When traveling in Uganda, there is a myriad of options when deciding how to spend your weekend, vacation, honeymoon, or holiday. One activity that will allow you to stay fit while experiencing the beautiful landscape of Uganda is hiking.

The geography of Uganda features numerous hills and mountains as well as low lands with good hiking areas. Each of these locations offers different experiences, so depending on your preference, there are vast choices in terms of elevation, the ruggedness of the trail, and the surrounding wildlife and plant life. Whether you want to explore challenging and beautiful landscapes of the mountains, want to catch sight of wildlife, or just want to meander through plains, hills, and forests, there are hikes in Uganda that will suit all levels and age groups.

Uganda is an amazing country where you can explore the great outdoors, so if you are thinking about exploring the country on foot, or want to learn about its history, beliefs, and cultures, dive into our list of the best hiking places in Uganda.

Rwenzori Mountains

Discover the Rwenzori Mountains, one of the best hiking spots in Uganda

Discover the Rwenzori Mountains, one of the best hiking spots in Uganda

The famed “mountains of the moon” are a worthy place to visit, this has the highest peak in Uganda and is usually covered in snow throughout the year. In fact, the snowmelt is the source of rivers and waterfalls in the Rwenzori area. The Rwenzori Mountain range is the main hiking destination in Uganda, and there are several trails through which a ranger guide leads hikers through different vegetation at different heights in the mountain. It takes about 8-10 days to reach the apex of the mountain, where there’s stunning snow almost year-round. If you don’t have as much time, there are other peaks in the mountain range that take fewer days to ascend.

Most of this mountain region is covered in forests and serves as a home to primates like baboons, monkeys, reptiles, and a variety of birds. As you climb the impressive peaks, you will be able to catch amazing views of rocky cliffs, vast valleys, and towns in the foothills below.

Bwindi Impenetrable Park

Bwindi is a famous destination because of Uganda’s prime tourist activity, Gorilla trekking. It’s possible to do hikes both within and outside the park. The most famous hike in Bwindi Impenetrable Park is one that goes through the forest to Lake Mutanda, where you can encounter residents of the forest like chimps, gorillas, and a wide variety of birds.

Another famous trail here is the Batwa Trail. The Batwa are the original inhabitants of the Bwindi forest, and they lived there until they were evicted when the forest was transformed into a national park. While inhabiting the forest, they lived sustainably as hunter-gatherers and never destroyed their surroundings for farming purposes. The cultural values and ways of these people have been kept alive by conducting cultural hikes through the forests to the places where they once lived.

Mabira Forest

Discover untouched nature in the Mabira Forest Reserve

Discover untouched nature in the Mabira Forest Reserve

Mabira is located along the Kampala Jinja highway and is home to a variety of birds and primates among other wildlife. There are a couple of trails that take you to the innermost parts of the forest, some of these are covered with a canopy where nearly all sunlight is blocked by the thick vegetation. Along with forest hikes, you can also partake in other activities like zip-lining and tree climbing.

This rain forest is well known for being the only place in the country that harbors the rare Gray Cheeked Mangabey; an old-world monkey that dwells in trees and is closely related to the baboon family. There are three habituated groups in the forest that can be easily tracked with the help of guides. The forest is also home to other species of monkey, like the red-tailed monkey among others.

Kibale forest, the Primate Capital of the world

The Kibale Forest is famed for its great number of primates, including chimps, baboons, and a couple of different species of monkeys. The trails here go through Bigodi Swamp, the top of the world hike where you can view a vast area of the region as well as the nocturnal forest walk.

Not far from the forest is Fort Portal town, famed as the “Tourism city of Uganda” where you can enjoy a smooth hike to Amabeere Caves and Nyakasura Caves that have a long-standing history in the area. Once you hike to the top of the hills, you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular views of the crater lakes that make the region so beautiful.

