Uganda is a land locked country found in East Africa, it was ranked number 1 destination in the world in 2012 by lonely planet, and this is because of its wildlife, landscape, culture among other things. There are 10 National parks in Uganda and other game reserves where to find various animals and plant species and below are some of the best National parks and other places one can visit while in Uganda.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This National park lies in the South western of Uganda. It harbors a various number of Mountain Gorillas roughly half of the world’s remaining population. It has other species like the Chimpanzees, baboons, elephants and antelopes. Birders still encounter at least 350 bird species. Concerning cultures in Bwindi there is an opportunity to discover the local Bakiga and Batwa pygmy cultures through performances and village walks an amazing experience.
Mountain Gorillas can be tracked in various sectors in the park which include; Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuringo, and Ruhija and to track in these areas it’s based on accommodation like Buhoma community camp, Chameleon hill lodge, etc.
Note: In order to do Gorilla tracking one needs a permit which costs USD 600, and if the option is Gorilla habituation the permit costs USD 1500 per person.
Murchison Falls National Park
This is Uganda’s largest and oldest park, located in the northern end of the Albertine rift valley; it’s bisected by the Victoria Nile creating the magnificent Murchison falls, while in this park one can have a game drive where there is a great opportunity to see various wild life such as Buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, antelopes, lions, leopards, various bird species and also plant species like the sausage trees. There are also other things to do while in Murchison like a boat cruise on the Nile, hiking to the top of the falls, sport fishing, chimpanzee tracking in Budongo forest, boat cruise to the delta, balloon safaris, most activities are enjoyable basing on where your accommodation is.
There are several lodges in and outside the park such as Paraa safari lodge, Murchison River lodge, Baker’s lodge, Fort Murchison, Chobe safari lodge and many others. This park also can be accessed by Road/Air.
On the way to the park, one can visit the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary which is located in Nakasongola district, a home of around 19 rhinos, apart from rhino trekking, other activities can be bird watching and nature walks.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
This park is located in the south western part of Uganda approximately 400 kilometers from Kampala; it is separated by the Kazinga channel which connects Lakes George and Albert, it derived its name from the Queen of England, “Elizabeth”. It is endowed with various numbers of wildlife and the beautiful landscape, while in this park a various number of activities can be done such as Game drives giving you opportunity to see animals like elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, warthogs, leopards, and different bird species, crocodiles, hippos, especially while on a boat cruise on the kazinga channel.
Other activities include balloon safaris, chimpanzee tracking in kyambura gorge, a game drive in the ishasha sector for tree climbing lions, cultural heritage and nature trail such as seeing cultural performances in music dance, and drama and seeing workers harvest salt on in Lake Katwe. There are a number of lodges in and outside this park which are Luxury, Midrange and budget like Mweya Safari lodge, Bush lodge, Katara lodge, Ishasha wilderness camp. This park can also be accessed by air from Entebbe to Kasese airstrip.
There is an added experience for the adventurous travelers who can also opt for mountain climbing on the Rwenzori Mountain. This is Uganda’s tallest mountain and its snow capped, it’s found in the West on the border of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. As you climb this mountain there is a variety of vegetation, mammals, and bird species to see such as the Rwenzori Turaco. It takes around a week to climb to the top of the mountain, and those who are not skilled hikers can opt for cultural encounters such as cultural performances, villages and home stead visits, in the Bakonjo villages.
Kibale Forest National Park
This park is located in the heart of Tooro kingdom near Fortportal and contains one of the loveliest tropical forest in Uganda, it harbors the 13 primate species such as the L’Hoest’s, red colobus monkeys, its major attraction is the Chimpanzees, the delightful apes, most closest to human beings than any other living creature, these can be seen swinging in the tree branches as one treks through the forest tails, there is also an opportunity to see over 300 bird species like white-winged warbler, papyrus canopy and other animals like the Forest elephants, buffaloes, antelopes and the forest hogs. Other activities that can be done in the park are Chimpanzee habituation which is an all day experience seeing chimpanzees, feed, rest, hunt, build new nests etc, day hikes/nature walks, cultural encounters to meet local people.
Accommodation in and around this park includes; Primate Lodge, Kyaninga lodge, Kibale forest camp, and this park can be accessed by Road/Air.
Jinja District is located in the East of Uganda, one can participate in various activities such as Quad biking, bungee jumping, boat cruise on the Nile to see the source of the Nile, white water rafting, kayaking, on the way to Jinja one can have a stopover around Mabira forest, which is a rainforest located in Buikwe District. Activities in Mabira include; bird watching, zip-lining, nature walks, camping, and also it’s a very good place for researchers and students.
