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Everything You Need to Know About Eco-Tourism in Uganda

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Susan Swanepoel

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eco tourism in uganda

Author: Susan Swanepoel - 8 January 2024

Last Update: 15 May 2024

Thanks to its remarkable biodiversity, natural beauty, and rich cultural heritage, Uganda can offer eco-tourists a wide range of unique and sustainable activities.

Visitors can enjoy authentic safari experiences while contributing to conservation and local community development, ensuring the country’s treasured environments and traditions remain pristine and protected. Here’s everything you need to know about ecotourism in Uganda .

1. National Parks and Wildlife Reserves

Uganda is home to a network of protected areas, including 10 national parks, six wildlife reserves, and several forest reserves. With their diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife, these locations attract eco-tourists from all over the world who want a sustainable safari experience.

Park fees and permit costs help fund conservation efforts and research while helping to support local communities.

2. Birdwatching

With over 1000 recorded bird species, Uganda is heaven for birders and avian photography enthusiasts. Highlights include the rare and sought-after shoebill stork, the endemic, green-breasted pitta, African paradise flycatchers, African pied hornbill, and red-throated bee-eater.

Shoebill stork on birding safari in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park , Mabamba Swamp, Semuliki National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park are all key birding destinations. Hire a local guide who knows the area and can direct you to that unforgettable sighting.

3. Gorilla Trekking

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park both offer guided mountain gorilla trekking tours , giving visitors (in small groups) the opportunity to responsibly witness and photograph these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. This activity is restricted to only a few permits per day. Watch them eat, play, and groom each other deep in the forest – it’s an awe-inspiring experience.

4. Primate Tracking

Gorillas aren’t the only primates in Uganda. There’s also the chance to track other species, like chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park and on Ngamba Island.

Head to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to spot golden monkeys in the wild and marvel at their ability to move swiftly through the forest canopy. Experienced guides maximize your chances of tracking down these agile apes.

5. Community-Based Tourism

Travelers can immerse themselves in Ugandan culture and traditions through community-based tourism activities. Stay in a homestay, visit villages, and learn about local crafts and customs. These cultural interactions help support local communities and shine a light on their unique heritage.

Bwindi Lodge's tea processing community project.

Popular community tourism activities include visiting the Batwa pygmies, learning about traditional fishing on Lake Victoria, and touring the Kasubi Tombs.

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6. Nature Walks and Hikes

With its rainforests, cloud forests, and savannah grasslands, Uganda offers hikers and nature enthusiasts a wide range of trails to explore. Travelers can take guided hikes, nature walks, and forest treks to really immerse themselves in the varied ecosystems.

Kibale Forest National Park and Rwenzori Mountains National Park are both excellent destinations. Adventurous visitors can even climb to the summit of Mount Rwenzori.

7. Conservation Initiatives

Many camps, lodges, national parks, and reserves are associated with some form of conservation initiative. Park fees and tourism revenue are channelled into these projects to protect wildlife and habitats and engage in sustainable tourism practices.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is just one of many organizations managing protected areas and spearheading conservation efforts.

8. Sustainable Lodging

There are a number of eco-lodges and camps in Uganda that minimize their environmental footprint, using local materials, employing local people, and supporting local communities. Some popular eco-lodges and camps are:

Bwindi Lodge

  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
  • Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: Gahinga Lodge
  • Kibale National Park: Ndali Lodge
  • Murchison Falls National Park: Murchison River Lodge
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park: Kyambura Gorge Lodge

9. Adventure Tourism

Uganda offers thrillseekers a range of adrenaline-pumping activities, from guided whitewater rafting on the Nile River, mountain biking and zip-lining through forests to kayaking on the country’s many lakes and rivers. By hiring a local guide you contribute to the community’s economy.

10. Ecological Research and Education

Various educational programs and research opportunities offer travellers the chance to gain a deeper understanding of Uganda’s ecology and conservation projects.

Ecological research and education play a crucial role in promoting conservation, raising awareness about Uganda’s rich biodiversity, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of its ecosystems. Visitors can engage in research activities such as bird banding, wildlife tracking, and vegetation surveys.

Male mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda.

By choosing a responsible tour operator and accommodations that prioritize environmental and social sustainability, travellers to Uganda can contribute to conservation efforts and help support the livelihoods of local people.

Speak to a safari expert at Discover Africa today about planning a sustainable, eco-conscious, tailor-made luxury safari in Uganda .  

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Ecotourism Sites

The eco-tourism destinations in Uganda include all the ten national parks, wildlife and game reserves, forest reserves, events/cultural centres, community wetlands, theme parks, resorts and  important bird areas. Ecotourism is managed by the national forest authority which was  founded  in April 2004 under the National Forest Authority and tree planting act.  The prime authority  of National Forest Authority is to manage central forest reserves on a sustainable basis and to supply high quality forestry products and services. The benefits of eco-tourism are divided into  three  i.e.  environmental, economic, and socio-cultural benefits. Ecotourism has several activities that are carried out forexample nature walks, bird watching, village/community walks, forest walks, butterfly watching, sport fishing, mountaineering / hill  climbing, gorilla tracking, chimp tracking, game viewing, boat cruises, caving, scenery viewing /nature photography, primate watching to mention but a few. There are a number of central forest reserves that undoubtedly have features and attractions that are of real interest to domestic and international tourists on a sustainable basis which include;

  • Mabira  central  forest  reserve,
  • Mpanga  central  forest  reserves,
  • Lutoboka  and  Bunjazi  forest  reserve,
  • Kalinzu  forest  reserve,
  • Bugoma eco-tourism  site,
  • Budongo  forest  reserve,
  • Kaniyo  forest  reserve

Uganda’s Forests

Uganda has several tropical rain forests and thus its temperatures are tropically off equatorial regions. Most of Uganda’s forests are moist semi deciduous forests which are similar to the ones in the Congo and West African countries. Mpanga Forest Mpanga forest reserve offers forest walks in three main trails, the butterfly loop, horn bill and Baseline. The forest has 196 animal species; bush pigs, insects, about 14 species of butterflies and 200 species of trees. Mpanga forest is also rich in primates like the monkey red tailed black and white colobus and other wildlife include pangalin, cevet cats, snakes especially those falling under the class of pythonidia, Antelopes, tree squirrels and many others. Other activities include nature walks, night walks, bird watching, research experiments from the education sector, picnicking, camping and facilities include accommodation and conference facilities. Mabira Forest The forest is located east of Kampala, 54km from Kampala and 26km from Jinja. It has a total boundary of 3474 km all adjoining community land. It covers an area of 3061km² (30hectares). This is the biggest remainant of the once equatorial rain forest in central Uganda with an altitude of 1070-1540m above the see level. The forest is endowed with a variety of snakes and other reptiles. The forest has five wildlife groups according to the wildlife inventory of 1995-1996, it has the following trees and scrubs of about 312 species, mammals of about 27 species, moths of 97 species and butterflies of about 218 species and birds of about 315 species. The tourism activities in the area include; Avi-tourism, game viewing, the attraction of botanists among others. Cultural tourism is also a popular tourist activity within the enclaves of the local communities. The forest is also crossed by a lot of rivers; this hydrosphere is habituated with uncounted water fauna and flora for the tourists. Mabira forest is also rich in primates like red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus which provides a haven for the primatologist. Other activities in the forest also include nature walks, bird watching picnicking, camping, accommodation facilities and research stations among others. Zika Forest This is a representative of the once tropical rainforest which are now slowly diminishing because of mans activities. It is locates 40 km away from Kampala and occupies a total area of 4km². It was gazzeted for environmental conservation and has three ecosystems including grassland which is in the fore front, forest ecosystem and swamp or wetland vegetations and this gives three distinct canopies, as the low canopies, middle and taller canopies. The forest has also a variety of primates especially the monkeys such as patas monkeys in the savannas, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys providing ideal resources for promatologist that allows primate viewing. A lot of bird species hover, the forest and occupies the tree ranging from aboreal birds in the forest to the wetland birds such as the shoebill stork and this richness promotes avi-tourism, birds such as cascet, hornbill, rasses and there are over 45 bird species in the forest. Numerous butterflies also exist in the area and the forest is especially known for butterfly breading the pupas are exported to Denmark, Britain, New Zealand and Nairobi. According to Odupiano Oba the butterfly expert in pupa costs Ugshs 10,000. Other animals in the forest include the rats, snakes, pythons which can all be viewed by tourist. Animal species include the sitatunga, boar diker.

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Ecotourism in Uganda

Ecotourism in Uganda: What you need to know!

  • April 9, 2024

Ecotourism focuses on minimizing environmental impact while supporting local communities and conservation efforts. Uganda embraces these principles, offering a plethora of activities that immerse visitors in the country’s natural wonders.

In Uganda, Eco-tourism can offer variety of unique and sustainable activities to the country’s outstanding beautiful biodiversity and rich cultural heritage. Visitors on safari enjoy authentic experiences while contributing to conservation and local community development.

What is Eco-Tourism

Ecotourism is a significant movement that saw its roots spring up in the 1980’s. just as tourism was changing from micro business to mass takeover levels. Ecotourism was introduced as the solution to the hasty of resorts that was spreading all over Europe, the Americas and other popular holiday retreats.

Environmentalists fought hard to protect very important ecosystems and habitats around the world from development and the winning argument was that ecotourism could offer vital income to the areas if the land or coast was left undeveloped. because being unspoiled and prolific in wildlife was itself the tourist attraction.

Ecotourism thus emerged, with holidays focused purely on bringing people back to nature. While there were always people travelling to see wetlands, wildlife and many of the Earth’s natural wonders, ecotours were now stretching beyond the bounds of birding clubs.

eco tourism in uganda

Ecotourism in Uganda

National parks and wildlife reserves.

Uganda is home to 10 National parks and 12 Wildlife Reserves, and several forests reserves These diverse landscapes teeming with wildlife draw eco-tourists seeking sustainable safaris. Park fees and permits directly fund conservation efforts, research, and empower local communities.

Gorilla trekking

In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, limited daily permits allow for intimate gorilla trekking adventures. Join a small, guided group and witness these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. Observe them feeding, playing, and interacting deep within the lush forests – a truly awe-inspiring encounter.

Birdwatching

With over 1000 recorded bird species, Uganda is heaven for birders and avian photography enthusiasts. Highlights include the rare and sought-after shoebill stork, the endemic, green-breasted pitta, African paradise flycatchers, African pied hornbill, and red-throated bee-eater.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mabamba Swamp, Semuliki National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park are all key birding destinations. Hire a local guide who knows the area and can direct you to that unforgettable sighting.

eco tourism in uganda

Primate Tracking

Uganda boasts a primate kingdom beyond the mountain giants. Visitors can track chimpanzees swinging through the trees in Kibale Forest National Park or on Ngamba Island, a sanctuary for orphaned chimps. For a different encounter, Visitors can head to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Here, golden monkeys dazzle with their acrobatic leaps through the forest canopy. Expert guides will lead you on your primate quest, maximizing your chances of witnessing these agile apes in their natural habitat.

