Uganda is blessed with abundant natural beauty and is rightfully known as the Pearl of Africa for numerous reasons. The ten Uganda National Parks boast of remarkable diversity of wildlife and other captivating attractions that entice nature lovers on an African safari. When exploring the national parks in Uganda, you’ll encounter captivating features such as primates, big game, other mammals, reptiles, and more.
Each park in Uganda offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Out of the ten national parks, here are the best five parks that you should consider visiting in 2023.
Murchison Falls National Park
Lying at the edge of the Albertine rift, Northwestern Uganda is a magnificent Murchison Falls National Park, the home to four of the big five game and Murchison Falls –one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world. This is Uganda’s largest National Park and it was created in 1952 making it one of the oldest parks in the country. It takes its name from the powerful Murchison Falls and covers a land area of 3840sq.km.
Murchison Falls National Park isn’t only spectacular but also shelters diversity of wildlife making it a favorite wildlife safari destination. This Park is a host to over 76 species of mammals and includes waterbucks, African bush elephants, Nile crocodiles, spotted hyenas, cape buffaloes, lions, Rothschild giraffes, jackals, hippos, Jackson’s hartebeests, warthogs, bushbucks, oribis, and over 451 species of birds.
Birds to see on a safari in Murchison Falls National Park include rock pratincole, Denham’s bustard, yellow-fronted tinker bird, giant kingfishers, Abyssinian ground hornbill, shoebill stork, Senegal thick-knee, grey crowned crane, silver birds, blue-napped mouse bird, chestnut crowned sparrow weavers, white-bellied night heron, pel’s fishing owl, long-tailed and pennant winged, yellow-throated leaf love, grey-cheeked crane, goliath heron, red-winged grey warblers, squacco herons, speckle-fronted weavers, swamp flycatchers, sandpipers, and more.
The amazing things to do on a Uganda safari through Murchison Falls NP include guided game drives, a launch cruise, hiking to the top of the falls, birding, chimpanzee trekking, chimpanzee habituation experience in Budongo Forest, nature walks, visit the top of the falls, hot air balloon, and others. Truly a delight for the nature lover!
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the must-visit destinations come 2023. This is a gorilla haven with at least 459 of the world’s 1063 individuals residing within its lush tropical rainforest.
Established in 1991, Bwindi National Park occupies a compact area measuring 331sq.km and this features a lush impenetrable forest. The park is a recognized UNESCO Site –the status it attained in 1994.
It holds a diversity of faunal and floral species which include 400 plant species, 360 bird species, and 120 mammal species. Mountain gorillas are the main attractions to see on safari in Bwindi but there are other animal species including clawless otters, golden cats, side-stripe jackals, bats, black and yellow duikers, elephants, civets, buffaloes, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, baboons and more.
Birds to identify on a tour in Bwindi Forest include black-billed turacos, blue flycatchers, African emerald cuckoos, Handsome francolins, Grauer’s warblers, Dwarf honey guide, black bee-eaters, Shelley’s greenbul, African green broadbill, Mountain yellow warblers, short-tailed warblers, red-throated alethe, Western green tinker bird, Rwenzori nightjar, bar-tailed trogon, black-faced rufous warblers, mountain masked apalis, Chapin’s flycatcher, Archer’s robin chat, Kivu ground thrush, fine-banded woodpecker, and more.
Available tourism activities to engage in Bwindi are many and include mountain gorilla trekking, birding, Batwa cultural experience, forest/nature walks, cycling/biking, and gorilla habituation experience
Kibale National Park
Situated in the Kabarole District of Western Uganda, Kibale National Park holds the esteemed title of being the primate capital of the world. Spanning an expansive area of 795 square kilometers, this natural tropical forest park is home to a remarkable variety of primates, encompassing 13 distinct species. Among the park’s primate inhabitants, you’ll encounter grey-cheeked mangabeys, olive baboons, chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, red colobus monkeys, pottos, and bush babies.
Kibale National Park also presents an impressive range of biodiversity, featuring an assortment of amphibians, butterflies, forest elephants, reptiles, forest hogs, and a captivating assortment of floral species.
Furthermore, bird enthusiasts will be thrilled to discover the park’s impressive avian population, comprising a staggering 375 species.
To enhance your experience in the park, various activities are available for visitors, such as chimpanzee tracking, forest/nature walks, chimpanzee habituation experiences, birdwatching, engaging bush walks, and guided nature walks in the captivating Bigodi Wetland.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo National Park is lying in far North-eastern Uganda within a semi-arid area and access to the park requires about 9-10 hours’ drive from Kampala city. This Park sits in the sweeping plains of the Karamoja region and it is one of the least visited Uganda National Parks.
Kidepo was created in 1962 and has a land area measuring 1442sq.km, inhabiting important wildlife such as cheetahs, lions, leopards, giraffes, elephants, cape buffaloes, and more.
Game drives, community visits, and hiking are among the interesting activities that Kidepo Valley National Park has to offer.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is another premier savanna wildlife destination, home to the unique tree-climbing lions and other big game. Located in Western Uganda, this park was created in 1952 and renamed after the late Queen Elizabeth II in 1954. It is Uganda’s 2nd largest park with a land area measuring 1978sq.km and supports over 95 mammal species.
At Queen Elizabeth National Park, the notable wildlife to see includes leopards, lions, Nile crocodiles, hippos, cape buffaloes, antelope families, and many more. Primates to see especially in Maramagambo Forest and Kyambura Gorge include chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, etc.
In conclusion, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Kidepo Valley, Murchison falls Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kibale Forest are the best five national parks to visit in Uganda this year.