From animal spotting to adventure sports, there are some incredible sights and activities to experience while you are volunteering in Uganda! We’ve listed below some of the popular places to visit and things to do during your time on the IVHQ Uganda program, as recommended by our past volunteers.
In and Around Kampala
The IVHQ Uganda program is based in Kitende, just 15 kilmometers from the captial city of Kampala. While many of Uganda’s popular tourist attractions lie outside of the city, there are some great experiences waiting for volunteers in Kampala.
A visit to the lively local markets in Kampala is an experience not to be missed! Whether you’re looking for local produce, local crafts, or even imported pre-loved clothing from the USA, Asia or Europe - there is a market for everyone in Kampala. Be sure to drop by the Owino and Nakasero Markets and Exposure Africa Crafts Village.
Lake Victoria Tours
Bordering Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and makes for a popular spot for volunteers to explore. Kampala is conveniently located right on the shores of Lake Victoria and volunteers can take day or overnight tours with a number of different operators, offering fantastic sightseeing opportunities!
While volunteering in Uganda, many volunteers choose to travel further afield together to visit the popular attractions located outside of Kitende and Kampala. We’ve highlighted a couple of popular weekend destinations, however our local staff are always willing to share with you the many other locations well worth exploring when you arrive in Uganda.
A trip to Uganda is never complete without a visit to Jinja, the adventure sports capital of East Africa. Located on the shores of Lake Victoria, close to the source of the Nile River, Jinja is Uganda’s second largest town after Kampala. Originally a fishing village, Jinja has quickly gained a reputation as a hot spot for adrenalin junkies. World famous as a white water destination, where the massive Lake Victoria is squeezed into the Nile River, Jinja has diversified in recent years and now offers bungee jumping, 4x4 adventures, horseback safaris and jet boat rides, in addition to the white water rafting trips.
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is the largest national park in Uganda and is the main national park used for many traditional safaris, where volunteers are looking to spot the Big 5 (elephant, lions, leopards, giraffes and water buffalo). Renowned for its rough roads, the beauty of the park and abundance of wildlife certainly offset the hardships safari goers have to endure while traveling to Murchison Falls.
The small town of Fort Portal is located 320 kilometers from Kampala and sits at the base of the picturesque Rwenzori Mountains. The town is popular as a base for tourists to access the stunning national parks surrounding the area and volunteers also travel to these national parks in their free time for sightseeing and hiking trips. From Fort Portal, you can easily visit the Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve, Crater Lakes Region, Kibali Forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Rwenzori Mountains.
Uganda is one of only three countries in the world (the other two being Rwanda and Congo DRC) where you are able to trek into national parks and see gorillas in their natural habitat. Spending an hour with mountain gorillas is one of the most exclusive wildlife opportunities available anywhere in the world, owing to the fact that mountain gorillas are endangered, with only 650 left in the world. Volunteers who have done these trips speak very highly of them, however the only downside is that the fees associated with gorilla trekking are incredibly expensive (trips start from around US$1200), which does limit the ability of most of our volunteers to do these treks.
If you would like more details on any of these locations or activities, our local team in Uganda can assist you once you are registered onto the IVHQ Uganda program.
To apply for the program or explore the volunteering opportunities available in Uganda, visit our Volunteer in Uganda page.