Uganda as a country was described by Winston Churchill as the “Pearl of Africa” because of its extraordinarily attractive scenery, landscape, diverse plant and animal life. Its climate supports the ecosystem perfectly as a result of her location being near the equator. Uganda’s culture varies with different friendly and hospital tribes, over 30 tribes are found in Uganda.
The Tourism industry in Uganda has pass through hard-hitting times since her independence. The insurgence led by Joseph Kony in the Northern region of Uganda contributed a lot to a reduction in the number of tourists visiting certain parts of the country on a safari. Peace has been reinstated in the country and the tourism industry is booming with so many visitors choosing a safari in Uganda. Much as Uganda is a landlocked country, it is blessed with numerous national parks, mountains, lakes, rivers which contain various kinds of birds, animals and plants. Uganda has the largest number of the endangered Mountain Gorillas in the world making her among the best travel and adventurous destinations. The population of Chimpanzees in Uganda is the largest in East Africa and visitors can easily view the big five (leopards, hippopotamus, lions, buffaloes, elephants) – Uganda is the best place to spot tree climbing lions while on a wildlife safari.
The key activities while on a safari in Uganda are:
1.Gorilla tracking tours in Bwindi Impenetrable forest Park and Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
2. chimpanzee tracking in Budongo forest, Kibale, and Mgahinga.
3. Kampala City tour involving Cultural and religious tours to the Ndere centre, Uganda museum, Kasubi tombs and the Uganda Martyrs shrine Namugongo. More information can be got from our one day Kampala tour package.
4. Nature walks and landscape viewing.
5. Spotting the big five – Elephants, rhinoceros, Leopard, Lion and buffalo.
6. Fishing in the great lake Victoria, Lake Albert, Lake Edward, Lake Mburo, Lake Kyoga, Lake Kwania, Lake Bunyoyi, Lake Bisina and the River Nile in Jinja. The main species of fish caught are Nile perch, Tilapia, mud, and lung fish.
7. Bird watching – these include over 1035 bird species.
8. Swimming and rafting in the various crater lakes, rivers and beaches.
9. Climbing Mountain Elgon and Hiking the Rwenzori mountains
10. Quad Biking
11. Bungee jumping over the Nile
12. Cultural and heritage tours
These activities can be done in the following national parks, reserves, and spots:-
Uganda Wildlife Safaris – Places to visit while on an Uganda tour
Murchison Falls National Park:
Located in Northwestern Uganda (Masindi District), Murchison falls national park is the largest conservation area in Uganda and this covers an area of over 3,800 square kilometers, it is baptized after one of its top tourist attractions – The Murchison falls.
The Murchison falls is formed at a point where the river Nile traverses through a thin valley before sloping down about 42 meters in a mighty roar. Due to the past insurgence in the country and the unrestrained poaching, the park is not as it used to be however due to the recent conservation efforts, the park has recovered.
The waterfall may be a top attraction but the park is teeming with wildlife. The park has the largest inhabitants of the now endangered Rothschild Giraffes in East Africa – numbering over 1000. Visitors on an Uganda Wildlife tour must presume an unforgettable cruise up and down the river Nile to see elephants, lions, giraffes, Nile crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes, antelopes and birds feeding along the river banks. The Budongo forest in the park is famous for chimpanzee trekking as you can see in our 4 days Murchison falls safari package. The park is largely recognized for white water rafting at the Karuma falls – A collection of rapids just before the Murchison falls.
Queen Elizabeth National Park:
Situated near the border with DR Congo, Queen Elizabeth national park covers approximately 2,056 sq. km and it’s the most visited park in Uganda and well-known for the tree-climbing lions in Ishasha and the Uganda Kob. The fine-looking, attractive green scenery, and an assortment of plant, animal and bird species attracts visitors on a Uganda wildlife safari to love the park. There are over 500 bird species in the park among which include the King fisher, flamingos, eagles and storks. The endangered Shoebill Stork is also found in the park. The park encompasses diverse species of trees, craters, savanna grasslands, swamps, lakes and other volcanic features. A 3 days safari to the Queen Elizabeth National Park provides the best opportunity to spot the big five whereas on a wildlife tour in Uganda. The park has buffaloes, hippos, baboons, elephants and various species of antelope. Tourists can spot Nile crocodiles in Lake Edward and Lake George, birding and game watching at the Kazinga Channel or track chimpanzee at the Maramagambo forest. If you intend to go on a Uganda tour, during the dry season is the best time to visit queen Elizabeth National park.
