Uganda National Parks

Uganda National Parks

2019-11-25T16:56:04+00:00

Uganda, known to the world as the “Pearl of Africa”, has ten national parks and twelve game reserves showcasing  the best of East Africa wilderness. Their Rift Valley landscapes and tropical forests offer that dramatic backdrops to an extensive variety of flora and fauna.

Managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the parks offer ‘traditional’ savanna safaris along with boat tours, forest hikes, mountain climbing and wildlife research activities. Uganda is unrivaled on the continent as a birders watching haven with over 1,070 species of birds – most of which are found nowhere else in the world.  Uganda the pearl of Africa is also home to 13 types of primates including over half of the world’s  remaining endangered  mountain gorillas ; and our closest relative – the chimpanzee.

Explore the true  wilderness of Africa  in Kidepo Valley national park; spot the tree-climbing lions in Ishasha sector south of queen Elizabeth national park the melody of wonders; trek up the Virunga Volcanoes; summit the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains; take on Bwindi’s “impenetrable forest”; learn ancient tribal traditions and crafts  – or just relax at your lodge surrounded by the wonderful sights and sounds of Africa’s number one hospitable destination.

 

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park-The ultimate Gorilla Experience
 
If you want to go gorilla trekking but have to choose between visiting
Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, Congo's Virunga National Park and
Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, concentrate on Bwindi.
It is a tranquil UNESCO world heritage site that offers a maiden experience
of wild life, with guaranteed chances of encountering the biggest primate
species in Africa, Mountain Gorillas. This is thanks to it's rich
concentration of over 40% of the world's last population of surviving
gorillas(over 450 gorillas of the total 1004) gorilla tracking tours.
Fast forward,  Bwindi is a 321km2 highland enveloped by a 25,000 year old
tropical forest. Its lush jungle is primarily made of 324 indigenous tree
species and over 104 species of ferns and shrubs. This vegetation mix
comprises of edible plants and wild fruits that provide the gorillas
sufficient food. It's partly for this reason that they haven't migrated to
any other park in Africa. As such, you have a 95% chance of encountering
them anytime of the year. What's more, the verdant earthly paradise which
lies at 1160m - 2607m above sea level has 17 habituated gorilla groups,
compared to Volcanoes 10 and Virunga's 8.

Although Bwindi's landscape is hilly, you don't need prior hiking
experiences to be able to conquer its gorilla trekking excursion. There are
trails for every level of physical fitness ranging from those that are
gentle to those that offer tough climbing challenges. In both, there are
stopovers where you can take a break whenever you need your system to
recharge. If you wish to hire a porter to carry your luggage or give you
extra support as you hike, we can get hire for you one. The average cost
per porter is $20, and caters for the full hike.
 As you delve deeper towards the heart of the park, the altitude keeps
getting higher. Each step forward will wow you with jaw dropping views of
vast lowland and montane vegetation ranging from unique species. Such
include Xymalos monospora, an Afromontane endemic that is native to
Africa,  Allophylus abyssinicus, a large tree with spirally arranged leaves
and greyish-green bark, Neoboutonia macrocalyx, a Medium sized evergreen
tree whose veins are set with stellate hairs and Teclea nobilis, an unarmed
evergreen tree that can grow as high as 12 m.

Other Animals Found In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Gorillas aside, Bwindi hosts 120 mammal species that thrive in forests.
Such include forest elephants, forest buffaloes, antelopes and 7 diurnal
primates. The cherry on the cake is 200 species of butterflies.
On the part of bird watching, it is the third most visited park by tourists
interested in encountering the 23 Albertine endemics to which it is home,
inclusive of Neumann's warbler, Blue-headed sunbird, African Green
Broadbill, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Short-tailed Warbler, Doherty’s
Bush shrike and Bar-tailed Trogon. In total, the park has 360 recorded
species most of which thrive in Mubwindi, a swampy part of the park from
which Bwindi got its name.
March and September present the most remarkable birding experiences because
they are the peak of the breeding season. On the other hand, migratory
species can best be seen from November to April.
Bwindi is as wide as 331Km2. In the interest of effective management, it is
divided into four zones, each with 4-7 habituated gorillas. Each of these
has 8-32 members of different age brackets. As such, you will be able to
understand how gorillas behave at different stages of growth.

Rwenzori Mountain National Park-The Mystical Challenge

This park is named after Africa's third highest mountain, Mountain
Rwenzori(5,109meters above sea level).  The park has been of strong
historical and spiritual significance to Bakonzo tribe since the 16th
century. They believe their spirit lives in the mountain, an ''omnipotent''
spirit they love immensely for being a provider, protector and healer.

