Uganda spreads across both sides of the equator and is truly “gifted by nature” and presents a number of 10 national parks, 12 wildlife reserves, and 14 wildlife sanctuaries. They all offer wildlife enthusiasts a thrilling opportunity to experience Uganda’s biodiversity, including and going beyond the famous rare mountain gorillas. The country is a habitat to more than 15 species of primates of the diurnal and nocturnal families. For example the Golden monkey, baboons, Blue monkeys, Patas monkey, Debeza’s monkey, l’Hoest’s monkeys, Grey cheeked mangabey monkeys, Black and white colobus monkeys, and Red colobus monkeys are Diurnal primates. Nocturnal primates include the Bush babies and Pottos.
From the tropical rain forests to the mesmerizing tracts of thorn bush savannah teeming with antelope, buffalo, and elephants, shimmering lakes and rivers heaving with aquatic life, and the snow caped glacial peaks of Africa’s remarkable Rwenzori mountain range, Uganda has much to offer.
Kidepo Valley National Park:
Located in the far north eastern corner of the country, this area is remote, wild and poorly visited despite the rich wildlife the park has to offer. It provides refugee to along list of dry country species found nowhere else in the country. Some examples include cheetahs and the Greater kudu. Because of the perennial waters of this park, large numbers of elephants especially during the dry season and thousands of strong buffalo herds for a potential game viewing can be found at Kidepo Valley National Park.
Mount Elgon National Park:
Near Mbale town and effective for a Kenya-Uganda multi-border safari or connection to Kidepo valley in the north lies this gem. Mount Elgon National Park encompasses the 4321 meter mountain after which the park is named with the largest base of any extinct volcano in the world. The park presents a lush mosaic of afro montane forests, lobelia elgonensis, grasslands, heath, as well as moorlands. This makes it a highly rewarding destination for hikers as different trails at Sipi Falls, Saswa and Piswa trail, can be taken for a hike of a few days to the mountains.
Murchison Falls National Park:
This is the country’s largest protected area of palm studded grasslands supporting dense population of lions, buffaloes, elephants, and Uganda kob with localised Rothschild’s giraffe and Patas monkey. Hippos are immensely concentrated here as birds can be observed from morning to the afternoon at different sites of the park. Instinct Safaris leads guided trips and launch trips along the magnificient Nile below the spectacular waterfall from which the park derives its name.
Kibale National Park:
Kibale hosts a population of more than 1000 chimpanzees of which one community of 80 chimps has been habituated to daily tourist visits, as well as half dozen readily observed monkeys, including the acrobatic Red colobus and Black and White colobus and l’Hoest’s monkey.
Semliki Wildlife Reserve:
Join Instinct Safaris for this remote park lower lying on a Ugandan extension of the DR Congo’s Ituli rain forest set at the base of the northern Rwenzori mountains. The region is perfect for special birding safaris with a dedicated Instinct Safari bird guide for some 40 Congolese bird species recorded nowhere else in the country. The spectacular Semliki Wildlife Reserve nearby that borders Lake albert is one of the best locations for sightings of the rare swamp dwelling shoebill.
Rwenzori mountains national park:
The Rwenzoris are special with their eastern slopes and the 120 km long glacial peaks and the mountains of the moon. This mountain range provides a world class hiking and mountaineering experience. The significance as a source of the Nile was first made by Alexandrian geographer Ptolemy at around 150 AD. With their highest peaks of Mt. Stanley and Margherita Peak, the Rwenzoris rise from the Rift Valley floor to an elevation of 5109 meters. On the climb, one can see the many different vegetation zones. As Rwenzori means “rain maker”, mossy and lobelia covered ridges make a climb in the Rwenzoris unforgettable.
Queen Elizabeth National Park:
Located in the shadow of the Rwenzoris with flanking lakes Edward and George in the lush savannah provides shelter for prime grazing buffaloes, herds of elephants, and many antelopes. The extraordinary ecological diversity of this park can be seen in the high number of endemic bird species- a checklist of more than 600 bird species has been compiled. Kazinga Channel is one of the most popular destinations within the park. The peninsula offers a golden opportunity to join a morning or evening boat cruise for fantastic game viewing of aquatic, aerial and terrestrial wildlife species.
The Ishasha sector of the park is famous for the mammalian specialities including the elsewhere elusive giant forest hog as well as the legendary tree climbing lions. Kyambura Gorge provides the chance to track the habituated chimpanzees out in the wild on top of a game drive to sight on all what Queen Elizabeth National Park has to offer on your safari.
Lake Mburo National Park:
Centered on a series of swamp fringed lakes lies this savannah reserve. While being the closest to Kampala and easiest to access, Lake Mburo National Park is famous for its rich birdlife, green acacia woodlands, lakes, dense population of zebras, warthogs, buffaloes, impalas, and grazing Ankole long horned cattle.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:
This park is especially known for its superb mountain gorilla trekking activities in the northern sector (Buhoma village) for Rushegura, Mubare, and Habinyanja families, whereas Nkuringo, Kahungye, Mishaya, Nshongi, and Bweza gorilla families can be accessed from the southern sector entrances (Rubuguri/Nkuringo). Orujogo and Bitukura families are trekked in the eastern sector of the national park (Ruhija village). Besides the mountain gorillas, Bwindi also provides refugee to elephants, chimpanzees, monkeys, and various small antelope species as well as 23 bird species restricted to the Albertine Rift, only.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park:
Nyakagezi mountain gorillas form the main attraction at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. the park protects the Ugandan portion of the Virungas, an imposing string of nine free standing extinct and active volcanoes that runs along the border with Rwanda and the DR Congo. Besides the renowned nature walks, day hikes to the crater lake of Mount Muhabura, the Batwa trail, caving, Golden monkey trekking at the foothill of the volocanoes and visiting the crater swamp at Mount Mgahinga can be done.