Kidepo Valley National Park:
The astonishing Kidepo valley national park is located in the distant north eastern corner of Uganda and covers about 1,440 km2. Because of its isolated location, the park gets fewer visitors on a Uganda tour. However it is second to none for variety and sheer abundance of flora and fauna. It has been rated by CNN Travel as among the top three parks in Africa because of its hidden gem which in many ways is a great reflection of how Africa used to be before greater human intrusion. Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda is a collection of magnificent mountains and un-spoiled Savannah. Tourists can view wild dogs, lions, cheetah, leopard, giraffe, oryx, buffalo and hippopotamus while on a safari in Uganda. The northern part of the park acts as habitats to bush babies, elephants, ostriches, baboons and about 220 bird species. The Kananorok hot springs can as well be spotted at the park. These animals share space with nomadic pastoralists like the Karamajong and the Ik people living high up the Morungole Mountain. Visitors on a Uganda wildlife tour should expect an exceptional treat during their safari to Kidepo National park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park is found in the south western corner of Uganda and neighbors the Dr Congo’s Virunga National Park. Bwindi is considered a World Heritage site by the UNESCO and has frequently been referred to as the Switzerland of Africa, this is because of its landscape and biological diversity. The awe-inspiring green and beautiful forests of Bwindi National Park contain half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Among the top three activities is the mountain gorilla tracking which is worth considering while visiting Africa and on a Uganda safari.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park to see the endangered mountain gorillas is a once in a while superb experience and cannot be equated to anything else. Other than from Gorilla tours, Bwindi is habitation for Colobus monkeys and is a birders ecstasy. Some of the bird species include bee-eaters, chap-ins flycatchers, black billed turaco and African green broadbills. During the wet season all resident and migratory birds gather to feast on the abundant forest fruits and insects and this has been acknowledged the rightful time for birding while on a Uganda tour.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park:
situated in the southwestern part of Uganda, Mgahinga is largely known for gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga involves visiting the one habituated mountain gorilla family found in the park and the Golden monkeys which can only be found in Mgahinga. One would easily cross over to Rwanda to view more golden monkey groups. The park is not all about monkeys and gorillas. Jackals, woodland elephants, buffalo, leopard and a few antelope species roam the park. There are over three Volcanoes (Mount Sabinyo, Mt. Muhavura and Mount Gahinga) found in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park where visitors on a Uganda safari can hike, more so visitors can go for the Batwa trail and cave exploration. For tourists targeting the gorillas precisely, they may find the 3 days Mgahinga gorilla safari package exciting.
The Park is found near the Rwenzori Mountains and shares a border with Queen Elizabeth national park. The forest is famous for chimpanzee tracking – The best place to track Chimpanzee in East Africa. Chimpanzees can be found in other parts of Uganda and Africa but the sheer numbers (1500) in Kibale forest assures you a close collaboration with them while on a Uganda safari. The Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest can be combined with nature walks and a visit to the Bigodi swamp. Other than chimps, there are 13 other monkey species like the red colobus, L’Hoest’s and grey-cheeked mangabeys in the park. Over 100 butterfly species, gigantic forest hogs, antelopes are found in the park. Kibale National Park in Uganda has segments covered by swamps and grasslands and is a good locality for birding – Over 290 species.
Lake Mburo National Park:
It is the most accessible park from Kampala much as it also the smallest park in Uganda. Lake Mburo is the leading water body among the 12 others found in the park. In Uganda, zebras are found in Lake Mburo National Park. The park is a birders paradise with over 300 species that congregate at the lake and its swampy shores. The enormous woodland benefits since there are no elephants in the park. The parks Savannah grass teems with antelopes, buffaloes, leopards, jackals and hyenas. The best time to spot animals while on a safari is during the dry season as the animals usually gather to drink water at the lake Mburo. You might be fascinated in our 3 Days Lake Mburo Wildlife Tour and Safari package.
