Uganda is a land gifted by nature. Winston Churchill called it ‘The Pearl of Africa” which is perhaps an understatement considering its vast array of riches. There’s something about this country that overwhelms your sense of discovery. A nation of huge diversity, it’s home to the endangered mountain gorilla and a paradise for primates. It is 10 National parks play host to Africa’s big 7, Elephant, Rhino, Lion, Leopard, Buffalo plus Gorilla and Chimpanzee. It’s Equatorial climate provides year round temperatures of around 27 degrees celsius yet its mountains are snow capped. It is the source of the world’s longest river, the Nile, which starts its journey at the world’s second largest lake, Victoria, that is dotted with tropical islands where you can relax on white sandy beaches.
Here are just ten of many ways to enjoy it;
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:
This lush rain forest on the edge of the Rift Valley is most famous for those ticking off their bucket list visiting it’s 340 Mountain Gorillas, half of the world’s population. It is also a sanctuary for chimpanzees, over 320 birds species and Colobus monkeys.
Kibale National Park:
This forest has one of the highest concentrations of primates in Africa. It’s highlight being outstanding Chimpanzee trekking and habituation experiences that provide spectacular sightings. There are almost 1500 chimpanzees resident in the forest.
Kidepo Valley National Park:
Little visited and unexplored, Kidepo lies in the far northeast of Uganda with a huge biodiversity of flora and fauna, rugged mountain scenery and exceptional game viewing and superb bird watching.
Lake Mburo National Park:
Conveniently located between Kampala and the main tourist hotspots, Mburo is the smallest of Uganda’s parks, but has the most prolific plains game all year round. It is where you can experience Uganda’s premier horseback safaris.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: Mgahinga sits high in the clouds, in former volcanoes. As well as having Gorillas and golden monkeys, it is home to the indigenous Batwa people who will take you on a journey into their lives of living off the forest – fascinating!
Mount Elgon National Park: In the east towards Kenya, Mount Elgon’s Sipi Falls are a series of stunning waterfalls that can be seen on a day hike up the slopes. The highlight here is seeing cave dwelling elephants that are drawn to the vast caverns by the nutritious salt deposits found deep underground.
Murchison Falls National Park: Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area is the size of Rwanda! It hosts a huge 76 species of mammals and 451 species of birds. As well as providing an excellent safari experience, Murchison Falls are a spectacular sight where the mighty Nile is squeezed through a narrow gorge falling 140ft and has to be seen by climbing to the very top. Also not to be missed is spotting the prehistoric looking Shoebill stork on the shores of the river.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park:
The Rwenzori, known as the “Mountains of the Moon”, stretch 120km along the Congo border. A world-class hiking and mountaineering destination, their snow-capped peaks include the third highest point in Africa, and is often described as being a much prettier and picturesque climb than its more famous neighbours, seeing forest elephants, golden cats and forest hog along the way.
Semliki National Park:
Semliki is the only tropical lowland forest in East Africa where the forest meets the savannah and has the most spectacular scenery and a wild untrammelled wilderness. Famous for its natural hot springs, it is of particular interest to birdwatchers due to its 440 species, 50 of which cannot be seen anywhere else in Africa.
Queen Elizabeth National Park:
Uganda’s most popular safari destination provides classic big game, ten primate species and over 600 species of birds. Experience tree climbing lions in Ishasha and a cruise down the Kazinga channel offers the best wildlife viewing on the river shore including the world’s largest population of hippo!
Uganda, well known as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ has 10 national parks providing the best of East Africa. These include Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (home to the mountain gorilla); Queen Elizabeth National Park, rich in game and home to the tree climbing lion; Murchison Falls National Park where the mighty Nile squeezes through a narrow gorge before it falls over 140ft; the hidden gem of Kidepo Valley National Park – a true untouched wilderness; and Jinja, the adventure capital of Uganda and the source of the River Nile
Wherever you go in the country, travellers will encounter many different cultures, foods and lifestyles, all linked by the smile and warmth that defines the people of Uganda.