UGANDA “The Pearl of Africa”
Uganda is a country full of contrasts with the Central African forests merging with the East African Savanna and open plains that sink beneath the great lakes in the Albertine Rift valley rising to chill the snow-capped mountain tops. The country offers excitingly varied tourist activities in the 10 national parks and 13 game reserves and other touristic places around the country. Here you can look out for the lions in the open savanna grasslands or fig trees of Ishasha in Queen Elizabeth National park before going further south to enjoy a shared cold lounge with the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable national park. For primate lovers you have a chance to encounter 13 primate species including the chimpanzees in the shady forests of Kibale national park or you can opt to spend an afternoon with the yawning hippos and crocodiles on the banks of the waters as you cruise on the Kazinga Channel. Love to see the world from heights? You can trek the 3 volcanic musketeers that make Mgahinga gorilla national park, the Elgon Caldera that is protected by the Mt. Elgon national park and the snowcapped but equator crossed Mt. Stanley in the Rwenzori National park. Tick off some birds from the birders haven (Semliki national park) whose deep forest sit on the hot floor and enjoy driving in the vast semi-arid savanna plains of Kidepo Valley national park full of big game surrounded by a multitude of rugged hills to the thundering waters of the Nile as they force into a 6M gorge. All this make Uganda one of Africa’s most valid and memorable destination for safari seekers.
WHAT TO DO, SEE, AND PLACES TO VISIT
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK
Bwindi Impenetrable national park is Uganda’s hotspot for tourists that protects steep hills and valleys south of the Ishasha sector and north of Kisoro. The tangled forested slopes roll eastwards from Albertine Rift Valley Escarpment and provide sanctuary to one of Africa’s most diverse fauna including half population of Mountain gorillas.
LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK
Lake Mburo National park is Uganda’s smallest park and it extends to over 371sqkm of the territory in southern Ankole. It is a gem yet underrate. It is dominated by an eponymous lake, with forest-fringed shores enclosed by rolling green hills and has always been bypassed by a majority of safaris despite its easy accessibility and being the nearest park to the capital-Kampala until recently. This is because of its low count on the “Africa’s big 5” mammals.
MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK
The 34km2 of Mgahinga Gorilla National park makes it the smallest of Uganda’s national parks. It comprises the Ugandan part of the Virunga’s 8 massifs that incorporate Rwanda and Congo. The park was established in the 1930s as a gorilla sanctuary and was gazetted in 1991 as a national park and during the process, 2000 people were relocated from the forest and its boundaries.
MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Situated in the northwest of the country about 310km from Kampala. Murchison Falls national park is part of Uganda’s largest conservation area that is 3840km2. It is one of Uganda’s first national parks gazetted in 1952 and was first established as a game reserve in 1926. This makes it Uganda’s oldest conservation area. Murchison Falls national park lies at the end of the Albertine rift valley in the north and the park is bisected by the Victoria Nile to form two sectors.
QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Queen Elizabeth national park is a classic safari destination despite a few twists. The 1978km2 has an impressive variety of habitats from swamps, rivers, forests, crater lakes, and acacia woodland. It was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National park before it was renamed two years after the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate her visit.
MT. ELGON NATIONAL PARK
One of the African Massifs, the Elgon Volcano is associated with the tectonic activities that created the Rift Valley millions of years ago. The volcano straddles the Kenyan border East of Mbale and is Africa’s 8th highest massif standing at 4321m at the Wagagai peak. Mt. Elgon national park, has the broadest base of any free-standing mountain in the world, making it the “World’s largest caldera”. The mountain is shared by Kenya and Uganda.
RWENZORI MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Often referred to as the “Mountains of the Moon”, the towering Rwenzori Mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage site that runs along the Congolese border between the hot floor of the Semliki Valley, and in the backdrop is the Queen Elizabeth National park. The top slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains consist of bare black rocks, Moorland with giant lobelias and groundsels, and the lower altitudes constitute tangled jungles inhabited by forest elephants, chimpanzees (not commonly seen), monkeys, and different alpine bird species. The mountain stands at 5109m with permanent Equatorial snow and ice.
KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
When you talk primates in Uganda, then Kibale National park comes top of the talk. The park is Uganda’s premier chimpanzee tracking spot that protects 766km2 of a predominant forest habitat that extends to about 50km south of Kampala-Fortportal road and around 150km North of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park was originally a forest reserve gazetted in 1932 and was upgraded to a national park status also extended southwards to form a block sharing a common border with Queen Elizabeth National park in 1993.
