Uganda was once referred to as the Pearl of Africa and named such because it stuns with beautiful scenery and offers several activities like gorilla trekking, safaris, multiday mountain treks, unique culture, and white water rafting among others, it was named as the Pearl of Africa by the prominent Winston Churchill because of its beauty, abundant wildlife and diversity.
Currently, Uganda has 10 protected National Parks which are distributed in various regions in the country. All the national Parks harbor a wide species of mammals and beautiful birds. Talk about, Murchison Falls National Park is the oldest and largest national park of all the national parks while Semuliki Valley National Park is the smallest among the other 10 parks. However, to access any of these parks you are required to pay Uganda Wildlife Authority Park fees ‘’park entry fees’’ which you can either purpose from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices positioned in Kampala or from the national park entrance.
Below is the list of all the Uganda National Parks highlighted one by one;
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is the largest national park of all Uganda’s parks, covering an area of about 3894 square kilometers that are habitant to over 76 mammal species,450 bird species, primates like chimpanzees, and above all, hosts the most powerful waterfall in the world which is called Murchison Falls thus making the best safari destination on Uganda Wildlife Safaris. Due to its biggest size, Murchison Falls National Park is composed of Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserves which happens to be its major attraction. This is where the Nile connects its way through a narrow gorge and flows down to become a river that harbors a lot of aquatic mammal crocodiles, hippos, and waterbucks. The park is comprised of open savanna grassland and woodlands that inhabitant of the largest population of wildlife species such as herds of elephants, Buffaloes, crocodiles, giraffes, lions, spotted hyenas, chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, and bird species among others.
Generally, Murchison Falls National Park is located in the northwestern region of Uganda, a UNESCO World Heritage, and covers an area of about 3894 square kilometers. It is a character by savannah grasslands, riverine forests, woodland, and swamps. More so, Murchison Falls National Park was gazette in 1926 and created as a national park in 1952. The park’s main tourist attraction is Murchison Falls where the park got its name. Murchison Falls is an attraction also referred to as ‘’the devil’s cauldrons’’. The park is home to the big four and makes it big five animals, tourists can visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary home to the endangered rhinos in the country.
How to get to Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park can be accessed by either air or road transport depending traveler’s budget.
By Road Transport
From Kampala, Uganda’s capital city can take about 4 to 5 hours to drive to access the park.
By Air Transport
Tourists can access the park by booking domestic chartered or scheduled flights to Aero link or Bar aviation at Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Pakuba airfield the nearest airstrip to the park. Another airstrip you can land at; is Chobe or Bugungu airstrip all lead to easy access to the park in an hour faster than road transport.
Travelers can access the park by using different gates which are accessible by visitors in different regions. For instance, tourists can use the Chobe gate which is in the northern sector of the park, and Kichumbanyobo gates the main game of the park located in Masindi town south of the park. The Tangi gate lies in the Paraa region and for tourists to access the gate they first have to cross the bridge at the Nile by car.
The Wankar gate lies 10 kilometers off the main road and the Mubako gate is along Kampala ‘’Pakwach road, however, the tourists will be able to reach the park by using the Karuma falls bridge to cross River Nile.
Attractions in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park offers unforgettable life experiences while visiting the different regions and engaging in different activities below are the fabulous tourist attractions
Wildlife; The park has different vegetation zones that attract animal species, composed of swamp vegetation along Lake Kyoga, woodland, and savannah home to different animals species such as; hippopotamuses, Rothschild’s giraffes, warthogs, Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, Jackson’s hartebeest, elephants among others.
Birdlife: Murchison Falls National Park is home to over 450 bird species thus making it hoven for birders. Most spotted bird species here; Shoe bill, Crowned crested crane, Giant kingfisher, Goliath heron, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Nightjars Marabou stork many more.
Murchison Falls; The park got its name from the falls within the park called the Murchison Falls, which offers rewardable views of the thundering and fabulous sounds of the falls.
