Tours & Travel

INSIDE THE PEARL OF AFRICA: List of Uganda’s most visited national parks

Femela Mountain Gorilla at the famous Mgahinga, one of World’s best destinations.

Femela Mountain Gorilla at the famous Mgahinga, one of World’s best destinations.

KAMPALA – Uganda has got ten national parks all brimming with wildlife and a variety of bird species.

Uganda is a spectacular place, full of hidden and overt beauty in every corner. But beauty’s also subjective. It’d be impossible to get a unanimous decision on the most beautiful places around the Country, but PML Daily believes this list is a good start to plan your travels.

Our travel team has rounded up the best of the best.

From Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to the semi-arid valleys in the Karamoja, to the cold Kabale hills  and to Mt. Elgon, here are our picks for the country’s top breathtaking, beautiful destinations:

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the last redoubts of the mountain gorilla.

Over 400 call this UNESCO-protected national park home, with the chance for visitors to trek to and meet habituated groups. Its biodiversity extends far beyond its most famous inhabitants, however; 348 bird species and 220 butterfly species can be found within its 331-square-kilometer expanse.

Located in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable is popular for being home to more than half of all mountain gorillas on Earth.

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi is one of the most popular adventure activities that tourists engage in. The parks offers tourists an opportunity to visit gorillas in the wild of the Bwindi impenetrable forest. Every year, tourists visit Uganda to engage in this thrilling adventure that cannot easily be done elsewhere in the world. Elsewhere mountain gorilla trekking is done in only Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and the Virunga National Park of Congo.

There are great accommodation facilities near the park which cater for tourists from around the world.

Kidepo Valley National Park

You will meet Elephant along Lonyiri nature walk in Kidepo Valley National park. (PHOTO/David Mafabi)

Located in the semi-arid valleys in the Karamoja region in northeast Uganda, the 1,442 square kilometer Kidepo Valley National Park was gazetted in 1962.  The availability of over 75 species of mammals and over 470 species of birds in the park is partly why it is ranked among the best national parks in Africa.

At about 700km from Uganda’s capital Kampala, Kidepo Valley National Park is probably the most isolated of Uganda’s national parks. In spite of the long distance, the park is visited by many tourists throughout the year.

Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park has got about 70 species of mammals, 13 of which are primates.

Kibale National Park has got about 70 species of mammals, 13 of which are primates. Most notable among mammals in the park are chimpanzees. The park is most famous for being one of the best places in Africa where chimpanzees can be found in their natural habitat. As such, it is one of the most visited Uganda national parks.

Most Uganda safaris include tracking chimpanzees in Kibale which is the major tourist activity in the park.

There are also about 325 bird species in Kibale Forest National Park including; dusky Crimsonwing, little greenbul, black-capped apalis, blue-headed sunbird, collared apalis, red-faced woodland warbler, yellow-rumped tinkerbird, blue-breasted kingfisher, yellow spotted nicatorblack-eared ground thrush among others.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Located in the western region of Uganda, about 400km from Kampala, Queen Elizabeth National Park occupies an estimated 1,978 square kilometers. The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park. It was renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.

The park has got abundant wildlife including buffaloes, hippos, Nile Crocodiles, Chimpanzees, and Ugandan Kobs among many others. The tree climbing lions found in Ishasha sector of the park are always a great encounter.

Queen Elizabeth National Park has got about 500 bird species and is one of the most visited national parks in Uganda.

Murchison Falls National Park

Elephants in Murchison park

First gazetted in 1926, Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s oldest and largest national park and home to about 76 mammal species and about 450 bird species.

The park is bisected by the River Nile which forms one of the most notable features of the park, the Murchison Falls. Here, the River Nile waters pass through a narrow gorge of about 6 meters width before plunging 45 meters downstream making one of the world’s most powerful waterfalls.

Wildlife in the park includes lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, crocodiles among so many others. Some of the animals can even be seen during boat rides along the Nile to the Murchison Falls.

Uganda is without a doubt one of the top tourist destinations in Africa and most of the tourists who visit Uganda often times visit the national parks during their Uganda safaris.


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