Natural Walks and Hikes

With Uganda’s lowland rainforest jungles, savannah grasslands and mountain forests, Hikers and nature enthusiasts have a wide range of trails to explore. Travelers can take guided hikes, nature walks, forest treks to really immerse themselves in the varied ecosystems. Kibale National Park,Sipi Falls, Mt.Elgon National Park, Semuliki National Park and Rwenzori Mountains National Park are all excellent destinations.

Conservation Initiatives in Uganda

Many of the lodges, camps, national Parks and Wildlife reserves are associated with some form of conservation initiative. The National Park fees and tourism revenue are channeled into these projects to protect wildlife and habitats and engage in sustainable tourism practices.

Eco lodges and Camps in Uganda

Several eco lodges and camps in Uganda try their best to minimize their environmental footprint, using local materials, employing local people, and supporting local communities. Popular eco lodges include, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge Kyambura Giorge Lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park Mount Gahinga Lodge Murchison River Lodge amd many others

Research and Education

Several education programs and research opportunities offer visitors the chance to get a deeper understanding of the ecology and conservation project of the country. Visitor to Uganda can participate in research activities such as Mongoose tracking, lion tracking and hippo census in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Gorilla habituation in Bwindi National Park, Chimpanzee habituation in Kibale Forest and Golden monkey habituation experience in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

eco tourism in uganda

Community Based Tourism

Uganda’s vibrant culture comes alive through immersive community-based tourism experiences. opt for a homestay, where you’ll be welcomed into local life. Visit villages, learn about traditional crafts like basket weaving or pottery making, and discover fascinating customs passed down for generations. These interactions directly support local communities and offer a window into their unique heritage.

Popular activities include: Meeting the Batwa pygmies: Learn about their rich history and cultural traditions as indigenous forest dwellers. Unveiling the secrets of Lake Victoria: Join local fishermen and witness their time-tested techniques, or perhaps even lend a hand! Exploring the Kasubi Tombs: Delve into the history of Buganda royalty at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

eco tourism in uganda

Travellers to Uganda can contribute to conservation efforts and help support the livelihood of local people by choosing a responsible tour company and accommodation facilities that prioritize environmental and social sustainability. Speak to one of our safari experts today and let us plan your sustainable tailor-made Uganda Safari.

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Pioneers of gorilla and chimpanzee eco-tourism in uganda and rwanda since 1997.

We have had a clear vision during our 25 year journey: to develop lodges that are sensitive to local culture and aesthetics, connect to local communities and conservation of great ape species and seek to use resources responsibly.

The Volcanoes team is excited to welcome you to our lodges and to share the rich culture, history, and hospitality traditions of the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

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Volcanoes Safaris Lodges

Volcanoes Safaris is the only company in the world to focus exclusively on the gorilla and chimpanzee parks of Uganda and Rwanda, a very rare and distinct type of eco-tourism. We have three lodges near the mountain gorilla parks: Virunga Lodge  in Rwanda and Bwindi Lodge and Mount Gahinga Lodge in Uganda. Kyambura Gorge Lodge and Kibale Lodge , opening in early 2024, focus on the chimpanzees.

Each of our lodges are connected to unique community and conservation projects, developed by the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust , which allow guests to experience the local community and participate in eco-tourism and community-based conservation.

Celebrating 25 Years

In 2022 we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Volcanoes Safaris with a series of events with our partners, including the Jane Goodall Institute, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, and Empowers Africa. We hosted a retreat with 25 conservationists at Mount Gahinga Lodge, where the ‘ Albertine Apes Alliance ’  was created to support collective action and advocacy to support the long term future of the great apes in the Albertine Rift.

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7 Day Community and Conservation Safari in Uganda

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Conservation and Community

Each Volcanoes Lodge undertakes a range of non-profit community and conservation activities in its neighbourhood.

The Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust aims to create long-term, self-sustaining projects that enrich the livelihoods of local communities, promote the conservation of the great apes, restore natural habitats and work with communities and institutions to reduce human-wildlife conflict.

Our new partnership with Empowers Africa as our fiscal sponsor provides a simple way for contributions from US residents to be tax-deductible.

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Safari Activities

Chimpanzee tracking.

Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, and visitors on the other hand must cross the river using natural bridges in order to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts only 2–3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness.

Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.

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Welcome to Uganda Eco Tours - a nature and cultural safaris company locally based and operating in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. Our Tours are specially designed for travelers who enjoy spending their holidays exploring the most remote, untapped cultural and natural treasures of the world.

The places we take you to have been carefully selected; amongst them are fragile ecosystems managed by vulnerable and marginalized communities in Uganda

Our Ecotour packages are well researched by our committed team with over 35 years of combined experience. The prices are competitive, adapted to suit your interests, budget and other requirements. We pride ourselves for being among the first travel providers in East Africa to hold and abide by the eco-principles.

Our tour leaders, with the help of a superb network of on-site guides, dedicate their time to offer you unequaled service. They are among the best in Uganda with extensive knowledge of all the species and their ecosystems including macro and micro habitats. They include the best ornithologists, cultural enthusiasts, experienced tour driver guides, and general nature lovers. 

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Luxury eco adventure holiday in uganda.

eco tourism in uganda

Takes you to exotic locations for top-rate tourist attractions, with first class ground handing while staying in the most luxurious ecologes in Uganda.

Sightseeing & Nature Photography Tour

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(The western Uganda Circuit plus an optional north-eastern Uganda safari extension). Activities here will include Game Drives, Launch Cruise, Hill Climbing, Waterfall and nature walks, Crater Lakes and cave exploration...

Culture & Natural History of Uganda

eco tourism in uganda

A visit to Uganda’s historical, religious, archaeological sites, cultural and natural areas. This tour includes a few wildlife encounters.

Eco Camping, Wildlife & Cultural Safari

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Includes wildlife viewing, primates tracking, Community and Cultural tours, and sightseeing. This is a camping safari that is ideal for adventurous and budget travellers.

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Family Adventure Holiday in Uganda

Family Adventure Holiday in Uganda

This trip has been designed and tailored to provide ample time for kids to play and relax . Highlights include among...

Uganda Birding Tour

Uganda Birding Tour

This Safari is specifically designed for birders who are interested in tracking mountain gorillas in Uganda plus...

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Voluntourism in Uganda

Voluntourism in Uganda

Popularly regarded as Volunteer Travel, Voluntourism is a recent form of tourism which involves volunteering for...

Ecotourism in Uganda

Ecotourism in Uganda

Uganda Eco Tours defines Ecotourism as "that form of travel that involves travelling to natural areas with the...

Birding in Uganda

Birding in Uganda

Uganda has for a very long time earned and maintained a status as being the most diverse and uniquely endowed tourist...

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Eco-Tourism in Uganda: How to Travel Sustainably and Responsibly

Hello there! Are you planning to visit Uganda soon? Great choice! Uganda is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in Africa, offering stunning landscapes, unique wildlife, and a rich cultural heritage. If you are a responsible traveler who cares about the environment and the local communities, eco-tourism in Uganda is the way to go. In this blog post, I will give you some tips on how to travel sustainably and responsibly in Uganda.

Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation

The first step to eco-tourism in Uganda is to choose an eco-friendly accommodation option. There are many eco-lodges and campsites in Uganda that are built and operated with sustainability in mind. They use renewable energy sources, minimize water usage, reduce waste, and support the local communities. By staying in eco-friendly accommodation, you can reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to the conservation of the natural environment.

Respect Wildlife and Their Habitat

Uganda is home to some of the most amazing wildlife in the world, including mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants, lions, and many more. When you go on a wildlife safari, make sure to respect the animals and their habitat. Do not disturb them by making loud noises, getting too close, or feeding them. Also, make sure to follow the rules and guidelines set by the park authorities and your tour operator.

Support Local Communities

Eco-tourism in Uganda is not just about conserving the natural environment , but also about supporting the local communities. When you travel to Uganda, make sure to buy local products, eat local food, and support local businesses. This will not only help the local economy but also give you a chance to experience the authentic culture and traditions of Uganda.

Reduce Your Waste

Reducing your waste is an essential part of eco-tourism in Uganda. When you are on a safari, make sure to take all your waste with you and dispose of it properly when you return to your accommodation. Also, avoid using plastic bottles and bags and bring your reusable water bottle and shopping bag. This will help to reduce plastic pollution and keep Uganda clean and beautiful.

Respect the Local Culture

Uganda is a country with a rich cultural heritage, and it is important to respect the local culture when you travel there. Learn about the customs, traditions, and beliefs of the local people and show respect to them. Do not take photos or videos of people without their permission, and do not engage in any behavior that could offend the local community.

In conclusion, eco-tourism in Uganda is a great way to travel sustainably and responsibly while enjoying the beauty and diversity of this amazing country. By following these simple tips, you can help to conserve the natural environment, support the local communities, and have an unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags, and get ready to embark on an eco-adventure in Uganda!

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eco tourism in uganda

ECOTOURISM IN UGANDA

    Ecotourism is a new phenomenon in the world as it in Uganda dates back to the 1990s. It involves such activities as Nature guided Walks, Bird Watching, Village/community Walks, forest walks, butterfly watching, sport fishing, mountaineering/hill-climbing, Gorilla tracking, Chimp tracking, game viewing, boat cruises, canoeing, caving, scenery viewing/nature photography, primate watching/walks, and any other aspects that relate to Natural, Cultural and Rural tourism. The ecotourism destinations in Uganda include all the ten national parks, wildlife and game reserves, forest reserves, events/cultural centers, community wetlands, Theme parks, resorts, and important bird areas.

    Uganda Ecotourism benefits

The benefits of ecotourism are divided into three; i.e. environmental, economic, and socio-cultural benefits. The following represents the general benefits of ecotourism to the communities and the host governments.

8 Days Mabira Eco Tourism Safari

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  Preserves the natural resource by undertaking environmentally friendly activities

Employment opportunities for the local people working as guides, staff in parks and other establishments adjacent to the resource Increased household income from the sale of handicrafts and other food items

  Enhances awareness, improvement of the social infrastructure like schools, libraries, health care Institutions through involving the local people in participatory planning programs and channeling tourism income to community projects

Improvement in local community access hence reducing the feeling of solitude among the local people. There will be the development of pride, appreciation, understanding, and respect for each other’s culture, increasing the self-esteem of hosts and tourists, and the preservation of local traditions.

eco tourism in uganda

COMMUNITY INITIATIVES

Cobati initiative.

As a homestead guest, you participate in the activities of the host family and they become your guide during your stay. They will accompany you in your explorations and treat you as if you lived in the village and were not a guest. Guests are also provided meals “local style,” meaning meals that the everyday villager eats.