Activities to do in Murchison Falls National Park
They include; Game drive viewing, Rhino tracking in Ziwa rhino sanctuary that lies along the same route to Murchison Falls National Park, Birding, guided nature walks, and Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest reserves.
Accommodation in Murchison Fall National Park
Travelers on safari to Murchison Falls National Park will have a great chance to select from comfortable and quality accommodations ranging from Luxury, Mid-range, and Budget and all are well designed with perfect amenities like dining services, and 24-hour’ room services thus enabling quality service delivery.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park lies southwest of Uganda at the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The park is one of the smallest parks covering an area of about 34 square meters that is inhabited by unique golden monkeys and mountain gorillas. Mgahinga was gifted with three beautiful volcanoes and the volcanoes are part of the Virunga volcanic range in the East Central of Africa, which expands up to the Albertine Rift in Uganda, DR.Congo and Rwanda border. These Volcanoes were formed thousands of years ago via the deposition of ash layers with cinders from several lava flows.
The park is home to various wildlife species including 76 mammal species like buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, leopards, spotted hyenas,black-fronted duikers, primates like great mountain gorillas, and golden monkeys, and about 200 bird species among others.
Activities to do in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park boasts remarkable tourist activities including; Gorilla trekking, Golden monkey trekking, Volcanoes climbing, Bird watching, Batwa Experience and Trails, Visit the cave Natural walk among others.
How to get to Mgahinga Gorilla National park
The park can be accessed both by road or by car
From Kampala to access Mgahinga National Park you can drive through Masaka, Mbarara, and Kisoro to the main destination. The journey can take 9 to 10 hours drive.
Alternatively, you can fly into Rwanda International Airport, and then after you will connect by road to Mgahinga National Park via the Cyanika border which can take about 3 to 4 hours’ drive.
You can fry from Entebbe International Airport by a domestic flight to fly you to Kisoro Airstrip of Kihihi.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is considered the most tourist destination on Uganda Wildlife Safari Tours because it has a diversity of wildlife species over 95 mammal species and more than 600 bird species. The park is the second largest after Murchison Falls National Park which was established as a national park in 1954. More so, Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to a diversity of mammal species such as; African leopards, lions, chimpanzees, Buffaloes, Nile crocodiles, Kobs, reedbucks, warthogs, bush pigs, waterbucks Hippopotamus, Elephants, leopards among others. Bird species include Chaplin’s flycatcher, African skimmer, corncrake, Verreaux papyrus gonolek, Lesser and greater flamingoes, African skimmers, Pink-backed pelican, and bar-tailed Godwit among others. The park is the most visited on Uganda wildlife safari because it hosts famous tree-climbing lions that can only be seen in Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania.
Activities to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park activities include; Chimpanzee tracking, Game drive, Boat cruise on the famous Kazinga Channel, Lion tracking, Guided natural walk, Birding, Mongoose tracking, Community walk many more.
How to get to Queen Elizabeth National Park
The park can either be reached by road or by car.
From Kampala to Queen Elizabeth National Park takes about a 5 to 6 hours drive.
You can fly to Queen Elizabeth National Park while using a chartered or scheduled domestic flight from Entebbe International Airport to fly you to Mweya airstrip or Kasese airstrip landing within 1:25 hours.
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site, situated in western Uganda and north of Queen Elizabeth National park and was established as a national park in 1993. The park is renowned as the capital of primates and also home to over 77 mammal species,351 bird species, and more than 1500 individual chimpanzees thus making it the best place for Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda.
The park is located in the western part of Uganda covering an area of about 795 square kilometers which are habitant by about 77 mammal species,13 species of primates, and 371 bird species recorded. More to that, the park boasts 14 species of primates including; L’hoest’s monkey, colobus, blue monkey, black and white colobus, blue monkey, Uganda red, and the main highlight spotted is chimpanzees.
