Kibale National Park
Kibale national park is one of the few protected areas in the country that are covered by natural tropical rain forests. It is located in a diversely beautiful region of the country dotted with crater lakes and rivers overseen by the snowy caps of Mountain Rwenzori. It is comprised of Bigodi swamp which doubles as a habitat for many primates and a breeding ground for birds.
The park offers a diversity of flora and fauna as well as a beautiful landscape and features. It is home for 375 known bird species.
Of the 70 known animal species that inhabit the park, 13 are primates. It is the park with the most number of primates in Uganda. These include chimpanzees, the black-and-white colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto.
|Location||Western Uganda, Kabarole and Kamwenge districts|
|Size||560 km sq|
|Key attractions||Birds: red-winged francolin, grey-headed olive back, woodland warbler, grey throated flycatcher, white bellied crested flycatcher, sunbirds etc. chimpanzees, baboons and other primates.|
|Tour activities||Chimpanzee tracking, Chimpanzee habituation experience, Bigodi swamp walk, nature walks, community visits.|
|Accommodations:||Primate lodge, Ndali lodge, Kibale forest camp, ATACO resort, Kluge’s guest farm, Mountains of the moon|
Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park is a world heritage site for being home of the globally endangered mountain gorillas. It is a 321 km sq mountainous expanse covered by thick tropical forest. It also comprises of a large swamp called Mubwindi swamp. A legend from this swamp is responsible for the evolution of the current name of the park.
Approximately 480 mountain gorillas of the 800 surviving gorillas live in these thick jungles. There are 10 habituated gorilla groups over the park which permits precious gorilla trekking adventures. The park is also recognized as a birding haven for the hundreds of bird species that inhabit it. Bwindi impenetrable park offers a perfect wilderness experience with its thick and moss covered forests traversed by numerous streams and rivers which tumble off cliffs to create spectacular waterfalls. A number of other animals such as wild elephant, duikers, bush pigs, monkeys and bushbucks are also common in the park. Collectively, Bwindi national park is surrounded by the best accommodation facilities in Uganda.
The park was an erstwhile home of the Batwa people who have the most primitive culture in Uganda at present. These people live near the park with support from the park authorities. They now earn a living by exhibiting their cultural and traditional values to tourists who come to visit the park.
|Location||South western Uganda. Kanungu, Kabale & Kisoro districts|
|Size||321 km sq|
|Key attractions||Gorillas, birds, nature, waterfalls, community and cultural experiences|
|Tour activities||Gorilla trekking, birding, nature walks, community visits, Batwa cultural experiences, quad biking, boat rides on L. Bunyonyi.|
Semliki National Park
Semliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori. It is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse reserves. It is comprised of a mixture of montane, tropical and grassland vegetation.
Semliki national park is famous for birds. There are 441 recorded bird species many of which are endemic to the park. The park also has 53 animal species of which 25 are large species. The most fascinating physical feature in the park is the Sempaya hot springs. Water heated by coming into contact with the hot earth crust is exposed to the surface bellowing jets of steam in the air. River Semliki flows from the Rwenzori ranges meandering through the park creating a spectacular view.
The park is surrounded by Batwa communities who still live a primitive way of life as hunters and gatherers. This makes community visits to these areas worth taking.
|Location||Western Uganda, Bundibugyo district|
|Size||220 km sq|
|Key attractions||Sempaya hot springs, birds, animals, community experiences|
|Tour activities||Community visits, nature walks, birding, game drives and camping|
|Accommodations||Semliki safari lodge|
Mount Rwenzori National Park
The Rwenzori – fondly know as the fabled Mountains of the Moon – lie in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border. The equatorial snow peaks include the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are covered in moorland, bamboo and montane forest. Huge tree-heathers and colorful mosses are draped across the mountainside with giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is found in the 120km-long and 65km-wide Rwenzori mountain range. The national park hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation. The giant lobelia and other colorful mountain flora are examples. The ranges offer memorable hiking experiences and camping experiences along specific trails leading to the prominent peaks. The trails snake through and past steep climbing points, rocky cliffs, marshes, thick swamps and thick bamboo forests. Along the trails, one is able to spot animals such as mountain lions, baboons, antelopes, elephants and buffalo. Rwenzori mountain national park is also a birding haven with approximately 195 birds’ species.
