The Great Rift Valley is a geographical trench running from the Middle East down the eastern coast of Africa. It was formed around 35 million years ago and is what makes up many of the region’s most dramatic physical features, from the African Great Lakes to the Virunga Mountains.
In Uganda, Lake Victoria drains into the River Nile. The remote and exquisite Ssese Islands here are unbelievably idyllic, their white sand beaches and forested rocky outcrops look like a movie set. Monkey are common, so too are hippo, and the birding on Bugaga and Bulgao Islands in particular is superb. Hike through the Ssese forests, then swim or windsurf off the beaches to cool off in the afternoon sun.
The Rwenzori Mountains were crafted by the Great Rift Valley, too. The Ugandan national park which encompasses them is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it includes the third highest peak in Africa, as well as waterfalls, glaciers, and lakes. The snow capped mountains here rival the Alps in height, creating an impressive backdrop to much of the park.