Uganda National Parks and Tourism Destinations – Places to visit and tour in Uganda

Uganda’s National Parks:

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorilla in bwindi national parkBwindi is located in southwestern Uganda along the Albertine Rift Valley, spanning 331 sq km of thick jungle containing montane and lowland forest. The park protects many endangered and endemic wildlife, including the popular Mountain Gorillas. Bwindi is the prime destination for Mountain Gorilla trekking in Africa. It is also Africa’s number one Birding spot. Other tourism activities include: nature walks in the forest, and Batwa pygmy community tour.

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Murchison Falls National Park

This is Uganda’s oldest (est. 1952) and largest national park (covering 5072 sq km), located along the River Nile. Murchison Falls harbors the biggest diversity of wildlife in Uganda, including 87 mammals, over 650 birds and 14 reptiles. The park is the prime destination for safaris in Uganda, boasting a wide range of tourism activities that include, Game drives, boat trips along the Nile, hike to the Murchison Falls, Birdwatching, Sport Fishing, Chimpanzee tracking and Habituation in Budongo Forest, and Nature walks.

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Queen Elizabeth National Park

tree climbing lionQENP is arguably Uganda’s most scenic national park. It is set on the base of the rift valley with beautiful crater lakes and rich grasslands. The size of the park is 1978 sq km, and lies along the Equator in southwestern Uganda. It harbors a formidable diversity of wildlife which includes: 66 animals, and over 568 bird species. The park is popular for Tree-climbing Lions. Tourism activities include: Game drives, boat trips on the Kazinga Channel, Katwe local salt mining experience, birdwatching, Chimpanzee tracking and guided nature walks in Kyambura Gorge.

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Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley is Africa’s best national park for spectacular landscape – made of rugged mountains and flat valleys! The park is remotely situated in the far northeastern corner of Uganda, in rugged plains of the Karamoja province. It is one of Africa’s most pristine wildernesses because it has not been touched. It has an impressive species diversity which includes 80 mammals, 28 of which are not known to occur in another park in Uganda, and more than 465 bird species. Tourism activities include: Game drives, nature walks, birdwatching, hikes to the Mountains (Mt. Morungole), tour of the local communities of the Karamojong and Ik people.

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Kibale Forest National Park

An evergreen rainforest, Kibale has the highest concentration of primates in Africa, comprising of 13 species, including Chimpanzees – man’s closest relatives. It is the prime destination for Chimpanzee trekking and Habituation in Uganda. Other tourism activities include Birding and guided nature walks in Bigodi Swamp.

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Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga is the only park in Uganda that has both Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys, two world endangered animals and endemics of the Albertine Rift Valley. It is located in southwestern Uganda and is part of the Virunga Conservation Area. It is the smallest park in Uganda with a size of 33.7 sq km. Tourism activities include: Mountain Gorilla trekking, Golden Monkey tracking, Birding, and Volcano hiking.

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Lake Mburo National Park

lake-mburo-national-park-thumbnailThis is the smallest of the Uganda’s savanna parks with a size of 260 sq km. Its species diversity is however very impressive with 68 mammals. It is very popular for lots of herbivores including many species of antelopes. It is located along the highway to southwestern Uganda, hence a great stopover for safari en-route to Bwindi, Mgahinga and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Tourism activities include: Game drive, boat trip on Lake Mburo, guided nature walks, horseback riding, and birdwatching.

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Rwenzori Mountains National Park

margarita peak, mt. stanley, rwenzori mountainsThe fabled “mountains of the moon” are the biggest mountain ranges in Africa, spanning over 120km along the Uganda – Democratic Republic of Congo border. The park lies astride the Equator yet it permanently snow-capped on its highest peaks. Mountain Stanley (5109m) is Africa’s third highest peak.The Rwenzori Mountains are ranked one of the best destinations in the world for Mountain Climbing and Hiking. The mountains are also impressive for bird watching in Uganda.

