Menu Close

Best Water Safaris in Uganda

water safaris in Uganda
Home | Travel Guides | Best Water Safaris in Uganda

Water safaris in Uganda: Uganda, the pearl of Africa, is blessed with impressive swampy wetlands, glassy lakes, powerful rivers, rapids, and waterfalls.

The longest river in the world, River Nile; AfricaÔÇÖs largest, Lake Victoria; AfricaÔÇÖs second deepest lake, Lake Bunyonyi, and the worldÔÇÖs strongest waterfall, Murchison Falls are all found in Uganda. Also, in Uganda are 4 of the African Great Lakes; Albert, Edward, Kyoga, and Victoria. With all these famous and great water bodies, Uganda offers some of the based water-based safaris in East Africa.  

Below is a list of our favorite water safaris in Uganda:

1. Jinja Nile River: Rafting, Kayaking, Tubing, or Bungee Jumping

At 6,700km, River Nile is the longest river in the world and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. The historic river starts its journey at Lake Victoria and pounds its way over a series of falls and rapids as it sweeps northwards across the African continent all the way to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt. But the pretty town of Jinja, 80km east of UgandaÔÇÖs capital Kampala, is where it all begins.  

Jinja is famed for being the source of the Nile and has become the adventure capital of East Africa. It is where adrenalin junkies of all abilities come to enjoy white water rafting, freestyle white-water kayaking, tubing, bungee jumping, sport fishing, and more.

Rafting on the Nile in Uganda is considered to be amongst the best in the world, with several grade IV and V rapids to navigate. And there are plenty of long flat stretches of calm water to steady the nerves, recover the muscle and marvel at the beauty of rural Uganda. If this sounds too much you can opt for an ice-cold drink on a sedate sunset boat cruise. Read More: What to Do in Jinja

Uganda adventure safaris

Tour Overview A fast, fun, action-filled intro to the Adventures of Eastern Uganda The 3 days ultimate outdoor adventure tour to eastern Uganda is the perfect short trip to book for the adrenaline junkies and lovers of the outdoors. The trip takes you to eastern Uganda that is well known to be the home of adventures in Uganda and you shall visit a number of interesting sites and indulge in a variety of thrilling experiences. After setting off from Kampala on the way to the East you shall have your first adventure in Mabira forest which is the biggest forest…

2. Sipi Falls Hike

Just a short drive east of Jinja town in the foothills of Mount Elgon, Sipi Falls is arguably the most beautiful chain of waterfalls in all of Uganda. Sipi is a great place for waterfall hikes, as well as a relaxed spot and a great location for a weekend break away from Kampala. There are three waterfall levels here, and while the small two are beautiful, it is the 99-meter drop that attracts hikers and nature lovers to the area.

The true adventurer will take the opportunity to abseil along this majestic waterfall. Besides waterfall hikes, the Sipi area is well known for its Arabica coffee. So, donÔÇÖt miss the coffee tours, where youÔÇÖll be shown the start-to-finish process at a local coffee plantation, all culminating with a delicious steaming cup as the sun sets over the banana plantations. Read More: What to Do in Sipi Falls

day hikes in Uganda

On this 2 Days Jinja Tour & Sipi Falls Hike, you’ll head east which is the home of adventures in Uganda. If you are a lover of the outdoors and would like a short trip out of Kampala then this is package to book. The highlight of this trip is the hike to the stunning Sipi Falls at the base of the Mount Elgon, however before getting to Sipi Falls there are a lot of interesting places that you cannot just travel by. You will visit the Sezibwa Falls which is an important Buganda cultural heritage site, and Mabira Forest along the Kampala…

3. Lake Bunyonyi; Relaxation, Boat Cruise, and Canoeing

Located in the far southwest of Uganda, Bunyonyi is a tranquil and beautiful lake, surrounded by the green hills of Kigezi, dotted with islands and filled with beautiful birds.

There are plenty of active ways to entertain oneself on a visit to Lake Bunyonyi, from canoe rides, ziplining across the lake, hiking, swimming, boat cruising, and island hopping to birding. But why not embrace the tranquil atmosphere of this magical lake and take a few days to kick back and relax on its shores? Besides, it is the perfect spot to let it after a life-changing trek with mountain gorillas in the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Fun fact: even though itÔÇÖs relatively small, Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa and the fourth deepest lake in the world, at 900 m at its maximum depth.

