Located on the northern shores of the beautiful Lake Victoria, Entebbe at first look is like a sleepy African city. That is highly misleading. There are plenty of things to do in Entebbe and places to see. Today, we will look at the shiny little gem in Uganda’s tiara.
Entebbe is the center of much of tourist activity in northern Uganda. Being on the shore of Victoria, it’s well-connected to most of the important locations around here. But the city itself holds a lot of activities for you as well. From the freshwater beaches to beautiful gardens and monuments, you have a lot to consider. That’s exactly why, what seemed easy at first, deciding what to do in Entebbe can be confusing.
However, don’t worry! We here at BookOnBoard have composed a Guide to Entebbe for your ease. You will find most tourism details in this article. For example, Best Places to visit in Entebbe, Cheapest places to stay in Entebbe, Most popular places to eat in Entebbe, Fun things to do in Entebbe, Affordable hotels in Entebbe, Low cost flights to Entebbe, Entebbe Holiday Packages etc.
- Some Facts About Entebbe
- List of things to do in Entebbe
- Frequently Asked Questions about Entebbe
- Explore Africa
Some Facts About Entebbe
This important african city was the capital of Uganda before independence. It still hosts a lot of administrative centers, both Ugandan and International. There are around 70,000 people permanently living in the city, and more commuting daily for work. It has always been a very important location for Africans. Indeed, the very word ‘entebbe’ means to sit down and talk – indicating that tribal chiefs used to convene here.
More important for tourism business perhaps is the fact the only international airport in Uganda is in Entebbe. Therefore, most tourist visits begin and conclude here. It is also the location of shooting for many movies about Africa or jungles. Tarzan, for example.
Entebbe is home to one of United Nation’s largest logistics bases. That’s why you will find a lot of foreign personnel living in this city. It makes getting decent accommodation in Entebbe rather a chore. You can still find cheap places to stay in Entebbe, though. However, this makes for an excellent mix of cultures.
Now let us know more about the top places to see in Entebbe.
List of things to do in Entebbe
- Enjoying the great lake and its islands
- Have fun on the beaches all around town
- Go sailing and cruising on the lake
- Enjoya relaxing stroll in the botanical gardens
- Be awed by the UN base and their efforts
- See, love and learn about wildlife
- Learn about viruses and meet scientists
- Go golfing in africa!
- Mingle with the locals in the markets
- Tour the swamp for birdwatching and more
1. Lake Victoria
Of course, since Entebbe is located on the shores of it, you will have to visit Lake Victoria. It is the largest freshwater lake in Africa – and second only in the world. Indeed, it is so big, it takes three countries to share it – Uganda, Kenya & Tanzania. Uganda takes the lion’s share, though. Having lunch or dinner on a raised deck on the shores of Lake Victoria will definitely make your day.
Obviously, all that makes Entebbe the best place to visit Lake Victoria from. There are plenty of boats to various islands in the Lake. You can go swimming, boating, fishing, or even diving in the Lake. Around the islands, you have the option to go camping. It is also a prime zone for migratory birds, so birdwatchers and kids will have plenty of fun here.
2. Beaches around Entebbe
It’s a beach town, so visit the beaches! You get the very best freshwater beaches in Africa here in Entebbe. They are very popular among Ugandans and visitors alike. Some of the most popular beaches in Entebbe are WhiteSand beach, Sports beach, Lido beach, Aero beach, Imperial resort beach and Spena beach among many others. On weekends, there’s a whole lot of activity on the beaches, with loud music and conversation and revelry.
If you’re not the partying kind, you should take a boat and head to one of the secluded islands. They offer lots of blessed peace and quiet, and you have equivalent beauty of nature in front of you. Indeed, they are quite popular for family camps.
3. Entebbe Sailing Club
If you’ve got some good sailing experience, you will love the Sailing Club in Entebbe! It is one of the oldest of its kind in Africa. They organize many sailing competitions, for which they offer substantial prizes. You can also take one of the sailboats out on the lake just for cruising low and slow. You can get kayaks and canoes here as well.