Sipi falls. These falls are a series of three waterfalls, found in Kapchorwa in Eastern Uganda approximately 194 km from Jinja; Activities to do while here include hiking which is done around the falls offering a stunning view of the Karamoja plains, Lake Kyoga, and the slopes of Mt. Elgon, Coffee tours can also be done which are organized through guides with knowledge of coffee farming, processing and roasting. Accommodation around include sipi river lodge, Noah’s ark cottages, Lacam lodge, sipi falls resort. Basically Sipi Falls is a nice place to unwind, relax and literally chill out away from the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities!
Entebbe is a town on a peninsula in Lake Victoria, in Central Uganda. A number of attractions are there and one can take part in different activities;
Uganda Wildlife Education mostly called the “zoo”, a place to relax and walk around seeing different animals like lions, giraffes, crocodiles; one can choose to have a personal encounter with the chimpanzees (the rates vary).
Botanical Gardens, this has diverse plants, birds and monkeys. It is a great place to spend a half/full day.
Ngamba Island, this is an island on Lake Victoria that harbors orphaned chimpanzees, to visit this island bookings can be made through the agent (wild frontiers).
Mabamba Island, home to the shoe-bill stalk, it’s about 30 minutes drive west of Entebbe, Some other birds of interest in the swamp are the African Jacannas, Pied Kingfishers, the African Pygmy goose and the blue breasted bee-eaters.
Uganda is home to the some of the remaining families of mountain gorillas of Africa. You can track the gorillas in Bwindi National Park. Other wildlife safaris and visits to National Parks is also possible
Uganda the pearl of Africa as described by Winston Churchill, is home to various wildlife animals, flora and fauna. A visit to Uganda would enable you to see the mountain gorillas. A gorilla trekking permit costs USD 600 per person per trek.
Other interesting activities include the Murchison falls wildlife safari, bird watching Uganda safaris in every Uganda National Park, white water rafting on the River Nile, mountain climbing at the Rwenzori and Mt. Elgon National Parks and so much more.
Kampala City tours are part an exciting start to safaris in Uganda. Kampala is a vibrant modern metropolis, the capital city of Uganda adorned with gardens and parks providing colorful oases for its citizens and visitors alike. Entebbe town is home to Uganda’s only Airport and the fresh water Lake Victoria. Entebbe has several fine hotels, a golf course and splendid colonial-era homes on tree-lined streets, an impressive Botanical Garden and a wildlife orphanage.
Sese Island and Ngamba islands are part of Lake Victoria tours. Ngamba Island is home to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The boat trip to the island is lots of fun and by visiting the island your entrance and activity fees help cover the costs of the island sanctuary and the well being of the chimpanzees. Fishing is another fascination on the lake.
The Nile River flows from Jinja making a journey of more than 6600 kms from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt with incredible white water rafting rapids en-route. If you dare, you can challenge this mighty river and raft the Nile near the Bujagali Falls in Jinja.
Uganda National Parks Safaris
The Mountains of the Moon preferably called Rwenzori illuminate the south west corner of Uganda with several scenic features like numerous lakes and jagged, volcanic mountains. Astride the mountains sits Ruwenzori National Park. It is a fantastic place to trek.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park located on the slopes of Rwenzori is the home of Uganda Gorilla safaris. The lush montane rainforest is home to approximately 300 mountain gorillas, about half of their estimated world population. They live alongside 350 to 400 chimpanzees and this is the only forest in Africa where they occur together. In addition there are another 120 species of mammal, including 10 species of primate and roughly 360 bird species. Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda are part of every safari itinerary with Rwanda gorilla safaris to complete tours of the gorillas living in the dense forest around south western Uganda.
Other interesting national parks within Uganda include Queen Elizabeth National Park renowned for Tree climbing lions of Ishasha, Lake Mburo National Park for remarkable birding safaris, Kibaale forest national park is where chimpanzee tracking in Uganda is given first priority, Murchison Falls National Park is part of Uganda’s largest National parks. At Murchison Falls the Nile river is forced through narrow gap and falls 43 mtrs to a Boling pool below. These Falls are notable not so much for height as for their immense power. The park is vast and beautiful. Predominantly wooded savannah, at 4,000km² it is home to giraffe, lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, hartebeest and many more.
Semiliki National Park is the place to be if you want to taste the hot water springs from the remote Semiliki valley. It is of particular interest to bird watchers as a high proportion of the 400 bird species recorded here. Semiliki is also home to lion prides, leopard, elephant, buffalo, chimps & more. Kidepo National park is remotely located in northern Uganda but you’ll not be disappointed with the wildlife numbers in this hot region of Uganda. There are also a number of predators present including lion, cheetah, leopard, and spotted hyena.
Hotels and accommodation in Uganda
Uganda hotels and accommodation are available in all major towns like Kampala and Entebbe, near every tourist attraction and Uganda game parks. Luxury hotels, exclusive safari lodges, up market tented camps, backpacking facilities, budget guest houses, bush camps, bed and breakfast, self catering facilities… it’s a very long list.
