Uganda National Parks

With several protected areas, Uganda has 10 National Parks, 12 Game Reserves which are distributed throughout the country. The National Parks are splinted into savannahs, tropical and montane forests. Parks and Wildlife reserves are under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority. A government agency responsible for the sustainable management parks and reserves.

Parks are the top altered tourist destinations well developed with supporting facilities and amenities.  They offer amazing holiday experience that vary according to the park’s nature. The experiences are: – gorilla trekking, Big Five Game viewing, Mountaineering, Bird watch, various Wild game viewing, Tree climbing, chimpanzee tracking, golden monkey tracking, Wild Boat Cruise, amazing landscape views among others.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The home to about 50% of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the second only forests that are endemic to the mountain gorillas. The other forest being the Virunga Conservation Areas shared among Rwanda, Uganda, and DR Congo.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park  located in southwestern Uganda, seated in lines of Albertine Rift valley, seated on an area of 331sq/km. The park is characterized by tropical rainforest covering volcanic landscapes favoring the existence of the mountain gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park uniqueness dwells in the ultimate gorilla experience within hillside.

The Park has at least 17 habituated gorilla families. As it’s the only forest where trackers have an opportunity to do gorilla habituation. Bwindi Impenetrable has 4 tracking sectors with different families Ruhijah sector has Mukiza, Oruzogo, Bitukura and kyaguliro. Buhoma sector has Habinyanja, Katwe, Mubare, Rushegura. Rushaga sector has Kutu, Bikingi, Mishaya, Bushigye, Kahungye, Rwigi, Bweza, Nshongi and Mucunguzi while Nkuringo has Chrismas, Nkuringo and Bushaho. Gorilla trekking at Bwindi is the best experience and relatively possible for all classes of travelers.

Besides being an endemic destination for mountain gorillas, the park is a home to various species of flora and fauna. These include about 300 species of birds, elephants, buffalos, other primate species including red tailed monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, chimps, bush bucks, about 400 species of plants and many others.

Adventure activities done at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include, gorilla tracking, nature walks, bird watching, mountain biking, Batwa cultural experience, etc.

Murchison falls National Park

Uganda’s most interesting park as far as adventure experiences are concerned. Murchison Falls National Park the largest among other parks covering an areas of 3,778 kilometer squared. Geographically, the park is located in the northwestern Uganda, and the most visited park.

Murchison Falls National Park is crossed by Victoria Nile forming the Northern and Southern sections of the park. However, the Victoria Nile is very vital for the formation of the Murchison Fall. These are arguably called the world’s most powerful waterfalls in the word. This is by considering how the rapids force into the narrow gorge of 7m wide and thunderously pour at 45m down.

There is no Murchison Falls National Park without the Murchison Falls. And the river continue with an amazing flow towards Lake Albert forming the Delta which is the park’s hub for wildlife games. The northern section features the savannah woodlands of acacia and palms.

And adventure to Murchison Falls National Park is the highest chance for watching the Big Five on a safari to Uganda. Among the adventures expectations include some of the big five lions, leopards, elephants, and buffalos. Herds of antelope species, towers of giraffes, schools of hippos, over 400 bird and many more species. En-route to Murchison is Ziwa rhino sanctuary the only home to rhinos in Uganda.

Among the activities to do at Murchison Falls National Park include game drive, boat cruise, visiting the top of the falls, climbing to the top of the falls, nature walks , community visits, wild camping, sports fishing among others.

Kidepo Valley National Park

The remotest park by road access, highly termed as “the True African Wildness.” Located in the rugged northeastern region bordering Sudan and Kenya. The amazing feature of Kidepo Valley National Park is about the widest opening of the savannah landscape. It’s about 10hours of scenic drive reaching Kidepo Valley National Park by road and only about an hour by aircraft.

The parks has two popular sections of Kidepo Valley and the Narus valley which two persist with water even in driest season. These two sections have the highest concentration of wild animals. The eco-biodiversity of Kidepo consists of over 74 mammal species includes some of the big five mammals, antelope species, zebras, cheetahs, wild dog.

There are about 470 bird species including ostriches, secretary birds among others. In 2019, CNN named Kidepo Valley National Park among the best attractive destinations in Africa. And in 2021, the park featured in the World Tourism Awards list of best safari parks in African and safari booking in 2019 listed the park 11 among the best 50 national park in Africa.

Adventure activities to in Kidepo Valley National Park are game drive, nature walks, birding, mountain climbing, Karamoja cultural visits experiences.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s second largest park covering an area of 20,56 kilometer square. Again the Park is Uganda’s most popular tourist destination attracting a great number of tourist globally. Before, the park was called Kazinga Channel National Park but was renamed to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II visit to Uganda in 1954.

The park is found within the western arm of the Great Albertine Rift Valley. Queen Elizabeth National Park has the longest list of adventure experience done than any other park in Uganda. It highly features the savannah, woodlands, and the tropics. The only park to find the rare tree climbing lions, highest concentration of birds with over 600 species of birds.

Special features of Queen Elizabeth National Park include; the Kasenyi savannah open for game viewing, and Kazinga Channel that connects Lake Gorge to Lake Edward it’s for game viewing on a boat cruise. Ishasha sector popular for tracking tree climbing lions, Kyambura Gorge tropical unique for accommodating chimpanzees.

Adventure experiences done on a safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park include Wild game viewing on both game drive and boat cruise, bird watching, tree climbing lion tracking, chimpanzee tracking, community visits, visiting Lake Katwe a salt mining lake. Also hippo census, mongoose tracking, lion experiential among others.

