Commonly known as the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda is a nation in the eastern part of Africa blessed with a variety of eye-catching scenery, natural wonders, extraordinary wildlife, and intriguing culture. What’s more, in case it’s your first time visiting Uganda, it will be hard for you to decide on which place to explore since the country is full of attractions. To help you choose and decide on where to go and what to do on Uganda safari, we’ve compiled a list of amazing attractions in Uganda.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks
Mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda can be done at any time of the year, albeit the rainy season makes it a bit more challenging. Uganda experiences two rainy seasons, one from March to May and another one from October to November. There are several advantages to visiting Uganda during the season seasons like all lodges reduce the rates, you find few tourists, tour companies also reduce their rates but a 4×4 safari vehicle is a must when you planning to visit Uganda during the rainy season.
Uganda is home to the largest population of mountain gorillas in its two gorilla parks which are the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park both found in the southwestern part of the country. Tracking these gentle giants in their natural dense forests is not an easy task. However, those who consistently seek are rewarded with an exceptional experience. Getting up close to these animals in the wild is definitely a memorable experience.
Gorilla trekking in both the national parks always starts in the morning at 08:00 local time with a short briefing by the park ranger on the rules and regulations to follow when you are in the park with the mountain gorillas. Every gorilla group is visited by a group of 8 people and the limit on group size is to keep these rare and endangered animals safe from any airborne disease this also increases the chances of sighting when there are fewer tourists because if many tourists go to visit one group they can scare away the animals.
Wildlife in Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley national park found in the northeastern part of the country is the third-largest national park and home to over 77 different species of mammals the park also offers an incredible chance for game watching, the park is also home to over 20 species of predators, including lion, spotted hyena and leopards.
Kidepo valley national park is home to rare and beautiful animals like cheetah, aardwolf, bat-eared, black-backed jackal, and caracal. Zebras and kudu can also be spotted grazing in the park and lucky visitors can also see white-eared kob which is commonly found in Ethiopia and South Sudan.
For bird lovers, Kidepo valley national park is one of the perfect destinations for you due to the fact that the park is home to over 470 different species of birds and 60 of these are found in no other national park in Uganda. The park is home to the large population of Clapper ton’s francolin and a rose-ringed parakeet in the whole of the East African region. Kidepo Valley National Park is the only park in the country where tourists can spot common Ostrich.
By road, Kidepo Valley National Park can be accessed from Kampala via Gulu and Kitgum which is about 580km from Kampala the capital of Uganda. Some clients divide this trip by having an en-route visit to Murchison falls to explore this amazing park and the next day they proceed north eastwards to Kidepo Valley National Park.
Still, Kidepo valley national park can be accessed by road through the eastern route which can take something like 10 hours to reach the park and most clients still divide this journey into two and have a night close to Sipi Falls.
When to visit Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is open lasting throughout the year. In any case, its general climate changes from the rest of the country. While June used to be one of the dry seasons of the year, it is currently acknowledged that a long rain season will run from April to the end of November. This is definitely not an eight-month downpour; however, you can expect some rain most days.
The most recommended months to visit Kidepo Valley national park the September, October, and November which are the dry season, during these months, the lack of water in the park causes animals to gather around the permanent water sources to drink water. this increases the chances of sightings and it’s during this period when it’s perfect to see predators hunting in the short grass.
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is found in the northwestern part of the country spreading inland from Lake Albert around Lake Victoria up to Karuma Falls. The park together with the adjacent Karuma Wildlife Reserve and Bugungu Wildlife Reserves forms the Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA) which is the largest conservation area in Uganda.
Murchison Falls National Park is comprised of wetlands, savannah, woodland, and tropical forests which act as a habitat for different wildlife in the park for example the park is home to over 76 species of mammal and 451 species of birds. Among the common mammals in the park include Rothschild’s giraffe, the hippo, cape buffalo, warthog, kobs, hartebeest, and elephants.
The park is also home to 4 of the Big 5 animals which include; buffaloes, lions, leopards, and elephants, and only the Rhinos are the ones missing in the Murchison Falls National Park. The park is known for being home to the largest population of Rothschild giraffes and a good population of herbivores in the country.
Location and when to visit
Murchison falls national park is worth visiting all year round but the best season to visit it is the dry months of the year from June to September and from January to Match, in this season the park receives less rain, the glass will be short which gives a clear and perfect view of the animals and there is a high chance that you will not be disturbed by heavy rain. Still, in these months, animals tend to gather around the Nile and other water sources in the park to drink water the thing which offers a good opportunity to see more animals.
The most direct route from Kampala to Murchison falls national park is through Kampala – Gulu highway that takes you through Luwero, Nakasongola, Masindi, and enters through the southern Kichumbanyono Gate.
By air, you can access Murchison Falls National Park by a charted aircraft from Kajjansi airfield near Kampala and it’s a flight of something like 1hour.
Waterfalls in Uganda
A safari to Uganda will never be complete without visiting some of the spectacular waterfalls which are found in different parts of the country. A visit to one of those amazing waterfalls in the country will make your safari to Uganda more memorable.
These are one of the most magnificent waterfalls in Uganda found in the eastern part of the country. The falls are found 30km from Jinja town the largest city in eastern Uganda. The falls are found on the White Nile and are characterized by 6 white water rafting levels and also is the perfect spot for Kayakers and Rafters.
These are found in the far eastern part of the country in a village called Sipi in the district of Kampchorwa approximately 45km from Mbale town and over 280km from Kampala the capital of the country. Sipi Falls are 3 waterfalls and are regarded as one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the eastern part of the country. Sipi Falls acts as the perfect first stop-over for tourists going taking the eastern route to Kidepo valley National Park.
They are one of the less-visited waterfalls in northern Uganda but the eye-catching rocky Aruu falls are a worthwhile stopover if you’re on your way to visit Kidepo Valley National Park and Murchison Falls National Park, it’s found approximately 5km off Pader – Kitgum Highway. Always spare at least an hour and visit this breathtaking scenery.
The striking falls are a fantastic place to learn more about Ugandan myths and legends, it’s just located 32km east of Kampala on Kampala – Jinja Highway in a place called Mukono.
The 17 m high falls are located between Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga, in the Ssezibwa river, the locals believe that the falls were born of a human woman hundreds of years ago, who, instead of having twins, gave birth to two rivers, the Ssezibwa and the Bwanda. Even today many believe the river has supernatural powers and many visits in search of blessings, love, etc.
Kisiizi Falls, located in Rukungiri, between Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the Kisiizi Falls are a magnificent stopover.
Water from the Kyabamba river plunges off the 27 m high cliff into a deep gorge. The waterfall is so powerful that visitors can feel the mist from 100 m away.