The ‘Pearl of Africa’ – Uganda comprises of very many useful destinations that you should not miss to visit in your lifetime. In this article, we spot for you only those particular places that really deserve a visit while on your safari in Uganda experiencing the mountain gorillas, culture and wildlife.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forests National Park
Nestled in the south-west of the country (Uganda) Bwindi is actually one of the most loveable Parks in the African continents by travelers. The highlight of a visit to Bwindi is a magical hour in the company of a habituated family of the rare endangered mountain gorillas. Out of the only four national parks in the world that reside the mountain gorillas, Bwindi is a refuge to the largest number of these endangered apes – covering almost half of the world’s total population.
The tracking of these mountain gorillas can last from a few hours to a whole day, depending on how far the family has moved from the previous day. Currently the Park comprises of 19 habituated gorilla families that are tracked from trailheads at Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo.
Contact your tour agency in advance such that your bookings can be considered first, especially during the peak season. A Uganda gorilla permit costs US$ 600 per each permit purchased and trekkers will be allowed to spend strictly one hour with the gorillas and the participants must be aged 15-plus years. The community walks through forest edge villages offers insights into the lives of the local Batwa pygmies and the Bakiga people. The other activities to enjoy in the Park include; nature walks and bird watching. Still within a close proximity, there is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which also offers mountain gorilla expeditions in Uganda. Therefore, you can decide to enjoy the double gorilla trekking expeditions in Uganda for a great experience, of which Uganda is the only country in the world to offer double mountain gorilla trekking.
Kibale Forests National Park
Located in western Uganda, this largely forested Park is arguably one of the places in Uganda that you should give a visit to. The Park is popularly known for the large number and variety of resident primate species (13 primate species). An impressive list of 13 primate species includes Uganda’s largest population of chimpanzees – an estimated number of 1450 of chimpanzees. Viewing these chimpanzees in their natural habitats is such a life changing experience and many travelers enjoy getting involved in it. The trekking of chimpanzees is the major attraction in Kibale and for any traveler to go to the forests of the Park to enjoy this life changing activity should owe a Kibale chimpanzee tracking permit which costs US$ 150, the permit will be purchased by your tour agency on your behalf.
Besides the fact that chimpanzee tracking (primate walk) is the top attraction in the Park, there are also many other things that you will enjoy there, such as; bird watching (over 370 bird species), chimpanzee habituation, night walks, and nature walks, among others. Besides the common chimpanzees, the other primates found in Kibale include; L’Hoest’s monkeys, red Colobus monkeys, black and white Colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, and Uganda mangabeys, among others.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Firmly situated in Uganda’s distant northeastern corner (Karamoja), Kidepo represents one of Africa’s most superb wilderness, of which in so being, it was nick-named the ‘’True African Wilderness’’. Kidepo is rugged savanna, dominated by Mountain Morungole and transected by the seasonal Kidepo and Narus rivers.
Kanangarok is a tepid hot spring in the extreme north of the Park, and it is the most permanent source of water in the Park. Kidepo is a home to almost every African wildlife species that you will want to see, but above it all is its extra-ordinary beautiful landscape that will offer you a great sight. The big game favorites in the Park include African lions, elephants, the cape buffaloes, African leopards, cheetahs, zebras, elands, giraffes, stripped and spotted hyenas, bat-eared foxes, jackals, caracals, among many other species.
Kidepo is also an important destination for bird watching, with about 500 bird species. There is always an experienced local Park ranger who will be there to assist you in locating and identifying bird life in the Park’s various habitats. The overall activities to enjoy in Kidepo include; game drives and game viewing, bird watching, community walks, nature walks, and cultural encounters.
Murchison Falls National Park
The Park is situated at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, and it is the largest of all the ten national parks that Uganda has. The Park is well known for its famous Murchison falls (largest in Uganda) and for its varied wildlife. The river below the falls offers one of Africa’s wildlife spectacles, such as; buffaloes, Niles crocodiles, leopards, hippos, and giraffes. Other wildlife species in the Park are; Lions, elephants, and on your way to the Park, you can stop a bit at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (the only home for wild rhinos in Uganda), hence experiencing all Africa’s big five; elephants, lions, buffaloes, leopards, and the rhinos.
Most of the Park’s resident wildlife species exist in higher quantities, and it is also one of the most important birding sites in Uganda. Visitors should also be sure to visit the top of the falls viewpoint to see, hear and feel the Nile thunder through a 6m-wide gorge; this site can be accessed by vehicle but it is more exciting and rewarding to disembark from the launch to climb up to the top of the falls through Fajao gorge.
The major activities to enjoy in the Park are; boat cruises, excellent game viewing, sport fishing, cultural encounters, forest walks, and the tracking of chimpanzees at Kaniyo Pabidi Forest Reserve.
Queen Elizabeth National Park (Medley of Wonders!)
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, and panoramic views of the beautiful Kazinga Channel. Scenic and bio-diverse, and evidenced by the large number of travelers visiting it annually, Queen is one of the most famous protected areas in Uganda.
The park comprises of varied habitats which support a wealth of wildlife with more mammal species than any other Ugandan park and over 600 bird species – a phenomenal number for such a small area.
Inside the Park, visitors are guaranteed to see safari favorites such as; buffaloes, elephants, leopards, and the impressive tree climbing lions which will make your entire safari very exciting and absolutely joyous. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include; sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees, and over 600 species of birds – the highest number in any of Uganda’s protected area.
The park offers a variety of activities which include; launch cruises, game drives, forest walks, game viewing, spot fishing, bird watching, chimpanzee tracking and cultural encounters. The beautiful Kazinga channel, in the centre of the Park, is a home to an abundance of wildlife such as; hippos, Nile crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants and many more.
Jinja is a city in the eastern region of Uganda situated at the northern end of Africa’s largest freshwater lake – Lake Victoria. Jinja is commonly referred to as ‘the adventure capital of East Africa’ due to the very many amazing activities in town that one could engage in, especially for tourists.
The local attractions in Jinja town include; white-water rafting, the “Source of the Nile”, cruises and kayaking on River Nile (Africa’s first and world’s second longest), and the Nile Breweries Limited’s large brewery, while the Bujagali Power Station – Uganda’s hydroelectric facility providing 250 megawatts of electric power, is located about 8 kilometers north of Jinja.
There is also an active Hindu temple near Jinja, which has a bronze bust of Gandhi. Therefore, a visit to Jinja will enable you view both Africa’s longest river (Nile) and Africa’s largest lake (Victoria), both of which are still world’s second longest and largest respectively.