It is no wonder that Uganda is sometimes referred to as the “Pearl of Africa”. Just like the precious object is only truly appreciated when discovered, this East African wildlife wonderland is a treasure to behold for those looking for a memorable safari experience.
The best safari parks in Uganda are comprised of unique national parks and game reserves. The southern part of the country is flooded with natural wonders with the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and its mountain gorillas the cornerstone of the incredible range of national parks.
Uganda is a destination for those who seek to observe all things wild and wonderful in their natural habitat. With 60 protected areas, including 10 national parks, and an array of other breathtaking panoramas, each day will be filled with encounters not experienced anywhere else in the world.
Wild Safari Guide has narrowed the best safari parks in Uganda down to these five excellent choices.
Just the mere mention of the name Bwindi Impenetrable National Park conjures up images of a land shrouded in the magic of Mother Nature.
Covering an area over 320 square kilometres, the park host some of the most important ecological features on earth. Around 600 mountain gorillas have found sanctuary in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with 14 habituated groups providing an opportunity for safari-goers to create memorable experiences. Countless other mammals, bird, insect and other endangered species in the Park co-exist in harmony.
There is a great variety of safari activities on offer for visitors to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, catering to all tastes and preferences. At the top of the list is undoubtedly gorilla trekking experiences that can be arranged through several reputable operators. Other activities include guided hiking, specialised bird-watching tours, mountain biking and canoeing.
The impressive Murchison Falls National Park is a water wonderland with the shores of Lake Albert, the Victoria Nile, the Karuma Falls and the landmark Murchison Falls all within its boundaries.
As one of the best safari parks in Uganda, it stretches for close to 4 000 thousand square kilometres across the varied landscape. It is the mighty Murchison Falls that stand tall in these lands with the Nile River forcing itself through a narrow gorge before plunging more than 40 meters. The Nile is the lifeline of the inhabitants of the park and saturates the riverine woodlands and the savannah grasslands.
The rich biodiversity of the Murchinson Falls National Park provides ample chance to experience up close and personal encounters with more than 75 mammal species. These include lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, various antelopes and also the rare Rothschild giraffe. As a water-rich environment, pods of hippos are a sure thing.
Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda occupies more than 760 square kilometres and one of the last remaining habitats to include both lowland and montane forests. It is close to the Ndali-Kasenda crater area with the Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks not too far off.
The park is home to the highest density of primates in Africa. There are 13 chimpanzee species that total 1 450 individual animals. The threatened red colobus and I’Hoest’s monkeys, as well as black-and-white colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys and olive baboons, can also be spotted.
Chimpanzee tracking and getting close to other habituated primates is the most popular safari activity on offer. Daytime hiking and night time walks are unique experiences while bird watching tours in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary just outside the park are also available.
The Queen Elizabeth National Park is undoubtedly the crowning glory among the country’s wildlife havens and indeed one of the best safari parks in Uganda. This magnificent land is a prime location for a myriad of fauna and flora species. The famed tree-climbing lions of the Queen Elizabeth National Park lure many travellers to these shores while as much as ten primate species have made a home within the park’s borders.
The wide variety of habitats are home to one of the largest numbers of bird species in East Africa. These include the collared pratincole, palm-nut vulture, swamp flycatcher, as well as the more rare Pel’s fishing owl and the shoebill.
The Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a wide range of safaris and other activities for visitors. These include scenic game drives with enthralling wildlife encounters, while bird watchers will continuously scan the skies for the feathered kind. For those seeking a closer connection with primates, there is chimpanzee trekking in the Kyambura gorge. Take to the water for a cruise on Lake Edward and Lake George.
Located in the western part of Uganda on Congo’s border, the Semuliki National Park is one of the newest parks in the country to receive this status. The park’s terrain is a continuum of undulating lowland tropical rainforest stretching across 220 square kilometres of vast valley fringed by the Rwenzori Mountains in the south.
The park is known more for its topography and geographical points of interest than its wildlife. However, there are an impressive 53 mammals within the park. Mammal species include hippo, bush babies, civet, elephant, flying squirrels and leopard. Visitors might be lucky enough to spot primates—there are over eight species in the park.
The best way to explore Semuliki National Park is on foot. There are a variety of trails within the park, ranging from eight kilometres to 13 kilometres. All trails include a visit to the boiling hot springs. Guided walks on the longer routes are designed to find primates and spot rare birds.