Mount Morungole

Mount Morungole is one of the most thrilling hiking places in the world. The trail here leads you to places where the Ik people live, the only way to meet these indigenous people in their village just outside one of the most beautiful wildernesses in Africa, Kidepo Valley National Park in northeastern Uganda. If you desire to hike in isolated places where you are immersed in wilderness trails, then this is the best hike to go for in Uganda.

Mount Elgon

Sipi Falls near Mount Elgon

Sipi Falls near Mount Elgon

Mountain Elgon is the largest solitary extinct volcanic mountain in East Africa. Atop the mountain, you’ll find a collapsed crater caldera which covers more than 40 kilometers at the summit is the largest known natural crater. It is not very steep and can be climbed even by people who do not have much hiking expertise. Trails here lead past caves, viewpoints, and waterfalls.

Also in the area, you can visit Sipi Falls that can be reached after hiking through some plantations. Hike to the top of the falls for the thrilling experience of seeing the water cascade over the rocks.

Murchison Falls National Park

Top of the Falls hike in the Murchison Falls National Park

Top of the Falls hike in the Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls is a waterfall along the mighty River Nile where the Victoria Nile breaks and forces its way through a seven-meter gorge, toppling 43 meters below. There are various trails to choose from while in the park, the most famous hike leads right to the top of the falls. Other trails are located in forests surrounding the Park, like Budongo and Rabongo. Wildlife sightings here include chimps, birds, monkeys, and baboons among others.

West Nile

The West Nile is the region that is located west of the river Nile in Northern Uganda. The Nile acts as a major border of this region from the rest of the country. The region has its own gems and attractions that make it unique from the rest of Northern Uganda.

Mount Wati is the highest mountain in West Nile, standing at approximately 1250 meters above sea level. Surrounding the mountains, you’ll find the Offude Hills. This is not just an ordinary mountain but rather a place where mysteries unfold as it is also said to be central to the ancestry of the local Lugbara people. Fascinating stories are told of this mountain and spending time in this region, you will get to experience a mix of cultural, traditional, and spiritual adventurism in the ancestral world.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Take to the trails in Kyambura Gorge in Western Uganda

Take to the trails in Kyambura Gorge in Western Uganda

This is a region in Uganda with a couple of trails to choose from. The most popular option is The Kyambura George exploration, where you hike and have the opportunity to view chimps in their natural habitat. Another interesting hike is to explore the Maramagambo Forest, which covers part of the park from Kichwamba escarpment to Lake Edward. The other trails are in the Mweya Peninsula where you can do a Banded Mongoose research hike and the Ishasha river hiking trail that takes you along the river in the Ishasha sector.

Cycad Village Trail

The Cycad Village Trail is a new trail located along Mpanga River Gorge in Kitagwenda district in western Uganda. The village is named after the local cycad, a pre-historic plant species that is believed to date back to the dinosaur age. Closely related (yet completely different from) palm trees, the large plant is unique for its beautiful appearance and the pleasant aroma of its fruits, which penetrate the entire region. The trail is still under development, but it is still possible to hike in this region to view this beautiful village.


These are what we consider as the best hiking trails that Uganda offers, though there are a couple of other good trails not included in this list. Trips to any of these can be organized by Ssamba Safaris. If you want to learn more about Uganda, check out our guide to backpacking in Uganda.

While most visitors to Washington, DC typically come to visit the national monuments, Smithsonian museums and the White House, they are missing a hidden gem. The most beautiful gardens in Washington, DC are often free to visit and present endless entertainment.

On the National Mall alone, there are five free gardens to explore. So if you don’t have a car, don’t despair. Read on for a list of my favorite public gardens in Washington, DC.

 

U.S. Botanical Gardens (USBG)

United States Botanical Gardens in Washington DC

United States Botanical Gardens

The number one destination is the U.S. Botanical Gardens, which is located Maryland Avenue SW in Washington, DC. While the conservatory remains closed, visitors can roam outside in the gardens at the front and side of the museum. To prepare for your visit, consider a virtual tour—both outdoors and indoors. During non-pandemic times, the USBG offered free guided tours.

