Uganda is blessed with a total of 10 National Parks that are managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Each park in Uganda is unique in its own way offering most tourists in Uganda an exciting, adventurous, wonderful experience and discovery at the end of their tour to “The Pearl of Africa.” The parks offer ‘traditional’ savanna safaris along with boat tours, forest hikes, and mountain climbing and wildlife research activities. Uganda is unrivalled on the continent as a bird watching destination with over 1,000 species of birds – several of which are found nowhere else on the planet. It is also home to 13 types of primates including over half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas; and our closest relative – the chimpanzee. All the parks almost inhibit common wild animals like the hippos, buffalo and elephants, chimpanzee, black and white Columbus monkeys, baboons, red tailed and vervet monkey, predators species including lions, leopard, spotted hyena and side striped jackal, and antelope species including the kob, bushbuck, water buck, topi, warthog, oribi, Defassa waterbuck and reedbuck.
Murchision Falls National Park is famous for the high concentration of Nile Crocodiles and its gigantic Falls that plunge 45m over the remnant rift valley wall creating the dramatic Mu
rchison Falls, the Centre piece of
the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. Other animals that can be easily seen are the giraffes in the park and hippos along the Nile banks.
Mt. Elgon National Park is known for its unique largest volcanic base in the World. It’s the oldest and largest solitary, volcanic mountain in East Africa. Its vast form is 80km in diameter, rises more than 3,000m above the surrounding plains. The mountain’s cool heights offer respite from the hot plains below, with the higher altitudes providing a refuge for flora and fauna. It was built up from lava debris blown out from a greatly enlarged volcanic vent during the Pliocene epoch and rises to a height of about 4320m above sea level.
The northern and western sides of Mount Elgon rise in a series of massive basalt cliffs, often several kilometers in length, over which the mountain’s rivers plunge as beautiful waterfalls. The best known to this mountain are the three waterfalls at Sipi on the Kapchorwa road, just outside the park. The lowest of these falls is the most spectacular as it cascades over a 100m cliff. The second, known as Simba, plunges 69m over the entrance to a cave. Visitors can stand in the cave and enjoy a view of the back of the falls. The third waterfall, also known as Ngasire, gushes over an 87m high ridge.
Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the rugged, semi-arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya, some 700km from Kampala.
It is famously known for the Ostrich and also has a profusion of big game. The huge flightless Osterich birds with a small head, small wings, massive legs and two large forward pointing toes are endemic to Africa.
It is one of the world’s largest birds in the savanna, area of Kidepo National Park in Uganda and the far northeastern part of the country. There are basically two races of the common ostrich, the nominate and the massaicus. The latter is more widespread than the former.
Kibale National Park is famously known for the chimpanzees. The Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau. The park is home to a total of 70mammal species, most famously 13 species of primates including the chimpanzee.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazingz Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob. The park is famously known for its rich biodiversity and more so the tree climbing lions in Ishasha sector.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park also famously known as the mountains of the moon is famously known for its unique equatorial snow peaks include the third highest point in Africa, the Margherita peak, while the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. Huge tree-heathers and colorful mosses are draped across the mountainside with giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene. The mountain is a well-known world-class hiking and mountaineering destination. A nine- to twelve-day trek will get skilled climbers to the summit of the highest peak, although shorter, non-technical treks are possible to scale the surrounding peaks.
Semuliki National Park is located in western Uganda on the flow of the Rwenzori Mountains is famously known for the hot springs that are a major attraction to various visitors to the park. The Bamba people use them for rituals as they communicate to the gods for blessings and protection. The walk to the male (named Bintente) and female (Nyasimbe) hot springs take you through the forest where you watch red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, and black-and-white colobus monkeys jumping from tree branches in search of food. The ‘female’ hot springs have a boiling fountain at over 1000C. Often you have an opportunity to cook matooke and eggs in the boiling waters and consume them as you continue your trekking journey.
Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is has 350 bird species and is famously known as a home to the beautiful Zebras and the eland.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 320 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked. The park is famously known for Gorilla trekking, also close to the Park is the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, commonly known as the Switzerland of East Africa, due to its unique features and beautiful scenery.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey. Apart from the mountain Gorillas and Golden monkeys, the park is uniquely known for its huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivalled.