Uganda - Destinations
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of UNESCO`s heritage sites best known for mountain gorillas mostly explored during the gorilla tracking safari tours. Bwindi is one of the few national parks in Africa to have flourished throughout the last Ice Age and it is home to roughly half of the world’s mountain gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is Uganda’s top gorilla trekking destination being a natural habitat that hosts the highest population of the rare mountain gorillas. The Bwindi forest has both habituated and wild gorilla populations with about 19 families well habituated to suit the gorilla trekking experience requirements and some reserved for gorilla habituation purposes.
Uganda has the best chance of viewing these delightful apes with the fact that it boasts two parks where they have been habituated for human visits that are; the Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks which harbor over half of the remaining world mountain gorillas.
Located at the southwest corner of Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable forest together with the Mgahinga region are believed to inhabit more than half of the remaining mountain gorillas on earth. That’s why they’re an endangered species under 24-hour protection.
The variant biodiversity is supported by the fact that Bwindi is extremely old and also its slopes extend over a broad altitudinal range of 1447m above sea level, enabling habitats ranging from lowland forest to Afromontane vegetation.
The distance between Kampala and Bwindi is 415 km and the estimated transit time is between 6-8 hours by road. The park can also be accessed by air using an aircraft that transfers travelers from either Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airstrip to one of the 4 airstrips around the park.
Good and affordable accommodation is also available on the slopes of the mountain and neighboring towns like Kasese plus camping sites on the mountain slopes. Accommodation is available for luxury, mid-range as well as budget, or basic travelers from any part of the globe.
Kibale National Park a mainly forested park is the ultimate chimpanzee trekking destination in Africa and a must-visit for primate lovers during any primate tracking tour in Uganda.
The park is home to over 1400 chimpanzees and other 13 primate species. Kibale National Park is a tropical rainforest located in the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge.
The park has one of the best vegetation covers with luxuriant yet dense vegetation that forms such a great forest to explore. Kibale Forest National Park is comprised of varied tracts of tropical forest cover interspersed with patches of grasslands and swamps dominated in the northern and central parts of the park. The park covers about 795 square kilometers.
To get to Kibale Forest National Park, tourists can reach by road from any part of the country. It is about 320 kilometers by road west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital, and majorly accessed by road.
The best time of the year to go chimpanzee trekking is during the months of April to May.
This is, however, the rainy season and not a good time for other Uganda safari activities but then referred to as the best time for chimpanzee trekking. June to October is the best time of the year to visit Uganda and do any kinds of activity, you can also go chimpanzee trekking during this time.
Tucked far in the northeastern region of Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park is apparently referred to as one of Africa’s best wilderness. Kidepo is the most isolated national park in Uganda but still so privileged to stand out as a top Uganda safari destination any wildlife enthusiast can visit to see wildlife and enjoy the scenery of this great park.
Kidepo Valley National Park harbors a couple of rare species that cannot be found in any other Ugandan national park. Situated within a region that has very unique cultures, aside form viewing wildlife, a visit to Kidepo is best suited with a cultural tour.
Kidepo Valley National Park is a true gem worth visiting with an abundance of wildlife that remains much more intact because of the location of the park leaving it host to fewer tourists than other destinations.
The area was gazetted as a national park in 1962, located in the Kaabong district of northeastern Uganda.
Getting to Kidepo National Park can be either by road or air. There is an airstrip inside the park which makes it easy for tourists traveling by air to reach the park and have safaris. It is approximately 510 kilometers by road from Kampala to Kidepo. It is almost 12 hours ride from the capital to the park but a journey worth undertaking.
The best time to visit Kidepo Valley National Park for game viewing is during the dry season months of July and August. This is because during these times animals are concentrated near water points to quench their thirst unlike in the rainy season when water is abundant and therefore animals are dispersed all through the park. During the dry season, it is sunny with a few cloudy days which makes views great.
Accommodation is available in the park putting into consideration all kinds of travelers. Accommodation in Kidepo Valley National Park ranges from luxury to budget which makes it a suitable destination no matter one’s planned budget. Some of the luxury lodges include Apoka safari lodge and the newly constructed Adere safari lodge, mid-range lodges include Nga’moru wilderness camp and savannah Kidepo lodge whereas Apoka camp offers budget accommodation.
Lake Mburo National Park is the closest park in Uganda to the capital-Kampala. This makes it the most suitable national park for a day tour
especially tailored for wildlife viewing on game drives, cycling, horse riding, or boat cruise activities.
About 200 kilometers from Kampala, Lake Mburo National Park, is convenient for visitors who would like to experience wildlife at the shortest distance possible.
The park is situated approximately 200 kilometers by road, west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital on the highway to the western part of the country where many more national parks are situated.
At 260 square kilometers, Lake Mburo National Park is Uganda’s smallest savannah national park, but one of the most interesting parks.
On a drive to Lake Mburo National Park, tourists also get the chance to visit the equator line which divides the world into two halves of the northern and southern hemispheres.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park’s natural habitat to a family of mountain gorillas sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2000 and just over 4000 meters. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests. At the southwest tip of Uganda is the living tapestry of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
lt is composed of steep terraced hills that bewilder the eye. At just over 4000 meters in height, the muhavura dominates the skyline around Kisoro district.
It seems to be brooding about bygone days when it was an active volcano that helped to define the landscape of the region. There is an air of mysticism surrounding muhavura complemented by the mist that often covers its summit.
Mgahinga is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.
Mgahinga’s most striking features are its three conical, extinct volcanoes (Gahinga, Sbyinyo, and Muhabura) which are part of the spectacular Virunga Range that lies along the border region of the part of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda.
Mgahinga forms part of the much larger Virunga conservation area which includes adjacent parks of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo.
