National Parks In Uganda
Most of the Uganda holidays and trips rotate around national parks. Though Uganda has more to offer beyond national parks; wildlife and primate tours are at the forefront of most of Uganda’s tours making it inevitable to consider at least one or two national parks on your travel holiday in Uganda.
Uganda has a total of ten national parks; seven of these national parks are located in western Uganda, two are located in northern Uganda, and only one in eastern Uganda.
|National Park||Region||Park Size|
|Murchison Falls National Park||Northern Uganda||3,893 km²|
|Kidepo Valley National Park||Northern Uganda||1,442 km²|
|Mount Elgon National Park||Eastern Uganda||1,279 km²|
|Mgahinga Gorilla National Park||Western Uganda||33.9 km²|
|Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park||Western Uganda||331 km²|
|Rwenzori National Park||Western Uganda||998 km²|
|Semuliki Valley National Park||Western Uganda||220 km²|
|Queen Elizabeth National Park||Western Uganda||1,978 km²|
|Kibale Forest National Park||Western Uganda||776 km²|
|Lake Mburo National Park||Western Uganda||260 km²|
Northern Uganda National Parks
Northern Uganda has two major National Parks; Murchison falls national park and Kidepo Valley national park. There are also three game reserves; Ajai wildlife reserve, Bokora game reserve, and Pian Upe game reserves.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley national park is one of the two parks that border Uganda with Kenya. Located in the northeastern part of Uganda seated on a land expanse of 1442 square kilometers; a visit to this park offers opportunities of spotting a number of wildlife species including but not limited to; African Elephants, zebras, Jackson’s hartebeest, Giraffes, Buffaloes, oribis, reedbucks, Bushpig, Black-backed jackal, African hunting dog, bat-eared fox, cheetahs, caracals, lions, leopards among several other wildlife species.
The park is also a special birding destination in Uganda offering a number of bird species views including but not limited to; white-crested Turaco, common bulbul, Greenwood hoopoe, eastern paradise-whydah, Abyssinian roller among several other bird species.
The savannah plains in the park offer the best views of wildlife during game drives. Besides the game drive; the location of the park makes it possible to do cultural tours among the Karamajong and the Ik tribe.
Highlights of Kidepo valley National Park
The highlights in Kidepo valley national park are; game drives, hot springs, birding, cultural tours, community tours, hikes and nature walks
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is the largest national park in Uganda seated on a land expanse of 3,893 km². Unlike Kidepo valley national park, it has both savannah grassland and forested areas of Budongo also suitable for chimpanzee tracking.
Just like Kidepo valley national park, the park also has an abundance of wildlife including but not limited to; Lions, Elephants, Leopards, Buffaloes, Jackson’s hartebeests, waterbucks, bushbucks, and several other Antelopes. The park’s proximity to Ziwa Rhino sanctuary makes it possible to spot Africa’s big five after a few kilometers drive.
Highlights of Murchison Falls National park
Murchison Falls national park is named after Murchison falls formerly Kabalega falls making the leading highlight of the park. Other highlights include; Budongo forest for Chimpanzee tracking and several monkey species can also be spotted there, Boat trip to the bottom of the falls, hiking to the top of the falls, game drives, sport fishing, Bush camping, and birding.
Eastern Uganda National Parks
Eastern Uganda only has one National Park; Mount Elgon National park. Just like Kidepo valley national park, the park also borders Uganda with Kenya.
Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National park is the fourth National park in Uganda seated on a land expanse of 1,279 km². It is one park that has been affected most by human activity; since most of the parts in this park had turned into a human settlement until the government most of the people out of this park.
The park is mainly known for Sipi falls since it is the most popular location in the park due to the waterfalls and the caves. The park is not so much known for wildlife. Though animals such as leopards, hyenas, bushbucks, Defassa waterbucks are still in existence; they are very rare to be spotted.
Highlights of Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National park highlights include; abseiling, birding, hikes, Nature walks, Sportfishing, mountain biking, Rock climbing, cultural tours, and community coffee tours.
Western Uganda National parks
Western Uganda has seven of the ten Uganda national parks including; Lake Mburo National park, Semuliki National park, Kibale Forest National Park, Rwenzori mountains national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Bwindi impenetrable forest National and Mgahinga gorilla national park.
