If you knew Uganda for being a safari destination only – like most tourists do, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Because the country has got much more to offer than game drives and primates tracking activities.
There are lots of thrilling non-safari activities that you can do while on a holiday vacation to Uganda. From adrenaline-pumping ones like white water rafting to cruises and cultural visits. So if you’re interested in alternative group tours, here are the 5 best for you to consider:
1. Mountain climbing tour on the Rwenzori Mountains
Whether you’re an avid mountain climber looking for a good challenge or just a thrill out of hiking to the top, climbing Mountain Rwenzori will give you exactly what you need. Branded as “the mountain of the moon” because its glaciers glow like little moons, this snow-capped mountain has six ranges that suit people with different fitness levels and interests in climbing. However, of all the ranges, Mount Stanley, which has the third-highest peak in Africa – Margherita (5,109 metres) is the most hiked because of its worthy challenge. But regardless of the range, you decide to hike, you’ll get to enjoy the view of everlasting flowers, butterflies, colourful birds, and waterfalls, which give the mountain a ‘La La land’ feel.
2. Cultural tour of the Karamojongs and IK tribes in Kidepo
These two tribes have unique cultures that can’t be found anywhere else in Uganda. The Karamojongs, who are pastoralists, have cultural traits similar to those of the Maasai in Kenya-have lots of piercings, dress in coloured shawl-like blankets, and also wear striking beads. While the IK (crop farmers) are an endangered and little-known tribe of about 10,000 people living atop Mountain Morungole. A visit to the homestead of the Karamojong called a manyatta or that of the IK called Asak will expose you to their way of life. For instance, you’ll be able to take part in the Karamojongs’ cultural dance of jumping as high as you can into the sky as traditional music plays.
3. Adrenaline pumping excursion in Jinja
White water rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, river boarding, quad biking, horse riding, and jet boating, you name it, can all be done in Jinja. No wonder it’s referred to as the “adventure capital of East Africa.” So as a thrill-seeker, a Jinja group tour is a must-do for you to get your adrenaline juices flowing. On top of doing those exciting activities, you can visit the source of the mighty Nile since it’s found in Jinja and also enjoy the town’s vibrant party life, which is only second to that of Kampala in the whole of Uganda.
4. Mountain Elgon hike and Sipi Falls trip
Once known as Africa’s highest mountain at 5,895m before ages of erosion dropped its heights to 4,321m, Mt. Elgon lies along the Uganda-Kenya border. You can hike to the highest peak – Wagagai while delighting in the beautiful scenery of mountains, giant lobelia, and sightings of various birds. But much as climbing to the top of a mountain is usually the main aim for trekkers, when it comes to Mount Elgon, the anticipation of seeing the caldera at the top is also a great motivator. Besides that, you can also get to see the three waterfalls that make up the Sipi falls since they’re found on the foothills of Mt. Elgon. And if you’re in an adventurous mood or rather desire an adrenaline rush, you can as well abseil down the tallest falls that stand at 100m. Another thing you can do is go rock climbing on the high cliff near the falls.
5. Birding cruise along Lake Bunyonyi
This is a must-do group tour for bird lovers while on holiday in Uganda as the lake is a birder’s paradise. Lake Bunyonyi, whose name literally means “Lake of the small birds” in the local dialect, is home to 200 bird species that reside on the 29 islands within the lake. You may be hard put to visit all the islands, but that’s all right. Because you’ll still get to see plenty of birds like the African harrier hawk, herons, and golden-backed weaver on the chosen few islands. And while you sail to these islands, you’ll enjoy the striking views of the terraced hillsides that made this area to be referred to as the “Little Switzerland of Uganda.” Apart from birding, you can add spark to your trip by going zip lining across Lake Bunyonyi.
And now that you’re aware of the non-safari group tours that you can enjoy while on a holiday vacation in Uganda, here are some tips to ensure that you have a wonderful and unforgettable time while on them:
Keep in mind that the people you’re travelling with have different personalities and are from different backgrounds. So cut whoever delays your departure time because they overslept or overindulged in their breakfast some slack, and instead just go with the flow. After all, you came on holiday to relax and enjoy yourself. Moreover, never in the history of travel has everything gone according to plan and in fact, that’s what makes travelling quite fun.
Always tell someone before you go off on your own. Either go to the bathroom, enjoy a few drinks at a bar or chat up that attractive local you met at the tour destination. Doing this will ensure that someone knows where to find you in case the group needs to leave a place or just for safety reasons.
Oftentimes you’ll find that you share lots in common with your group members (if they’re not family or friends). And so by befriending them, you might end up forming friendships that will last a lifetime since the experiences you’ll share together like managing to hike to the Margherita peak, will draw you closer. Besides, you’ll get to have travel friends whom you can call on to go with you to other touristic destinations.
By doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy a stress-free trip as all the planning, booking, and running the tour as smoothly as possible will be in their hands. And even when problems do arise while on the tour, you’ll be confident that they’ll competently deal with them. Here at Travelcare we’ve expert travel agents who can design the perfect holiday vacation tour for you and your loved ones.
Ready to go on a non-safari group tour? Contact us now and book a holiday trip of your choice.