Read More: Things to do At Lake Bunyonyi

Cultural tours in Uganda

This 21 days Uganda safari reaches out almost every corner of Uganda. You discover its incredible wildlife, outstanding natural beauty and diversity. You’ll visit most of the exciting destinations in Uganda: the Source of the Nile-Jinja, Sipi Falls on Mt Elgon, Kidepo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable, Lake Bunyonyi, and Lake Mburo National Park. On this 21 Days Uganda Safari & Adventure Vacation, you also be exposed to an array of landscapes, numerous water bodies such as lakes, rivers, and waterfalls, a remarkable diversity of habitats that harbor thousands of wildlife species, including…

4. A boat ride in Mabamba Swamp in search of rare shoebills

Mabamba Swamp is a 16,500-hectare birdwatcher’s bird-watcher paradise. The swamp is situated on the edge of Lake Victoria within easy reach of Kampala and Entebbe. It teems with birds, but the ultimate prize is a glimpse of the shoebill. Sightings of this rare bird, resembling something from the dinosaur era, are excellent here.

You can book a guided one-day Shoebill boat tour and silently glide through the swampÔÇÖs labyrinthine waterways to witness this incredible bird in its natural habitat up close. Apart from that, the swamp’s natural beauty is a treat for nature photographers, offering countless opportunities to capture breathtaking images.

Mabamba Swamp

This 1 Day Mabamba Birding Tour takes you Mabamba Swamp, one of the best and most accessible Uganda birding spots from Kampala and Entebbe. The extensive 16,500-hectare papyrus swamp is situated on the northern shores of Lake Victoria-Africa’s largest lake – west of Entebbe City. It is a Ramsar-listed wetland of international importance and Important Bird Area (1BA), with over 300 recorded bird species. Mabamba has proved to be the most reliable and convenient place in the world to catch a rare glimpse of rare Shoebill in its natural habitat. The shoebill is Uganda’s most famous avian resident and the prime attraction to the country for most birders and…

birding Uganda safaris-min (5)

Our 7 Days Uganda birding tour explores four of Uganda’s best birding spots and wildlife safari parks. These include Mabamba Swamp, Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, and Lake Mburo National Park. You will see many endemics and special birds of Uganda. You will also havesome time to marvel at some of Africa’s rarest wildlife, and all this amidst spectacular scenery including the Africa’s largest lake/world’s largest tropical lake, Lake Victoria. Some of the many regional specials and endemic birds that we will target on this tour are the incredible Shoebill stork, the African broadbill, the Green-breasted pitta, the Great Blue…

Read More about Mabamba Swamp.

5. Boating in Murchison Falls National Park

Take a boat cruise east on the Victoria Nile to Murchison Falls– the worldÔÇÖs strongest waterfall. YouÔÇÖll see plenty of wildlife along the way including hippos by the hundreds, countless water birds, and massive crocodiles.

There is also the possibility of seeing the acrobatic black-and-white colobus monkey swinging in the trees, as well as elephants, buffalos, and giraffes quenching their thirst in the worldÔÇÖs longest river.

The waterfalls are the real highlight though. Imagine the explosive force of the 50-meter-wide Nile being pushed through a small narrow cleft of about 8 meters in the Rift Valley escarpment, before plunging 45m to what has been termed the ÔÇ£devilÔÇÖs cauldronÔÇØ below, forming a plume of spray marked by a thunderous roar and a permanent rainbow. It is a truly unforgettable experience!

Sit back and enjoy the sunset with a drink in hand while cruising back.

Murchison Falls National Park

This short and affordable 3 days Murchison Falls safari in Uganda takes you to Murchison Falls National Park. Murchison Falls is Uganda’s largest national park at 3895km2. The park is home to over 70 mammal species including 4 of the Big 5 animals and the world’s strongest waterfalls! It is in fact the best game park for Uganda safari tours. On this 3 days Murchison Falls safari in Uganda, you’ll explore the savannah driving in a comfortable 4×4 vehicle and some of the animals you’ll look out for are rare Rothschild’s giraffes, Africa elephants, African buffaloes, Common warthogs, Lions, Leopards,…

6. Kazinga Channel: Boat Cruise in Queen Elizabeth National Park

A narrow stretch of water connecting Lake Edward and Lake George, this 20-mile-long shallow water channel is among the top tourist attractions in the Queen Elizabeth National Park and can’t be missed!