Rwenzori offers very high levels of bush vibe and is easy to get around.
Its trails are not in bad shape for much of the year as it receives much
lesser visitors compared to Kilimjaro. This gives you the feeling of being
alone for hundreds of miles away. To get to Uganda's highest point, you
will hike through five vegetation zones starting with Afro-montane forest
1,800-2,500 meters above sea level, Bamboo zone 2,500-3,00 meters, Heather
zone 3,000-4,000 meters, Alpine zone 4,000-4,500 meters and Snow zone
4,500-5,109 meters.

Each of these zones boast of unique flora and fauna. For instance at the
forest, you will find lots of endemic bird species like Rwenzori Turaco, a
brightly coloured red, green and blue bird with strident cackling cry.
Other residents include Handsome Francolin, Archer's Robin-chat,
Scarlet-tufted and Malachite sunbird.

There are two routes through which you can access Rwenzori's snow peaked
summit, both of which have well insulated huts where you can spend your
nights as you hike.
 The Kilembe trail takes an average of 8 days to conquer. It is highly
recommendable for tourists who want tough climbing challenges-due to its
relatively steep terrain. On the other hand, it takes an average of 6 days
to reach to and fro Uganda's highest point via Central circuit trail.
Should you chose to hike through Kilembe trail, you will have awe-inspiring
views of Africa's oldest National Park, Virunga. It is found in the mineral
rich Eastern Congo, and borders Rwenzori from the West the West,mount hiking tours.

During your hike through this remote attraction,you will feel like you own the
world as there are no other tourists in sight most of the time.
He who pays the most attention during the hike stands the highest chances
of seeing resident mammal species like the rock hyrax and leopard. Why?
They are so good at camouflaging with the surrounding.

Mgahinga National Park--Where Gold Meets Silver

Meet Uganda's smallest heaven on earth, Mgahinga, measuring 33.7Km2. You
can think of it as a huge forest covering three enormous dormant volcanoes
situated along Uganda's border with Rwanda and Congo. They are one of
Africa's most hilly and mineral rich countries respectively. Mgahinga is a
one-stop-destination for gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking, mountain climbing and cultural
tourism.
Fast forward, it is one of the few parks in Africa with four altitude
zones, the highest being heather zone and the lowest being forest zone. In
between them is the bamboo zone, a jungle where Nyakagezi, a Mountain
Gorilla family spends much of their time eating sweet bamboo shoots. Each
member consumes at least 250 kgs in a year. Yes it is true that you will
have 95% of encountering them during your visit here. That is exciting, but
not as moving as coming to the realization that it comprises of members of
different age brackets. You will find black backs that are working upon
their martial skills in preparation to overthrow the dominant silver-back.
There are also mothers and who always keep a watchful eye on their babies.
Thanks to their lifestyle, they are believed to me over four times more
powerful than humans in their age-brackets. For that, you would expect them
to be violent because they have the power to effortlessly crush anyone who
comes their way. Surprisingly, they are very welcoming and have a warm
personality that you will easily love.

If you want to experience how forest tribes used to live in the 19th
Century, the Batwa trail experience will blow you off your throne. The
Batwa are one of the only two known indigenous tribes of Uganda. Having
lived in Mgahinga for over three centuries before their eviction in early
90s. They adapted to the forest. During this experience, they will show you
different places in the forest where their present was shaped. You will
visit rock shelters where they used to worship their gods, you will see
festivals where they used to enthrone their kings. There will also be a
showcase of their different authentic dances.

Queen Elizabeth National park-Melody Of Wonders

Wildlife highlight: Found in the Western arm of the East African rift
valley, this park is made of a ground water forest, an acacia woodland,
humid forests, grassy floodplains and arid land. These landscapes have been
offering refuge to over 600 bird and 95 mammal species for over 300 years
now. These include colorful flocks of flamingos,semi-aquatic sitatunga
antelope, Uganda kob, topi, bush bucks, elephants, giraffe, hippos,
buffaloes, hyenas, lions, leopards, and chimpanzees.

What It Is Like To Be In Queen Elizabeth
There are three places in East Africa where you can encounter tree climbing
lions; This easily accessible Savannah park lying across both hemisphere's
of the Equator is one of them. Its hallmark is Kazinga Channel, a
32-kilometers permanent river connecting Lake George to the park's deepest
point in Lake Edward (910m). It is a perfect place for a relaxing boat
cruise and while at it, set your camera for random sightings of lions,
leopards, elephants, buffaloes, hippos, bushbacks and crocodiles. Other
delightful surprises include colourful flocks of African finfoot,
Yellow-throated cuckoo, African skimmer, White-backed night heron, Black
bee-eater, Shoebill, Black-rumped buttonquail,Red-chested sun bird, Caspian
plover, Pel’s fishing-owl, Crab-plover, Great blue turaco, Pink-backed
pelican, Palm-nut vulture, Grey-winged robin-chat, Papyrus gonolek. They
are some of the 600+ recorded bird species that are resident here.

