Locations

 

National Parks

Bwindi Impenetrable national park

Situated in south western Uganda, the Park is covered with rainforests and is home to around half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. It is one of the best birding sites in Uganda.

Features

Gorilla tracking – an opportunity to search for and spend time with these magnificent primates.

Mubwindi Swamp – an excellent birdwatching spot where you might be able to spot the endemic African Green Broadbill.

‘The neck’ – an excellent birding area within the Park.

What you might see

Animals: mountain gorilla, chimpanzee, elephant.

Birds: Red-throated Alethe, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Mountain Masked Apalis, Rweonzori Batis, Red-headed Malimbe, Dusky Twinspot, Cape Wagtail, Brown-backed Scrub Robin, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Western Citril, Dusky Tit, Kivu Ground-Thrush, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Equatorial Akalat, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, White-browed Crombec and Shelley’s Greenbul.

Kibale national park

Hosting the most diverse and dense primate populations in Africa, Kibale National Park is a popular destination for visitors. Its tropical forest and patches of grassland and swamp offer some excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, especially chimpanzee tracking and habituation with expert guides.

Features

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary – this wetland, just outside the Park, is managed by the local community and is rich in biodiversity. There are 138 species of birds in the area, along with eight species of primates, which can be spotted during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms.

What you might see

Animals: chimpanzees, red colobus, black and white colobus, l’Hoest’s monkey, red-tailed and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, bush baby, potto, elephant, buffalo, leopard, warthog, and duiker.

Birds: African Pitta, Green-breasted Pitta, Afep Pigeon, White-naped Pigeon, Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, Black Bee-eater, Western Nicator, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Little Greenbul, Brown-chested Alethe, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, African Grey Parrot, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis ,Brown Illadopsis, Black-capped Apalis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Yellow Spotted Nicator, Little Green Bul, Black-eared Ground Thrush and Abyssinian Ground Thrush.

Kidepo Valley national park

A rugged and semi-arid landscape, Kidepo borders with South Sudan and Kenya. Its isolation and perennial waters makes this an oasis supporting nearly 500 bird species and 86 mammal species, and its open savannah landscape provides excellent game viewing.

Features

Karamojong – meet these pastoral people and learn about their way of life.

What you might see

Animals: lion, cheetah, leopard, wild dogs, elephant, giraffe, zebra, spotted hyena, buffalo and bat-eared fox.

Birds: Abyssinian Roller, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Purple Heron, Black-breasted barbet, Carmine Bee-eater, Chestnut Weaver, D’Arnaud’s Barbet, Fox Kestrel, Golden Pipit, Jackson’s Hornbill, Karamoja Apalis, Purple Grenadier, Pygmy Falcon, Red-throated Bee-eater, Rufous Chatterer, White-bellied Go-away Bird and White-eyed Kestrel.

Lake Mburo national park

Lake Mburo is conveniently located close to the road to Kampala. It is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks, yet home to an array of wildlife. The lack of elephants has meant that woodland persists, and part of the Park has areas of papyrus swamp.

Features

Mountain bike or horseback safaris.

Boat ride on the lake to look for African Finfoot and other water birds.

Enyemebwa Cultural Center –on the park margin, this centre demonstrates the Hima heritage and works to conserve the traditional Ankole long-horned cattle.

What you might see

Animals: impala, Burchell’s zebra, eland, warthog, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hyena, Rothschild’s giraffe, crocodile and hippo.

Birds: Red-faced Barbet, African Finfoot, Shoebill, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Saddle-billed Stork, Brown-chested Lapwing, African-wattled Lapwing, Carruther’s Cisticola, Tabora (Long-tailed) Cisticola, African Scops Owl, Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, White-winged Warbler, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Hairy-breasted Barbet and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird.

Mgahinga Gorilla national park

The three peaks within the Park are part of the Virunga Volcanoes, bordering on Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Their slopes contain various ecosystems and are biologically diverse. An excellent place to visit, not just to track the mountain gorillas, but also to view the stunning scenery.

Features

Garama Caves – visit this sacred place of the Batwa and learn about its history.

Gorilla tracking – track these endangered primates and spend some time with them.

Batwa pygmies – the dense forests are home to the indigenous Batwa who depended upon the forest for their livelihood. They will guide you through the forest and show you the techniques they used to survive.

Lake Bunyoni – just beyond the Park, the lake is dotted with around 20 small islands and can be enjoyed by canoe or kayak. You can even swim in here, since there are no crocodiles or hippos

What you might see

Animals: mountain gorilla, golden monkey, giant forest hog, bush pig, forest buffalo, elephant, golden cat, side-striped jackal, black-fronted duikers and South African porcupine.

