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UGANDA - National Parks
 

Introduction


Uganda, the “Pearl of Africa”, has more than ten national parks displaying the best of East Africa. The Rift Valley landscapes and tropical forests make dramatic backdrops for an extensive variety of flora and fauna. Each park has its own highlight, whether it is the chimpanzees of Kibale, the big game of Queen Elizabeth, mountain gorillas of Bwindi or Murchison Falls where the Nile River explodes through a narrow gorge.
 

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Brief profile
  • UNESCO world heritage site.
  • At 5,109m, the Rwenzori is the third highest mountain in Africa and the highest mountain range in Africa.
  • Five different vegetation zone.
  • Over twenty-five peaks above 4,500m.
Highlights:
  • Climbing.
  • Pristine tropical rainforest.
  • Trekking through Giant Lobelia forests.
  • Snow-capped peaks at the Equator.
  • Remote alpine valleys and glacial landscapes.
The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is located in southwestern Uganda. The park covers more than half of the Rwenzori Mountain Range, which is popularly known as the “Mountains of the Moon”. Mist often lies over the rugged landscape of these magnificent hills making them highly visible from far away. The mountain chain comprises of three mountains: Albert, Alexandra and Africa's third highest peak, Margherita (5,109m). The Rwenzori Mountains are an extremely steep and rugged mountain range with over 25 peaks above 4,500m high and the region's glaciers, waterfalls and lakes make it one of Africa's most beautiful alpine areas. The park has some natural habitats for endangered species and a rich, unusual flora, which includes giant heathers, groundsels and lobelias now characterised as 'Africa's botanic big game'. The vegetation changes as one enter the five different vegetation zones found in the mountains, namely: grasslands, montane forest, bamboo or mimulopsis zone, heather or Rapanea zone and lastly the afro-alpine moorland zone. The mountain range is home to roughly 220 different bird species and 70 species of mammals such as forest elephants, L’Hoest’s monkey, eastern chimpanzees and black-fronted or red duiker. Other animals that call this beautiful region home are leopards, bushbuck, giant forest hog, and buffalo. This mountain range is perfect for the avid hiker and mountaineering visitors providing a picturesque environment with varied levels of difficulty.

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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Brief profile:
  • Covering 331sq.km.
  • UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Comprises of jungle forests and contains both montane and lowland forest.
  • With more than 1,000 flowering plant species including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns.
Highlights:
  • Gorilla tracking.
  • Nature Hikes.
  • Bird Walks.
  • Mountain biking.
  • Cultural Experiences.
  • Breathtaking scenery.
The Virunga mountain range dominates the National Park, and the landscape is dotted with waterfalls and lakes. With a high annual rainfall, the rainforest is deserving of its name – impenetrable. Bwindi Forest is most famous for being the home to half of the world’s population of endangered Mountain Gorillas. The experience of encountering such animals is said to be one of the most emotional wildlife adventures you will ever have. The biodiversity in the forest is impeccable as it provides a home for over 310 species of butterfly, 200 trees, 88 months, 120 species of mammals including 10 species of primates and 51 reptiles. The various primates that can be found in the forest in addition to the mountain gorillas include the red-tailed and blue monkey, L’Hoest’s, chimpanzee, black and white colobus, and baboons. The Bwindi Forest also has over 350 species of birds. The area is also home to the Batwa Pygmies, who are the oldest inhabitants of the Great Lakes region of Central Africa. These hunter-gatherers have a rich, broad culture and history that they are happy to share. A visit to their community is a unique cultural experience unlike any other and will assist in helping to conserve their community and way of life.

There are four areas within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where you can track 11 habituated gorilla families (cost US$600 per permit with maximum 8 persons per gorilla family).

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Kibale Forest National Park

Brief profile:
  • Covering 795sq.km.
  • About 325 bird species include six that are endemic to the Albertine Rift region.
  • 13 species of primates.
  • Over 800 chimpanzees are protected within the park.
Highlights:
  • High concentrations of wildlife offering close-range viewing opportunities.
  • Best place in Africa for chimpanzee tracking.
  • Nature walk in a tropical rainforest.
  • Excellent bird watching.
  • Bigodi Swamps walk - a boardwalk that traverses the papyrus beds.
Kibale National park lies in western Uganda, southeast of the Fort Portal town. With lush tropical rainforest and a fascinating diversity of animals, Kibale National Park is one of the most beautiful forests in Uganda. Due to its location between the wet rainforests of the Congo basin and the drier East African forest, Kibale supports an unusually rich array of tropical plants and animals from both areas. One of the highest concentrations of monkeys and apes in the world and the highest in Uganda is found here, including the endangered chimpanzee and the red colobus monkeys. Kibale's varied altitude supports different types of habitat, ranging from a wet tropical forest on the Fort Portal plateau to woodland and savanna on the rift valley floor. With 351 tree species being recorded in the park, some rise to over 55m and are over 200 years old. The Kibale Forest is the best place to spot chimpanzees in Uganda and Rwanda with a 90% chance of seeing them. The park contains the largest population of forest elephants found in Uganda, but they are rarely sighted. Kibale has the highest primate density of any area on earth, including the red-tailed monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon, chimpanzee, colobus (black, white and red) and white-cheeked mangabey. Other mammals found are bushbuck, red and blue duiker, Uganda kob, Scaly-tailed flying squirrel, tree pangolin, buffalo, waterbuck and hippo as well as a large number of birds.

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Lake Mburo National Park

Brief profile:
  • Covering 260sq.km.
  • Wetland habitats comprise 20% of the park's surface.
  • 350 bird species.
  • 5 of the 13 lakes in the area are within the park boundaries.
Highlights:
  • Nature Hikes.
  • Quad biking.
  • Game drives.
  • Forest walks.
Lake Mburo National Park is a compact gem, located conveniently close to the highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda. It is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks with underlying ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks. It is home to 350 bird species (includes Malachite Kingfishers, Pied Kingfishers, African fish eagles, Rufous long-tailed Starlings, Blue-headed Weavers, Green-necked Doves, hammerkops, pelicans, herons, cormorants and even rare Shoebills). You can also see zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck. Together with 13 other lakes in the area, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp. Five of these lakes lie within the park’s borders. In the western part of the park, the savanna is interspersed with rocky ridges and forested gorges while patches of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of lush riparian woodland line many lakes.

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Murchison Falls National Park

Brief profile:
  • Covering 3,840sq.km.
  • Largest national park in Uganda.
  • 451 Bird species recorded.
Highlights:
  • The Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls.
  • Boat ride along the Nile to the foot of Murchison Falls.
  • Guided nature walks along the banks of the river.
  • One of the few places to find Shoebill storks.
  • Nile perch and tiger fish provide an exciting challenge to anglers.
  • Chimpanzee tracking at Kaniyo Pabidi Forest.
Uganda’s largest national park, Murchison Falls National Park is located in northwestern Uganda. The park combined with the Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and the Karuma Wildlife Reserve forms the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. Murchison Falls National Park derives its name from the Murchison Falls where the mighty River Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and flows down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos, crocodiles, waterbuck and buffaloes. The vegetation is characterised by savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffalos, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees and many bird species including the rare shoebill. The best time for bird watching is January-March which tends to have plenty of bird activity with fewer tourists.

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Queen Elizabeth National Park

Brief profile:
  • Covering 1,978sq.km.
  • Habitat for over 95 mammal species with about 612 species of birds.
  • 72 Craters scattered across the equator are evidence of the Albertine Rift’s bubbling volcanic past.
Highlights:
  • Excellent game viewing including sights of the Uganda kobs, giant forest hogs and sitatunga.
  • Tree-climbing lions.
  • Cruise down the Kazinga channel.
  • Spot the elusive Shoebill plus other native birds on Lake George (with over 600 bird species recorded in the park).
  • Chimpanzee tracking at Kyambura Gorge.
  • Visit the bat cave.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is undoubtedly Uganda’s most visited park. Located in western Uganda, the park boasts one of the highest biodiversity location ratings in the world featuring tropical forests, volcanic craters, and grassy plains. Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains. The park’s diverse ecosystems make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species (including chimpanzees) and over 600 species of birds. Ishasha in the southern part of the park is home to the famous tree-climbing lions. One can be sure to spot many buffalo, giant forest hogs, warthogs, rare aquatic sitatunga antelope, horned Uganda kob, waterbuck, leopard, topi and elephant. A relaxing boat ride on the channel is a popular attraction and a great way to see the hippos! Also, the sunset over the water is spectacular.

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GALLERY

Uganda Packages

U1: Gorilla and Chimpanzee Safari

Highlights:  Gorilla & Chimpanzee Trekking
Duration:  8 Days / 7 Nights
Date:  July, Aug & Sept 2020
(VERY POPULAR)
 

U2: Rwanda / Uganda Gorilla Trekking

Highlights:  Gorilla Trekking
Duration:  4 Days / 3 Nights
Date:  Jul, August & Sept 2020
VERY POPULAR!
 

U3: Best of Uganda

Highlights:  Murchison Falls / Chimp and Gorilla Trekking
Duration:  10 Days / 9 Nights
Date:  Private Safari

 

U4: Birding, Chimpanzee and Gorilla Safari

Highlights:  Mabamba Swamp / Kibale NP / Bwindi NP
Duration:  10 Days / 9 Night
Date:  Private Safari
 

U5: Rwenzori Climb (Kilembe Trail)

Highlights:  Margherita Peak
Duration:  12 Days / 11 Nights
Climb:  8 Days
Date:  Private Climb
 

U6: Gorilla and Wildwaters Safari

Highlights:  Gorilla Trekking / Source of the Nile
Duration:  7 Days / 6 Nights
Date:  Private Safari
 
 
 
 

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