National Parks Uganda
Uganda’s National Parks
MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Murchison Falls National Park is located in the western part of Uganda covering 3,480 sq km and is the largest national park of Uganda. The park is split in half by the Victoria Nile. At the Murchison Falls, the Nile River falls over the edge of the western Rift valley and forms the spectacular Murchison falls as it dashes through a narrow crevice before it falls about 40 meters forming a beautiful rainbow. The park has 450 birds species recorded, and has all the African Big Five (Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo and Giraffe), Hartbeests, Oribi, countless Antelope, Hippos, waterbucks, chimpanzees and crocodiles while on the cruise. Vegetation is characterized by Savannah and woodland.
Activities that can be done while at Murchison Falls National Park Include; Game drives, Nature walks, Trail to the top of the falls, Forest walks, Sport fishing, Bush camping, Hiking and Nature walks, Launch trips, Chimpanzee tracking and Birding.
KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Kibale is located in the western part of Uganda. The forest is 775kms 45% tropical woodland, 40% grassland 15% swamp vegetation the most common tree species being the Wild Rubber trees, Polita Figs which support flora and fauna. There are 275 bird species which include the African Grain Hepista, Wood Piker and others. The forest is known to have a wide range of primates like the Red Colobus, Black and White Colobus, Red Tailed Monkey, Velvet Monkey and Baboon. There are also a variety of mammals which include Sitatunga, Bush Pig, Bush Bucks, Otters, Mongoose and Chimpanzees. The 1450 Chimpanzees represents Uganda’s largest population.
Activites that can be in kibale are chimpanzee tracking and Chimpanzee habituation, Birding, Cultural Tours and Swamp walks
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Bwindi is located in the southwestern part of Uganda in the Albertine Rift, on the edge of the western Rift Valley. It is 321square km, holds 350 species of birds and contains 905 of all Albertine Rift Endemics, impossible to see in any other part of East Africa. To watch these birds visit Ruhija and Buhoma where you can see birds like the Great Blue Turaco Pelican and dazzling black Bee eater and the African sooty and fly catcher. The Park is a habitation to almost half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. At the moment Bwindi forest is home to 320 Mountain Gorilla’s of which about 116 are habituated. The Forest has about 324 tree species including vines, shrubs and ferns of which 10 are not elsewhere in Uganda. The forest is coldest in June-July and has a wide range of species of butterflies, mammals, elephants and diurnal primates. The Park spreads over the districts of Kabale, Kisoro and Rukungiri districts and is at an altitude range of 1160m to 2607m above sea level with an annual average temperature range of 7-20 degrees Celsius.
Activities that can be done in Bwindi are Gorilla tracking, Birding, Community tours including a visit to the Banana beer brewery and the Buhoma Community Hospital, Forest/ Nature walks, Cycling/mountain biking and visiting the Batwa Pygmies.
LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK
Lake Mburo is only 370square km and is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national Parks. Its mosaic habitat, dry hillside, bushes, thickets, open and wooded savannahs, forests lakes and swamps are home to numerous of wildlife. It offers a splendid opportunity for bird watching as there are over 315 species of birds recorded in Rubanga forest, 5 of which are forest specialists. The common species are the Hawk; Green pigeon, Narinastrogn and Double Toothed Barbet .It also has about 68 species of mammals like Zebra, Buffaloes, Topi, Elands and the Leopard. Activities that can be done in Lake Mburo are Game drives, boat rides, walking safari, horseback riding safaris, birding, sport fishing, hiking and nature walks.
KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Kidepo Valley can be found in northeast Uganda, it borders Kenya and Sudan covering 1442 square km. It has wonderful scenery characterized by savannah and mount landscape. It has 475 Bird species these include, carnivores birds like, the Egyptian Vulture, Pigmy Falcon, 4 species of Hornbill, Red bill, Yellow bill and many others. There are 77 species of Mammals recorded which include: the Bat eared Fox, Strait Hyena, Ungulates like Bush Elephant and others.
Activities that can be done in Kidepo are visiting the Kanagorok Hot Springs, Hiking Mount Morungule, Birding and game drives.
QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Queen Elizabeth is located in the Western part of Uganda. The park has 611 recorded bird species in the Kazinga channel sanctuary which covers an area approximately 207km. QENP also has 95-recorded species of mammals which include Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Hippo’s and many more. The Kyambura Wildlife Reserve in the eastern reaches is a protected Area, which supports similar mammals. Other park inhabitants include 10 primate species which include the Chimpanzees, the Black and White Colobus Monkey, Olive Baboon just to name a few. Birds in the Rwenzori National Park and the southern shores of Lake George include like the Black and White-casqued Hornbill and many others. Queen Elizabeth is well known for its cultural activities. We provide safaris to Queen Elizabeth which also includes a lot of interacting with the local community. We visit homesteads, learn how to make Ugandan African craft, have a look at the Bee keepers farm for honey making, go for a cultural performance and visit the Katwe Village and Salt Lake tour. This Salt Lake tour gives a unique inside into the fascinating yet though process of salt mining, as well as providing an alternative income for Katwe.
SEMLIKI NATIONAL PARK & GAME RESERVE
Semuliki National Park is an extension of the vast Ituri forest and forms part of the forest continuum situated in the extreme west of Uganda, along the Uganda/Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border in the western arm of the East African Rift Valley. It is the only lowland tropical rain forest in East Africa and is one of the richest flora and fauna biodiversity areas in Africa it hosts some of Africa’s most spectacular and sought after birds such as horn bills and lyre tailed honey guide. It has 336 tree species recorded of which 24 are restricted to Semuliki National and 34% of Uganda’s (441) recorded bird species some not found elsewhere in East Africa. Bordered by the Rwenzori Mountains, the DRC, the Semuliki Flats and Lake Albert.
