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UGANDA PARKS & RESERVES

Tour The Diverse Reserves & Parks Of Uganda. Scroll Down For Details..

Which Are The Best Uganda National Parks & Reserves To Visit In 2021-2022?

Uganda has diverse wildlife parks and reserves. Below are AfricanMecca's Top 10 safari wilderness to visit in Uganda ranked by priority. The Top 10 guide references on how to plan your 2021-2022 safari in each of the below parks in Uganda. Alternatively, go to the summary section for a quick overview of each wilderness area.
Which Are The Best Uganda National Parks & Reserves To Visit In 2021-2022

Summary Of Top 10 Parks, Reserves & Wilderness Areas In Uganda

Wondering about the best parks to visit in Uganda? Aside from lush forest parks and their fascinating primate denizens, Uganda also has distinct savannah and riverine parks and reserves where you can go on game drives and bush walks to view the plains game animals and on boating safaris to view birdlife and aquatic fauna.

The incredible natural and cultural treasures of the country are so diverse that doing your own research will only provide you a foundation of what is possible. Simply speak to your expert and experienced consultant at AfricanMecca about your Uganda travel request for your activities, budget, quality of accommodations, travel dates, logistics, special interest, and we’ll give you our best suggestions and organize your safari to the parks you would most like to experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Fabulous diversity of parks and reserves created to safeguard the wildlife, natural, and cultural treasures of Uganda
  • Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site at Bwindi Impenetrable Park, one of the last refuges of the rare mountain gorillas
  • Tracking chimpanzees and more than 10 different species of primates along with a rich diversity of avian life
  • Plains games sightings at Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, and Kidepo Valley, each with an array of distinct habitats
  • Exploring the aquatic and floral biomes and their distinct fauna at Lake Mburo, Semliki, Nile River and Lake Victoria
A Summary of The Top 10 Parks, Reserves & Protected Wilderness Areas In Uganda

1 & 6. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Key Takeaways

  • Tracking the particular family of the magnificent mountain gorilla family assigned to you
  • Spending up to 60 minutes in the company of the primates observing their habits and behavior
  • Animals habituated to the presence of humans and permit you to approach at a safe distance
For starters, the top attraction for most guests in Uganda is a visit to the home territories of the magnificent mountain gorillas, where you can spend a priceless hour watching them interact with each other in their natural habitat. In the company of expert guides and park rangers, you’ll have a chance to observe them from a safe distance as they care for their young, feed on bamboo shoots, wild celery, and other vegetation, or simply nap.

Together, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park have several families that researchers have painstakingly habituated to the presence of humans — meaning they will allow you to approach and mostly ignore your presence rather than running away or seeing you as a threat. It may interest you to know that Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, one of Uganda’s great treasures, is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and habitat for an astonishing 10 species of primates. In addition to visiting the gorillas, you can take specialized treks to see some of the 350 bird species and 120 mammal species present in the park, along with other fauna.

On your safari holiday here, you will also have the opportunity to learn about the flora in these forests, which park researchers say have been flourishing here for more than 25,000 years. The landscape features more than 400 species of plants and trees hosting 200 butterflies, 28 reptiles, 28 amphibians, and 27 frog species.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

2. Murchison Falls National Park

Key Takeaways

  • Park created around the scenic spot where the Victoria Nile gushes through the 8-meter cleft to plunge into Devil’s Cauldron
  • Sightings of four of the Big Five of Africa and diversity of riverine and delta birdlife
  • Visiting Kaniyo Pabidi Forest to see the chimpanzees along with other primates and smaller fauna
This park was created around Uganda’s famous Murchison Falls, where the Victoria Nile tumbles out of a narrow 8-meter cleft and pours into the Devil’s Cauldron below. Marvel at the power of the river roaring through the rocks, sending up a thick mist that creates a permanent rainbow over the falls. Cruise along the river for sightings of wildlife coming to drink at the water’s edge, or birds busy fishing for their supper. Or, travel to the Kaniyo Pabidi Forest to see the resident chimpanzees and various other primates and birds.

Murchison Falls National Park is also proud to host four of Africa’s Big Five, missing only the rhino. In addition to aquatic birds, be on the lookout for the Goliath heron, shoebill stork, and Uganda’s national bird, the grey-crowned crane, which is always seen in pairs. In addition to wildlife sightings, the park is known for the smaller, but equally spectacular, Uhuru Falls. Explore it alongside your guide on a walking safari trip by the riverbank, watching carefully to spot the various residents of the park.
Murchison Falls National Park

3. Kibale National Park

Key Takeaways

  • Participating in the research program, Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, to study the primates more closely
  • Spotting a total of 13 primate species including chimps and some of the 375 bird varieties when trekking through the forests
  • Touring the Kanyanchu, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, and crater lakes for sightings of incredible birdlife
If you would like to see the chimpanzees of Uganda, a primate tour of the Kibale National Park is a must. The chimps of Kibale have, like their gorilla cousins, undergone a habituation process that will allow you to spend time with them. If you wish, you can even take part in the habituation experience. The authorities at Kibale Forest permit you to take part in a program called CHEX (Chimpanzee Habituation Experience), which allows more time with the chimps in a smaller group. Sign up for one of these excursions and you can follow researchers for an entire day as they observe the behavior of the primates and help them recognize that humans are harmless.

