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The 10 Beautiful Uganda National Parks: National Parks in Uganda

With over 10 beautiful Uganda national parks/national parks in Uganda, it is one of the top African safari destinations to visit for a remarkable African safari experience. The ten (10) Uganda national parks are well-positioned and uniquely endowed or gifted by nature to offer you a memorable African Uganda safari, with most of them positioned in western Uganda.

Uganda is a member of the East African Federation and is one of the countries on the African continent that is gifted by nature with amazing Uganda national parks, which prompted the British premier to declare it the pearl of Africa in 1908 and hence the best African safari destination.

With all of these 10 Uganda National Parks being managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, you are guaranteed well guided experiences from the beginning of your Uganda tours to the end of them.

Below is a list of the 10 Uganda national parks

  1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  2. Queen Elizabeth National Park
  3. Murchison Falls National Park
  4. Kibale Forest National Park
  5. Kidepo Valley National Park
  6. Lake Mburo National Park
  7. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
  8. Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  9. Mount Elgon National Park
  10. Semuliki National Park

Let us look at them below.

  1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most renowned Uganda national parks, famous for mountain gorilla trekking on Uganda safaris. Like the rest of the national parks in Uganda, it is also under the management of the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Southwestern Uganda, Kisoro District, sits at the edge of the Great Rift Valley. It was first made available for tourism in April 1993 and declared a natural world heritage site in 1994. This forest park in East Africa covers an area of 321 km2, and it ranges from an altitude of 1,160m to 2,607m above sea level.

The diverse ecosystems of Bwindi Impenetrable Park date back to 25,000 years and the forest has about 400 plant species, 120 mammal species, 350 species of beautiful birds, including all 24 Albertine Rift endemics, and 200 butterfly species. Thus, making it one of the most beautiful national parks in Uganda.

The critically endangered Mountain Gorillas are its main attraction, as the impenetrable forest national park protects about 459 of these primates in Uganda, which is almost half of their population remaining in the world (1063).  Thus, gorilla trekking is the major safari activity in the dense forests of the park.

Tourist Attractions at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Other than the gorillas, the park also protects different primate species that are easily seen on a nature walk, for example, monkeys, chimpanzees, and olive baboons, among others.

Other wild animals to see at Bwindi Impenetrable NP include elephants, duikers, bushpigs, buffaloes, and antelopes, among others.

You will also encounter other highlights in and around the park, such as over 350 bird species, including the most sought-after Albertine Rift endemics like the Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Batis, Handsome Francoline, and Collared Apalis, among others.

Therefore, the natural beauty and rich ecosystem of Bwindi Impenetrable NP is the ultimate destination to experience different safaris in Uganda, like mountain gorilla safaris, Uganda birding safaris, game viewing tours, scenic nature walk tours, and Batwa visits.

Safari Activities at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Almost all safari activities at Bwindi Impenetrable Park occur in the four sectors of the park, which are the Buhoma sector, the Nkuringo region, the Rushaga section, and the Ruhija sector.

The most common safari activities include gorilla trekking/gorilla treks, bird watching, nature walks, Batwa cultural encounters, & community visits, among others.

  1. Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese District in South Western Uganda is known as one of the most popular Uganda national parks and the second largest after Murchison Falls National Park, greatly known for Uganda wildlife safaris. The park area is 1,978 km2 and rises at an altitude of 1,300m above sea level, marked by the Katwe explosion craters.

This national park in East Africa was designated in 1952 as Kazinga National Park but was renamed Queen Elizabeth National Park in 1954 to commemorate the visit of the Queen of England to the country.

Attractions at Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts abundant wildlife, including over 95 mammal species, including 20 carnivores, and more than 600 bird species, including the rare shoebill stork.

Its diverse ecosystems and natural beauty cover freshwater lakes, crater lakes like the Lake Katwe evaporation pans, extensive savannah plains, humid forests, and swamps that are home to various wildlife, like the famous tree climbing lions on the acacia trees. It is also a Man and Biosphere Reserve with different communities living within the park.

Discover the different wildlife of Queen Elizabeth National Park in areas such as the Kasenyi Plains, Ishasha Sector, Maramagambo Forest, Kazinga Channel, and Katwe Area.

