activities & attractions

Uganda

Mountain Gorilla in Uganda

Famously known for the mountain gorilla trekking adventure, Uganda is one of the top tourism destinations in East Africa with so much to offer a visitor. Uganda’s bio diversity makes it a worthwhile destination as one explores the rain forests, savanna national parks that are home to the Big Five, Important Bird Areas (IBAs) that offer incredible bird watching opportunities and adventure filled destinations for the adrenaline travelers and enthusiasts. From the lush forests, picturesque landscape, beautiful weather that is a great mix of sunny and rainy days, breath-taking views and abundance of wildlife, Uganda really is what one would call “a country of abundant wildlife and memorable experiences!”

Capital: Kampala
Official languages: Swahili, English
Currency: Ugandan Shilling
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Activities and Attractions

Top National Parks in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of Uganda’s finest national parks and is home to the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Uganda. Bwindi National Park is a diverse tropical rain forest park that covers an area of 321 square kilometres mainly made up of dense thick vegetation and that’s where the park derives its “impenetrable” name. Bwindi is home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas making it one of the best places in the world to see the mountain gorillas. About 120 species of mammal are resident in Bwindi national park with the most popular being the mountain gorillas. 

A 3-day gorilla trekking safari is perfect for someone looking to trek these endangered amazing primates. 

Mountain Gorillas

Kibale Forest National Park: Located in western Uganda, Kibale Forest National Park also known as the “primate capital of the world” is home to the chimpanzees in Uganda. The most popular activity here is most definitely the chimpanzee trekking adventure however the national park offers more incredible experiences that include bird watching, forest walks and community tours.

The Bigodi Swamp walk is also a worthwhile activity that we usually recommend as a perfect way to spend the afternoon, especially after your chimpanzee trek in Kibale Forest. The park has habituated chimpanzee communities that are available for visiting. Chimpanzees are active primates so the chimp trek is much more active than the gorilla trekking adventure that happens in Bwindi National Park, Uganda.

A chimpanzee in Kibale Forest

Murchison Falls National Park: Murchison Falls national park is the oldest and largest national in Uganda located in the Northern part of Uganda and the park offers some of the best wildlife sightings in East Africa. The park is situated northwest of Kampala the capital city of Uganda and is divided by the Victoria Nile into a north and southern section. Murchison Falls National Park is well known for its abundance of wildlife and famously known for its mighty Murchison Falls. The Murchison Falls is one of the most sought-after attractions in the park, visitors from across the world visit the top of the falls to watch them as they dramatically splash through a small 7-meter gap splashing with a thunderous explosion into the River Nile. Murchison Falls National Park is known for its large population of wildlife that are often seen across the open savanna strolling and feeding within the park. Wildlife sightings begin right from the entrance of the park however the wildlife population density is high in the northern sector of the national park where most game drives happen.

Murchison Falls National Park has 76 species of mammals and these can be found in the national park and the adjacent Budongo Forest which is part of the Murchison Falls Conservation area. The park is also home to some of the “Big Five” and offers the best Big Five wildlife viewing in Uganda. 

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth National Park: Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Uganda well known for its excellent game viewing in the vast savanna plains of Kasenyi. The national park is located near the border with the Democratic Republic of Uganda and the nearest busy town to the park is Kasese town. The park is easily accessible by tarmac road from Kampala the capital city of Uganda as it is just a seven-hour drive from the city center along a scenic highway. The national park lies within the Albertine Rift Region with a rich ecosystem that flanks both Lake George and Lake Edward. Queen Elizabeth National Park is the perfect destination for visitors looking to experience a typical wildlife safari experience in Uganda. The park is rich in wildlife and is home to 95 mammal species. Queen Elizabeth National Park is famously known for its abundant wildlife including the tree-climbing lions of Ishasha which are best seen while on a game drive in the southern sector of the park. 

Hippos seen while on a boat ride in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Semuliki National Park: Semuliki National Park is located in the western region of Uganda in the Bundibugyo district and although the park was less visited in the past, the national park has quickly gathered popularity recently as it offers incredible wildlife sightings and opportunities to the female and male Sempaya hot springs. The national park was legally gazetted in 1932 and was initially known as the Toro Game Reserve but later acquired national park status and its current name in 1993. Semuliki national park is a popular bird watching destination and offers incredible sightings while on a Uganda Birding Safari.

The national park is situated in the western section of the East African Rift Valley at the base of the Albertine Rift making it a hub for Albertine rift endemics. It covers an area of 219 square kilometers that is rich in flora and fauna biodiversity as the park is a lowland tropical rain forest encompassing lush green forested areas and landscape. 

Lake Mburo National Park: Lake Mburo National Park hosts an abundance of wildlife and mainly herbivores (animals that feed on plants) are resident in the park. Wildlife in Lake Mburo National Park include the majestic Rothschild’s giraffe, Common eland, large herds of Zebra, African Buffaloes, Warthogs, Olive baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Kob, Water buck, Bushbuck, Klip Springer, Impala and predators like Leopard, Serval and Hyenas can be found in the park however predator sightings are not very common since they exist in small numbers. The park is the smallest savanna national park in Uganda and is what one would refer to as a hidden gem. The park is located in Kiruhura district in Uganda and is just a 4-hour drive from the city centre – Kampala. Lake Mburo National Park is the perfect destination for someone who has a few days in Uganda and would like to do a short trip to see the beauty of Uganda and is also a perfect stopover as you head to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for gorilla trekking in Uganda. A 3-day safari gives you enough time to experience the park.