The three-acre National Garden is enclosed within walls, like a secret garden. Unfortunately, pets are not allowed. It is home to the Regional Garden (featuring Mid-Atlantic plants) as well as the Rose Garden. Children will love the Butterfly Garden. The nation’s First Ladies are honored with a special water garden. There is a fountain area to relax as well as stone boulders. Occasionally, educational programs occur in the Amphitheater.

Across the street on Independence Avenue lies Bartholdi Park. Not to be missed is the Bartholdi Fountain when visiting gardens in Washington, DC. There are tables and chairs for a quick al fresco lunch. Follow the circular paths to explore hidden paths and groves of plants. A special delight for cooks is the herb garden where you can take in the fragrance of basil or oregano plants. The U.S. Botanic Gardens is included in the U.S. Capitol Complex.

U.S. Capitol Grounds

Magnolia Trees on the US Capitol Grounds in Washington DC

Magnolia Trees on the US Capitol Grounds

While not a traditional garden, the 58-acre U.S. Capitol Grounds is home to the most extensive array of trees in the Washington DC area. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed a park-like setting in 1874, which featured curving paths. He removed 400 trees. His design included low border walls, decorative lamps, and a historic shelter for streetcar passengers. A special delight is the red-brick Summerhouse, set on the slope of the West Front Lawn. In the spring, beds of tulips bloom near the structure.

A visitor could spend an entire afternoon walking around the paths encircling the U.S. Capitol building. According to the Architect of the Capitol, 65 of Olmsted’s original trees are alive today. His design featured native trees, including elms, lindens, buckeyes and oaks. There are also groupings of evergreen near the base of the West Terrace of the Capitol

In addition, the Capitol Grounds now feature gifted, memorial and commemorative trees, including the 9/11 Anniversary Tree, the Anne Frank Tree and the Emmett Till Tree. Download a map at www.aoc.gov.

There are wrought-iron benches for a rest period. The Capitol Reflecting Pool is a perfect venue for lunch while you watch the ducks swim by.

Smithsonian Gardens

Smithsonian Moongate Garden in Washington DC

Smithsonian Moongate Garden

After visiting a Smithsonian museum, be sure to reserve time to relax at the rooftop Enid A. Haupt Garden. It opened in 1987. Smithsonian Associates even offers forest bathing class in its Moongate Garden (for a fee). Designed by architect Jean Paul Carlhian, the Moongate Garden features an Asian design inspired by the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China.

Enid Haupt Garden Parterre in Washington DC

Enid Haupt Garden Parterre

The Haupt garden is conveniently located next to the old Smithsonian Castle. This 4-acre venue also features the Fountain Garden and the French-styled Parterre. Wander down the brick paths, rest at the fountain or read a book while admiring the flowers. Pose in front of the Renwick Gates or the Downing Urn. This Haupt garden is actually standing on the roofs of the National Museum of African Art, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the S. Rillon Ripley Center.

As you walk through the end gates, be sure to devote some time to the Kathrine Dulin Folger Rose Garden. The air is perfumed year-round with the four-season garden that includes fragrant flowers and interpretative signage.

Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden in Washington DC

Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

This open-air gallery is situated on the National Mall, with direct views of the U.S. Capitol on the left and the Washington Monument on the right. The sunken sculpture garden is embedded 14 feet below the surface of the Mall. Visitors explore different rooms that divide up the open air gallery. There are 30 works of arts ranging from abstract to modern. The plants provide a backdrop for the modern art. In addition, gardeners regularly change the plant palette to reflect the changing seasons. Do not miss the Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC. A special treat is to visit the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden after a major snowstorm when the artwork is buried under a blanket of snow.

