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Where to travel in East Africa in 2017: the muzungu’s recommendations

Jan 6 • 4498 views • 3 Comments on Where to travel in East Africa in 2017: the muzungu’s recommendations Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda

Where to travel in East Africa in 2017: Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda. The Muzungu’s recommendations

Happy New Year, dear Diary reader! Thanks for your support in 2016.

Are you thinking about where the next 12 months will take you? Here are some of my favourite places …

uganda-country-flagUGANDA – Kampala “KLA”- coffee, culture and chimpanzees!

Denmark’s most popular newspaper, Politiken, asked me to recommend the Top Things To Do in Kampala for their Insider Guide. We agreed that Danish culture and cafe buffs would appreciate the Ndere Cultural Centre, Gaddafi National Mosque in Old Kampala, Kampala Art Biennale, the Bahai Temple and Acacia Mall in Kisementi (for the obligatory cappuccino fix).

Diary of a Muzungu, Kampala Insider Guide, Politiken Rjejser, Denmark

Kampala Insider Guide, Politiken Rjejser, Denmark’s most popular daily

‘The Kampala Dark Day Tour’ run by Changing Horizons covers “1 Day, 150 Years of History.” There are many Kampala tours; uniquely, this one is the creation of a criminologist! Namugongo Martyrs Shrine and Wamala Tombs are two of the tour’s historical stops I’ll be featuring on my blog in 2017.


Name that car! And who was its (in)famous owner?

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Lake Victoria

Our closest relative is bound to inspire you! Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is perfect for a family day out, for camping with friends or as a romantic overnight getaway. It is internationally reknown for its high standards of primate care.

Ndayakira Ngamba Island Uganda chimp

Ndayakira is one of the 49 chimpanzees that calls Ngamba Island home. Many have been rescued fom the illicit pet trade. Photo courtesy of

feeding time Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary Uganda

One of the most extraordinary sights I’ve ever seen and heard: a wall of NOISY chimpanzees reaching out for their breakfast porridge!

family day out ngamba island chimp sanctuary

The whole family LOVED Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary!

Mount Gahinga Lodge, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, near Kisoro

Mgahinga Mount Gahinga Volcanoes Batwa dancing

Batwa dancing at Mount Gahinga Lodge Volcanoes Safaris Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda

Be the first of your friends to track the gorillas of Mgahinga! The little-visited but engaging gorilla family has now been resident for three years, so sightings are virtually guaranteed. Alternatively, track the rare golden monkeys, hike one of three volcanoes or interact with the Batwa tribe who inhabited the forests for 60,000 years. Their story is fascinating. For all the info you need to plan your trip to one my favourite parts of Uganda, read my article in The Eye Magazine. Fly with Aerolink from Entebbe for a real treat!

Muzungu bow arrow. Batwa Heritage Experience, Mount Gahinga Lodge

The Muzungu tries her hand at the bow and arrow. Batwa Heritage Experience. A project developed by Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust

Promoting tourism across Uganda: Arua and West Nile

Enthusiasm for tourism in Uganda is at an all time high across the country. I loved visiting Gerald Iga’s hometown of Arua. Read what I discovered in “10 little-known things to do in Arua & West Nile.”


Eating local food is one of my ’10 little-known things to do in Arua and West Nile’

Birdwatching – anywhere and everywhere in Uganda!

Sunbird Hill, next to Kibale Forest, is named for its 20 sunbird species (I’m sure the birding experts will find more!)

Identifying a Sunbird - not always easy, even with the bird guide!

Identifying a Sunbird – it’s not always easy, even with the bird guide!

Ornithologist Malcolm Wilson is planning a bird ringing expedition to Uganda in 2017 or early 2018 when he will be ringing at Sunbird Hill and and other popular birding locations. Read Malcolm’s blog of a previous bird ringing trip to Sunbird Hill. An August trip is planned for interested Ugandan residents.

white-collared-oliveback Sunbird Hill Kibale

To show how special the place is, here’s a bird caught at Sunbird Hill, that is very seldom seen anywhere – a White-collared Oliveback!

kenya-country-flagKENYA – Nairobi nightlife, rail journeys & the coast

Come, we go! The East Africa Tourist Visa & Interstate Pass make travel between Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda cheaper for tourists and expats + easier for nationals. Read my blog and go!