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Mountain Elgon National Park

This is the prime tourist destination of eastern Uganda. The mountain is located on the border with Kenya, wagagai (4321m), Africa’s fourth highest peak lies in Uganda. The slopes support a variety of vegetation that is rich with lots of wildlife. Tourist activities include: Mountain Climbing, Hiking, and Birdwatching.

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Semuliki National Park

Semuliki forms the meeting point of the Central Africa’s rainforests and East Africa’s savannas. Measuring 220 sq km. the park is one of Africa’s richest areas of floral and faunal diversity. It harbors up to 8 primate species of the total 60 mammals. One of its popular features are the Sempaya hot springs. Tourism activities include:  Birdwatching, and Hike to the hot springs.

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Other Uganda Tourist Sites:

Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Sanctuary

The sanctuary protects Uganda’s only wild rhinos. It was primarily established to reintroduce the Rhinos back into Uganda’s wild after they were poached to extinction.  In addition to the more than 15 white rhinos, the sanctuary also harbors other wildlife including antelopes, crocodiles, hippos, and lots of birds. Major activities are Rhino tracking, birdwatching, and game viewing. The sanctuary is situated halfway en-route to Murchison Falls National Park and is thus a good addition to the safari to Murchison Falls.

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Mabira Forest Reserve

mabira forest reserveIt is a natural tropical rainforest within central Uganda, covering 306 sq km along. It harbors lots of wildlife, including 316 species of birds, several monkeys and small mammals. It is easily accessible with less than an hour of drive from Kampala. Tour activities include: Forest birding, guided nature walks, tracking the habituated grey-cheeked mangabeys, zip lining, mountain biking, picnic, and camping.

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Sipi Falls

Sipi Falls Uganda

Sipi Falls comprises of a series of three beautiful waterfalls, located in the foothills of Mountain Elgon in eastern Uganda. Hiking to each of the waterfall, rock climbing, and abseiling at the main waterfall are the main adventure activities at Sipi Falls. Sipi is also a perfect place to escape to from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax in the serene and cool atmosphere while enjoying the wonderful views of the falls and scenery.

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Sezibwa Falls

This is primarily a cultural heritage site of the Baganda tribe believed to host ancestral spirits which the traditionalists believe are the creators of the Sezibwa river and waterfalls. The site is very serene and attractive with a lush environment, sparkling waterfalls, rocks, birds, monkeys and several other wildlife. This is a good spot to visit en-route to Jinja, and learn about the ancient traditions, enjoy the soothing environment, lush greenery, and explore the nearby forest to see some monkeys and birds. Read more about Sezibwa Falls

Lake Bunyonyi

lake-bunyonyi-ugandaSituated between the terraces of Kigezi highlands in southwestern Uganda, Bunyonyi is Africa’s second deepest lake. It is dotted with lush islands some of which are inhabited. It is a great spot to relax in the soothing cool atmosphere after the strenuous adventures such as Gorilla trekking. Activities include Canoeing, hiking the highlands, visiting the Batwa Pygmy communities, and birdwatching among others.

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Lake Mutanda

lake-mutanda-kisoro-thumbnailLake Mutanda is a little known jewel located in the mountainous landscape of southwestern Uganda in Kisoro District. It is surrounded with lush highlands and set against a stunning background of three Virunga volcanoes. Lake Mutanda is located between Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla Park, homes to the famous Mountain Gorillas. It is a wonderful place to retire and unwind after an array of adventures such as Gorilla trekking and Volcano hiking.

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Jinja and Source of the Nile

Jinja town, situated in eastern Uganda, is the source of the River Nile. It has become popular for a number of adventures along the Nile to the effect that it is now called East Africa’s adventure capital. Tour activities include: source of the Nile boat ride, rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, horse riding, quad biking, sunset cruises, and island tours among others.

Budongo Forest Reserve

chimpanzee-uganda-thumbnailBudongo Forest is the largest natural forest in Uganda with a cover of 825 square kilometers part of which spans into south of Murchison Falls National Park. Budongo harbors an array of wildlife including 360 species of birds, 95 mammals and 29 species of amphibians. Activities in Budongo include Chimpanzee tracking and habituation, Birding, and Nature walks.

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