Best 6 weekend trips from Kampala

You have had a busy week and want get to out of Kampala City to explore Uganda on the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, and wondering where you can go? Below are some of the great destinations to think about that you can visit in 2 days without it being a hectic trip.

1 – Safari in Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is the number one safari destination in Uganda where you will see the best of Uganda’s wildlife and get close to the spectacular Murchison Falls – the world’s strongest waterfall. The Murchison is Uganda’s biggest national park and hosts lots of animals including; lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes, giraffes, chimps, antelopes, crocodiles, hippos, etc… The park is found about 4 – 5 hours drive from Kampala, so departing as early as 6am will give you ample time to do the boat trip on the Nile, hike to the top of the Murchison falls, and do game drive drives in the park in 2 days.

Here is our 2 day Murchison Falls safari trip package you can take a look

2 – Sipi falls hiking

The Sipi Falls are one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Uganda and are the iconic attraction of eastern Uganda. The falls are located in the foothills of Mt. Elgon and offer a wonderful hiking experience and thus a lovely adventure getaway from Kampala. If you are a hiking enthusiast and want an adventure on the weekend, the Sipi falls are a great option. The drive from Kampala to Sipi Falls is a little long, about 6 hours, and therefore you need to depart a little earlier, say 6am. In addition to the hiking, you can do the thrilling abseiling along the 100m waterfall, and also do a coffee tour in the Sipi community which does coffee growing as one of the commercial activities and going through the process of coffee growing to harvesting and processing it the local way, is a lovely experience.

Look at our 2 day Sipi Falls tour

3 – Safari in Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is a small savanna park that is not thought about a lot for safaris compared to the bigger game parks such Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park & Kidepo Valley National Park. However, having one of the best scenery in Uganda and well endowed with a wide diversity of wildlife Lake Mburo National Park is simply a gem that is wrongly overlooked, and it being the closest park to Kampala with a 3 – 4 hours drive, is one of the places that will give you a beautiful weekend safari getaway. The park is mostly known for grazing & browsing animals (plant eating) with not many predator species such as lions. Common animals include zebras, giraffes, eland, impala, bushbuck, buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, etc… Lake Mburo National Park also offers more safari activities than other safari parks including; game drives, boat trip on the lake, walking safari, horseback riding safari in the savannah, mountain biking, Ankole cow farm experience. If you are wildlife photography enthusiast Lake Mburo is perfect as wildlife is easy to encounter at close range and the beautiful scenery offers great setting.

Look at our 2 day Lake Mburo safari trip

4 – Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park and sightseeing in fort portal

Kibale National Park is the home of Uganda’s biggest population of chimps, and it is therefore the main destination for chimpanzee trekking trips in Uganda. If you want to experience a true African rainforest and have a once in lifetime opportunity to see our closest relatives, Kibale forest park will give you the best weekend trip option. Kibale is also located in one of the most scenic regions of Uganda, and on arrival in the region you would go on a sighting seeing tour through the beautiful lush landscape dotted with many of crater lakes and other interesting geographical formations. The Rwenzori mountains on a clear day tops up this incredible scenery with a lovely backdrop.

Here is our 2 day Kibale chimpanzee tracking tour

5 – Lake Victoria/Ssesse Islands getaway

Looking for a relaxation vacation on the weekend, the Ssesse Islands are by the best destination to think of. The Ssesse are an archipelago of more than 80 islands and some of them have been have been developed for tourism with beautiful resorts and lovely beaches.

6 – Jinja and river Nile adventure tour

Jinja is often referred to as the adventure capital of Uganda because of the many adventures one can do there. The Nile which starts from Lake Victoria in Jinja provides lots opportunities for adventure. Some of the many adventures you can indulge in include; taking a boat trip to the source of the Nile, rafting, tubing, and kayaking on the nile, quad biking and horse riding along the banks of the Nile, retreat at Samuka Island etc… A weekend trip to Jinja is one of the least hectic trips because Jinja is only 1 hour from Kampala. Before arriving in Jinja you can enjoy stops at Sezibwa Falls for a short walk and Mabira forest which is great for nature walks to see monkeys and also offers a thrilling zip line adventure.

