Landscape photography in Uganda, top 10 locations you must travel visit on a safari

The pearl of Africa, Uganda has some of the best natural beauty landscape spots and is a photographer’s paradise. I find that most travelers who visit Uganda want to track mountain gorillas  in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park which are without doubt one of the greatest wildlife photography animals in the world.

There are opportunities however for both wildlife and landscape photographers because Uganda has vast raw wilderness that sum up what a true African wilderness looks like.

From the north eastern parts of Karamoja region in the semi-desert Kidepo valley national park, to islands like Sesse and karangala in Lake Victoria, to Jinja source of River Nile which creates Murchison Falls the strongest waterfall in the world, to East African rift valley, to glaciated peaks of Rwenzori mountain national park, to the southwestern kigezi rolling hills and lakes like Bunyonyi to the tropical rainforests of Bwindi and Mgahinga volcanoes.

On any trip to Uganda, be it gorilla tracking safari, hiking, cultural safari, Africa Tours adventure has knowledge of the accommodations to stay in and our guides shall lead you to some of the best photo locations Uganda has to offer.

Visitors will not only be helped to photography landscapes but also capture wildlife including over 1000 bird species, big mammals like elephants, lion, leopard, hippos, antelopes such as impala, Uganda kob to small creatures like butterflies and insects. We request visitors to pack their essential items like camera and come to Uganda prepared for some rugged terrain, hot sunshine and rain.

So here is our list of places to visit in Uganda if you love photography;

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park

This UNESCO world heritage site is home to half of world’s mountain gorilla population and reputed to be the best gorilla tracking destination in Uganda.  The 12 habituated gorilla families provide ample opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts to track and photograph mountain gorillas. 2 gorilla families are currently undergoing habitation and visitors can participate in gorilla habituation experience which gives four hours encounter with semi habituated gorillas.

Murchison Falls National park

Bisected by River Nile, Murchison Falls National park gives visitors a view of Murchison Falls, the world’s strongest waterfall created by River Nile as it crushes through a narrow cliff.

You hike to the top and look down the falls with sights of rainbow, the little itanda falls. When you take a boat cruise to the bottom of the falls you get a view of the devil’s cauldron along with sightings of hippos, water birds, Nile crocodiles. The game drive along Buligi game tracks conducted early morning or evening offer best chances to see lion, leopard, African elephant, Uganda kob, hartebeest, oribi, eland, bushbucks, waterbucks and lots of small animals.

What is interesting is that we will book you a lodge like Paara, Chobe located on the banks of the Nile where the entire views of the river are beautiful.

The Albert-Nile delta wilderness is perfect for photography and bird enthusiast can take a boat ride through the Delta swamp to search for the shoebill stork, papyrus gonelock among many endangered species.

Queen Elizabeth National park

Considered as Uganda’s most well known wildlife safari destination for visitors, Queen Elizabeth national park stands out among other East African rift valley national parks. The abundance of, over 600 bird species and big game mammals such as tree climbing lions in Ishasha wilderness, leopard, buffaloes, zebra, leopard, and giant forest hog make this park the most visited in Uganda.

Beautiful locations- At Mweya tourist center, the panoramic views of Kazinga channel home to 5000 hippos are stunning.

The numerous explosion crater lakes with crystal clear waters surrounded by green forests, rolling grassland plains and hills are a photographer’s dream.

The most famous trail for visitors is the top of the world’s hike offers breathtaking views of tea plantations, several craters and glaciated mountains of the moon. There’s also 10 km stretch of road trip from Kabatooro gate to the northern section of the park where the most impressive areas to visit include Ndali-kasenda craters, Katwe salt mining Lake, Bunyaruguru craters (over 20) and the fort portal craters near fort port town.

Luxury lodges are found right around the craters such as Ndali lodge and Kyaninga lodge hence visitors can easily arrange day hikes or connect to Kibale forest national park for chimpanzee tracking.

