Viewing Game From Water

Boat Safari Experience
in Uganda

Viewing wildlife game from the water on a houseboat or boat launch safari is a unique experience providing a different perspective on wildlife behavior. Uganda offers incredible opportunities to enjoy watching wildlife in a boat.


Viewing Wildlife from a Boat

Boat Safari Experience
in Uganda

Viewing wildlife game from the water on a houseboat or boat launch safari is a unique experience providing a different perspective on wildlife behavior. Uganda offers incredible opportunities to enjoy watching wildlife from a boat.


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Boat Safari

Viewing wildlife game from the water on a houseboat or boat launch safari is a unique experience providing a different perspective on wildlife behavior. Uganda offers incredible opportunities to enjoy watching wildlife from a boat.

Although classic African safaris are mostly done in a traditional game drive vehicle or on foot, Uganda offers a more breathtaking experience of viewing wildlife on the banks of water bodies found in savannah parks from a boat. Three of the top destinations in Uganda have water bodies that attract large numbers of wildlife that come on sip on the life-giving waters. From the boat’s vantage point, tourists can view live wildlife drama on the banks of the water without the struggle of beating the bush.

Unlike most African safaris, from the water is also one of the best vantage points for spotting wildlife. It’s also a more tranquil experience compared to the bumpy ride in a safari truck. You’ll have a cool breeze coming off the water instead of kicked-up dust in your eyes, and you can rely on the onboard bathroom instead of scrambling to find a discrete spot in the bush.

Because of the all-year-round water, many species of animals make the waterfront their home. So it is one of the only places in the world where you can experience intense game viewing from your boat on the river, lake, or channel.

During a 2-3-hour boat safari cruise with Nkuringo Safaris, you can sip on your favorite drink as the covered pontoon silently glides across the shimmering waters, with just a handful of other boats visible in the distance. Being free from any big crowds makes for some extraordinary animal sightings.

The boat gets so close to a motionless crocodile that you can discern the individual scales on its shiny, mottled skin; meanwhile, an unperturbed hippo stands just a few feet away, munching busily on tall blades of yellowed grass. It’s a breathtaking scene.

Let’s say you booked a gorilla trekking adventure in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and would like to see the savannah game too, but you don’t want the go through the bureaucracy of crossing borders to the prominent game safari destinations. It would make perfect sense to book a front row boat safari in Uganda.

KAZINGA CHANNEL

Get Closer to The Action

Kazinga Channel Boat Safari

The 20 mi (32 km) Kazinga Channel is the most popular waterfront for boat safari trips in Uganda. The channel cuts through Queen Elizabeth National Park, connecting lakes Edward (west) and Gorge (east) and providing the best opportunity to see Uganda’s big game animals up-close by boat safari.

Launch trips leave Mweya jetty twice daily and cruise the channel length for approximately three hours. The first leaves at 11:00 hours, and the second leaves at 14:00 hours. But you can take a private boat or canoe via Mweya.

Wildlife to see on Kazinga Channel boat safari

On the Kazinga Channel boat safari trip, you’re able to catch sight of elephants, buffalo, waterbuck, Uganda kob, and large hippo pods daily. From time to time, you can also see the giant forest hog, leopard, and lion. Keep an eye open for the enormous water monitor lizard, which is common in the riverine scrub, as well as crocodiles. The odds of seeing predators and other nocturnal creatures coming to drink are highest in the late afternoon.

Waterbirds are plentiful, in particular water thicknee, yellow-billed stroke, and various plovers. While pink-backed pelicans and white bullied cormorants often flock on a sandbank near the channel mouth. One smaller bird to look out for is the black-headed gonolek, a member of the shrike family with a dazzling red chest – and look closely, as the localized papyrus gonolek similar in appearance with a yellow crown, has also been recorded.

The 14:00 boat launch trip is most likely to yield good elephant sightings, particularly on a hot day, when these thirsty creatures generally gravitate towards the water from midday onwards, sometimes bathing in the channel.

An early boat safari on a private houseboat or canoe (08:00 and 17:00) is a more rewarding photography safari as the light will be softer. However, this may be challenging because of the increased camera shaking on the rocking boat in low light.

