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A Must Visit – Top 5 Game Parks In Uganda

game parks in uganda
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Winston Churchill in his book, “My African Journey’’ referred to Uganda as the “Pearl of Africa” because of the abundant biodiversity, color, serene beauty, and brilliant life. Words are not enough to describe Uganda as every person who visits it says one needs to see nature for themselves to believe. 

“Uganda’s ten national parks contain a fabulous variety of habitats, ranging from snow-capped mountain peaks and vast papyrus swamps to dark tropical forests and open savanna plains.

These diverse settings are home to an impressive range of wildlife including over 1000 species of bird, with many central African species at the eastern limit of their ranges.

Mammals include numerous forest primates, among them Chimpanzees and the rare Mountain Gorillas, while big game animals are to be found in the savanna parks.” Andrew Roberts.

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These five game parks are a must-visit once you come to the Pearl of Africa, at least put two on your To-do list for next year!

1. Queen Elizabeth National Park

Known as the Medley of Wonders, Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most popular and diverse area. It enjoys a fabulous setting on the rift valley floor, surrounded by lakes, escarpments, and the snowcapped Rwenzori mountain ranges.

The park is home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species. Some of the highlights at Queen Elizabeth include; the launch cruise on the Kazinga channel, past resident hippos and water birds, chimpanzee tracking in the deep forested Kyambura Gorge, and the search for tree-climbing lions under vast rift valley skies in the remote southerly Ishasha sector.

This park was initially called Kazinga National Park in 1952 but was renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.

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2. Murchison Falls National Park

The World’s Most Powerful Waterfall and the largest game park is Murchison Falls National Park and a must-visit in Uganda! It lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift valley where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment merges into a vast, palm-dotted savannah.

Murchison Falls National Park is home to 76 species of mammals and over 451 bird species. The centerpiece of this park is the river’s eruption through a narrow gorge at Murchison falls, a spectacle that has captivated visitors since the explorer Samuel Baker added it to his map and made it known to the world in 1864.

The boat trip to the falls is an essential activity and is past the resident hippos and crocodiles. Visitors should ensure to visit the top of the falls viewpoint to see, hear and feel the Nile thunder through a 6m wide gorge, this magnificent site can be reached by vehicle means but to have a more adventurous run, it is advisable to climb to it through the Fajao Gorge.

Birding is another favorite activity. The iconic shoebill inhabits swampy islands along the river in the Nile delta and careful searches for rare and restricted range forest species in the Kaniyo Pabidi forest.

murchison falls uganda timbuktu travel - Bloom For Her
Photo by Timbuktu Travel

3. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Uganda’s biggest tourist attraction and indeed one of the world’s most remarkable wildlife encounters is tracking mountain gorillas through the remote Bwindi Impenetrable Forest of south-western Uganda. These magnificent apes are both rare and endangered.

With fifteen groups habituated for tourism, the Impenetrable Forest is the world’s primary mountain gorilla tracking destination. There is however much more to Bwindi than gorilla tracking.

Forest trails lead to scenic waterfalls and rift valley viewpoints with community walks through local villages which provide insights into the lives of the Batwa (pygmy) who live beside the forest. 

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of Africa’s oldest forests with 350 birds, 310 butterflies, 200 trees, 51 reptiles, 88 months, and 120 mammals. It is known as the Ultimate Gorilla Experience and the star of this show is the mountain gorilla. The global population of this endangered ape is 800 with half living in Bwindi and the rest in Virunga volcanoes.

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4. Semuliki National Park

The True Birders’ Haven in Uganda is Semuliki National Park. It is a birders haven because of all the 1047 bird species recorded in Uganda, 435 bird species are found in this national park.

These include Albertine Rift Endemics such as the dwarf honeyguide and purple breasted sunbirds, 35 Congo Guinea biome species found nowhere else in East Africa such as the Gabon woodpecker, Congo serpent eagle, black dwarf hornbill, and many other unique species.

The Semuliki Valley is shared between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Other than birding, its famous attraction is the pair of hot springs, male and female found near the park office at Sempaya. These are the hot springs commonly seen on social media where visitors boil eggs and eat them. Do visit so as you experience this on your own.

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5. Lake Mburo National Park

Have you heard about the “Whispers of the Wild”? At only 370 square km Lake Mburo National Park is small compared to many other game parks but is home to about 69 mammal species and 332 bird species? Lake Mburo is the only park that contains impalas and the only one in western Uganda with the Burchell’s zebra and eland, leopards and hyenas are also present.

The eastern shores of Lake Mburo can be explored by boat and you should watch out for crocodiles and hippopotamus during the two-hour voyage. During this journey, you will be able to sight enough birds such as pelicans, herons, and fish eagles. 

Conclusion

Uganda is becoming so established as one of Africa’s most varied and memorable tourist destinations. Don’t stop at reading about this beautiful country. Add it to your travel bucket list!

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Meet Our Founder

Joy Akatukunda

Joy Akatukunda

Hi, I’m Joy Akatukunda. I’m a lover. My main goal in life is to inspire and empower women become better versions of themselves. I use my talents and skills to share love, knowledge, advice and ideas that transform lives. I’m a writer, singer, and occasional dancer. My talents are a gateway for my own experiences and personality to be seen and heard by the world, hoping that a certain woman will be encouraged and fired up to start her own business, hit the studio, work on her body, leave a toxic relationship or do that one thing she’s forever been afraid to do. I have struggled with these and more, hence I understand the need to inspire someone to make that bold move.

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