Boat Safari, Launch Trips | Viewing Game From Water in Uganda

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

Based on 74 reviews.
Sarah B.
Sarah B.
November 29, 2020.
Travel in Covid times- 2.5 unforgettable weeks In November 2020, we travelled Uganda as a couple in a 4*4 Jeep. Considering the difficult time we are all in, we were especially happy about the level of service we experienced. If you have a negative COVID-19 test beforehand, you can travel Uganda with no problem. During our travel we felt very safe: all staff wore masks, if you enter buildings (Lodges, Banks etc.) or parks you have to sanitize your hands and your temperature will be taken. All in all, we felt safer than in Europe - as everybody was very considerate about our health. But let`s talk about the experience: - We travelled the north (Kidepo national park) which we highly recommend. The amount of animals (mammals, birds) is spectacular - Furthermore we did Murchinsons, Queen Elizabeth (incl. Ishasha sector), chimpanzee habituation experience and Nkuringo- where we tracked Gorillas in the Rushaga sector - This trip was unforgettable. Our guide made sure we enjoyed it to the fullest. He was very professional and could answer all our questions about animals, history and the country - As tourism is low at the moment, we were even more spoiled by all staff in all lodges, which made our experience even more special We highly recommend to travel Uganda now, as it is one of the most amazing experiences you can have in your travel life. About Nkuringo tours: - From the booking (where we could give our inputs and wishes), to the payment, the guide during the trip to the COVID test to the end, we experienced a highly professional service - We want to acknowledge especially, that if problems arised, they solved them in a professional and efficent manner. For example, we had a car break down (due to the rainy season some roads were very bad). We still arrived in our lodge that day in the evening and were able to proceed with a new car the next day. We didn`t experience any negative impact to our travel, even if this could have been a major issue - All in all, we highly recommend to work with Nkuringo Walking Safaris to experience this beautiful country the fullest
kwaAlaska
kwaAlaska
February 5, 2020.
Great walk and canoe trip. Don’t miss out on this unique experience. Our guide with Nkuringo Walking Safaris, Richard was excellent. We had an informative and unique walk down the mountain from Kisoro to Lake Mutanda. We walked through villages and saw families actively working their farms. Children along the way were delightful. The walk is easy. Once we arrived at the lake we got into canoes with Boatman David and his son. They took us across the lake ( a very big lake) to Chameleon Hill Lodge. The dugout canoe was very comfortable with padded seats to lean against. You can help paddle or not. It was a peaceful and beautiful tour of the lake. Highly recommended adventure.
Victoria V
Victoria V
January 29, 2020.
Amazing 7 day - Gorilla and Chimp tracking and QENP. My husband and I had a week vacation, which is not a lot given all the things we wanted to do/see. Nkuringo organized our trip to make the most of this week. The trip was flawlessly organized. Time-management was perfect. They were flexible and accomodating, all our needs were met and we felt listened to, it was a truly customized experience. Our guide (Darrick) was amazing, he was knowledgable, very informative, and very flexible too! He also went above and beyond to make sure we experienced the things we were showing interest on. We are tuly happy with Nkuringo and will recommend to friends and family.
Tom R
Tom R
January 12, 2020.
An incredible way to see Uganda For part of our trip we trekked through the mountainous region of Uganda, from Gahinga to Bwindi, via Lake Mutanda and Nkuringo. Throughout this part of the trip we were accompanied by our wonderful guide (muhavara) Richard. Richard knew so much about pretty much everything - the local animals, plants and trees, the communities the country's history and culture. He's funny and friendly and looked after us incredibly well. I really recommend this way of exploring the region.
Bill G
Bill G
December 29, 2019.
Best experience I ever had Our trip was actually organised by Wild Frontier Safaris and we spent 3 days at Buhoma Lodge and walked into see the H group on the second day. It took me one and half hours but some of the walking was not difficult. When I arrived it was just so wonderful I was almost in tears, it was one of the most amazing hours of my life, 14 gorillas who just went on with their lives and occasionally came right up to us. Two hours of a steep climb to get out,
Uganda Excellent Adventure
Uganda Excellent Adventure
November 10, 2019.