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BIGODI INITIATIVE

KAFRED was formed in Bigodi in 1992. The group is an official Community Based Organization (CBO) in Uganda. Its purpose is to protect the local environment while advancing health, education, and economic growth in the wider local community. The group’s emblem is the great blue turaco, a majestic bird found View Details

VOLUNTEERISM IN UGANDA

Volunteer travel participants share a common desire to “give back to the world”. This could be in terms of doing something beneficial to the world as a whole, to a non-profit motivated organization, to a particular community, or the natural environment whilst experiencing new places, having fun, and promoting sustainable

AKATEGYENDA INITIATIVE

Akatagyenda was established as an umbrella organization representing communities in destination areas of S.Western Uganda to understand the importance of traveling leading to tourism as a business, which Akatagyenda believes, is among the best sectors to help communities get out of poverty.

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Maranatha Tours & Travel

Eco Tourism in Uganda

  • October 5, 2022

Ecotourism in Uganda: What is ecotourism? Ecotourism is better understood as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the residents, and involves interpretation and education. Embarking on eco-tours in Uganda with Maranatha Tours and Travel is a lifetime opportunity to explore untouched destinations, and learn and experience the best of Uganda without leaving a negative impact on the environment.

Ecotourism is entirely a unique experience and a form of travel that is guided by principles. Unlike other forms of tourism/travel, ecotourism is all about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainability. To enjoy most of the ecotourism experiences in Uganda or Rwanda, the ecotourism principles below come to play.

  • Minimize physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts
  • Offer direct financial benefits for conservation.
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness as well as respect
  • Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors which assist to raise sensitivity to the host nation’s environmental, social and political climates., etc

There are several eco-tourism sites worth visiting on safari in Uganda. They include National Parks, Reserves, and others. Typical ecotourism experiences to expect to indulge in on Uganda safaris include forest or nature walks, birding, gorilla trekking, cultural trail, and more.

Top ecotourism sites in Uganda

Bigodi wetland sanctuary.

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is one of the ecotourism sites that you should consider a must-visit on Uganda safaris. Located in Western Uganda, Bigodi is a short distance away from Kibale National Park , the most visited park for chimpanzee tracking. This wetland/swamp is rich in diversity of wildlife/primates and they include the black and white colobus monkeys, red colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, baboons, l’hoest monkeys. Other mammal species to keep an eye on while at Bigodi wetland include mongoose, sitatunga, bush pigs, bushbucks, etc.

Bigodi wetland sanctuary in birds

Birds in Bigodi include the great blue turacos, papyrus gonoleks, weaver birds, kingfishers, purple-breasted sunbird, flycatchers, crowned eagles, collared Apalis, black-capped apalis, and more.

Kashoya Kitomi Forest

Lying in the Buwhezu district in western Uganda, Kashoya Kitomi Forest Reserve is a compact forest with a land area measuring 433 sq. km. This forest protects a diversity of wildlife including red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzees, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, and others. Other wildlife species from Queen Elizabeth National Park can also be spotted on tour in Kashoya Kitomi Forest, including antelopes like Uganda kobs.

Budongo Forest Reserve

Located Northwest of Uganda, Budongo Forest is an extensive natural forest measuring 825 sq. km. The lush Budongo Forest is home to diverse primates including over 800 chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, baboons, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, etc. Plenty of birds are also supported in Budongo including Ituri batis, Cassin’s spinetail, brown twin spot, African dwarf kingfishers, olive-breasted greenbul, crested guinea fowl, chocolate-backed kingfishers, black-eared kingfishers, plain greenbul, little green sunbird, lemon-bellied crombec, yellow-crested woodpeckers, Sabine’s spine tail, yellow-footed flycatchers, etc.

budongo forest reserve

Mutanda Ecotourism program

The Lake Mutanda Ecotourism program is a local initiative in Southwestern Uganda. It was introduced mainly to renovate the Mutanda Eco Community Centre, an eco-lodge that is set on Lake Mutanda shores. This offers camping and accommodation services/facilities to guests visiting Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park for gorilla trekking or birding tours. There are also other amazing activities that guests can engage in while at Mutanda including boat rides, canoeing, swimming, guided hikes, village walking, and more.

Other popular destinations to visit in Uganda include Kibale Forest National Park for chimpanzee tracking, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park/Mgahinga National Park for gorilla trekking, Murchison Falls NP, Lake Mburo National Park, Semuliki, Kidepo Valley National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Maramagambo Forest, Mount Elgon, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, and others.

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  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Lake Mburo National Park
  • Kibale Forest National Park
  • Kidepo Valley National Park
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  • Mount Elgon National Park
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  • Semuliki National Park
  • Budongo Forest
  • Busingiro Ecotourism Site
  • Mabira Forest
  • Mpanga Forest
  • Rabongo & Kaniyo Pabidi Forests
  • Busitema Forest Reserve
  • Bugoma Forest Reserve
  • Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve
  • Maramagambo Forest
  • Mount Otzi Forest Reserve
  • Zika Forest
  • Ajai Wildlife Reserve
  • Bokora Corridor Wildlife Reserve
  • Bugungu Wildlife Reserve
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  • Karuma Wildlife Reserve
  • Matheniko Wildlife Reserve
  • Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
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  • About Uganda
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  • Road Trip Planning
  • Uganda Safari Packing List
  • What to Wear
  • When to Visit

Ecotourism Sites

This is a new form of tourism in the world and practiced in Uganda since it dates back in the 1990s. It includes many activities like nature guided walks, community/ village walks, bird watching , sport fishing, forest walk, mountain climbing , gorilla trekking , butterfly watching, game viewing , chimpanzee trekking , boat cruises, caving, canoeing, primate watching, viewing photography, and other aspects that relates to Natural, cultural as well as Rural tourism.

The major tourism destinations in Uganda include all the ten protected national parks and wildlife as well as game reserves, forest reserves, community wetlands, events or cultural centres, theme parks, resorts as well as the vital birding areas. Many safaris to Uganda combine nature as well as wildlife and it follows that sustainability would be vital or the visitors exploring the unique Eco tourism destinations within Uganda. The Uganda conservation efforts and tourism have increased in the past years and presently tours are tailored or organized around the different communities and natural environment.

Ecotourism doesn’t mean paying high attention for the line green products and it includes having very affordable Uganda Eco tourism tours while still being mindful of the conservation efforts. It includes visitors travelling with maximum respects of the local cultures and keeping an open mind when planning a safari to Uganda.

Presently Uganda is known as a safe ecotourism destination in the world and there is need to plan correctly all the eco- tourism activities and destination. This can lead to a more modified adventure for the tourists and one that is reliable to the respective communities’ they are to visit. The most thing the visitor’s planning for safaris to Uganda should do is to go local especially when they are under taking tours to Uganda. These should make sure that they use the locally owned hotels and services and also pay close attention to the relevant travel destination news so that to prepare for new regulations or chances that may negatively affect the Eco- tourism experience that they would get on any safari to Uganda. Eventually, the travellers need to do what is best and safest for them, but they must also acknowledge how their actions are affecting their destination areas.

The main eco-tourism sites in Uganda are as below;

There are several ecotourism sites in Uganda. If you would like to enjoy a nature tour, you should consider visiting any of the following attractions in the country.

Kashoya Kitomi Forest Reserve

This forest reserve is currently located in Buhwezu district in western Uganda. The forest has a land area coverage of 433 kilometers squares and has a number of wildlife attractions that include chimpanzees, bird species, monkeys (vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys can be sighted in the forest reserve).

There are also baboons in the forest and during the dry season, animals move from Queen Elizabeth national park to the major water points in the forest reserves to quench their thirst. Of the animals that can be seen include antelopes, bush pigs, Uganda Kobs and duikers. These are mainly seen around lake Kamunzuku.

Tourists to the Kashoya Kitomi forest reserve can engage in various tourist activities that include birding, boat rides on the lake, primate tracking, sight seeing and community walks.

Budongo Forest Reserve

This is the largest natural forest in Uganda with a total land area of 825 kilometers square. Budongo forest is the largest mahogany forest in east Africa with a number of various tree species and other vegetation types.

Budongo is one of the most popular destinations for primate watching safaris in Uganda. This natural enormous has 120 chimpanzees, 30 of which were habituated and can therefore be visited by tourists.

Other primates in the forest include the black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, red tailed monkeys, baboons and a number of bird species that can be seen in the Kaniyo Pabidi sector located in the northeastern part of the forest.

The Kaniyo Pabidi sector also has a number of wildlife species that include warthogs, bush pigs, waterbucks, and buffaloes.

There are well developed forest trails in Budongo and can enable tourists to involve themselves in various tourist activities like birding, forest walks, primate tracking and many others.

eco tourism in uganda

Eco Tourism

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eco tourism in uganda

Discover Eco-Tourism in Uganda with Treescape!

Welcome to Treescape, where sustainability meets adventure in the heart of Uganda! Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a cultural explorer, or simply seeking to tread lightly on this beautiful planet, Treescape offers an array of eco-friendly experiences waiting to be discovered.

Uganda: A Haven for Ethical Travelers

Located in East Africa, Uganda beckons to conscious travelers eager to explore its untouched landscapes and vibrant cultures. From misty rainforests teeming with wildlife to serene lakeshores steeped in tradition, Treescape invites you to immerse yourself in a world of sustainability and wonder.

eco tourism in uganda

Sustainable Tourism in Treescape

At Treescape, we are committed to preserving Uganda’s natural beauty while providing unforgettable experiences for our guests. Our sustainable tourism initiatives focus on minimizing environmental impact, supporting local communities, and promoting cultural heritage conservation.

Join Our Tree-Planting Efforts

Make a tangible difference during your stay by volunteering for our tree-planting activities. Join forces with us and other local conservationists to restore forests, combat climate change, and create habitats for Uganda’s diverse flora and fauna. Every tree planted brings us one step closer to a greener, more sustainable future.

eco tourism in uganda

Discover Unique Cultural Experiences

Engage with indigenous tribes and learn about their traditional way of life through immersive cultural encounters. From vibrant dance performances to hands-on craft workshops, local food harvesting and preparation, Treescape offers opportunities to connect with local communities and contribute to their livelihoods in meaningful ways.

Adventure Off the Beaten Path

Embark on eco-friendly adventures beyond the tourist trails, from exhilarating hikes through our natural dense forests to tranquil canoe rides along the longest River Nile and other winding rivers. Explore Uganda’s hidden gems while minimizing your carbon footprint and leaving behind a positive legacy for future generations.

eco tourism in uganda

Your Journey Starts Here

Whether you are trekking with gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, sailing on the serene waters of Lake Victoria, or savoring the flavors of traditional Ugandan cuisines, Treescape promises an eco-conscious travel experience like no other.

Join Us in Protecting Uganda's Natural Heritage

Together, we can preserve the beauty and biodiversity of Uganda for generations to come. Choose Treescape for your next eco-friendly adventure and be part of a movement towards sustainable tourism that respects nature, supports communities, and celebrates culture.

