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Six Adventure Experiences You Should Not Miss While in Uganda

Are you an adventurous traveler seeking to taste your adrenaline fears while on safari in Uganda? Here we list for you 6 adventure experiences you should look out for while on your Uganda safari.

From white water rafting on the River Nile – The World’s longest river, to Kayaking, Horseback Safaris, Bungee Jumping, High Canopy Ziplining, Abseilling, to Summiting the permanent snow peaked mountains of the Moon, The Rwenzori Mountains. If you are interested in customizing your Uganda Safari to include some of the unique adventure sports, reach out to our Safari Specialists via info@erikasafaris.com and you shall have your dream safari crafted. 

Outdoor enthusiasts, adventure seekers, nature lovers, history buffs, and cultural aficionados will be enthralled with the charming Nile River town of Jinja. It is a place where the warmth and hospitality of the people make you feel at home. A stroll through the town reveals shaded, quiet roadways lined with rural markets, colonial-era architecture, craft shops, affordable eateries, and quaint houses, all of which tell a part of the town’s story.

A stone monument outside town marks the point where the Nile River begins its three-month journey to the Mediterranean Sea, around 6,670 km away. Here the waters are quite tranquil, but just below the outlet, the power of the Nile erupts into a cascade of 1 million liters of water per second. This section of the Nile River is renowned as one of the best whitewater rafting destinations in the world, and our guests agree. The activity can be customized to your personal comfort and desires, ranging from short excursions to multi-day adventures. Couple this with a bungee jump over the river and you will be in adventure heaven. If the intense main rapids are too extreme, we recommend kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and river swimming on some of the calmer sections of the river.

Although Jinja is primarily known for high-energy safari holidays in Uganda, nature lovers and birders have plenty of opportunities to relax and take in the scenery. You can experience locations rarely seen by taking a quad biking tour along the river. These rides are tailored to the riders’ experience level, from beginner to expert. Should you be traveling solo, we can even arrange a private ride for just you. Another incredible way to see the ecosystem along the Nile River is by horseback. The panoramic views are stunning on the trails, and you will even meet some of the locals.

1. Nile Horseback Safaris

  • Intimate way to experience the pristine beauty of the Nile River passing through villages and skirting hills
  • Possibility of combining the excursion with bird watching trips and multi-day rides to the local plantations and Mabira Forest
  • More challenging trails for trained riders and opportunity for cantering the horses

The most intimate way to experience the immaculate beauty of the Nile River is on horseback. The tour takes you to the top of the surrounding Nile Valley for impressive hilly views and into a Ugandan village, where you can learn about the local people of Jinja and their ancient traditions. The tour can also be customized for birdwatching. Horseback riding is both romantic and nostalgic. Our guests often say they riding on horseback here makes them feel as if they are traveling in the footsteps of early explorers. Pre-booking is required to ensure that individual horses and trails are chosen in accordance with rider experience and comfort.

If your group has a mix of riders, we may recommend starting the tour together and then separating along the way. Advanced riders can take a bypass along more challenging trails, while newer riders continue along the easier trail before the groups rejoin toward the end of the trail. If you prefer, we can also arrange a special outing for advanced riders only, which provides opportunities for cantering the horses. Multi-day rides are also available to take you to local plantations and the Mabira Forest. There are also opportunities for 30 to 60 minutes pony rides for beginner children and adults alike.

2. Bungee jumping:

  • Bungee jumping from a platform 44 meters above the waters of the Nile
  • Option of arranging a tandem jump with an experienced instructor
  • Night bungee jumping with the stars and moonlight guiding the dive

If you need a more extreme adrenaline rush than whitewater rafting on the challenging rapids, consider bungee jumping over the Nile River! After climbing to a platform 44 meters above the water, you’ll stand on a small platform to consider your next move. Some guests are unable to follow through, but those who do experience one of the most sensational jumps in the world. If you want to jump but feel uneasy about doing it alone, we can arrange a tandem jump with an experienced instructor.

Try it just one time, or make multiple jumps. After a few jumps, you get the hang of controlling the descent and you can add a little flair by touching the water. Try it once and you’ll want to go back for more, enhancing each jump with a new maneuver. The most remarkable jumps happen at night. Imagine standing on the platform in the dark, with an infinite number of stars overhead and moonlight as the only way to see the river below.

3. Quad Biking:

  • River quad biking to explore less accessible locations like the Nile Valley, Bujagali Falls, and Bujagali Dam
  • Opportunity to explore some of the picturesque rural areas, forests, and farms
  • Option of booking excursions for solo guests, families with children, and larger groups of travelers

Lack of accessibility leaves much of the Nile River Valley little-visited by guests, but you can experience much more than most with a River Ride Quad Biking Tour led by an expert guide who knows all the secret locations. Quad bike tours begin at Bujagali Falls just below the dam and then go inland from the shoreline to some of the rural areas, farms, and forests. Before the ride, your guide provides safety tips and basic training on operating the quad bikes.

One of three trails is chosen based on the experience levels in the group; each trail starts with an easier section and gradually increases in complexity. Rest assured that riders can be escorted back to the base should the trail become too difficult. Rides can also be arranged for solo guests and families. Families can ride together on easier, shorter trails, or one of our guides can take your little one out on a children’s quad bike. The river ride quad biking activity includes refreshments and protective gear, and you should dress to get muddy.

4. Trekking & Mountain Climbing:

Our mountaineering program is designed for all levels, from beginner skills based courses to advanced expeditions with an experienced leader.

