National Parks in Uganda
Game parks in Uganda
In relation to size, Uganda is one of the countries with many national parks in Africa. There are 10 game parks in Uganda and each of them has a major unique attraction form the others. Uganda national parks are distributed across the country, the nearest of them being at least 4 hours away from the capital Kampala. Uganda is endowed with a variety of wildlife in its national parks, there are different kinds of mammals such as African elephants, tree climbing lions, leopards, antelopes and buffaloes among others. Tourists on Uganda safari see different primate species including the endangered mountain gorillas, big and small reptiles, a wide range of bird species and different species of plants alongside the spectacular sceneries of the beautiful landscapes in these national parks.
National parks in Uganda are managed by Uganda wildlife authority which supervises and controls all wildlife activities in and outside the parks. The 10 game parks in Uganda include;
Murchison falls national park is the largest game park in Uganda covering an area of about 3,980 sq km. it is located in the northwestern part of the country and it takes about 5 hours to reach there by road from Kampala. The park got its name from the Murchison falls which were named after the then president of the Royal Geographical Society Roderick Murchison. Murchison falls National Park is famous for its mighty waterfalls that are also the strongest in the whole world. Murchison falls national park is a natural habitat to a number of animals including African elephants, buffaloes, Jackson’s hartebeests, waterbucks and predators like lions, leopards and hyenas among others. It has a variety of places where the birding experiences are superb with sightings such as Abyssinian hornbill, African darter, secretary bird, the rare shoebill among others. Activities done in this park include game drives, boat cruise, chimp tracking, bird watching and nature walks.
Bwindi impenetrable national park the world’s prominent home to the endangered mountain gorillas. It is situated in the far southwestern part of Uganda and it would take you 9-10 hours by road from Kampala to the park. The tropical rain forest in Bwindi has about half of the total population of mountain gorillas in the world and some of them have been habituated availed for tourism. The highlight for travel to the park is Gorilla trekking and other activities you ought not to miss when there is the Batwa experience.
Mgahinga national park is also located in the far southwestern part of Uganda, 1-2 hours drive from Bwindi impenetrable national park. It is one of the three parks in the Virunga massif and a home to the endangered mountain gorillas. Apart from the thrilling gorilla trekking experience, you can do a Batwa trail experience in the forest of Mgahinga national park to fully learn about how the Batwa lived in the forest before their eviction. Mgahinga national park is the smallest national park in Uganda covering an area of about 33 sq km.
Named after the queen of England the second, Queen Elizabeth national park is the second largest national park after Murchison falls national park. it covers an area of 1,978sq km. queen Elizabeth national park is a home to more than 90 mammal species, 612 bird species and 10 primate species. The park is well known for tree climbing lions which are often spotted in the Ishasha sector. The park also has a strategically located peninsular where activities such as the boat cruise, birding, scenic views are enjoyable. Queen Elizabeth national park is located in the western part of Uganda, about 380km from Kampala via Masaka-Mbarara-Kasese highway.
Semuliki national park is located in the western part of Uganda and is the second smallest national park. This park is located at the border of Uganda with the DRC near the Ituri forest of Congo. This is the reason why we also have some Batwa pygmies there. Semuliki national park’s prime attraction is the Sempaya hot springs with an attached interesting story that the local people believe. Semuliki national park was formerly a forest reserve before it was upgraded to national park and it has a number of forest creatures like monkeys. Despite its small size, Semuliki national park has an amazing number of bird species, over 430 bird species. It is a home to 53 mammal species including 11 endemic species.
Because of the abundant wildlife and stunning snow on the Rwenzori Mountains, the area was gazetted as a national park to protect and conserve these natural gifts. Mountain Rwenzori is the highest mountain in Uganda with the highest peak standing at about 5,109m above the sea level. Also referred to as the mountains of the moon, Mount Rwenzori is located in the western part of Uganda in areas of Kasese, Kabarole and Bundibugyo districts. Hiking to the top of Mount Rwenzori takes about 7 days and involves overnights at the camps along the mountain. You will see a lot of forest animals, a variety of birds, waterfalls, unique species of vegetation and spectacular views of the surrounding on your Rwenzori mountains hike.
This is one of the smallest parks in the country covering about 260 sq km. It is a very beautiful game park with green savannah grasslands and woodlands. It is located in the western part of Uganda and is one of the closest parks from Kampala, driving there takes about 4 hours. Lake Mburo national park is a home to zebras, giraffes, hyenas and lots of antelopes among others. There are over 300 bird species recorded in Lake Mburo national park. The park has a number of hills which are perfect for adventurous hikes and stunning scenic views including views of some great lakes in the region.
Kibale national park is a tropical rainforest harboring over 1,500 chimps. It is located in the western part of Uganda, about 300 kilometers from Kampala. The park is home to other primates such as the blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys and baboons among others. It also keeps forest pigs, forest elephants and over 370 bird species. Activities to do in the park include chimp tracking, chimp habituation, forest/nature walk, birding and community walk or Bigodi swamp walk.
Kidepo valley national park is the most remote national park in Uganda. It is located in the northeastern part which is also known as the Karamoja region. The park covers about 1,400sq km with mainly savannah plains which bring out the true Africa wilderness. Kidepo valley national park is a home to over 70 mammal species and about 400 bird species. The park is associated with various large rocks and inselbergs where you’ll spot lions or cheetahs resting. There are many ostriches in the park which you most likely won’t miss to see. The main activities of the park are game drives, nature walks, hiking and the cultural experience.
Mount Elgon national park is located in the eastern part of Uganda at the border with Kenya. Hiking to the top of Mount Elgon takes you to the world’s largest extinct volcanic caldera with a diameter of about 80km. the mountain is 3000m above the sea level inhabited by animals such as blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and more and about 300 species of birds.