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Here, you will find a list of some of the best day hikes in Uganda. Kilimanjaro is the first thing people think of when you mention hiking in Africa.  

A few may think of Mt Kenya or even the Rwenzori Mountains on border of Uganda and Congo. But all these hikes involves many days of trekking.  And those who are short on time may have to pass on these hiking adventures. 

Uganda has possibly the most diverse country on the African continent. In the remote northeast of the country, in the Karamoja region, there are several old volcanic mountains and hills scattered across a wide savanna plain. Near the capital city, Kampala you can find old-growth forests filled with fascinating birds and monkeys. 

The tallest mountain range in Africa, the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, is located in western Uganda, while a series of magnificent volcanoes are found in the southwest. 

And all these locations offer epic hikes you can do in a day, sometimes with a chance to see rare and endangered wildlife. At Tulambule, we thought it was about time to make a list of the best day hikes Uganda.

1. Sipi Falls Hike On Mount Elgon

day hikes in Uganda

Sipi waterfalls offers arguably the best day hikes in Uganda. From the top one of the world’s largest volcanoes by circumnavigation, Mt Elgon, three beautiful waterfalls drain from the lush rainforest that covers its slopes. From the small and quite Sipi Village, hiking trails wind their way up to the thunderous first waterfall. For the brave ones who don’t mind getting a little wet you can almost step underneath the fall and feel the force of nature.

The route then proceeds down, past the impressive second waterfall that features a cave behind it. The cherry on the cake is the final and largest waterfall that plunges 99 metres into the abyss. You can hike through the gorge below to admire one of the most stunning waterfalls in East Africa. Or the brave can take the short cut and abseil right next to it!

  • Distance: 12 kilometers
  • Hours required: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

2. Wanale Falls Hike, Mount Elgon

One of the shortest and easiest hikes in the list of our 13 best day hikes in Uganda is the Wanale Falls hike. And that makes it an easy yet brilliant day tour to stretch the legs on your way to Sipi Falls or Karamoja region.

The trail takes you through local communities that live in the shadow of the Wanale Ridge, which towers over 1000m above Mbale city. A short slippery path zigzags across the fertile fields to the base of the beautiful Wanale Waterfall. You also have an option to hike all the way to the top of Wanale Ridge, adding a couple of hours to the hike.

  • Distance: 4 kilometers
  • Hours required: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

3. Mount Moroto Hike

day hikes in Uganda

Mount Moroto is the tallest mountain in the whole Karamoja area, with a height of 3083 meters. The hike here is easy going and quickly you will enjoy stunning views across Moroto town and the vast Karamoja plains.

During the hike you can also meet the Tepeth tribe and learn about culture; spirits, gods and sacred sites of these fascinating mountain people. And after a small scramble on a rocky section the hike continues across a beautiful forest and ends at a series of pools on top of a waterfall. Here, you can take a dip and cool down from the heat down.

  • Distance: 11 kilometers
  • Hours required: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

4. Mount Sabinyo Hike

day hikes in Uganda

Mt Sabinyo hike is not an easy one. But, this hike takes you through a stunning landscape with deep gorges and lichen draped forests which make you forget about the hardship.

Rising to 3669m, Sabinyo is part of the Virunga Volcanoes and is shared with Congo and Rwanda. These volcanoes hosts rare mountain gorillas. In Uganda the area is protected as the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Sabinyo offer 3 challenging peaks. Its trail takes you up a ridge along the eastern side of peak one. If you decide to continue, the ascent to peak two involves hiking a ridge with breathtaking views into the gorges of Uganda and Rwanda. Lastly, the ascent up to peak 3 is steep with several ladders and much scrambling – you are sure to get your hands dirty en-route.

On top of peak three (3669 meters) you will have a unique opportunity to stand in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo at the same time! And let’s be honest, where in Africa can you peer into 3 countries from the summit of a major mountain?

