Uganda National Parks
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The land of the mountain gorillas. The thick rainforest is home to over 400 gentle giants. The first gorilla group, Mubare, was made available for tourism in 1993. Since then more groups have been habituated. At the moment there are more than 10 gorilla families which can be tracked by tourists.
Owing to its unique beauty and scientific value Bwindi was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1994.
Apart from the mountain gorillas, it provides refuge to about 120 species of mammals such as forest elephants, duikers, golden cats, chimpanzees and colobus monkeys. Floristically it is one of the most diverse habitats in East Africa. The more than 1000 flowering plant species attract hundreds of colourful butterflies in the dry seasons. Bwindi is a paradise for bird and reptile lovers. It inhabits about 350 bird species including many Albertine Rift endemic species.
Altitude ranges between 1160 metres and 2600 metres, 60 percent of the park lying over 2000metres. The weather can drop below 10 degree.
The park lies about 450 kms from Kampala and it takes at least 7 hours to reach its boundary.
Activities:gorilla tracking, birding, guided nature walks, bicycle riding around the park, community walks
All tracking sites can be reached from Queen Elizabeth NP, Kabale or from Kampala via Mbarara.
Buhoma site: Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura
Ruhija site: Bitukura, Oruzogo, Kyagurilo
Nkuringo site: Nkuringo
Rushaga site: Nshongi, Mishaya
There are less than 800 mountain gorillas left in the world. They belong to one of the world most endangered apes. Your journey to look for our second closest relatives in the wild can take from 20 min up to even 6-7 hours. In most cases you will hike through the lush rainforest, cross hills and valleys while your guide will cut the vegetation in front of you with a panga till you reach the gentle giants.
Your heart will beat faster when you’ve got to see the huge silverback, the mother gorillas grooming their babies and the juveniles playing with each other. You can see them feeding on a large palette of plants and handling each food items attentively and genially. You might hear booming chest beat of a silverback or roaring chimpanzees from the depth of the forest. The feeling of being in the middle of the rainforest surrounded by these peaceful creatures is indescribable.
Each family differs in its number of members and also in their home range. If you have any question concerning gorilla tracking or gorilla families in Bwindi do not hesitate to contact us. Gorilla permits are limited and the tracking requires one to be in good health as sicknesses can be contagious to the apes.
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale is home to 13 primate species, among all to the Uganda best habituated chimpanzees. The density and diversity of primates in Kibale Forest is the highest in Africa.
The shady trails among the sometimes 50 m high trees are a delight to birders and butterfly lovers. The National Park and the nearby community-run Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary are home to more than 330 bird species and over 140 species of butterflies.
The road from Fort Portal to Kibale Forest NP runs along the Kasende Crater Lake Field that consists of more than 40 crater lakes, each with its own shade of blue.
Activities: chimpanzee tracking, forest hikes and nature walks to explore flora and fauna, birding.
Other attractions around the Park:
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary community-run initiative where local guides take you on a walk to introduce the unique environment of the wetland. You will see lot of primates such as colobus or red-tailed monkey and other mammals such as bushbuck and sitatungas. The wetland is home to about 140 bird species.
Bicyle riding throughout the Crater Lake region
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
This small park lies in the far south-west of Uganda and part of the Virunga Mountains. Together with the Parc National des Volcans (in Rwanda) and Parc National des Virunga (in DRC) it builds an ecosystem that inhabits half of the world mountain gorilla population.
Any of the three volcanoes: Mt. Muhabura (4127 m), Mt. Gahinga (3475 m) and Mt.Sabyinyo (3645 m) can be climbed as a day tour. When standing on the extinct Mt. Sabyinyo you can be simultaneously in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. The vegetation includes mountain, alpine and subalpine flora. The lowest vegetation zone is dominated by bamboo while above 3600 m there are impressive giant lobelias to see.
The park offers unique Batwa forest experience and golden monkey trekking as well. The golden monkey is very rare primate specie that can be found only in the Virunga Volcanic Mountains.
Activities in the park: Gorilla tracking, golden monkey tracking, hiking, birding, cave exploration, Batwa Trail Exprience
Queen Elisabeth National Park
Established in 1952, the park was once one of Africa’s best safari destinations. In the 1970s, poaching dramatically reduced the number of wild animals in the park. The situation is currently improving with the number of elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, Ugandan kobs, waterbucks, hyenas and chimpanzees, among others, increasing. Ishasha, the remote southern sector, is known for its most famous residents, the rare tree-climbing lions.
