Today, busy is the norm. Some of us can’t tell the difference between a weekend and a weekday. That is why a 3-day holiday weekend trip is a perfect opportunity to take a break and enjoy yourself for all the past months you worked day and night. This is a few suggestions for a perfect long weekend holiday!
At the Northwest side of Lake Victoria sits the most fascinating series of islands. 51km across the water from Entebbe, this is the unadulterated place to get away from the busy schedules and unwind. The Ssese islands are divided into two groups, the Bugala group names after the largest one of them - Bugala island and Koome group on the other side of the Koome channel that separates the two groups. 84 islands make up the entire Ssese islands giving you quite a good sample selection for your choice of exploration.
The most visited islands are Banda Island, Bugala Island and Ngamba island. These islands offer equanimity, raw nature, and a world outside the monotony! With the white beach sands only a walk from your accommodation, you could laze away in the hammocks and watch the endless lake and finally have that good night sleep with the sound of the waves in distant night air and birds singing early in the morning.
There is quite a number of fun activities for you to do while at Ssese islands;
- Spot fishing: Tilapia and Nile Perch are a common spoil at shores of Lake Victoria. With the help of your tour guide, you will get to fish your own lunch or dinner and roast it by the shores.
- Swimming: The wide-open lake is right there for your taking. Most of the lodging areas have swimming pools but there are some shores with fresh waters safe for your exploration.
- Boat cruises: You might have selected to stay at one of the islands, but that does not mean you cannot explore the entire island. With a local tour guide and skilled boat driver, you get to cruise from island to island across the blue waters surrounded by only nature. On this cruise, you get to see a lot of birds and animals like crocodiles.
- Check out the billionaire’s view: For a better view of the island, this is the place to go. At the hilltop of Kalangala town, you will have a panoramic view of the entire 84 islands of the Ssese and trekking there itself is quite an adventure.
- Forest exploration and nature walks: For a closer look at the wild that inhabits these islands, you’ll need to dive deep into the forests. For bird lovers, do not forget your binoculars, it is a home for over 300 species of birds like the African Green Broadbill, Marabou stork, Shoebill stork among others. Other animals include Vervet monkeys, Colobus monkeys, common monkeys and sitatunga antelopes.
Murchison Falls National Park
In the Northern part of the Albertine Rift Valley lies a gem. Murchison falls national park is home of almost all wild animals you can possibly see in Uganda. Lions, Climbing lions, hyenas, elephants, bushbucks, Uganda kobs, Rothchild giraffes, Hippos, water buffalos, leopards and many others. Game drives allow you to come in close contact with these animals and even hang around long enough to notice elusive characters and animals. Other activities include boat cruises on the Victoria Nile, Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest, Bird watching, fishing and Camping.
The falls are a great addition to this package and a must-see. With the water forcing its way at a high speed through a narrow rock pathway about 8 meters wide and falling 43 meters down, it produces a profound rumbling sound. For those picture-worthy spots, Murchison falls takes the number one spot providing a background of the surging mist and mini rainbows created over the strong falls.
Bwindi National Park & Lake Bunyonyi
A trip to the South West is just what you need. For possibly the most rewarding trip, Bwindi National Park is the place to be. Known as the only place in Uganda that houses the amazing mountain gorillas both in habituation and the rain forest (wild). Bwindi is home of 36 Gorilla families and over 600 gorillas. For the gorillas in habituation, you can spend 4 hours interacting and watching their behaviours while you can spend 1 hour with those in the wild. However, in the wild, you get to see a whole lot of other animals like monkeys, baboons, and many bird species as well as hiking through the thick rugged forest.
This is also located in South Western Uganda and deemed the deepest lake in East Africa at 25km long and 7km wide. Lake Bunyonyi has 29 small islands scattered across it which can be viewed from the hills nearby when you take that community walk. It is the perfect place to unwind, relax and do a lot of fun activities like swimming in the fresh waters of the lake or the swimming pools, bungee jumping, fishing and biking from surrounding hills that provide a great view of the lake’s islands and Kabale town in the near distance.
The green lush vegetation of the Kigezi hills and misty fog that forms above the lake in the early mornings is quite a sight to wake up to. With high-end accommodation services, Lake Buyonyi is the best place to hide away and reconnect with yourself.
The Sipi is without a doubt the most beautiful falls in Uganda. 280km from the city in the district of Kapchorwa lies the triple falls possibly taking you 4-5 hours drive from Kampala. The three falls drop from 75, 85, and 95 meters consecutively and with the highest fall being the obvious star attraction. The great rumbling of the falls, the great pool of freshwaters at the banks and cascading mist created by them have become quite an attraction from both local and foreign visitors.
For your three-day trip, the Sipi will have you occupied from start to end with fun adventurous activities;
Abseiling: One might call it reverse rock climbing, or more deservedly ‘rappelling’. This is a kind of sport where you are attached to a rope hanging from a friction device and descended down a steep rocky slope right next to the Chebonet falls. The Chebonet falls sits right across the Sipi falls and provides this exhilarating sport to ignite your adrenaline.
Mountain Biking: From hardcore rocky climbs to easier downhill routes, there are a number of trails set up for biking on the lower slopes of Mount Elgon, through the coffee plantations and even the community.
Hiking: It will take you about 3 hours to hike all the 3 Sipi falls. With the guidance of a skilled local guide, you will see the ins and outs of the entire area and hike to the top and have a panoramic view of the Kapchorwa plains and valleys.
Agro-tour: For a chance to experience the local economic activity (coffee growing), take some time for this agro-tour. You will be guided through the whole process of planting, harvesting and how they handle the selling as well as possibly grinding the beans and making a fresh cup of coffee.
Mount Elgon Nationa park: Pick a few hours for a game drive through Mount Elgon National Park to see a range of wild animals like Baboons, Monkeys (Colobus, Vervet, red-tailed) Spotted hyenas, Defassa waterbucks, forest hogs, elephants, buffalos among others.
Community walks: For that evening walk, take a stroll through the communities in the nearby areas, understand their cultures and traditions.
Jinja is without a doubt the most popular weekend trip get-away. Only three hours from the city, Jinja is a convenient place for thrill-seekers and fun-seekers. For this trip, you can start with Mabira forest, approximately 54km from Kampala and indulge in a number of activities like zip-lining across the vast rain forest, bird watching, biking, monkey tracking, camping and nature walks. Spend a day indulging in the epic Mabira adventure and picnicking in the safe areas of the forest.
Head on to Jinja source of the River Nile, engage in white water rafting and kayaking on the White Nile, Camping, boat cruises, bungee jumping and a whole lot of other activities. There is a range of accommodation from 5-star hotels to bush camping all which provide more customized activities during your stay.