Business TOTAL COSTING Single occupancy USD 3995. Double occupancy USD 5115. Includes: Car hire, English speaking driver guide, Fuel, Management,Budget lodges,Gorilla permits, Chimps permits. Excludes: Staff tips, Visa fees, Souvenirs, ITINERARY: Drive to L. mburo Park, check in at Eagles Mburo Nest. Afternoon game drive , Zebra, Eland, Impala, Giraffees, and birds. Day2. Very early game drive. Return to the lodge for a late breakfast, and check out to Bwindi Forest. Check in at Bakiga lodge in Ruhija or Rushaga gorilla lodge at Rushaga gate. Day3. Gorilla tracking. Afternoon , Batwa cultural experiencing. Second Night. Day4. check out , visit Ishasha for fig tree climbing Lions and may be share a moment with Elephants as you continue to Kibale Overnight Kibale Chimpanzee Forest GH Or Kibale Forest Camp . Please ask your guide to help you make an early night game drive in the Kibale forest public Road . Lots of nocturnal drive . First night. Day5. Chimpanzee tracking, another thriller , Chimpanzee are far interesting compared to other animals in the wild. If you can please ask for old UWA Staffs around Kibale who retired from work but has great knowledge and understanding of chimpanzee social behaviors. ( Astone, Gerald, Bradford and Silva) Afternoon go for culture information. Second Night. Day 6. Long day drive to Murchison and sleep at M R L , Day7 Morning game drive, boat cruise and hike to top of the falls. lodge MRL.
Fabwid
Fabwid
October 1, 2019.
Unvergesslich Wir haben als grosse Gruppe eine massgeschneiderte Tour durch Uganda gemacht. Dabei haben wir viele Dinge erlebt: Kampala, Kibale (mit Schimpansen Tracking), eine dreitägige Wanderung durch das Rowenzori Gebirge, Safaris im Queen Elizabeth National Park & Ishasha, Wanderung & Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi, sowie Safari in Lake Mburo. Wir waren alle sehr begeistert von der Reise. Unsere Guides Jack, Derrick, Patrick, Francis, Kefa und Lucky waren sehr kompetent, freundlich, umsichtig und humorvoll. Auf unserer zweiwöchigen Reise haben wir sie alle ins Herz geschlossen und sie wären aus unserer Reisegruppe nicht mehr wegzudenken gewesen. Die Crew hat alles gegeben, um uns möglichst viele Eindrücke zu vermitteln und für unsere Sicherheit und unser Wohlbefinden zu sorgen. Zudem haben alle Beteiligten jederzeit alles daran gesetzt, dass wir keinen Termin verpassen. Von unseren Programmpunkten auf der Tour würde ich ehrlich gesagt keinen einzelnen weglassen. Es ist jedoch wichtig zu erwähnen, dass die Wanderung und das Gorilla-Tracking sicherlich eine gute Fitness voraussetzt. Das Gorilla-Tracking ist so wohl in Uganda einzigartig und echt eine „once in a lifetime“ Erfahrung. Aber auch auf allen anderen Safaris haben wir eine Vielzahl von Tieren aus direkter Nähe bestaunen können.
SafariMundo
SafariMundo
May 21, 2019.
Incredible Lifetime Experience! We traveled as a group of 6 in January with Nkuringo Safaris . Our tour guide/driver/ game tracker/ organizer was Jack. He is probably the best tour guide I have ever met, professional, courteous, knowledgeable and caring about his country, his people and his culture, and the amazing bonus of being an ex park ranger. He knew all the parks like the back of his hand, he knew the rangers, where to find the animals and when. We were very quick to realize that with Jack as our guide we were going to have the best of Ugandan adventures. And we did. Such an amazing country, and of course sad to see the slow return from the devastation of decades of hardship. We learned almost as much about the beautiful people and culture of Uganda as we did about the wild animals we had come to see. Queen Elizabeth Park was incredible, I have been on quite a few safaris in Africa but never have seen such a variety of animals in one place, in the same day. The boat trip on the Nile was also gorgeous and filled with animal life along the shores. The lodging was very nice, with very good meals and excellent service. Some lodges were higher quality than others but they were all very comfortable. For me, as a primate lover, the highlights were the Chimp tracking and of course the Gorilla tracking. It exceeded my hopes, dreams and expectations. Our group was quite fit, and had done our research on the conditions in the mountains. We were shocked that some other ( Non Nkuringo) tour groups would bring tourists that were completely unfit and unprepared for the difficult conditions of the Gorillas tracking. Both of our groups saw unprepared tourists being carried out of the forest on stretchers. ( some did not bring the correct shoes, were not fit to hike difficult terrain and mountains, not aware of issues from high altitude, basically had no idea what they were getting into etc) Nkuringo was very careful to let us know just what to expect so we were well prepared and were all seasoned hikers. Simple Advise: Read up on where you are going before your Trip and be sure that is what you want to do 🙂 The Mountain Gorillas need to be saved, their habitat must be expanded and they must be continually protected from humans encroaching on their habitat. It was a wonder to see them and I hope and Pray that they will be there for generations, and that the Gorilla trekking will not be expanded in a way to ruin the peaceful existence they deserve. Thank you Nkuringo Safaris!
Carmen K
Carmen K
March 13, 2019.