Mountain Rwenzori National Park

African’s 3rd highest mountain, it’s also called the mountain of the moon. Mountain Rwenzori National Park is a unique unseasonal snowcapped mountain located in the western of Uganda. The park is within the sloping Albertine Rift sharing borders of Uganda and Congo.

Mt. Rwenzori is a UNESCO world heritage park feature tropical, savannah, bamboo, montane and alpine vegetation. Hiking Mountain Rwenzori gives that incredible challenges of hiking experience better than that of Mountain Kilimanjaro. Hiking mountain Rwenzori is the world class hiking challenge reaching at its snow caped magharita peak 5,109m.

Hiking the mountain to its highest peak, takes a maximum of 14 days to and fro. However, there are several walking and hiking experiences ranging to half a day to 14 maximum days. Mt Rwenzori is alos home to various animas, primates, birds and interesting flora.

Mountain Elgon National Park

The only national park located in the Eastern region of Uganda. Mountain Elgon is uniquely a world’s largest Caldera. And it’s also being the 4th highest park in Africa and the 2nd in Uganda. The highest peak of Mt Elgon is Wagagai peak 4,321m high and the longest hiking trail take a maximum of 7 day.

At the foothills are the Sipi falls in Kapuchorwa dropping at its lower’s clips 100m above. Elgon is the oldest and largest solitary mountain in east Africa.

Mountain Elgon feature various landscapes of slopping valleys and elevated cones, accompanied with savanna, and thicket green vegetation. The park accommodates several of wild animals including Elephants, different antelope species, buffalos, over five primate species and about 350 bird species.

Other interesting moments at Mount Elgon is watching caves that dates the ancient life of the Mabasaba tradition, hot springs, calderas. Cultural the Bamasaba (Gisu) cultural experience which is associated with male child circumcision ritual that initiate boys into manhood

Lake Mburo National Park

This smallest savannah park in Uganda, is situated in western in Kiruhura district along Kampala-Mbarara road. Lake Mburo National Park is the easiest park to access right from Kampala capital taking about 4hrs of driving. Taking a trip to Lake Mburo National Park can be very possible for even one-day trip.

The park features unique Precambrian metamorphic rocks that are believed to have formed 500 million years date back. The nature of the park is characterized by relatively flat landscapes, tropical forests, wider savanna covers and several small lakes and swamps.

The park lacks elephants, this makes one of the best parks to do nature walks. As well Lake Mburo is known to be the best place to sight predators especially leopards.

Lake Mburo National Park accommodates the highest number of antelope species including Uganda kobs, bushbucks, waterbucks, dikidiki, impalas, duikers, Jackson’s hartebeest, elands among other. Best place to sight predators like leopards, lions, hyena among others, and other many mammals, bird species etc.

Among the activities done at Lake Mburo National Park include wild game drivers, the amazing boat launch, nature walks, the park special night game drive, safari balloons, horse riding, quad biking, bird watching among others.

Kibale National Park

The breathtaking tropical forest is the East African capital of chimpanzees and the world capital of primates. Kibale National Park houses is famous for housing the highest number of primate species in the world alongside chimpanzees.

The Park is located in western Uganda about 26km from Fort Portal city. This eco-biodiversity forest is as well home to various wild animals besides several primates. This is the finest tourist destination in African to track the endangered chimpanzees. Chimpanzees at Kibale National Park are fully habituated for a superb close up encounter for trackers.

It’s only at Kibale forest in Africa where tourist as well can take part in the habituation process. So, tourist at Kibale can do either tracking or habituation. Chimpanzee tracking here costs $200 and chimpanzee habituation costs $250 and spend the almost a full day with these giants.

Kibale National Park has two chimpanzee tracking sessions a day; the morning session starting at 8am and the afternoon session starting at 2pm.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks

The only endemic destination for the unique and rare golden monkeys in Uganda. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s smallest park and the as well the 2nd farthest park. Mgahinga is part of the great Virunga Conservation Area which also shared with Volcanos National Park of Rwanda and Virunga National Park of DR Congo.

Mgahinga is home to some of the world remaining mountain gorillas. It’s the second park endemic to gorillas with Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Only at Mgahinga where the Silver meets Gold, finding the golden monkey living along with the silverback. Mgahinga National Park has only one habituated gorilla family, this means only 8 people trek gorillas here.

However, the park is believed to host about 100 gorillas, and most these gorillas are wild not habituated for trekking. When opting to trek gorillas here, then have to book at least three month before the trekking date to secure a permit.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is characterized by dormant volcanos including Mt. Gahinga, Mt. Sebyinyo ranging from 2,227m to 4,127m and Mt. Muhavura. These are vital for climbing experiences besides tracking. Among the activities done at Mgahinga National Park include gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking, volcanic hiking, Batwa cultural trail etc.

Semiliki National Park

Uganda’s remotest park by visit, not to many travelers have gone to Semuliki National Park besides its beauty. Also located in western region, comfortably resting within the western Lift Valley. The shares Uganda’s border with DR Congo popularly known as the birder’s haven.

Semuliki National Park is different from the rest of the parks in Uganda. The park mainly experiences the Central Africa climate and some of the wildlife here are endemic to central Africa forests. The park is described with the savannah woodlands and thickets accommodating several wild animals like buffalos, elephants, crocodiles and other reptiles. And about 400 bird species are recorded here with some of which are endemic to central African forests and others can be found anywhere in the world.

The hot spring are one of the most known attraction for travelers going to Semuliki. The Kitagata hot springs are an amazing features which local turned for ritual practicing. Travelers opting to visit some of the less crowded tourist destinations, semuliki is the best recommendation.

Activities done at Semuliki National Park include game drives, nature walks, bird watching, community visits and hot spring trail tours.