Murchison Falls NP is Uganda’s largest and oldest park. It’s a very popular park for the magnificent falls, and wide number of wildlife species. Vegetation cover is a combination of grassland and woodland savanna with some parts under forest cover. The dramatic Murchison falls which make the center piece of the park with a permanent rainbow due to the speed at which the Nile water gashes into narrow rocks are worthwhile views.
Sites and Attractions
Queen Elizabeth is one of Uganda’s most popular tourist parks for both domestic and international travelers. This is due its stunning features that make up its beauty. It is located in western Uganda and spans the equator on the floor of the rift valley. The park supports diverse ecosystems which include; sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, lakes and wetlands which enables habitation for a wide range of big game such as lions, elephants, and buffalos.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is host to half of the world’s most endangered wildlife species – the mountain gorillas. The population here is approximately 320 mountain gorillas, some of which are habituated in groups for your tracking. In south western Uganda, BIFNP is said to be Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest of over 25000 years hosting about 400 species of plants.
Kibale National Park is one of Uganda’s loveliest rain forests hosting up to 60 mammal species with 13 species of primates including Chimpanzees. Well groomed, the forest cover is decorated with patches of swamp and grassland. It is located on the mountainous area of Fort portal and Kibale is the highest peak at 1590m above sea level and the lowest being 1100m on the flow of the Albertine rift valley. There are 251 recorded tree species, some of which are over 200 years old.
The Park is host to the highest parts of the 120km long and 65km wide Rwenzori Mountains. The Rwenzori Mountains form one of the world class hiking and mountaineering destinations. Trekking Margherita peak is the most challenging and rewarding experience for any climber! Famously known as “the mountains of the moon”, Rwenzori Mountain ranges are located on the Democratic Republic of Congo boarder with the snow peaks forming part of the highest in Africa. The lower parts of the mountains are covered in moorland and rich montane forest.
The Park is one of the smallest in Uganda. It hosts diverse habitats ranging from open savannas, dry savannas, lakes, swamps, rocky outcrops, forests, woodlands, thickets and swamp. The diverse vegetation cover in turn supports diverse mammal and bird species. There are 325 recorded bird species and 68 mammal species. A boat trip on the Lake will enable you view variety of birds such as the rare shoebill stock and mammals such as the sitatunga. You will be amazed to find local Ankole cattle comfortably grazing with zebras in the outskirts of the park!
The Park derives its name from Mgahinga Mountain – part of the Virunga volcanic mountain ranges. Located in South western Uganda, it borders Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mgahinga NP is the second home for the mountain gorillas after Bwindi and the rare golden monkeys. In the park, one can track mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Other activities in the park include; bird watching, mountain hiking, walk the Batwa heritage trail up to the ancient Garama cave.
The Park is located in the North Eastern part of Uganda in the famous Karamoja region lying in the rugged semi-arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya. Kidepo vegetation cover is majorly savannah whereas some parts are swampy. This habitat supports a wide range of wildlife such as; Eland, Roan Antelope, African wild dog, cheetah, leopard to mention but a few. The ostrich is a major bird you ought to look out for. There are about 80 recorded mammal and 486 bird species.
Mt. Elgon National Park among Uganda’s man and Biosphere reserves as declared by UNESCO. It’s among the oldest volcanoes in Africa with its first eruption 20 million years ago and is capped by one of the world’s largest calderas of 40 km2. Mt. Elgon is said to have been Africa’s highest mountain far above Mt. Kilimanjaro but millennia of erosion have reduced its height to 4321m. The vegetation cover of the mountain slopes supports a variety of wildlife such as; elephants, buffalo, Defassa’swaterbuck, oribi, bushbuck, leopard and spotted hyena. The park hosts 296 bird species.
The park derives its name from River Semuliki which forms boarder with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is dominated by the eastern extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. Semuliki valley is characterized by several features associated with Central rather than East Africa. The forest is home to Central African wildlife species. Most exciting feature are the Sempaya Hot Springs which bubble up from the depths demonstrating the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years.
Golden monkeys are rare species just like the rare mountain gorillas. In Uganda, they can only be tracked in Mgahinga gorilla national park. This exciting activity in the park where gold meets silver enables you walk the forest, enjoy nature and meet these rare golden creatures. Currently, there is one habituated group for this activity and visitors are given an opportunity to spend four hours with these creatures in their natural habitat.
In Kyambura, you will enjoy walking the amazing Kyambura gorge. At the reserve, you can track chimps, watch varieties of birds and butterflies. You could also nature walk as you marvel at the beautiful scenery.
The Batwa trail gives you an opportunity to combine nature with culture of the Batwa pygmies. The Batwa people believe that God created them and offered the forests to them as a habitat to enjoy free meat and other foods. As a result, they have a strong attachment to the forest. When the park was gazated, they were evicted from the forest and currently live with the rest of the none Batwa communities. However, they have a great history and culture including a great dance.
Maramagambo is a local dialect which means “ran out of words”. History has it that while people would be crossing the forest, they would engage in conversations to keep them up bit and interested. However they would reach a time and “ran out of words” while still traversing the vast and thick forest! In here, there is a blue lake – most probably the only one in the world, the bat caves, primates and variety of bird species.
The Lake derives its name from “Binyonyi” which means many birds. It is the third deepest lake in the world and deepest in Uganda. Located in the south western district of Kabale, it was formed as a result of volcanic activity and folding that resulted in the formation of the Kigezi highlands. The lake is decorated with 29 islands which make a spectacular beauty in the middle of the hills. One can canoe on the lake, bird on the islands and listen to stories associated with the Bakiga concerning the punishment island. The lake is also popular for Cray fish.
Lake Muatanda is located in Kisoro - the south western district of Uganda. Its formation was a result of volcanic activity that culminated to the formation of the Virunga mountain ranges. There are several islands which enhances the scenic beauty of the lake. While at the lake, you will have the greatest view of the mountain ranges: Mt Muhabura, Sabinyo and Gahinga giving you a fantastic platform for photography. Include it on your program too!
This lies in the southern part of the greater Murchison Falls conservation area. It’s rich in biodiversity with 24 mammals, over 360 birds, 289 butterflies and 465 plants. Along the “Royal mile” you will be able to see all the forests tree species on display as well as plenty of bird species. The forest is also popular for the high chimpanzee population of up to 800. You will enjoy the nature walks, view variety of bird species and butterflies in addition to tracking man’s closest relatives – the chimps.
This forest island is one of the 84 floating gently on the massive Lake Victoria. It is located 55 km off the main land from Entebbe. It is such a beautiful natural gift you ought not to miss! Endeavor to visit Bugala Island believed to be home for the African Grey parrots and host to a living sample of a true African virgin Equatorial forest.