Embark on a journey of discovery and conservation with Treescape – where every step you take leaves a positive impact on the planet. Start planning your sustainable getaway today!

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13 Eco-lodges in Uganda Mending Broken Hearts Through Nature

Best Eco Lodges in Uganda

Looking for a way to experience both environmental friendliness and luxury in Uganda? The pearl of Africa is a great place to visit if you’re looking for the best eco lodges in Uganda.  There are many such establishments whose priority is a sustainable environmental system tied to luxury and relaxation .

These lodges are committed to sustainable tourism practices, meaning you can enjoy your vacation without harming the local environment. Plus, they offer all the amenities and comforts you would expect from a top-notch lodge, so you can truly relax and rejuvenate during your stay. Here are some of the best of such in  Uganda that you can enjoy while exploring this beautiful country.

Table of Contents

Apoka Safari Lodge

Best Eco lodges in Uganda

Apoka Safari Lodge. Photo/Inside Kidepo.

Nestled in the heart of Uganda’s wilderness, Apoka Safari Lodge is one of the best eco lodges in the country. The lodge is built on a hillside overlooking a savannah plain, and guests can enjoy stunning views of wildlife from their rooms.

The lodge is completely solar-powered, and all of the buildings are made from sustainable materials. With everything handmade by local craftsmen, you’ll never want to leave this natural oasis. Guests can go on game drives to see lions, elephants, and other animals in their natural habitat or take a walk through the lodge’s beautiful gardens.

2. Semliki Safari Lodge

Best Eco Lodges in Uganda

Semliki Safari Lodge. Photo/Twitter.

Semliki Safari Lodge is superb. The lodge is located in the heart of the Semliki National Park, making it an ideal base for exploring this unique and bio-diverse region. It’s made up of sustainable materials and renewable energy sources.

The rooms are large canvas tents with permanent thatched roofs, and the interior of each room is made of a hand-carved four-poster bed draped in muslin. Each veranda has a private panoramic view complimented by a pool that overlooks the Blue Mountains of the Congo.

3. The Rainforest Lodge – Mabira

Set in the Mabira Forest, this establishment boasts a tranquil atmosphere for travellers wanting to experience an authentic Ugandan rainforest. All materials used to construct the lodge are sourced locally from the surrounding area, giving visitors a one-of-a-kind look into Uganda’s natural resources.

Other amenities available at the lodge include a canopied bar with daily cocktail specials, a Restaurant and an open lounge – providing ample seating for your comfort.

4. Jacana Safari Lodge

Jacana Safari Lodge

Jacana Safari Lodge. Photo/Sun Safaris.

With rooms that offer picturesque views of the lake and plenty of space for guests to spread out, this tree house lodge is perfect for those looking to get away from it all. The cottages are set in the dense Maramagambo forest at the edge of one of the park’s crater lakes for a truly unique experience. With a design scheme made of natural materials like wood and rope, it’s the perfect place to escape civilisation and return to nature.

5. Aramaga Rift Valley Lodge

The Aramaga Rift Valley Lodge is situated at the foot of the Rwenzori Mountains. The lodge was built with sustainability in mind and features several eco-friendly features. Aramaga Rift Valley Lodge is also heavily involved in conservation efforts, working with the local community to protect the environment.

6. The Haven Eco River Lodge

The Haven is a peaceful, relaxed and well-maintained; thus among the best eco lodges in Uganda. Enjoy the calmness and breathtaking views over the starting point of rafting at the River Nile.

The Haven Eco River Lodge is ideal because of its environmental credentials. The lodge is solar-powered, providing 24-hour electricity and hot water for the showers. They source their water from a 20-meter-deep borehole.

7. Mount Elgon Ecolodge

Mount Elgon Eco lodge is situated on the slopes of Mount Elgon, in a region of outstanding natural beauty. This Eco lodge is also heavily involved in conservation efforts, working with the local community to protect the environment. The lodge offers several hiking and safari experiences, allowing visitors to explore the stunning scenery and wildlife of the area.

8. Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Ngamba Island is home to a sanctuary for orphaned and displaced chimpanzees. The sanctuary was established to conserve these endangered species and is heavily involved in conservation and education efforts. Visitors to the sanctuary learn about the work being done to protect chimpanzees and also have the opportunity to meet and interact with the resident chimpanzee population.

9. Gorilla Forest Camp

Located just 500m from the entrance of Buhoma Park, Gorilla Forest Camp is beautifully designed and set in a lush forest glade. The camp’s tents are thoughtfully set up to blend in with their atmospheric surroundings of misty valleys and the looming mountain range that protects this delicate ecosystem.

Each tent has an en suite bathroom with a tub, running water, and other amenities. They also have spacious verandas where guests can enjoy the views and meals in privacy. The atmosphere is that of a rainforest, which inspired Disney’s The Jungle Book animation. Now you know why it ranks among the best eco lodges in Uganda.

10. Zebi Ecolodge

Zebi Ecolodge is an upmarket lodge situated in the Nyungwe Forest National Park. The lodge was built to provide visitors with a unique experience that would allow them to feel close to nature, while also supporting the local community and conserving the environment.

Zebi Ecolodge works closely with the local community, employing members of the nearby village and using locally sourced materials for construction where possible.

11. Kigambira Safari Lodge

Located in lake Mburo National Park, Kigambira Safari Lodge is one of the best eco-lodges in Uganda. The lodge offers stunning views of the park, and features a swimming pool, restaurant, and bar. Kigambira Lodge also has a fleet of safari vehicles, which guests can use.

12. Kyaninga Lodge

Kyaninga Lodge is an upmarket lodge situated on the edge of Kibale Forest National Park. The lodge provides visitors with a unique experience that allows them to feel close to nature. Kyaninga Lodge also has several initiatives in place to support conservation efforts. These include using solar power and rainwater harvesting and offering guests the opportunity to plant trees in the forest.

13. Serenada Eco Resort

Serenada Eco Resort is on the shores of Lake Victoria in Mukono District. It is the nearest ecological resort to Kampala. Its main features include two tropical forests, four beautiful gardens, and a beach that guests can enjoy. The objective of Serenada is to conserve nature. For nature lovers, the resort is a home to over 220 species of birds, rare butterflies and wild animals.

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About the author.

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Besigye is a Ugandan writer and a teacher by profession. She loves adventure and travelling that's why she loves writing travel blogs.

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Safaris & Gorilla Treks in Uganda and Rwanda

Spectacular wildlife tours & authentic cultural experiences, guaranteed gorilla permits.

On our gorilla safaris in Uganda, Bamboo Ecotours can secure your tracking permit all year round (which not all tour operators can promise) and we are renowned for obtaining them quickly.

Sustainable Tourism Principles

One of the leading tour operators promoting sustainable, eco-friendly, and ethical gorilla trekking in Uganda, particularly at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. We promote ecotourism as a means to improve the livelihoods of communities dependent on wildlife ecotourism.

Small-Group Tours

Our tour groups never exceed 6 people, allowing us to give our customers a high-quality and authentic experience at every stage.

4-Day Gorillas, Wildlife, and Kalinzu Chimpanzee Trek

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Escape the crowds of Tanzania, Botswana, and Kenya and join us on one of our Uganda or Rwanda safaris. See volcanic landscapes in Volcanoes National Park (opens in a new tab) , Rwanda, spot Africa’s ‘big four’ (lions, leopards, buffalo, and elephants) in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Add hippos and crocodiles to the list as you cruise down the Kazinga Channel. On our ultimate 10-Day Western Uganda Safari (opens in a new tab) , visit the crater lakes at Fort Portal and Murchison Falls where the River Nile explodes into a waterfall. The list is endless, you just need to decide which adventure is right for you.

6-Day Rwanda Uganda Wildlife Safari

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Delve deeper into the beauty and culture of the Bwindi-Mgahinga area with activities such as coffee making, sunrise/sunset canoeing, or visiting the Batwa and Mabungo communities. These community experiences are a means for Bamboo Ecotours to promote responsible tourism and generate a positive social impact from the growing ecotourism in the Bwindi-Mgahinga conservation area.

Rwanda & the Democratic Republic of Congo

Explore the beauty and wildlife of central-eastern Africa further in Rwanda and DRC. These mountainous countries offer the additions of volcano hikes and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Reviews From Our Previous Guests

Drappapo – october 2019.

The first trip was to Bwindi to see the mountain gorillas. Jackson was the driver for this and he was fantastic. He was extremely knowledgeable about the area and was a joy to talk to during the journey and I highly recommend him. Edison and Bamboo Ecotours took care of the gorilla permit and everything was completely ready upon my arrival to Bwindi.

Traveller – August 2019

Tripadvisor.

Quick response on my emails and questions, detailed and useful information and comprehensive prices. I can highly recommend this company to everyone who wants to explore the best of Uganda.

Tom – February 2019

Most companies seem to just have a single driver/guide – I really liked that for this type of longer tour we had a driver and a guide. The driving was very difficult and it was nice that we could ask questions without disturbing our driver, but they also worked as a great team. Really liked that setup.

Gilbert – January 2019

Safari bookings.

Edison, the owner, is a trustworthy and very reliable person. He responded quickly to all my emails and queries regarding transportation to Bwindi Park (Gorilla Treks). Fred, a tour guide, and Joseph, the driver, were very helpful and client-focused. Without any hesitation, I highly recommend Bamboo Ecotours for all their offered tours or customized activities. Excellent value for money!

KenFBWI – July 2019

Unfortunately, we had to cancel the entire trip due to travel and health issues. The team (Edison) was perfect and prompt in responding and processing our requests. We will most definitely select this company when we rebook!

Our Social Impact

Bamboo Ecotours is one of the leading tour operators promoting sustainable, eco-friendly, and ethical gorilla trekking in Uganda, particularly at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. We are local entrepreneurs promoting ecotourism as a means to improve the livelihoods of communities dependent on wildlife ecotourism. As our company name suggests, Bamboo Ecotours promotes gorilla tours with a smaller environmental footprint and greater economic benefit to the local communities.

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Eco-tourism in Uganda can offer eco-tourists a great variety of unique and sustainable activities, thanks to the country’s outstanding biodiversity, natural beauty, landscapes, and rich cultural heritage.  Visitors on  Uganda safaris  can enjoy authentic safari experiences while contributing to conservation and local community development, ensuring the country’s treasured environments and traditions remain protected.

Ecotourism in Uganda

What is Eco-Tourism?

Ecotourism is a significant movement that massively grew in the 1980s, just as tourism was changing from micro business to mass takeover levels. Ecotourism was the solution to the hasty of resorts that was spreading all over Europe, the Americas and other popular holiday retreats.

Environmentalists fought tooth and nail to protect very important ecosystems and habitats around the world from development – and their winning argument was that ecotourism could offer vital income to the area if the land or coast was left undeveloped. Because being unspoiled and prolific in wildlife was, in itself, the tourist attraction.