  • Distance: 14 kilometers
  • Hours required: 8 hours
  • Difficulty: strenuous

5. Kazingo Trail, Rwenzori Mountains

The Kazingo Trail offers hikers a unique chance to cross the Rwenzori Mountains in a day.

You walk through the local communities into the thick rainforest of the northern part of the Rwenzori Mountain range. When you arrive at the Bwamba Pass (2525 meters) you may be able to see the lowland jungles of Semliki National Park and Democratic Republic Congo.

Optional hike is the ascent of Karangora, just over 3000 metres. Views from up here are breathtaking and you might catch a glimpse of the Rwenzori’s highest mountain peaks as well as the 9th largest lake in Africa, Lake Albert.

It is a long, wonderful descent across the villages and fields to Bundibugyo where you can find transportation to take you back to Fort Portal town for relaxation.

  • Distance: 12 kilometers
  • Hours required: 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

6. Ivy River Trail, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

day hikes in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is home to 50% of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. A big part of the forest is indeed rather impenetrable, but there are a few great hiking trails that cut right across the park.

The longest hiking path is the Ivy River Trail, partially running along the River Ivy. From the park gate at Nkuringo the steep rough route drops down into the cloud forest to the Ivy valley. The hike can be quite hard with overgrown and very muddy sections.

Once you arrive at the bridge across the river, the route becomes much easier. Now you can actually look around you and marvel at the lush rainforest jungle habitat. And if you are lucky, you might have an unexpected encounter with the gentle giants, the Mountain Gorilla! This one-way hike ends at Buhoma, the gorilla capital of Uganda.

  • Distance: 14 kilometers
  • Hours required: 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate/strenuous

7. Mabira Forest Hike

The closest proper day hike from Kampala city is in Mabira, the largest natural forest in the central region of Uganda. This is the forest jungle you imagine as a child; monkeys and birds everywhere amidst giant old-grown trees. The Uganda National Forestry Authority created a small network of trails to make it accessible for visitors and immerse in the forest habitat.

The trails can be muddy, especially during rainy season. But no matter what the weather is like, it is a refreshing escape from the daily grind of Uganda’s busy capital city.

  • Distance: 7/15/22 kilometers
  • Hours required: 2/4/7 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy/moderate

8. Mount Muhavura Hike

day hikes in Uganda

Mount Muhavura is the only 4000m+ mountain in Uganda you can hike (fairly) comfortably in a single day. Don’t be fooled, this is no doubt the hardest of the day hikes in Uganda.

The higher you go, the steeper it gets. And the thin air at high altitude near the summit will drain your energy levels. But once you have reached the summit you can enjoy views across the other Virunga Volcanoes stretching towards the west, the green rolling hills of Rwanda in the south and the majestic Lake Mutanda in the north.

For those who want to take it a little easier, Ugandan Wildlife Authority recently built a hut to spend the night around 3000 metres.

  • Distance: 16 kilometers
  • Hours required: 9-10 hours
  • Difficulty: Very strenuous

9. Kyambura Gorge Hike

day hikes in Uganda

As you approach the start of the Kyambura Gorge Hike, nothing reveals the lush Lost World- a gorgeous gorge that is home to a small population of chimpanzees. It is a crack in the Earth’s crust inside the famous Queen Elizabeth National Park in southwestern Uganda.

From the grassy savanna plains you drop down in a subterranean Eden, a sanctuary for all kinds of wildlife. The length of the hike depends on how far the chimpanzees are in the gorge and it requires the occasional bush whacking as not many people visit this hidden gem.

  • Distance: 9 kilometers
  • Hours required: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

10. Rwenzori Mountains - Nyabitaba Hike

The Rwenzori Mountains are wild and make Kilimanjaro hike look like a walk in the park. However, the approach to the first hut on the Central Circuit, Nyabitaba, is quite accessible. Yes, it is steep at times, but the trail is generally in excellent condition.

