activities & attractions


Kampala - Uganda Capital City

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 rainforest 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. About 1004 mountain gorillas are left in the world and nearly half of that mountain gorilla population lives in Bwindi Forest. The forest also hosts large mammals that include forest elephants, buffaloes, golden cats, giant forest hogs, side-striped jackals, and duikers but these are rare sightings due to the thick and dense vegetation of Bwindi forest. In addition, 11 primate species have been recorded at the park and these include De Brazza Monkey, L’Hoest Monkeys, Common Chimpanzees, Black-and-white colobus monkeys, Olive baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Red-tailed Monkeys etc. Bwindi National Park also hosts the colourful Three-horned Chameleon that is often seen in the surrounding areas of the lodge or one might come across it during the gorilla trek. A 3-day gorilla trekking safari is perfect for someone looking to trek these endangered amazing primates. 

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.

Other primate species in the national park include the L’Hoest’s monkey, Red colobus monkey, Black-and-white colobus monkey, Blue monkey, Olive baboons, Vervet monkey, Red-tailed monkey, Uganda Mangabey, Demidoff Galago commonly known as bush babies, Potto, White-eyelid mangabey and the Grey-cheeked mangabey. Some of these primate species are rare sightings and it might not be easy to come across them as they move a lot around the forest in search of food but on a lucky day you might come across them. The park is also home to other mammal species like forest elephants, African buffalo, golden cats, blue duikers, sitatungas, leopards, servals, warthogs and bush pigs, these are rare sightings as well but as you move in the park you might come across their footprints, especially for the elephant and buffalo.

Murchison Falls National Park: Located in the Northern part of Uganda Murchison Falls national park is the oldest and largest national in Uganda offering 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-metre 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. The wildlife of Murchison Falls National Park includes Lions, Cape Buffaloes, Leopard, Elephants, Rothschild’s Giraffes, Hyenas, Oribi, Jackson’s Hartebeest, Patas monkeys, Olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, Hippos, Chimpanzees in Budongo forest, Uganda Kobs, Water bucks, Bush bucks, Reedbuck, Warthogs, Hyenas crocodiles which are best seen while on a boat safari on River Nile and many other animals. Murchison Falls National Park is known for having the largest population of Nile Crocodiles in Uganda. Budongo Forest is also rich in primates and one of the best places to do the chimpanzee trekking adventure in Uganda the forest also provides a habitat for primate species like the black-and-white colobus monkey, Blue Monkey, Potto, Bushbaby and Red-tailed monkey. A 3 Days wildlife safari to Murchison Falls National Park will take you on a journey to one of Uganda’s finest savanna parks.

Queen Elizabeth National Park: This is one of the most popular national parks in Uganda well known for its excellent game viewing in the vast savanna plains. 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 centre 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. Queen Elizabeth national park is also a worthy birding destination for the specialist birder as the park is one of Uganda’s Important Bird Areas (IBA) with over 620 species of birds being recorded at the park. This makes the park a birding spot while on your Uganda Birding Safari as it offers incredible sightings that include savanna species and Albertine Rift endemics.

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 kilometres that is rich in flora and fauna biodiversity as the park is a lowland tropical rainforest encompassing lush green forested areas and landscape. The national park is home to 53 mammal species. Of the mammal species the park hosts primate species that include Chimpanzees, Black-and-white colobus monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Red-cheeked Mangabey, Olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, Pottos and Bush babies. Other large mammals in the park include the African Elephant, Bushpig, Buffalo, Sitatunga, African Civet, Warthogs, and White-bellied duiker. 11 species of mammals are only found in Semuliki national park and nowhere else in Uganda and these include the pygmy flying squirrel, mona monkey, bay duiker, Beecroft’s flying squirrel, six types of bat among others.

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, Waterbuck, 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.
Kidepo Valley National Park boasts of a total of 86 mammal species and 475 bird species. 28 species of mammals are endemic to Kidepo Valley National Park and are found nowhere else in the country. These species include cheetah, striped hyena, caracal, bat-eared fox, aardwolf and hunting dog. Other wildlife in the park includes side-stripped jackals, spotted hyena, lion, leopard, mongoose and small cats. Kidepo valley national park is home to a total of 17 antelope species and seven of these species are only found in Kidepo and nowhere else in the Uganda. These are the greater kudu, Grant’s gazelle, lesser kudu, rian antelope, mountain reedbuck, beira oryx and Guenther’s dik-dik. The other antelope species in the national park include topis, eland, common duiker, Jazkson’s Hartebeest, Uganda Kob, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, oribi, bush buck and waterbuck. Kidepo also is home to elephants, cape buffaloes, warthogs, bush pig, burchell’s zebra, and giraffes.

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 golden monkeys in one place. The park also hosts mammal species that include black-and-white colobus monkeys, giant forest hog, buffalo, bush pig, elephant, bushbuck, golden cats and other small predators like rodents, and bats. The national park also hosts 180 bird species with 24 of these species considered to be endemic to the Albertine Rift region making it a popular birding hot spot.

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. The bird species of interest include Jackson’s Francolin, Green Tinkerbird, Hunter’s Cisticola, and Black-Collared Apalis. Wildlife to look out for includes a small number of elephants, buffalo, bush pig, sitatunga, debrazza’s monkey, blue monkey, black-and-white colobus monkey and common duiker. For more on Mount Elgon and the Hiking Trails.

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.
    There are about 1004 mountain gorillas left in the world and Uganda is home to half of this population. The gorilla trekking activity is not only fulfilling but also magical as it brings one face-to-face with the gorillas in the jungle, an opportunity worth experiencing! Uganda currently has 20 habituated gorilla families that are available to visit, habituated means that these gorilla families have gone through the habituation experience by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The gorilla habituation experience involves a numerous process of spending time with the gorillas and getting them to accommodate human interaction without them feeling threatened or attacking humans. This habituation experience is done by trained park rangers and key researchers so by the time they declare a gorilla family habituated they have spent ample time with the gorillas in the wild and determined that they can tolerate human presence for a short period of time, the habituation process can take up to 4 years or even more.
    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. The names of the gorilla families are – Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Katwe, Binyindo, Nkuringo, Busheho, Christmas, Nshongi, Bweza, Kahungye, Busingye, Bikingi, Mishaya, Mucunguzi, Kutu, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Kyaguriro and Mukiza.
  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.
    Kibale National Park is located in the western part of Uganda and lies in the Eastern Afromontane region which is one of the world’s third-five biodiversity hot spots. Kibale is home to the largest known population of chimpanzees and the park has a high primate density with 12 other primate species that call Kibale National Park home. Chimpanzees are endangered species that have been designated as high priority for conservation and protection by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Other areas aside from Kibale National Park where you can trek the Chimpanzees in Uganda include Budongo Forest at Kaniyo Pabidi in Murchison Falls National Park, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kalinzu Forest. Chimpanzees can also be seen at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) also known as Uganda’s zoo.
  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. The golden monkey trek happens once a day at the park and the starting point is at Mgahinga park headquarters. Once at the headquarters you are assigned a ranger guide and placed in a group available for tracking that day. At the headquarters, you receive a briefing from the ranger guide and basically, the session involves information about golden monkeys, park guidelines and what one should expect while trekking. Golden monkeys are a beautiful sight to behold and the experience of watching them in their natural habitat is one for the books. Being active primates the session of seeing them is also rather active and busy and calls for wonderful photo moments.
  4. Bird watching in Uganda: Uganda is one of the best places in East Africa to go on a birding safari 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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