Lake Mburo Boat Trip

Get Closer to The Action

Lake Mburo Boat Safari

A boat safari trip on Lake Mburo lake leaves from the jetty at the main campsite 1km from Rwonyo Camp. In addition to the attractive scenery and simple pleasure attached to being out on the water, the boat launch trip reliably produces good sightings of hippo, crocodile, buffalo, waterbuck, and bushbuck, and it’s also worth looking out for the three species of resident otter.

Among the more conspicuous waterbirds are African fish eagle, marabou stork, pied kingfisher, and various egrets and herons, while Ross’s turaco and Narina trogon are frequently seen in lakeside thickets. Lake Mburo is possibly the most accessible place in Uganda to see the elusive African finfoot, which is generally associated with still water below overhanging branches.

VICTORIA NILE, MURCHISON

Cruise up the Nile to the Muchison Falls

Murchison, Victoria Nile Boat Safari

The superb boat safari trip from Paraa to the base of the Murchison Falls is the park’s most popular and longest-running attraction — the Queen Mother made an inaugural voyage in a spanking-new launch back in 1959.

In addition to the stalwart UWA launch trips, two private companies, G&C Tours and Marasa (owners of Paraa Lodge), also run various craft on the river. Consequently, it is now easy to arrange boat safari voyages to meet your schedule and requirements.

Keen photographers, for example, would certainly wish to leave slightly earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon than the UWA boats to capture the best light.

On the way to the falls, the boats follow a stretch of the Nile with a compelling African atmosphere, fringed by Borassus palms, acacia woodland, and stands of mahogany.

Game viewing is excellent on a boat safari along the paraa stretch— hippos in their hundreds, some of the largest crocodiles left in Africa, small herds of buffalo, waterbuck, kob, giraffe, bushbuck, and black-and-white colobus. Elephants are frequently observed playing in the water, often within a few meters of the boat, and fortunate visitors might even see a lion or leopard.

The birdlife on the papyrus-lined banks is stunning, with the top prize being the shoebill, seen here less often than it is on the trip to the delta, but a distinct possibility in the dry season. Savvy birders are most likely to see the African fish eagle, Goliath heron, saddle-billed stork, African jacana, pied and malachite kingfishers, African skimmer, piacpiac, rock pratincole, black-headed gonolek, black-winged red bishop, yellow-mantled widowbird, and the yellow-backed weaver. And at the right time of year, you can see a variety of migrant waders.

The dazzlingly colorful red-throated bee-eater which nests in sandbanks between Paraa and the falls is more likely to be seen here than anywhere in east Africa.

The UWA’s double-decker boats have chugged up and down the river for decades, and the long-serving guides and pilots are incredibly knowledgeable. The boats can carry 40 passengers, leave at 08.00 and 14.00 and take around three hours.

Our Uganda safari experts can happily help you book a private boat safari that leaves any time or a more general experience on a scheduled boat launch trip with a UWA boat.

Boat Safari & Launch Trips Itineraries

You must note that our experts can help you customize any of these boat safari trips or help you add other activities, like gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking, to your Uganda safari itinerary. Talk to a safari expert directly.

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What Our Guests Say About Us