The ascent up the mountain ridge high above the Mubuku River is stunning. The forest is home to spectacular Rwenzori Turacos. You might hear the wild chimpanzees, hidden deep in the Afro Montane jungle. Once you reach the hut you can see the cathedral like Portal Peaks that rise straight up from the valley floor, reaching dazzling heights of almost 4500 metres.

Those with a little extra energy can hike further up to the bamboo zone to see yet another vegetation zone. And for the very fit hiker, it is possible to hike the Mahoma Trail the very same day and do a complete circuit.

  • Distance: 16 kilometers
  • Hours required: 7-8 hours
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

You may also like; how to hike Rwenzori Mountains

11. Hike In Semliki Valley

day hikes in Uganda

The Semuliki Valley is one of the most beautiful and remote wilderness regions in Uganda. They are found near the western border of Uganda and DR Congo. The valley encompasses two distinctive protected areas: Semuliki National Park and Semuliki Wildlife Reserve.

Semuliki National Park represents the only true tract of lowland tropical forest in East Africa. This park has three main trails. The longest is the 13km Kirumia Trail, which takes you through the heart of the forest to the Semuliki River. Expect to be out for 8 hours. Slightly shorter at 11km, the Red Monkey Trail follows the park’s eastern border to the Semliki River with the aim of sighting the rare DeBrazza’s monkey, which is often seen in this area.

The shortest trail is the 8km Sempaya Nature Trail. It introduces visitors to the forest’s primates and the Sempaya hot springs. Encircled by forest and beautiful palm trees, the Sempaya hot springs are the most popular attraction of the park. These two hotsprings are a testament to the region’s rich geological history and hold a deep cultural significance to the local Bamaga people.

  • Distance: 13/11/8 kilometers
  • Hours required: 8/5/3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy/moderate

12. Fort Portal Crater Lakes & Amabere Caves

The fort portal area near Kibale Forest offers a variety of scenic days hikes in Uganda. Here you can hike to the Amabeere Caves. Amabere means “Breasts”. The breast-like features in the cave are in fact live stalactite formations made of calcium carbonate.

The white-coloured water that drips off thus called breast milk by local Toro people. These people believe that breasts in the cave belonged to Nyinamwiru, the daughter of Bukuku who was a self-enthroned King of the Bachwezi.

Nyinamwiru’s father cut off her breasts to deny her opportunity to breast feed her baby Ndahura as the father had been alerted that the child will take over his throne. The cave is a good place to learn about the culture in this region of Uganda.

From this site, you can embark on the hike to the Fort Portal Crater Lake field where you traverse the challenging slopes of Kyeganywa hill, surrounded by a range of crater lakes and crater hollows (some of them over 400m deep) presenting one of the beautiful scenic sites in Uganda.

The top of Kyeganywa hill offers spectacular views of the Rwenzori Mountains on a clear day. You can as well visit the marking of a large foot in the area believed to belong to one of the last Batembuzi dynasty people who were giants.

  • Distance: 4 kilometers
  • Hours required: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy/moderate

13. Lake Mburo

day hikes in Uganda

Lake Mburo National Park offers one of the most interesting game walks in Uganda, in a beautiful area. The whole park is available to explore on foot, as long as you take a guide with you. Favourite trails are to the salt lick at Rwonyo, the lake shorelines, Rubanga Forest and viewpoint hill tops.

On the walk you might see various species of primates, birds, antelopes like Eland, Waterbuck, Impala, Topis, Bushbuck and Klipspringer among others, as well as Hyena, Buffalo, Giraffe, Zebra and Warthog. All this in a beautiful savannah landscape dotted with great Acacia trees.

  • Distance: 3 kilometers
  • Hours required: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy

Best Time for Hiking in Uganda

Weather-wise the best times of year for hiking in Uganda are June to Early September and December to February when it is drier. Uganda hiking conditions, especially on Rwenzori, are less than ideal in the wetter months of March, April, May, October, and November.