If you have an afternoon or day to spend in and around Entebbe, there are several areas we can recommend visiting.
- Botanical Gardens
- Uganda Wildlife Education Center
- Mabamba Swamp Visit
1) Botanical Gardens
The Entebbe Botanical Gardens, which border the shore of Lake Victoria, are home to an impressive collection of indigenous forest, shrubs and plants. Laid out in 1898, these expansive gardens are perfect for a leisurely stroll.
The highlights are its pockets of thick rainforest, which locals claim some of the original Tarzan films were made in, and excellent bird-watching with 115 species. You’ll see plenty of monkeys, including black and white colobus, and tree squirrels too. There is also a superb array of birdlife here, ranging from species endemic to the Lake Victoria area (such as the grey kestrel, Jackson’s golden-backed weaver and yellow-throated leaflove) to more widespread species (such as the red-chested sunbird and black-headed gonolek). If you’re lucky, you may even spot a great blue turaco, which are truly magnificent, in the forest areas!
The gardens are also home to tree squirrels and vervet and black-and-white colobus monkeys. This is a lovely place to stroll for a few hours.
It is a 15-minute walk from the hotel and costs about $10/person.
2) Uganda Wildlife Education Center
Another option is the Uganda Wildlife Education Center, commonly misconceived to be a zoo, but actually an animal orphanage that is home to wild animals which have been rehabilitated but cannot be returned to the wild. It’s a good place to see some rare and endangered species, including a pair of black rhino, giant forest hog, chimpanzees, grey-cheeked mangabeys, lion, shoebill and serval.
There is a good curio shop here if you’d like to buy some souvenirs, too.
It is a 15-minute walk from the hotel and costs about $15/person.
3) Mabamba Swamp Visit
Around an hour outside Entebbe is the Mabamba Nature Reserve. You’ll have a guided boat ride in either a traditional canoe or small motorboat. The main attraction is the fiendish-looking shoebill, a member of the stork family that stands over a meter tall. As you negotiate the papyrus waterways, there is also the opportunity to see a number of other birds, such as the blue swallow, the yellow warbler and the papyrus gonolek. There is also the opportunity to go on a guided walk at the reserve to see wildlife that lives closer to the shore.
It is a 45-minute drive from the hotel and costs about $150/person.