UGANDA

PARKS & DESTINATIONS

The parks and destinations listed here are some of the best Uganda has to offer. Ujuzi African Travel is committed to customizing a travel package that meets your travel interests and fulfills your vacation dreams. If a particular place you'd like to visit isn't listed here, let us know and we'll incorporate it into your itinerary.


Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

A magnificent luxuriant swathe across the steep ridges of the Albertine Rift Valley, this ancient rainforest -- one of the few in Africa to have flourished throughout the last Ice Age -- is regarded as one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has at least 90 mammal species, including 11 primates, and is ranked as one of the best in Uganda for forest birding, with 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is renowned for its Mountain Gorilla population; an estimated 280 - 320 individuals living in 15 groups, slightly more then half the world's mountain gorilla population is resident in Bwindi. Looking deep into the expressive brown eyes of these gentle giants is an extremely special privilege and an encounter unparalleled in most likely the whole of Africa.

There are 7 gorilla families in BINP that are habituated and open to trekking by tourists. In the Buhoma area there are the Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura family groups, in Ruhija there is the Bitukula and Oruzogo group and on the southern Kisoro side, and, in the same area as Clouds Lodge, there are the Nkuringo, Mishaya and Nshongi family groups.

Daily permits are available for tourists to trek and share in the lives of these amazing and endangered apes.

Activities Include: Gorilla Trekking, Community/Service Project, Cultural Walk, Tribal Visit, Walking/Hiking


Entebbe/Kampala

Entebbe Botanical Gardens

The lovely Entebbe Botanical Gardens are conveniently located close to town, and allow for good wildlife viewing opportunities. Several primate species, such as vervet and black and white colobus monkeys, reside in the gardens, but bird watchers will be thrilled by the wide variety of species living in the gardens. Visitors will also enjoy seeing a number of unusual plant species, lending credence to the rumors that early Tarzan movies were filmed here.

Uganda Wildlife and Education Centre (UWEC)

Founded as sanctuary for young animals whose parents had been killed by poachers, the UWEC now operates as a conservation education centre, with a mission to promote an understanding of the importance of protecting Uganda's biodiversity. All the animals at the centre have been rescued from poachers, illegal trade, or accidents. Over 50 animal species are represented, with more than 200 animals taking up residence.

Ngamba Island Excursion

Travel by road and boat to the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. This refuge on a 100-acre island on Lake Victoria offers a home to orphaned chimpanzees in a natural environment. Watching them is an absolute delight, as is a chance to help in their rehabilitation while reducing the impact of illegal poaching.

Mabamba Wetlands

This large accessible wetland near the village of Mamba on the shores of Lake Victoria is only a short drive from Kampala or Entebbe. Mamba swamp extends across more than 63 sq miles from a shallow marshy bay on the northern shores of Lake Victoria. This large papyrus swamp is listed as an Important Bird Area and provides a haven for a wide variety of birdlife. The swamp is laced with navigable channels which you can explore in dugout canoes with the excellent help of a local guide. Especially exciting is the chance to see the magnificent shoebill, Mamba swamp is now possibly the most reliable place to see this rare and most sought-after bird.


Jinja

Jinja is a city in eastern Uganda. It is the second busiest commercial centre in the country, after Kampala. Jinja is approximately 55 miles from Kampala and is located on the shores of Lake Victoria near to the source of the Nile River. Jinja is affectionately known as the "Adventure Capital of East Africa" and has some of the most exciting tourism activities in Africa. These include whitewater rafting on a series of rapids north of the river's source, which represents one of the world's premier white water rafting and kayaking destinations. A 2300-foot-long aerial runway which provide the most novel way to cross the Nile and for the very adventurous a 150 ft bungee jump from a platform cantilevered over the river; since Murchison Falls is 130 ft, this is the highest plunge along the length of the Nile apart from Egypt's Aswan dam. Quad biking and horseback safaris through local farms and communities are also available in Jinja and are a great way to have loads of fun and see the countryside and the local way of life.

On July 28, 1862, John Hannings Speke declared that he could see the "old father Nile" emerge from its source, the Victoria Nyanza. A monument was raised on the spot where he stood on the west bank of the Nile to mark the historical event. It is at this point that Speke believed the Nile River begins its journey through Uganda, Sudan and finally Egypt. There are also some craft stalls selling Ugandan arts and crafts, situated near to the Source of the Nile.