National Gallery Sculpture Garden

National Gallery of Art Outdoor Sculpture Garden in Washington DC

National Gallery of Art Outdoor Sculpture Garden

One block away, the National Gallery of Art “planted” its gated outdoor Sculpture Garden on the corners of Constitution Avenue, 7th Street NW and Madison Avenue NW. The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden features lush plantings, trees and bushes as well as important artwork. Do not miss the secluded area which features Marc Chagall’s Orphee. The 1969 stone and glass mosaic can serve as a meditation point. The 10-feet by 17-feet mosaic features characters from Greek mythology. Other fun sculptures include Robert Indiana’s bright-red AMOR and Barry Flanagan’s Thinker on a Rock. Plan to visit around lunch or mid-afternoon to enjoy a meal at the Pavilion Café, which operates from 11 am to 4 pm.

The last two gardens in Washington DC will require a car, but they are definitely worth a visit.

National Arboretum

Located in NE Washington at New York Avenue and R Street, the U.S. National Arboretum is free to explore. This is a must-see venue if visiting gardens in Washington, DC. It is open every day from 8 am to 5 pm, except December 25. The 446-acre campus features 9.5 miles of winding roadways. Typically, 600,000 visitors explore each year. It is a favorite destination of dog owners.

Traffic peaks in the spring to see the Japanese cherry trees and the azaleas. Favorite flowers and bushes include azalea, boxwood, daffodil, daylily, dogwood, holly, magnolia, and maple. The modern architecture visitors’ center includes a fountain and pool with aquatic plants. Also not to be missed are the Flowering Tree Walk, the National Herb Garden and the Asian Collections. The Arboretum is also home to the National Capitol Columns.

Dumbarton Gardens

Dumbarton Oaks Gate in Washington DC

Dumbarton Oaks Gate

Dumbarton Oaks is a country estate sited in Washington, DC. Located in Georgetown, the Dumbarton Oaks mansion and surrounding gardens represent bliss. Owned by Robert and Mildred Bliss, the estate was conceived as a retreat. The 1801 Federal-style home was purchased in June 1920. The owners hired landscape architect Beatrix Farrand to design terraced garden rooms and vistas. The couple “gifted” the property to Harvard University in 1940 when it transitioned from a private estate to a research institute. Dumbarton Oaks is located at 1703 32nd Street NW.

 

 

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If hiking through the wilderness is at the top of your bucket list, you’re not alone. The beautiful scenery, epic trails, and campsites, and experiences of a lifetime make backcountry backpacking a major goal for any outdoor enthusiast. 

But, there’s a reason the idea stays on bucket lists and doesn’t get crossed off as often as other items. 

Backcountry backpacking can be dangerous, especially if you don’t take the proper precautions. If you’re a frequent backpacker, you already know some of the common injuries that can occur while hiking. But, you’re putting yourself at risk for things greater than blisters and scrapes when you’re exploring mostly-uncharted terrain. 

Still, if heading into the backcountry is a goal of yours, there’s no reason you can’t reach it with a little preparedness. Use the following safety tips and ideas as your ultimate guide to backpacking safely while in the backcountry. 

Plan Ahead

Perhaps the most important safety tip before you head out on your backcountry backpacking trip is to plan ahead as much as possible. That starts by making sure you pack the right essentials, including: 

You don’t want to overload your bag so it weighs you down. But, you’ll be happy to have these essentials on hand in case of an emergency, or just at the end of a long day on the trail. 

In addition to packing for your trip, you can also plan ahead by telling someone where you’re going. This should be typical standard practice even on shorter trips. But, it’s an especially important safety tip for more dangerous backpacking treks in the backcountry. Let someone know exactly where you’ll be and when you’ll be there. If anything were to happen and people needed to look for you, they would have a better idea of where to find you quickly. 

Finally, prepare yourself by researching the weather and local terrain. What does the forecast look like for your trip? Knowing ahead of time will make it easier to make efficient packing decisions. 

Have Support

Bring your dog along when Backcountry Backpacking

Your dog can be a welcome companion when backcountry backpacking

Backpacking is a great way to find yourself and take advantage of some peace and quiet in an overly busy world. But, when you’re tackling rough terrain, having some kind of support system is important. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to travel with family or friends. But, you might consider bringing your canine companion along with you. 