Birds: Ibis, Pin-tailed Whydah, Speckled Mousebird, Stone Chat, Grey-capped Warbler, Wax Bill, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Firefinch, White-naped Raven, Black Kite, Rwenzori Turaco, Blue-headed Coucal, Paradise Fly-catcher, Rwenzori Batis, Double-collared Sunbird and Rwenzori Nightjar.

Mount Elgon national park

Bordering Kenya, Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano and can be climbed without special equipment or technical experience. Although once Africa’s highest mountain, erosion has reduced its height to 4,312m and it is now the eighth highest peak on the continent. Its deserted moorlands and cool slopes are home to a range of flora and fauna, and are the perfect place to grow coffee.

Features

Caldera – visitors are encouraged to walk down into the volcano’s caldera, where you can see the hot springs.

Caves – the slopes have many caves, including Kapkwai and Khauka.

Sipi Falls – on the edge of the Park, these falls are spectacular and walks nearby will offer you views of the Karamoja plains.

What you might see

Animals: elephant, buffalo, rock and tree hyraxes, Defassa waterbuck, oribi, duiker, forest hog, leopard, civet, serval, spotted hyena, aardvark, black and white colobus, baboon, red-tailed vervet and tree squirrel.

Birds: Moorland Francolin, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Alpine Chat, Jackson’s Francolin, Black-collared Apalis, Black-shouldered Kite, Tacazze Sunbird and Lammergeyer.

Murchison Falls national park

This is the largest of Uganda’s national parks and is characterised by the magnificent Victoria Nile as it plunges down 43m of the rift valley wall creating Murchison Falls. Dramatic views can be seen by boat from below and, after a short walk, from on top of the Falls. The Park is noted for being a location for The African Queen (1951).

Features

Kaniyo Pabidi Forest – an area in the south of the Park where you can enjoy forest walks and excellent birdwatching. There is also a habituated chimp group that you can track.

Amazing views from the top of the falls – on alighting from the boat at the bottom of the falls, a 30-minute hike will take you to the top.

What you might see

Animals: elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, giraffe, Jackson’s hartebesst, bushbuck, Uganda kob, olive baboon, patas monkey, black and white colobus, chimpanzee, warthog, crocodile and hippo.

Birds: Shoebill Stork, the Goliath Heron, Grey Crowned Cranes, Blue-headed Coucal, Swamp Flycatcher, Squacco Heron, African Jacana, Sandpipers, Denham’s Bustard, Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill, Black-billed Barbet, Black-headed Gonolek, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Piapiac, Silverbird, Weaver Birds, Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers, Red-throated Bee-eater, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Speckle-fronted Weaver and African Quail-Finch.

Queen Elizabeth national park

Spanning the equator and one of Uganda’s most popular destinations, Queen Elizabeth National Park contains diverse ecosystems, from savannah and humid forests to lakes and wetlands. This makes it an excellent place to spot wildlife and some of the 600 species of birds who reside here. The Park also has a rich cultural heritage and there are opportunities for you to meet the local communities and learn more, through their dance, music and crafts.

Features

Kazinga Channel – connecting Lake George and Lake Edward, you can take a boat trip along the channel to spot hippos, buffalo, elephant and a range of birdlife.

Maramagambo Forest – home to chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys and Bates’s pygmy antelopes, the forest also is home to an extraordinary bat cave.

Kyambura Gorge – just 11km long, this gorge is home to a small group of chimpanzees and is also visited by elephants, hippos and giant forest hog.

Katwe craters – these volcanic craters form some spectacular scenery and some have been developed into saltpans.

Ishasha – down to the south of the Park, you may spot the famous tree-climbing lions in their favourite fig trees.

What you might see

Animals: elephant, cape buffalo, Uganda kob, waterbuck, warthog, giant forest hog, lion, leopard, hyena, topi, sitatunga antelope, chimpanzee, black and white colobus and other forest primates.

Birds: Shoebill, Great White Pelican, Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed and Yellow-billed Stork, Papyrus Gonolek, Sacred and Glossy Ibis, African Spoonbill, Egyptian Goose, Black Crake, African Jacana, Black-winged Stilt.

Rwenzori Mountains national park

Ptolemy labelled these the ‘Mountains of the Moon’ back in AD150; the local name, ‘Ruwenzori’ means ‘rain maker’ or ‘cloud king’. Rising to 5,109m above sea level, the range is blanketed with moorland, bamboo and montane forest. The Park has been made an Important Birding Area (IBA) thanks to the 17 species that are endemic to the area. Look out for giant lobelias, tree heathers and mosses as you trek through the Park. Shorter walks are available for those not inclined to trek to the peaks.

