National Parks

Most of Uganda’s wildlife is concentrated in its protected areas, of which there are three main categories: National Parks, Wildlife Reserves, and Forest Reserves. The conservation and management of these areas falls under two principal agencies, the Uganda Wildlife Authority under the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry and the Forestry Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources. Uganda has established 10 National Parks, enabling tourists to enjoy the pristine wilderness environment.

Uganda, with its 10 national parks, is an emerging tourism destination with considerable potential for investment and growth. Abundant in wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, the country is teeming with untapped tourism attractions and free of the over-commercialization found within the borders of some of its neighbors. Uganda’s stable economic environment, liberalized economy, and commitment to the private sector also help create the ideal climate for investment.

Here are 10 national parks in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa;

Murchison Falls National Park:
This is the largest National Park in Uganda – covering 3,480 sq km – and one of the most spectacular in Africa. At the Murchison Falls, the river Nile plunges through a narrow crevice and over a 40-metre drop. In the eastern sector of the park, before the Murchison Falls themselves, are the Karuma Falls, where the Nile cascades over a breathtaking 23 km of rapids, creating some of the most exciting white-water rafting opportunities in Africa. A cruise upstream the Nile to the Falls is an unforgettable experience. On the banks, prolific wildlife including elephant, crocodile, hippopotamus, lion, giraffe, buffalo, and countless antelopes and birds can be observed.

Queen Elizabeth National Park:
The Queen Elizabeth National Park has been designated a Biosphere Reserve for Humanity under UNESCO auspices. The park, in the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley, covers 1,978 sq. km and includes a remarkable variety of eco-systems, from semi-deciduous tropical forest to green meadows, savannah and swamps. It is the home of the famous tree-climbing lion as well as the Uganda Kob, other antelope species, elephant, baboons, hippos, buffalo and chimpanzees. Over 500 species of birds have been recorded, making the park a magnet for bird watchers. The bird species include the black bee-eater, 11 types of king fisher, and several species of falcons, eagles and other raptors. In the crater lakes to the north, flocks of flamingoes can be found. A favourite way to view the game is by launch trip on the Kazinga Channel between Lakes George and Edward.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:
The park with its dense ground cover of vines and shrubs is home to the world famous mountain gorillas, of which they are less than 600 still left in the entire world. Gorilla permits are required for tracking the gorillas and it is, therefore, advisable to make reservations at least three months in advance. Bwindi is one of the richest areas for flora in Eastern Africa. The forest is also sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and many bird types including some endangered species.

Mgahinga Gorilla:
This is yet another haven for the persecuted mountain gorilla. Located on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains, in the extreme southwest corner of Uganda, the park has been set aside to provide a secure habitat for the gorillas. However, besides the gorillas, other wildlife may also be viewed including the leopard, giant forest hog, bushbuck, buffalo, and golden monkey. The summit of Mount Muhavura (4,127 m) has a small crater lake.

Kibale Forest National Park:
The rainforest is situated to the north-east of Queen Elizabeth National Park. In addition to forest, there are also areas of grassland and swamp. The park is noted for its primate population – 11 different species inhabit the park including many families of chimpanzees and several types of colubus monkeys. Bushbuck, waterbuck, duiker and giant forest hog may also be seen. The forests and the grasslands support abundant bird life – almost 300 species have been identified and 144 types of butterfly.

Queen Elizabeth National Park:
The Queen Elizabeth National Park has been designated a Biosphere Reserve for Humanity under UNESCO auspices. The park, in the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley, covers 1,978 sq. km and includes a remarkable variety of eco-systems, from semi-deciduous tropical forest to green meadows, savannah and swamps. It is the home of the famous tree-climbing lion as well as the Uganda Kob, other antelope species, elephant, baboons, hippos, buffalo and chimpanzees. Over 500 species of birds have been recorded, making the park a magnet for bird watchers. The bird species include the black bee-eater, 11 types of king fisher, and several species of falcons, eagles and other raptors. In the crater lakes to the north, flocks of flamingoes can be found. A favourite way to view the game is by launch trip on the Kazinga Channel between Lakes George and Edward.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:
The park with its dense ground cover of vines and shrubs is home to the world famous mountain gorillas, of which they are less than 1000 still left in the entire world. Gorilla permits are required for tracking the gorillas and it is, therefore, advisable to make reservations at least three months in advance. Bwindi is one of the richest areas for flora in Eastern Africa. The forest is also sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and many bird types including some endangered species.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park:
This is yet another haven for the persecuted mountain gorilla. Located on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains, in the extreme southwest corner of Uganda, the park has been set aside to provide a secure habitat for the gorillas. However, besides the gorillas, other wildlife may also be viewed including the leopard, giant forest hog, bushbuck, buffalo, and golden monkey. The summit of Mount Muhavura (4,127 m) has a small crater lake.

Kibale Forest National Park:
The rainforest is situated to the north-east of Queen Elizabeth National Park. In addition to forest, there are also areas of grassland and swamp. The park is noted for its primate population – 11 different species inhabit the park including many families of chimpanzees and several types of colubus monkeys. Bushbuck, waterbuck, duiker and giant forest hog may also be seen. The forests and the grasslands support abundant bird life – almost 300 species have been identified and 144 types of butterfly.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park:
The mist-shrouded peaks of the Mountains of the Moon provide a stunning backdrop to this magnificent park, located on Uganda’s western border. In the center of the range, some of the peaks are permanently covered in snow and glaciers, while the lower slopes are covered with dense forests. Here is the third highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Magherita, which rises to 5,100 metres above sea level. Walking tours in the foothills are a feature, although only the experienced and fit should attempt an ascent on the peaks, which rival the Alps in difficulty. Some of the wildlife to be found in the mountains include the chimpanzees, along with the blue monkey, hyrax, giant forest hog and many unique bird species such as the Rwenzori touraco, the francolin and the olive pigeon.