Check out ideas for planning day trips to take from Kampala and Entebbe to get away from the cities and explore Uganda. These excursions can be done for only a day and you will be able to return back to your place of stay. You can even look forward to an evening at the Uganda National Theater or night club. Those intending to remain and explore Kampala, take a look at the best city attractions.
How to travel between Kampala and Entebbe
The main international airport is at Entebbe, situated at the shores of lake Victoria. Kampala, the capital city is 34 km (45 min drive) away via the KlA-EBB rd or 18 min drive using the new express highway. There are no direct bus to travel between Kampala and Entebbe. After landing, if you’re traveling solo, the best way to travel to Kampala is to rent a private airport taxi, Uber, or use a boda-boda (motorcycle). The cost is $25 to $35 for private car hire but it will depend on which part of Kampala you’re going to.
Day trips from Kampala capital city: Travel tips to beat traffic
Kampala city attracts over 1.6 million people during the day resulting into a vibrant city life. This is due to the rapid population and economic growth. It’s better to start your day trips early in the mornings or in the mid of the day. If you’re traveling alone, try to dodge the rush hours or get a tourist map to find alternative routes to get in out of the city center. Usually, traffic is at its highest around 6:30 – 7:00am until 10am. And again in the evenings from 5pm – 9pm. If you’re moving for short distances, you can take a boda-boda ride (motorcycle) to maneuver the slow routes.
Religious tourism sites in Kampala city
Day trip to the Uganda Martyrs Shrine and Bahai Temple
One of the quick day trips from Kampala is to visit the Roman Catholic shrine at Namugongo hill. It is just 11 km from the city via the northern bypass highway. Dig more about the persecution of 45 Christian Martyrs. The Uganda martyrs day is celebrated on the 3rd June every year and has become one of the largest Christian pilgrimages in sub saharan Africa. Three Roman Catholic Pops including Pope Benedict XV have visited Uganda courtesy of the martyrs.
The Bahai House of Worship
If you’re looking for a birding day trip from Kampala, make your way to the Bahai temple. Located on Kikaya hill 3 km drive from the city center. The temple is the only one for the Baha’i faith in Africa. Taking photos inside isn’t allowed, but you will enjoy a walk around the large compound with green trees and flowers to watch birds. It is a good place to catch some fresh a.
Entanda cultural experience
Entanda cultural village in Mityana district is 66 km (1.5 hour drive) west of Kampala. Entanda offers one of the top cultural experiences in Uganda. If you want to meet locals and deeply understand the culture of the Ganda people, Entanda will not disappoint. In the rural village, the food is obtained from the garden, prepared, cooked and served immediately. Besides, you get to taste the hospitality. When you come to Uganda and people welcome you with open arms, you have to eat food to attest to their love. No matter how full you might be. Entanda is the best day trip from Kampala for those intending to see a variety of organic food and beyond just food. There are interactive talks about marriage and family, traditional games, and music.
Source of the Nile Jinja: Full day trip from Kampala
Getting to Jinja should take around two hours once you start early in the morning and escape the traffic in Kampala. Known as “Adventure capital of East Africa”, Jinja is the ultimate destination for adrenaline seekers. A wide range of activities available to book through a tour operator including bungee jumping, white water rafting, water tubing, Victoria Nile boat cruise, quad and horseback rides. Jinja is no doubt a great destination for day trips from Kampala and Entebbe. Along the way, you can visit Sezibwa falls and Mabira central forest reserve. Doing the stopovers is ideal whilst coming back, there is no guarantee that you will be back in Entebbe or Kampala early in the evening. So much to pack in a day trip? You can extend your trip in Jinja and resort to relaxation on secluded pet-friendly Tongolo and Samkula island resorts.
Equator photo-shoot and Lake Mburo walking safari
Lake Mburo National Park is 234 sq.km (4-hour drive) south-west of Kampala capital city. It might not fit into the idea of a day trip. But, the wildlife safari park is the easiest to reach. And a good place to escape the city and spend time out in the savanna wilderness. There are 67 mammal species including giraffes, elands, impalas, zebras, topi, waterbucks, klipspringers. You can view the animals by game drives or on foot with a ranger and with more time enjoy a boat cruise. On the way to the park, you will pass by the equator for photoshoots.
Day trips from Entebbe town
Entebbe being the main entry point into Uganda and on the shores of lake Victoria is a good place to relax from jet lag. You can go for a sunset cruise available for booking through Wild Frontiers or get a room with lake view. The town has a laid-back pace of life with big malls for shopping and a bustling street market and taxi park in the neighborhood town of Kitoro. Day trips from Entebbe involve short driving time compared to Kampala. Entebbe is home to several beaches of which Spenah is our favourite. Those travelling with kids or love wildlife, can visit the national botanical gardens and the Uganda Wildlife Education Center.
Mabamba Bay wetland
Mabamba swamp is a 40-minute drive, making it easy to reach for a day trip from Entebbe. The papyrus wetland is home to the Shoebill stork and over 260 species of birds including Lake Victoria Biome endemics such as blue swallow, Pallid Harrier, Papyrus Gonolek and white winged warbler. The birding experience is carried out by rowing traditional canoes with a guide. In particular, the shoebill tour is best done in the morning hours when the bird is often seen preying on lung fish. The fish is a totem for the Mmamba clan which you learn more about the clans of Buganda at the royal mile walk on Mengo hill.
The chimp sanctuary at Ngamba island
Ngamba island can be reachable through Entebbe beach, a 45-50 minute speedboat ride and 90 minutes by motorised canoe. Before going there, make sure to book ahead of time directly through their reservations or a tour operator. The island, 100 acres, is covered in tropical forests where the Chimpanzee Trust has taken care of 52 chimpanzees since 1998. Ngamba is an obvious choice for a day trip from Entebbe. You can be there in the morning at 11 to feed and view the chimps from a raised platform. You can even go for a walk in the forest. Further, the sanctuary is open for volunteer opportunities to stay from 1 to 4 weeks.
Lake Victoria offers a selective advantage with spot and traditional fishing day trips. The spots where fish are caught are always determined by local guides and the excursion can last for half or full day. Strong reels are needed for the Nile Perch and Tilapia. You will be advised on things to take with you.