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Running in Uganda – The Best Places To Run In The Pearl of Africa

Ready to go running in the Land of Champions? Want to push yourself and train where Olympic Gold Medal-winning runners train? 

Then get ready, because Uganda has it all. Known as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is rich with natural resources and unbelievable wildlife, from the Big Five animals and thrilling safaris to the rare mountain gorillas living up by the volcanoes. 

And if mountains and volcanoes are good for one thing (besides being home to one of the world’s most stunning creatures)… 

It’s for running!

So whether you’re looking for the best places to run in Uganda or where to go on for a Uganda run safari, we’ve got you covered. 

Take a look below for some of our favorite spots to run in this gorgeous East African country.

Famous runners from Uganda

One of Uganda’s best  running spots is Kapchorwa. This area is known locally as the ‘Land of Champions’ thanks to the large number of successful elite endurance athletes who live and train there. 

Just how good are these runners? They include world champion and world record holder Joshua Cheptegei, the London 2012 Olympic Marathon champion, Stephen Kiprotich, and Jacob Kiplimo, to name a few.
Want to give training like they do a try? Keep reading for great places to run in Uganda.

And on a fun note, if you want to train and eat like a Ugandan runner, check out Adventures in Running’s great training diary!

Places to run in Western Uganda

run bwindi

Running in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Want to run to see the gorillas? While that might be tricky (and because you should want to spend as much time with them as possible), you can still think about running in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

This gorgeous park has more than just half of the world’s mountain gorillas. It’s also a great region to get in some runs.

For some off the beaten path runs, look for these hiking trails in Bwindi:

  1. The Munyanga River Trail

A great circular hiking trail in Bwindi, this features scenic views, a powerful waterfall, orchids, birds, and, if you’re lucky, even some primates!

  1. The Waterfall Trails

This trail starts off in the Rushaga region and connects with Kisoro town. It’ll take you across the Munyanga river three times, where you’ll enjoy plenty of waterfalls, thick forests, and bird spotting. 

  1. The Rusizi River trail

Another great trail for bird watching, this is a slightly more rugged trail, so be prepared!

  1. The Rushura Trail

For a breathtaking view of the Western Rift Valley, enjoy this challenging trail that tops up above 6,000’ in elevation. Don’t forget to look up and out, too, where you’ll swee Bwindi, Lake Rwanda, the Rwenzori Mountains, and the Virunga volcanoes.

  1. The Muzabajiro Trail

This loop trail shares some of the same views as the Rushura trail while also going on a loop through the canopy forest that leads to Ruhubira Hill.

  1. The Bamboo Trail

Another calf-burning hike, the Bamboo Trail will take you to one of the highest points of the Rwamunyo Forest as you rise from bamboo forest and alpine vegetation to Rwamunyoni Peak.  

  1. The Kashasha River Trail

This longer trail will cross some steep terrain to the park’s headquarters in Buhoma.

  1. The River Ivi Trail

This is another terrific trail for bird watching. Moderate in difficulty and quite long, you’ll see plenty of wildlife throughout, including monkeys and bush pigs.

  1. The Habinyanja Trail

Crossing over the Munyanga River, this trail heads up the slopes of Habigorogoro and Riyovi Ridges where you’ll have views of both the rivers below and a number of bird species.

Places to run in Eastern Uganda

Whether you’re on a cross-country trip to discover Uganda or you’re just in the region to sample some of Uganda’s delicious coffee, Eastern Uganda has plenty of running routes of its own.

Running in Kapchorwa

Join us in East Africa’s best kept secret, the running mecca that is Kapchorwa. Train at high-altitude on Mount Elgon amongst Ugandan champion runners, enjoy a warm welcome from the community and discover the unique Sebei culture.

  1. Champions Trail

For many first-time runners in Kapchorwa, this is their first run. You’ll feel the altitude right away, and then again as you move up beyond 2,000m or 6,500’. Ideal for sunsets! Check out the Strava link to follow it for yourself.

  1. Waterfall Loop

A slightly longer, more rolling loop, this loop takes you through pines, across a river, and yes, to a waterfall. This is ideal for recovery runs after the more taxing runs you’ll likely be going through. Plot your next run with the handy Strava link.

  1. Villages & Rivers

Get to know the countryside and the communities around Kapchorwa with this run.

  1. Climb to the Forest

If you’re ready to join the elites, take on this run that pushes you up to 2,300m or 7,500’. With big vertical sections and not nearly enough air to breathe, take it easy and enjoy the wildlife and wilderness all around you. 

  1. The Up

The goal here? Get to the top. You’re running up to the nearly completed High Altitude Training Center site in the sky at Teryet. Each mile of run is met with 100m of elevation, so get ready for a challenge. You’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views at 2,575m, or 8,400’.

  1. Mulungwa Hill

How does a 35% grade hill sound? And 250m of gain in less than 1.5km? That’s Kapchorwa for you. You can’t say you haven’t been warned!

For more on the above runs and to schedule your own run with the locals, be sure to visit Run Kapchorwa.

Places to run in Kampala

If you’re looking for places to run in Kampala, you can try a few of our favorite running trail sites. Each has a nice selection of routes and reviews, so poke around and see which fit your trip best.

  1. Find Kampala runs with Wikiloc – If you’re looking for a wide variety of runs in Kampala (and beyond) complete with pictures and descriptions, Wikiloc is a great resource.
  2. Find runs in Uganda with Run Track Run – They currently have three Kampala runs listed, including ones in Lubowa, Central, and Kira.
  3. Find run routes in Kampala with MapMyRun – For a number of great local runs in Kampala, including the course for the MTN Marathon, check out MapMyRun. 

Best run training camps in Uganda

Run Kapchorwa

Think you’ve got what it takes to go for the gold?

In Kapchorwa, you’ll find out. Like you saw with the trails above, the running trails of Kapchorwa, Sipi Falls, and Mt. Elgon are great for testing your mettle. You may even see an elite or two while you’re out there.

That’s why Run Kapchorwa is a great Uganda run training camp! 2,000m above sea level, a comfortable guest house, and unlimited access to endless running trails.

Best trail races in Uganda 

With all of the trail running you can do in Uganda, it should come as no surprise that Uganda has a few impressive trail runs of its own.

  1. The Source of the Nile Trail Run – Taking place at Jinja, the birthplace of the river Nile, this race features plenty of options for runners of all experience levels. Available distances include 5k, 12k, 25k, 50k, and even a 30k mountain bike race. Find out more at the Source of the Nile Trail Run Challenge’s official website.
  2. Uganda International Marathon – So much more than a marathon, the Uganda International Marathon is a week-long adventure that combines community projects and lots of running for an unforgettable experience. The next event is scheduled for May of 2023, so don’t miss out!

Best marathon races in Uganda

Yes, Uganda does have its share of organized road marathons, too. Currently the main offer is the MTN Kampala Marathon, which happens each year in November. 

At this point, the dates aren’t announced yet for the 2022 MTN Kampala Marathon. As soon as they are, we’ll update you.

Looking for other run adventures?

If you’re on the lookout for other run adventures around the world, don’t forget to check out our list of run holidays by country. Want to stick around East Africa? We’ve also got ideas on finding runs in Kenya, and country guides to running in Kenya, running in Tanzania, and running in Rwanda.

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