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Uganda Safari: Plan the Ultimate Safari after Mgahinga

Uganda is a wonderful safari destination in Africa. A safari in Uganda is not only interesting but filled with thrilling adventures. Uganda is home to more than half of the remaining mountain gorillas, over 1010 bird species, over 10 different primate species and the “big five”. Uganda is also home to the Source of the Nile Africa’s longest river and Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. In the western part of the country, the Rwenzori Mountain block with its glacier peaks offers the best mountaineering experience in Africa while a trip to Ssese Islands is a real back to nature safari retreat!

Given an enormous variety of natural areas, Uganda is the best travel destination in Africa to partake gorilla trekking, chimpanzee tracking, bird watching, mountaineering and other holiday adventures. Uganda Safaris are filled with several amazing activities that will be included in your itinerary. These include mountain climbing and hiking, bird watching, game viewing, boating, fishing for Nile Perch or Tiger Fish, whitewater rafting, historical and cultural tours.

In Uganda, gorilla trekking is done in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. From Mgahinga National Park, you can visit several other national parks including Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and the Virunga National Park of Congo. Many travelers combine gorilla safari expeditions into these four national parks.

BINP is famous for hosting more than 15 habituated gorilla families and MGNP with only one called Nyakagezi. You can also access the two parks from Kigali – Rwanda through Katuna or Kyanika boarder (3-4hra drive).

If you visit BINP or MGNP, expect to do any of the following activities:

  • Mountain Gorilla Trekking
  • Gorilla habituation
  • Birding
  • Forest walks or Nature walk
  • Cultural tour.
  • Golden monkey trekking MGNP
  • Community tour
  • Mountaineering in MGNP among others.

If you visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla national Park for Gorilla trekking, you can also think of visiting other nearby National Parks to do other activities. Other parks to visit include:

  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Mountain Rwenzori National Park
  • Semuliki National Park
  • Kibale National Park

The popular Queen Elizabeth National Park is the second largest National Park in Uganda after Murchison Falls National Park. The Park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park, and renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II. The Park is home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species.  While in QENP, you can do wildlife game viewing tour (game drive) to see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, antelopes and brushbacks among others, Boat cruise on Kazinga channel to see water loving birds and mammals like hippos, crocodiles, monitor lizards and others on water banks while drinking water to quench their thirsty, Birding to see a variety of birds, Cultural encounters, chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge, cave exploration, nature walks among others.

Note: It’s 5hrs 22 min (272.3 km) via Kabale – Mbarara Rd

The Mountain Rwenzori National Park – the highest block mountain in Uganda with Margherita as the apex of the mountain at 16,762 feet (5,109 metres) – Uganda’s highest point. Mountain Rwenzori is endowered with a variety of attractions like rivers, valleys, aretes, pyramidal peaks, glacier, birds and unique mountain vegetation among others. High level of fitness is required to ascend and descend Mountain Rwenzori. Basing on your budget, interest and ability to hike will determine the circuit to follow.

Note: It takes approximately 6hrs 27m to get from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to Mountain Rwenzori National Park.

Semuliki National park – Semuliki Forest Reserve was created in 1932 and upgraded to national park status in 1993. It is the only tract of true lowland tropical forest in East Africa, hosting 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals.

While in Semuliki National Park, engage in game drive to see a variety of animals, birds, relief, vegetations, Nature walk to the offspring, cultural encounters, Chimpanzee trekking in Toro- Semuliki wildlife reserve among others.

Note: From Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to Semuliki national Park, its 7 hr 5 min (380.6 km) via Mbarara – Kasese Rd.

Kibale National Park is situated in western Uganda approximately 5-6hrs drive from Entebbe Airport or Kampala city.  Kibale is famously known for Chimpanzee tracking. The Park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus and so on. It also contains over 375 species of birds.

Major tourist attractions to do in Kibale National Park include: Chimpanzee trekking, birding, night walk or Nocturnal walk, cultural tours and community tour, chimpanzee habituation among others.

Note: It’s 6hrs 39 min (371.0 km) via Kabale – Mbarara Rd to get to KNP from BINP

Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda can best be supplemented by Game drives, Cultural tours, boat trips, birding, Natural walks, chimpanzee trekking or Chimpanzee habituation among others.

Safari Parks to Visit

Located astride the equator, Uganda has a network of 10 national parks and several other protected areas. These make Uganda a superb safari destination which offers wildlife enthusiasts a thrilling opportunity to experience Uganda’s biodiversity. Uganda’s wild game resides in not only the mesmerizing tracts of thorn-bush savanna a habitat for antelope, buffalo and elephant one as well as the equatorial lush expanses of tropical rain forests a habitat for the rare mountain gorillas and other primates. The shimmering lakes and rivers heave with aquatic life while the glacial peaks of one of the Africa’s tallest mountain range make Uganda a superb destination for adventure.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The Impenetrable Forest Reserve was gazetted in 1942, upgraded to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1992 and recognised as a World Heritage Site in 1994. In the local Lukiga language, Bwindi actually means ‘Impenetrable.’ A trek through this, one of Africa’s most ancient rainforests, in search of the endangered mountain gorilla, ranks among the world’s premier wildlife encounters.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

The 1978 square kilometres Queen Elizabeth National Park enjoys a stunning location on the rift valley floor between Lakes Edward and George where a mosaic of habitats supports 95 mammal species and a remarkable 612 species of birds. Forty years ago, Douglas Willocks described the diverse features that led to its creation in 1952. There still exists no better introduction or a more enticing invitation to visit the park. Scenically the area had everything. Thirty miles to the north, the blue Rwenzori exploded from the plain.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

In AD150, the Alexandrine geographer Ptolemy wrote of a snow capped mountain range, deep in the heart of Africa that, he claimed, was the source of the Nile and which he called the Mountains of the Moon. Over the centuries this curious notion of tropical snow faded into mythology and, when John Speke found the Nile’s exit from Lake Victoria, a place in fiction for the Mountains of the Moon seemed assured. Though just miles north of the Equator, Rwenzori mountain is renowned of its glaciers and snow peaks whose meltwaters represent the highest springs of the Nile.

Kibale Forest National Park

The 795km2 Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. This is home to a host of forest wildlife, most famously 13 species of primate including chimpanzee. Forest cover predominates in the northern and central parts of the park on the elevated Fort Portal plateau. Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip which stands 1590m above sea level.

Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is a gem of a park, conveniently located close to the western highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda. Though the park is just 370km2 in size, its landscapes are varied and even a short drive is alive with interest and colour. Its varied vegetation which comprise of gallery forest, open savanna and acacia woodland, rock kopjes, seasonal and permanent swamps, and open water, support various wildlife species such as impala, Burchell’s zebra, and eland that are not found elsewhere in western Uganda.