Mount Elgon National Park: Found in the Eastern part of the country called in Mbale district, the park lies on the border between Uganda and Kenya. Being the major attraction, Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano with a caldera traversing approximately 42km2. The favorite among hikers are the Wagagai summit, the hot-springs among other tourist sites that make Mount Elgon National park so attractive and eye-catching. The park is also filled with different bird species and primates (Colobus Monkeys, blue monkeys and vevert monkeys among others). The mountain slopes are scattered with natural forests, bushes, waterfalls, caves, gorges and canyons.A tourist visit in Uganda should exceptionally include a visit to this park.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary:
This is a Rhino reserve along the way to the Murchison falls national Park. The major aim of the reservation is to protect the country’s rhinos which would result to the restocking of the larger parks. Because of poaching, so many Rhinos have succumbed to poachers because of their treasured and valued horns in most of Uganda’s parks. Therefore the reserve helps protect rhinos from poachers and human prying thus providing for them a safe place to reproduce. The park has over 60 rangers and guards and visitors can see the Rhinos up-close and interact with preservationists and ecologists to attain knowledge about the project and Rhinos. Most tour companies include a stop-over at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary when planning Uganda safaris to Murchison Falls national park.
Other than the Rhinos, wardens can help one spot monkeys, antelopes, crocodiles and hippos. The reservation is a great habitation for soothing, nature walks and canoeing while watching and identifying over 240 classes of birds.
Uganda tour – Other Tourism destinations
Lake Bunyonyi is extensively observed as the most beautiful lake in Uganda. With its 29 islands, it is situated near the border with Rwanda and close to the towns of Kabale and Kisoro. It has an absolute scenic beauty that sets it apart from others and makes it gorgeous not only to the visitors on a Uganda tour but also to the locals. It offers great romantic spots to relax and watch the day pass by as you plan your next activity while visiting Uganda on a safari. One can also go watch the traditional dances of the Batwa Pygmies or hop from one island to another spotting the different island villages, schools and settlements by boat. Visitors usually enjoy stopping by on their way to track mountain gorillas since the lake is close to Bwindi Impenetrable forest. You can find out more from our 3 Days Lake Bunyonyi safari package.
The source of the Nile: A trip safari in Uganda should be completed with a two day visit to the source of the Nile in Jinja involving whitewater rafting. River Nile is one of the three longest lakes in the world and passes through several countries as after leaving Uganda among which includes Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt. Jinja is a small, quiet, relatively well planned former industrial town with beautiful scenery. You can visit the Bujagali falls or go boat riding along the river Nile as you spot several large crocodiles. The river Nile also provides spots for camping, fishing, rafting, kayaking and the now popular bungee jumping.
Ssese Islands: The attractive Ssese Islands are an archipelago of 84 islands found in Lake Victoria. Locals and visitors on a Uganda Wildlife tour love to take their vacation in the islands quiet sandy beaches. It’s a 3 hours ride from Entebbe to the islands by ferry or 45 from Bukakata. The route through Entebbe by ferry will take you through the beautiful Lake Victoria and fishing villages. The main and largest island is Bugala in Kalangala town. The main economic activities in the islands are Fishing and tourism. This therefore gives the visitors opportunities to spot several bird species, monkeys, crocodile, hippos and a few antelope species on Ssese Islands tour. There are other islands worth visiting while on a safari in Uganda which include Bulago and Bukasa, all these have got brilliant white sand beaches.
Uganda Wildlife Education Centre: The center is found in Entebbe and established up by the Uganda government for education and wildlife conservation purposes. The centre was recently refurbished and has grown significantly in recent years. The population and variety of animals, birds and reptiles has increased. Those visiting Uganda for short workshops and conferences can find the Entebbe zoo a perfect place to get a taste of what Uganda has to offer in terms of both flora and fauna.
The Rwenzori Mountains:
Uganda is endowed with numerous mountains but the Rwenzori Mountains is most outstanding. Because it’s situated at the border between Uganda and DR Congo, tourists enjoy and love hiking to the top of the snow-capped Margherita peak. The dense forests that are inhabited by primates, forest hogs and several bird and butterfly species covers the mountain slopes. Nature lovers will have a splendid view with an amazing scenery as they stop by these beautiful mountains while visiting Uganda on a safari.
Sipi Falls: The Sipi falls are one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Uganda. It is situated at the base of Mount Elgon, the Sipi Falls has got three levels with the top level being the most attractive and most visited waterfalls in Uganda.