View of the new viaduct from the existing ‘Lunatic Express’ train. The Standard Gauge Railway opens in 2017. The raised viaduct is aimed at minimising the rail’s impact on the wildlife of Tsavo

Did you know…? In 2017 the ‘Lunatic Express’ train from Nairobi to Mombasa will be replaced by new trains on a new track. This gives you two opportunities: to ride the old-fashioned trains for the last time and, after Easter, enjoy the far quicker four hour journey to the coast.

scuba diving Turtle Bay Dive Centre, Water Sports Watamu

Will 2017 be the year I go scuba diving in Watamu? Or will I have to settle for snorkeling, dolphin and whale watching?!

Tawi Lodge was named Ecotourism Kenya’s Eco-Warrior Facility of the Year. The award-winning conservancy has arguably the best views of (Tanzania’s) Mount Kilimanjaro.

Have you visited the muzungu’s Kenya travel page?

rwanda-country-flagRWANDA: Nyungwe Forest, Rwanda

Kampala to Nyungwe by road: 14 hours by bus + 3 hours by matatu minibus + hmmm… a bit longer on a smaller bus + half an hour ride on a boda boda through the dark forest + hitchiking is not everyone’s dream journey but Jules and I LOVED it! Nyungwe Forest’s canopy walk and chimp tracking are both highly recommended.

Have you visited the muzungu’s Rwanda travel page ?


Uwinka Overlook is the HQ for Nyungwe National Park, southwest Rwanda. I traveled with expert primatologist Julia Lloyd as part of her Phd. research


We loved sleeping in the traditional huts at Kitabi Cultural Village! Opposite Nyungwe Park HQ

Nyungwe Forest is in a remote corner of East Africa that borders Burundi and the DRC.


The Hash House harriers keep leading me astray across East Africa! Here in Oraba, West Nile, Uganda shares a tripartite border with both South Sudan and the DRC. Will the muzungu “reach” the DRC in 2017?

And just for laughs, here are a few highlights from 2016 that you may have missed:

… laughing & (crying?) at another dating disaster

… more dramas at the airport!

… stalking celebrities! I love #SityaLoss – still my favourite dance video!


I was very excited to meet Ugandan “Sitya Loss” singer Eddie Kenzo at the launch of the #Tulambule domestic tourism event

DID YOU KNOW…? Daily updates, Uganda travel advice and random photos come thick and fast on my Diary of a Muzungu Facebook page or follow me @CharlieBeau on Twitter.

2017’s going to be a busy year for Diary of a Muzungu – where will you be traveling to? Do keep in touch!

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3 Responses to Where to travel in East Africa in 2017: the muzungu’s recommendations

  1. Simon Toubab says:

    Toubab calling Mzungu,

    One of my favourite places when I visited Uganda back in 2001 was Semiliki national park (the forest section as opposed to the savannah). I wondered if that’s regularly visited by tourists these days? After nearly bouncing off the back of a pick up whilst driving down an escarpment overlooking the Congo basin, we arrived to find very surprised looking rangers. They opened up a very dusty old visitors book and we discovered we were the first foreigners to visit in years. We camped near a Batwa village and were woken by the hoots of chimps. The walks through dense rainforest and past steaming swamps with hot springs fulfilled all of my fantasies of primeval African jungle.

    • the muzungu says:

      Hi Simon, Semliki is rarely visited except by keen birders (for its unique endemics) and by those traveling between Kyaninga Lodge, Fort Portal, and Semliki Lodge, for example. I confess I still haven’t visited Semliki! I was invited there in 2010 but declined. Even then I knew I would want to stay in Uganda indefinitely! So I thought “let me save Semliki for another day…” – I sense that day approaching 🙂

  2. Jose says:

    very resourceful blog

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