Best Places To Visit On Uganda Safari
What are the best places to visit on Uganda safari? There are so many destinations in Uganda where one can visit. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is a popular place where one can visit on Uganda safari because the park features classic endangered mountain gorillas. Other destinations include Kidepo valley national park in the remote areas of northern Uganda, Queen Elizabeth national park famous for tree-climbing lions, Murchison falls national park in the northwestern part of Uganda, and lastly Lake Mburo national park.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is one of the top and best places to visit on Uganda safari; located in southwestern Uganda and one of the lucky parks to be hosting mountain gorillas in its thick forests. The Park is a home of more than half of the remaining total population that live in 4 sectors of the park-Nkuringo, Ruhija, Buhoma, and Rushaga. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park covers a total area of 331 sq. km covered with tropical and sub-tropical forests.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has more than 20 habituated mountain gorillas that are open for gorilla trekking while 2 of these are open for habituation in the Nkuringo and Ruhija sector. Thousands of tourists flock into Uganda to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla park for trekking. In Bwindi, there are over 152 gorilla trekking permits on a daily basis and 8 gorilla habituation permits.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is not only home to endangered mountain gorillas but also home to over 120 mammals such as forest elephants, giant forest hogs, forest duikers, buffaloes, bushbucks, 10 primates- chimpanzees, black and white colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, baboons, spectacled galago, pottos, blue monkeys, 350 bird species and more than 220 tree species.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is home to 350 bird species that have been so far recorded in its thick tropical forests. 14 of the bird species in this park are endemic to the park while 23 are endemic to the Albertine region. Some of the bird species found in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park include African green broadbill, dwarf honeyguide, mountain masked apalis, Angolan swallow, strange weaver, regal sunbird, dusky Crimsonwing, Neumann’s warbler, western green tinker bird, fine banded woodpecker, archer’s robin-chat, stripe-breasted tit, Rwenzori batis, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, handsome francolin, impressed African the emerald, African green broadbill, Rwenzori turaco, white-tailed blue fly, African citril, white-headed saw the wing, Kivu ground thrush, Grauer’s warbler, short-tailed warbler, collared apalis, montane oriole, blue-headed sunbird, shinning African blue, Shelley’s crimson wing, red-faced woodland warbler, handsome francolin, and bar-tailed trogon among others
The most safari activity done in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is seeing the gorillas in their natural wildness in addition to other safari activities. 2 gorilla families are open for habituation in the Rushaga sector and Nkuringo sector. The habituation is done by a group of 4 people accompanied by researchers, rangers, and doctors, and this is done for a maximum of 4 hours. There are 19 habituated gorilla families in the park, the gorilla trekking activity starts with a briefing at different park headquarters later grouping into 8, and ranger guides lead you into the jungle to search for these gentle primates. after hours for searching, when the gorillas are allocated trekkers are given a maximum of 1 hour to be around mountain gorillas as they learn about the behaviors, ask any questions but in a low voice, and take as many pictures as they want.
A gorilla permit that allows a person to do habituation costs $1500 per person per day and this is only done in Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. A gorilla permit for trekking costs $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents, and UGX250,000 East African citizens. The permit allows a person to be around mountain gorillas for a maximum of 1 hour.
Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the second-largest national park in Uganda covering a total area of 1978 sq. km. The Park is located in the western part of Uganda and what makes it famous are the tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha sector in the southwestern rim of the park. The tree-climbing lions can only be found here and a smaller population in Lake Manyara national park. There are different reasons as to why these lions climb and rest on big fig trees and some of them include too much heat on the ground, hiding away from insect bites, and hiding from their prey. Queen Elizabeth national park supports over 95 mammal species, over 600 bird species, and about 10 primates making it one of the best places to visit.
Different animal species can be seen on game drives along the Kasenyi plains and Ishasha sector, boat cruises on the Kazinga channel as well as during nature walks. Some of the animals in Queen Elizabeth national park include lions, tree-climbing lions, buffaloes, warthogs, hyenas, elephants, hyenas, mongoose, hippos, leopards, bushbucks, Uganda kobs, topis, olive baboons, civet, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, and waterbucks among others. Boat cruises on the Kazinga channel give you an opportunity to see schools of hippos and crocodiles as well as water birds such as white bullied cormorants, yellow-billed stork, papyrus gonolek, malachite kingfisher, pink-backed pelicans, black bee-eater, plovers, black crake, martial eagle, and some of the park animals on the lake shores.