Even if you can’t sail or even swim, the Entebbe Sailing Club is still an excellent place to visit for a nice weekend trip. The reason for this is the cruises they organize. You can go on a sunset or sunrise boat tour with family or a large group. The Sunset cruises offer food and drinks on board. They cover a long distance all the way to the Ssese Islands.
4. Entebbe Botanical Gardens
Have a relaxing walk at the Botanical Gardens in Entebbe. The beautiful and peaceful garden is more than a hundred years old and has trees even older here. Though actually carefully curated and maintained, it looks pretty wild. Indeed, one of the hit Tarzan movies were shot here – you’d never spot if it wasn’t in a real jungle.
The Garden has an impressive collection of flora, with excellent biodiversity. There are lots of birds to see here as well, which are not migratory types like those on the Lake. All of these make this an excellent place of learning, contemplation and meditation. You can also spot several monkey species here including Colobus and Vervet.
5. United Nations Base
If you want to experience firsthand the efforts of the UN in Africa, you have to visit their huge base here. Not only the offices, but also they use half of the airport to store some of their heavy war equipment and goods. Here you can have an idea about the massive scale of their humanitarian efforts to help the suffering people in Africa.
However, getting into the base won’t be easy. It is a protected and prohibited area. They experience many unfriendly visits a lot. As a result, they have their own customs and immigration. So, you have to find an official permit and appointment and tick all the right boxes. Otherwise, you can befriend a ranking UN official in town and let him or her give you a tour.
6. Uganda Wildlife Education Center
A place of learning and understanding and bonding with animals, this is a must on your things to do in Uganda list. It’s popularly known as the Entebbe Zoo. It was primarily a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in the beginning, though. Most of the animals from the National Parks around Uganda can be seen here, such are their stock.
Most of the animals are kept in large enclosures resembling their primary habitat. Therefore, you can see firsthand how the wild animals live, eat, communicate and sleep. The goal of the center is to instil education and care about wildlife in visitors. It’s the best place in Uganda to learn how African ecosystems work.
7. Uganda Virus Research Institute
If you are a bioscience scholar in Uganda, it’s one of your top things to see in Entebbe. This government institute is dedicated to understanding and researching communicable diseases among humans and animals. The Uganda Virus Research Institute is one of the top of such among them and has had some excellent findings.
Housing some of the best minds in microbiology, this place is great for learning and understanding diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. You can find out more about their official web site. They sometimes offer guided lab tours for students.
8. Entebbe Golf Course
The one activity while visiting Africa you wouldn’t count on is golf. But, here you can! The oldest golf course in Africa is located in Entebbe. The lush 18-hole green course is pleasant to see as well as play in. Being located on the shore of Lake Victoria adds more flavor to the experience. There is a sense of serenity and seclusion here even on weekends.
Golfing has become very popular among middle class Ugandan and they find themselves quite able and competitive in this as well. The course is technically for members only, but tourists are allowed for a reasonable fee as well. Apart from Golf, you can find grounds for badminton, basketball, and tennis as well. There are some indoor games as well in a well-decorated and comfortable house.
9. Markets in Entebbe
If you want to really connect to the pulse of a country, you can do it best by visiting its markets. Entebbe Markets are no exception either. You will find true African life at its busiest in the two main markets in Entebbe. One of them is in Kitoro and the other is near the first petrol station coming from Kampala. There are smaller markets in Manyago and Nakiwogo, etc.
The markets are veritable bee hives of activity! For retailers peddling their goods forcibly to anyone that comes close, to wholesalers using the market as transport hubs – you will find every kind of activity here. Tasty tropical fruits and street foods overflow many stalls. You will have colorful, genuinely african clothes and jewelry in many stalls. If you have a local translator by your side, you can hear about a lot of local gossip going on all around as well.