"Here I stood on the brink of the Nile ... and nothing could surpass it." John Hanning Speke, 28th July 1862 on "discovering" the Victorian Source of the great Nile.


Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is the most accessible of Ugandan's rainforests. It covers an area of 475 sq miles, of which the dominant vegetation is lush and shady rainforest, but is interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp.

This enchanting and exotic environment is home to at least 60 mammal species, remarkably 13 of which are primates. It also has a rich diversity of birds, with 335 species identified including the endemic Prirogrine's ground thrush.

An exploration under the shady, green canopy will brim with discoveries to delight botanists and butterfly lovers alike. The most alluring and rewarding activity in Kibale Forest is tracking for habituated chimps. The opportunity to gain a privileged and unforgettable insight into the daily lives of man's closet relatives is one which will be cherished and remembered for a number of years.

Activities Include: Primate Walk (Chimpanzee Trekking), Community/Service Project, Cultural walk


Kidepo Valley National Park

Tucked into the corner of Uganda's border with Sudan and Kenya and isolated from the Ugandan mainstream by the harsh plains to the north of Mount Elgon, Kidepo Valley National Park is truly stunning, boasting a real sense of wilderness that enchants visitors. Kidepo is Uganda's second biggest National Park (900 sq miles) and one of Africa's last great wilderness areas, a tract of rugged savannah dominated by Mount Morungole and broken by the Narus Valley in the southwest and the Kidepo Valley in the northeast.

Perennial running water in the Narus River makes Kidepo an oasis in the semi-desert. This is wild, remote country with big skies, vast rocky mountains, and golden green plains dotted with mammals. Kidepo is the only park in Uganda where visitors may see cheetah, and it is also the only park where it possible to see giraffe and zebra in the same place. Lions, elephants, buffalo, ostriches, antelope, and numerous other mammal and bird species also reside on the park. While the game viewing is excellent, it is the sense of supreme isolation that distinguishes this rare slice of wild Africa.

Culturally this part of Uganda is also fascinating. This is home to two distinctive ethnic groups with highly cherished traditions: the Karamojong and the Ik.

Activities Include: Game Drives, Tribal Visit, Walking/Hunting


Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is an underrated gem of a park, dominated by the impressive Lake Mburo, from which it receives its name, with forest-fringed shores hemmed in by rolling green hills. Although the park is small, only 230 sq miles, in comparison to other parks in Uganda, it has a total of five lakes within its boundaries. These lakes, along with another nine, form part of an important wetland system for the area.

There is a great diversity of plants and animals resident within the park such as Impala, slender mongoose and secretive bush rat which are not found in any other Ugandan park. Burchell's zebra is also widely distributed throughout the park and this unique animal is found in only 3 protected areas in Uganda, the other 2 being much harder to access. There have been 315 bird species recorded at Lake Mburo National Park and it is the best place in the country to see the gigantic Eland antelope, as well as Topi, Impala, and several acacia-associated birds.

Activities Include: Boat Launch/Cruise, Cultural Activities, Game Drives, Horseback Safaris, Walking/Hiking


Murchison Falls National Park

Uganda's largest national park, the 2400 sq mile Murchison Falls National Park lies in the core of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. This impressive park protects a chunk of untamed African savannah bisected by the mighty river Nile. The dramatic Murchison Falls, where the world's longest river explodes violently through a narrow cleft in the Albertine Rift Valley escarpment to plunge into a frothing pool 140 feet below strikes an exhilarating impression on all 5 senses. Murchison Falls is occupied mainly by lush grasslands. The highest diversity of wildlife is found on the open plains north of the Nile, where elephant, buffalo, giraffe, and a huge variety of antelope are regularly encountered. Primates, such as the baboon and the patas monkey, stare at you as you pass by and if you are a bird lover, Murchison Falls National Park will not disappoint. Murchison is also the best park in Uganda to see the big cats (Uganda has only lions and leopards) and these are spotted with increasing frequency.

The Nile itself boasts one of Africa's densest hippo and crocodile populations, and a dazzling variety of water birds including the world's most accessible wild population of the rare shoebill.

A short drive on a twisting, dirt road takes you to the top of the falls, where you can hear the thunder and feel the spray as the water forces itself through the rock. Views from the top of the falls are stunning and offer excellent photo opportunities.

Activities Include: Boat Launches/Cruises, Chimpanzee Trekking, Fishing, Game Drives


Ngamba Island

Established in 1998, and managed by the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary provides a safe haven for 44 orphaned chimps.