Safaris to Uganda are arranged through a number of Uganda tour operators who will tailor and make suitable safari packages covering Uganda tours, hotels and accommodation. All packages are fully guided and include services of professional tour guides
How To Trek The Mountain Gorillas ?
Uganda is among the only 3 countries having Mountain Gorillas living in their Wild. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has more than 400 Mountain Gorillas with 80 living in Mgahinga Gorilla National park. The majority of Visitors who take on gorilla trekking in Uganda do it in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There isn’t a Safari to Uganda rendered complete without tracking the Mountain Gorillas, a number of guests trek gorillas two times and occasionally hike through the Impenetrable Bwindi forest and trek Gorillas in Buhoma as well as Nkuringo area of this park. Uganda is the finest choice for a safari in Africa since Uganda offers you Mountain Gorillas as well as all other wild animals you will see in other parks in East Africa.
Where To Find Chimpanzees in Uganda
Uganda not only has a single park or a single place to track chimpanzees but also has several. Close to Murchison Falls is the Budongo Forest. In Queen Elizabeth Park and on the outskirts is the Kalinzu Forest. You may as well track Chimpanzees within Semliki Valley or East Africa’s Primate sanctuary Kibale Rainforest having 13 primate species and the highest number of Chimps in the whole of East Africa. Other than chimpanzee tracking you may go on a full day chimp habituation experience with the researchers. This may be done in Kibale Forest throughout the year and even in the off-season in Budongo Forest.
Uganda is amazing; the wildlife, Mountain Gorillas, birds, Chimpanzees and the scenic sights, and above all the warm friendly people An additional reason why this country is the ideal African Safari.
National Parks To Visit
the Savannah Parks of Uganda have a profusion of wildlife for tourists to see. Kidepo Valley Park which is the most distant and less visited in East Africa is turning out more and even more famous even though arriving there isn’t easy unless you are flying there. The most visited game park in Uganda is Murchison Falls National where you will have an added advantage of seeing the powerful waterfall and along the way you can as well track Rhinos in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary on foot. The Ishasha area in Queen Elizabeth Park of East Africa is finest place to see the Tree Climbing Lions. In Uganda you will be able to see the different wildlife most the internationally renowned Mountain Gorillas, Mangabey Monkeys, Chimpanzees and Golden Monkeys.
Best Birding Areas in Uganda
Uganda is the finest country in Africa for birding. You may see more than 1060 bird species in Uganda and this is the ideal destination to see the most sought-after bird species in Africa; the Shoebill Stork. In case you are or not even a birder, you’ll find an profusion of birds in this country in all the national parks in Uganda. the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Kibale Forest, Murchison Falls Park as well as Queen Elizabeth Park stand out.
Uganda has numerous jungles, rivers, forests, lakes and swamps to explore as you look for birds of all types. Uganda is a tiny country, however in regards to birds, it being the Pearl of Africa is a large country with more than 1000 bird species to see.
How About Adventure ?
Uganda is a country full of adventure not experienced elsewhere in East Africa. You can raft on River Nile, ascend the Volcanoes, hike the Rainforest Jungles, roll in a dugout canoe, walk the foothills of the highest Mountain Range –Rwenzori Mountains also known as the Mountain of the Moon all in Uganda. Adventure here means mountain climbing, ATV Quad Biking, hiking, horseback-riding safaris, mountain biking, white-water rafting, fishing in the freshwaters of the largest African freshwater lake for Nile Perch. Uganda is the best adventure country in East Africa, simply a wonderful country, and in fact Lonely Planet plus National Geographic picked it among the finest travel destinations on the planet. Do not miss all the Adventure in Uganda which is the Pearl of Africa home to various birds, primates and other animals.
What To See ?
Uganda being the Pearl of Africa is a country swarmed with a profusion of picturesque wonders, most of them in or close to the National Parks in Uganda. A tour in Uganda will offer you an opportunity to see the breathtaking scenery in this country. The legendary Rwenzori Mountains, the spectacular Virunga Volcanoes, the stunning lakes like Lake Bunyonyi as well as Lake Mutanda, River Nile and one of the most strongest waterfall on the planet – the Murchison Falls. Whenever you visit the Pearl of Africa you will see the beautiful scenery just as a coffee-table book. Whichever place you go to you will find out that is among the most breathtaking countries across the African continent.
there are several places where you may unwind and chill out such as the exotic warm islands having beautiful sandy beaches. Although Uganda is a landlocked country, a large part of Lake Victoria is in Uganda home to the Ssese Islands a nice place relax. 26% of the country is comprised of lakes aplusnd rivers. Among the Lakes is Lake Bunyonyi as well as Lake Mutanda are wonderful places to chill out. You may as well do so at the bottom of the Rwenzori Mountains, or even visit the crater lakes, or explore the great River Nile, track mountain gorillas one day and then chill out the following day. There are endless options in Uganda – the Pearl of Africa. This country will offer you the finest Adventure as well as the most excellent places to chilling out at.
