National Parks in Uganda
National Parks in Uganda: Uganda is a country located in east Africa and is neighbored by Kenya to the east, Tanzania to the south and the democratic republic of Congo to the west and Sudan in the north.
Also referred to as the pearl of Africa, Uganda is home to various tourist destinations like national parks and game reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, Lakes and rivers, Mountains and hills and also a variety of cultures.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) manages the tourism sector and attracting investors for the industry. UWA is also in charge of issuing gorilla permits and managing the different national parks in Uganda.
Uganda also has beautiful landscapes such as the rift valley, tropical forests, terraced hills as well as numerous wildlife and plant life. The national parks in Uganda include the following;
Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park is located in the north western part of Uganda and is situated in the Albertine rift valley. The national park is 3893 square kilometers in size.
This national park is the oldest and largest national park in Uganda which is locally referred to as Kabalega national park. Murchison falls national park was gazetted in 1926 as a wildlife reserve with about 76 wildlife species and over 451 bird species.
Murchison falls conservation area consists of Murchison falls national park which is a popular wildlife viewing destination in Uganda, Bugungu wildlife reserve and Karuma falls wildlife reserve.
Some of the big 5 (elephants, lions, leopards and buffalos) are part of the wildlife viewing experience in Murchison falls national park which is also home to other wildlife species such as hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, antelopes among others.
The thunderous Murchison falls are a major attraction in the national park and these falls are between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert on the Victoria Nile in Uganda. The waterfall is formed where the river Nile forces its way through a narrow gorge forming a 43 meters waterfall.
Different activities take place during safaris in Murchison falls national park and they include game drives, Launch cruise or boat rides to the bottom of the Murchison falls, top of the falls hike, birding as well as spot fishing.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is another national park which is found in Uganda. This national park is located in the south western part of Uganda.
Bwindi is a UNSECO world heritage site and was gazetted in 1991 with an aim of conserving and protecting the gorillas which are a major sort after attraction among tourists who visit Uganda for safaris.
The Bwindi impenetrable forest is not only home to the gorillas but also other wildlife species and over 360 bird species and also butterflies. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park consists of sectors such as Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo.
The different sectors in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park have different gorilla families which can be seen during the gorilla trekking activity. Other primates in the Bwindi forest include black and white colobus monkeys and l’hoest monkeys.
A gorilla permit in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is at 700 USD for nonresidents, 600 USD for foreign residents and 250,000 Ugandan shillings for East African community residents to engage in gorilla trekking.
Kibale national park
Kibale national park is located in the western part of Uganda and it covers 795 square kilometers on the floor of the Albertine rift valley to the south.
Kibale national park is made up of a tropical forest and is also made up of woodland and savannah and is home to chimpanzees and many other 13 primate species such as black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, l’hoest monkeys, baboons.
This national park is famous for chimpanzee trekking and is also referred to as the primate capital. There are also over 375 bird species in Kibale national park which can be seen during a trip around the Kibale forest.
Kibale national park creates a corridor with Queen Elizabeth national park for wildlife between ishasha sector which is in the southern part of Queen Elizabeth national park. The national park is also a short distance from other destinations such as the Ndali crater, Semuliki national park and Toro semliki game reserve.
Apart from chimpanzee trekking, tourists also engage in chimpanzee habituation during a safari in Kibale national park. Other activities carried out in Kibale national park include bird watching and guided forest walks.
Chimpanzee permits in Kibale national park costs 200 USD for nonresidents, 150 USD for foreign residents 150,000 Uganda shillings for East African residents and chimpanzee habituation permits cost 250 USD.
Kidepo valley national park
Kidepo valley national park is a remote national park which is located in the north eastern part of Uganda. The national park covers about 1442 square kilometers and was gazetted in 1962 as a national park.
This national park also has the 2nd largest number of giraffes in Uganda with about 50 giraffes. Kidepo valley national park is also home to the Karamojong and Ik people who live in the local communities around the national park.
The Ik people live in the mountains and are known for their unique way of life and culture which can be experienced during a safari to Kidepo valley national park. Karamojong people are pastoralists who depend highly on their livestock such as cattle for survival. The Ik and Karamojong people are similar to the Maasai people who can be seen in Kenya and Tanzania.
Kidepo valley national park is made up of vast savannah plains, valleys and also mountain ranges as well as rivers like Kidepo river and Narus rivers which are both seasonal rivers which disappear during the dry season.