10. Mabamba Swamp
Last but not least on our things to do in the Entebbe list! This extensive marshland on the shores of Lake Victoria stretches over 16498 hectares. It is a veritable treasure trove for birdwatchers since millions of birds – migratory or local – cover the marsh from end to end. You can travel the swamp on a boat by the narrow waterway through it.
The Mabamba Marshlands is famous for being the home of the famous Shoebill Stork. These elusive birds are commonly seen standing on drifting papyrus islands, feeding on frogs and insects. Apart from birds, you can find alligators and swamp antelope or sitatunga and plenty of snakes in the Mabamba Wetlands Sanctuary. This unique ecosystem is worth a long visit for every ecotourist.
Frequently Asked Questions about Entebbe
1. When is the best time to visit Entebbe?
June to August is the busiest time for tourism in Entebbe. This is because the weather is the nicest at this while and the temperatures are comfortable. However, being a tropical country, you’ll find enjoyable weather in the winter as well. At that time, there is less tourist pressure as well.
2. Can traveling to Entebbe be cheap?
Air travel to Entebbe is a very good option. The only international airport in Uganda is located here, which is connected to the rest of the world with plenty of airlines. Here are a few low-cost flights to Entebbe with tentative fares.
|City||Cost by airline company (in USD)|
|Ethiopian Air||Qatar Airways||Air Emirates||Turkish Airlines||Kenya Airways|
Please note that the above fares are for one person one-way trip only. There is no preference for time, only for the first of July. The prices are subjected to change at any time.
3. Are there affordable hotels in Entebbe?
It’s always to get a cheap place to stay in Entebbe with great service and amenities. However, due to the presence of a large number of UN personnel, it’s difficult to get good accommodation in the budget. It’s become more difficult since most tourists use Entebbe as the transit hub only. However, there are plenty of beach resorts in Entebbe. Some of the budget accommodation options here are:
|Hotel Name||Guest Rating||Cost per night|
|Tamasha Bed & Breakfast||3.4||$6|
|Lake Victoria Country House||4.3||$13|
|Gorilla Africa Guest House||3.9||$15|
|EcoResort – Kasenyi||3.7||$23|
The above table represents the cost for two adults in one room for one night in July only. Prices are subjected to change.
4. How is the Entebbe in terms of dining and drinking?
Entebbe is not known for many specialties in Fooding. True, standard African fare is available in the restaurants here just like in most major African towns. For hygiene issues, you’d better stick to international-type food instead of eating local (except fresh fruits, of course). Nevertheless, there are some nice eateries around the town. Some of the most popular places to eat in Entebbe are:
- Faze 3
- Thai Garden Entebbe
- Java House
- Goretti’s Pizzeria & Bar
- 4 Points Bar & Restaurant
The nightlife in Entebbe is quite colorful, owing to the fact of many different nationals staying here and the steady stream of tourists. Downtown Entebbe has a number of pubs, sweaty clubs and raucous bars to choose from.
5. What do I need to know before visiting Entebbe?
- Entebbe is one of the safest places to visit in all Africa.
- You should pack ample light clothes to protect you from the heat. Instead of short clothes, choose loose, long stuff that covers most of your skin from the harsh african sun. Also, unreasonably provocative clothes are rather frowned upon here.
- WHO and National Travel Health Network both recommend that you take some vaccines before visiting any of Uganda. These include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis and tetanus.
- Pack some prophylaxis before visiting Entebbe, just in case you get malaria.
- No, Uganda does not have Zika virus anymore. Though it was discovered in the nearby Zika forest, the virus has been completely uprooted.
- It is prohibited to litter in most of the important places we have mentioned above. Dispose your rubbish in designated bins only.
- You can’t use your credit card with local currency outside the airport of Entebbe. Better bring some cash and exchange at a bank. Same goes for travelers cheques.
Please let us know if you have enjoyed our article on things to do in Entebbe. We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts and suggestions using the form below. Till then, happy trails!
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