Things to Do In Uganda Near Entebbe Airport

Sunset over Lake Victoria in Entebbe, Uganda
Why visit Entebbe? Entebbe Airport is Uganda's main international entry point for flights so most visitors can expect to spend a day or two in the area before heading out to see Uganda's natural wonders: mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, impenetrable forests, and stunning savannah. We discovered that there are some great things to do in and around Entebbe. Here are our recommendations for top things to see and do around Entebbe Airport.

Tour Entebbe Botanical Gardens

Welcome to Botanical Gardens Entebbe Sign
Entebbe Botanic Gardens is a great introduction to Uganda's flora and fauna. 
Flora in Entebbe Botanical Gardens
The botanical garden is accessible on foot (about a 30 minute walk) from Entebbe's quaint guesthouses. Guides wait at the entrance and will take you around and show you the wonders of the park for a fee. We were short on time so opted to explore Entebbe Botanical Garden independently.
Marabou stork in Entebbe Botanical Garden in Uganda
Our jaws dropped when we saw huge marabou storks looking down at us from the treetops.
Marabou storks in Entebbe Botanical Garden in Uganda
Entebbe Botanical Gardens is definitely a great spot for birdwatching. We even discovered a hamerkop building a nest.
Hamerkop bird in Entebbe Botanical Garden in Uganda

Sip Beer and Hear Gospel Music on the Shores of Lake Victoria

Bar on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda
We emerged from Entebbe Botanical Gardens and stood on the shores of Lake Victoria. A short distance away, we saw inviting tables and chairs and heard some upbeat music. We sidled up to the bar for a local Ugandan beer which we enjoyed while listening to pop gospel music and admiring the birds along the lake.
Chair along the shore of Lake Victoria in Entebbe

Paddle into Lake Victoria for the Sunset

Boat on Lake Victoria near Entebbe in Uganda
Many of the things to do in and around Entebbe revolve around Lake Victoria. We worked with our hosts at Karibu Guest House to book a 'cruise' on the lake. The term 'cruise' implies a certain level of comfort and luxury so we were surprised when the taxi arranged by the guest house pulled up to a seemingly deserted pier with a number of canoes standing by. We were more surprised when we realized that we were being asked to board one of the canoes without life jackets

We confirmed with our hosts at Karibu Guest House by phone that we were indeed in the right place. Kevin explained how they like to use local fishermen for tours to contribute to the local community which makes perfect sense. 

We were reassured that our Lake Victoria cruise would take place very close to shore. Still, we insisted on having life jackets before boarding the boat since we aren't the strongest swimmers. Our guide motored off in his boat to see what he could do. He came back about 10 minutes later with two bright orange vests. If you have concerns about safety, don't be afraid to speak up. People in Uganda are generally very accommodating.
Papyrus on the edge of Lake Victoria in Entebbe, Uganda
We set out from the shore in Entebbe in our boat which was equipped with an outboard motor about an hour before sunset. After cruising for a bit, our guide killed the engine and paddled in among the papyrus reeds so we could get a look at many species of Ugandan birds busily going about their business. 
Papyrus on the edge of Lake Victoria in Entebbe, Uganda
Long-toed lapwing on the edge of Lake Victoria in Entebbe, Uganda
The setting sun provided a stunning backdrop for our Ugandan adventure on Lake Victoria.
Birds at sunset on Lake Victoria in Entebbe, Uganda
Our trepidation about the vessel and overall safety of our Lake Victoria cruise soon faded as we looked ahead at a large and vibrant orange sun. Flocks of birds swarmed into view as the sun dropped closer to the horizon. Our guide waited until the sun disappeared for the day before starting up the motor and racing back to the dock in the post sunset glow. I couldn't help but notice that our guide was casually bailing water out of the bottom of the boat every few minutes. At that point, I was extremely glad that we'd insisted on life jackets.
Birds at sunset over Lake Victoria in Entebbe, Uganda
The boat 'cruise' on Lake Victoria definitely took us out of our comfort zone but the reward of an amazing sunset framed by tons of birds made it worth the risk. We were also grateful when we arrived back at the dock and Kevin (the owner of Karibu Guest House) was waiting for us to personally take us back to the lodge. Karibu Guest House definitely went above and beyond to address our concerns. In the end, our Lake Victoria cruise turned out to be one of our favorite things to do near Entebbe.