Situated on the border between Kenya and Uganda, Mount Elgon National Park has the largest surface area of an extinct volcano in the world and a caldera that covers over 40 square kilometers.
Mount Elgon National Park is within the transboundary of Mount Elgon with the highest peak, Wagagai at 4,321m above sea level.
This is the second-highest peak in Uganda after Mountain Rwenzori and the eighth highest in the African continent.
Mount Elgon National Park covers 1,110 square kilometers. It was gazette in 1992.
The slopes of the Mountain support a rich variety of vegetation ranging from montane forest to high open moorland studded with the giant lobelia and groundsel plants varying with altitude.
The best time to visit Mount Elgon National Park is during the months of June to August and December to March when it is the dry season. During this time the climate is favorable for visitors to the park as temperatures are warm making the high altitude easier to hike. During the dry season, there are fewer chances of rain, however, it does not guarantee that it will not rain.
To get to Mount Elgon National Park, tourists can access the park by, especially road transport. It is about 416 kilometers from the park from Entebbe International Airport which is Uganda’s only international airport. From Uganda’s capital Kampala, it is about 341 kilometers. The park can also be accessed from any other part of the country including after or before visits to other tourist sites.
Murchison Falls National Park is a popular wildlife viewing destination and Uganda’s largest national park covering 3,893 square kilometers. Because of the parks’ proximity to the country’s’ capital Kampala and the abundance of attractions to see, the park receives lots of visitors each year. It is a top destination for short tours in Uganda for wildlife sightings.
The park gains its name from the popular Murchison Falls which forms when the Nile River forces its waters through a 7 meter (23 ft.) gap of rocks then later tumbles 43 meters (141 ft.) below.
The water pours into what is referred to as the devil’s cauldron then continues to flow westward into Lake Albert.
The falls were named by Sir Samuel Baker after Roderick Murchison the then President of the Royal Geographical Society an organization in the 17th Century that was sponsoring the African exploration. The park was also named Kabalega falls, the title of the cultural leader in the area, and is still referred to as so by the local people.
To get to Murchison Falls National Park, tourists can reach there by road or by air. There are several airfields within the park that travelers interested in using air transport can land at from either Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airfield in Kampala.
Accommodation at Murchison Falls National Park caters to all kinds of travelers and these include luxury, midrange, and budget lodges. These can be found in all sectors of the park to accommodate all budgets.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a top Uganda wildlife tour destination with the major drawcard being the tree climbing lions that can only be found in the Ishasha sector of the park within Uganda.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is situated in the western region of Uganda, spanning the districts of Kasese. Kamwenge, Rubirizi, and Rukungiri. The park is approximately 400 kilometers southwest of Uganda’s capital Kampala.
Covering nearly 2000 square kilometers this protected area was named to honor the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in the early 1950s.
The park includes the Kyambura Gorge which is also referred to as the valley of apes as it hosts a few chimpanzees within the beautifully scenic valley. The park extends from Lake George in the northeast to Lake Edward in the southwest including the Kazinga channel that connects the two lakes.
The park is formed by picturesque features that were left behind by volcanic action that occurred decades ago and now form the major scenery of the park. Some of these include Lake George to the northeast and Lake Edward to the southwest boundaries of the park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is also dubbed the medley of wonders, the park has a variety of wildlife with vast savannah grasslands. To have a great wildlife viewing experience, tourists should always ensure to travel during the best time of the year for these experiences. The park is open all year round, however, the best time of the year to visit is from January to February, and June to August is the dry season.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is within the legendary Rwenzori Mountains which are Africa’s highest mountain range, 5,109 meters (16,762 ft.) above sea level with 6 massifs separated by deep gorges. The 6 massifs are Mount Stanley (5,109 meters) highest peak known as Margherita, Mount Speke (4,890 m), Mount Baker (4,843 m), Mount Emin (4,798), Mount Gessi (4,715 m), and Mount Lugi di Savioa (4,627 m).
Rwenzori or also known as Mountains of the Moon is located along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rwenzori Mountain ranges were formed about three million years ago as a result of an uplifted block of crystalline rocks. During their formation, the uplift led to the formation of Lake Albert, Lake Edward, and Lake George which are the present-day African Great Lakes
The peaks of the mountain ranges (not a single free-standing mountain) are snowcapped and glaciated though because of the effects of climate change the snowcapped peaks are slowly melting.
The mountain ranges were named the Mountains of the Moon by the Greek Scholar Ptolemy during the European exploration of Africa and also identified it as one of the sources of the Nile River.
The high Rwenzori is a montane wonderland, with the trails to the snow peaks of the ranges following glacier-carved valleys with fantastically colored mosses and rare Afro-alpine plants that include giant forms of lobelias, heathers, and groundsels. The vegetation is unique as one hike to the top of the mountain.
Though a less popular Uganda safari national park, Semuliki National Park is one remote park to explore especially for birders. Semuliki National Park is near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and of the huge lturi forest.
Its remoteness makes it a superb home for birds many of these species you cannot find on the beaten path. Semuliki Park also boasts of being centered in one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests which means it offers a real jungle experience in a natural habitat that is unique and rare to get.
At first glance, the scenery may seem bleak to the eye. The forests are not as lush as other regions but this is where you will find several national hot springs that bubble away softly.
The Semuliki hot springs are the most popular and scenic hot springs in Uganda with a lot of amazing history on their formation. There are also salt deposits much favored by surrounding wildlife.
Semuliki National Park lies along with the main Fort Portal to Bundibugyo road, 52 km from Fort Portal which makes it accessible by road especially by tourists having a western Uganda circuit trip. The road that connects to the park can become treacherous after heavy rains, so the best times to sightsee or undertake any activity in the park would be during the fairly dry season which is between July-August and December to February.