Uganda is one of the best places to have your safari. Uganda is indeed the pearl of Africa as named by the European explorer sir Winston Churchill in 1908 in his book entitled “My African journey”. Uganda is more beautiful than what one can put into words; from the beautiful and breath-taking landscape to the dazzling crystal lakes and rivers and the beautiful weather.
With a combination of the Right destination and Activities, fantastic guiding and exclusive experiences for the time of year you are traveling, there are a lot of places where one can go for a safari in Uganda as the country is home to a range of diverse National parks with classic game viewing, chimpanzee and gorilla Trekking, mountain climbing and hiking Boat and river cruises. Uganda provides a great deal of authentic Safaris across its Safari Destinations. Here are some of the places where you can go for a safari in Uganda.
Murchison falls National Park; Lies at the Northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley was gazetted as a Game Reserve in 1926 and is Uganda’s Largest and Oldest Conservation area, hosting 76 species of mammals and 452 birds.
The Park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, Which plunges 45m Over the remnant Rift Valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison falls, the Center piece of the Park and the final event in an 80km Stretch of Rapids.
The Murchison Falls, the Nile squeezes through an 8m wide gorge and plunges with a thunderous roar into the “Devil’s Cauldron”, creating an trade mark Rainbow. These falls are among the most magnificent water falls in found in Uganda. Activities at the Murchison Falls National Park includes;
Birding opportunities on both Game drives and Boat Trips for a distinct birdlife, including Savannah Forest Birds, Water Birds and Albertine rift endemics.
Game drives around the Buligi Game tracks on the northern bank with a trained ranger guide is a fantastic way to see and photograph the wide range of animal in the Nile Valley.
Hiking and Nature Walks in the vast landscapes and varied scenery of Murchison National Park and the surrounding Conservation area can be explored on Foot. Trail through Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo Forests providing sights of many -primates and birds and around the Nile Delta 2- 4 Hour guided swamp walks.
Launch Trips upstream from Paraa presents an astonishing display of Wildlife and culminates with memorable frontal view of the falls. A morning Cruise downstream to the Nile Lake Albert Nile or a sundowner cruise offers excellent views of the equatorial sunset reflected on the Nile River.
Sport fishing on the Banks of the Nile below Murchison Falls provide exciting Challenges to anglers with a chance to land on a massive catch.
Cultural Encounters from energetic dancers from Mubako perform around lodge Campfires, making a magical African Experience.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary; Located in Nakasongola, along Kampala – Gulu highway towards Murchison Falls National Park. It is the only place where you are able to see Rhinos in the Wild, Guided Nature walks, birding.
Queen Elizabeth national park; was named after the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth National Park and is Uganda’s most popular Tourist destination set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains with dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green Hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with Hippos, Buffalos and Elephants and endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda Kob. The park harbours different wildlife species including 95 animal species which are classified into the big game animals like elephant, buffaloes, waterbucks, bushbucks, warthogs among others. These can be viewed during game drives while on a Safari Experience through kasenyi, the North Kazinga Plains and the Ishasha Sector plains for the rare tree – Climbing lions, Mweya Peninsular taking an Experienced Guide in early Morning or at dusk for guaranteed buffalo, Antelope and Elephant sights, along with Warthogs and Baboons.
Launch Trips / Boat Cruise on the Kazinga channel for an Oasis of fascinating species that inhabit the Park while on a boat tour as you enjoy hundreds of enormous hippos, Buffalos while elephants linger on the Shoreline.
Hiking / Nature Walks; are a more active ways to explore the landscapes and Wildlife of Queen Elizabeth national park. Locations for Hiking and Nature walks include the Shady Maramagambo Forest, Mweya Peninsular and Ishasha River, where you can spot a Variety of Forest and Savanna Species as well as having unique opportunities to get extremely close to Hippos on Foot.
Chimpanzee tracking in the Kyambura Gorge Experience is more than discovering Chimpanzees in their natural Environment. With approximately 10 primates like red tailed monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, velvet monkeys among others. This therefore makes the park one of the few places that will give you a once in life time safari experience.
