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Basic information

  • Area: 21.7 sq mi (56.2 km2)
  • Calling Code: +256
  • Currency: Ugandan shilling (UGX)
  • Population (EST): 79,700
  • Official language: English, Swahili
  • Time Zone: EAT

10 Reasons to Visit Entebbe

1. The Animal Orphanage

The Animal Orphanage of Entebbe features some of Uganda's most loved mammals. The grounds themselves are simply beautiful, and ideal for a walking trip. Unlike a traditional zoo, the orphanage raises the animals and then releases them back into the wild when they're fully mature. So the traditional cages you're used to seeing won't be found here. What you will find is an environment of nurturing and care, as well as lush scenery.

2. The Crowned Crane

The crowned crane is the national bird of Uganda, and you will definitely see many of them soaring in the sky on your trip to Entebbe. You'll not only find the bird in the air, but it can also be located on the Ugandan flag and coat of arms. The plumage of the bird is a lovely gray, and the wings are white. It gets its name from the crown of golden feathers that sits atop its head. The Crowned Crane loves to dance and jump, and is famous for its big, booming call.

3. Lake Victoria

Entebbe rests in great proximity to Lake Victoria, whose sandy beaches and lovely shoreline are popular amongst tourists and locals looking to unwind and take in some sunshine. The waters aren't best for swimming, but they are calm and sparkle under the sun. It's great to bring a picnic lunch here and a beach blanket, and lounge the day away.

4. State House

Visiting the State House in Entebbe is a must. The President often stays here, and he has put a lot of work into making the House as fancy as possible. At night, the house lights up like a Christmas tree, and the glare can be seen all the way to downtown Kisoro. You know when the President is having a party when the local police officers barricade the road and make much to do. It's a pity the house isn't open for tours, but you get a good sense of its grandeur from the outside.

5. Botanical Garden of Entebbe

A guided tour through Entebbe's Botanical Garden is a must for all visitors. The tour takes about 1.5 hours, and introduces you to all the lush, green tropical trees, as well as the lively animals that call these trees home. You can see everything from dragonflies, flowers, ants, butterflies, and a gorgeous variety of tropical birds. It is said that some of the original Tarzan movie was filmed at this location. The smell of wild cinnamon and nutmeg are in the air, and it's a great way to get a little exercise amidst the beauty of Entebbe's natural habitat.

6. Unexpected Showers

This may not seem like much of a tourist highlight, but you're surely going to be happy that you know about it. In Entebbe airport there are convenient showers for travelers to rinse off the heat before getting on a flight, or after arrival. This is a big hit amongst the business people traveling to Entebbe, as it allows them to clean up before important business meetings and conferences.

7. Swim at a Resort Beach

The best, and safest, places to swim in Entebbe are resort beaches and pools. Even though you have to pay a small amount for admission, this is really the only way to know that the condition of the water is ideal for swimming. There are other amenities at some of the finer resorts, like complimentary beach towels and umbrellas. Here you'll find families splashing about and enjoying the day. Many resorts also offer dining services and pool-side food delivery.

8. The Lido

The Lido has a great Lakeside location, including chairs and tables right near the water. There's also a wonderful lounge with cocktails and food within. The best time to go is the evening when local bands from Entebbe play live music, and there's a general atmosphere of partying and merriment. Should you like a bit more quiet time, it's nice to go to the Lido during the day and have a picnic by the water, or perhaps order some local food from inside.

9. Entebbe Zoo

It is known as the Entebbe Zoo, but its real name is the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, which opened in 1952. Like most zoos in Africa, it's more of an orphanage, and began as a refuge for sick animals, and those who were confiscated from illegal traders. Today the zoo serves 4 main functions: to conserve the animal life, to rehabilitate, to breed endangered species, and to provide a public zoo where visitors can see the indigenous wildlife of Entebbe. The grounds are vast, and there's so much to see and do here that you should plan on spending at least half of a day.

10. Mabamba Shoebill Tours

This is an amazing tour that takes you by boat to the Mabamba Swamps, from which point you then get into personal canoes with guides who take you to where you can view the famous Shoebill, as well as other indigenous birds of Entebbe. Even just the boat portion of the tour across Lake Victoria is worth the price of admission. When on your way to the swamp, you pass through a stunning lagoon that has numerous different kinds of exotic birds. Sometimes this special tour will even pick you up at your hotel, if you book in advance.

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