A safari destination increasing in popularity...
Uganda is so known for its primate experience (chimpanzees and mountain gorillas), and its activity focus (white water rafting, hiking, mountain climbing etc.), that its safari experience is often underrated. Uganda actually has the Big Five in the country so a safari here should definitely be considered.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
There are a couple of national parks where you can do a safari in Uganda – Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison’s Falls being the most visited. Queen Elizabeth National Park contains five different types of vegetation – savannas, forest grassland, acacia woodland, lakes and swamps. There are plenty of mammals including lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, hyena, crocodile, hippo, waterbuck and warthog to name a few. The major attraction, and highlight of Queen Elizabeth National Park, is the tree-climbing lions within the park’s Ishasha sector in the southern region. These lions enjoy spending hot afternoons snoozing up fig trees, are the most memorable sight in the entire park. To find out more about Queen Elizabeth National Park, please click here.
Murchison Falls National Park
Further north in the western region of the country is Murchison’s Falls National Park and I would say, arguably, it is one of the prettiest backdrops and landscapes to do a safari in all of East Africa. The spectacular waterfall is the main attraction and the surrounding area, of savannah and woodland in in the north and forests in the south, makes a perfect home for hundreds of mammals, predators and bird life.
Of the classic Big Five on safari (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo), it is only the rhino that is not found here. The savannah plains in the northern region of the park is home to plain game and predators including lion and leopard. The southern region of the park is characterised by denser forests which are better environments for species of bird and the chimpanzees which are in the Bugungu Area.
The nice thing about Murchison’s Falls is that it is not your typical safari which are restricted by game drives only. The activities are varied and the most popular activity to do is go on a boat trip along the river to see the falls and look out for birding and other wildlife along the way. Of course, the river is home to the Nile crocodile, hippo and water-birds such as storks, herons and kingfishers. To find out more about Murchison Falls National Park, please click here.
In the far northern tip of Uganda, on the border of South Sudan, is Kidepo Valley. The landscape is mostly savannahs, so cheetahs can be found here, as well as leopard, lion, jackal, bat-eared fox and hyena. The plains game is also in high numbers, and large buffalo, elephant and zebra herds can often be seen. As with much of Uganda, bird life in Kidepo is also fantastic.
The experience here is representative of other safari destinations in East Africa. You stay in a safari camp or lodge, and head out on a game drive early morning and then again in the late afternoon. Bush breakfasts and sundowner drinks are also included which, in the safari world, is a necessity! You can also opt for a walking safari where you will focus on the smaller things of the bush, as well as visit a local community. To find out more about Kidepo Valley, please click here.
Lake Mburo National Park
A final park to consider is Lake Mburo National Park, located in the western region of Uganda. Since around 1985, the wildlife in this park has been in recovery and it is, in the main, a wetland/swamp habitat. The lack of savannahs means that there are no elephant or specific plains game in the park. What it does have however, is a good variety of mammals including lion, buffalo, impala, hippo and hyena, as well as around 350 species of bird. This includes the renowned shoebill stork!
The great thing about Lake Mburo National Park is that it has a variety of safari activities that you can do. This includes day and night game drives, walking safaris, boat rides and horse riding. A good option for the end of a Uganda itinerary as you can take a more leisurely safari pace here.