Top Tourism Sites In Uganda.

We are taking a look at Uganda’s leading attraction sites including national parks which are fore seen by Uganda wild life authority (UWA). UWA is a government semi-autonomous agency mandated to conserve, regulate and ensure susteinable management of wild life resources as well as supervising their activities within the protected areas and outside. They are basically ten national parks, twelve wildlife reserves and thirteenth different wild life sanctuaries in which a variety of wildlife and flora is sheltered. This includes over 54% of the world’s total of mountain gorillas, 39% of Africa’s species of mammals, 19% of amphibians(86species), 14% of Africa’s reptiles(142species), 1249 butterflies. All of these side with several enchanting geographical features which manifest Uganda as the best destination for your next African visit.

Bwindi Impenetrable national park.

"The Ultimate Gorilla Tracking Experience"

The noun Bwindi literally refers to a vague area characterized by the thick, marshy and dark forests with instant rains. This name was given to Bwindi by early immigrants who faced the challanges at a specific point ‘Mubwindi’ Which is up to present a patch of swampy vegetation in the middle of the forest.

It was gazetted as a national park in 1991 after the government’s realization of its local and international importance and was a little later in 1994 recognised as a world heritage site by UNESCO just a year after the very first official gorilla visits in 1993.

It covers a total area of about 321sq km with it’s lowest elevation at 1190m and highest at 2607m and because of its special vegetation supported by the terrains and climate in the region, it harbours a bigger percentage of the world’s elusive mountain gorillas with over 460 individuals which are divided into different families some having been habituated for tourism while the others are reserved on accounts of susteinability.

The forest also boosts over a rich vegetation being of the richest African mountain forests dominated by brown mahogany, the hardest wood. This is also a rich Avi life habitat which carries over 360 different bird species. It has several endemics with 23 out of 24 on Uganda’s side and 35 of the whole of the Albertine rift valley region which stretches from the Republic of Burundi, Rwanda and part of DRCongo.

The forest is tropical which receives un predictable rainfall and this has resulted into a rich drainage system with several fresh and pure drinkable running streams decorated by a number of cascades which some of them include river Munyaga, river Ivy, Ishasha and several patched swamps.

Murchison Falls National Park.

"The World's Most Powerful Water Falls"

Murchison falls national park got its name from the strongest falls of river nile which were formally called Kabalega falls(the cultural leader of the region)

This largest national park is located extreme west having lake Albert, the oil reservoir of Uganda along the DRCongo frontiers. 312km from Kampala, it covers a total area of over 3877sq km and was gazetted in 1952 being one of the oldest formally game parks. It has a very rich savannah habitat with it’s delta part of the Nile being magnificent to visit at the lowest Uganda altitude of 620m. This is the area where major visist in the region mainly occur which ensures relatively good views of the oribis, lions, sitatunga antelops, heart beasts, bohor reed bucks, leopards in their hideout along the Nile.

There is also a particular spot for the Shoebill, the most sought after bird as well as rock pratincole, Heuglin’s francoline, spotted morning thrush, Dickson’s kestrel, brown chested lapwing, black headed lapwing, African darter and the spur winged goose. Boat cruises are also some of the other activities that are done in this park on River Nile, where visitors may decide to ride and later jump out from the bottom of the falls if they prefer hiking to the top of the falls. Others may decide to drive to the top and then later a boat cruise alone. This activity offers one of the most relaxed game viewing and bird watching along the river’s banks.

Murchison falls is a protected area which encompasses Muchison falls national park it’s self which harbours over 76 different species of mamals coupled with various reptiles. It’s second to Queen Elizabeth national park in terms of numbers of birds although it’s bigger in size with over 450 species recorded. It also encompasses Karuma wildlife reserve, Bugungu wildlife reserve and has Budongo forest as well in the south which make a single mega protected area.

Queen Elizabeth National Park.

"A medley Of Wonders"

Formally known as Kazinga national park, Queen Elizabeth National Park was elevated to the level of a national park in 1952 at the same time with Murchison falls national park. It was a few years later renamed after the majestic visit of Queen Elizabeth II of the Great Britain to keep on commemorating her pre-independence visit. It is located along the DRCongo boarder with lake Edward and lake George joined by a natural belt of fresh water of 32km long. It is situated with in the districts of Kasese, Rubirizi, Rukungiri, and Kanungu.