Birding is another activity that is commonly done in queen Elizabeth national park with opportunities of seeing over 600 bird species that have been recorded in the park. Some of the bird species in Queen Elizabeth national park include White-winged Warbler, Martial Eagle, Black-Rumped Buttonquail, saddle bill stork, open-billed stork, grey crowned crane, barbets, African Skimmer, Pin-tailed whydah, lesser flamingo, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Africa emerald cuckoo, Pink-backed Pelican, African Broadbill, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, swifts, brown illadopsis, White-tailed Lark, Papyrus Gonolek, great and long-billed cormorants, marsh tchagra, Red-chested Sunbird, Corncrake, Greater Flamingo, Grey-capped warbler, pied kingfisher, Shoebill, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black Bee-eater, papyrus gonolek, swallows, Papyrus Canary, pygmy kingfisher, and lesser swamp warbler among others.
A visit to the Kyambura gorge also known as the valley of apes gives you an opportunity to meet eye to eye with chimpanzees for a maximum of 1 hour. Trekking chimpanzees in the Kyambura gorge costs $50 for both foreign non-residents and foreign residents and UGX30,000 East African citizens and these permits can be bought from Uganda Wildlife Authority or through any registered tour operator. If you are planning to trek chimpanzees in the Kyambura gorge you are advised to book in advance of 3-4 months to avoid inconveniences.
While in Queen Elizabeth national park you can combine your safari with gorilla trekking in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park or Lake Mburo national park for game drives, horse riding, birding, or boat cruise on Lake Mburo.
Kibale forest national park
Kibale forest national park is located in southwestern Uganda in the district of Kamwenge and yes one of the best places to visit on Uganda safari. The Park protects the highest number of chimpanzees in its lowland and montane forests covering a total area of 766 sq. km. Kibale forest national park is home to the last population of Uganda red colobus and the beautiful L’Hoest’s monkey and other primates such as black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys, Uganda red colobus, Demidoff Galago, grey checked mangabeys, patas monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and pottos.
Besides primates, Kibale forest national park is home to more than 70 mammal species among which include African buffalo, duikers, giant forest hogs, bushbucks, bush pigs, leopards, lions, mongooses, African elephants, and sitatungas. These mammals can be seen during trekking activities or birding exercises in the park.
The most done activity in Kibale forest national park is chimpanzee trekking and this is done in groups of 8 with the help of a ranger guide. Trekking chimpanzees begins with a briefing at the park headquarters where people are taught about the rules and regulations of the activity. Later the trekkers are led into the forest by a ranger guide and the searching begins. After the allocation of chimpanzees, the trekkers are given a maximum of 1 hour to be around mountain gorillas as they take photos, learn about their behaviors and take pictures.
Kibale forest national park is home to over 375 birds and these can be seen on nature walks in different trails of the park. The birds in Kibale forest national park include black and white shrike flycatcher, barn swallow, yellow-rumped tinker bird, dusky crimsoning, collared appalis, black bee-eater, Abyssinian ground thrush, brown chested alethe, black-billed turaco, crowned eagle, yellow spotted nicator, little greenbul, ash flycatcher, chubb’s cisticola, African green pigeon, black-capped waxbill, somber greenbul, African emerald cuckoo, Africa shrike flycatcher, African dusky flycatcher, blue breasted kingfisher, African black-headed oriole, African- pied wagtail, African jacana, brown eared woodpecker, black-headed oriole, blue-throated roller, black billed weaver, zebra waxbill, blue-throated roller, African pitta, white collared olive, and African grey parrot among others.
