Uganda, the treasure of Africa, is unsurprisingly gifted by nature, coupled with an incomparable unique beauty that was recognized by Sir Winston Churchill who described Uganda as the “Pearl of Africa”. Tourists who safari to Uganda have a lot of adventure stories to tell about their experience. Uganda safaris are a top Africa tour option by most travelers because of the uniqueness in this country filled with diversity that saw it gain the slogan the Pearl of Africa. However, those who would wish to tour Uganda could ask what exactly they would see on a Uganda safari. Uganda has many conservation areas though a total of 10 national parks are found in the country.
Uganda has 10 splendid National Parks that are evenly distributed in the regions of the country. These are mentioned from the biggest in size; Murchison National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo National Park, Mount elgon National Park, Rwenzori Mountain National Park, Kibale National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Bwindi impenetrable National Park, Semliki National Park, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Nature, Animals and birds in different parks have attracted a number of tourists for Uganda wildlife safari tours and Uganda Birding safari tours.
Major Uganda safari activities in these national parks
- Game drives
- Boat cruise safaris
- Gorilla trekking safaris
- Bird watching
- Chimpanzee trekking safaris
- Nature walks
- Mountain climbing
- hiking safaris etc
If you would like to choose which park to visit on a Uganda tour and not sure of what you will see, here is a guide on what makes each national park in Uganda unique from the other.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a 331sqkm(128sqmi) national park in the extreme south west of Uganda ranging between 1,160-2,607m above sea level. Located within a densely Afromontane tropical forest, where plain and mountain forests this is the best gorilla trekking destination. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park forest is home to almost half of the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas. Each morning Uganda gorilla trekking safaris are undertaken with a total of 8 tourists trekking a single gorilla family at a permit cost that goes for USD 600 per person per trek. The trek is exceptional with the process of hiking to meet the gorillas itself being one that is worth it. Its more than hiking in a less tapped forest on a guided tour and having chance to see these elusive species.
Bwindi Forest National Park is also the only Uganda gorilla trekking safari destination where tourists can go for Mountain Gorilla habituation. A total of 4 tourists spend a maximum of 4 hours undertaking the Mountain Gorilla habituation experience with a non-fully habituated gorilla family. This is much more than seeing the gorillas but getting a chance to learn a lot from the shy giants from their feeding characteristics to their social lifestyle.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park as suggests its name is also home to Mountain Gorillas with just a much more memorable experience when a traveler decides to visit the park when they safari Uganda. In Uganda, it’s only at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park where Mountain Gorillas and golden monkeys co-exist deriving to the slogan where gold meets silver. The park is host to a single Mountain Gorilla Family that can be trekked by tourists. The Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti) is a local subspecies of the widespread Sykes Monkey, also known as the “Blue Monkey” and is endemic to the high-altitude forests of the Virunga massif. Golden monkeys are a beautiful sub species of monkeys from their golden coat, long tail to the playful and intrusive character. Golden Monkeys offer the best everlasting memories to sight on safari as they leap on bamboo branches. The bamboo branches in the park also eases photography in the forest.
Kibale Forest National Park occupies an area of 766sqkm where the West African jungle meets East Africa. The park is the world’s primate capital with 13 primate species including man’s closest relative-the chimpanzee. With an estimated 170,000-300,000 chimpanzees remaining in the wild, Kibale Forest National Park is host to over 1500 chimpanzees. This is the single natural habitat with the largest number of chimpanzees hence giving it the slogan the World’s primate capital. For the best ever chimpanzee trekking safari in Uganda, this is the best option.
Murchison Falls National Park is 3,840sqkm (1,503sqmi) bisected by the world’s longest river-River Nile. The river squeezes through an 8m gorge cascading 45 meters over the rift valley wall creating the world’s most powerful cascading waterfall. A 7-meter gorge makes the water squeeze in space so small for water flowing from the Nile River-the world’s longest river as it meanders its way to the north. The pressure it releases is what causes the thunderous sound due to the speed the water comes with. The fall forms a thunderous sound that can be heard meters away by those around the falls or tourists on Uganda wildlife safaris.Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo valley National Park covers 1,442sqkm (557sqmi) described as Africa’s hidden gem by CNN, is a true African Wilderness. The park has wildlife endemics including the fastest land animal-the cheetah, Bat-eared fox, carcal and klipspringer. This is the best place to see Uganda’s endemic wildlife and bird species including the Karamoja Apalis.
Queen Elizabeth National park covers 1,978sqkm (764sqmi) and home to about 5000 hippos, the highest population in Uganda. Classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International, Queen Elizabeth National Park has the largest bird checklist of any protected area in East Africa with over 600 bird species recorded within its boundaries. This is the greatest of any East African national park, and such a phenomenal number for that small area. Avid Uganda birding safari tourists will find this park so rewarding and can get the highest checklist on any Uganda birding tour trip.
Lake Mburo National Park is 260km2 with the biggest number of Impalas, Elands, antelopes and the topis that is endemic to the park. This park is the best national park in Uganda that favors a walk in the wild because of the calm animals that earned it the title slogan whispers of the wild. For passionate birders on Uganda bird watching tours, its only at Lake Mburo National Park where you can sight the Red-Faced Barbet.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park covers 998km 2 along Congo -Uganda border with a spectacular vegetation including the beautiful huge tree-heathers and multi dotted mosses. This non-volcanic mountain has irresistible ice capped peaks. These are the highest Mountain ranges in East Africa and offer the best hiking experiences. The backdrop is scenic with several Albertine rift endemic species that can be sighted.
Mount Elgon National Park with the world’s largest volcanic base 50-80km and the largest intact caldera of 40km2. It covers an area of about 1,279sq km(430sqmi). The vegetation and scenery are very magnificent with slopes that support a rich variety of four distinct vegetation types ranging from tropical montane forest on the lower slopes, mixed bamboo belt, heath and dense shrubs to high open spectacular moorland studded with the rare endemic plant species like the giant lobelia and groundsel plants. This is the best park for a mountain biking safari in Uganda.
Semuliki National Park covers 220km2 and home to 34% of Uganda’s bird species with birds like the White crested Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Piping Hornbill. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio diverse forests, that survived the last ice age. Semuliki National Park is the best destination for birding safaris in Uganda for tourists who would wish to spot the forest bird species.
Now that you know how unique each park is, safari Uganda and discover much more than the highlights of these parks. There’s a lot more to see and do in the parks than what is mentioned here. A 9 days Uganda tour or 8 Days Uganda safari tours are a perfect way to uncover the Pearl of Africa.