Uganda is a landlocked country found in East Africa often referred to as “the pearl of Africa”. The country is endowed with beauty that cannot be compared to many other countries on the continent. Uganda boasts of exotic wildlife, various bird species, diverse cultures and so much more.
Uganda is home to the world’s longest river covering eleven countries with its source being in Uganda, the mighty Nile breaks off from the rift escarpment at Murchison falls national park forcing itself through a narrow gorge flowing in a placid stream into lake Albert forming the world’s strongest waterfalls. Uganda harbors half of the world’s mountain gorillas with the rest of the half living in the Virunga ranges. There is a lot to do and learn from Uganda and some of this can be seen in the country’s national parks below.
List of National Parks in Uganda
Ugandan national parks can be visited all year round though some months like June to September and December to February are better than others especially for wildlife viewing, for bird lovers the best time to visit is from November to April when migratory birds from North Africa and Europe are present. See the full list of the national parks in Uganda below.
1 – Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is located in the northeastern part of the country in the Karamoja plains, the park is the true African wilderness untouched with various wildlife some that cannot be found in other national parks in Uganda. Kidepo valley is Uganda’s third largest national park is home to over 400 species of birds including the Ostrich that can only be found in Kidepo and Pian Upe wildlife reserve, it’s also home to 77 species of mammals with some that can’t be found elsewhere.
2 – Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park is situated in the eastern part of Uganda bordering Kenya; the park derives its name from Mount Elgon that dominates a bigger area of the park. Mount Elgon the extinct Volcano in the park has the largest surface area other than any extinct volcano in the world.
The park was established in 1992 covering an area of 1,110 kilometers squared, the park is home to mammals like leopards, elephants, duikers and bushbucks plus various species of birds like Jackson’s francolin, taccaze sunbird and napped bronze pigeon among the rest. Mount Elgon was once the highest mountain in Africa exceeding mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, its got unique vegetation types and impressive views of Karamoja plains.
3 – Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Ruwenzori Mountains National Park which is a world UNESCO heritage site is found in the western part of Uganda covering an area of 998 kilometres squared, the park was established in 1991 and the main activity is done in the park is climbing the great mountains of the moon with its five peaks mount Margherita being the third highest in Africa.
4 – Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is located in the northwestern part of Uganda, the park is home to over 76 species of mammals, over 400 species of birds with various primates at Budongo forest. One of the most done activities in Murchison apart from wildlife watching is the launch time boat cruise.
The boat cruises give visitors an insight to the Niles flora and fauna with a lot of wildlife in the river banks as you ride to the worlds strongest waterfalls and a lot of water birds plus hippos and crocodiles close to the boat.
5 – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most visited national parks in Uganda and its home to half of the worlds remaining mountain gorillas. The main activity in the park is gorilla trekking that attracts many tourists from many parts of the world. The park has habituated over 10 gorilla groups and each can of this groups can be visited by a maximum of 8 tourists per day, the cost of gorilla trekking is only $600 and this provides you with an opportunity of observing gorillas for one hour.
Gorilla habituation experience is more interesting than gorilla trekking as tourists get to spend more 4 hours with researchers in the process of gorilla habituation. The cost of gorilla habituation is $1500. All gorilla permits in Uganda should always be booked in advance due to high demand especially in the peak season. There is a lot more to see other than gorilla trekking you will spot 13 primate species, 200 tree species, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, 120 species of mammals and over 300 species of birds.
6 – Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park is the best place for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda being home to over 1,400 chimpanzees. The unique vegetation is home to about 351 species of birds tall up to 55metres and about 325 species of birds. The park is also home to other primates like black and white Columbus monkeys, olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys and blue monkeys to mention a few.
7 – Semuliki Valley National Park
Semuliki Valley National Park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda, its an extension of the Ituri tropical forest in Congo which is one of the worlds remaining lowland forests. The park is one of Uganda’s newest in Uganda covering an area of 220kilometerss squared. One of the main attractions in the park are the Sempaya hot springs also known as the male and female hot springs with a very fascinating history.
8 – Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the southern part of Uganda bordering Volcanoes national park and Virunga national in Congo. Mgahinga park is also a good place for hiking as its home to 3 of the 8 Virunga volcanoes. Mgahinga national park has one habituated gorilla group called Nyakagezi gorilla family that can be visited all year round. The other good activity in the park is Golden monkey trekking.
9 – Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park was established in 1954 and derived its name from Queen Elizabeth of England when she visited the park. Queen Elizabeth national park has got the highest concentration of birds in Uganda with over 600 species recorded. The park is the most visited national park in Uganda with over 95 mammalian species; the park has got very rich diversity.
10 – Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is Uganda’s smallest savannah national park endowed with 13 lakes with 5 found within the park, its the perfect weekend getaway from Kampala and an ideal place to stopover when coming from Queen Elizabeth national park or from Bwindi impenetrable national park. Lake Mburo is home to over 300 species of birds, tourists can also view wildlife on horse riding safari or during a boat cruise.
Posted in: travel blog