially eggs and Matooke. Uganda tourism thrives on natural attractions like the fascinating hot springs among other attractions.