For those that love bird watching, Queen Elizabeth national park will be an interesting destination. The Park is classified as an important Birding Area because the park harbours a number of bird species which include African crake, black bellied bastard, crowned plover long crested eagle, yellow backed weaver, Yellow bill, common greenshank, southern red shop, palm-nut vulture, yellow wagtail, gull-billed tern among others. Birding is conducted in various sectors of the park like Kazinga channel where you will be able watch these beautiful birds.
The Bat Cave tucked beneath the shady canopy of the Maramagambo Forest with a viewing room from which visitors can observe the Resident Bats ad Pythons.
Cultural Heritage and Nature trail to see the Energetic dances of the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performers, Works harvesting salt on Lake Katwe, A traditional Bunyaruguru hut, an Agricultural village- all guided by those who know the local communities better.
Wildlife Research Tour is a new and unique experience that allows you to get up close to Wild African Fauna, a Research trip is worth the adventure as visitors actively participate in monitoring some of the exotic birds and Mammals using locator devices and learn habituation calls, as well as monitoring weather, surroundings and behavior.
Bwindi impenetrable national park; is located in south-western Uganda and is considered as one of the top destinations to have a safari in Uganda. The Park is home to the endangered mountain gorillas and Gorilla Tracking is the major Tourist activity that will have you hiking through the forest in search of the endangered mountain gorillas. With 19 habituated gorilla families, travelers can track in the 4 different sectors of the park and 8 Tourists are booked per group per day and Gorilla Permits must be booked before since they are on a very high demand all year round. A Gorilla safari to Bwindi impenetrable will give you a once in lifetime experience. Bwindi impenetrable National Park does not only provide home to mountain gorillas but also harbours other animals like elephants, chimpanzees, monkeys, antelopes among others. Bwindi impenetrable National Park also prides in being home to the globally threatened species of birds like the Albertine rift endemic such as the short tailed webler, African green broadbill and crimson wing. Bwindi has about 350 species of birds. Mountain biking is also done through well maintained 13 Km Trails of Ivi River from the park Office and Nature walks to Waterfalls and parts of the Forest trails.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; Is one of the smallest and most famous and visited National Parks in Uganda located in Western Uganda and is part of the larger eco system of the Virunga Conservation which includes two adjacent Parks in Rwanda and Congo. The Park sits high in the Clouds at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m formed to protect the rare Mountain Gorillas and also a habitat for endangered Golden Monkey. Its most striking features are the three conical extinct Volcanoes. The Park is home to 300 Gorillas Located in the Virunga Massif and Gorilla tracking as an activity / excursion is carried out at the Ntebeko Entrance at 8:00am daily with a guide who leads you through the Gorillas’ world surrounded by wild Forest and Impressive birdlife, explaining about the Gorilla behavior along the way. Book your gorilla trekking permit before to have less chaotic safari.
Golden monkey trekking is another unique activity that cannot be done elsewhere in Uganda apart from Mgahinga National park thus making it your next safari destination. The availability of Habituated Golden Monkeys makes it Possible for travelers to track them when in the park. Travelers need to purchase golden monkey tracking permits to be allowed to take part in this amazing activity. They can be purchased from Uganda wildlife Authority or through a trusted tour operator.
The best birding in Mgahinga also takes in some of the most beautiful scenery in the gorge between Mt. Gahinga and Sabinyo through the Bamboo Forest and in the montane Forest where you can observe the beautiful Rwenzori Turaco. The park also has 180 bird species with endemics like handsome spur fowl, dusky crimson-wig, red throated alethe, collard apalis among others that you should not miss out seeing while on a safari in Uganda. Carry your binoculars and see up to 100 birds.
Cultural Encounters with in Mgahinga’s dense Forests was home to the Batwa Hunters and Food gatherers who depended and on the Forest for shelter, food and Medicine. They now lead visitors through the Forests and introduce them to their home and the techniques they used.
Hiking and Nature Walks around the foot hills of the Virunga Volcanoes giving visitors a chance to spot Forest birds, The Rugezi Swamp, Wild Vegetation, Bamboo Forest and glorious views of the surrounding Lakes and Agricultural Farms.