Private Taylor made 24-Day Uganda Rwanda AMAZING experience My husband and I wanted a private safari tour. This was our first safari and our first visit to Africa. I used Trip Advisor’s resourceful reviews and customer feedback to make a list of places we wanted to visit. I emailed 6 different safari tours in East Africa with our travel dates, list of attractions and lodges we wanted to visit. Most of them emailed me right away with what seemed like copy/paste, cookie cutter trip itinerary. Lydia from Nkuringo Safaris took the time to read my list and respond with questions to help tailor my trip. Once she designed a customized private tour package for us, she communicated often via email and WhatsApp to further understand our needs. She scheduled our personal guide, Patrick to be by our side for the entire 24-day safari trip. He followed the detailed program from beginning to end but was very flexible changing the itinerary to suit our style and comfort level. We booked 8 different lodges and only one was disappointing. As soon as we told our guide, he immediately acted and transferred us to a suitable lodge. Our guide Patrick was passionate about making our African trip truly memorable. The trip was perfect from start to finish. I highly recommend Nkuringo Safaris and their outstanding staff. We trekked Uganda and Rwanda. Both treks were difficult but with the assistance of the porters we got to the gorillas and were not disappointed. Each country was an entirely different, but equally enchanting experience. The team of professional trekking guides, walking porters, animal trackers, and walking safari guides all love to share the pride of their land, exploration and adventure. Our visit to see the gorillas exceeded expectations. How safe was the trip? Is the question I get asked the most after being back from our trip to East Africa. At no point during the trip did we feel in any danger. Our guide Patrick was by our side every step of the way. We traveled on a well-equipped, comfortable and spacious, super reliable 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser. Patrick always had bottle water and snacks available for us. He was very experienced and knew the destinations very well. He is known and respected by everyone in both Uganda and Rwanda. Locals refer to him as big Papa. During the safari game drives, he drove on a mission, taking us off the beaten track to uncover every hidden gems. We met many groups of people with their tour guides, none looked as happy as we were with our Papa! So many highlights of the trip, every day completely different to the last. We are truly humbled and touched by the heartfelt sincerity of the people we meet on this safari. Everyone was professional and very knowledgeable but most of all helpful and kind. They all wanted us to have the most amazing experience. To them, this is not just a job, they support the local guides and the growth of the communities through tourism. The moments shared with the local people will be forever lasting memories. Every local we met shared their unique and warm hospitality. We arrived with an open mind and left with a full heart and long-lasting friendships. Here’s a brief list of our program: Flew from Florida to JFK to Amsterdam to Entebbe —UGANDA • Protea Hotel, Entebbe, took speed boat on Lake Victoria to Ngamba island Chimp sanctuary. Amazing experience! 2 nights Aerolink Flight to Mweya • Kyambura Gorge Lodge, 2 nights. Cruise along Kazinga Channel, Lake Edwards. Hippos, elephants, buffalos and so many more wild animals. Chimpanzee trekking in Queen Elizabeth was incredible. Definitely trek chimps in Uganda. Coffee plantation tour. • Ishasha Wilderness Camp, 2 nights. Queen Elizabeth National Park. Game drive, lions, tree climbing lions, elephants, baboons. Bush breakfast and sundowner. All Incredible tours. Aerolink Flight to Kisoro • Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, 3 nights. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Gorilla Trekking to meet the Nkuringo Family. Buniga Forest walk to experience the Batwa people. Amazing!!! Cross Cyanika border into Rwanda. —RWANDA • Sabinyo Lodge, 4 nights. Volcanoes National Park, Dian Fossey Karisoke RC, Gorilla Trekking to meet the Susa gorilla family of 22, Golden Monkeys. Life changing experiences! • Nyungwe House, 5 nights, The best lodge!! Visited Musanze Market for vibrant fabric purchase. Colobus monkeys, chimpanzees trek not so great, canopy walk was fun. Tea plantation and factory tour, best massage spa, yoga. Flight Rwanda Air from Kanombe to Kigali • Ruzizi Tented Camp, 2 nights. Akagera National Park. Ruzizi camp was terrible. I would not recommend. The Park and the guides were amazing! Game drive to see zebras, giraffes, hippos, elephants, vervet monkeys and more. • The Retreat, Kigali 3 nights. City hotel with full amenities. Highly recommend to stay here and decompress from the safari before traveling back home. We visited Genocide memorial, Shopping Kimironko markets, Kigali Craft Village.
Hannah W
Hannah W
January 13, 2019.
Outstanding Safari with an excellent guide We were lucky enough to have Jack as our guide on our 14 day trip through Uganda and Ruanda. Due to his experience as a Ranger in different national parks he has an enormous knowledge about wildlife. Furthermore he answered all our questions regarding culture, history and recent events in the above named countries. Not only is he very reliable but also always on time. We couldn‘t have asked for a more professional guide and can fully recommend him and Nkuringo Safari.

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    Travel safely

    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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    Get a 100% refund on cancelation 40 days before your trip. Your big 5 safari booking can be extended up to 12 months ahead with no extra fees, in case of any emergency (based on accommodation availability). Reservations are accepted after we receive a 30% deposit on the trip and the full payment for gorilla tracking and chimp tracking permits for each tour participant. For more details on our booking terms, please read our Terms and Conditions.

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