Dogs should always be trained if you’re considering taking them along for your trek. You can train them yourself, hire a trainer, or go for a really thorough option by signing them up for a board-and-train program. Once they learn to listen and obey basic commands on the trail, going backcountry backpacking with your dog can actually benefit your experience. They will offer a source of companionship and motivation as well as protection. 

Keep in mind that there are extra things you’ll need to bring if you backpack with your dog. You might even consider getting them their own little harness pack to keep things like food, treats, water, and waste bags. 

Another safety tip for backcountry backpacking is to keep your phone with you to make sure you have support on your adventure. It might go against any “off the grid” ideas you have. But, keeping your phone charged and with you at all times will give you a way to call for help, if needed. It will also give you a way to connect with people back home if you’re struggling to stay motivated or you’re dealing with loneliness. Having a support system, whether they’re right next to you in the form of a furry friend, or a thousand miles away, can make a big difference. 

Expect the Unexpected

Planning and preparing will always be important when you’re heading out on a backpacking excursion. But, no matter how well-prepared you are, you can’t predict everything that will happen on the trail. You might run into things like: 

  • Unexpected bad weather
  • Changes to the land due to erosion 
  • Wild animals that could be threatening
  • Malfunctioning equipment

There are things you can do to better prepare yourself for some of these situations. For example, one important safety tip for backcountry backpacking is to prepare to protect yourself from the threat of dangerous animals by carrying a firearm. Whether you’re by yourself or hiking with your kids, make sure you know how to properly store your gun, and that you’ve received firearm training before using it. 

For other unexpected situations, you have to be willing to think on your feet. Backpacking in the backcountry takes more than strength and stamina – it takes a sharp mind. Some of the best survivalists in the world are only able to do what they do because of their outdoor knowledge and willingness to think outside the box. 

If you’re ready to cross backcountry backpacking off your bucket list, there’s no better time to do it. But, keep these safety tips in mind to make sure it’s a positive experience that you’ll feel confident about every step of the way. 

Are you planning a trip to Manchester? The northern city of Manchester boasts a wide range of attractions to explore. However, if you are looking for a unique experience, you should take a look at these top 5 hidden gems in Manchester, which should definitely be added to your trip itinerary. 

 

1. The Hidden Gem Church

A Manchester hidden gem list would not be complete without the actual Hidden Gem Church, which is formally known as St Mary’s Catholic Church. It was built in 1794 and was quickly established as the symbol of the parish church. The hidden gem became a beacon of beauty in the middle of Manchester’s poorest areas. 

The church got its name after it was restored in the 1800s, which involved installing the beautifully carved altar that still stands today. You can pop into the church if you are by Lincoln Square in the city centre and take in all of its beauty, or you can even attend a mass. 

2. The City of Manchester Distillery

One of the best but underrated places to visit has to be the Manchester distillery, which was actually the first distillery ever built in the city of Manchester. If you’re a gin lover, you can enjoy the UK’s original Gin Experience or attend the Gin School to find out more about the gin-making process and, of course, try a few tasters.

Rum and vodka connoisseurs may prefer the rum and vodka experience, or you can even create your own spirit to suit your tastes. If you are planning a group trip, you can start your night out here with your friends or family and move onto some of Manchester’s amazing bars. 

3. Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens

Explore 90 acres of green space in Fletcher Moss Park

Manchester may be known for its industrialisation, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find any greenery. If you’re looking to get in touch with nature during your trip, you should head to Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens, where you can enjoy some quiet time away from the city or even a relaxing picnic in between attractions. 

Fletcher Moss Park is completely free to visit and is open from dusk ‘till dawn, so you can explore the 90-acre park any time you want. For a guided tour, you can join the Health Walk, which is held every Monday except for bank holidays and lasts for around an hour and a half. This will help you get to know your locals, and you can enjoy some complimentary refreshments at the end of such a picturesque walk. 