Matt
Matt
2022-10-10
Verified
The Best! We highly recommend Nkuringo Safaris. Catherine, our Safari Consultant, planned an excellent itinerary for our family’s two week tour of Uganda, smartly balancing adventure and relaxation. Also, the lodges she selected were truly first-rate. In addition, she was a tremendous help during are arrival and departure from Entebbe. We also can’t say enough about our guide, Jack. He’s a fantastic conversationalist, and his expertise regarding the various communities, parks, and animals of this beautiful country is exceptional. Furthermore, he did a fantastic job of handling our three teenagers, including adjusting the day’s schedule based on conditions and energy levels.
Ubub32
Ubub32
2022-10-10
Verified
ein unvergessliches Erlebnis, von Spezialisten organisiert und von lieben Menschen durchgeführt Unsere Reise durch Uganda vom 3. – 25. September 2022 führte uns von Entebbe – Jinja – Sipi Falls – Moroto – Kidepo Game Reserve – Murchison Falls NP, Kibale Forest – Queen Elisabeth NP, Bwindi Rainforest – Lake Mburo wieder zurück nach Entebbe. Wir hatten einen netten und sehr kompetenten Reisebegleiter, der mit seinem Wissen und seiner Erfahrung (auch als Ranger) uns viel Neues über Uganda beigebracht hat. Wir hatten viel Spass zusammen und trotz dem Regenwetter (rainy season) diese Reise sehr genossen – thank you very much, Jack. Die Reise war perfekt organisiert und es hat alles geklappt. Am Vortag ausführliches Besprechen des Reiseprogramms und am Ende ebenfalls ein Feedback unserer Eindrücke. Wir können Nkuringo Safari nur bestens empfehlen. Wir würden wieder über diese Firma unsere Reise buchen.
Urs N
Urs N
2022-07-25
Verified
Unforgettable safari in Uganda We did a 19 days round trip and Safari in Uganda organized by Nkuringo. It was just outstanding and most impressive . Jack Twerebere was our driver and guide and finally our friend. He was outstanding and very competent in any activities. Thanks to him we passed an unforgettable journey, encountering all wilde animals including the big five and as an example six rhinos at one place! All lodges were very god to excellent and the food was delicious.
BCSinig
BCSinig
2022-06-28
Verified
Amazing Uganda Experience It’s tough to describe just how wonderful our experience with Nkuringo Walking Safaris was. From the minute we arrived in Uganda until we left, they took excellent care of us. Our private Safari (for our family of 4), always had our wonderful driver, Em Ma, on hand, and also a guide for every activity. We felt safe at all times. The experiences we booked included the once-in-a-lifetime gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi, Golden Monkey Trekking (also an endangered species), and a Batwa experience, plus other hiking and canoeing days. We are an active family and our very active itinerary was perfect. This trip was a three-country vacation and Uganda was our favorite, due in part to Nkuringo Walking Safaris, but also because generally speaking, the Uganda people are quite welcoming and friendly. Also, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a must-do. Be sure to add this to your itinerary. Spend the money to fly to southern Uganda if you are arriving from Entebbe. The roads in Uganda are not great at all. As for the overall expense, it is not cheap. Even so, we recommend spending the money. There never was a time where we felt that we were not getting our money’s worth. They really do take good care of you- and this is coming from a very experienced travel family. We will always look back at this experience fondly and HIGHLY recommend Nkuringo Walking Safari’s.
Frederick B
Frederick B
2022-06-14
Verified
Incredible Honeymoon organised through a fantastic local Ugandan company We actually did a tailored 12.5 day safari, hiking & primate tour of Uganda with a guide and we had the most incredible time. Nkuringo were by far the best company we talked with when planning our honeymoon. Incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, fast to respond and we felt from day one that they would plan and organise us a special trip. Planning such an ambitious (& expensive) trip to a country which, on the face of it, may not be the most obvious destination for a honeymoon was initially daunting but Nkuringo (particularly Catherine) took all the stress out of it. From the moment we started talking with Nkuringo to the moment we left Uganda everything ran incredibly smoothly. We didnt have to think about anything when we arrived other than to just enjoy every moment. Our guide (David) was simply amazing. Professional, incredibly friendly, endlessly knowledgeable about everything in Uganda, birds, wildlife, history, culture etc - he was fantastic.The lodges were great, the people so smiley and welcoming and the country as a whole was awesome. Highly recommend Uganda and very highly recommend Nkuringo. Final thing to mention was that the trip was not cheap, but that did not mean that is felt expensive. We felt that the trip was actually very good value for money. Non-stop once in a life time experiences delivered to the highest standards. Worth every penny for sure!
