Places to Visit in Uganda – National Parks, Attractions, Location, Fees and Travel Guide
Stuck in the minds of most travellers to Uganda is Idi Amin’s editorial Rule yet Uganda is surprisingly one of the treasures that Africa holds. It is undeniable that Travel advisories and warnings are issued concerning this tourist destination but should sometimes be taken with a grain of salt because most places to visit in Uganda are safe and unforgettable. Therefore, we bring you the list of the spectacular places that you cannot afford to miss in this small East African country;
Murchison falls National Park
The largest National Park in Uganda, Murchison falls National Park lies about three hundred and five kilometers to the north of the country’s Capital, Kampala. It is marked by vast savannah plains, woodlands, River Nile, wetlands and the stunning Murchison falls that is undoubtedly the highlight of most visitors to this Park. There are over 76 species of mammals (such as Rothschild giraffes, chimpanzees, Defassa waterbucks, Topis, Olive baboons, lions, Oribis, leopards, vervet monkeys, warthogs, Cape buffaloes, hartebeests and Uganda Kobs among others as well as about 451 species of birds which when combined with the spectacular landscapes make it an excellent spot for walking safaris, sport fishing, game drives, hot air balloon tours, chimpanzee treks, boat cruises and hikes to the top of the falls among others.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Breathtaking is the perfect word to describe Kidepo Valley National Park in the remote north-eastern region of the country. Jaw-dropping mountain sceneries as well as savannah plains dotted with some of Uganda’s rarest animals such as cheetahs, serval cats, African wild dogs, caracals, Somali Ostriches alongside elephants, Cape buffaloes, Impalas, Oribis, Uganda Kobs, elands and about 475 species of birds are residents of this 1442-square kilometer Park. This fantastic year-round safari destination offers guided game drives, walking safaris, mountain climbs and bird watching.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Situated in the south-west of Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the four places on Earth where you can see and also spend time with the stunning mountain gorillas. Established in 1991, Bwindi is also home to diverse terrains, plethora of flora and fauna that also include chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, forest elephants, bushbucks, olive baboons, forest buffaloes, vervet monkeys, leopards and duikers. Over 350 bird species including Albertine Rift endemics are within the Park’s boundaries.
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Queen Elizabeth National Park
Being the second largest National Park in Uganda, the beautiful Queen Elizabeth National Park in the western territory is much endowed. Thanks to its range of ecosystems (wetland, water, savannah grasslands, woodland and forest), rich flora and fauna, visitors can never run out of interesting activities to undertake see. One moment tourists will be undertaking a boat cruise along Kazinga Channel to see Nile crocodiles, Hippos and aquatic bird species, the next they will be tracking the chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge.
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Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Still in western Uganda is another spectacular place to visit known as Rwenzori Mountains National park, an excellent UNESCO World Heritage Site adorned with towering peaks of the Rwenzori mountains at 5109 meters above sea level. This is one of the few places in the Africa Continent for mountaineering but also look-out for spectacular flora and fauna that include the three-horned chameleons, forest elephants and over 200 bird species including the area’s aboriginal as well as Albertine Rift endemics.
Separated from the mainland of Uganda by Lake Victoria, Ssese Islands is an archipelago that lies in the Central part of the country. Extending for hundreds of square kilometers, the country’s largest Island is a renowned place to visit, given its spectacular sceneries, natural attractions and jaw-dropping tourist activities. Much as the unspoiled white sand beaches as well as palm trees lines the shores of this Island, verdant rainforests with unique animals especially sitatunga, duikers, fish and birds such as African jacana, egrets, ibises, kingfishers, African fish eagles and pelicans among others can be found at the Islands.
Having started as a base for the first British Colonial Authorities, Uganda’s Capital Kampala has become one of the top places to visit in Uganda. This City is home to several National Monuments (such as the Independence Monument), Art galleries. The oldest higher learning Institution in East Africa (Makerere University), World Class Museums such as the popular Uganda National Museum, historical religious sites (such as Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo, Bahai Temple, St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral and Uganda National Mosque), the country’s most popular human-made Lake (Kabaka’s Lake) and wide array of cultural sites (like Kasubi Tombs and Kabaka’s Palace Mengo) are found in Kampala City. Different kinds of shopping center, restaurants, bars, lush gardens and Parks are also found here.
Kibale Forest National Park
Lying in the western side of Uganda is Kibale Forest National Park, home to one of the country’s oldest and most diverse tropical rainforests and undeniably is a great chimpanzee trekking destination.
Besides the 1500 chimpanzees that steal the show in Kibale Forest National Park, visitors are offered opportunities of encountering over 75 mammal species, almost 375 bird species including the green breasted pitta hence making it incredible to explore during Uganda safaris. Surprisingly, this Park is not solely made up of the lush Tropical rainforest but is also marked by savannah grasslands, teeming streams, beautiful Craters and rugged hills. Best accessed from Kampala, around 6-hour drive away, this Park is every chimpanzee trekker’s delight in addition to other outdoor activities such as mountain biking, bird watching, primate treks, guided forest walks and many others.
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Hugging the shores of Lake Victoria is Jinja, the “Adventure City of East Africa” with all the adrenaline thrills conducted around the Nile River. Situated in Eastern Uganda, the City’s main attraction is River Nile where a wide range of adrenaline-rushing activities such as boat cruises to the source of the Nile, Bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, quad bike riding around the Source of the Nile, horseback rides and many others are offered.
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The second deepest Lake in the African Continent, Lake Bunyonyi lies in the South-western part of Uganda and is known as a wonderful getaway spot for weekend tours. Everything from isolated and untouched Islands, towering rolling hills at its backdrop to spectacular views and great ambiance characterize Lake Bunyonyi. Its amazing landscapes, wide water surface and depth lend themselves wonderfully for interesting safari activities with canoe rides, guided community/village walks, zip-lining, swimming, scuba diving and hiking being popular.
Other places to visit in Uganda are Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Lake Mburo National Park, Lake Mutanda, Mount Elgon National Park, Entebbe Town, Semliki National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Lake Victoria, Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Fort Portal Tourism City and many others.