Animals of all shapes and sizes from African elephants, and buffalos to warthogs come down to the edge to drink and bathe. The channel also attracts numerous waterbirds including Skimmers, Pink- Pelicans, Cormorants, Storks, and more.

But Kazinga Channel is known for being home to the worldÔÇÖs largest concentration of hippos, who happen to live side by side with Nile crocodiles. Taking a boat cruise down the channel gives you the chance to cruise just meters from these wonderful creatures.

4 Days Safari In Beautiful Queen Elizabeth National Park

This slow-paced, easy going 4 Days Safari In Beautiful Queen Elizabeth National Park was especially prepared for the individual, friends, or family who has been moving too quickly through life, work, and everything in between. The tour takes you to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. Covering almost 2,000km2, this park is home to nearly 100 different mammal species, including tree-climbing lions, ground dwelling lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, Hippos, Crocodiles, Warthogs, Chimpanzees, and Hyenas. There is also over 600 species of bird! And before you even get to the animals, the park also has some of the most jaw-dropping landscapes…

5 Days Gorilla And Wildlife Tour

You can book this 3 Day Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari in Uganda and experience one of Uganda's best scenery on a rewarding safari. This Uganda's national park is most known for its spectacular landscapes of rolling savannah plains, lush rainforests, a series of sparkling crater lakes, freshwater lakes, and a lovely backdrop of the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains. At about 1978 km2, Queen Elizabeth National Park is also home to over 600 bird species and 95 species of mammals, including rare tree-climbing lions. During this 3 Day Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari in Uganda, you'll do game drives…

7. Boat Cruise in Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is situated in highly scenic western Uganda and is the most accessible national park for wildlife safaris in Uganda. Despite being the smallest savannah park in Uganda, Mburo has rich animal life with more than 315 different species and 68 mammal species (including zebras, giraffes, buffalos, waterbucks, impalas, elands, bushbucks, reedbucks, leopards, hyenas, bush babies, and jackals)

The park also boasts five lakes including Lake Mburo which offers a fantastic boat cruise. Lake Mburo boat ride allows you to relax while viewing wildlife closer than you would in a safari vehicle.

Lake Mburo supports a variety of aquatic life like hippos, crocodiles, lizards, and water birds including the elusive African Finfoot and majestic African fish eagle.

3 Days Lake Mburo Safari, Boat Cruise

This 3 Days Lake Mburo Safari gives you the chance to experience one of the country’s most beautiful savannas. Lake Mburo National Park is about a three to four hour drive from Kampala, making it Uganda’s closest park to the capital. It is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah parks, but it boasts an incredible variety of wildlife, beautiful scenery, and its small size means you can access various areas of the park easily and discover a lot of what it can offer in a short time. The park is great for grazing animals. The common animals to be seen on the day safari in…

8. Lake Victoria Tours

With a surface area of almost 70 000 square kilometers, Lake Victoria not only dominates this part of East Africa but ranks as AfricaÔÇÖs largest lake, the worldÔÇÖs largest tropical lake, and the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. The giant lake borders three African countries – Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.  

Several lodges, hotels, and resorts perched on the waterÔÇÖs edge in Entebbe offer day trips or to the lake but it has never really featured in Uganda safari itineraries.

You can enjoy a sunset cruise to enjoy the calm waters, relax on Entebbe beaches, take a sport fishing tour in search of the legendary Nile Perch, or a trip out to some of the many islands.

The main highlight is the Ssese Islands, an archipelago of 84 islands featuring palm-fringed white sand beaches, magical sunsets, fishing villages, and thick forests – which make for a fantastic off-the-beaten-track tropical island experience. The main island is easily accessible by ferry from Entebbe, and is a popular weekend destination from Kampala, with a string of beachfront resorts and bars.

Another island lying near the equator and close to Entebbe is Ngamba Island, a sanctuary for orphaned chimpanzees rescued from bush meat traders and circuses, who are now free to roam the island and play in its tangled vines and towering trees. Read More: Best Things to do in Entebbe

where to stay in Ssese

This 3 Day Kalangala Ssese Islands Tour is one of the best travel packages for local tourists in Uganda. The…

9. Lake Mutanda

The scenic Lake Mutanda is located in southwestern Uganda just north of Kisoro town and makes for a relaxing base from which to explore the area and track Mountain Gorillas and Golden monkeys in the nearby Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

With the misty Virunga Volcanoes as a backdrop and ringed by papyrus swamp, there are plenty of hikes, bird watching, and water activities to be enjoyed around this lake.