Uganda has 10 protected areas that are gazetted as national parks. With an additional 12 game reserves, these protected areas attract a considerable number of tourists who go on Uganda safaris most especially wildlife safaris, gorilla watching expeditions, chimpanzee tracking etc. Of these, here are the top 5 national parks in Uganda.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National park is one of the remote unvisited ordinary places in Uganda and one of the reasons could be that it is very far away from Kampala the capital city. It lies in the semi-arid areas of Karamoja. It is one of Uganda’s prime most remote but spectacular National Parks that harbors scenery not found in any other park in East Africa. Kidepo valley National Park offers breathtaking, savannah landscapes that give off a wide range of climatic conditions that have enabled extremely diverse vegetation. This has enabled the growth of a variety of animal species in the park that are equally abundant including many not found anywhere else in Uganda.
This park is a birders’ paradise with over 475 bird species. It has an open tree savannah grass land which varies much in structure and composition. Kidepo National Park has proven a life time memory to great birders, internationally due to her endless list of unique birds she has to offer.
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into vast, palm-dotted savanna. The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The Park is composed of woodland, wetland, savannah as well as tropical forest.
The park hosts 76 species of mammals including four of the “Big Five”, with huge herds of buffaloes and elephants, well-camouflaged leopards, a large population of lions and giraffes. Other species viewed regularly along the game tracks include Jackson’s hartebeest, bushbucks, Uganda kob, waterbucks and warthogs. Resident crocodiles and hippos as well as other, wildlife is found along the Nile river.
The most spectacular view of watching the waterfall is moving towards the top where the sight and sound of the Nile crashing make a memorable experience. Below the falls, the Nile offers an opportunity for one to come across distinct birdlife, including savannah forest birds, water birds and Albertine on a boat launch cruise.
Bwindi impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is unbelievable due to its biodiversity and Relief in south western Uganda. The forest is very significant as a home to almost half of the population of the endangered mountain gorillas. Things you should never miss out while in the park include;
Gorilla tracking, is the major activity carried out in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Many people are interested in tracking the habituated families of the gorillas in the four sectors of Buhoma and Nkuringo being the best interesting gorilla tracking area, Ruhija and Rushaga. A maximum of 8 people are allowed to track each gorilla family at any given time in order to conserve their natural habitat and keep them safe from infections. The duration of the trek depends on the family allocated in each sector.
The park also has a number of community and forest treks. One can trek around on his or her own but security and safety you need to consult guides for clear advise about the route you are about to take. Some treks require hiking especially those to Muyanga water fall that departs from Buhoma, Rushura Hill walk that passes through one forest shared by two countries.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
The park has a variety of Flora and Fauna and it’s acknowledged to be a habitat for over 95 mammal species with about 612 species of birds. The various species in this park have made it a unique park most liked by tourists. It has five levels of vegetation namely Bushy grassland, Acacia woodland, Swamp vegetation along with Forest grassland. The grasslands of the park inhabit wildlife such as Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, waterbuck, warthlog, lion, leopard, hyena, giant forest hog as well as Elephants. Topis can only be discovered in Ishasha and Forest primates are found in Kyambura gorge in addition to Maramagambo forest.
The park has a variety of flora and fauna and it is acknowledged to be a habitat for over 95 mammal species with over 612 species of birds. More so, the shores of the lake attract a large concentration of mammals as well as reptiles all year around. Animals can be viewed well by the boat cruise that operates from 11:00am – 1:00pm and 3.00pm-5.00pm depending on the demand of the tourists. This creates a chance to view pods of hippos and large numbers of seagulls, cormorants and other water birds.
Kibale forest National park
Kibale Forest National Park is one of the best safari destination in Africa and major tropical rainforest in East Africa. This forest has one of the highest concentrations of primates in Africa, with 13 recorded species. The highlight is outstanding chimpanzee trekking and habituation experiences that provide spectacular sightings. There are almost 1,500 chimpanzees in the forest including the habituated Kanyantale group. The forest is home to around 335 bird species including four species not recorded in any other National parks. The National park has two types of vegetation that is the Grass land and Forest.
Chimpanzee tracking is the major activity and it requires one hour viewing the chimps while 3 hours are required when walking in the forest however a chimpanzee permit has to be paid in time before the actual date of tracking. In addition, there are other adventures that can be taken within the park and these include bird watching, nature walks, botanical tours, etc.