Uganda offers massive discount on gorilla and chimpanzee tracking permit prices for the covid time

Uganda has made cheaper the pricey gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking activities by introducing massive discounts on the two of Uganda’s most popular wildlife activities. The promotional gorilla tracking and chimpanzee tracking permit prices shall run for four months from December 2020 to JUNE 2021.

Uganda Gorilla trekking covid promotional prices are as follows:

Foreigners visiting Uganda -> gorilla trekking permit reduced from 700USD to 400USD

Foreign residents in Uganda & East Africa -> gorilla trekking permit reduced from 600USD to 300USD

Ugandans & other East African citizens -> gorilla trekking permit reduced from 250,000 Uganda shillings (70USD) to 150,000 Uganda shillings (41USD)

Uganda chimpanzee tracking covid promotional prices are as follows:

Foreigners visiting Uganda -> chimpanzee trekking permit reduced from 200USD to 150USD

Foreign residents in Uganda & East Africa -> chimpanzee tracking permit reduced from 150USD to 100USD

Ugandans & other East African citizens -> chimpanzee tracking permit reduced from 150,000 Uganda shillings (41USD) to 100,000 Uganda shillings (27USD)

With the tourism industry down due to the corona virus pandemic, the Uganda Wildlife Authority is aiming to make visiting and touring Uganda attractive with more affordable prices on flagship activities such as the gorilla trek. With several countries easing on covid 19 pandemic lock downs and allowing international travel, and recent confirmation of covid 19 vaccines which could be available before end of the year, this is perhaps the best time to visit Uganda and take advantage of cheap prices, absence of crowds and the nature being at its best as we come out of the wet season that leaves the environment lush and scenery spectacular. There has also been a 50% discount on access fees to several safari parks such as Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park to make a tour in Uganda very affordable.

Below is the official communication from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) regarding the promotional prices

 

Boat Cruise Safari on the River Nile in Murchison Falls National Park

murchison falls boat safari

I know, most of us get onto the popular Murchison Falls boat cruise knowing we will see the aquatic wild but, we still can’t fully predict in which manner we will find these beautiful creatures. That’s the beauty of a boat cruise at any day in Murchison falls national park!

Whether it’s the grey skies or the bright blue skies, it’s always an amazing journey and one like no another ….you can always be assured of safety as a life jacket is provided for everyone and a little briefing right before you begin the cruise on the waters of the Victoria Nile is done to give you precautions on safety.

There has never been any recorded tragedy during the so many cruises that have been done before. It has always been a good practice to make sure that tourists like you and i are safe during the boat cruise and therefore, great caution is always taken right before tourists get on board.

The cost of this activity is $30 per person, refreshments are always available on the boat, which cost a very affordable fee. The cruises have a fixed schedule every day that is to say, you are free to choose between a morning or afternoon boat cruise. The morning boat cruise is at 9am while as the afternoon boat cruise is at 2pm.

The cruise is approximately 2hours or 3hours, all this time you will not know how the time will run so fast because you will be busy lost in the moment of beautiful pictures of Nile crocodiles , Hippos and most common on the shores drinking water , antelopes and at times even elephants. All the while, a tour guide will be explaining away the various animal habits of those that you see, how they feed, their weight, gestation period and so much more. The boat cruise is not only enjoyable but also an informative activity for all age groups. Above all, you will get to interact with other people from different parts of the world who are enjoying the boat cruise like you are and for me that’s the added excitement to this activity, meeting new people and being drawn under a common cause, tourism and more so cramped comfortably in one boat and just being able to share in the passion you both have for nature.

hippos in the nile in murchison falls national park

Another one, of the most interesting things about the boat cruise is the spot along the Victoria Nile where Ernest Hemingway, an American author of the time had two plane crushes with his wife. Having come with an intention of taking pictures of the Murchison falls, their plane crushed and another at their rescue, barely made it for takeoff when it crushed too. It’s an interesting story as the tour guide himself gives it to you in detail, you will be amazed.