Kidepo Valley National Park: Kidepo Valley National Park is located in the far northeast of Uganda bordering Sudan and Kenya. The national park covers an area of 1,442 sq km with an altitude range between 914m and 2,750m above sea level. Kidepo valley national park is the most remote of Uganda’s national parks and has been recognized by CNN travel as one of the best destinations for wildlife safaris in Africa. Kidepo Valley National Park boasts of lush mountain scenery and vast plains offering excellent opportunities for game viewing and bird watching. The park has two seasonal rivers that is Kidepo River and Narus River which dry up during the dry season and fill up during the wet season providing water for the wildlife.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s smallest national park covering an area of 33.7 square kilometers. The national park is located in southwestern Uganda and borders Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Bwindi impenetrable national park in the south. The park is best known for gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking and the Batwa cultural trail. The park covers the Ugandan part of the Virunga Mountains which has three main peaks that is Muhabura (4,127m), Gahinga (3,474m) and Sabinyo (3,645m).
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was established as a Gorilla game sanctuary in 1930 and was gazetted as a national park in 1991. The park is also Africa’s oldest oldest national park and has stunning panaromic views of Bwindi, sky line views of the Virungas stretching over vast vegetation zones. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is rich in bio-diversity as it hosts 76 mammal species with the most popular being the golden monkeys. Mgahinga is a great destination as it offers visitors to the park an opportunity to trek mountain gorillas and trek the golden monkeys in one place. 

Rwenzori Mountains National Park: Rwenzori Mountains National Park recognized as a World Heritage site in 1994 is among the best destinations for hiking and mountaineering in Africa. The national park covers an area of 996 square kilometres which protects the upper slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains which stretch for almost 120 kilometers along the Democratic Republic of Congo border west of Kasese and Fort portal towns. The national park is a haven for hiking and adventure enthusiasts with different beautiful hiking trails with stunning views. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park covers an area that is rich in bio-diversity with 19 species of birds, three subspecies of mammals and 15 higher plant species that are endemic to the Rwenzori ranges. The park has been designated as a world center of plant diversity by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The park’s Eco-system consists of montane forest, bamboo zones, giant lobelias, wildlife, bird life, small waterfalls and lakes. More on Mount Rwenzori and the hiking trails.

Mount Elgon National Park: Mountain Elgon National Park is located in the Eastern region of Uganda bordering Kenya and covers an area of 1145 sq km. Mount Elgon is a 4,321m extinct volcano that first erupted 20 million years ago and is said to have remained active for another 14 million years. The tallest peak of Mount Elgon is Wagagai(4,321m) and lies in the southwest caldera rim. Mount Elgon’s eruption also contributed to the formation of the Rift Valley million years ago. The other major peaks of Mount Elgon include Kiongo (4,303m), Jackson’s Summit (4,160m) and Mubiyi (4,210m). Mount Elgon offers great hiking opportunities and although it has been less visited by travellers in the past, the Uganda Wildlife Authority is encouraging travellers to travel to this less-visited gem. Mount Elgon national park hosts 296 bird species with mainly forest birds and bird species that are endemic to East Africa’s montane moorlands. 

Top Things to Do While in Uganda

  1. Gorilla Trekking: Gorilla Trekking is the most popular wildlife adventure for visitors to Uganda as it brings one closer to the endangered Mountain Gorillas in the dense Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Uganda is one of the best places in the world to do the mountain gorilla trekking adventure as the park is home to habituated gorilla families that are open to visitors and the Uganda Wildlife Authority has played a commendable role in conserving these gentle giants. Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is also done at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, a beautiful and diverse national park located in Southwestern Uganda and is also home to active golden monkeys.

    The habituated gorilla families have been named and hence the gorilla trekking certificate that is given to the visitor after the gorilla trek in Uganda always includes the name of the gorilla family you have tracked.

  2. Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda: The Chimpanzee trekking adventure in Uganda is a fulfilling wildlife encounter that brings one closer to our closest living relatives – the chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are much more active primates than mountain gorillas and the chimpanzee trek is a popular activity in Uganda and is usually combined with the gorilla trekking activity. Chimpanzee trekking is mostly done in Kibale National Park in Uganda also referred to as the primate capital of the world, Kibale National Park is one of the best places in the world to see and encounter chimpanzees in the world.
    Chimpanzees are endangered species that have been designated as high priority for conservation and protection by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). 
  3. Golden Monkey Trekking in Uganda: Golden Monkey Trekking in Uganda is a unique wildlife adventure that brings one closer to the active and cheeky golden monkeys. Golden monkey trekking is therefore a fulfilling adventure because you get to do it in a rich diverse national park that offers more wildlife viewing opportunities and takes you on an experience in one of Uganda’s finest national parks. Golden monkeys are endangered mammals and have been listed as an endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
    The population of the golden monkeys over the years has faced major decline because of intense human activities and illegal extraction of bamboo which is the main food for the golden monkeys but Uganda Wildlife Authority continues to play a commendable role in conserving the golden monkeys.
  4. Bird watching in Uganda: Uganda is one of the best places in East Africa to go bird watching as it is a known bird haven hosting different bird species with the most sought-after being the Albertine Rift Endemics. The country hosts about 1073 species of birds that have been recorded, Uganda therefore offers the specialist birder incredible sightings while visiting.

Several birding hot spots are available in Uganda and birders are able to explore these areas, some are located in the Albertine Rift region others are located in dry woodland and semi-natural ecosystems. Uganda has many Important Bird Areas (IBAs) also making birding in Uganda a fulfilling adventure. Uganda also hosts many moist lowland forests and therefore has more endemic forest bird species than any other part of Africa. More on Uganda’s top birding hot spots.

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In Uganda

Join us on our journeys that involve amazing wildlife encounters in Uganda's best attractions and parks. Indulge in primate trekking, bird watching, game viewing, authentic cultural experiences, adventure packed activity and so much more!