It covers a surface area of over 1978sq km holding some of the volcanic explosion features which include several crater lakes such as salty lake katwe and Bunyampaka, a sanctuary of migrant lesser flamingos together with a vast list of other birds over 600 in number, this indicates that Queen Elizabeth national park has the highest number of bird species among African parks while it also contributes to the conservation of about 100 mammals. It is the best place to see the tree climbing lions in widly known fig trees of Ishasha, topis, one of the large dark brown antelope family, spotted hyenas, Martial eagle, white backed vultures, pallid harriers, African skimmers, papyrus gonoleck and its also the best area to site the bateleur.

Kidepo Valley National Park.

"The True African Wilderness"

Location is north east boardering with South Sudan and Kenya in Karamoja region 700km from Kampala.

It is named from a Dodoth verb ‘akidep’ which means to pick up. The park was therefore named on this account. It lies in a rugged valley with desert characteristics. It sits on 1442 sq km of land which harbours over 85 species of mammals including the cheetahs, kudus, bush pigs, side stripped jackals, black backed jackals, Senegal galagos, buffalos, white tailed mongooses and bat eared foxes with a couple of special birds which involve 56 birds of prey and 14 endemics to Karamoja region. These include generally the ostriches, Clapperton’s francolines, secretary birds, Hartlaub’s bustards, dark chanting goshawks, red fronted burbets, sandgrouses, Karamoja apalises, Kori bustards, little bee eaters and quail provers.

Semliki National Park.

"A True Birders' Haven"

It is located in Bwamba county, Bundibugyo district and the nearby town is Fortportal. It is drained by mainly the hot springs which include the female boiling geyser at over 103°c and river Semliki which pours into lake Albert. It was initially called Toro game reserve in 1932 and later a national park in 1993.

This small sized forest covers an area of 220sq km and it is regarded as the birders’ haven with over 435 species and among them are many rear species particulary hornbills that are known in central Africa thus indicating Semliki as a linkage of the central reserves species to east African. They include piping hornbills, red billed dwarf hornbills, white thied hornbills, Congo serpent eagle, lowland akalat, red rumped tinkerbird, African piculet, forest francoline, yellow footed fly catcher, Hartlaub’s duck, forest robin and many more. The forest also harbours a couple of mammals including the the pygmy scally tailed-flying squirrel, elephants, Hipos, buffalos, African civet as well as leopards can be seen here.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

"Where silver meets gold''

The smallest of Uganda’s national parks delives it’s name from a Kinyarwand word ‘gahinga’ which refers to a pile of volcanic lava stones. It is situated in the Virunga volcanic region that covers parts of Rwanda, Uganda and DRCongo. It is only 34sq km but with a huge resource, the endengered and endemic mountain gorillas.

These could be about 300 individuals however, they are always limited no boarders thus Uganda and Rwanda international. The park also offers a habitat for other 75 different mammals which include the unique golden monkeys. These ones like gorillas are restricted to this region and can also be tracked only here throught Uganda. Other animals include the forest buffalos, south African porcupine, bushbucks, side striped jackals, elephants, golden cat, giant forest hog, black fronted duikers and so on.

The park is mountaineous with the lowest angle of elevation being at 2227m and the highest at 4127m. This offers one of Uganda’s best hiking experiences with the best views of Rwanda and plains of DRCongo conjoin with Uganda. You will also experice one of Uganda’s lifetime birding spots because given the fact that the park lies in the rift valley region, there are numerous species some of which are endemic and it is the only possible site of the IUCN red listed Shelley’s crimson wing. Other birds are the Abyssinian ground thrush, red faced woodland warbler, olive thrush, yellow crowned canary, Rwenzori turaco, mountain yellow warbler, African hill babbler, common stone chat and this makes this park a must visit for those who have chosen Uganda as their choice destination.

Lake Mburo National Park.

"Whispers Of The wild"

The 260sq km area is located in western Uganda about 340km from Kampala on a nice tarmack road whose near by town is Mbarara. It was named lake Mburo because its coupled with a chain of narrow sized lakes and lake Mburo is one of them. It is 1220-1828m above the sea level and it’s characterized by multiple habitats which are dominated by the savannah acacia woodland.

The other habitats are swamps, rocky hills, river Rwizi and lakes. This accords the park with variation in species with over 350 birds and more than 68 different mammal species on record. Some of these species are rear to find else where for example, the elands the largest of the antelope family, marsh specialising sitatungas, Impalas, giraffes, bushbuck, klipspringers, warthogs, topis, jackals as well as a long list of birds including the East African endemic red faced burbet, Mburo shores Africa finfoot, brown chested lapwing, Tabora cisticola, brubru, bare faced go away bird, crested burbet, emerald spotted wood dove and other more species.