Although geology has it that these crater lakes were created by volcanic eruptions around 10,000BC when our African ancestors were building pyramids in Egypt, the local folklore has amazing stories. For instance Lake kigere one of the Ndali craters has a foot print of Bachwezi people who ruled much of western Uganda around 1100 to 1500AD. This is a great cultural heritage site for visitors.

Rwenzori Mountains National park / “mountains of the moon”

Mount Rwenzori glaciated peaks dominate the skyline of western Uganda. these mountains are the 3rd tallest in Africa, the summit peak Mgherita rises at 5,109 meters above sea level. the ruggedness of the six peaks such as Mt. stanley, Mt. speke, Mt. Baker among subsidiary peaks like Tatra peak ensure that Rwenzoris remain a true wilderness for night photography with features like stargazing.

Both the short hiking trails (1-4 days) which allow visitors to explore the lower forested slopes and climbing routes such as central circuit (8-12 days) that takes climbers to the summit Mgherita are viewed more for nature and landscape photography.

Hike through stunning scenery and some of earth unique ecosystems where rare wildlife can be encountered including three horned chameleon, Rwenzori tree hyrax, Rwenzori duiker, chimpanzee, Angola colobus monkey and many endangered birds like Rwenzori turaco, Rwenzori batis, Rwenzori night jar.

some of the stunning scenery we have to metion include the valley of 9 glacial lakes, waterfalls, boulders and rocks, rivers, botanic zones with rare plants such as everlasting flowers, giant lobelias, groundsels, green and brown moss found in Iceland, rare cloud forests, in my opinion are amazing to walk through on your way to the summit Magherita.

This UNESCO world heritage site outstands in terms of biological diversity because it has five zones of vegetation. From the savannah grasslands, tropical montane forests, bamboo zone, heath and moorlands, afro-alpine zone, bear rocky surface to permanent glaciers.

you’ll also find cultural activities in the village of Ruboni with an opportunity to interact with mountain people the BaTwa and Bakonjo pygmies. learn their culture on a village walk participate in tradtional food natural herbal medicine preparation, druming and dance performances.

Lake Bunyonyi and Kigezi highlands

The beautiful Lake Bunyonyi located between kigezi terraced rolling hills of southwestern Uganda consists of 19 islands. Lakeside accommodations make this area perfect for relaxation and honeymoon retreat.

Visit this lake for activities like canoeing, boat cruise, swimming, zip lining, birding. You’ll photograph the reflections of surrounding hills in the water, spot several birds, or a zebra at Governors Island, visit the old church, Punishment Island and climb uphill to the BaTwa.

You can get to Lake Bunyonyi from Bwindi national park via kabale-kisoro road or take a longer but scenic journey 9-10 hours from Kampala. You’ll cross the equator, eat traditional Ugandan food at Igongo cultural museum- Mbarara town then wind through Kigezi highlands nicknamed Switzerland of Africa, there’s also great lakes museum near kabale town.

 

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the Virunga Volcanoes

The virunga mountains section of Uganda includes three extinct volcanoes of Mt. Muhabura at 4,127 meters above sea level, Mt. Gahinga (3,474 meters) and Mt. Sabinyo (3,645) meters are found in Mgahinga gorilla national park located in southwestern Uganda. The park shares the borders with volcanoes national park in northern Rwanda and virunga national eastern DRC which form the greater virunga area conservation area, home of mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.

Visit Mgahinga for a chance to track both mountain gorillas and golden monkeys which have been habituated. Volcano climbing is an opportunity to admire the beauty of virunga mountain ranges. Mgahinga has a haunting beauty and a swathe of cloud and mist covering the mountains adds to the atmosphere. Hiking to summit of one of the volcanoes is amazing experience. a chance to see swamp crater lake on Mt. Gahinga, walk through beautiful vegetation like bamboo, giant lobelia, groundsels and beautiful scenery stretching across the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.

Sesse islands

After returning from a safari around Uganda, spare at least 2 days to visit Sesse islands located on north western coast of Lake Victoria, the largest fresh water lake in Africa. With blue waters, sunrises and sunsets, tropical beaches, palm trees, fishing villages, good weather; Sesse islands is one of the best places for vacation.