And so, the wave of ecotourism started, with holidays that focused purely on bringing people back to nature. While there were always people travelling to see wetlands, wildlife and many of the Earth’s natural wonders, ecotours were now stretching beyond the bounds of birding clubs.

The definition of ecotourism which is the most accepted came in 1983 from a leading Mexican architect and environmentalist called Hector Ceballos-Lascurain.  At the time, he defined ecotourism as  that tourism that involves travelling to relatively undisturbed natural areas with the specific object of studying, admiring, and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and animals, as well as any exciting cultural aspect (both past and present) found in these areas…the person who practices ecotourism has the opportunity of immersing him or herself in nature in a way that most people cannot enjoy in their routine, urban existances.

However, in 1993 Ceballos-Lascurain extended his ecotourism definition and included importance of supporting communities too, saying; 

“Ecotourism is environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features – both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations”. 

In 1996, this definition was adopted by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation Nature). The International Ecotourism Society was also established in 1990, celebrating tourism destinations that fitted with this definition.

What You Need To Know about Eco-Tourism in Uganda:

1. national parks & reserves.

wildlife safaris in Uganda

Uganda is home to a variety of protected areas, including 10 national parks , 12 wildlife reserves, 2 wildlife sanctuaries, protected wetlands, and several forest reserves.

With their varied landscapes and great wildlife attractions, these locations draws eco-tourists from all over the globe who want a sustainable Africa safari experience.

The national park entry fees and wildlife viewing permit costs help in funding conservation efforts and research while also helping to support local communities in Uganda.

2. Birdwatching in Uganda

Mabamba Swamp

With over 1097 recorded bird species, Uganda is the dream destination for birders and avian photography enthusiasts

Highlights include the rare and pre-historic looking shoebill stork, the endemic, green-breasted pitta, African paradise flycatchers, African green hornbill, and red-throated bee-eater.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mabamba Swamp on the shore of Lake Victoria , Bigodi Wetland, Semuliki National Park and Semuliki Wildlife Reserve, Murchison Falls National Park, Budongo Forest, Mabira Forest, Lake Mburo National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park are all key Uganda birding safari destinations . Hire a local tour guide who knows the best birding sports in Uganda and can direct you to that remarkable sighting.

3. Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

eco tourism in uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park protect half of the world’s population of Mountain Gorillas. Both parks offer guided gorilla trekking safaris , giving visitors (in small groups) the opportunity to responsibly witness and photograph these fascinating and endangered great apes in their natural environment.

The gorilla trekking activity is restricted to only a few permits per day. Watch them play, eat, sleep, and groom each other deep in the rainforest – it is an awe-inspiring experience.

You may also like, is gorilla trekking ethical?

4. Chimpanzee & Other Primate Tracking Tours

Golden monkeys

Gorillas are not the only primates found in Uganda . There is also the chance to track other species, like chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park , Kalinzu Forest Reserve, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Budongo Forest Reserve.

Visit Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to see the beautiful golden monkeys in the wild and marvel at their ability to move swiftly through the forest canopy. Expert local guides maximize your chances of tracking down these agile primates.

5. Cultural and Community-Based Tourism

Ecotourism in Uganda

Visit on Uganda tours can immerse themselves in Ugandan culture and traditions through community-based tourism activities . Stay in a homestay, take village walks, and learn about local crafts, traditions, and customs. These cultural interactions help support local communities and shine a light on their unique heritage. Popular community tourism activities include:

  • Visiting the Batwa pygmies
  • Ndere Cultural Centre in Kampala
  • Karamojong Village in the Karamoja region
  • Coffee tours in the Sipi region
  • Entanda Cultural Experience

6. Nature Walks and Hikes in Uganda

Ecotourism in Uganda

With its lowland rainforest jungles, mountain forests, and savannah grasslands, Uganda offers hikers and nature enthusiasts a wide range of trails to explore. Travelers can take guided hikes, nature walks, and forest treks to really immerse themselves in the varied ecosystems.

Semuliki National Park , Kibale Forest National Park, Sipi Falls , Mount Elgon National Park, and Rwenzori Mountains National Park are all excellent destinations. Adventurous visitors can even climb to the snow-capped summit of Rwenzori – the tallest mountain range in Africa.

7. Conservation Initiatives in Uganda

Ecotourism in Uganda

Many Uganda safari lodges , camps, national parks, and wildlife reserves are associated with some form of conservation initiative.

The national park fees and tourism revenue are channeled into these projects to protect wildlife and habitats and engage in sustainable tourism practices .

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is just one of many organizations managing protected areas and spearheading wildlife conservation efforts in Uganda.

8. Eco-lodges and camps in Uganda

Where to stay in Buhoma

There are several eco-lodges and camps in Uganda that minimize their environmental footprint, using local materials, employing local people, and supporting local communities.

Some popular eco-lodges and camps are:

  • Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Kyambura Gorge Lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Mount Gahinga Lodge at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
  • CTPH Gorilla Conservation Camp at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Ndali Lodge at Kibale Forest National Park
  • Murchison River Lodge at Murchison Falls National Park
  • Buhoma Community Haven Lodge at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

9. Adventure Tourism in Uganda

Uganda safaris

Uganda offers a variety of thrilling adventures, from guided white-water rafting on the River Nile, mountain biking and horse riding in Lake Mburo National Park, canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi to mountain biking, volcano hiking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, zip-lining through Mabira Forest, Hiking Sipi Falls, to kayaking on the country’s many lakes and rivers.

By hiring a local guide, you contribute to the community’s economy.

10. Ecological Research and Education

4 Days Safari In Beautiful Queen Elizabeth National Park

In Uganda, several educational programs and research opportunities offer visitors the chance to get a deeper understanding of the ecology and conservation projects of the country.

Education and ecological research play a very important role in promoting conservation, raising awareness about the rich biodiversity of Uganda, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of its ecosystems.

Visitors to Uganda can participate in research activities such as Mongoose tracking, lion tracking and Hippo Census in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park , Chimpanzee Habituation experience in Kibale Forest National Park, and Golden Monkey Habituation Experience in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

By choosing a responsible tour company and accommodations that prioritize environmental and social sustainability, travelers to Uganda can contribute to conservation efforts and help support the livelihoods of local people. Speak to a safari expert at Tulambule today about planning a sustainable, eco-conscious, tailor-made safari in Uganda.

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Ecotourism in Uganda communities

To understand ecotourism in Uganda, let’s first look at the term ecotourism in general, Uganda Eco Tours defines ecotourism as “that form of travel that involves travelling to natural areas with the objectives of learning, studying or participating in activities that seek to minimize negative impacts of tourism to the environment; at the same time protecting and empowering the local/host communities on gaining the social economic benefits in regards to tourism.

According to IUCN 1996, ecotourism is defined as environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature and any accompanying cultural features both past and present that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socioeconomic involvement of local population.

ecotourism uganda

Uganda has quite a number of eco-tourism hot spots, some of which are centrally based in some of the local community areas more especially the protected areas such as national parks and other identified tourism destinations which generate more positive impacts in regards to as tourism is concerned.

With the development of tourism activities like Gorilla trekking, Chimpanzee tracking, Bird watching, Forest / Nature Walks, cultural trails and many more, Uganda have some significant steps in what many people /scholars may regard as a shift from the traditional tourism to responsible tourism to ecologically sensitive areas.  Here are some of the eco-tourism initiatives that are in place in modern day today and have greatly improved on the wellbeing of the host communities in some parts of Uganda not only socially and economically.

 Practising ecotourism in Uganda

Bigodi wetland sanctuary .

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is an exciting area, located in the Magombe swamp. this area is recognized for an extensive array of biodiversity among which are several primates species like the red colobus monkey, baboon, black & white colobus monkey, blue monkey grey cheeked, mangabey, vervet monkey, red tailed monkey and the L’Hoest monkey. Additional Mammals such as chimpanzees, Sitatunga, mongooses, bush pigs, otters plus bush bucks, also visit this swamp coming from the adjacent Kibale National Park.

The Bigodi wetland sanctuary is a haven for bird watchers. Here skilled birders can spot up to fifty new species of birds a checklist. Today, 138 species of bird have been recognized within the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. Among the major bird species within the sanctuary is the grate Blue Turaco.

It’s located in western parts of Uganda in the areas of Kamwenge district on the rim of Kibale Forest National park just around 40Kms from Fort portal city and 350Kms from Kampala the central business district and it’s under the eco- tourism initiative of KAFRED (Kibale Association for Rural and Economic Development) which is a community based project aiming at entirely managing and running the local community.

This wetland derived its name from a local dialect in Rutooro language called” Kugodya” meaning walking tirelessly .

ecotourism in uganda

Impact of the project on the community

  • It has enhanced the community development through the setting up of some local community projects such as promoting the local women handcraft shop which has facilitated the local women growth and development through provision of ready market for their products like Basket weaving, Mats and other related products.
  • It has also helped in the provision of education to the community such the community schools at Bigodi, that is to say, there is primary and secondary school and the Healthy facility which have helped to improve on the educational healthy wellbeing of the community.
  • Provision of employment opportunity to the local community, here most of the people who work at the sanctuary from the local community and this has necessitated the community to participate in the decision making in reference to the sanctuary.
  • This organization has also helped in the promotion of cultural tourism in the area through organizing the local traditional customary marriage and also the local traditional story teller who tells people about their past, present and future.

  Mutanda Ecotourism Program 

The biggest island, named after the lake, is Mutanda Island. This is inhibited by a local community of the “Abagesera” clan. These grow crops, such as peas, bananas, and sugar canes. A good portion of this island is covered by trees and shrubs. There is a church built on top of the island and local worshipers from the mainland canoe to this island to attend service at this church.

This Lake has two islands that earned the name Punishment Islands for being the places where criminals and misfits of the society were taken and dumped as a punishment. More especially Unmarried pregnant girls, the elderly with no one to care for them, criminals such as thieves, and unwanted people from the region would be tied and taken to these islands and left to die there. Others would be killed and dumped at these islands. Caves with skeletal remains are found at the islands. These two islands are feared by the locals and no one walks to their because of the belief that they are haunted by the dead.

The Lake Mutanda Eco-Tourism Program is implemented by MCDO in partnership with The Intrepid Foundation. The overall goal of the project to renovate the Mutanda Eco Community Centre into a midrange ecotourism facility. Improving infrastructures such as cottages, kitchen and camping grounds, will greatly increase the economic viability of the lodge. Mutanda Eco Community Centre is strategically located at around 6kms from Kisoro town and a few kilometers from both Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi National Park.

  • Visits by pupils to Mgahinga & Bwindi Gorilla National Parks, and/or Queen Elizabeth National Park to increase student’s awareness on wildlife conservation.
  • Promoting reforestation at the community level through the development of tree nursery beds and planting of native vegetation/indigenous tree species to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.
  • Sensitive students and their families on the role of waste management on Sanitation and Hygiene improvement.
  • Conduct workshops to improve students’ knowledge on Uganda wildlife with special emphasis on those animals at the verge of extinction such as the mountain gorillas. In addition to the mentioned activities, some workshops and events will be conducted to sensitize the local communities on key environmental concepts to complement conservation education and awareness issues that the school children will have learnt from this project.

