The 10 Uganda National Parks – All Uganda Safari Parks
Nestled astride the Equator crossing, Uganda prides herself as a home to a network of 10 most scenic national parks where a huge profusion of wildlife can be spotted on Uganda safari tour. A visit to anyone of these magical Uganda safari national parks rewards travelers with unique experiences ranging from the mesmerizing tracks of thorn bush savanna teemed with cape buffaloes, African bush elephants, lions, antelopes, leopards to stunning tropical rain-forest protected areas heaving with diversity of primates.
Below are the 10 Best Uganda National Parks to Visit
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda largest park and it is the only one lying in the Northwestern side of the country, approximately 5 hours’ drive from Kampala. It became a national park in 1952, taking its name from the powerful Murchison Falls best described as Devil’s Cauldron. This 3840sq.kms protected area is bisected by the Victoria Nile that plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall forming the roaring Murchison Falls.
Over 76 mammal species and 451 bird species are all confined within Murchison Falls National Park. While on Uganda safari in this park, you should expect to see a huge concentration of African bush elephants, buffaloes, Rothschild giraffes, warthogs, bushbucks, Jackson’s hartebeest, Uganda Kobs, Topis, hippos, crocodiles, lions, leopards, primates like chimpanzees, olive baboons, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys.
Among the many bird species to expect to identify on Uganda safari in Murchison Falls National Park include shoebill stork, grey crowned cranes, swamp flycatcher, blue headed coucal, Denham’s bustards, black billed barbet, kingfishers, fish eagles, red throated bee-eaters, speckle fronted weavers, Squacco heron and silver bird.
The popular tour activities to do on safari in Murchison Falls National Park include game drives, boat cruise, bird watching, chimpanzee tracking, chimpanzee habituation experience, nature walk, hike to the top of the falls and others.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the country’s second largest national park, straddling in Western Uganda. It is well-known for its diverse eco-systems making it one of the best Uganda safari parks. This 1978sq.kms protected area is popular for its huge concentration of elephants, buffaloes, over 620 bird species including the shoebill stork; warthogs, antelopes, primates like the red tailed monkeys, lions including the tree climbing lions in Ishasha area, hippos, crocodiles.
Queen Elizabeth National Park was gazetted in 1954 and today, it is ideal for game drives, boat cruise along Kazinga Channel, lion tracking experience, chimpanzee tracking, nature walk, birding and a lot more.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo National Park is the only park set in extreme Northeast about 10 hours’ drive from Kampala. The 1442sq.kms park is well-known for its huge profusion of wildlife such as lions, buffaloes, leopards, cheetah, Rothschild giraffes, eland, zebras, oribis, jackals, elephants, as well as birds that make up a total population of 475 bird species including ostriches, yellow necked spurfowl, golden pipit, Rufous crowned roller, red cheeked cordon-blue, red fronted barbet, superb starling, red pate Cisticola, northern white crowned shrike, African grey flycatcher, white billed buffalo weaver, Karamoja Apalis, standard winged nightjar and many more.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Lying in the extreme Southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a well-known gorilla trekking safari destination. The 331sq.kms conservancy area is a designated UNESCO Heritage Site hosting an estimate of 360 bird species, 459 mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, 250 butterfly species, chameleons, frogs, 160 Guinea-Congolian Flora, black and white colobus monkeys and many others.
The numerous safari activities to expect to do while on Uganda safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include mountain gorilla trekking, gorilla habituation experience, guided nature walk, birding, cycling and many more.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is in Western Uganda and it is shared by Mbarara, Kiruhura district. It is rated as the most accessible park, about 4 hours’ drive from Kampala capital city. The park expands up to 370sq.kms and offers refuge to over 350 bird species (these include among others the green wood hoopoe, blue napped mousebird, black bellied bustards, southern red bishops, red necked spur, brown parrots), impalas, zebras, hippos, leopard, lion, Rothschild giraffes, 13 lakes,
Kibale Forest National Park
Situated in Western Uganda, Kibale Forest National Park is one of the premier chimpanzee tracking safari parks. The park expands up to 795sq.kms and hosts 13 primates best describing it as primate capital of the world, 371 bird species, 351 species of trees and several butterfly species. Over 1500 chimpanzees exist in this park alone with many habituated communities making it one of the best chimpanzee tracking safari destinations and also a popular spot for chimpanzee habituation experience.
A primate tour in this park also involves spotting other primates like the red tailed monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, blue monkeys, bush baby, black and white colobus monkeys, pottos, olive baboons. Other wildlife species that live in Kibale Forest National Park include buffaloes, elephants, warthogs, duikers, bushbucks, African golden cats, leopards, mongoose and others.
Semuliki National Park
The Semuliki National Park lies in Western Uganda and features a low lying forest that extends from Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. The park was established in 1932 and later became a national park in 1993. Today, this protected area sits in 220sq.kms of land making it one of the smallest safari parks in Uganda.
Semuliki National Park is popular for its powerful Sempaya hot springs but there are also several other wildlife species including hippos, buffaloes, bush babies, 441 bird species (mostly yellow throated cuckoo, capuchin babbler, leaf love, red billed dwarf, blue headed crested flycatcher), chimpanzees, grey cheeked monkeys, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys.
Mount Elgon National Park
Nestled in Eastern Uganda, Mount Elgon National Park derives its name from Mount Elgon that stands at altitude 4321m. The park sits 1121sq.kms of land and hosts diversity of wildlife such as bush bucks, buffaloes, forest elephants, 300 bird species including the alpine chat, hunters Cisticola, black collared Apalis, marsh widow bird, Jackson’s francolin, white starred forest robin and many more.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Set in Kisoro district, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a second park to visit in Uganda for mountain gorilla trekking. The 33.7sq.kms protected area borders other parks especially Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park which make up part of the Virunga Conservation Area (VCA).
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park provides a home to 3 magnificent Virunga volcanoes; Mount Sabyinyo, Muhabura Mountain and Mount Gahinga. The different wildlife species to expect to spot on Uganda safari in this park include mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, black fronted duikers, elephants, buffaloes, bushbucks, giant forest hogs, leopard, 184 bird species and others.
While on Uganda safari in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park expect to enjoy diverse activities such as gorilla trekking, golden monkeys tracking, mountain climbing/hiking, Batwa trail, nature walk, birding (birds to sight include Rwenzori Turacos, brown crowned Tchagra, western green tinker bird, olive pigeon, black headed waxbill, handsome francolin, Kivu ground thrush) and many others.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
If you are interested in mountaineering while on Uganda safari then Rwenzori Mountains National Park offers the best opportunity for you. The park takes its name from Rwenzori Mountain ranges also best known as Mountains of the Moon which stands at altitude 5110m.
Founded in 1991, the Rwenzori Mountains National Park is also a designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It sits on an area of 1000sq.kms offering refuge to 18 mammal species, 9 reptile species, 6 amphibian species, 217 bird species including the red faced woodland warblers, strange weaver, purple breasted sunbirds, Kivu ground thrush, dwarf Honeyguide and many others.