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.

Gorilla trekking on a budget – tips on how to save and have a cheap gorilla tour

Gorilla trekking is a must do wildlife adventure if you are planning a safari trip to Africa to see her wildlife. The gorilla trekking adventure involves walking into the heart of the African jungle to meet a family of gorillas led by the enormous silverback gorilla and spend time observing the world’s biggest apes that also share up to 98% DNA with humans. It is such a life changing experience!

Uganda and Rwanda are the two popular destinations for the gorilla trekking adventure. The gorilla tour is often done as an extra tour to the big game safaris in the more famous big game countries of Kenya and Tanzania targeted mostly the great migration wonder.

But is the gorilla trek so expensive…?

Gorilla trekking is however an expensive tour and because many travelers want to think about it after planning for the big game safari, they find this extra expense too big to include on their already expensive African safari vacation.

The gorilla trekking permit/ticket in Rwanda costs a whopping $1500, while gorilla trekking ticket in Uganda costs a whole $700. These prices are for the ticket or activity alone without the other expenses of the trip such as transportation, meals, accommodation, etc… The ticket prices alone could be the total cost of a safari in Kenya or Tanzania..

So how can you plan for gorilla trekking on a budget and still be able to afford a safari?

Below I discuss some tip that could be helpful depending on low a budget you may be working with…

Gorilla trekking in Uganda vs Rwanda

Deciding the country for your gorilla may well be influenced by your budget.

Uganda which has a cheaper gorilla ticket costing $700 is in most cases more suitable for budget travelers.

Rwanda on the other hand whose gorilla ticket costing twice that of Uganda at $1500 is attracting more of the high end travelers who can easily afford the expensive ticket.

However note that Rwanda being a small country and the gorillas being located about two and half hours’ drive from the capital Kigali and the airport, it is possible to do a one day gorilla trip in Rwanda thereby cutting down on costs of accommodation and transportation of a multiday tour. This would also make the gorilla trek in Rwanda more affordable

Book a group tour

A group tour is perhaps the best option to have a cheap tour. A group tour enables you share transport cost which is perhaps the biggest cost on the trip which you cannot do away with and yet have little or no alternatives.

On the group tour you may also share accommodation reducing the cost of the trip even further.

Note that the cost of the gorilla ticket cannot be shared.

Do a self-drive

The self-drive means you hire a car and drive self on your entire trip. This lowers on the cost of the transportation as you eliminate the cost of the driver.

The self-drive trip also gives you flexibility on choosing the cheapest places to sleep and eat while on the go.

However choosing the self-drive denies you the wealth of knowledge of the country shared by a good driver guide. It also comes with fatigue from driving and stress of driving on poor roads and the difficulty of finding the right direction.

Sleep at budget lodges

Sleeping at cheaper accommodation (2-star) will help lower the cost of the gorilla trip. However note that budget accommodation in Africa is not the same standard as western budget accommodation. So once you decide to go for cheaper hotels and lodges you should lower your expectations too.

Trek during the low tourism season

The “low season”  is the period with few tourist numbers. This low season also coincides with the rainy season and that is April to May, and then Oct to November. The low season comes with several lodges discounting on the prices, so you will get good accommodation at a lower cost. The gorilla permit may also be discounted (previously it was the case), but at the moment there is no discount on gorilla permits during the low season.

Book a budget gorilla trip

Browse and choose from one of the following packages and ask to be quoted budget accommodation and transportation

2 day Rwanda gorilla tour

3 days Uganda gorilla tour

3 days gorilla tracking in Uganda starting from Rwanda’s Kigali

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.

Cost & time of the Murchison Falls Boat Cruise to the bottom of the falls

The cost of the Murchison Falls boat cruise is between $30 – 35$ per person (for international tourists) & from UGX30000 per person (for East African citizens), 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 8am while as the afternoon boat cruise is at 2pm.

The Murchison Falls boat cruises start at Paraa & are operated by Uganda Wildlife Authority (cheapest option) the managers of the park, Paraa Safari Lodge and Wildlife Frontiers

How long is the Murchison Falls boat cruise to the bottom of the falls and what do you expect to see along the Nile

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!

You can also do the Murchison Falls boat cruise to the Lake Albert Delta point

The most popular and done boat cruise safari in Murchison Falls National Park is the one up the river to the bottom of the Murchison Falls and is often combine with the hike to the top of the Murchison Falls.

However there is another boat cruise that goes the other way down the stream to the delta point where the Nile joins Lake Albert. A slow sail down the calm Nile after raging through the falls, is great for birding and watching several wildlife along the river bank. For bird lovers, the highlight is possibly spotting the Shoebill in the marshes at the Delta.

If you have been to Murchison Falls National Park and done the boat cruise safari to the bottom of the falls, you can opt for the boat cruise to the delta for a different experience.

The Murchison Falls boat cruise to the delta is operated by Wildlife Frontiers departing at 7am.

How to prepare for the Boat Cruises in Murchison Falls National Park

The boat cruises do not require much preparation. You can dress as casual as you wish. Depending on the weather (take note of weather patterns in Uganda) you can put on light clothing or warm clothing.

You may need shades.

If you have sensitive skin you can apply sunscreen.

If you will be going off the boat cruise at the bottom of the falls for the hike to the top of the falls you will need to wear closed shoes, and apply insect repellent as you will encounter tsetse flies.

Trips to Murchison Falls National Park

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;

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

the reward of reaching the top – simply breathtaking


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!

How difficult is the hike and what level of fitness do I need for the top of the Murchison Falls hike

The hike can be categorized as easy to moderate, literally anyone can do it without needing much fitness.

It is short distance from the bottom to the top but has some steep sections which can be challenging for the elderly and those with leg injuries, so it may not be easy or even doable for them.

Luckily it is a slow paced hike with frequent stops made along the way to enjoy views of the falls.

The hiking trail which runs along the cliff is safely farther enough from the raging water, while there are guard rails in some dangerous spots.

How to prepare for the top of the Murchison Falls hike

To better prepare for the Murchison Falls hike carry the following with you:

  • Closed shoes, such as sneakers will be just enough. No need for tough hiking shoes, but shoes with good traction will give you an extra advantage
  • Sunscreen to protect from sunburn as you walk under direct sunlight
  • Insect repellent to keep away Tsetse flies which are present at the top of the falls.
  • Waterproof bag to protect your electrical devices from splashes of water
  • Light clothing to keep cool as it gets quite hot during the afternoon.

Take a tour to Murchison Falls National Park and hike to the falls

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

3 days Murchison Falls tour (with optional rhino tracking in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary)


In 2021 the region received a lot of rain resulting in the increase in the volume of water in the Nile which expanded and burst its banks in many areas. In Murchison Falls National Park it also resulted in submerging part of the trail rendering it inaccessible. The hike is therefore closed until further notice. The park management is waiting for the water levels to drop so that another trail can be created!

In the meantime you can drive directly to the top of the Murchison Falls on a smooth paved road. Starting from the top you can hike down to a certain point along the trail and then return back to the top of the falls.