Benefits of the project to the community 

  • The Mutanda eco-tourism program has encouraged the growth of eco-tourism development around the area; this has helped the local community to benefit out of the eco-tourism through formation of women groups such as the women group projects, and dancing group at Mutanda.
  • It has also enhanced on the provision of market for the local community products more especially for the basket weaving project.
  • Provision of employment opportunities to the local community members more especially for the canoe riders on Lake Mutanda to the sin Island at Kanyangusho.

However, apart from the above noted areas, Uganda has a lot of eco-tourism activities on a wide scale and these would probably be experimented while you’re on a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda. You will be able to notice some the community based tourism approaches and practiced while in Uganda and these include the Batwa Community in Mgahinga.

In general community based tourism creates a strong link between the tourists and the host communities more especially when it comes to the realisation of the benefits out of the friendly based tourism (Eco-tourism) and this has helped the conservation of different tourism products and destination in Uganda such as the Bomu women group, The Katwe Kabatooro Women Project and many more. This has also given out more open opportunities to the community through the development of home stays which more often promotes cultural tourism as the tourists learn on the ways and behaviors of the local people lively hood.

ecotourism in uganda

The Homestays include the Ishanyu home stead which is just located on the very few Kilometers from Mbarara city, it sits on a hill with the beautiful views of the nearby places of importance such as Lake Mburo National and it’s conveniently located to the highway along Fotportal Queen Elizabeth.

Ishanyu (which means happiness) is a family farm of pastoralists which depicts a perfect example blending contemporary living with tradition. While many farmers have changed from traditional to exotic cows, Ishanyu still focuses on the Ankole cattle activities experience which dates back 700 years ago and are still practiced by the Bahima.

These are some of the traditional experiential activities as below.

  • Cow milking.
  • Prepare and taste ghee and traditional yogurt
  • Taste milk or yoghurt (amakamo) stored in shiny black wooden milk pots
  • Clean traditional milk pots (ebyanzi)
  • Weaving and beading

In conclusion Uganda is blessed with a lot of eco-tourism areas which encourages more about the growth and development of sustainable tourism development in some of the key areas and this would help to reduce on the negative impacts brought by tourism to both the tourism destinations and the host communities hence playing a win – win scenario to both parties and never the less promoting green tourism which will be of benefit to the future generations to come.

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Eco Tourism in Uganda

Uganda is a beautiful country in East Africa, it is a never-green destination blessed with a wide range of forests, rich mixed cultures, wildlife sanctuaries, water bodies, mountains, which contain both active and dormant volcanoes, the flora and fauna composition of the country makes it a perfect destination for adventure and most sought of as a great travel destination, it boasts natural wonders like the Murchison Falls, that is mentioned among the 7 wonders of the world and where the Nile longest river in the world begins its journey. The snow-capped Rwenzori mountain is as a mazing popularly termed as the mountain of the moon straddling along the Equator.

Eco Tourism in Uganda

Eco tourism simply means that travel with responsibility, while choosing Uganda as your number one destination, it is wise to not that all of the conservation areas have been conserved under the concept of sustainability, the use of what we have in the present while conserving for the future! a visit to ta national park, kindly remember to leave only a foot print. This build so much relation together with the local communities as every one will benefit from the initiatives for generations, this kind of tourism in Uganda has helped save forests, cultures together with the beautiful environment at large. The eco-tourism sites in the angelic sate are beautifully endowed with wildlife species, in the destinations you can be meet the so called big five of the wildernesses.

There are 10 major Eco-sites in Uganda including all the ten protected areas of the country like the great Murchison falls national park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth, Mountain Elgon, Mgahinga, Semliki, and Kibale Forest National Park, they are homes to unique endemic species of the of Uganda, the game sanctuaries like Pianupe, Matheniko, Bokora, Karuma, Ziwa rhino sanctuary are places of ecological importance to the biodiverse environment in Uganda, eco-tourism related activities include the guided nature walks, game drives, boat cruises, mountain gorilla trekking, primate walk, chimpanzee tracking, community walk, cultural tourism, sightseeing, white water rafting, hiking to mention a few.

When considering to do a Ugandan trip to the eco-tourism sites, the following should be put in mind when packing, carry back all non-degradable litters like polyethene, plastic bottles, try to avoid burring these on the ground as the environmental impact is big, avoid making a lot of noise and loud speaker music while in conservation areas and sanctuaries, avoid using pollutants when swimming in rivers and streams, respect traditional locals more so in circumstances where you need to take a photograph, kindly ask for permission before taking a picture.

Uganda is a tropical country straddling along the equator a line that separates the world in to two halves’, the climatic conditions are best for travel any time. It receives two seasons the wet season and the dry season when coming pack according to the condition and month of travel, December -February, and June-September are dry seasons while March – April and October – November are rainy seasons. It should be noted that the weather conditions of Uganda are totally un predictable it can rain anytime even during the most dry months of the year.

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We create authentic, innovative, and high-quality, unforgettable Uganda experiences that leaves lasting fond memories.

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Our safari packages are excellently priced tailored in a way that benefits both local community and the environment and exceeds our guests’ expectations

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Our tours are strongly connected to the people, we employ Local Guides, book local owned accommodation and encourage the local communities to make crafts that they can in turn sell to clients.

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We are keen on excellent communication, and timely responses

Flexibility

Flexibility, freedom, fun no matter the travel style, our tours balance well planned itineraries with flexibility to do your own thing and make the experience your own.

At Ecoplace Tours, we are Eco-centric in all aspects of our doings. We bring all aspects off tourism in one place such as wildlife safaris, accommodation and many more.

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3 Days Queen Elizabeth National Park

3 Days Queen Elizabeth National Park

3 Days Murchison Falls Safari

3 Days Murchison Falls Safari

5 Days Bwindi Impenetrable National park

5 Days Bwindi Impenetrable National park

5 Days Kidepo Valley National Park Safari

5 Days Kidepo Valley National Park Safari

5 Days Wildlife Safari

5 Days Wildlife Safari

8 Days Uganda Safari

8 Days Uganda Safari

8 Days Primates And Wildlife Safaris

8 Days Primates And Wildlife Safaris

19 Days Uganda Experience Nature

19 Days Uganda Experience Nature

21 Days Experience The Pearl

21 Days Experience The Pearl

We used Eco Place Tours for our safari trip to Lake Mburo and queen Elizabeth national Park. Our guide and driver Richard was excellent. He was knowledgeable, organized and good with time. He listens, allows time for questions and shares the plan ahead of time. He’s an experienced and steady driver, observes roads regulations while maintaining good and steady speed , and met road safety requirements. He was courteous to other road users. I would recommend that you use Eco Place Tours for your safari trip. I hope he will be available for our next safari trip to Masai Mara National Park.

Was nice doing business with you.Had a trip to Nairobi and Richard was more than what we bargained for.He made our journey memorable,safe and fun.We enjoyed EVERY moment. Kudos to him Looking forward to doing more business with you soon

One statement. Memories for a lifetime. Eco place tours along side Guide Daniel its like we owned the car the hospitality was unbelievable we had everything on time, generally it was a very good experience with eco place. We cant wait for Zanzibar going into another experience again thank you Eco place tours we appreciate for the memories

So we travelled with Ecoplace Tours Limited on Wednesday 23rd August, 2023 to Murchison Falls. We had such an amazing Tour guide, Richard, who made the whole journey comfortable, educative and exciting. When we got there, my family and I had a full blown experience at the game park and lodge. I promise I would literally stay in the park for a year If given a chance😂Thanks a lot Ecoplace Tours Limited for the “Forever memories,,” we made.

My family had a safari trip with ecoplace in last month...everything was amazing!! The kids had a great time, the lodges were lovely with friendly staff. Richard was our tour guide, talked us through everything, making it easy to make decisions as first time tourists in the country. His time keeping was spot on and also helped us take lovely pictures on our phones, making the whole experience a memorable one. Thank you Richard and Ecoplace tours, we'll definitely use your services again in future.

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Eco-Tourism in Uganda

Eco-Tourism in Uganda : Uganda is blessed by Nature with a wide range of rain forests, wildlife sanctuaries , rich cultural history, spectacular national parks, active volcanoes, botanical gardens, snowcapped mountain with their rich flora and fauna gives you abundant and diverse choices making it the perfect country to visit if you are interested in environmental tourism and the unforgettable Uganda wildlife experience .

eco tourism in uganda

Eco-tourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people. Eco-tourism basically focuses on environmental conservation and sustainable development. Eco-tours help to save forests, cultures and the environment in general. Saving the environment around you and preserving the natural luxuries and forest life, that’s what eco-tourism is all about. Whether it’s about a nature camp or organizing trekking trips towards the unspoilt and inaccessible regions, one should always keep in mind not to create any mishap or disturbance in the life cycle of nature.

For nature loving travel and recreation, we welcome you to the Pearl of Africa . Eco-tourism here focuses on local cultures, wilderness adventures, volunteering, personal growth and learning new ways to live on our vulnerable planet. It is travel to destinations where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions like our well conserved national parks, forests and mountains.

Eco-Tourism in Uganda

Eco-tourist places in Uganda

Eco-tourism sites in Uganda are endowed with an abundance of wildlife and ever green vegetation. The attractions is the apes, birds, butterflies, green vegetation, reptiles, flowers and wild animals like elephants, baboons, warthogs, chimpanzees, bush backs, monkeys, bush pigs, buffaloes, mountain gorillas and cool natural fresh air and many more, Eco-Tourism in Uganda

Mabira central forest reserve

Budongo Central Forest Reserve

Bwindi Impenetrable national park

Lutoboka, Kampala and Bunjazi Central Forest Reserves

Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve

Mpanga Central Forest Reserve

Busingiro Eco-tourism site

Bugoma Eco-tourism site

Kaniyo – Pabidi- Ecotourism site

Eco-Tourism in Uganda

Kasyoha- Kitomi Forest Reserve

Rwenzori Mountains

Kibale forest national park

Zika Forest

Uganda Wildlife Education Center

Botanical Gardens Entebbe

Sezibwa Falls

Tips for Best Eco-Tourism

Eco-tourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. As a traveler, you will have an impact on the environment and culture of the place you are visiting.

The basics of eco-tourism are the same everywhere. The foremost of the rules are that the tourism advises to minimize impact, spread awareness about the environment and the harm caused to it.

Today the “Green Laws” of conservation are making people aware of how man and the environment can live symbiotically for more time to come and eco-tourism is the only way to maximize the economic, environmental and social benefits of tourism. Some basic do’s and don’ts are listed below:

Carry back all non-degradable litter such as empty bottles, tins, plastic bags etc. These must not litter the environment or be buried. They must be disposed in authorized dustbins.

Cut noise pollution in nature camps, sanctuaries and wildlife parks.