Features

Snowy peaks – there are three distinct mountains in the range and the three highest of them are all accessible by hiking. Although just north of the equator, they all bear permanent snow and glaciers.

What you might see

Animals: elephant, chimpanzee, blue monkey, leopard, Rwenzori otter, bushbuck and three-horned chameleon.

Birds: Rwenzori Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Long-eared Owl, Handsome Francolin, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Archers’ Robin-chat, White-starred Robin, Rwenzori Batis, Montane Sooty Boubou, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Slender-billed Starling, Blue-headed Sunbird, Golden-winged Sunbird, Strange Weaver and several varieties of Barbets, Greenbuls, Apalises, IIladopsis, Flycatchers and Crimsonwings.

Semuliki national park

One of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests, Semuliki National Park’s features are more commonly associated with central rather than eastern Africa. The Park has an interesting geological history and you can visit hot springs to remind you of the force that has been shaping the rift valley for millennia.

Features

Sempaya Hot Springs – visit these springs and geysers, with steam clouds that can be seem from 2km away.

Batwa pygmies – meet the local forest dwelling community and learn about their close relationship with the forest.

What you might see

Animals: forest elephant, forest buffalo, chimpanzee, baboon, grey-cheeked mangabey, black and white colobus, Central African red colobus, potto, bush baby, hippo, crocodile, pygmy antelope, flying squirrel and water chevrotain.

Birds: Nkulengu Rail, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Piping Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Black Dwarf Hornbill, White-crested Hornbill, Black-casqued Wattled Horbill, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, African Piculet, White-throated Blue Swallow, Yellow-throated Nicator, Leaf-love, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Crested Malimbe, Red-bellied Malimbe, Blue-billed Malimbe, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch and Orange-cheeked Waxbill.

Other areas of interest

Budongo forest

Located close to Murchison Falls National Park, this semi-deciduous forest used to host a large number of mahogany trees and is home to a population of chimpanzees.

What you might see

Animals: chimpanzee, lion, leopard, buffalo, blue monkey and elephant shrew.

Birds: Yellow-footed Flycatcher, Puvel’s Illadopsis, Zoothers camaronensis, Piping Hornbill, Cassin’s Spinetail, Chapin’s batis, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Spotted Greenbul, Green-breasted Pitta and Woodhouse’s Antpecker.

Echuya forest

This montane forest is a sanctuary for different species of plants and birds, and a known habitat for the globally threatened Grauers Swamp Warbler.

Entebbe

Just 37km from Kampala, Entebbe is the location of the international airport. It sits on the shores of Lake Victoria and has plenty to offer the visitor.

Features

Entebbe Botanical Gardens – beautifully landscaped gardens that offer relaxing walks around the woodlands. Key birds include Orange-tufted Sunbird, Orange Weaver, Cormorant, Common Squacco, Hammerkop, Giant Kingfisher, Swamp Flycatcher and Black-headed Gonolek.

Mabamba Swamp – a one-hour drive from Entebbe, this swamp is home to the Shoebill. You can explore the area by canoe and navigate the lily pads and papyrus swamp in search of birdlife, including Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Pallid Harrier and Blue Swallow.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary – based on an island in Lake Victoria, accessible by boat from Entebbe, the sanctuary is home to 49 orphaned chimpanzees rescued from throughout Uganda.

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre – formerly Entebbe Zoo, this centre is home to a wide variety of Uganda’s wildlife and offers the visitor a range of behind-the-scenes experiences.

Uganda Reptile Village – a great place to get up close to snakes, chameleons crocodiles and lizards. All the reptile residents have been rescued or injured.

Mabira Forest

With forests, grasslands, waterfalls and papyrus swamps, this is a great place to go for a nature walk or mangabey tracking. It is home to over 300 species of birds. You can also travel on a zip wire through the forest canopy.

Jinja

A large town, east of Kampala, Jinja sits along the northern shores of Lake Victoria, close to the source of the White Nile. It is sometimes known as the ‘adventure capital of East Africa’ because of the many adrenaline-fuelled activities on offer.

Features

White water rafting

Bungee jumping

Kayaking/SUP

Horse riding through local villages

River cruises

Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch

The sanctuary is home to 22 southern white rhinos and is a popular place for rhino trekking, birdwatching and nature walks. It is the only place in Uganda where you will be able to see the rhinos in their natural environment.

What you might see

Animals: rhino, Uganda kob, reed buck, oribi, hippo and crocodile.

Birds: African darter, African Hawk Eagle, Common Kestrel, African Green Pigeon, Tawny Eagle, Tree Pipit, Common Chat and Shoebill.