Walking and trekking in Uganda
A fantastic place to explore the wilderness on foot...
Hiking is an activity that has picked up in interest with visitors to Uganda and more people are now wanting to get out of the safari vehicle and go on a walk – whether that is a smaller walking safari, a longer hike or a strenuous volcano climb! There are rainforests, savannahs, volcanoes, plains, mountains and jungles to explore in Uganda so a hike is often included in a Uganda itinerary… and rightly so!
For those looking for something more strenuous, there are a couple of volcanoes in the country that can be climbed. In the east, there are extinct volcanoes including Mount Elgon which was, before it blew its top, one of the highest mountains in Africa. Most famously, the southwestern region of Uganda is home to the Virunga Volcanoes which are dormant and extinct.
The Virunga Mountains cover three countries – Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are three volcanoes that can be climbed but they are each technically spread across each of the borders of the countries. Mount Sabinyo (3,645 metres), Mount Muhavura (4,127 metres) and Mount Mgahinga (3,474 metres). You can climb all three during your trip to Uganda, with logistics and accommodation booked beforehand.
Over in Eastern Uganda, Mount Elgon can be trekked. This mountain borders Kenya and Uganda, and it is usually a 4-6 day climb with beautiful scenery as you pass lakes and forests along the way.
There are also the Sipi Falls which are a set of three waterfalls that sit along the foothills of Mount Elgon (in eastern Uganda, as mentioned above). The Sipi Falls is one of the outstanding attractions in Eastern Uganda, and arguably the most beautiful waterfalls in Uganda (alongside Murchison Falls) that you should consider visiting.
These falls and Mount Elgon are easy to access from Kampala or Entebbe, so they can be done as a day trip from the cities. Following the Sipi river flow from the top, the first waterfall plunges 85 meters over a cliff into the plunge pool below.
For those wanting a whole day of serious hiking, then you can consider Mount Morungole. This is located in the northeastern region, close to Kidepo Valley National Park, so they can quite easily be combined in an itinerary. The climb is around 8 hours and includes a cultural encounter along the way. This is because the Ik people were the first people in that area to live on top of this volcano, so there is plenty of history and culture behind this off-the-beaten-track path.
Obviously, seeing the mountain gorillas is one of the main highlights in Uganda, but the actual trek through Bwindi National Park should not be underestimated. The forest itself has some fantastic hiking tracks and trails to follow – do not let the word impenetrable put you off! One of the most famous hikes is through the forest, beyond Lake Mutanda and Kisoro which has a stunning backdrop of green forests and an array of birds.
Before your trip, we always send out a packing list with some essential equipment and recommendations for gorilla trekking in Uganda. One of which is good walking boots! It may sound obvious, but we have seen travellers show up ready to go gorilla trekking in inappropriate footwear and if anything, it is just going to taint your experience as you will not be comfortable.