Fairend Safaris

Boat Cruising in Uganda

Boat cruising is an adventurous recreation activity done on the freshwater bodies of the pearl of Africa. It is one way of exploring offering travelers an opportunity to have amazing scenic views as they relax and create memories. During boat cruises, you spend time in a water vessel like a boat or ship, or yacht and there are plenty of places to have a boat cruise when you visit Uganda.

When to go for boat cruising in Uganda

A boat cruise in Uganda can be arranged any day of the year depending on the weather conditions. However, the best time to go is during dry seasons when there is little or no rainfall. Morning hours starting from 9 am is the best time to see birds and animals as they graze and are more active. In the afternoon starting from around 2 pm is also a great time for a boat cruise as it is when animals drink on the water banks. Evening boat cruises are perfect for viewing the sunset and taking great photos, especially for people on romantic getaways like honeymoons, and engagement proposals among others.

The best places to go for a boat cruise in Uganda

Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls situated in Murchison Falls National Park is a great place for a boat cruise. Travelers can opt for either upstream to the Nile Delta which provides the opportunity to explore unique wildlife species. However, downstream to the bottom of falls allows travelers to view the world’s most powerful falls. Boat cruises usually take three hours and are scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. and at 2 p.m.

Wild species like hippos, Nile crocodiles, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, and many more can be seen. Bird species like Shoebill stork, Goliath heron, swamp flycatcher, Abyssinian, and northern red bishop among others can also be seen. Travelers can also do other activities like chimpanzee trekking, nature walks, game drives, birding, and many more when they visit.

Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest park in Uganda conveniently located near the city on Mbarara – Masaka highway. The park has 5 lakes and is also rich in biodiversity, boat cruises in Mburo usually start from Rwonyo and occur daily. There are two schedules one begins at 9 a.m. and the other at 2 p.m. and usually lasts 2 to 3 hours.

While on a boat cruise in Lake Mburo national Park, travelers get an opportunity to view various wildlife species. Some of the animals seen include Hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, impala, antelopes, and many more. There are also bird species like; Cormorants, King fishers, Herons, Black crake pelicans, and the rare Shoebill stork among others.

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in Africa and the world’s largest tropical lake. It offers the most amazing experience of boat cruises as you not only enjoy the water but also the neighboring hills. Most of the cruises on this lake give you an opportunity to visit the various islands in the lake which include Ssese, Ngamba, and Kalangala islands. During a boat cruise on Lake Victoria you get to enjoy the calm clear waters, and fresh air as the wind blows, you also get to enjoy the sunset. Travelers get to view wild species like crocodiles and many bird species including Egyptian Geese, African Jacanas, Kingfishers, Eagles,  and Egrets among others.

Kazinga Channel

Kazinga Channel is situated in Queen Elizabeth National Park, it connects two lakes which are Lake George and Lake Edward. The channel is in the western rift valley and acts as a water catchment area for wild species. Animals like elephants, buffalos, antelopes, impalas, warthogs, and many more can be seen during the boat cruise. Birding is also an amazing activity to do during the boat cruise and many birds can be seen.

The species to look out for are African skimmer, African mourning dove, grey-headed kingfisher, and collared pratincole among others. The best time to view wildlife while on a boat cruise is during the dry season as they drink water. Boat cruises at Kazinga channel are done in the morning from 9 a.m. and in the afternoon from 2 p.m. The cruising  usually last for 2 to three hours.

The source of the Nile in Jinja

The source of the Nile in Jinja offers a wonderful magical feeling as you cruise on the longest river in the world. River Nile has its source in Lake Victoria which is approximately 66996 kilometers flowing from Uganda to Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Republic of Sudan, and Egypt. There are two major tributaries white Nile and blue Nile. While boat cruising on the Nile you get to see animals like crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants on the river shores, and also birds.

Lake Bunyonyi


Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest lake in Uganda and the second deepest on the African Continent after Lake Tanganyika. It is situated in southwestern Uganda, with a total number of 29 islands which can be explored during a boat cruise. Travelers get an opportunity to explore the beautiful surroundings like terraced hills, communities and villages on the different islands. Birds like the Grey crowned cranes, the pied crow, Fish eagles, Herons, African harrier hawk among others can be seen during the cruise.

Some of the interesting islands that visitors can get to explore on a boat cruise on Lake Bunyonyi include the punishment island. This is where long ago women who got pregnant out of wedlock would be abandoned, and left to die in isolation. Another interesting island to visit on Lake Bunyonyi is Akacuraniko Island, which locals believe turned upside down.


Lake Mutanda

Lake Mutanda offers visitors a unique boat cruise experience, it is situated in Kisoro district in Southwestern Uganda. Boat rides take place in the morning when the water is calm and easy to navigate on a traditional canoe.

Travelers get an opportunity to see birds and have views of the breathtaking surroundings during the boat ride.  Boat cruising in Uganda can be combined with other activities like community visits and walks, fishing, and gorilla trekking.

What to pack for a boat cruise in Uganda.

  • Appropriate clothes including bathing suits, a sweater, a towel and changing clothes.
  • A bag pack to keep your items like money, phones, and other essentials.
  • Safety gear especially a life jacket however, at times they are provided.
  • Appropriate shoes including sandals.
  • Sunscreen because most cruises are done during the dry season therefore you need to prevent yourself from sunburns
  • A basic first aid box in case you get an accident.
  • Camera with extra battery to take pictures
  • Binoculars to use to see some of the birds and other animals.

How to ensure safety during a boat cruise in Uganda.

  • Always keep your valuables with you at all times and don’t leave your bags or valuables unattended.
  • Always have a properly fitted life jacket on during the boat cruise to avoid drowning incase of an accident.
  • Do not hang over the side railings of the boat at any time.
  • Avoid smoking on the boats since most cruises are shared, always consult with the boat staff for some advice.
  • Be aware of the gap between the boats and the jetty when boarding and disembarking the boats. You should therefore watch your step while getting on or getting off the boat.
  • Always remain seated until the boat has moved and the tour guide has indicated that it’s safe to disembark.
  • Always alert any boat staff onboard in case you get sick at any point during the cruise.
  • Try to refrain from excessive noise as this might scare away animals and affect the enjoyment of other passengers.
  • Do not throw anything in the water or litter anywhere as it causes pollution.