At the heart of the park is Kyambura Gorge, a verdant underground forest
where chimpanzees can be trekked anytime of the year. You can observe up
close as you pursue a nature walk along tracks which are free of venomous
plants and creatures. The hike starts with a short climb upon a vantage
deck from where you can have unobstructed views of Kyambura's canopy and
its scenic rivers. During this experience, you will also get relaxed views
of butterflies and birds.

If you are looking for the world's most beautiful crater lakes, Queen
Elizabeth will leave you begging for more. It has a rich concentration of
72 huge round basins with astonishing shapes, colour and wildlife. You will
see lots of them as we drive you over a wild stretch between Kabatoro gate
and Queen’s Pavilion. You don't need a binoculars in order to have fruitful
sightings elegant queens of the sky like egrets, greater and lesser
flamingos. They are in abundance and fly very close, queen Elizabeth safari.

A visit to Queen Elizabeth is incomplete without a stopover at Katwe Salt lake,
an oval shaped community owned lake. Here, you will be fascinated by how
locals mine salt using traditional methods that date back to the 16th
century. To be exact, environmentally friendly methods. The neighboring
Lake Munyanyange is a bird sanctuary, as well as a migratory location for
the lesser flamingo from August to November.

Tree Climbing Lions Ishasha Queen Elizabeth
Tree climbing lions in Ishasha southern sector of queen Elizabeth adds a more unique activity to this mighty park. 




Semuliki National Park-The True Birder's Haven
Do you live for birds? Rest assured you will encounter at least 40% of
Uganda's bird species at this well kept secret found towards Uganda's
border with Democratic republic of Congo.
The park is picture perfect with lush tropical forests of the Congo basin,
vast savannas, roaring rivers, endless ridges of Mountain Rwenzori and
Congolese Blue Mountains. The cherry on the cake is Lake Albert, a
freshwater lake with Uganda's most sought bird species like the shoe bill.
This thriving mix of vegetation attracts notables such as Abyssinian ground
horn bills, Green wood-hoopoe, African crake, Marsh tchagra, Moustached
warbler, Pennant-winged nightjar, Black coucal, Red-necked falcon,
Double-toothed barbet, Blue-breasted bee-eater,
Semuliki is served by good weather which makes it possible to have fruitful
sightings of birds anytime of the year. However if you want to register
unmatched luck, March is a better bet. It is the climax of the breeding
season which follows a dry season from December to February. On the other
hand, migratory species can best be seen from November to April.

On the part of mammals, Semuliki once stood out as a Big 5 destination
prior to the heavy poaching that brought it down on it's knees in 1980s. As
you read this, it is on a steady path to recovery and has a promising
population of lions, elephants and buffaloes. Most of these can be seen
during game drives in the Savannah's alongside Uganda kobs, waterbucks.
Semliki also boasts of a virgin gorge where chimpanzee habituation comes
alive. Other pleasant surprises in here include unusual specials like
Central African Red colubus, De brazza's monkeys, Dents' mona monkeys and
vervets.


Lake Mburo National park- Whispers Of The Wild
This park lies in Western Uganda and offers superb wildlife viewing.
Huge herds of burchell's zebras, rothschild giraffes, impalas, defassa
waterbuck, oribi,topi, warthogs, hippos, crocodiles, duiker, bohor
reedbuck, klipsringer and the unique Eland Africa's largest antelope.

In terms of scenery, Mburo is a breath of freshness. It is diverse with
sheer escarpments, wetlands, woodlands, rugged hills, lakes, hilly planes
and river-line vegetation. For a more intimate date with nature at the above
mentioned sites, you can opt for a short walking safari or guided horseback
safari. However if you have limited time, a three hours game drive will not
disappoint you. Our nomad guides are pleasant and stop at nothing to make
the experience as intriguing as possible. During your adventure,you will
see more zebras here than in any other park in Uganda, over 10,000 of them.
This is thanks to limited number of predators in the park and the abundance
of palatable vegetation.
Mburo is named after a vast water system that comprises of over 15 major
lakes that are interlinked by wetlands. They are a great place to look
forward to visiting if you want special sightings of endangered and unusual
bird species like White-winged swamp warbler, Carruthers’s cisticola,
Shoebill,Blue-headed coucal, Blue-breasted kingfisher, Papyrus gonolek,
African finfoot, Abyssinian ground horn bill. In total, the park has Over
310 bird species have been recorded in Lake Mburo NP. This park has over
310 recorded bird species most of which can be easily seen during a nature
walk at Rubanga forest. No other park in Uganda has as pleasant sightings
of acacia-dwelling birds like Mburo.

