Still off the beaten track in many ways, Uganda is a hidden gem full of natural beauty. Starting to come into its own on the tourist map, however, this East African pearl has so much to offer for outdoor lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Uganda is not to be missed and nor are these essential must-dos.

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Lake Victoria and The Nile

Uganda is part of the Great Lakes region and is over 10% Wetland, so visiting one of these shimmery plains is a given. Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa, encroaching into Tanzania and Kenya too. Surrounded by jungle highlands, visit it for its outstanding beauty alone, although there’s much to do around the lake including enjoying the lakeside beaches, natural habitat and surrounding villages, vibrant with the Luo tribal culture.

Continue your watery tour to the world’s longest river. The Nile actually starts from Uganda and is a magnet for the tourist trade, offering an array of watersports such as sailing, canoeing and whitewater rafting.

Mountain Trekking

Another unique trait of Uganda that made it Churchill’s ‘Pearl of Africa’ are the mountain forests, home to the enchanting and formidable mountain gorillas.

Visit these spellbinding creatures in their natural habitat, in an organised safari or expedition. Bwindi National Park, for instance, offers four different areas to track mountain gorilla families. Various organisers can facilitate Uganda Gorilla trekking, such as Steppes Travel (http://www.steppestravel.co.uk/uganda).

Don’t get so tied up with gorillas that you miss the opportunity to also track chimpanzees, in one of the many forests and national parks in the country.

Kibale Forest has one of the loveliest tropical forests in Uganda and is famous for its chimpanzees. There’s more than a 95% chance of seeing them in Kibale, swinging through the trees or scuttling across the ground.

Kampala

Your visit to Uganda is not complete without hitting Kampala, the country’s bustling and thriving capital. The city provides a diverse mix of cultural and religious points of interest. This is matched by the diversity in Kampala’s neighbourhoods. Be sure to experience the chaotic vibe of central Kampala, along with the urban chic of Nakesero, a hub for expat and tourist nightlife and one of the most colourful fruit markets you’ll ever see.

Make these must-dos a starting point for your trip and you’re on track for an experience of a lifetime.