Whitstone11
Whitstone11
2022-04-22
Verified
Top notch Safari organizer in Uganda We had contacted Nkuringo Safaris directly and together with the great team from Nkuringo we put together our dream trip. We were four and wanted to do a Rwenzori trekking up to Margherita Peak. The necessary 9 days were set. The remaining 11 days were perfectly organized by Nkuringo Safaris. The trip included a walking safari in Mihingo NP, a stunning gorilla tracking, a chimpanzee tracking, and other great experiences in the national parks. Nkuringo Safaris organized the whole trip brilliantly. They booked us the best, most beautiful and suitable accommodations. We were provided with first class VIP service. Our guide was highly motivated and very competent and humorous. We were able to enjoy every moment and felt well taken care of at all times. Due to an accident in the mountains, one of our fellow travelers had to be evacuated and hospitalized and had to cut short the trip prematurely. Nkuringo Safaris organized everything around this incident in an exemplary manner and took care of the organizational issues to the highest degree. Nkuringo Safaris also owns lodges (e.g. Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge) which are of outstanding quality. Probably Nkuringo Safaris is the 1st address for individual travel and safaris in Uganda. Nkuringo Safaris can be recommended without reservation.
BackPacker710653
BackPacker710653
2022-04-18
Verified
Eindrückliche Individualreise perfekt organisiert Individualreise vom 21.1. bis 12.2.2022; 4 Personen. Route: 22.1. Entebbe, Papyrus Guesthouse / 23.1. Lake Mburo NP, Game Drive, Boat Cruise. Mihingo Lodge. / 24.1. Nature Walk in NP. Game Drive / 25.1. Transfer zur Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, inkl. Lake Bunyonyi Transfer im motorisierten Kanu / 26.1. Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP / 27.1. Wanderung Bwindi Forest, Transfer Buhoma via Queen Elizabeth NP mit Löwen auf den Bäumen zum Kasese Sandton Hotel / 28.1. bis 5.2. Ruwenzori; Transfer zum Turaco Tree Top beim Kibale Forest NP. / 6.2. Ruhetag / 7.2. Chimpanzee Tracking am Morgen; Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary nature walk am Nachmittag. / 8.2. Transfer zum Queen Elizabeth NP, Cruise auf dem Kazinga Kanal, Unterkunft Kasenyi Safari Lodge. / 9.2. Game drives in QENP / 10.2. Rückfahrt nach Entebbe, Protea Hotel am Viktoria-See in der Nähe des Flughafens / 11.2. Freier Tag im Protea Hotel; abends Rückflug in die Schweiz. Planung: Aufgrund einer Empfehlung aus der Schweiz, haben wir uns für einen einheimischen Anbieter, Nkuringo Safari entschieden. Wir würden uns auch heute wieder vorbehaltlos und sofort für Lydia entscheiden. Wir haben die Reise nach unseren Vorstellungen geplant; Lydia hat uns dabei mit grosser Geduld beraten. Organisation: Die Reise hat tadellos geklappt, angefangen beim Empfang auf dem Flughafen, wo wir von Catherine noch vor der Zollkontrolle empfangen und speditiv durch das Covid-Testzentrum geführt worden waren. Die Anfahrt zum Nkuringo-eigenen Papyrus Guesthouse war kurz. Obschon Samstag-Abend, wurden wir hier von Lydia persönlich begrüsst; so wie wir auch am Ende der Reise, nach einem Debriefing, wiederum persönlich von Lydia verabschiedet worden waren. Jack, unser Guide und Fahrer des acht plätzigen Range Rovers, hat die vereinbarte Zeiten pünktlich eingehalten. Er und alle lokalen Guides wollten uns immer möglichst viel von ihrem Land zeigen – ein Land, das mit seinen freundlichen Einwohnern und seinen Tier- und Natur-Attraktionen (10 NP) mehr Touristen verdient hätte. Lodges: In sämtlichen Lodges fühlten wir uns wohl und gut betreut; stets gespannt, was unsere Gastgeber wieder auf den Tisch zaubern. Einzig das Sandton-Hotel ist mit seinen lieblosen Zimmern mit z.T. defekter Inneneinrichtung deutlich abgefallen – aber auch dort haben wir gut gegessen und war die Lage als Ausgangspunkt zum Ruwenzori ideal. Herausragend war die Nkuringo-eigene «Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge». Empfangen mit dem üblichen Welcome Drink und warmem Reinigungstüchlein, war die Handmassage hingegen unerwartet. Auch die Zimmer-Betreuung durch den House-Keeper mit Bett-Deko, Wärmeflasche und Cheminée-Feuer haben wir geschätzt. Fazit: Sämtliche Programmpunkte haben unsere Erwartungen erfüllt; übertroffen wurden sie beim Gorilla- und Schimpansen Tracking, ebenso war der Nature Walk im Lake Mburo etwas vom Schönsten. Auch die Bootsfahrten auf dem Lake Mburo und auf dem Kazinga Kanal möchten wir nicht missen. Enttäuschend war hingegen der Besuch des QENP. Die Herde mit 300 Wasserbüffeln war zwar imposant; daneben waren viele Stunden Game Drive wenig ergiebig. Könnten wir nochmals planen, müsste der Besuch des Murchison Falls NP unbedingt integriert werden – wir haben ihn vor 10 Jahren schon einmal besucht.
Reto
Reto
2022-04-16
Verified
Bestens aufgehoben und betreut! Wir wurden auf unserer Reise bestens und sehr liebevoll betreut. Bereits bei der Ankunft in Entebbe wurden wir in Empfang genommen und bestens bei den Formalitäten unterstützt. Super Betreuung während der ganzen Reise. Bei meinem Bergunfall wurde sofort gehandelt und ich wurde ins Spital begleitet und ein sofort ein Transport mit Wagen und Fahrer organsiert, der mich innert kurzer Zeit zum Flughafen zurück gebracht hat. Eine Super Service, der nicht mehr überboten werden kann. Die Hilfsbereitschaft aller Beteiligten war top. Ich kann Nkuringo Safaris bestens empfehlen.
Venture610601
Venture610601
2022-02-20
Verified
Outstanding experience! My husband & I have been fortunate enough to travel to many countries in the world. To us, Uganda is quite simply the most beautiful country on earth. It truly is the pearl of Africa. Why? Uganda offers stunning scenery (mountains, volcanoes, crater lakes, swamps, savannahs, forests), incredible wildlife experiences (gorillas, chimps, golden monkeys, safaris, birds galore!) and the people are so warm and kind. We booked our trip from the UK through an excellent company called Rainbow Tours. They arranged the trip with the local company NKURINGO safaris, based in Uganda. When we arrived in Uganda we were welcomed by Cathy & Arshley from NKURINGO safaris. Both of whom were very professional, knowledgeable & friendly. They provided a comprehensive overview of our two week itinerary. Arshley Brian was our guide/driver for the trip and he was truly excellent! Friendly, funny, punctual, helpful and he was exceptionally good at identifying hundreds of different birds! On our trip we travelled in a private safari jeep. All the lodges we stayed in were beautiful, with excellent service and delicious food. We started our trip in Entebbe. On day 1 we went to the swamps of lake Victoria in search of shoebills. We then moved on to Kibale forest region for chimpanzee trekking (a troop of chimps walked right up to us!), a community experience & a wetland walk - all brilliant experiences. We then went on to Queen Elizabeth National Park for safari drives (two hyenas came up to our jeep!) and a lovely private boat ride along the Kazinga Channel, we saw so many hippos & elephants and much more! We went to Bwindi, where we did a fab walk through the forest to our next stunning lodge! We spent an hour with the mountain gorillas in the Nkuringo sector (Christmas group). It was amazing!! We saw about 8 gorillas including the silverback, juveniles and a baby! Then on to lake Mutanda for a dug out canoe ride in search of otters. Then to Mgahinga for golden monkey trekking and the challenging Mt Sabyinyo Hike (three country/border hike). In Lake Mburo we went on a boat ride and saw so many fish eagles. We also did some fantastic safari drives and a bike ride amongst the zebras. We saw bush babies at our lodge and fell asleep to the sound of wild animals. We returned to Entebbe and visited Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary, where we saw about 25 chimps all of whom had been rescued. Our trip was absolutely incredible and we were so well looked after by NKURINGO safaris!! I would highly recommend using this company!!
VitaliTaeten
VitaliTaeten
2021-10-14
Verified
Through Savannahs to the gorillas and back Just back from a fantastic 2 weeks journey through western Uganda. Excellent tour guide, well chosen places to stay enriched with a coninuos high level of local knowledge provided by local rangers have been the ingredients for this unforgettable experience. Our itinerary was a perfect mix of classical safari, boat tours, bush walking and of course chimps and gorilla tracking. Thanks to the experience of the guide and the rangers we had the pleasure to experience so many positive and memorable encounters both with poeple and animals.

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    On your boat safari, please make sure you have your facemask on when in contact with animals, especially the endangered creatures. Without a negative PCR Covid Test, you’ll not be allowed into the destination. You’ll spend most of your time in open spaces away from human crowds, with that there’s minimal to no infections of the COVID virus. See out COVID-19 Travel Updates.


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