In addition to the chimpanzees, the park hosts 12 other primate species, along with 375 bird species, many of which you will be able to spot on your trekking safari. While tracking down chimpanzees is the prime activity to do in the forests of Kibale, you will be surprised at the various other options. Head for Kanyanchu or Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary to enjoy the superb variety of avian life. Sign up for nocturnal or daytime nature walks to view the park in a whole different light, or visit the Ndali-Kasenda Crater to revel in its spellbinding natural beauty.

You could also visit the various other crater lakes whose panoramic vistas make the treks truly worthwhile. Some of the most famous ones include Lake Nyinabulitwa, Lake Nyinambuga, Lake Nkuruba, Lake Nyamirima, and Lake Nyabikere. End your trip with an interactive cultural experience, where you can spend time with the local Batooro and Bakiga people, who have lived in the forest environs for centuries.
Kibale National Park

4. Kidepo Valley National Park

Key Takeaways

  • Intensely beautiful and remote expanse despite its arid conditions all through the year
  • Prime wilderness for viewing a diversity of large and small mammals with opportunities for excellent predator and prey interactions
  • Checking out the Kanangorok Hot Springs and also the seasonal Kidepo River that attracts wildlife and runs during the wet season
Kidepo Valley National Park is an intensely beautiful wilderness despite the arid conditions that prevail here through most of the year. A safari vacation in this park, on the northernmost tip of Uganda, takes you off the beaten tourist path. Its enchanting wide-open spaces have a stark beauty and are home to various species of mammals, birds, and other wildlife that you can view on game drives. Hike to the dry, white-sand bed of the Kidepo River, which runs only for a short time of the year, or travel to Kanangorok Hot Springs to view the hot springs bubbling up from the valley floor.

While you enjoy the stark, striking beauty of Kidepo, your guide will help you spot carnivores such as the leopard, lion bat-eared fox, caracal, spotted hyena, side-striped jackal, wild dogs, cheetah, smaller cats, the aardwolf, and white-tailed mongoose, among other beautiful and fascinating herbivore species, such as the Rothschild’s giraffe, klipspringer, Bohor reedbuck, Burchell’s zebra, bush duiker, lesser kudu, kongoni, Guenther’s dik-dik, oribi, Jackson’s hartebeest and many more.
Kidepo Valley National Park

5. Queen Elizabeth National Park

Key Takeaways

  • Striking diversity of landscapes, including savannah grasslands, highlands, crater lakes, rivers, and swamps
  • Possibility of undertaking activities like game drives, birdwatching excursions, gorge treks, and boating
  • Visiting the Ishasha sector to see its unique tree-climbing lions, a rare and fascinating sight, and Kyambura Gorge for tracking down a wild chimpanzee community
This park has an exciting diversity of landscapes that provide habitat for a spectacular range of wildlife. Explore its savannah grasslands, highlands, crater lakes, rivers, and swamps. Each of these landscapes provides ample opportunity for taking photographs and enjoying the panoramic views. Adventure holiday activities include game drives, birdwatching excursions, and boating. The northern plains of Kasenyi and Kazinga are known for sightings of buffalo, giant forest hog, warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck, elephants, lion, and leopard. The animals that don't exist in the park are rhino, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, cheetah, and wild dog.

Your stay in Queen Elizabeth National Park would not be complete without a visit to the Ishasha sector to spot its unique tree-climbing lions, a rare and fascinating sight. You could also sign up for a sunset cruise on the Kazinga Channel to see wildlife coming down to drink on the banks, or trek to the Kyambura Gorge to view the chimpanzee family thriving in its stunning, Eden-like environs. Birders will definitely want to visit the Maramagambo Forest and Mweya Peninsula for their rich avian variety.
Queen Elizabeth National Park

7. Semliki Wildlife Reserve

Key Takeaways

  • First protected area to open to visitors in Uganda in 1926 as Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve
  • Experience activities like game drives, nature walks, boating, and hiking to the Nyaburogo Gorge
  • Fantastic distinct of wildlife like birds, primates, grazers, and herbivores including the option of participating in the Chimpanzee Research Project
The Semliki Wildlife Reserve was one of the first to open to visitors in Uganda in 1926 under its former name - Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve. This reserve hosts a group of scientists working on the Chimpanzee Research Project, and you can take part, interacting with them and learning more about the primates. You can also go on game drives and nature walks to explore the pristine forests and get a chance to spot many of their diverse residents. Boating on Lake Albert and hiking to the Nyaburogo Gorge are other exciting activities to do here.