Apart from the above, there are boat trips done on lake Mburo usually at 1400hours and this offers one of the best birding experiences as well as viewing several acquatic life. You could also meet several herds of nice looking Ankole cows in a formation given the fact that lake Mburo park supports community through allowing livestock co-habiting with the wild life as one of the strategies of conservation.

Kibale National Park.

"The Primate Capital Of The World"

This is a dense tropical forest harbouring the highest population of chimpanzees. Kibale forest was formally gazetted in 1993 to intensify the conservation of the top richest forest with the highest number of primate species in Africa. These include more than 1450 individuals of endengered chimpanzees, the rest are Demidoff galago, Uganda red Colubus, red tailed, L’Hoest’s, vervet, patas, blue, black and white colobus monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, Uganda mangabey, the potto as well as the olive baboons. It is situated westwards about 30km from Fort portal town and about 3 hours drive from Kampala on a permanent network of roads.

It covers about 796sq km on an elevation ranging from 1100m-1590m above the sea level giving a general boost to Uganda’s big number of mammals with over 76 species some of which include the elusive forest elephants, bush pigs, buffalos and quite a lump sum of birds. These include the special green breasted pitta which can only be seen here. The other birds are the African crowned eagle, forest francoline, red chested owlet, black faced rufous warbler, brown eared wood pecker, blue malcoha, masked apalis, lesser honey guide, grey headed nigrita, and many more.

There are several tourism activities carried out outside the protected area in which the communities around the park engage in partly to step up the efforts on conservation of nature and also to increase community opportunities from tourism. They carryout activities such as community walks, nature walks, birding walks, art crafts, and so on.

Mount Elgon National Park.

"The World's Largest Mountain Caldera"

It was gazetted in 1992 on Uganda’s side and 1968 on Kenya’s side. It is located in the East being shared by Uganda and Kenya. It has the second highest elevation with 4321m above the sea level at Wagagai and the major tourism activities include hiking, waterfall views birdwatching, as well as cultural tourism.

It is 1279sq km in size which boosts a multiple number of wild animals and birds. They may include the black bee eater, Hartlaub’s turaco, black faced roufous warbler, black coloured apalis, streaky headed seed eater, forest elephants, bush pigs, duikers, and buffalos thus accounting for more than 305 bird species and about 24 mammals. Sipi falls is one of the most visited sights of this protected area by both domestic and international tourists, who regard it as one of the most romantic places in Uganda.

The falls drop from about 100m high and they are in a series of three. The Bagisu community here grow Arabica coffee as their main source of revenue and they will always be happy to have you test from their cup every time of your visit.

Mabamba Swamp.

"Leading Spot Of The King Of The Marsh"

Mabamba is an ideal spot for the shoebill, located western Entebbe town about 2hours of driving next to the shores of lake Victoria. It is a RAMSAR site and an important bird area(IBA) covering a total area of 165sq km dominated by the papyrus vegetation with peculiar purple water lilies.

It is within this rich water surfacing vegetation that motorized boats are maneuvered on our birding excursions. It is home to about 260 different bird species including the vulnerable shoebill easy to spot whose global threats are habitat loss and hunting.Their total population is not well known but they are said to be more than 15 shoebills and the best time is early morning when there is still much fishing activities before 1000hours before they go out to roost during a hot weather.

Other species are the pallid harrier, African marsh harrier, wood sandpiper, purple swamphen, papyrus gonoleck, African jacana, lesser jacana, white winged warbler, Wayne’s weaver, blue breasted bee eater, blue swallow and plain backed pipit. This area is also most preferable to the marsh specialising sitatungas of the antelope family.

Rwenzori Mountain National Park.

"The mystical Challange"

Also known as the mountains of the moon, it was formally gazetted in 1991 with a total surface area of 998sq km. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994 due to its international importance with various glaciers, water falls, lakes, unique forest cover, animals as well as a rich bird life. It has a full time snow cap on its third highest altitude of Africa and first in Uganda at 5110 at Margarita/ mount Stanley and this offers a breath taking mountain experience with fantastic views of DRCongo on the other side.

It is located in western Uganda in the districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo and Kabarole at coordinates 00°22’N and 29°57’E whose communitis mainly comprise of the Bakonjo of Rwenzururu kingdom and the Bamba whose major economic activity is farming. They grow majorly cotton, maize, cocoa and cassava. Rwenzori and Kasese are also historical mining industrial areas where mainly copper and cobalt were extracted before president Idi Amin’s take over which witnessed the expulsion of the Asian mine workers. This eventually culminated into the halting of the project.