As you navigate the park, you could watch herds of giraffes scan through
the shrubs for a beastly lion fond of laying ambush.

Kidepo Valley National Park-The True African Wilderness
Kidepo is surrounded by ranges of enormous jagged mountains. In between
them, you will find valleys of golden grass, ebony woodland, rolling hills,
acacia shrubs and ebony woodland. This park borders Kenya in the East and
South Sudan in South. It prides in being a multi-award winning destination,
where impossible aspects of wildlife become possible. For instance, while
it is extremely rare for predators to spare their target prey, at Kidepo so
many lions play with calves of their prey after eating their mothers.

Kidepo has lots of termite mounds that are several feet high and lots of
acacia trees that breath life to the park. At sunset, they make a beautiful
silhouette that could leave you with tears of joy. The park is named after
Kidepo River, a huge watercourse that looks lifeless and startlingly white
in the dry season, but bursts its banks at the peak the rain season.
Wildlife viewing here is excellent in the dry seasons between June and
October. Thousands of animals flock in to rehydrate themselves,for a safari to Kidepo contact a tour company. These
include Uganda kobs, Rothschild giraffes, buffaloes, zebras. guenther's dik
diki, greater and lesser like. Predator like the following are never far
away; lions, leopards, side-striped jackal, black backed jackal, bat eared
fox, cheetah. The park has one of the highest densities of buffaloes in
Africa, over 20,000.
No other corner in East Africa is as dear to species from the antelope
family as Kidepo. It has 12 species including klipsringer, Uganda Kob,
eland, jackson's hartebeest, oribi.

Kidepo is equally a great bird watching destination with 470 unique species.
You cant miss seeing flocks of 56 species of raptors as they fly swiftly
with an audible, harsh, squealing sound. There is also Karamoja apalis,
Abyssinian roller, Black-breasted barbet, D’Arnaud's barbet, Northern
carmine bee-eater, Jackson's hornbill, Rose-ringed parakeet. Apart from
March to April, November to February equally presents very fruitful birding
encounters.

Murchison falls Nation National Park-The World's Most Powerful Waterfall
Wildlife highlight: 76 species of mammals and 451 species of birds.
elephants,lions, giraffes, buffaloes, leopards and buffaloes,Jackson’s
hartebeest, waterbucks, bushbucks, Uganda kob, warthogs, hippos, Nile
crocodiles.

What Is It like To Be In Murchison Falls
One of the things that make this Savannah park extraordinary is that
although it is Uganda's largest national park measuring  3,840km2, it is
still as remote as the olden, wild Africa of long ago. In other words, you
have double chances of encountering wildlife that thrived even before
Africa was colonized. While finding lions in most national parks in East
Africa is gamble, here it is not surprising to be encircled by over 20 of
them.Some prides comprise 12+ individuals. The same applies to herds of
elephants and guess what.....leopards.
Murchison's plains are anything but gentle with tumbling granite boulders,
giant borassus palm trees and whistling acacias. The park has 76 mammals,
most which can be seen easily during a morning or evening game drive.

The park has a thriving population of chimpanzees and Rothschild giraffes,
over 800 and 1,000 of them respectively. More than 20 kilometers of the
world's longest river snakes it's way through Murchison as it journeys
Northwards to the Mediterranean ocean.

It is fun to head out for a nature walk to identify different animals by
the footprints they left in the sand overnight. If you want patas monkeys
or chimpanzees in specific, Budongo Eco forest in the place to be. Other
primates found here include Blue and red-tailed monkeys and black-and-white
colobus.

451-odd bird species have recorded here, inclusive Shoe bill Stork and the
most gigantic heron on earth, the Goliath Heron.
As you pursue the afternoon boat cruise destined to the top of the falls,
you are likely to run into Blue-headed Coucal,African Quail-Finch, Swamp
Flycatcher,Speckle-fronted Weaver, Squacco Heron,White-browed Sparrow
Weaver, African Jacana, Red-throated Bee-eater, Sandpipers, Abyssinian
Ground-Horn bills, Black-headed Gonolek and Malachite Kingfishers among
others. There is also the most cherished bird in Uganda, the Grey Crowned
crested crane, an elegant national emblem cherished by all.

The best time to visit is March-June. Being a dry season, viewing the
animals is easier as many of the jungles and shrubs are not in bloom.
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