Explore the beautiy in the Pearl of Africa
I. Murchison Falls National Park
Size: 3,840km2, Murchison Falls became one of Uganda’s first national parks in 1952
Murchison Falls Conservation Area ( MFCA ) comprises of Murchison Falls National Park, Bugungu and Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserves.
This is where the Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and cascades down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos and crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes.
The vegetation is characterised by savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species. At Murchison Falls, the Nile squeezes through an 8m wide gorge and plunges with a thunderous roar into the "Devil's Cauldron", creating a trademark rainbow.
II. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Size: 321km2 Altitude: 1,160m - 2,607m above sea level. BINP lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda's oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 400 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked. This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.
III. Kibale National Park
Size: 795km2 Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip, which stands 1,590m above sea level.
The lowest point is 1,100m on the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley to the south. Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau. Kibale is famously known for Chimpanzee tracking. The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee. It also contains over 375 species of birds.
IV. Lake Mburo National Park.
Size: 370km2 Altitude: 1,220m - 1,828m above sea level
Lake Mburo National Park is a compact gem, located conveniently close to the highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda. It is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck. Together with 13 other lakes in the area, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp.
Five of these lakes lie within the park’s borders. Once covered by open savanna, Lake Mburo National Park now contains much woodland as there are no elephants to tame the vegetation.
VI. Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Size: 1,978km². Queen Elizabeth spans the equator line; monuments on either side of the road mark the exact spot where it crosses latitude 00. The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park, and renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds. Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.
VII. Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Size: 996km2, The park was gazetted in 1991 and was recognized as a World Heritage site in 1994 and Ramsar site in 2008. Highest point: 5,109m above sea level on Mt Stanley's Margherita Peak. Mt. Stanley is bisected by the border with the DR Congo. The Rwenzoris – the fabled Mountains of the Moon – lie in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border. Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects the highest parts of the 120km-long and 65km-wide Rwenzori mountain range. The national park hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation.
The equatorial snow peaks include the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. Huge tree-heathers and colorful mosses are draped across the mountainside with giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene.
VIII. Ssese Island
The Ssese Island came into existence about 12000 years ago when a tectonic shift caused an elevated basin situated between two main arms of the great rift valley to flood, forming Lake Victoria as we know it today. Little is known about the earliest inhabitants of Ssese, but some oral traditions associated with the creation of Buganda claim that its founder Kintu hailed from the islands of the Gods. the Ssese Islands form one of Uganda’s prime destinations for casual rambling and off-the-beaten-track exploration, as well as for game fishing, in particular Nile perch. For much of the 1990s, the islands were entrenched as perhaps the most popular backpacker’chill-out destination in Uganda.
IX. Mt. Elgon National Park
Size: 1,121km² This extinct volcano is one of Uganda's oldest physical features, first erupting around 24 million years ago. At 4,000km² Mt. Elgon has the largest volcanic base in the world. Located on the Uganda-Kenya border it is also the oldest and largest solitary, volcanic mountain in East Africa. Its vast form, 80km in diameter, rises more than 3,000m above the surrounding plains. The mountain’s cool heights offer respite from the hot plains below, with the higher altitudes providing a refuge for flora and fauna. Mount Elgon National Park is home to over 300 species of birds, including the endangered Lammergeyer. The higher slopes are protected by national parks in Uganda and Kenya, creating an extensive trans-boundary conservation area which has been declared a UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserve.
X. Semuliki Reserve and National Park
Size: 220km² with an altitude of 670-760m above sea level. Semuliki Forest Reserve was created in 1932 and upgraded to national park status in 1993. Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori. The park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests; one of the few to survive the last ice age, 12-18,000 years ago. the forest is home to numerous Central African wildlife species, and the local population includes a Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri. While Semuliki’s species have been accumulating for over 25,000 years, the park contains evidence of even older processes. Hot springs bubble up from the depths to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years.
XI. Kidepo Valley National Game Park.
Size: 1,442km2 The park’s altitude ranges between 914m and 2,750m above sea level.
Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the rugged, semi arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya, some 700km from Kampala.
Gazetted as a national park in 1962, it has a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species. Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, but the few who make the long journey north through the wild frontier region of Karamoja would agree that it is also the most magnificent, for Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. .
xII. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Size: 33.7km2, making it Uganda’s smallest National Park. The park takes its name from "Gahinga" - the local word for the piles of volcanic stones cleared from farmland at the foot of the volcanoes.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey. As well as being important for wildlife, the park also has a huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivalled.
xIII. Otze Forest Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Otze Forest Wildlife Sanctuary is a government-managed wildlife sanctuary in Uganda. The site covers 0.39 km². The sanctuary is found 18km northeast of Moyo Town and covers an area of 188km2 with an altitudinal range of 7601, 667m. The forest is located on an escarpment overlooking
XIV. Katonga Wildlife Reserve
Katonga Wildlife Reserve with an area of 207 square kilometers was gazetted in 1964 as a game reserve, to serve as a corridor for migrating wildlife from Western Uganda to Tanzania and Sudan. It became a Wildlife Reserve in 1996 when the former Game Department and Uganda National Parks merged to form Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Currently, the reserve is managed by UWA under the Kibale Conservation Area administration with a Warden In-Charge based at the Reserve Head Office at Kikorogoto. Katonga Wildlife Reserve has a viable Sitatunga population inhabiting the Katonga Wetland System. The reserve also habours high population of waterbucks. The population of Hippos and birds is also growing in addition to primates.
XV. Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
Pian Upe wildlife reserve is a conservation area in the Karamoja sub region of northeastern Uganda and it’s regarded as the second largest conservation protected area in Uganda after Murchison Falls reserve. The reserve covers an area of about 2788 square kilometers to the north of mountain Elgon and it is now under the management of mountain Elgon conversation area. The reserve is a home to several species of wildlife which makes it attractive and often visited by tourists in the entire world, the wild animals such as giraffes, lions, leopard, zebras, buffaloes, Harte beast, greater kudu, topi, Orib, and Uganda’s last population of roam antelope.