Kampala, Uganda’s capital, is a lively and thriving city. Surrounded by bustling crowds, thousands of boda bodas, street vendors and maybe some curious gazes, you can stroll through the, at times confusing, streets and gain your first proper impression of life in Uganda. Kampala is a large city and has plenty of restaurants offering food from all around the globe. In some of the city’s coffee houses, you can try Ugandan coffee. While the country is known for the coffee it grows, almost all of the beans are exported out of the country. The locals tend to drink instant coffee instead.
Kampala is the cultural centre of the country. While there, you can visit various museums and admire the governmental buildings. But watch out, you aren’t allowed to take pictures!
In the nearby Entebbe, you’ll find large shopping centres selling international brands.
In Kampala, you can stay in a hostel dormitory for just €6 per night. The hostel is near the main road, allowing you to quickly get from point A to point B.
Leaving the capital in a Matatu, you are now headed to Jinja. The city is located in eastern Uganda and, among backpackers, is particularly well-known as a place to go white water rafting on the Nile River. In some parts, the river’s current is so rapid it reaches a class 5 rafting classification. The cosy town has a population of around 100,000 and provides you with some nice cafés and restaurants to sit and relax in. A word of warning: It’s worth heading to a restaurant before you start getting hungry. Service can be somewhat slow and long waits are pretty standard. True adrenaline junkies also have the opportunity to go bungee jumping over the river. After a day packed full of exciting experiences, take the chance to get comfy on the banks of the Nile and watch the sunset with a local beer in hand.
The source of the Nile River, Lake Victoria, is also near the city and can be reached by taking part in a boat tour.
For €12 per night, you can stay in a hostel dormitory.
Your trip continues into the untouched northwest of the country and to Murchison Falls National Park. This impressive national park is 3877 km² in size and is crossed by the Nile River.
Murchison Falls counts among the most biodiverse national parks in Uganda. With a bit of luck, you might even be able to spot a rare animal like, for example, a jaguar during your visit. To increase your chances of seeing unique animals, consider hiring a ranger at the entrance to the national park. Generally speaking, the rangers will ask to be paid around €20, plus an additional €3-4 tip.
Inexpensive accommodation can be found at one of the hostels and will cost you around €15 per night.
In contrast to Kampala, Masaka is a much smaller and more manageable city. Despite its smaller size, the city provides you with several international restaurants and cafés to pick and choose from. While, in terms of culture, Masaka has less to offer than Uganda’s capital city, it makes for a great home base when you are planning to go on day trips and want to explore the surrounding area. You can, for example, head out to another national park: Lake Mburo National Park. Lake Victoria is also not too far away from Masaka and can be reached easily via minibus. If you’ve already made it to the shores of Lake Victoria, consider visiting the Kalangala island group and spending a day just relaxing on the beach.
Spending the night in the dormitory of one of Masaka’s hostels will cost you €6.