You are likely to encounter grazers such as the buffalo, reedbuck, Ugandan kob, bushbuck, and waterbuck, as well as warthogs, forest elephants, and the rare bushbabies. Among the other primates, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, and vervet monkeys abound here. As for predators, the park is known for its rare sightings of leopards and nocturnal white-tailed mongooses. The park is a delightful haven for birdwatchers, thanks to the gorgeous 440 varieties of avian species that call Semliki Reserve home e.g. elusive red-throated bee-eaters, blue-headed coucals, shoebill storks, and Blue-cheeked bee-eaters, along with more common species.
Semliki Wildlife Reserve

8. Lake Mburo National Park

Key Takeaways

  • Known for the stunning diversity of landscapes like papyrus wetlands, rocky crests, open savannah, small gorges, and lush forests
  • Smallest protected park in Uganda hosting 68 species of mammals and birds highly recommended for family tours. Has various lakes that attracts animal life
  • Guests can experience a wide selection of adventurous activities e.g mountain biking, horseback riding, safari, bush walks, boat trips, day and night game drives, and cultural tours
Lake Mburo National Park is a tiny slice of Eden in Uganda and hosts an enchanting biome of papyrus wetlands, rocky crests, open savannah, small gorges, and lush forests. Although it is the smallest protected park in Uganda, it’s a haven for 68 species of mammals, including impala, Defassa waterbuck, oribi, reedbuck, topi, hippo, bushbuck, buffalo, warthog, and zebra. The eland and Burchell’s zebra, which are also found here, can be seen in only one other location in Uganda – at Kidepo. The impala is found only in this part of the country.

When it comes to the predators, you might be lucky enough to spot hyenas and leopards, along with lions, which appear to be making a comeback according to recent sightings by travelers in the park. The 5 lakes within the park boundaries are teeming with crocodiles and hippos. Lake Mburo Park is highly recommended to families with children as it offers unique activities such as mountain biking, horseback riding, safari, bush walks, boat trips, day and night game drives, cultural interactions with the Banyankole Bahima tribe, and a visit to wildlife hides.
Lake Mburo National Park

9. Lake Victoria

Key Takeaways

  • Originally called Lake Nyanza and the second-largest lake in the world
  • Opportunity to stay on one of the 84 islands of the Ssese Archipelago amidst the lake
  • Excursions like sunbathing, fishing for Nile Perch, boating, and birding
Lake Victoria, or Lake Nyanza, as the locals traditionally called it before the British colonial branding, is the second-largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world. If you’d like to spend some time near it on your relaxing holiday, you can enjoy accommodations in the lakeside town of Entebbe. Alternatively, stay on one of the 84 islands of the Ssese Archipelago, where you can relax on tan-colored beaches with a backdrop of shimmering lake waters, swaying palms, and warm sunshine. Go on nature walks on the islands or fishing for Nile perch in the lake.
Lake Victoria

10. Nile River Near Jinja

Key Takeaways

  • Discovered by John Speke in the 1860s during his quest for the source of the Nile River
  • Aqua activities like white water rafting, kayaking, fishing, stand-up paddleboarding, and river swimming
  • Extend out on a horseback, mountain biking or trekking excursions in and around Mabira Forest and Bujagali Falls
The Nile River ecosystem is home to a variety of birds, many of them at the top of birdwatchers’ must-see lists of East African species. You can take a nature walk in the footsteps of John Speke and visit the very spot where he first sighted the granite formation, now known as Ripon Falls. Leisure and active recreational opportunities abound in the area, including whitewater rafting, horseback riding, quad bike tours, paddleboarding, kayaking, boating, fishing, and much more. We also recommend including Mabira Forest and Bujagali Falls as part of your Uganda trip itinerary when visiting Jinja - Nile River.
Nile River Near Jinja

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AFRICANMECCA REVIEWS

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  • I just returned from a month in Africa, specifically Rwanda & Kenya. I am left breathless with my experience. AfricanMecca Safaris coordinated the entire trip for me and left no detail, nothing for me to do.
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  • Rwanda was amazing. The accommodations, food, and guides AfricanMecca arranged were great. Raza also helped us through the complicated process of getting permits for gorilla trekking. AfricanMecca is a fantastic company to work with.
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  • Jambo Raza!!! The safari trip was spectacular! Everything went off without a hitch. We loved the Masai Mara. The migration was awesome. You listened to what I wanted and delivered it perfectly.
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  • I cannot say enough about the quality of AfricanMecca. Their teams in Kenya and Tanzania were top notch. Raza, again thanks to you and your entire organization! We will be repeat customers.
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  • This is to let you know my guests, The Bryant's, had a wonderful time on the trip Samburu, Masai Mara/Kenya, Chobe/Botswana & Victoria Falls/Zambia. Everything was perfect! Thank you..
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EAST AFRICA SAFARI BOOKING & TOUR HOLIDAY IDEA UGANDA FOR 2021-2022

We recommend visiting Bwindi for your gorilla safari trek, and combining it with Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, and Kibale (chimpanzee safari) alongside your city tour visits of Kampala and Entebbe.

You may optionally extend out to other wilderness areas such as Mgahinga to track down golden monkeys and gorillas in the same park, Jinja for whitewater rafting on the Nile River, and Semliki, Lake Mburo or Kidepo for an offbeat wildlife tour.

You can end your vacation on the beach at Lake Victoria or even extending out to the exotic spice island of Zanzibar or Lamu, or even Mombasa.

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