Local People- The park has four ethnic groups living around it; the Bamba and Bakonjo are cultivators living in the valley and mountain slopes, the Batuku- pastoralists occupy the rift valley floor; the Batwa (pigmies)-hunter gatherers are an Ituri ethnic group.
Tourist Activities- Visitors to enjoy breathtaking views of the savannah and clear blue skies, forest buffaloes and elephants, sitatungas, leopards, crocodiles, various primates and a wide range of forest and water birds, primates, butterflies and plants. Nature walks and visiting the hot springs. As well chimp tracking is possible here, birding, hiking and walking and visiting the Batwa Pygmies.
The name “Bunyonyi” literally means ‘the place of many little birds”. This lake is Uganda’s deepest lake. The scenery is truly breathtaking and the Lake is dotted with Island and terraces hills. This area is mainly used for active birders or for people who really would like to get a way and relax. Swimming in the lake is possible as well as fishing and canoeing. A visit to the Batwa Pygmies will make this lake a complete tourist destination for a short break away and a relaxing time.
MOUNT ELGON NATIONAL PARK & SIPI FALLS
Mount Elgon is on the Uganda – Kenya border, it is an extinct volcanic mountain standing at 4,321 meters above sea level. And with a 3840 km2 has the mountain the largest volcanic base in the world. The park was gazette in 1993. Mount Elgon is perfect for mountain climbers, nature lovers, hikers and birders. But the park has more to offer. Mount Elgon has amazing caves left by moving lava and erosion of soft volcanic deposits and a natural pool named after the early explorer Jackson. That is why they call it now, Jackson’s natural Pool. It was names after him as Frederick Jackson was the first one to climb the mountain in 1889. Sipi Falls can also be found in this area. On the western sides of the Mountain are 3 waterfalls that are beautiful to see. Next to that rock paintings, wildlife and birds are among the great things you can find here.
The wild life that can be seen here include Leopard, Hyena, Buffalo, Bush Buck, and Water buck, duiker and tree Hydrax.
Activities: Mountain/ Volcano Climbing, hiking, nature walks, birding, sport fishing, abseiling, rock climbing and mountain biking.
MABIRA FOREST RESERVE
Mabira Forest Reserve is located on the main Kampala – Jinja Highway in Mukono District. It is 54 km from the City Centre of Kampala and 26 km from Jinja Town. The Natural Forests covers an area of 306 sq km. Mabira has Natural Habitat of about 312 species of trees, home of 315 species of Birds, 218 Butterfly Species, 97 Moth Species and 23 Small Mammal Species
Activities include: Forest walks with over 68 km of well-developed trail length; canopy walks Mountain Biking, Bird Watching, Environmental Education and Research, Camping and Picnics, Primate Watching, Butterfly Identification and general Forest Exploration.
Mabamba Bay wetland has an area 16,500 ha on the shores of Lake Victoria. It is a large extensive marsh of Miscunthus sp stretching through a long narrow bay, fringed with Cyperus papyrus towards the main body of Lake Victoria. There is a narrow open water channel and a small area of Nymphea caerulea as well as areas of Ladium mariscus and sometimes drifting papyrus swamp islands. Mabamba Bay is home to a species list of over 300 birds, including the globally threatened Shoebill, large congregations of migrants such as Blue Swallow, White-winged Tern, Gull-billed Tern and papyrus endemic bird species such as Papyrus Gonolek and Papyrus Yellow Warbler. Other species of interest include good numbers of Goliath Heron, Squacco Heron, Lesser Jacana, Spur-winged Goose and number of waders. The wetland is designated as a Ramsar site and an Important Bird Area. Other fauna include the Sitatunga, shrews Crociduraselina and Mylomys dybowskii have also been recorded as being uncommon. The collection of butterflies from Mabamba bay is enormous with over 200 species recorded. Abisaraneavei, Acraea aganice, Acraea aurivilli, Acraea consanquinea, and Bicyclus sebetus are some of the very rare butterfly species that have been recorded in Mabamba Bay.
Activities include: birding, nature walks, shoe bill trekking, village walks, sport fishing, canoeing and cultural encounters
NGAMBA ISLAND CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY
The sanctuary was established in October 1998 to care for orphaned chimpanzees that have been rescued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Ngamba Island is about 100 acres (approximately 40 hectares) of rainforest situated a short boat ride (23 km) away from Entebbe, near the Equator in Lake Victoria, Uganda. It supports a rich diversity of natural wildlife and provides a variety of natural foods for the chimpanzees.
Activities: chimpanzee viewing, forest walks, Infant chimpanzees Integration Program, Chimpanzee Caregiving for a day experience, boating scenic viewing
MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey. As well as being important for wildlife, the park also has a huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivalled.
Mgahinga’s most striking features are its three conical, extinct volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga Range that lies along the border region of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. The volcanoes’ slopes contain various ecosystems and are biologically diverse, and their peaks provide a striking backdrop to this gorgeous scenery.
Activities: Birding, Cultural encounters, Gorilla trekking, Hiking and nature walks and Volcano climbing
RWENZORI MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
The Rwenzori– the fabled Mountains of the Moon – lie in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border. The equatorial snow peaks include the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. Huge tree-heathers and colorful mosses are draped across the mountainside with giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects the highest parts of the 120km-long and 65km-wide Rwenzori mountain range. The national park hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation.
The Rwenzoris are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination. A nine- to twelve-day trek will get skilled climbers to the summit of Margherita – the highest peak – though shorter, non-technical treks are possible to scale the surrounding peaks.
Activities: Birding, Cultural encounters, Mountaineering, Hiking and Nature walks.