The 16 km Kyambura Gorge marks the boundary between QENP and Kyambura. The savannah type vegetation of the park transforms into a lush tropical forest that gives home to many forest-living species. The view from the edge is spectacular and in the depth of the gorge chimpanzees can be tracked as a part of a walking safari.
Over 550 species of birds can be found in QENP of which many waterbirds can be observed during a boat trip on the Kazinga Chanel. Other rare bird species can be found in the Maramagambo Forest in the SE.
The Kazinga Channel connects Lake Edward in the West and Lake George in the East. The two hours boat trip gives an opportunity to see the highest concentration of hippos in Africa, many elephants, buffalos and antelopes passing along the channel. The road to Katwe Lake in the western part of the park drives through the crater region and along the Baboon Cliffs Viewpoint from where you can have a splendid view of the plains and surrounding countryside. At Lake Katwe you have the opportunity to see centuries old methods of producing salt.
On a clear day there is a chance to see the snowy peaks of the Rwenzoris Mountains in the background of the rolling plains.
Activities: game drives, launch on the Kazinga Chanel, birding, participation in the lion project
In Maragamambo Forest: nature walk
In Kyambura Gorge: forest walk, chimpanzee tracking
Katwe Lake area: salt industry, Crater Lakes’ drive
Murchison Falls National Park
Varied habitats, rolling grasslands, bushy hills, papyrus swamps, tropical forest and open water describes Uganda biggest conservation area.
The park is a paradise for birders with its more than 430 registered species. The small boat cruise on the Nile drives along the shores where many water birds, grazing buffalos, elephant, crocodiles and hippos can be observed.
The boat reaches close to the bottom of the 40 metres Murchison Falls where the river cascades through a less than 7 metre wide breach. A walk can be taken from where the boat stops to the top of the waterfalls.
The Nile divides the park into two parts and the northern part is better for watching wildlife.
Budongo Forest in the southern part is an excellent place for chimpanzee tracking.
Activities: game drive, chimpanzee tracking, boat cruise on the Nile, birding, fishing
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Rwenzoris lie along the border of Uganda and DRC. Although it is not the highest but certainly the largest and most important mountain range in Africa. The ‘cousins’ Mt.Kili and Mt. Kenya are both higher but they are single volcanic peaks. Rwenzori, whose highest point is 5109 m is a massif composed of six separated mountains. The peaks are covered by permanent snow and glaciers.
Rwenzoris were first described by Ptolomy (from the time of the ancient Greeks) as the ‘Mountain of the Moon’ because they were believed to be the source of the Nile. The peaks Alexandria (5091) and Margherita (5109) were climbed for the first time 1906. The bizarre Afro-alpine plants, giant lobelias and scenecios, orchids and ferns, boggy terrains , stunning waterfalls, spectacular glaciers, moss and lichens which cover the ground and fallen trees give the feeling of being in a wonderland. Rwenzori is climbed any time throughout the year although most trekkers prefer to do it in dry seasons of June to early September and December to early March. Margherita climb: 8-9 days, Margherita peak(5109m)
Central Circuit Trail: 6 to 7 days up to Kitandara Hut (4027m) To see the most spectacular views we recommend to do the Central Circuit Trail. The weather can be rainy and misty which makes to climbing even more challenging. The climbing of the highest peaks requires one to have experience in mountain climbing.
Activities: climbing, nature walks
Kidepo Valley National Park
It is one of the most remote national parks of East Africa where you can enjoy a high degree of solitude in beautiful scenery. There will be no crowd of cars around when you spot a lion climbing a tree!
Kidepo has many scattered kopjes in the rugged savannah ecosystem surrounded by over 2500m high mountains. Wildlife consists of lions, cheetahs, bat-eared foxes, ostriches, elephants and giraffes among many other savannah animals.
Activities: game drive, walking safari
Lake Mburo National Park
Situated closed to the highway that connects Bwindi NP and Kampala. It is in a good location to make a stopover when travelling back to Kampala after the gorilla tracking. Gallery forests, rock kopjes, open savannas, acacia woodlands, open waters and swamps support a wealth of wildlife. This includes Burchell’s zebras, impalas and eland that are found only in this park in Uganda.
Activities: game track, walking safari, horseback riding, boat trip on the lake
Semuliki National Park
This park lies in western Uganda on the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley. It is the easternmost part of the Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin and contains several species that are associated with central rather than Eastern Africa. Semuliki is the only true tropical lowland forest in East Africa. Bird life is spectacular with 441 recorded species, 46 of them are found nowhere else in East Africa. Hippos and crocodiles can be seen in the Semuliki River while the forests are inhabited by a large number of primates, forest elephants and forest buffalos among other 50 mammals.
Activities: forest walk, birding, hot spring