4. The Washhouse

If you want to explore Manchester’s nightlife scene, you should definitely make a reservation at the ever-unique Washhouse. From the outside, it looks like a traditional laundrette; however, once you venture inside, you will find a hidden doorway to a secret cocktail bar. 

The Washhouse is an exclusive cocktail bar that is frequented by locals who are in-the-know. Here, you will find an eclectic range of cocktails, an impressive house music playlist and even disco toilets. If you’re planning a trip to The Washhouse, make sure you book in advance to avoid disappointment. 

5. Afflecks

Afflecks Palace in the Northern Quarter of Manchester

Afflecks Palace in the Northern Quarter of Manchester

Manchester is known for its fast-fashion scene. However, if you are looking for a unique shopping experience, you should take a trip to Afflecks. This is a well-known shopping emporium filled with some of the best independent traders, including vintage retailers, fancy dress specialists, and even tattoo artists. 

Afflecks is located in the city’s Northern Quarter which is just around the corner from some of Manchester’s most popular bars, so you can enjoy a drink or two after a full day of shopping. 


Now, you know where all the hidden gems are located, you should add them to your list and start planning the rest of your trip. This could include applying for your visa if you need one, booking accommodation, or checking what the Manchester weather is like. 

 

 

The UK is known for its fascinating historical sites, which can be found across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. If you are planning a trip to the UK, you should definitely consider adding some of the UK’s most historical cities to your must-see list.

There are a wide range of historical cities to choose from, so to narrow down your choices, here are some of the most popular historic locations in the UK.

Oxford

Visit Oxford, one of the most historical cities in the UK

Visit Oxford, one of the most historical cities in the UK

Oxford is the home of the prestigious Oxford University, which is the second oldest university in the world, just behind the University of Bologna in Italy. Even if you’re not attending lectures, you can still wander around the university, explore the gardens, brush up on your reading at the Bodleian Library, and admire the Radcliffe Camera building.

A trip to Oxford isn’t complete without a trip the Oxford Castle, which was built in 1071. You can take in the castle’s beauty from the Saxon St George’s Tower, the oldest building in Oxfordshire.

If you want to squeeze in a trip to the capital while you are visiting Oxford, it is just a short train ride away. In London, you can enjoy plenty more historical sites, sightseeing hotspots and, of course, shopping.

 

Durham

Visit the cathedral and castle of Durham

Visit the historical cathedral and castle of Durham

Durham is known as the jewel of the northeast for a reason, as it is home to the magnificent Durham Cathedral, a popular UNESCO heritage site. This Norman building is home to the shrine of St Cuthbert, which was constructed between 1093 and 1133.

Durham castle sits at the heart of the world heritage site. This beautiful structure was built in the 11th century and is now home to the students of University College, which is part of the prestigious Durham University.

Away from the world heritage site is the picturesque Crook Hall and gardens, a medieval manor first constructed in 1217. Both the building and the five acres of English gardens are a sight to see. You can stroll through the gardens every Sunday to Wednesday while enjoying a spot of tea in the Georgian drawing room.

 

Chester

Visit the walled city of Chester in the UK

Visit the historical walled city of Chester in the UK

Chester is located in the northwest of England and is known for its ancient wall, which encloses the city. It’s one of the most historical cities in the UK, since the walls are the oldest and longest-standing barricades in all of the United Kingdom. However, instead of being used for protection, the locals use the walls as a relaxing promenade spot.

Since the Middle Ages, Chester has been known as a bustling market town and still is to this day. If you are a shopping addict, you should wander through the many shops near Watergate and Bridge Street where you can pick up something for yourself or a loved one back home.

In Chester, you will find the world’s oldest racecourse, which was established in 1539 and is still in operation. If you are lucky, you may get tickets to a race even or even a concert. However, keep in mind that if you go in the colder months, you definitely need to wrap up warm, as rain is basically constant during winter.

 


 Now you’ve got some inspiration, you can start planning your historic city trip to the UK. You may also want to start on your packing list, as you need to make sure that you have the right clothes for the unpredictable UK climate (which is mostly cold).