Bugala and Kalangala islands are the best developed for tourism among the 84 islands which make up Sesse. MV Kalangala, the ferry takes visitors from Entebbe Nakiwogo landing site to either Bugala or Kalangala. There are resort hotels, lodges and camping facilities providing accommodation. For instance Brovad sands lodge on Bugala islands and several leisure gardens with delicious fresh fish and fruits.

There are dozens of fishing villages and communities throughout Sesse islands which you can visit to get a real sense of local culture and also do some birding, hiking, fishing and swimming.

 

Source of the Nile Jinja

The world’s longest river, the Nile starts to flow northwards from Victoria Nile in Jinja town, the adventure capital of East Africa located east of Kampala city. All the adventure activities you ever dreamt can be done in Jinja including white water rafting of all grades, kayaking, boat riding, house boat safari, fishing, horseback riding, all terrain quad biking, cycling, swimming and bungee jumping.

Popular locations on the Nile in Jinja include white water rafting point downstream Bujagala hydro power dam and the bungee jumping section but the entire stretch of the River Nile in Jinja is beautiful.

Kampala City

Kampala city is where the ancient traditional Buganda kingdom and its rich cultural heritage still thrive in the modern world. With about 1.5 million people, Kampala’s main challenge is high traffic which causes delays. Boda Boda, the easiest mode of transport to maneuver traffic jam though you must wear helmet.

With increasing commercialization of Kampala, shopping is one aspect that is well catered for. In the city center there are various shopping malls like shop rite, ,  supermarkets like Aponye, craft shops and art galleries along Buganda road and Uganda national theatre with locally made and imported goods including food and clothing from Asia, Europe, and America.

You cannot resist photographing busy fresh food markets like Nakasero, owino market streets downtown or visiting Gaddafi mosque to climb in its high rising tower for aerial views of Kampala city spreading over 21 hills.

You can also walk on foot to explore monuments in the city center such as independence monument, Sir Edward mutesa 1 (Uganda’s first president) monument, World War 1 monument among others.

Places you can get to experience Buganda culture and take good photographs include Mengo palace where the Kabaaka of Buganda resides, the UNESCO world heritage site Kasubi tombs and the Buganda parliament. If you have time, consider to explore the Kabaka’s trail.

Other interesting places to visit include Uganda National museum, Makerere University, Bahai temple which is the only temple on the continent, Namugongo martyrs shrine. These places can be visited on a city tour.

For the adventurous, Mabamba wetland is located 1 hour drive from Kampala on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria. This important birding area with over 300 species including shoebill stork, papyrus gonelock is accessible by a dug-out canoe.

Birding excursions can be arranged to mabamba swamp and around sanctuaries like Makerere and Namirembe hills.

Kidepo valley national park

Kidepo has been rated among top 5 African parks for secluded game viewing safaris and best semi-desert savanna park for photography by National geographic, lonely planet and rough guides, which are the world’s largest travel media.

With about 77 mammals and over 400 species of birds, visitors have a fair opportunity to photography wilderness beauty and animals of Kidepo valley national park. Located in karamoja region north eastern tip of Uganda, it takes about 13 hours to drive from Kampala city or 2 hours if you dollars to board charter flight.

The journey is worth; Kidepo valley offers best game drives, excellent bird watching and hiking will get you to the dry mountains, Mount Murongole and its ancient indigenous cultural tribes of karamajong and tepeth.

Most of the animals in this park are not found in other parks of Uganda such as ostrich, lesser and greater kudu, African hunting dog, bat eared fox, Aard wolf. The park also has big game mammals like lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant; zebra and East Africa’s largest single herd of buffalo up to 4000 have been sighted.

Mount Elgon National park

Located in eastern Uganda, Mount Elgon National park is the 8th tallest extinct volcano with the largest caldera base in the world. Its home to large mammals like elephant, buffalo, zebra and over 350 bird species.

The sipi waterfalls, wide open rocks caves, rugged terrain, lush vegetation, large coffee plantation make Mount Elgon an exciting park to photography animals and landscape.

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