Situated 16 miles offshore from Entebbe, in Lake Victoria, beautiful Ngamba Island is almost 100 acres in size and boasts over 50 different types of vegetation that the chimps utilize: the chimps are free to roam at their will, exploring their environment and foraging for food.

Visits offer a unique opportunity for close viewing of chimpanzees in their natural forested environment. Pre-arranged supplementary feeding times bring the chimpanzees within yards of the raised walkway specially designed for easy viewing. Excellent photographic opportunities are available as well as just enjoying being near to one of our closest animal relatives.

Activities Include: Chimpanzee Viewing, Walking/Hiking


Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park resides in a fertile, equatorial area and has beautiful scenery. It is Uganda's most popular and accessible savannah reserve, with a total area of 1230 sq miles. It is primarily associated with grassy savannah plains, but this impressive park also includes within its boundaries, leafy rainforests, dense papyrus swamps, and natural volcanic crater lakes. As a result it has one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world, including a total of 95 recorded mammal species and more then 610 species of birds.

The Kazinga channel, with its varied range of animals and birds, has one of the world's largest concentrations of hippos, and cuts through the park connecting Lake George to Lake Edward. The Kyambura Gorge is home to habituated chimpanzees, a site for unforgettable treks to visit these fascinating primates. Maramagambo Forest harbors an alluring variety of monkey species and birds; flocks of flamingos also reside on the crater lakes. The southwest section of Queen Elizabeth National Park is also blessed with some enticing game-viewing areas; its most celebrated inhabitants are the tree-climbing lions.

Activities Include: Boat Launches/Cruises, Chimpanzee Trekking, Cultural Activities, Game Drives, Walking/Hiking


Rwenzori Mountains

The magic of the Rwenzoris snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and vegetation zones has long inspired mankind's spirit of adventure. The first well-documented sighting of the Rwenzoris by Europeans was made by Sir Henry Stanley in 1876. Prior to this it was incorrectly rumored that the source of the Nile came from the "The Mountains of the Moon."

However, "Rwenzori," derived from a local name meaning, "Hill of Rain," which is a more accurate description of this mountain range which receives approximately 98-118 inches of rainfall annually. As a result, the Rwenzoris have a unique ecosystem with several vegetative zones and numerous endemic species of gigantic plants. The park also supports an impressive number of mammals, including elephants, cats, chimpanzees, giant forest hogs, and many shyer species of antelope, as well as a diverse and colorful variety of birds. The Rwenzoris are described as being perhaps the toughest hiking challenge in East Africa, requiring above average fitness and stamina. One to 9-day treks are available in this stunning mountain range.

Activities Include: Hiking/Trekking


Semliki National Park

The Semliki Valley, deep in the heart of Uganda's western rift valley, is a prime conservation area. It lies at the base of the Albertine Rift to the west of Fort Portal, the magnificent Rwenzori foothills lies to the south, Lake Albert to the north.

Boosting both a National Park and a Game Reserve, much of the valley is untouched. This is Uganda's oldest wildlife reserve and stretches over 335 sq miles. The park was established in 1993 and is approximately 136 sq miles. The park protects a practically pristine tropical lowland forest, which forms the easternmost tip of the Central Africa rainforest.

One of the most attractive features of the game reserve is that it displays a classic geographic crossroads, where the tropical rainforest meets grassy savannah and wetlands give over to the majestic Lake Albert, while the flat plains are punctuated by deep river valleys. This unique geography is reflected in the diversity of wildlife, representing both the Central Africa forest species, such as the forest elephant, and the savannah species of East Africa, like lions, leopards, and antelope. There are 11 recorded species found in Semliki that have been recorded nowhere else in Uganda, including the pygmy antelope, 2 types of flying squirrel and 6 types of bat.

The birdlife is amazing with both endemics and migrants seen in the park, even the rare shoebill lives within the wetlands of Semliki National Park. Within the lush forest canopies chimps and other primate species can be found and tourists can trek and observe these primates as one of the many activities the park has to offer.

The most popular attraction to Semliki National Park is the collection of hot springs at Sempaya, which can be reached from a short walking trail. The hot springs are situated in the midst of rainforest and palm trees. The largest spring is a geyser shooting up from a 25 foot-wide opening in a low salt sculpture. The emerging water has a temperature of above 212°F. A visit to the pygmy village at Ntandi or a boat ride on Lake Albert are also popular with travelers.

Activities Include: Bird Watching, Game Drives, Walking/Hiking