Gorilla tracking ranks among one of the absolute highlights of a trip to Africa for most travellers, and the spine-tingling feeling that you get being so near to one of our closest relatives is hard to describe.
Mountain Gorillas are one of the world’s most endangered apes. It is estimated that there are only about 880 left throughout the world. Almost half of them can be found in Uganda, and populations can also be found in neighboring Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Uganda’s largest National Park acts as a conservation area to untamed wilderness and savannahs, split through the middle by the dramatic river Nile.
Murchison Falls National Park sits on the shore of Lake Albert, in northwest Uganda. It’s known for Murchison Falls, where the Victoria Nile River surges through a narrow gap over a massive drop. The Park wildlife includes elephants and hippos, and there are chimpanzees in the Kaniyo Pabidi mahogany forest. The Lake Albert Delta is home to rare shoebill storks.
Murchison is Uganda’s only National Park which has all “big five”. Buffalos, elephants, lions, leopards are best to be seen in the northern part (above the Nile).
Chimps have been tracked in Uganda since 1993 and the chances of locating them are excellent. Guided walks start at 8am and 2pm and last an average of three hours, depending on various factors.
Chimpanzees share 98% of human genes making them our closest living relatives. They are found in 21 countries throughout Africa, but are most easily sighted in Uganda due to their dense populations. Kibale Forest is especially good for tracking trips, but chimps can also be seen in the Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth NP and in Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls NP.
The full-day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) works with a chimp community which is undergoing habituation. Early visitors can watch chimps leaving their overnight nests between 6:00 - 6:30am before feeding, copulating, hunting, breastfeeding, resting, patrolling and displaying until it is time to build new nests around 7pm.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most visited game reserve and certainly the most scenic. The park has a big variety of habitats including savanna grassland mixed with various kinds of trees and grassy plains, but also tropical rainforest, different swamps and volcanic features, comprising volcanic cones and deep craters.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is an excellent place to sight large game, track the chimpanzees in the Kyambura Gorge, go bird watching on the Kazinga Channel, and see the famous tree climbing lions in Ishasha.
With great savanna landscapes and mountains rising up in the background, the remote Kidepo Valley NP is a true gem of Uganda's nature.
The park spans 1,442 km2 and ranges from 900 to 2.750 m in altitude. Because of its remote location on the border with South Sudan, Kidepo Valley is possibly the only national park left on the whole continent where you can almost have the park to yourself (average of six visitors per day).
Lake Mburo is the smallest of Uganda's wildlife parks and very centrally located a few hours' drive from Kampala and less than one day's drive from the southwest of Uganda (home of the mountain gorillas). Lake Mburo has rich animal lifewith more than 315 different bird species and 68 different mammals (including impala, buffalo, leopards, hyenas, jackals, etc). Lake Mburo is also the only park in Uganda where you can find zebras.
Sitting in the foothills of Mt Elgon and overlooking a vast plain, Sipi Falls is arguably the most beautiful chain of waterfalls in all of Uganda. There are three levels, and though the smaller two are beautiful, it is the 95m main drop that attracts visitors to this area, and most of Sipi's lodging looks out over it. It is well worth spending a night or two in this spectacular yet peaceful place whether it is a part of your Uganda tour or in connection with a climb of the nearby volcano.
Located on the border between Uganda and DR Congo, this impressive range includes the third highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Stanely which includes snow-capped Margherita peak (5109m). Stretching about 110 km long, the Unesco World Heritage Site includes an extraordinary range of landscapes, from thick tropical rainforest on the lower slopes transitioning to the bizarre afro-alpine moorland, before finishing in glaciers at the highest reaches.
Jjinja has a vibrant downtown and broad leafy residential streets set next to the Nile River. Tourism has grown to compete with the manufacturing past of the town as nearby watersports draw visitors from all around. Here you can get your fix of kayaking, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
Lying on the border between Kenya and Uganda, Mount Elgon is said to have the largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the world and a caldera which covers over 40km2 at the top of the mountain. The Mountain’s highest peak known as (Wagagai); sits at 4,321m and is the second highest in Uganda (after Rwenzori) and the eighth highest in Africa, though millions of years ago it was the continent's tallest.
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the chief reservoir of the White Nile. Its waters fill a shallow depression in the centre of the great plateau that stretches between the Western and Eastern Rift Valleys. Among the freshwater lakes of the world it is exceeded in size only by Lake Superior in North America.