Mountain and Volcano Climbing in all the three volcanoes to the summit take full day each with views which are well worth taking in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Virunga, the Rwenzoris, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Lake Edward.
Kidepo valley national park
This is a wilderness park hot dry and isolated, yet spectacular. kidepo valley national park is situated in the Country’s distant North eastern Corner, close to Kenya and South Sudan in the semi-arid desert hence the weather here being hot and dry during most months of the year. Despite being the least travelled destination, Kidepo valley was rated third best safari destination. The large acacia forests, open savannah grassland, dry thickets, short trees, perennial grasses are some of the floral species in this park the beauty of Kidepo Valley National Park cannot easily be explained by eyes. The park harbours a number of extinct species of wildlife that can’t be found in any other national park in Uganda. The big five that is lions, leopard, lions, elephants, buffaloes and others can easily be spotted at;
The Narus Valley Game drive in the southerly part of the Park with permanent water points and Where Wildlife Congregates for much time of the year as you look out for buffalo and Elephant in swanps along the Valley floor, giraffe and eland on the drier slopes as you look out for lions
Kidepo Valley Drive is short on big Game but massive on scenery. 30Km north of the park at Apoka as the road crosses the dry sandy bed of the Kidepo river lined East by the Morungule Mountain range and to the North by the looming 2975m high Jebel Lotuke in South Sudan. Mammals are rarely seen in this area but Ostriches and Secretary birds are often seen.
Bird watching with Experienced guides help you locate and identify birdlife. The Pak boasts of about 500 species of birds including Abyssinian roller, pygmy falcon, red and yellow barbet, weaver birds, Egyptian vulture, African eagle among others. This makes a good destination for those that love bird watching therefore carry your binoculars and have a look at these beautiful creatures clearly.
Community walks outside the Kidepo Valley National Park provide the Opportunity to learn about life in the local Karamojong Manyattas/ homesteads at Kawalakol, Lorukul and Karenga.
Kibale forest national park
This is one of the best tourist destinations in east Africa and Africa famous for offering the best chimpanzee tracking safaris. The park has drawn its popularity to tourism due to the number of habituated chimpanzees across east Africa. kibale forest national park is home to over 1500 habituated chimpanzees. For those who wish to understand the life of the close relatives to humans because chimpanzees have been scientifically proven to share 98% of human DNA which makes the close to human beings.it is the most exciting and memory offering experience taking place in the deep forest of Kibale National Park. On this experience you are allowed only one hour with a group of habituated chimpanzees offered during day or afternoon. Chimpanzee Habituation experience is very amazing as you’re not only seeing chimpanzees in deep forests but also get a chance to see other primates like l’hoests, monkeys, red colobus, blue monkeys among others.
Bird watch is yet another activity that you cannot avoid while on a safari in Uganda. kibale forest national park boasts of several forest birds some which are endemic. These birds can be found across nearby craters and swampy vegetation of Bugodi wetland sanctuary. The park is home to the great blue turaco, black and white cascade hornbill, red-winged francolin, green-beasted pitta among others. It is considered the best birders destination with smooth sounds of birds worth of any Uganda safaris.
Visiting the Sipi falls is one of the top things to do while on a safari in Uganda. Sipi falls safari takes you for a visit to a series of 3 waterfalls found in eastern Uganda in Kapchorwa district. This gives you an opportunity to enjoy viewing Sipi river as it cascades down the foothills which culminates into a 99 meters drop. Hiking; areas around Sipi falls are starting points to hike mountain Elgon. Here one can have a scenic view of landscapes that range from karamoja plains. Sipi falls offers one of the best hiking safaris experience in Uganda. The hike involves visiting each of the 3 waterfalls which are allocated at different elevations along mountain Elgon. You will enjoy the nice views from up the mountain into the distant plains and low grounds adjacent to mountain Elgon meeting with happy and friendly locals it gives you a lifetime experience. Cultural walks and visits; after visiting sipi falls, visitors can opt to go for a cultural visit to experience the local culture of the Bagisu and Sabiny, the two local tribes that live in the areas round sipi. The Sebei and Bagisu culture of circumcision attracts visitors during certain times of the year.
Mountain Elgon national park;
Mountain Elgon I is the epitome of adventure safaris among the different national parks in Uganda.it is located in eastern part of Uganda in Mbale district.it is characterized by a number of relief physical features that make safaris to this park interesting. Some of the most outstanding features include mountain Elgon. The park also supports a variety of wildlife including rock and tree hydraxes, blue monkeys,elephants, buffaloes, defassa, waterbuck, oribi, bushbuck, duike, forest hog, leopard, hyena, African wild cat among others that will make your safari worth it.
Mountain climbing; this is one of the most popular safari activity in mountain Elgon national park.it is one of the main climbing and hiking destinations in Uganda. Climbing mountain Elgon will not only give you an opportunity to reach the peak but also give you a chance to explore the vast wildlife along the mountain slopes. The best time to climb mountain Elgon is during the dry season. The caldera and peaks are the main interesting destinations.
Mountain Elgon is also home to over 300 species of birds giving you the best bird watching experience an experience that cannot be avoided while on a safari. The park harbors the endangered lammergeyer. Others include the Jackson’s francolin, black-collard Apalis among others. For those that love bird watching just carry your binoculars and let this park give you a great bird watching Tour.
A safari to lake Bunyonyi will give you the best chance to tour the Lake’s 29 islands.it is one of the magical places you should not miss to pay a visit while on a safari in Uganda. “Bunyonyi” is a local language word meaning “a place of many birds”.it is a scenic lake surrounded by terraced hills in south western Uganda.
The lake is believed to be the deepest in Africa with varying depth between
94m and 900m deep. Some of the islands include; Akampena, Bushara, Bwama and Nyajeera all these can be accessed by a boat / Canoe ride and many visitors enjoy moving island to island.
Bird watching; Just like the name suggests, lake Bunyonyi has enormous assemblage of bird species which makes bird watching a major activity. The lake harbours over 200 species of birds and they include weaver
birds, egrets, levillant cuckoo, grey crowned cranes among countless others.
it the most convenient destination for one to sit back relaxed while seeing birds in the sky.
Hiking; this is yet another safari activity on Lake Bunyonyi that will give you an opportunity to explore through the stunning highlands of Kigezi islands.
Wildlife at Kyahugye Island include Waterbucks, Zebras and Kobs.
Community Tourism around the Lake Bunyonyi gives one a Chance to interact with the local communities as you enjoy the scenic views, fresh air from the Mountains, Local Food, Fresh fruits. Trek or Cycle through the Hills of Bunyonyi Area.
Mountain Rwenzori national park
The park is well known by its most significant feature, mountain Rwenzori (Mountains of the moon) is a snowcapped Mountain. The Mountain was also known as Ruwenzori Ranges which are on border between Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. It is located in the South Western Part of the Country. The Mountain is 5,109km above seas level and is about 120km long and 65Km wide. Rwenzori Mountains National Park has got a lot of activities that visitors can engage in while on a safari in Uganda.it is located in south western Uganda. Rwenzori gives you an opportunity to encounter a variety of wildlife while on a safari in Uganda. The Park is filled with a variety of flora including tropical rain forests, the giant groundsel and the giant lobelia. The fauna around this mountain include; primates like the monkeys, forest elephants and endemic birds
The park has a number of mammal species which include blue monkeys, bush buck, golden cats, giant forest hogs, red duiker, forest elephant, Rwenzori colobus, Rwenzori otter, Rwenzori climbing mouse, genet mongoose, leopards, Uganda clawed frog, l’hoest’s, monkeys, rock hydrax and many more. The park is also gifted with some rare species like the 3 horned chameleon. Elephants, buffalos, giant forest hog, bushbucks, chimpanzees and leopards are also present in the park though rarely seen.
Bird watching; mountain Rwenzori national park is among the best bird spotting destination in Uganda. Travelers who enjoy birding here is the great opportunity of spotting unique species of birds. Birds to be encountered include; Robins, sunbirds, bee eaters, Rwenzori turaco, long-eared owl, bearded vultures, black eagles, dwarf honey guide, evergreen forest, scarlet tuffed malachite, montane masked, mountain Rwenzori nightjar, red-faced crimson wing, red-throated alethe, stip-breast fit, white-collard olive, black and white stareed robin, illadopsis, handsome francolin, golden winged sunbirds, bamboo warbles among countless others.
Mountain hiking is one of the best safari activity to do while on a safari to mountain Rwenzori national park. The park has the 3rd highest peak in the entire Africa called margarita. For travelers who enjoy mountain climbing, this is the best destination where you can be challenge a day 7-day climb till the top.
Matheniko game reserve;
This is one of the best areas to have a safari while in Uganda. It gives you a view of a variety of wildlife in northern Uganda. The reserve is a habitat to a range of animals like the roan antelope, eland, oribi, buffalo, dik dik, waterbuck, mountain reedbuck, topi and Uganda kob. This is the best destination for visitors who are on hunting safaris.
Semuliki national park is a remote Park located in Bundibugyo district in western Uganda, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and part of the huge Ituri Forest, makes it a haven for birds hosting 441 species of birds, with about 23 species that are endemic to the park and is one of the few remaining parks that is home to the shoebill. Other birds include; white-crested Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, piping Hornbill, the great blue and ross’s, turaco, and the yellow-throated nectar among others. Birding is conducted in Sempaya and Ntanda as well as around Kirumi River where birders will be able to spot the rare shoebill.
Semuliki wildlife reserve on the shores of Lake Albert offers a mosaic of different Habitats with some excellent birding Opportunities but also home to about 53 species of mammals which can be seen during a game drive in the park. Some of the wildlife that can be spotted include; forest elephants, hippos, forest buffaloes, antelopes, and primates like the black and white colobus monkeys. You can also see hippos and crocodiles along the banks of Semuliki River.
Hot Springs are a famous attraction at Semuliki where you can see the Male and Female Hot springs. The Female Hot springs Nyansimbi are found near the park offices at Sempaya. A boiling Geyser spurts bubbling Water and steam up to two metres high. The Male spring known as Bintente is an hours distant and is a broad steaming pool 12m in diameter found in a large swampy clearing enclosed by Forest and with a striking Rwenzori Mountains backdrop.
Source of the Nile; this is found in Jinja town and it was discovered by John Speke, you can enjoy many different water activities on source of Nile including; white water rafting, swimming, bungee jumping, Quad biking, Kayaking, boat cruises, Canoeing and many more.
Mabira Forest; the biggest rain Forest in Central Uganda. The Forest has been protected since 1932 with an enormous biodiversity comprising of 315 bird species, 312 tree species, 218 species of butterflies, 97 species of moths, 40 species of small Mammals including the red tailed monkeys, Vervet Monkeys, Grey checked Mangabeys and many nocturnal Animals all which can easily be seen on your Nature Walk. Other activities done within the Forest are; Ziplinning, nature walks, Camping, Community Tours, Study Tours
Pian Upe Wildlife reserve; is located in the northeastern semi-arid part of Uganda, spanning a land area of 2043 sqkm. It is undisputedly the largest wildlife reserve in the country and the second largest protected area in Uganda, after the Murchison Falls National Park, also one of the most picturesque points in the country. The Government of Uganda, fortunately, has recently expressed interest in upgrading Pian Upe Game Reserve to National Park status, and efforts to restock wildlife numbers are in the process, as well as plans to open up more areas for tourism development.
Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is popular for its signature dazzling sunsets and sunrises, which you won’t help but breathe in when you visit. Every morning, the sun comes out from its resting spot behind the mountains and descends over the horizon. Flora: This area of northeastern Uganda is without doubt one of the remotest, but also one of the most charming expanses of distinct wildlands in the country, dominated by plateaus carpeted by green and golden undisturbed and wooded savannah plains ringed by mountains and cut in-between by rock-strewn ridges and Kopjes. The reserve’s plains are dominated by thatching grass, but they also feature bristle species, lemon