Despite its moderate size, Uganda is blessed with many tourist attractions, good climate, and friendly people.
In his tour of Africa, Winston Churchill had great admiration for the country’s natural beauty and described it as ‘the Pearl of Africa’, thanks to its rich diversity in flora and fauna. Its location along the equator ensures that the county receives the right amount of rainfall and sunshine that supports a number of species of plants and animals.
Uganda is a birders’ paradise in Africa and home to half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking is a tremendously famous activity that attracts thousands of travelers to Uganda annually. Besides gorillas, Uganda is blessed with great rivers and lakes, including the longest River Nile in Africa – River Nile and Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake.
In this blog post, we present to you 10 of the best places to visit if you are looking forward to memorable Uganda safaris and National Parks:
- QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Uganda. One of the reasons for its attractiveness is its closeness to Bwindi, Mgahinga, and Kibale. The three parks are home to the largest population of mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in the world and that’s how many travelers who come to see the large primates, end up visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The park has exceptional attractions on its own. It is fairly green all through the year and tourists are guaranteed of great photos and beautiful scenery to behold.
A boat cruise along the park’s Kazinga channel will take you to one of the best birding sites in Africa. Here, you will easily see the rare Shoebill Stork along the channel. To crown it all, you will witness the famous rare tree climbing-lions and other amazing wildlife like; hippos, buffaloes, elephants, leopards and countless numbers of antelopes. Chimpanzee trekking can also be done at the Maramagambo forest of Kyambura Gorge.
2. KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Kibale National Park is known as the primates’ capital of the world and is the best place to track chimpanzees in Africa.
Currently, there is an estimation of over 1600 chimpanzees in Kibale National Park. Unlike mountain gorillas that tend to feed in one area at a time, chimpanzees stroll a lot. Their ability to move makes it hard to guarantee their sighting on a particular day in most of the other parks where they are found. But that is not typically the case here. The primates are so broadly spread that the chances of seeing them are quite big.
The park also boasts thirteen different monkey species, including; the grey-cheeked mangabeys, red colobus and L’Hoest’s. Regrettably, Kibale has no mountain gorillas. Had they been there, we would be talking about the most visited wildlife conservation area in Africa.
3. MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Covering an area of 3,800 square kilometers, Murchison Falls National Park is the largest in Uganda. It derives its name from its top attraction: the Murchison Falls. The falls form at a spot where the river Nile forces its way through a narrow gorge before dropping in a huge roar. The steam from the falls blends with sunshine to form stunning rainbows that are beautiful to watch.
But the park is not all about the waterfalls. We are talking about one of the largest wildlife conservation sites in Africa. Murchison Falls National Park has the largest number of Rothschild Giraffes in East Africa. And because of its proximity to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, it is likely you will spot all the big five mammals (Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros, Elephant and Cape buffalo). Apart from the big 5, antelopes and small primates, Murchison Park is a birders heaven with over 200 species recorded. A classic Uganda wildlife safari to this park typically includes white water rafting at the Karuma falls and chimpanzee trekking in the park’s Budongo forest.
4. BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST PARK
Referred to as ‘the Switzerland of Africa’,Bwindi is a UNESCO site, thanks to its rich biodiversity that includes mainly large and dense forests. These forests are home to the endangered mountain gorillas. Bwindi has half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the word. Gorilla tours are the most famous activities in Bwindi and attract thousands of travelers to Uganda annually.
The Park also has chimpanzees and other small primates like Colobus monkeys. Birders will spot up to 300 different species in the forest, like; the African green broadbills and black-billed turaco. A tour to Bwindi impenetrable forest would be unfinished without learning about the endangered Batwa pygmy community, their authentic life in the forest and how their expulsion from the forest has negatively affected their lives.
5. LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK
Because of its proximity to Uganda’s capital Kampala, Lake Mburo has become a favorite for travelers on a short business trip in the City and wish to see what Uganda’s wildlife has to offer before their departure.
Lake Mburo boasts the biggest number of Zebras in Uganda and the best place to spot the elusive African leopard. These big cats flourish here and the opportunities of seeing them are very high. Other amazing wildlife here include; buffaloes, jackals, hippopotamus, crocodiles, hyenas, lions and antelopes.
6. KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
CNN Travel described Kidepo National Park as one of the best three places to go on a safari in Africa.
The magic about Kidepo is that it is the only park in Uganda that has untouched African wilderness, thanks to partly, its isolated location in the northeastern part of Uganda, which prevents local and international tourists from easily accessing it. Insurgents previously used it as a hideout before they were finally flushed out and today visitors that adventure there get a feeling of being alone in a true African wilderness like it used to be before civilization.
Travelers who can bear the long distance should be prepared for something truly different. Kidepo offers stunning scenery, including; great mountains and valleys, home to rare species and animals found nowhere else in Uganda like the African wild dog, ostriches, oryx and cheetahs. Additionally, this park has the largest buffalo herds in Uganda and it also houses baboons, bush babies, and elephants.
Where to stay while on Safari in these Parks:
This blog post would be incomplete if we didn’t recommend places to stay. There are so many accommodation facilities – ranging from High-end, mid-range to budget. Go ahead and search for your preference in the hotel search form below;
Very important to note for travelers, is that the best time to visit these National Parks for a great Uganda safari is during the dry season; December to February and June to August.
There you have it, 6 of the best Safaris and National Parks in Uganda. We would like to hear from you. Did we miss out something? Let us know in the comments section below or Whatsapp TEXT us on 0772987442.