In case temporary toilets are set-up near campsites, after defecation, cover with mud or sand. Make sure that the spot is at least 30 meters away from the water source.

Respect people’s privacy while taking photographs. Ask for prior permission before taking a photograph.

Eco-Tourism in Uganda

What not to Do

Do not take away flora and fauna in the forms of cuttings, seeds or roots. It is illegal.

Do not use pollutants such as detergent, in streams or springs while washing and bathing.

Do not use wood as fuel to cook food at the campsite without permission.

Do not leave cigarettes butts or make open fires in the forests.

Do not consume drinks, drugs or anything and throw bottles in the wild.

Do not tempt the locals, especially children by offering them foodstuff or sweets. Respect local traditions.

Polythene and plastics are non-biodegradable and unhealthy for the environment and must not be used and littered.

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Eco-Tourism Experience in Uganda

Eco tourism in Uganda takes travelers in natural areas, whether it’s a rainforest like Bwindi impenetrable forest national park or wetland for example, and the purpose is to educate visitors and raise environmental awareness. That is in line with the international eco-tourism society defining ecotourism as responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and improve the socio-economic wellbeing of the local communities. A LITTLE HISTORY

Uganda’s push towards eco-tourism began in 1923 with the establishment of the elephant control department and the first game reserve Toro game reserve in 1924 when the national parks Act of 1952 came into effect. The trend continued and now Ugandan park’s system includes 10 national parks, 13 wildlife reserves, 5 community wildlife areas. In addition, to this there’s one Ziwa white Rhino private sanctuary which is operated by non-profit environmental organization. That puts Uganda with over 20% of its total area meant for conservation, one of the biggest rations in Africa.

Uganda also has the highest diversity of flora and fauna in Africa. As a country where the East African savanna meets the central African Congo basin rainforests, it creates migratory bird routes to the rift valley and many species from both east and central Africa exist due to hot equatorial climate. Uganda has 400 which are half of the world’s mountain gorilla population found in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The country also has 1061 birds which is 50% of species in Africa and 11% of the world’s birds, 345 mammals, 15000 tree species and many reptile and amphibian species. This biodiversity of wildlife plays a significant role in Uganda’s commitment to conservation.

It is no surprise that eco-tourism is well accepted given Uganda’s natural riches. However, it was not this way. During the early late 1970’s, civil war broke out till 1986. During that period poaching led to extinction of black and white rhinos, many forests were cut down for agriculture and cattle grazing. when Uganda regained political stability in 1986 with establishment of Uganda wildlife authority in 1996 and national park system changed all that. Travelers who pioneered Uganda safaris were agreeable to pay any amount of money to experience nature. This meant that Uganda conservation did not involve losing money that was invested.

Uganda wildlife authority estimates that nearly half of the total number of tourist arrivals participate in some form of ecotourism. Be it mountain gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking, mountain climbing, wildlife viewing, birding, white water rafting on the Nile or boat cruise. Consequently, ecotourism in Uganda is accountable for direct and indirect employment opportunities and foreign exchange earnings which have helped to reduce poverty levels in the country.

Tourism in Uganda has led to development especially to the local economy. But that seems controversial to critics who say it’s very difficult to conserve nature with so many visitors visiting fragile areas. For instance gorilla trekking has been criticized for cutting trees to create trails through the Bwindi to see gorillas which can lead to plant and animal destruction, off trail driving in Queen Elizabeth national park for experiential tourism activities like lion tracking, mongoose census as well as habitat destruction in other national parks. Balancing this conservation and visitor needs is the main challenge facing Uganda’s eco-tourism. Popular safari adventures like gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park for example does not allow more than 8 tourists to visit the gorillas. The eco-tourism experience in Uganda Some travelers ask, how do you get a real eco-friendly experience in Uganda and how is it like First of all, get on safari wildlife is easier to see but visitors will have to travel to very remote and rural areas. Africa tours adventure advises travelers visit rural communities like Kidepo valley in Karamoja and Rwenzori mountain national park. Semuliki valley national park is another good place to visit for birding, thermal hot springs and plans to habituate grassland chimpanzee are ongoing. By visiting rural areas, you’re helping to support local eco-tourism initiatives. Uganda national parks offer unfiltered access to outdoor adventures. Some include Mgahinga gorilla national park along the Virunga massifs, snow capped Rwenzori mountains national park, and Murchison falls national park, kibale forest national park among others. If you need to get close to wildlife and nature, plan a safari and be willing to get off the beaten track. Eco-tourism activities therefore involve visits to some of the national parks, community based farms, Uganda wildlife education center, wetlands. The entrance fees that visitors pay to get access are meant to fund conservation, helping locals improve their wellbeing as well as educating them on environment. Eco-activities are educational. On a guided nature walk through one of the Uganda safari park, you might learn about animals, medicinal plants identify birds and their calls or the effect climate change is having in Queen Elizabeth national park causing invasive species that are threatening wildlife. It’s impossible for visitors not to gain an understanding of eco-tourism in Uganda during a safari.

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In all our operations, we endeavor to achieve an authentic African safari that covers various interests including gorilla safaris, wildlife viewing tours, chimpanzee tracking, golden monkey treks, birding trips, cultural visits, volcano hiking and white water rafting among others to create a more rewarding safari holiday in Africa.

A safari package offered by us is carefully planned into well crafted itineraries explaining day by day programs and activities including accommodations in both safari lodges and camps giving you a real feeling of a safari holiday in Rwanda or Uganda.

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Eco Safari Tours in Uganda

Publically, forest reserves are associated with consumptive forms of land use most especially timber logging.

However, there are a couple of Central Forest Reserves that undoubtedly have features and attractions that are of real interest to international plus domestic tourists on a sustainable basis.

Mabira Central Forest Reserve

eco tourism in uganda

Uganda’s largest surviving Natural Forest covering an area of 306 sq km is Mabira Central Forest Reserve.

This Forest is a Natural Habitat of 312 species of trees like the endangered Mililia Exclesa, Cordia Millenii the Warbhugia Ugandanese which has medicinal properties famed to cure about forty ailments; and the vulnerable Prunus Africana which cures Prostate Cancer and boosts the Human Immune System.

Mabira is habitat of 315 species of Birds like the Tit Hylia, the Red Headed Blue Bill, the Black bellied Seed Cracker, the Shining Blue Kingfisher and the Blue headed Crested Monarc, Nahan’s , Francolin , Cassin Hawk Eagle , the Forest Wood hoope, the Purple  throated Cuckoo and Some of these species can only be found in Mabira.

Other rare features to be explored in the Forest Reserve comprise of 218 Butterfly species, 97 Moth Species, 23 Small Mammal Species especially Primate Species of the Monkey Clan and the spectacular Griffin Falls!

Some of the activities in the Forest Reserve are; Mountain Biking, Bird Watching, Environmental Education and Research, Camping and Picnics, Primate Watching, Butterfly Identification, Forest Walks with over 68km of well developed Trail length and general Forest Exploration.

Accommodation Accommodation is available in the Forest Reserve.  3 Bandas accommodate atmost 10 guests at the Eco-Tourism site at near Najjembe Trading Centre. The Bandas are self-catering although house keeper can prepare for you a light meal.

There is a Camping Ground near the site for do-it-yourself caravans at a reasonable fee. The Mabira Forest Lodge, a modern eco-friendly facility by the Alam Group of Companies is nearing completion. Details and reservations can be got from Geo Lodges, Uganda.

Accessibility; Mabira Central Forest Reserve is situated on the main Kampala-Jinja Highway in Mukono District.

It is 54km from the City Centre of Kampala and 26km from Jinja Town. This Eco-Tourism site is approximately half a kilometer from the road head along a short dirty road off the Najjembe trading centre. Therefore the forest is accessible by all vehicles throughout the year.

Other Services; Knowledgeable, Specialized and courteous local Guides are ready on site to take you for an exciting interpretative Forest Walk.

The Mabira Forest Integrated Community Organization (MAFICO) and Non Government Organization, is in advanced stages of developing a community Eco-Tourism Site at the Griffin Falls located 20kms from the Najjembe visitor reception centre.

Mabira Eco-Tourism Drama Group, a community Interest Group entertains Visitors with Cultural Music, Dance and Drama.

The Najjembe Women’s Crafts  Group ensures that visitors take a Souvenir home in form of Handcrafts like baskets,mats,handbags, bedcovers, all made out of local materials.

Mpanga Central Forest Reserve

eco tourism in uganda

Mpanga Central Forest Reserve is a natural forest with rare Tree Species and other Flora. Among the outstanding Tree Species are the Ficus Family and Mahogany.

Celtis Family Species with large buttresses, The forest also boasts of a number of primates most especially the Red- Tailed Monkeys.

Nocturnal visits can be arranged to see the Bush Babies. There is group of birdlife like the Grey Parrot, Owls, Hornbills, Cuckoos. Ross Turaco and Weaver-birds, also this forest is a home to a variety of Butterflies and Moths.

Main activities in the forest are;

  • Bird Watching and Identification; Forest Walks and Forest Exploration. The Forest Trails are well developed into four main routings viz; The Butterfly Trail, the Family Trail, The Baseline Trail, the Hornbill Trail, each with unique features and experiences.

Accommodation; Basic accommodation if available at the Visitor Reception Centre at Mpanga under the management of the National Forestry Authority.

One Tourist Banda, a self-contained Duplex, and a double Rom on the main office Block can accommodate 12 visitors at once.

There is also a Tent for hire at a modest fee. These are self-catering facilities even though light meals can be ordered from the House Caretaker.

Accessibility; It is located in Mpigi District 37km from the city centre of Kampala. This Forest Reserve is easily accessible through the main Kampala- Masaka High way.

The eco – Tourism spot is approximately1km from the road head using a well-surfaced direct road passable throughout the year.

Other Services; Quite knowledgeable local guides about the forest Bio-Diversity exist on the site.

Lutoboka and Bujanzi Central Forest Reserves

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The Forests located on the famous Ssese Islands are described as medium altitude moist forests. They form a belt along the lower ridges with a gentle slope from a lakeshore to the centre. However, the forest walks are not strenuous.

Forest Trails are well developed. Visitors from Lutoboka should not miss one particular trail that stretches from the landing site up the Fort where the explorer Henry Morton Stanley pitched camp on his way to the popular mountains of the moon.

There are 31 gazetted Forest Reserves in the Islands with a sum of 7,324 hectares under the control of the National Forestry Authority. Kampala Forest Reserve is 80Ha; Lutoboka Forest Reserve is 378 Ha.

The Ssesse Islands are a group of 84 Islands well known for their unexplored Forests some of which are completely uninhabited.

They are a natural habitat for unique and endemic Birds and Butterflies. Some Primate Species especially the Monkeys abound .

This rich and virgin Eco- system serenely blends into the equatic expense of lake, making these Forest Reserves a compulsory visit.