Activities in Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park activities include; Hiking and Nature walks, Visiting Bigodi wetland sanctuary, Guided forest walks, cultural encounters, Chimpanzee trekking, Chimpanzee habituation, and Exploration of the crater lakes among others.
How to get to Kibale Forest National Park
From Kampala to the main destination can take about 6 to 7 hours drives
You can choose to use a domestic flight from Entebbe International Airport to fly you to Kasese Airstrip within 1:25 hours.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is located in the far Uganda region approximately about 9 to 10-hour drive to access the main destination from Kampala, covering about 1442 square kilometers that harbor about 86 mammal species and about 500 bird species among others. More so,
Wildlife; The park hosts abundant animal species including lions, elephants, buffaloes, Oribis, hartebeest, antelopes like honor reedbuck, defense, waterbucks, elands, bushbucks, bush duskier, pangolins, caracals, cheetahs, bat-eared fox, striped hyenas, aardwolves, wild dogs, Ostriches among others.
Birdlife; Birding in Kidepo Valley National Park is rewarding and bests done in the southern Narus thus making it an amazing birder’s haven like; Nubian wood lockers, Vinaceous doves,scarlet-chested sunbirds, mosque swallow, superb starlings, Little weaver singing Abyssinian ground, Karamoja Apalis, Ethiopian swallow, African grey flycatcher, White-billed tit, Slate-colored Boubou, Red-billed Ox Pecker among others. The best time for wildlife safari in the park is throughout the year. More so, the park is the top African untouched and unspoiled Africa, located in a remote area with no urban infrastructure in the region.
Kidepo Valley National Park is marked as the best eight ‘’8’’ travel destinations in Africa by the CNN Traveler’s journal because of its diversity.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is situated far south in the western region of Uganda approximately 8 to 9 hours drive and about 1:30 hour to fly with a domestic flight from Entebbe International Airport to land at Kisoro airstrips. Fact, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most popular destinations in the world because it hosts half the remaining mountain gorillas in the wild of about 650 individuals of the total population of about 1065 individuals.
The park is the best place to go for a gorilla trekking safari in the world which can be accessed with valid gorilla permits. Note; Uganda gorilla trekking permits cost USD700 per person per day.
Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park activities include; Gorilla habituation, Gorilla trekking, Bird watching, Batwa cultural experience, and Forest walks among others.
Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park is located far in Eastern Uganda in the Mbale district along the Kenya –Uganda border. More so, the park acts unfold a beautiful and uncluttered view of the wilderness. Visit the park and take part in mountain climbing on Wagagai peak on its top which is remarkable.
Semuliki Valley National Park
Semuliki Valley National Park was once called a forest reserve till 1993 and was later introduced to Uganda National Parks. However, the park is the smallest of all the Uganda National Parks covering only 219 square kilometers. The park is an extension of the great Congolese Ituri forest and sits in the western part of Uganda.
Despite this fact, the park features old-age attractions such as the hot springs that boil up from depths showing the strong forces that have put the rift valley in shape for the past thirteen million years. It is the best birding site on Uganda’s birding safaris that stuns a variety of Albertine bird species.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National park is Uganda’s smallest national park and the closest park to both Kampala and Entebbe estimated about a 3 to 4 hours drive. The park covers an area of about 370 kilometers and an altitude that raises from 1220 meters to 1828 meters above sea level. Its land is comprised of wetlands and beautiful landscapes that are habitant by wildlife species like; hyenas, leopards, and zebras among others.
Rwenzori National park
Rwenzori National Park is situated in western Uganda in the Kasese districts, covering an area of about 1000 square kilometers. The park sits on the equator along the Uganda Democratic Republic of Congo border. Fact, Rwenzori mountain fall slopes to the west of the thrilling Semliki River and Lake Edward. One can be able to climb Mount Rwenzori up to Margherita peak and must be steady in body fitness for 7 days climbing up to its peak.