ENTEBBE: A SELF-DRIVE TOURIST DESTINATION
Ever been to Entebbe? Uganda’s renowned international airport, as well as a central city. On a Lake Victoria peninsula, approximately 37 kilometres southwest of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, it was once the seat of government for the Protectorate of Uganda before independence, in 1962. Area beaches include busy Lido Beach, near Entebbe International Airport. The lakeside Uganda Wildlife Education Center protects native animals in wetland, forest and savanna habitats. Nearby, Entebbe Botanical Garden has diverse plants, birds and monkeys. Also close by is the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, which protects orphaned chimps.
Some of the places you can visit in and around Entebbe include;
The reptile village. Reptile Village is Uganda’s only dedicated reptile zoo in Entebbe providing an entertaining hands-on view of various reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. It is located on Kampala-Entebbe Highway at Abaita Ababiri. It is on one hectare of land just 4 km off the Entebbe-Kampala Highway. you will see over 20 reptile species on display and over 50 reptiles in total, ranging from cobras, boom slangs, skinks, monitor lizards, tortoises and the most poisonous snake in Africa the Baboon Viper. One enclosure is an open basin, as the species hosted there are non-climbing. Another basin is home to four different species of tortoises. The reptiles are:
Snake Species like; Mambas, Pythons, Cobras, Puff adders
Ngamba Island. Take a boat trip to Ngamba sanctuary which is approximately 23km South East of Entebbe. It was created to provide a safe home for orphaned and confiscated chimpanzees and provide a high-quality educational experience for visitors and importantly, benefit local communities. The island is home to 49 orphaned chimpanzees rescued throughout Uganda. The Island facilities offer day trips and overnight trips which provide exceptional opportunities to closely observe and interact with these fascinating great apes in this unique setting. The cost of visiting the chimpanzees is $100 per person per day. The chimpanzees are habituated, so they don’t shy away from the presence of humans.
The Uganda Wildlife Educational Centre/ Entebbe zoo. Most of the animals on display were once injured or were recovered from poachers and traffickers. Star attractions you will see include chimpanzees, southern white rhinos, lions, leopards, giraffes and shoebill storks.
There is a lakeside restaurant and a play area for children. There are free-running monkeys around the zoo rabies-infected, so keep a distance, they will not approach you but will protect themselves when they feel threatened. . Keep an eye out for the baby elephant wandering about too.
Botanic gardens. The gardens are perfect for an afternoon stroll through its rainforest zone where you’ll see most of the wildlife like the black and white colobus and tree squirrels. The gardens are also home to 115 bird species and this is an ideal opportunity for bird watchers who will be able to spot a variety of bird species like the Verreaux’s eagle owl, Africa’s largest owl.
Great places to stay and eat. Whether you’re planning to stay for a night or the week, the area around Entebbe has accommodations to fit every need. There are several hotels, guest houses and restaurants, so the choice is in your hands.
You can eat at China Garden, Goretties pizza, and Nickey’s pizza, which offers affordable and delicious meals.
You can sleep at Boma guest house, Entebbe travellers inn, and Imperial botanical beach hotel which offer cheaper and more comfortable resting places.
A gentle walk along the shores of Lake Victoria. Here, you get an opportunity to spot some water bird species like the egrets, the white pelican, vervet monkeys, and freshwater snails. In the evening you’ll be able to see the beautiful sunset.
Shopping at Victoria mall. Some shopping may be done at Victoria mall where you can buy crafts and local products, which you can take with you back home. The handmade products are beautiful, durable and affordable like clothes, sandals, baskets, bracelets, and African necklaces.
Mabamba Island is popular for being home to the shoe-bill stalk, Mabamba swamp is about 30 minutes drive west of Entebbe and is an arm of lake Victoria connecting the main fishing village of Busi Island. The swamp lies near a relatively small village of Kasanje town with a few hills surrounding the entire swamp with fishing as the main activity catching mostly Tilapia and lungfish in the small streams of the main papyrus grass-covered swamp.
Most of the visitors to the Mabamba papyrus swamp will board the wooden boats in search of mainly the Shoe-bill Stork which usually hides in the water weed to feed on the fish from the moving water in the swamp.