The boat takes you closer to the spectacular Murchison falls, here you can get out with the help of the tour guide and take plenty of pictures with the falls in the background. That has got to be the most exciting memory to keep with you for years. Or, you can go on a hike to the top of the Murchison Falls, which is highly recommended as you will get to enjoy the best views of the spectacular waterfalls. However you must communicated with your tour driver who is supposed to pick you from the top of the falls since you do not go back with the boat cruise.

I don’t really know what you have heard or what your past experience was like but , I can assure of this , boat cruises in Murchison falls national park just get more and more interesting with every other new experience!

The boat cruise safari is done as part of a multi day safari in the Murchison Falls National Park. It is a highlight of our safari trips to Murchison Falls National Park; 2 days Murchison Falls trip & 3 days Murchison Falls tour (with optional rhino tracking in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary)

Hiking to top of the falls in Murchison Falls National Park

Hiking is a typical hard adventure activity that is quite interesting to involve oneself in, at Murchison Falls National Park it gets even better!

After the 2 hour long amazing Boat Safari along the River Nile reaching at the base of the Murchison Falls the group which is set to do the top of the falls hike will get off the boat to meet the waiting ranger at the set off point!

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we get off the boat to the starting place of the hike up the Murchison Falls

The hike starts right off at bakers point, here Sir Samuel Baker, a famous explorer of the time, stood on a huge rock (that you will also stand on) to declare the beautiful falls in 1864 as Murchison Falls, like they are famously known to be today.

You will begin to be so inquisitive walking in his shoes and for a moment imagine what was going through his head as he took a stroll through nature’s untouched beauty amidst the most amazing scenery.

A tour guide is always provided for the hike to explain certain features and answer all your questions.

the-murchison-falls
notice the form (whitish.. milky stuff)

One of the things that intrigued me almost immediately was the white form that these falls make. For a long while since, I had been ignorantly believing that the force at which the water comes through the narrow space between the rocks was the cause of the form , but the tour guide clearly brought me out of ignorance by explaining that; Leaves fall into the water and decompose and as they mix with some rock mineral, they form that white form as water comes gushing out of the narrow plum. Standing at that point you can see clearly the Murchison falls and take lots and lots of great pictures.

enjoying-the-murchison-falls
Getting off the trail for a moment to enjoy the magnificent views of the Murchison Falls

After of course, a few minutes of briefing and the endless clicks of the camera, you will begin the hike, which may take from forty five minutes to one and half hours, depending on how big the group is, and needless to say, how fit everyone is.. Ha-ha. Having gone for a hike myself not too long ago, I know exactly what it takes.

Hiking to top of the falls in Murchison falls national park, could be best described as, running a huge marathon that gets you a gold medal when you do win in the end, like any other hike, you have done before , it’s no easy one . There is a long stretch of steps that you will keep ascending until you reach the top, you will feel like crawling at some point from exhaustion and yet with every step you ascend, the fall’s view gets even better and better. Even its sister fall called, “Uhuru fall” suddenly comes into clear view.

uhuru-and-murchison-falls
Getting sight of Uhuru fall

Uhuru fall was formed as a result of a breaking away of water from the Murchison falls, forming another fall right at the time of Uganda’s independence in 1962 hence giving it the name “Uhuru”, a Kiswahili word that means independence. The scenery at this point, is simply spectacular.

Finally, you have made it! Top of the falls. Here you will forget all the pain and toiling through the endless steps, as the cool fresh air blows away the exhaustion and the beautiful music ,quickly reaches your ears, from the falls as they join hands with huge rocks in a loud clap , and the soft splashes, almost like little drizzles from heaven fall on your face. It’s so refreshing, so beautiful. You can stay here forever!

murchison-falls-uganda
the reward of reaching the top – simply breathtaking

top-of-the-murchison-falls

The entire River Nile squeezes through a tiny space of 7 meters between the rocks, emerging with a powerful explosion and plunging 42 meters to the bottom. This is also the world’s strongest waterfall!

Would you like you to experience this wonderful adventure in Murchison Falls National Park, you can book one of these trips to Murchison Falls National Park; 2 days Murchison Falls trip and 3 days Murchison Falls tour (with optional rhino tracking in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary)