Ugandan Destinations Not to be Missed
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home of the rare but critically endangered Mountain Gorillas (gorilla beringei beringei), lies on the edge of the albertine Rift Valley in south-western Uganda, with a wide altitude range between 1,160m and 2,600m.
The forest itself, dating back to the ice ages, is one of Uganda's oldest and ecologically most diverse with almost 400 species of plants, 350 species of birds ;including 23 Albertine Rift endemics as well as 120 mammals species including lots of smaller ones like rodents and bats but also the Gorillas, Baboons, Chimpanzees, Elephants and Antelopes.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda's most popular tourist destination. It is home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees.
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is the largest protected area in Uganda. The waterfall for which the park is named is the most electrifying sight of its type in East Africa. The southern part of the park is mostly covered by dense woodlands and harbors, some of the most varied forest faunas in East Africa, and a premier site for bird watchers. It is one of the best- and most affordable - places to track our second cousins, the chimpanzees.
Kibaale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park features one of Uganda`s loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest. The park is home to a variety of forest wildlife species, most famously 13 species of primates including the endangered chimpanzees. The northern part is dominated by the forest and central parts of the park on the elevated Fort Portal plateau. Kibale stands 1590m above sea level, making it the highest at the park’s northern tip.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is known as the 'Home for Zebras'. The park's well developed Acacia woodland harbors a number of wildlife species and it is the best place in the country to see the gigantic eland antelope, as well as topi, impala and several acacia-associated birds. Lake Mburo is the largest of the five lakes found in the park, which together attract hippos, crocodiles and a variety of water birds, while the swamps hide sitatunga antelope.
Bigodi Swamp is famous for its swamp walk, an initiative of the local community and is known for its rich diversity of birds and primates. The walk is about 4km in length taking 3-4 hours at birding pace with local community guides. All proceeds from eco- tourism go back to into the community, a conservation project well worth supporting. The most interesting part of the swamp walk is a chance to see the ever elusive shoebill stork, bushpigs, otters, black and white colobus monkeys, blue turacos etc. It is a paradise especially for bird watchers.
Jinja, where the sun shines all year and the fun never stops is famous as the historic source of the Might River Nile. It is now known as the adventure capital of East Africa because of the endless adrenaline-inducing activities such as white-water rafting, kayaking, quad biking, mountain biking and horse riding all set in a gorgeous backdrop of crumbling colonial architecture.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. From Apoka, in the heart of the national park, a savanna landscape extends in all directions, far beyond the gazetted area of 1442km2, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges. The park contains two rivers – Kidepo and Narus – which disappear in the dry season, leaving just pools for the wildlife. The local communities around the park include pastoral Karamojong people, similar to the Maasai of Kenya, and the IK, a hunter-gatherer tribe whose survival is threatened.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The fabled "Mountains of the Moon" in Rwenzori Mountains National Park, one of Uganda's UNESCO heritage sites lie in Western Uganda along the Congolese border where the snow-covered equatorial peaks rise to a height of 5,109m and the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland and rich montane forest. Mount Rwenzori stands as the third tallest mountain range in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.
Lake Bunyonyi, also known as the place of little birds is located in South Western Uganda between the districts of Kisoro and Kabale close to the border with Rwanda. It is believed to be the second deepest lake in Africa with its deepest end approximately 900m. The lake is dotted with 29 beautiful islands.
The most prominent of these include the Akampene Island also known as the punishment island, Bushara, Kyahugye, Bwama and Njuyeera, and Bucuranuka. Lake Bunyonyi is home to otters, cray fish and many little birds. It’s the perfect place for relaxation with activities like canoe rides, island hopping, swimming, ziplining and biking and forest walks.
Ngamba Island is currently home to 49 orphaned and confiscated chimps, rescued from the illegal pet and bushmeat trade. Despite their initial trauma, chimps living at Ngamba have a safe and semi-natural environment in which to recover and eventually thrive over their long lives of up to 60 years.
The island offers 95 acres of natural forest where the chimps freely roam and forage for food.