There are also about 475 bird species which can be seen in Kidepo valley national park during a safari. Wildlife species in the national park include zebras, lions, leopards, giraffes, buffalos and many others.
Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth national park is the 2nd largest national park in Uganda and is located in the south western part of Uganda.
The national park which covers 1978 square kilometers is famous for tree climbing lions which can be seen in the ishasha sector. Queen Elizabeth national park has divesre ecosystems and over 95 wildlife species and 600 bird species.
Founded in 1952 as Kazinga national park, the name of the national park was later changed to Queen Elizabeth national park after the Queen of England. This national park is made up of savannah plains, wetlands and lakes.
The Kazinga channel where Lake Edward and Lake George meet is one of the attractions which can be seen during a safari in Queen Elizabeth national park. Boat rides or launch cruises take place along the Kazinga channel and tourists enjoy seeing wildlife species along the lake shores such as elephants, buffalos, giraffes as well as different bird species on the lake shore.
Mount Rwenzori can be seen in the backdrop of Queen Elizabeth national park during safaris in the national park. Wildlife species which can be spotted during a game drive around the national park include elephants, buffalos, Uganda kobs, hippos among others.
Chimpanzee trekking is another activity which can be carried out during a safari in Queen Elizabeth national park in Kyambura gorge and Kalinzu forest.
Lake Mburo national park
Lake Mburo national park is found in the western part of Uganda and is the smallest of the national parks of Uganda covering about 370 square kilometers.
Part of the national park about 20% is covered by wetlands and Lake Mburo national park is also made up of savannah and woodlands, rocky ridges and forested gorges which act as habitat for the various wildlife species in the national park.
Wildlife species which can be seen in Lake Mburo national park include zebras, impalas, oribi, waterbucks, leopards, hippos, reedbucks as well as over 350 bird species which can be spotted during a safari at the destination.
Lake Mburo national park is the closest national park to Kampala and this national park became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1993. The local communities which live around the national park include the Ankole people and Bahima.
Folk stories are also told about the national park for example the name of the national park was derived from a story about 2 brothers Kigarama and Mburo who lived in the valley. Activities which are carried out during a safari in Lake Mburo national park include game drives, Nature walks, bird watching, boat rides, horse riding as well as cultural experiences.
Mount Elgon national park
Mount Elgon national park is another national park in Uganda which is visited during safaris and it is located along the Kenya and Uganda border.
The mountain is the 4th highest mountain in East Africa and is home to the Bagisu people and the Sabiny. Mount Elgon is an extinct shield volcano which is also referred to by the Bagisu people as mount Masaba.
There are also different wildlife and bird species which can be seen during a safari experience to Mount Elgon national park. The highest peak of Mount Elgon is known as Wagagai peak and the mountain also has other peaks such as Sudek, Koitobos, Mubiyi and Masaba.
Rwenzori mountains national park
Rwenzori mountains national park was gazetted in 1991 and it became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994.
The highest point on Mount Rwenzori is the Margherita peak which is at 5109 meters. The mountain is also referred to as the mountains of the moon and it is a snow capped mountain found in the south western part of Uganda.
Many tourists visit this destination to engage in hiking adventures and mountaineering on Mount Rwenzori and getting to the highest point on this mountain takes up to 9 to 12 days to get to the summit.
Activities which are carried out in Rwenzori mountains national park include hiking, mountain climbing, cultural experiences as well as nature walks.
Mgahinga national park
Mgahinga national park is another gorilla trekking destination located in the south western part of Uganda.
This national park is part of the Virunga ranges and it is found at the border of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Mgahinga national park is also known for golden monkey trekking activity as well as for interactions with the Batwa community.
The national park is made up of bamboo forests, montane forests, moorlands, heath as well as alpine zone. Mgahinga national park is home to numerous bird species which can be seen during a safari.
Semuliki national park
Semuliki national park is another national park which is visited for safaris in Uganda. This national park is located in the south western part of Uganda.
The national park is famous for the male and female hot springs and it lies in the western arm of the rift valley in Bundibugyo district. Semuliki national park covers about 220 square kilometers and has about 441 bird species.
Semuliki national park has one of the ancient bio diverse forests and has attractions such as the Sempaya hot springs which are called Bitende and Nyasimbi which are major tourist attractions in the destinations.
There are also different wildlife species which can be seen during a safari in Semuliki national park as well as numerous bird species. Activities which take place in the national park include guided nature walks, bird watching and cultural encounters.
Visit Uganda and explore the different national parks in the pearl of Africa.