Plan a mountaineering trip with Erika Safaris and you’ll have access to some of the mountaineering industry’s most experienced guides and view a perspective of the world that not so many do. Whether you’re an experienced mountaineer who has had years of practice conquering peaks, or a beginner looking to take your outdoor travels up a notch to explore the wild, lesser travelled regions and peaks of the world; you can be sure that you’ll come home with memories of an unforgettable journey that’s taken you to new heights and self discovery.

Erika Safaris has conducted a number of mountaineering expeditions in Uganda, with many of our satisfied clients returning to climb with us again. There’s an exciting portfolio in the mountains of the Moon in Western Uganda; the Elgon Mountains in Eastern Uganda; The Mgahinga Volcanoes that include Mt. Sabinyo, Mt Muhabura and Gahinga in Western Uganda, Mountain Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa; and Mont Kenya – the highest in the Kenya. We are always changing this up too, with new expeditions listed each year.

These mountaineering expeditions involve challenging treks on remote trails in variable weather conditions for up to eight to twelve hours a day. Depending on the region and grade of the trip, some expeditions include travel on snow and ice requiring the use of mountaineering boots, crampons, ice axes and fixed ropes. Not for the faint hearted, travellers are expected to carry up to 12-15kgs in various stages of the expedition. Reasonable portions of your trip will be spent at altitude, giving you some incredible views above the clouds and surrounding land as you camp on glaciers or at the foot of magnificent mountain peaks.

You will need an excellent level of fitness and be completely comfortable in adverse weather conditions in remote areas. This is particularly important for intermediate or advanced level trips, where you will have our expert staff on hand to discuss your preparation in the lead up to the trip.

5. Gorilla Trekking:

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is best known for mountain Gorilla populations and gorilla tracking activity, but it also provides refuge to elephant, chimpanzee, monkeys and various small antelope and bird species. If you book a Uganda safari without Gorilla trekking then you will have missed an opportuinity to see these rare and threatened gorillas. The variant biodiversity is supported by the fact that Bwindi is extremely old and also its slopes extend over a broad altitudinal range of 1447m above sea level, enabling habitats ranging from lowland forest to Afromontane vegetation that encourage life sustainability of these forest inhabitants.

With its slang “ The ultimate Gorilla experience” Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park  also offers some of the finest montane forest birding in Africa and is a key destination for any birder doing a Safari to Uganda. Amongst the numerous possibilities are no fewer than 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics, including spectacular, globally threatened species such as Shelley’s Crimson wing and the African Green Broadbill. Bwindi is one of the few in Africa to have flourished throughout the last Ice Age and it is home to roughly half of the world’s mountain gorillas.

You can as well decide to combine your gorilla tracking activity with our prime wildlife safaris to see the rare tree climbing lions of Ishasha, pay visits to the magnificent Lake Bunyonyi in the near-by Kabale town, or enjoy the Batwa cultural experience to have an insight into the lifestyle of an indigenous less-tampered African tribe in the Bwindi forests.

6. Go Camping in Uganda

Whether you are travelling on a budget, love the outdoors, or just don’t want to book your accommodation ahead of time – road tripping in Uganda with a full set of camp gear in the back of the car gives you lot’s of flexibility. 

Tips and things to know when camping in Uganda 

i)Campsites are widely available in Uganda – ranging from basic campgrounds inside the national parks managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), to private campsites operated by lodge owners, often with great facilities like a restaurant and swimming pool. Moreover, the opportunities to camp are year round thanks to Uganda’s warm weather.  

ii) Camping fees – Staying at a UWA public campsite with pit latrine, water, firewood and ranger security costs USD 5,50 / person, per night. Pitching your tent at a more fancy, privately owned campground costs about USD 10 / person. Camping at a basic campsite outside a national park can costs as little as USD 5/ tent.

iii). Wild camping in Uganda – it is uncommon and not allowed. 

iv). Do I need to reserve my campsite? – Contrary to such countries as Namibia and Botswana, staying at a campsite inside a natural park does not require any advance arrangements. You just arrive at the park entrance gate and mention you want an overnight permit.

v). Bush camping – also known as special campsites, is not common in Uganda. It refers to having a permit from the UWA allowing you to pitch your tent on a private spot in the a national park with no facilities and no other campers. As far as we know, this is only possible in Murchison Falls National Park. A bush camping permit including ranger costs USD 40 / person, per night.

vi) Which guidebook covers campgrounds in Uganda – The Bradt Travel Guide that comes with your roadtrip rental car has detailed and updated information about campsites in Uganda.

vii) Which apps to use – Download the free apps Maps.me and iOverlander before you travel to Uganda to enjoy driving on GPS. Most campsites are plotted on iOverlander. 

viii) Camping & hippos – If you want to set up your camp next to a river, look for any animal paths from the river. These are most probably hippo trails. Hippos leave the river at night along these paths to graze. Make sure not to get in between the hippos and the water: when hippos get scared they run for water.

ix) Where to set up camp – Don’t set up your tent under a thorn tree, they don’t go well with airbeds….

x) Camping & rubbish disposal – To avoid attracting animals, make sure that you do not leave food lying around and never leave food in your tent. Also, do not throw your leftover food in the bush, thinking that you are doing the local animal population a favour. If there are no bins in the area where you are camping, you should pack the rubbish and take it away with you in the car.

We are here to help you pln your ultimate adventure safari in Uganda, reach out to us via info@erikasafaris.com and our safari experts shall help you fulfill your dream safari.

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