Entebbe is usually the first stop on your trip to Uganda, especially if you are flying. This city has much more to offer than just an International Airport.
Entebbe is very peaceful and green city, located on a peninsula at Lake Victoria. The city center is less than 4 km from the Entebbe International Airport.
Entebbe is mostly a residential area for government employees and is situated approximately 45 km from the capital city of Kampala.
What is Entebbe known for?
Entebbe hosts the International Airport for Uganda. It is also home to many government residencies, including the State House, the official home and office of the President of Uganda.
English is one of the official languages of Uganda. It is widely spoken and understood in Entebe but the local language is Luganda.
This city is more than just a stopover for travelers, it offers many incredible things to see and do.
13 Fun Things to do in Entebbe:
1. Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre
Also known as the Entebbe Zoo, the Wildlife Conservation Education Centre is an awesome way to spend a day in Entebbe.
You can walk and check out some of the animals you couldn't spot on your wilderness adventures in Uganda. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable about animals and love to share about their conservation efforts they are doing.
If you want to get closer with the animals, you can take Behind the Scenes tour where you will be able to pet a baby elephant, a giraffe, rhino, and cheetah.
2. Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
If you can't make it to western Uganda for chimpanzee trekking, Ngamba Island is perfect activity to do.
Ngamba Island, also known as Chimp Island, is home to over 50 rescued and orphaned chimpanzees, rescued from the illegal pet and bushmeat trade. This Chimpanzees Sanctuary became a primate's paradise and an important conservation project thanks to the Jane Goodall Foundation.
Ngamba Island, is a short boat ride off the shores of Entebbe and you will have many options for touring, including half day, full day, overnight and long stay experiences. You will be able to learn all about their conservation efforts and get to interact with some of the chimpanzees living there.
Chimpanzees Sanctuary in Ngamba Island
3. Equator Sign
Most people are familiar with the equator sign seen on the way to the southwestern part of Uganda but there is also an equator sign in Entebbe.
You can take a motor boat and head out to Lwaji Island on Lake Victoria to see the "other" equator sign.
4. Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens in Entebbe is a lovely spot to take a relaxing walk. Under the lush canopy of trees, you can see a number of plants and make your way to the shores of Lake Victoria. It is home to monkeys and the many birds.
I would recommend grabbing a guide at the gate who can help you to navigate the gardens. The guide will also be able to share a lot of knowledge and point out the different species of trees, plants and birds on your walk.
5. Reptile Village
Reptile Village is home to rescued and injured reptiles from around Uganda. You can get close with snakes, chameleons, tortoises, turtles, lizards, and crocodiles while learning more about their mission to educate communities about wildlife preservation.
6. Mpanga Central Forest Reserve
Approximately one hour outside of Entebbe, but this is the perfect place for a retreat amongst trees. You can go for a guided first walk on one of the trails and try to spot monkeys, flying squirrels, birds and butterflies. You can also arrange a guided tour of the Kiganda shrines.
7. Ssese Islands
A hidden paradise on Lake Victoria with white sand beaches, the Ssese Islands are one of the most incredible things to do in Entebbe.
The largest island of the 84 islands is Bugala. Bugala and Kalangala are the most popular areas for accommodation.
Swimming in Lake Victoria is not recommended while staying at the Ssese Island because of Bilharzia. Some of the islands also have hippos and crocodiles in the water.
To get to Ssese Island, you can take a 3 hours ferry ride from Nakiwogo Landing site (near Entebbe) to Kalangala. The ferry depart from Nakiwogo every day at 2pm.
8. Uganda Buddhist Centre
Entebbe is home to the first Buddhist Centre in Uganda, and the first Buddhist temple in Africa introduced by an African.
The Buddhist Centre hosts a number of programs free to the public including mindfulness mediation for adults and children, as well as community programs for women and youth empowerment.
9. Anderita Beach
If you're looking for a relaxing place to hide away and grab some delicious food and a cold drink, Anderita Beach is definitely where you want to be.
My favorite place to dine at Anderita Beach is "2 Friends Beach Restaurant" where you can taste a fresh lake fish Tilapia with sweet plantain (fried banana). You can also taste amazing cuisine at Goretti's Beachside Pizzeria and across the street from the beach is Thai Garden.
Lake Victoria feels like an ocean with the warm breeze and waves crashing onto the beach.
Fresh lake fish Tilapia with sweet plantain (fried banana)
10. Aero Beach
Aero Beach is more crowded than Anderita Beach, but is is an interesting spot to take some photos.
At Aero Beach, you can find old planes that inspired the beach's name. There are also a number of statues of famous figures like Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth II, the Obamas and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
11. Bike Tour
This awesome Bike Tour with Bike2Go will give you an opportunity to explore a number of interesting sites in Entebbe and to stretch out your legs after a long flight. You can choose from the various bike tour packages they offer and enjoy the knowlegable company of a local guide and the incredible Entebbe weather.
12. Entebbe Walking Tour
Another great way to explore Entebbe is by taking a Walking Tour with a local guide with Immersion UG.
On the tour, you will hear about the colonial history, check out some top tourist spots, the craft market and grab lunch at the best street food locations.
13. Mabamba Bay Swamp
Mabamba Bay Swamp is the largest swamp on Lake Victoria. You will enjoy finding many birds, including endangered Shoebill Stork.
You can use Mabamba Swamp Shoebill Bird Watching if you're interested to add this activity on your Entebbe itinerary.
Shoebill Stork at Mabamba Bay Swamp
Crested cranes strolling near Mabamba Swamp