Murchison falls national park safaris
Murchison falls is the largest national park in Uganda located in the districts of Masindi, Bulisa, Kiryandongo, and Nwoya. The Park is home to a lot of wildlife among which include 76 mammal species, 450 bird species, and 10 primates. most people visited Murchison falls national park to see the strongest waterfalls in the world. Murchison falls can be seen on a boat cruise to the bottom of the falls or on when you hike to the top of the falls. At the top of the falls, you witness a huge mass of water squeezing itself through a narrow gorge which is 23 ft wide thus forming a thunderous sound. The water from the falls moves 20km down Paara to form a Nile delta which is home to hippos, crocodiles, and birds.
Murchison falls is the largest national park in Uganda with different park animals that can be seen on a game drive. The park animals can be clearly seen on a game drive which is normally done in the northern sector of the park. Animals in Murchison falls national park include Uganda kob, giraffes, lions, hartebeests, buffaloes, elephants, lions, hyenas, bushbucks, warthogs, waterbucks, oribis, blue monkeys, olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus, hippos, and also chimpanzees but these can be found in Budongo forest national park.
Murchison falls national park is home to over 450 bird species and these can be seen in different birding spots in the park. The birds in Murchison falls national park include rock pratincole, black-headed lapwing, long-toed plover, black-billed barbet, weaver birds, veracious dove, martial eagle, long-tailed nightjar, silver bird, standard winged nightjar, blue-headed coucal, swamp flycatcher, Senegal thick-knee, saddle-billed stork, blue-headed coucal, giant kingfisher, black-bellied bustards among others.
A safari to Murchison falls is incomplete without taking a boat cruise. There are two boat cruises in Murchison falls national park the first one is a Nile delta boat cruise which starts at Paara taking you 20 km to the point where River Nile joins Lake Albert. The second boat cruise takes you to the bottom of the falls and this takes 2-3 hours. All the boat cruises give you an opportunity to see crocodiles, hippos, water birds like papyrus gonolek, giant kingfisher, grey crowned crane, yellow-billed stork, goliath heron, and different park animals like elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, antelopes at the shores of the lakes drinking water most especially when it’s the dry season. All in all, Murchison falls national park is one of the best places to visit on Uganda safari that you shouldn’t miss to explore.
Lake Mburo national park
Lake Mburo national park is the easily accessed national park and the nearest to the capital city in Uganda. The park is located in the southwestern circuit in Kiruhura district covering a total area of 260 sq. km. Lake Mburo national park is home to the highest population of zebras and impalas in the country. It is also home to over 68 mammals and about 310 bird species. It’s the only park where one can do game viewing on foot because there are no elephants and the lion in the park is not easily found.
Animals in Lake Mburo national park can be seen while horse riding, nature walk or in a safari vehicle. These animals include hippos, zebras, klipspringer, impalas, elands, buffaloes, jackal, hyenas, warthogs, topi, and oribi among others. You can as well see animals on a boat cruise on Lake Mburo which is the largest of the five lakes found in the boat. The boat cruise is done for 2 hours with opportunities of seeing hippos, crocodiles, water birds, and some of the park animals on the shores of the lake most especially in the dry season when they gather to drink water.
Bird lovers to lake Mburo can see over 351 bird species that have been so far recorded in the park and among these include the rare shoebill stork, grey craned crane, tabora cisticola, African finfoot, papyrus yellow warbler, saddle-billed stork, Abyssinian ground hornbill, green hood hope, ross’s turaco, brown parrot, white-tailed pelican, pink backed pelican, and white-headed barbet among others
What is the best time to visit beautiful places on Uganda safari?
Different destinations in Uganda can be visited at any time of the year but the best time to visit the country is the dry season which happens in December to February and June to September when there is little or no rainfall, the vegetation is thin for clear views of animals, the trekking trails and tracks are less muddy and slippery and lastly, the roads leading to the park are passable.
You can as well visit Uganda in the rainy season of March to May and October to November but there is a lot of rainfall making the roads impassable and the track as well as trekking trails in the park muddy and slippery. The only advantage of visiting Uganda in the low season is that the lodge offer discount and those going for primate trekking take little time because the primates don’t do deep in the jungles to look out for food since there is plenty everywhere. During this period there are also migratory birds from Europe and North Africa.
Like we we said, there are so many best places to visit on Uganda safari on top of the above to make your journeys rewarding and memorable such as sipi falls and mount Rwenzori for hiking.