Uganda is fast becoming one of Africa’s must-see destination. Recently voted by the Lonely Planet as the world’s top 10 must see countries, Uganda is an amazing destination.
This relatively small country hosts some of Africa’s best and most varied wildlife in its national parks. Some of the best attractions in the park include the different primates of primates, incredible wild animals, unique bird species etc. According the Uganda Guide, the country has also become the top destination for adrenaline sports that are mainly centred around Jinja in Eastern Uganda.
Here are the top 5 destinations to visit in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa;
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Located in South Western Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the most popular national park in Uganda. The park is the major draw for tourists who travel to Uganda. This 330 sq km forest is now a UNESCO world heritage site and more importantly home to roughly half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas.
The park is the top visited national park in Uganda and gorilla trekking is the major activity that attracts the tourists to the park. Gorilla Viewing Permits costs US$ 700 and today Bwindi is the most affordable destination where you can see these great apes. It is advised to book your gorilla permit early enough given that activities are regulated by ecotourism guidelines. The park is accessible from both Kampala, Uganda and Kigali, Rwanda.
Lake Mburo National Park
Easy accessibility roughly 2 hours drive from Kampala city and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities make Lake Mburo National Park a perfect safari destination for visitors in Uganda.
Lake Mburo is a true wilderness! You will find dramatic landscapes including acacia woodlands, savannah grasslands, rocky outcrops, swamps and lakes that create picturesque perfect spots. Numerous animals which can seen in the park include herds of zebras, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, eland, topi, bushbucks and the impala is only found in this park in Uganda. Over 350 species of birds have been recorded here and a great bird watching experience for birders.
Visitors can enjoy the numerous outdoor adventure activities including game drives, horseback riding, biking, nature walks and hiking, sport fishing and art and bush experience for kids is available. Of the best ways to wildlife is by taking a boat trip on Lake Mburo, the largest of the three lakes found in the park. In peace and tranquility, enjoy views of African sunsets as well as spot crocodiles, hippos and spot water birds.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best places to enjoy game viewing in Uganda. Set in the rift valley floor in the shadow of Mount Rwenzoris, Queen Elizabeth National Park is popular for wildlife viewing safaris that are conducted to look for the different animals in the park. Some of the animals not to miss in this park are the tree climbing lions, buffaloes, elephants, etc.
Nature photographers visiting the park also find its spectacular landscapes quite interesting. The park is known for its natural beauty, with lakes George and Edward connected by Kazinga channel the largest concentration of hippos in East Africa. Other interesting features include the Mweya peninsular, several Ramsar sites and numerous volcanic crater lakes and rolling hills. The Kyambura Gorge is characterized with the underground tropical forests which are home to chimpanzee while the savannah grasslands create a stunning scenery. Herds of elephant grazing in savannah against the backdrop of the mountains of the moon could be one of the iconic images you might capture in this park.
Kidepo Valley National Park
The Kidepo valley national park is a remote national park and has been awarded several accolades. It was recently nominated by the CNN Travel as the best 10 national parks of Africa. Located in the north Eastern Uganda, Kidepo protects a wide range of flora and fauna in its 1,422 sq km. Its vegetation is quite unique given that it is situated in semi-desert plains of Karamoja, a region known to rarely receive rainfall.
The rugged wilderness features the dry Murongole Mountains rising at 2,750 meters above sea level. During your visit, you will definitely enjoy game viewing through the the scrubs, desert like rolling savannah and the Narus and kidepo Sand River valleys. Kidepo National Park supports a diversity of 77 mammals and 475 species of birds. This is the only national park of Uganda that protects cheetahs! Other interesting wildlife not to miss are the lions, giraffes, different tribes of antelopes, ostriches etc.
You can visit Kidepo either by Road or Flight. The Road trip to Kidepo takes at least two days of driving through some of the most remote areas of Uganda that are inhabited by nomadic pastoralists. If you do want to shorten the time of travel, taking a domestic flight is the only option.
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park is the most known empire of chimpanzees! This is the best place on the African continent to see wild chimpanzees in their natural habit. Located in Kabarole district of western Uganda, Kibale Forest covers 795 square kilometers and is nicknamed the primate capital of Africa.
Apart from the chimpanzees, the park is home to diversity of 12 other species of primates. The park has the highest population density on the African continent with an estimated population of over 1,500 chimpanzees living in the forested park.
Kibale Forest National Park is a destination for primatologists, researchers and nature lovers. Tracking the chimpanzee is the main activity there. This adventure costs USD150 per person and tourists are allowed to watch the chimpanzees for a maximum period of 1 hour. There are three sessions for chimpanzee watching.
If you would love to spend more hours with the wild chimpanzees in the forest, you can book a chimpanzee habituation experience. With this adventure activity visitors can watch chimpanzees for a maximum of 4 hours. Chimp habituation experience (CHEX) costs US$200 and it is a full day excursion with local researchers from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).