Uganda is among the friendliest countries in the whole of Africa and once you visit this country you will certainly agree to this. Uganda is greatly culturally diverse as well as different. Ugandans are very welcoming and each time you visit the Pearl of Africa they will greet you in all corners you go. What occasionally is very welcome is the Western Culture is considered as tradition or even cultural by Ugandans. In case you are organizing a safari to Uganda enjoy the amazing cultures and traditions of the Ugandan people.
Choosing a Tour Operator?
Find a list of trusted safari companies in Uganda.
Where To Go On A Safari in Uganda
Beautiful landscapes, enormous water bodies, wide variety of amazing wildlife species and friendly people make Uganda safaris the most thrilling and unforgettable adventures in the heart of Africa. Uganda is blessed with over 10 national parks & wildlife reserves offering a wide range of activities that suit all types of travelers including adventure seekers, mountain climbers, families, cultural enthusiasts , students as well as solo travelers. Whether your interested in Big Five , mountain gorilla tracking, white water rafting, bird watching or hiking, the Pearl of Africa has something to offer for everyone.
From walking safaris to guided & unguided game drives , a safari will always leave long lasting safari memories about Africa. Below is a our pick of some of the best safari destinations in Uganda any keen tourist shouldn’t miss out.
Bwindi National Park
A UNSECO world heritage site, Bwindi impenetrable forest is one of Africa’s most ancient rain forest inhabited by Uganda’s star attraction; the endangered Mountain gorillas. Bwindi forest is home to over 120 mammal species and up to 340 bird species plus an extensive list of flora. The main activity carried out in Bwindi is gorilla trekking which is arguably the highlight of any safari, the forest is inhabited by over half the population (340) of the remaining gorillas in the world making it a safari destination you can not miss out on while in Uganda.
Murchison falls Park
Uganda’s oldest and largest park is popularly known for it beautiful thundering falls on the nile known as Murchison falls which were named by Sir Samuel Baker after Sir Roderick Murchison who was president of the Royal Geographic Society. The Victoria nile forces itself through a narrow gap of rocks about 7 metres wide creating a strong scenic fall that captures the imagination of many during a launch trip to the bottom of the falls. Guided game drives through the park creates opportunities to encounter four of the famous Big five wildlife species and a launch trip offers tourists chance to to watch birds and some water animals like hippos, nile crocodiles, buffalos as they enjoy the busking sun on the nile banks.
Recently ranked among Africa’s top safari park by CNN travel in 2013, Kidepo park is one of Uganda’s most remote safari destination located in the northern Karamoja making it hard to be reached by road hence most travelers prefer using a charter plane to fly over which is quite expensive accounting to the low number of visitors to this park . Blessed with beautiful landscapes and large herds of cape buffalo, game drives and mountain hiking top the list of things to do. Guided game drives along the Kakine circuit & Narus valley will reward you with sightings of zebras, giraffes, cape buffalos, elephants, leopards, ostriches and if lucky you may spot the rare bat eared fox and tree climbing lions. A trek to Mount Morogule to visit the IK people has been added to make your experience to this safari destination more enjoyable.
Uganda’s second largest and busiest town is regarded as the center of all adrenaline adventure sports activities and home to the source of the Nile , world’s longest river. Originally a fishing village, Jinja has developed over the years to become a popular destination for adrenaline junkies interested in water sports like white water rafting, paddle through grade 5 rapids and waves under guindance of well trained ADRIFT staff. Other sports activities include bungee jumping, kayaking, biking, hiking and jet boating. Enjoy a day excursion around the town visiting markets, fish landing sites plus a trip to the source of the nile where the longest river begins its journey northwards to Egypt.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda’s most visited park named after Queen Elizabeth II during her royal safari in 1954. The park is boasts an endless list of amazing wildlife species including iconic African wildlife animals like the Lions, leopards, buffalos, elephants, hippos, nile crocodiles and record of over 500 species of birds. Top activities include wildlife game-drives along Kasenyi plains, boat rides on Kazinga Channel and Chimpanzee tracking at the Kyambura gorge though travelers can also tour the salt mine on Lake Katwe and traverse the Ishasha sector to witness the rare tree climbing lions. Queen Elizabeth park is one safari destination wildlife lovers should always add to their itnerary to get value out of their money
Whatever safari destination(s) you choose, be prepared with all the right documents and safari equipment. There are many attractions in different parks and so its always advisable to consult a travel agent before making any decisions about where you want to go and things you want to do in order for you get the safari experience of a life time with you loved ones.