Enchanting. Mysterious. Riveting beauty. Fascinating wildlife. These are all words and phrases that are commonly used to describe the Central Africa country of Uganda.

Home to one of the most magnificent and awe-inspiring animals, the mountain gorilla, Uganda beckons wildlife enthusiasts, adventurists, and travel connoisseurs to its lush forests and wonderful national parks. But wildlife isn’t the only highly appealing reason why travelers venture thousands upon thousands of miles to visit Uganda—it’s also the country’s fascinating cultures and history.

Below are 5 of the top ways to interact with the wildlife and culture of Uganda:

1. Research chimps on a full-day chimp habituation program: Get up close and personal with the magnificent chimpanzees of Kibale Forest National Park as you venture through the forests of Uganda with Kibale’s very own researchers. During the full day trek, you’ll be able to observe how chimps interact with one another, forage, play, and more. This experience is perfect for photographers since up-close encounters enable you to snap some stunning photographs of these remarkable animals.

2. Salt mine adventures: Explore the salt mines of Katwe village that date back to the 15th century and learn about traditional mining methods used by locals (that thousands still use today). The tour will also give you a glimpse into how the salt mining industry has shaped Uganda’s economy and how the locals still benefit from its existence.

And whilst in Katwe, book a private tour to the Kasindi Market or get an exciting glimpse into Uganda’s fishing industry.

3. Gorilla family research for extended time: Most visitors only have one hour to visit with the gorillas, but travelers who partake in the Premier Safaris’ Extended Gorilla Research Program have the opportunity to spend several hours with these animals (depending on the group dynamic). This program takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest—one of Uganda’s most breathtaking regions and one of its most densely populated gorilla areas.

During this adventure into Bwindi, you’ll join the forest’s research team as they observe gorilla behavior and group dynamics. You’ll also have access to the researchers to ask them any questions your heart desires! This is an extremely rare and unique experience that few in the world ever get to experience. Be one of the few who does.

4. Interact with the local Batwa Pygmy people: One of the most exceptional and inspirational things to do in Uganda is the interactive Batwa experience. When you partake in this unique visit, you’ll interact with this ancient culture and get an extraordinary glimpse into their distinctive lifestyles. You’ll have the opportunity to learn first hand about their hunter-gatherer culture and about their history as the first inhabitants of much of Central Africa.

During your visit, your private guide will share the Batwa Pigmy language with you, point out and explain which plants are used for medicinal purposes, and also share with you the beliefs and rituals that help define this unique culture.

5. Explore Uganda’s coffee plantations: There are a variety of coffee plantations visitors can explore whilst traveling through Uganda. These tours provide travelers with a unique insight into Uganda’s entire coffee creation process. You’ll go behind the scenes to learn about everything from the seeds to the final product that is shipped out for sale. It’s fascinating to see some of the coffee plantations and learn about how the locals grow coffee.

My dad was a coffee grower when I was growing up in Zimbabwe, so for me, these tours bring back memories of my childhood.

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