Some of the visitors can also enjoy sailing, Boating, Fishing, and sun Bathing along the Lakeshores, Forest Walks, Bird Watching, Primate Identification, and Butterfly Identification.

In addition, visitors can also enjoy sailing, Boating, Fishing, and sun Bathing along the Lakeshores.

Accommodation; In Lutoboka, Accommodation reserves are largely in the hands of Private Developers.

There are a lot of well developed Beaches and Resorts for both the Upper Market and Middle Market. Some of them are Palm Beach Hotel, Pearl Gardens Beach, Panorama Camping Site, Mirembe Resort Beach and Ssesse. All these have access to the White Sand Beaches ideal for relaxation after a Forest Walk.

The Budget Travelers are advised to seek modesty lodge Accommodation readily present in Kalangala Town Council a few kilometers from Lutoboka Landing Site.

Accessibility; To access the Islands is by Ship departing from Nakiwogo Landing Site near Entebbe at exactly 14 hours per day.

The Ship starts its return journey from Lutoboka Landing Site at exactly 8 or one may reach the islands by Ferry from Bukakata/Kachanga Landing Site near Masaka.  Starting at 8 Hours, The Ferry docks at Luku Landing Site near Kalangala four times a day.

Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve

eco tourism in uganda

In Bushenyi District in Western Uganda, Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve is a Natural Forest teeming with terrestrial Bio-Diversity.

The forest is well known for 414 Species of Trees and Shrubs forexample the Stroboia, Parinari Ficus, Prunus and Africana among others.

The forest also harbours 378 Species of Birds like Cuckoos, Sunbirds, the Great Blue Turaco, and Black and White Caskets. Six different Species of Primates can be recognised in Kalinzu and the Black and White colobus Monkeys, and Chimpanzees, Blue Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys.

2001 Primate Census put the total number of Chimpanzees in the Reserve at about 240. Nevertheless, only two Groups of about 70 can be seen by both Researchers and Tourists.

Other numbers of species are Reptiles, Flowers, 262 Butterflies and 97 Moths. One can behold the entire Forest Canopy, great parts of the Queen Elizabeth National Park and some Peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains.

The Forest Reserve occasionally provides refuge to Savannah Grassland because of its proximity to the Queen Elizabeth National Park Species like the Duikers, Leopards and Wild Pigs while standing at the Kishunja Hill Viewpoint so activities in the Reserve include Forest Walks, Research Trails and Tourist Trails have been developed.

Pitched on top of an escarpment on the eastern edge of the great Albertine Rift Valley, Kalinzu Forest Reserve is 147 sqkm.

Adjuscent to the famed Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Maramagambo Forest. It lies at an average altitude of 1,400 m above sea level.

Accommodation; In the reserves, Accommodation is still informal with only a do-it-yourself camping site at the forest station at Nkombe. Visitors are advised to carry their own tents. They also seek modest accommodation inBushenyi/Ishaka townships.

Accessibility; This forest reserve is situated in Bushenyi District in Western Uganda. From the capital city Kampala, It is about 375km (5 hours drive).

It is only 30km from the district headquarters of Bushenyi along the main Kasese highway. A four wheel drive vehicle is recommended due to Albertine Terrain with old logging and winding roads,

Other Services; Kalinzu forest reserve has experienced, knowledgeable, local and professional guides who will make your forest visit a thrilling experience. Kasyoha – Kitomi Central Forest Reserve. Situated 35km from Bushenyi, Kasyoha-Kitomi central forest reserve is 433 sq. km.

Ecotourism in the reserve is just starting to develop under the umbrella of Ndekye Women’s Development Association.

Major attractions in the reserve are primates like black and white colobus, vervet monkeys and baboons, chimpanzees, blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys.

The reserve also boasts of spectacular crater lakes forexample twin lakes of Kamweru and Kyema also also the transparent lake Kamunzuku. Eing adjacent to Queen Elizabeth National Park, the reserve hosts a number of small mammals like duikers, antelopes, bush pigs and the Uganda kob.

Migratory elephants can rarely be seen. Other attractions in the reserve are water gorges birdlife, butterflies waterfalls, water gorges birdlife, butterflies, moths, reptiles and flowers.

Visitors to the reserve may enjoy bird watching, sightseeing, conservation education, camping and community walks, forest walks and canoeing, A three; hour walking trail has been developed from the camping site at Magambo to the transparent lake kamunzuku.

Facilities in the reserve are still modest with a camping site at magambo parish headquarters overlooking the amazing twin lakes.

Kindly bring your own tents and camping gear. It is a must to a four wheel drive vehicle.

Budongo Central Forest Reserve

eco tourism in uganda

The largest surviving natural forest in Uganda with a total surface area of 825sq.km is Budongo Central Forest Reserve is.

It straddles across three districts of masindi, Hoima and the newly created Buliisa district. This is a true forest! Very few illegal activity and encroachment has ensured that the forest remains as natural indeed intended it to be.

Visitors seeking the serenity and calmness of being next to nature should opt for Budongo! Professionally preserved and managed by the National Forestry Authority, the forest is divided into three zones.

Its strict nature reserve is the oldest in the country while its buffer zone allows Eco-Tourism and Research to prosper and its production zone caters for commercial activities.

Kaniyo-Pabidi Eco-Tourism Site

eco tourism in uganda

Kaniyo-Pabidiis situated in the North Eastern part of Budongo Forest Reserve. It is a natural habitat of approximately 120 Chimpanzees.

However only one group consisting of about 30 chimpanzees has have been fully habituated for Eco-Tourism purposes. Also other primate species include red-tailed monkey, blue monkey, vervet monkey and baboons.

Black and white colobus monkey, Part of Kaniyo-Pabidi is contiguous with Murchison falls national park and Bugungu wildlife reserve which are managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority.

In Kaniyo-Pabidi, some savannah grassland species can be sighted. These are; warthogs, lions, water bucks, buffaloes bush bucks, red and blue duikers, bush pigs.

There is prolific Birdlife especially the chocolate- backed kingfisher and the pruvels eladosis. This area is home of a variety of tree species like mahogany and the Celtic family.

Some of the trees are known to posess medicinal qualities. Butterflies, moths and tropical flowers are abundant.

There are wll developed Forest trails at this site and also well maintained for tourist purposes. Some Tourist activities are forest walks, conservation education and chimp habituation, camping, chimp tracking and bird watching.

Accommodation; At Kaniyo-Pabidi, Accommodation consists of mainly camping facilities. However, the Jane Good all Institutes is in the process of completing modern tourist cabins and bandas to be ready by mid-2007.

Boomu Conservation and Crafts Women’s Association operates simple accommodation bandas near the park entry gate.

Accessibility; Kaniyo-Pabidi Ecotourism site is situated approximately 220 km from Kampala through Masindi which is 29 km. away.

The site is along the secondary road that connects Masindi with Paraa. It is roughly 5 km. from the Murchison Park boundary and entry gate.

Other Services; The two local organizations involved in Eco-Tourism near Kaniyo-Pabidi are boomu Conservation and Crafts Women’s Association and Asera Azora Women’s group.

They provide community walks, cooking walks, simple traditional accommodation handcrafts and camping. Kaniyo-Pabidi has experienced, welcoming and knowledgeable guides who provide interpretation and guiding services.

Busingiro Eco-Tourism Site

eco tourism in uganda

The Busingiro Eco-Tourism Site is situated in the south western part of Budongo Forest Reserve.Kaniyo-Pabidi area is a home for several primate species like Monkeys, chimpanzees and baboons.The chimpanzees in Busingiro are not yet habituated for visitor tracking.

Fig trees, stranglers, Mahogany iron wood and a host of medicinal trees form a bulk of floral species in this seemingly untouched natural forest.

Butterflies, reptiles Birds, small mammals and other micro organisms form the eco system that makes this particular site enviable.

Visitors must not miss the proverbial royal mile. This is one of the highlights of Busingiro!  Royal mile is a stretch of one mile with a collection of all the tree species in budongo forest reserve.

The former king of Bunyoro, King Kabalega used to frequent this segment for relaxation with his queen. The segment gets its name from these royal visits. The segment is beautiful maintained by the National Forestry Authority for aesthetic, historical and recreational reasons.

Some activities in Busingiro are; conservation education, and research and butterfly identification forest walks, bird watching, primate identification and many others. There is a primate research station on the site of an old sawmill at Sonso. The forest trails at this site are well developed and well maintained for tourist purposes.

Accommodation; At Busingiro, Accommodation consists mainly of camping facilities: However, the Jane Good all Institutes is in the way of refurbishing and renovating the tourist bandas to house at least ten visitors.

Accessibility; This place is situated to the west of Masindi. It’s about 47 km from Masindi town through Kinyara and Nyabyeya. Masindi is about 200 km from Kampala on a good tarmac road. Busingiro is on the earth road that connects masindi with Paraa via Buliisa on the shores of Lake Albert.

Bugoma Ecotourism Site

Bugoma Central Forest Reserve is found in Hoima District. Its total surface area is 41,144 hectares. Eco- Tourism in the reserve is influenced by African Nature Conservation Expeditions, an international private firm with vast experience in tourism development.

The firm is in advanced stages of infrastructure development at the previous forest station. 10 tourist bandas to host a minimum of 10 visitors per night are nearing completion.

In addition, another 10 luxury tented camps exclusively for the upper market will be ready by mid – 2007. Please contact the operations manager on Tel: 0702123064 for reservations.

The place is gifted with a variety of tourist attractions like reptiles, birds and butterflies chimpanzees, monkeys and tree species some of which endemic to Bugoma. Forest trails totaling 30 km long divided into loops of 200 meters each have been developed.

This reserve is sorrounding the oil exploration sites which has precipitated the migration of many grassland species due to habitat disturbance. Those that can occasionally be seen are Buffaloes, elephants and Uganda kobs. The reserve is accessed through a dirt road 70 km from Hoima Township.

Hoima is about 200 km from Kampala. There is an Airstrip for light aircraft s at Kisaru Tea Estates 12 km. from Bugoma Ecotourism Site. Professionally trained guides are on site to offer memorable experience to visitors.

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    Reducing your waste is an essential part of eco-tourism in Uganda. When you are on a safari, make sure to take all your waste with you and dispose of it properly when you return to your accommodation. Also, avoid using plastic bottles and bags and bring your reusable water bottle and shopping bag. This will help to reduce plastic pollution and ...

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    The Lake Mutanda Ecotourism program is a local initiative in Southwestern Uganda. It was introduced mainly to renovate the Mutanda Eco Community Centre, an eco-lodge that is set on Lake Mutanda shores. This offers camping and accommodation services/facilities to guests visiting Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park for gorilla trekking or birding tours.

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    There are several ecotourism sites in Uganda. If you would like to enjoy a nature tour, you should consider visiting any of the following attractions in the country. Kashoya Kitomi Forest Reserve. This forest reserve is currently located in Buhwezu district in western Uganda. The forest has a land area coverage of 433 kilometers squares and has ...

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