The Ruwenzori’s are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination. A nine- to twelve-day trek will get skilled climbers to the summit of Margherita – the highest peak – though shorter, non-technical treks are possible to scale the surrounding peaks.
|Size||996 km sq|
|Key attraction||Mountainous landscape, Giant Lobelia, birds, snowy caps|
|Tour activities||Mountain hiking, camping, birding.|
Lake Mburo National Park
The Uganda wildlife authority describes Lake Mburo National Park as a compact gem. It is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks. The park comprises much of savannah woodland and swamps which are ideal habitats for its key attractions the birds. Over 350 bird species have been recorded to live in Lake Mburo national park.
It is also home for some elusive animal species such as Zebra, Eland, impala, leopard and hyenas. Other animals such as buffalo, Hippo, waterbucks, topi antelopes and reedbucks are common in the park. Lake Mburo national park is famous for walking safaris through its thickets. Part of the fees collected at entry of this park are used to directly fund community projects such as renovating hospitals, schools and markets.
|Size||370 km sq|
|Key attraction||Birds, zebra|
|Tour activities||Walking safaris, game drives, birding.|
|Accommodation||Mihingo lodge, Kimbla mantana, Mpogo lodge, Rwakobo rock lodge|
Kidepo National Park
For those willing to explore in the semi arid valleys of northern Uganda, prepare to inhale an adventure of pristine wilderness, Kidepo Valley National Park. Located in northern region of Uganda kaabong district the sub region of Karamoja, the national park is endowed with a vast savannah nestled within the Nyangea Napore and Morungole Mountains and the Kidepo Narus Rivers.
You are bound to make a great collage with arguably the most diverse fauna in any park in Uganda. You can have a game drive and look out for a range of animal species from the Lions, Leopards, black-backed jackals, bat-eared red fox to the Elephants and buffalos which are more conspicuous than in any other national park in Uganda. Kidepo Valley National Park is also a Mecca for an extensive bird list of 470 species and counting, the most common birds you are likely to spot are the Ostrich, Kori-bustard, Secretary bird, little-bee-eater, Red-and-yellow barbet and Dark Chanting. No comprehensive survey has been made so bird watchers can easily see more species there.
The neighboring Karimojong communities can also be visited. These are cattle keeping people who are slowly transitioning from their traditional nomadic way of life. Their homesteads comprise of exquisitely built huts called “manyattas” and they still make good use of traditional tools such as spears, bows and arrows. They are good craftsmen making colorful jewelry and crafts. One is also free to join them in their traditional dance which can be described as a series of vigorous correlated leaping! The most convenient way to get to Kidepo Valley National Park is by chartered plane. You can also drive up with a 4wd vehicle from Kampala as the roads are not in the best condition. However you will find that to travel by road is rewarding as you get to take in Karamoja and its vast landscape of the savannah.
There are four routes you can take to Kidepo.
Kampala – Karuma – Gulu – Kitgum – Kidepo = 571km (10 hours)
Kampala – Karuma – Lira – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo = 705km (12 hours)
Routes passing east of Lake Kyoga through Karamoja
Kampala – Mbale – Sironko – Moroto – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo = 740km (12 hours)
Kampala – Mbale – Soroti – Moroto – Kotido – Kabong – Kidepo = 792km (13 hours)
|Size||1442 square Kilometers|
|Tour activities||Game drive, Bird watching, Community visits|
|Accommodation||Apoka lodge (High End), Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp (Medium) UWA bandas (budget)
“Experience culture, nature and wildlife in its purest, wildest form in Kidepo Valley National Park.”
Mountain Elgon National Park
From the book “King Solomon’s Mines” by Henry Ridder Harggard it is well known that he drove his inspiration from Mountain Elgon caves. This massive solitary Volcanic mountain is located on the boarder of eastern Uganda and western Kenya, it is a spectacular explosion of vast flora and fauna in its higher altitudes and its mountainous terrain introduces variety to an otherwise expected regional terrain, it’s cool heights give relief for humans from the hot plains below, a perfect scenery straight out of a book.
