Uganda Game Parks and Reserves
Uganda is the home of the world’s largest population of gorillas and other primates as well as a range of other wildlife including the Big Five, reptiles and over 1,000 species of birds (50 percent of Africa’s birds and butterfly species)
Uganda is regarded as the Pearl of Africa. Uganda is is rich in wildlife, nature, culture, heritage and history. Its biological and cultural diversity is unmatched for a country the size of Great Britain or the US state of Oregon. It is worth noting that Eleven per cent of all birds in the world can be found in Uganda. In fact, Uganda has more species of birds per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world. It is a bird’s haven for bird enthusiasts. With almost 40 percent of its land mass is covered by water, rivers and wetlands, it is little wonder that Uganda is home to the source of the Nile, the world’s longest river.
Parks and Game reserves
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is very famous for mountain gorilla trekking and gorilla tours. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park forms part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, one of the richest ecosystems in Africa. Bwindi National park has a population of around 340 gorillas of which an estimated 116 are habituated. over 200 different species of trees, 120 species of mammals, 27 species of frogs, geckos and chameleons, 220 species of butterflies, 348 species of birds and other endangered species in their natural habitat. The eleven primate species found here include black-and-white colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys, baboons and chimps. There are also forest elephants and several species of antelopes. Of Bwindi’s 200 butterfly species, 42 are endemic to the Albertine Rift.Also an estimated 350 bird species with 23 endemics to the Albertine Rift and 14 recorded nowhere else in Uganda.
Kibale National Park is home to one of Uganda’s most stunning tropical forests, which is a sanctuary for chimpanzees and other wildlife. Kibale’s more than 1400 chimpanzees represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. The forest is also home to East Africa’s largest population of the threatened red colobus and the rare I’Hoest’s monkey. Other primates include the black-and-white colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto. An estimated 500 elephants, along with buffalos, leopards, warthogs, bush pigs, golden cats and duikers are also present in the park. There are colorful variety of 250 species of butterflies. Kibale national park also homes more than 375 species of birds.
Kidepo valley is one of Uganda’s most spectacular parks. It contains one of the most exciting faunas of any Ugandan national park. This national park is 1,442 square kilometers. It lies in the rugged savannah between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya. The park houses over 77 species of mammals and more than 475 species of birds.
Lake Mburo National Park,located within close proximity of the capital city of Kampala, is home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck. Together with 13 other lakes in the area, they make of best birding destination. Underneath the park’s surface are ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks that are over 500 million years old.
Mgahinga gorilla national park is the smallest park in the country, it is located way up in the clouds close to the Kisoro region, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. It was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and the endangered golden monkey. The park also has a huge cultural significance, in particular to the indigenous Batwa pygmies. A visit to Mgahinga’s is an impression to three conical extinct volcanoes, providing an outstanding backdrop to the already wonderful scenery.
Mt. Elgon is an extinct volcano with the largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the world. The Park is named after Mount Elgon, an extinct shield volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya. The Kenyan part of the Mt. Elgon National Park was gazetted in 1968, and the Ugandan part in 1992 covering 1110 square kilometers (430 square miles). The botanical diversity of the park includes giant podocarpus, juniper and Elgon olive trees cedar Juniperus procera, pillarwood Cassipourea malosana, elder Sambucus adnata, pure stands of Podocarpus gracilior and many orchids. 400 species have been recorded.The park is also home to a variety of small antelope and forest monkeys, including the Black-and-white Colobus and Blue Monkey. Over 300 birds can also be found in the area, Elephants and buffalo, Other scenery like cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, mesas, calderas, hot springs, and the mountain peaks. The most popular areas are the four explorable, vast caves where frequent night visitors such as elephants and buffaloes come to lick the natural salt found on the cave walls. Kitum cave, with overhanging crystalline walls, enters 200 m into the side of Mt. Elgon.
Murchison falls national park is the largest park in Uganda and the most visited. It is named after the Murchison falls where the mighty river Nile bangs through a narrow gorge flowing down to be converted into a placid river.In the park you will see hippos, water bucks, crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants, lions, leopard, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species including the rare shoebill. The flora and Fauna at Murchison is characterized by savannah, riverine forest and wood land.
Queen Elizabeth national park was initially known as ‘Kazinga National Park’ before it was renamed in 1954 to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. It is along with kyambura and kigezi wildlife resource brings which together the most diverse ecosystem in Africa. Famous for its exotic wildlife, the park is home to many elephants, hippos, Congo lions, African Leopards, chimpanzees and 95 species of mammals. Bird-watchers will be delighted to learn that the park also house 500 species of birds. The park also harbors primate species, ten in number which include chimpanzees and monkeys. Waterbucks, giant forest hog, topi, hyenas, and crocodiles are among the many animals distinguished frequently in Queen Elizabeth national park. The park is also famous for its volcanic features, comprising volcanic cones and deep craters, many with crater lakes such as Lake Katwe, from which salt is extracted. As well as its outstanding wildlife attractions, Queen Elizabeth National Park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music and more.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a home to one of the most stunning landscapes in the world. The park is 1000 kilometers square (386 square miles) in size. It has Africa’s third highest mountain peak and many waterfalls, lakes, and glaciers. The park is known for its beautiful plant life. Mount Stanley is located in the park. Margherita Peak, one of Mount Stanley’s twin summits, is Africa’s third highest peak with a height of 5,109 m (16,762 ft). Africa’s fourth and fifth highest peaks (Mount Speke and Mount Baker) are also located in the park. It has a high diversity of plants and trees. The park is noted for its botany, which has been described as some of the most beautiful in the world. There are five distinct vegetation zones in the park, which change according to changes in altitude. The park has 89 species of birds, 15 species of butterfly, and four primate species. You will find forest elephants, chimpanzee, hyrax, black-and-white colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys, duiker, and Ruwenzori Turaco.
Semliki National Park is a home to rich habitat of grassland, savannah, forest and wetland where diverse fauna, in addition to 400 bird species and 300 butterfly species are found.It is one of the richest areas of floral and faunal diversity in Africa, with bird species being especially diverse. The park has two hot springs in a hot mineral encrusted swamp. One of the springs – Mumbuga spring – resembles a geyser by forming a 0.5 m high fountain while Sempaya Hot Springs are not for bathing as the water temperature is over 1000C These hot springs attract a large number of shorebirds and they are a source of salt for many animals the park has primate creatures like grey-checked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, elephants, chimpanzees, De Brazza’s monkey, pygmy antelope and many diverse species of birds. There is a lowland tropical forest showcasing some of the richest and most diverse flora and fauna in Africa.