Why you should visit these five places this year

According to yoga enthusiast and writer Vicky Iskandar, travel is a powerful way to heal the soul, cleanse the mind, and open the heart. Whether you spend your time in the middle of nowhere, on a secluded island, at a group retreat, or alone in a bustling city, being in a different environment has been known to be therapeutic to your mind, body, and soul.

The first month of the New Year is almost over, and if there is anything you should prioritize this year, it is visiting places that refresh, rejuvenate and renew you. We all need it at some point as work, family and responsibilities can cause a lot of stress.

Uganda has on several occasions been named as one of the best travel destinations in the world, with a hospitable population and affordable services. It is richly blessed with stunning tourist attractions spread all over the country. Here are the top 5 tourist destinations you should visit in 2022.

Jinja City

Jinja is a town located on the shores of Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile and home to Owen Falls Dam.

Of course, we cannot talk about the pearl without applauding the River Nile.  Further north on the river, Itanda Falls is known for its white-water rapids. East of Jinja, on Lake Victoria, Samuka Island is home to birdlife, including little Egrets.  There are also a number of falls to visit where one beholds the beauty of nature including the Busowoko Falls, the new discovery of the town. Busowoko Falls is one of the least major falls on the River Nile after several others including the once-famous Bujagali Falls, the Ripon Falls as well as the Griffin Falls.

Jinja’s strategic location makes it a tourists’ haven of fun activities. Some of these activities include Kayaking on the lake, boating, rafting, cruising, bungee jumping and fishing, among others. Apart from water activities, visitors may also indulge in horse riding, picnics, quad biking and bird watching.

One may also indulge in cultural tours of places like the Kyabazinga Royal Palace and the Jinja central market, where you can buy some beautiful handmade crafts.

The New Nile Bridge, an outstanding feature that fits the title “all the bright places”.  Jinja town is not only a haven of great tourism places but its night life is revitalizing. And of course, how do you go away from this city without tasting the Nile beer?

Sipi Falls

Sipi Falls is definitely one of the serene natural wonders of the world.  Sipi Falls are made up of three waterfalls and are located in Kapchorwa district, Eastern Uganda. The waterfalls, which lie on the edge of Mount Elgon National Park, are a popular attraction for quietness, calm and spectacular views from any angle. They also appear as though they are flowing into a cup.

One of the popular activities at the location are nature walks where you will come across caves, coffee plantations, views of hills and water rumbling downstream. One may also go hiking at the falls, which may take approximately 3 hours with breathtaking views along the way. Another worthwhile activity is a visit to the Nyero rock paintings which offer an insight into Uganda’s rich history. The paintings are believed to date as far back as 1250.

Murchison Falls National Game Park

Murchison Falls National Game Park is home to one of the most powerful waterfalls and is largest game park. It lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift valley where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment merges into a vast, palm-dotted savannah.

Murchison Falls National Park is home to 76 species of mammals and 451 bird species, which is why fauna watching is one of the most common activities here. The centerpiece of this park is the river’s eruption through a narrow gorge at Murchison Falls, a spectacle that has captivated visitors since the explorer Samuel Baker added it to his map and made it known to the world in 1864.

The boat trip to the falls is an essential activity where you can view the resident hippos and crocodiles. Visitors should ensure to visit the top of the falls viewpoint to see, hear and feel the Nile thunder through a 7m wide gorge. And if you want to get it all in one, take the hot air balloon. The experience of floating in the air and exploring the park from above is priceless.

Other worthy ventures at this location include chimp trekking, game drives, a visit to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the National Park Safari, fishing, as well as the most anticipated cruise on the Nile.

Queen Elizabeth National Game Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s most popular and most visited tourist attractions. It boasts of a fabulous setting on the rift valley floor, surrounded by lakes, escarpments, and the snowcapped Rwenzori mountain ranges.

The park is home to nearly 100 mammal species and over 600 bird species. Some of the highlights at Queen Elizabeth include; the launch cruise on the Kazinga Channel past resident hippos and water birds, chimpanzee tracking in the deep forested Kyambura Gorge, and the search for tree-climbing lions under vast rift valley skies in the remote southerly Ishasha sector.

The Lake Katwe explosion craters, located north of Mweya peninsular are the highest elevation within Queen Elizabeth National Park are also worth a visit. A drive to these craters also gives one the chance to see Lakes Edward and George as well as the great Western Rift Valley of Africa. Also, don’t miss the chance to visit the famous Lake Katwe, one of the major sources of rock salt in Uganda.

This park was initially called Kazinga National Park in 1952 but was renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II. While here, you can hike the Rwenzori Mountain ranges which rise to 16,762 ft as well.

Bwindi Impenetrable Game Park

Uganda’s biggest tourist attraction and indeed one of the world’s most remarkable wildlife encounters is tracking mountain gorillas through the remote Bwindi Impenetrable Forest of south-western Uganda. Bwindi is famously known as the home to almost half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas with over 300 mountain gorillas as residents. The remainder reside in Mgahinga National Park, Virunga National Park (DRC) and the Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda). These magnificent primates are both rare and endangered.

With fifteen groups habituated for tourism, the “Impenetrable Forest” is the world’s primary mountain gorilla tracking destination. There is, however, much more to Bwindi than gorilla tracking.

Forest trails lead to scenic waterfalls and rift valley viewpoints with community walks through local villages which provide insights into the lives of the Batwa (pygmies) who live near the forest. 

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of Africa’s oldest forests with the wide diversity of animal life including 350 bird species, 200 butterfly species, 324 trees species, 51 reptiles, and an additional 120 mammals. This is a must-add to your travel list.