Due to the location of these parks, it makes Kidepo valley national and mountain Elgon national park very distanced making it a beat difficult to include them on the itinerary.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National is the nearest national park to Uganda’s capital Kampala, located in Lyantode district. Anyone considering a weekend trip in a national park will ultimately consider Lake Mburo national park.
Ranked the third smallest national park in Uganda; the park is seated on a land expanse of 260 km². It is home to buffaloes, Defassa waterbucks, reedbucks, Burchell’s Zebra, Leopards, Uganda Kob, Impalas, and the world’s largest antelope; the Eland.
Highlights of Lake Mburo National Park
The park offers a variety of activities including but not limited to; Hiking and nature walks, Birding, horseback safaris, sport fishing, game drives, visit Rubanga forest and boat trips
Semuliki National Park
Semuliki national park is the second smallest national park is Uganda seated on a land expanse of 260 Km². The Park is located Bundibugyo district. Unlike Mount Elgon national park; Semuliki national park offers game drives however much it has very limited wildlife species that can be spotted during the game drive.
Just like Mountain Elgon national park has Sipi falls as the major highlight, Semuliki national park has Sempaya hot springs as the face of this national park. The park is also home to; forest Elephants, African red colobus, vervet, de Brazza’s monkey, Bushbaby, Hippos, crocodiles among several other wildlife.
Highlights of Semuliki National park
Semuliki national park is among Uganda’s top five birding destinations making birding the second major highlight after Sempaya hot springs. Other highlights include; nature walks, hikes, cultural encounters, chimpanzee tracking, and game drives.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The park was gazetted in 1991 and recognized as a world heritage site in 1994. Four of the Rwenzori Mountains’ peaks feature in the top ten highest mountain peaks in Africa. The highest peak of Rwenzori Mountains is Margherita found on mount Stanley elevated at 5109m above sea level.
The Rwenzori national park is located in Kasese along with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo border. It is a 5 to 7 hours drive from Kampala; depending on the traffic in the City.
Highlights in Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is the leading mountaineering destination in Uganda, it also offers one day, two day and three days hikes; Nature walks, Birding, community and cultural tours, and wildlife viewing. The park has 70 species of wildlife and 177 bird species
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is the smallest national park in Uganda seated on a land expanse of 33km2. Located at Uganda-Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo border; Mgahinga national park is the Uganda extension to Virunga mountain ranges whose section sections are known Virunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Volcanoes national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Highlights in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is mainly known for gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking. Other activities include; birding, hiking, mountain climbing, and Batwa cultural encounters.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is the most popular gorilla national park in Uganda hosting over 14 gorilla groups and four gorilla trekking sectors all seating on a land expanse of 331km2. The park is also located near the Uganda-Rwanda border making it one of the easiest parks to visit in Uganda in case you are coming in from Rwanda.
Highlights in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is mainly for gorilla trekking and forest hikes. It carries an exception in its hikes because, on lucky days, it offers the opportunity to spot chimpanzees, forest elephants, forest buffaloes, mountain gorilla (though very uncommon in case you are not gorilla trekking). Other primates in the park include; red-tailed monkeys, Blue monkeys, Baboons, Potto, spectacled Galago, black and white colobus monkeys, Demidoff’s Galago, L’Hoest’s Monkeys and De Brazza monkeys.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth national park is the second most popular national park in Uganda after Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. It is exceedingly popular because of the tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector. Its proximity to the Fort portal makes is unavoidable on a western Uganda wildlife trip.
Highlights in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The park is mostly popular for game drives that give you the opportunity to spot elephants, buffaloes, Uganda Kob, giant forest hog, warthog African leopards among several other wildlife species. Nile crocodiles and hippopotamus can be spotted during the Kazinga channel boat trip.
Parachute safaris are also available in Queen Elizabeth national park. The park is open throughout the year.
Uganda Border parks
Mgahinga gorilla national park (Uganda-Rwanda Border)
Rwenzori Mountains National park (Uganda-Democratic republic of Congo border)
Queen Elizabeth National Park (Uganda- Democratic Republic of Congo border)
Kidepo Valley National park (Uganda-Kenya Border and South Sudan)
Mountain Elgon National Park (Uganda-Kenya Border)