Uganda being one of the most diverse countries in the world, its highlights range tremendously depending on ones’ interest. Wildlife-focused encounters may cover the mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and chimpanzees among more than 20 other primate species to discover, as well as the shoebill and over 1000 other fascinating bird species. Savannah inhabitants range from predators to the unique Uganda Kob, and everything in-between. The encounters take place in lush rainforests or stretched grasslands, with breathtaking and ever-changing views while traversing the country. Adventure takes place on the mighty white River Nile or the Sipi Falls, the snow-capped ‘Mountains of the Moon’, and the Virunga Volcanoes. Those seeking to meet authentic tribes and remote parks, shall cover the unexplored North-East, home to the Karamojong people.
The below overview provides an insight in Uganda’s most bespoke regions, as well as unique parks and regions for a more off-beaten track experience. For in-depth information upon each park or region, you can refer to our destination trainings or reach out to one of our travel consultants.
It is one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth, where half the surviving population of the endangered Mountain Gorilla lives in its jungles. The forest has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its biological significance.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the South West of Uganda. The Park covers the northern slopes of Mt. Muhavura (4,127 m), Mt. Gahinga (3,474 m), and Mt. Sabinyo (3,645 m). On the southern side the park is bordered by Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda, and to the west by the Virunga National Park of the DRC.
The park is part of the larger Virunga Conservation area that spreads over the three countries, and is inhabited by unique wildlife such as the Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys, among others.
Jinja has a vibrant downtown and broad leafy residential streets set next to the Nile River. Nowhere in the world are the rapids as wild as on the white Nile in Uganda. Jinja is a must for adventurers, offering kayaking, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, horseback riding, mountain biking and much more.
Set on a large plateau between the mountains of Sudan and the Eastern Rift escarpment of Kenya, Karamoja has been the home of a proudly unique people still surviving as pastoralists. The climate is dry and windswept, but reveals beautiful panoramas, sunsets over the mountain peaks and amazingly starry nights.
Home to a large number of resident chimpanzee families that live in the forest. There is also a wonderfully diverse concentration of other primates (more than any other forest in East Africa, in fact), including: red colobus, red-tailed guenon, white-nosed monkey, gray-cheeked mangabey, blue monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, and the black and white colobus monkey.
Uganda’s biggest safari secret is hidden in the far north of Uganda. This park, with its great savanna landscapes and mountains rising up in the background, is a true gem of Uganda’s nature. Because of its remote location on the border with South Sudan, Kidepo Valley is possibly the only national park left on the whole continent where you can almost have the park to yourself.
Undeniably one of the loveliest lake in Uganda, Bunyonyi (‘place of many little birds’) contains 29 islands, many of which are inhabited and terraced for agriculture. Wake to school children paddling dug-out canoes through the morning mist as crested cranes fly overhead.
One of Uganda’s smallest national reserves is a perfect base for the start or end of your safari trip. Lake Mburo has rich animal life with more than 315 different bird species and 68 different mammals (including impala, buffalo, leopards, hyenas, jackals, etc). Lake Mburo is also one of the few parks in Uganda where you can find zebras in abundance.
This scenic lake lies just north of Kisoro and makes for a relaxing base from which to explore the area and track mountain gorillas in nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. With the misty Virunga volcanoes as a backdrop and ringed by papyrus swamp, there are plenty of hikes, birdwatching, and water activities to be enjoyed around this lake.
Murchison Falls National Park is the largest conservation area in Uganda. The park’s name derives from its famous and most powerful waterfall in the world: the mighty Murchison Falls, which are formed where the Victoria Nile forces its way through a narrow cleft before plunging 43m down with a thunderous roar.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most visited game reserve. The park has a big variety of habitats including savanna grassland, as well as tropical rainforest, different swamps and volcanic features, comprising volcanic cones and deep craters. The park is excellent to sight large game, track the chimpanzees in the Kyambura Gorge, go bird watching on the Kazinga Channel, and to see the famous tree climbing lions in Ishasha.
Sitting in the foothills of Mt Elgon and overlooking a vast plain, Sipi Falls is arguably the most beautiful chain of waterfalls in all of Uganda. There are three levels, and though the smaller two are beautiful, it is the 95m main drop that attracts visitors to this area. The true adventurer will take the opportunity to abseil along this majestic waterfall. Besides the falls, the region is well known for its coffee, making it perfect to combine a waterfall hike with visiting the local coffee farmer.
Located on the border between Uganda and DRC, this impressive range includes the third highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Stanley which includes snow-capped Margherita peak (5109m). Stretching about 110 km long, the Unesco World Heritage Site includes an extraordinary range of landscapes, from thick tropical rainforest on the lower slopes transitioning to the bizarre afro-alpine moorland, before finishing in glaciers at the highest reaches.