Drink A Sundowner and Do Some Birdwatching at a Local Guest House in Entebbe

Nile beer at Carpe Diem Guest House in Entebbe, Uganda
Local guest houses provide a great oasis within the bustling town of Entebbe. Most offer accommodation along with food and drinks. We stayed at Carpe Diem Guest House upon arrival in Entebbe. (Pro-tip: definitely try their African coffee flavored with strong spices to go with a sunrise breakfast). We stayed at Karibu Guest House at the end of our Uganda safari. In both cases, we enjoyed a local beer as a sundowner while watching a number of Uganda's 1000+ bird species visit the garden.
Colorful sunbird at Karibu Guest House in Entebbe, Uganda
It's generally a good idea to plan for some rest and downtime on a hectic trip and our stays in Entebbe's guest houses definitely made that possible.

Sip Coffee in Entebbe at Anna's Corner

Entrance to Anna's Corner in Entebbe, Uganda
We like coffee and decided to seek out a local coffee place while visiting Entebbe (much as we might do at home in Dublin. In this case, we walked nearly 30 minutes from our guest house to Anna's Corner. We were served a rich brew in an outdoor garden setting. Anna's also features a crafts shop with works from local Ugandan artisans.
Coffee mug at Anna's Corner in Entebbe, Uganda

Go People Watching at Entebbe Market

Small restaurant near Entebbe Market in Uganda
On the return to our guest house, we walked past bustling Entebbe Market. We stopped at a cafe and enjoyed a beer while watching locals go about their day.
Bottles of Nile Beer in Entebbe, Uganda

Take a Day Trip to Find Shoebills in Mabamba Swamp 

Guide looking for shoebills in Mabamba Swamp near Entebbe, Uganda
Our favorite thing to do in the vicinity of Entebbe Airport was definitely our morning tour of Mabamba Swamp. Just an hour and a half by car from Entebbe, Uganda's Mabamba Swamp is home to the shy and elusive shoe-billed stork. Shoebills were definitely on my birding bucket list. We spent two hours in a small canoe exploring the swamp with eagle-eyed guide Ismail and saw three shoebills. It's amazing that a once-in-a-lifetime birding adventure is so easily accessible from Entebbe.
Shoebill in Mabamba Swamp near Entebbe, Uganda
Top things to do near Entebbe, Uganda: See Shoebills in Mabamba Swamp
Shoebill flying in Mabamba Swamp near Entebbe, Uganda
I hope I've convinced you why you should visit Entebbe. As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in and around Uganda's Entebbe Airport. While a safari including mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and the Big Five are the main attractions in Uganda, padding your trip with a day or two in Entebbe at the start and end of your trip will not disappoint.

Map of Top Things to Do in Entebbe

Useful Links for Planning Things to Do Near Entebbe

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Things To Do In and Around Entebbe Airport in Uganda

More Sidewalk Safari Travel Blog Posts About Our Trip to UgandaTracking Uganda's Nkuringo Family of Mountain Gorillas: Hiking the Path Less TraveledIn Search of Shoebill Storks in Mabamba Swamp: Uganda's Ultimate Birdwatching DestinationUganda's Bird Whisperer of Bigodi Wetlands SanctuaryWhat It's Like to Spend the Day On A Chimpanzee Habituation Trek in Uganda's Kibale ForestA Boat Cruise on Uganda's Kazinga Channel: Hippos and Elephants and Crocodiles, Oh MyThe Birds of East Africa: Why Uganda is a Birdwatchers Paradise10 Packing List Essentials for a Safari in Uganda if You're a City PersonWhy Uganda is the Coolest Safari Destination in East Africa: So Much More Than Just The Big 5A Safari Tour to Uganda with Gorillas, Chimps, Birds, Hippos...and My Husband

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Things to Do In Uganda Near Entebbe Airport
Things to Do In Uganda Near Entebbe Airport
Learn more about top things to do near Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Why visit Entebbe? From the Entebbe Botanical Gardens to a sunset cruise on Lake Victoria, there is something to see and do for everyone.
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