The park has a variety of scenery; these include cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, calderas and the mountain peaks. Popular areas to explore are the four vast caves where frequent night visitors such as elephants and buffaloes come to lick the natural salt found on the cave walls. Kitum cave, with overhanging crystalline walls, enters 200 m into the side of Mt. Elgon. For animal lovers you can find buffalos and elephants on the lower slopes with a variety of small antelopes and monkeys from the black and white Colobus monkey to the Blue monkey, over 300 species of birds and not to mention the Maathai’s Longleg and endangered dragonfly that was discovered here in 2000 is named after the Nobel prize winner Wangari Maathai. Other attractions include ancient cave paintings near the trailhead at Budadiri, and hot springs in the former volcano’s crater which bubble at temperatures of up to 48 °C. Mountain Elgon National Park is a cosmopolitan of adventures to try out from guided walking trails, Vehicle circuits leading to animal viewing areas, the caves and Koitoboss peak, hiking, primate and bird watching, cave explorations, camping, photography, mountain climbing, nature walks, biking among others.
Looking to immerse in a culture from the Elgon slopes? Mountain Elgon is home to three tribes, the Bagisu, Sabiny and Ndorobo. The Bagisu consider the mountain to be the embodiment of their founding father Masaba and the mountain is called so by the locals. The Bagisu and the Sabiny are the biggest tribes on the slopes; they carry out subsistence farming and conduct circumcision ceremonies to initiate young men into adulthood. You are welcome to take a walk in the communities and if you’re lucky witness a circumcision ceremony.
|Tour activities||Hiking, primate and bird watching, cave explorations, camping, photography, mountain climbing, nature walks, biking among others|
|Accommodation||Protea Hotel Mbale(High End), Sipi river Lodge(Medium), Lacam Lodge (budget)
Come experience an adventure that you can only read about in books.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Nothing screams safari like a visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park the most scenic and diverse habitat for Uganda’s ingenious flora and fauna. Located in Western Uganda Southwest of Kampala the Park is the lushest park in Uganda with the area of the park extending from Lake George in the Northeast to Lake Edward in the Southwest with the Kazinga Channel connecting the two lakes. The park was named after Queen Elizabeth II and is twinned in a project with Queen Elizabeth Country Park in England in a cultural exchange, mutual support agreement with its main emphasis on supporting Conservation through working closely with and empowering local communities. The park is also famous for its volcanic features like the volcanic cones and deep craters.
A game drive in Queen Elizabeth National park will get you upclose with animals like the Uganda kob, topi antelopes, waterbuck, warthog, lion, leopard, hyena, giant forest hog as well as elephants. the Ishasha sector in the south is famous for tree climbing lions. Get to meet the Lazy cats perching in huge trees: an adorable spectacle! You can also embark on a boat ride on a dominant feature of Queen Elizabeth National Park; the Kazinga channel. It attracts a varied range of animals and birds, with one of the world’s largest concentrations of hippos and numerous Nile crocodiles. For nature lovers a nature walk in the Imaramagambo forest adds to your sightings of water, grassland, forest species and an extensive species in birds. chimpanzee tracking can also be done in Kyambura gorge which is also a hub for other primates such as monkeys and baboons.
|Size||1,978 square kilometers|
|Tour activities||Game drive, Boat ride, Nature walk, bird watching, Chimp trekking among others
Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge, Ishasha Wilderness Camp(High End), Katara Lodge(Medium), Simba Camp(budget)
Queen Elizabeth National Park a nature lover’s dream come true.
Murchison Falls National Park
It is named after the powerful Murchison waterfalls where the Great River Nile squeezes into a 7m gap and plunges 43 metres below in thunderous roars. Located in Northwest Uganda, stretching from Masindi district in the west all the way to Nwoya district in the north the park has a healthy growing population of 76 mammal species living in varied habitats such as savannah, papyrus swamp, woodland and open water.
To dive into a safari mood a game drive is highly recommended at Murchison Falls National Park where you can spot four of the “big five”, the Buffalos, elephants, lions and leopards. The Victoria Nile bisects the park from east to west for a distance of about 115 kilometers and hippos, crocodiles and birdlife flock and concentrate there.
Boat rides are conducted on the Nile to the bottom of the falls with en-route sights of hippos, buffaloes, crocodiles and various bird species. In addition this park organizes enjoyable nature walks to the peak of the falls which are also very rewarding.
|Size||3,480 square kilometers|
|Tour activities||hiking, bird watching, game drive, photography, boat ride and nature walk|
|Accommodation||Paraa Safari (High End), Murchison River Lodge (Medium), Budongo Eco Lodge (budget)|