SEMLIKI NATIONAL PARK
The Semliki Valley is hemmed in by Lake Albert to the north, Semliki River along the Congolese border, and protruded into by the Rwenzori foothills to create a great sector of geographical discrete and ecological divergence at the base of the hot floor of the Albertine rift valley. The sector makes the Congo forests meet the East African Savanna starting from Semliki National Park that is joined by the Ituri Forest and then meets the Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve.
KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Hidden far in the semi-arid valleys of North Eastern Uganda 571 km from the capital city-Kampala bordered by South Susan in the North and Kenya in the east the folks since 1962 when it was gazetted call it Kidepo Valley national park but also got by the slogan “true African wilderness”. A few people and even tourists have made it as far as north to this park but those who have traveled there have been rewarded as the park has over 70 mammals and 475 bird species and magnificent scenery as the park is untamed and far away from modernity. Kidepo Valley national park is the most isolated park of the 10 national parks in Uganda but the few who have traveled the long journey to the north tell that it’s the most beautiful and it also ranks among Africa’s finest national parks.
Jinja is the main destination for culture, leisure, relaxing excursions, and adventure. Cultural rituals are performed at shrines at Bujjagali and Kalangala falls whereas other tourists raft, kayak, tube, the sequence of high-grade rapids, if they are not cruising to see the source of the River.
The town has great history concerning the early explorers from the British Royal Geographical Society, like John Speke. Most of the areas on the river have British Names like the Ripon falls that were named after Marquess of Ripon who was a former president of the society and also the Owen falls that were named after Major Roddy Owen who was part of the 1893 expedition to Uganda by Sir Gerald Portal.
Ssekabaka Mutesa I, the former king of Buganda, had chosen the area that grew to become Kampala as one of his favorite hunting grounds. It was made up of hills and wetlands and was a breeding ground for a species of antelopes- Impalas in whose name the city was named Kampala (Area of Impalas). The impalas are no more in Kampala but can be seen in Lake Mburo National park.
The city grew as the capital for the Buganda Kingdom from which several building and kingdom property survive including the Kasubi tombs (built-in 1881) now a World Heritage Site, the Lubiri Palace, Buganda Parliament, and Buganda Court of Justice.
TAILOR MADE UGANDA SAFARIS
The 11 days explore the two East African countries for what is East Africa and Africa’s most great wildlife experiences- Gorilla tracking and watching the great migration tour which is one of Africa’s wonders. You will have few days in Uganda for the gorillas before flying to Tanzania for the great migration tour and an extra at Ngorongoro crater.
The 9 days go to Uganda’s famous attractions where you will walk with wildlife as the sun goes down at Lake Mburo Np, cruise on the Kazinga channel and watch wildlife in the shadows of Rwenzori Mountains, get amused by the gentle giants in the Bwindi Impenetrable national park, and track chimpanzees at Kibale forest a prime primate destination in Uganda.
The 10 days safari cuts through the Murchison Falls loop and joins into the western safari circuit of Uganda. It goes via Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for an on foot Rhino tracking before joining to Murchison Falls national park. It also includes and encounter with Chimpanzees at the premier Chimpanzee destination in Uganda-Kibale forest, game drives and boat safari at Queen Elizabeth National park and an encounter with the gorillas at Bwindi impenetrable national park.
The seven days will be an amazing journey through Uganda’s western loop to the Gorilla land-Bwindi Impenetrable National park for gorilla tracking. It will also include a break of the journey at Lake Mburo national park, which is Uganda’s smallest savanna park. Here you will engage in an evening game walk and cultural tour before heading for Bwindi. After gorilla tracking, you will visit Uganda’s most popular park, Queen Elizabeth National Park for a game drive and search for the tree climbing lions in the Ishasha Sector.
The tour goes to Uganda’s prime gorilla destination- Bwindi Impenetrable national park for an encounter with the giant apes- Mountain gorillas and through Uganda’s most popular national park- Queen Elizabeth for a drive to watch big game and a cruise on the Kazinga Channel.
The luxury safaris goes to Uganda’s 2 prime parks in the west side. It visits and explores the magnificent vistas of Queen Elizabeth National park, the wildlife in the Kasenyi plains, the birdlife on the 40km long Kazinga Channel that joins two lakes George and Edward, and the Chimpanzees in the Kyambura gorge (Valley of Apes). Then continues south to the gorilla destination- Bwindi Impenetrable National park for gorilla tracking before return to Kampala/ for your exit flight.