Safari Activities/ Things to do at Queen Elizabeth National Park

The major safaris at Queen Elizabeth National Park include wildlife safaris and community visits through incredible activities such as game drives, boat cruises that commence from the Kazinga boat landing site, lion tracking, bird watching, nature walks, rhino census, and community walks.

  1. Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park in Masindi, Uganda, North Western Uganda is the oldest and largest protected area of the country. Like other Uganda national parks, the Uganda Wildlife Authority manages this designated park in Uganda to promote its conservation effort.

The Murchison Falls Park was designated in 1952, covers an area of 3,840 km2, and sits at an altitude of 127m above sea level. The park is in a secluded location on the northern end of the Albertine Rift and gives amazing wildlife views for travelers to the country.

This Murchison Falls park is unique for its Murchison Falls, which flows from the Victoria Nile, making it one of the most beautiful national parks in Uganda. The falls are squeezing through an eight-meter gorge and falling thunderously in the Devil’s Cauldron. The Victoria Nile also divides the park into the North and Southern Hemispheres, flows across the Rift Valley floor and pours its water into Lake Albert.

Some renowned visitors to Murchison Falls NP include Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, and various British royals.

Attractions/ Things to See at Murchison Falls National Park

The main attraction at the park is the powerful Murchison Falls, which flow from the Nile River

Various habitats cover the plains of one of these Uganda national parks including savannah, acacia trees, Borassus palms, and riverine woodland in the Northern part of the park while the southern areas are dominated by forest and woodland plantations.

Thus, they provide habitat for various animals, including over 144 mammals of Ugandan species, 51 reptile species, 51 amphibian species, and more than 556 species of Uganda birds.

Some of the various animals to watch on the plains of Murchison Falls National Park include lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, and leopards, among others.

The most common species of beautiful birds to watch at the park are the endangered rare shoebill stork near the Albert Delta, while others include the Secretary Bird, White Crested Turaco, Giant King Fisher, and Osprey, among others.

Safari Activities: Things to do at Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Park is one of the Uganda national parks that provides a chance for various safari activities, including game drives, visiting the top of the falls, nature walks, boat cruises on the Nile River, and bird watching, among others.

  1. Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park/Kibale National Park, also known as the primate capital of the world, is famous for outstanding Uganda Chimpanzee tracking safaris & tours.

The Kibale Forest National Park in Kabarole District, Western Uganda, covers an area of 321 kilometers square and rises at an altitude of between 1,160m and 2,607m above sea level.

The most famous activity at the park is chimp tracking, which occurs at the Kanyanchu Visitor Center and since 1993, when it began, it has always been an excellent experience. There are about 1,500 Chimpanzee species in the forest out of the estimated 5000 in the country.

There is a 90% chance of finding the chimpanzees in their natural habitat and it takes about 2 to 5 hours to find a habituated chimpanzee group.

Attractions at Kibale Forest National Park

Other than one of the Uganda national parks that is famous for chimpanzees, the Kibale Forest Park/Kibale National Park is also home to 12 other primates, including monkeys and baboons. There are also over 120 mammal species in Kibale Forest and about 370 species of birds, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.

The Kibale tropical forests also present an impressionable scenery for travelers on their safari tours to the park.

Things to do at Kibale Forest National Park

Therefore, prepare for the best safari experience as you go to visit Kibale National Park. You will participate in various activities such as chimp tracking, chimpanzee habitat, nature walks, bird watching, and community visits, among others.

  1. Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park is defined as a true African wilderness and an isolated national park with a secluded location in North Eastern Uganda, near the South Sudan, Kenya Uganda border. It is comprised of two seasonal rivers, which are the Kidepo and the Narus rivers.

The Kidepo Valley National Park is among the most beautiful national parks in Uganda, known for its wilderness is comprised of an open savannah plain, seasonal vegetation, and oases that provide food and water for the animals.

Kidepo Valley National Park, which covers an area of 1,442-kilometer square and sits at an altitude between 914m and 2,750 m, is found in the Karamoja district and was gazzetted a national park in 1962.

Tourist Attractions at Kidepo Valley National Park

This isolated park protects over 77 mammal species and over 476 bird species that find a home in the beautiful, ragged, and extensive golden savannah landscapes. It is also the only park where you will see the common ostrich.

However, other birds to see in the park include the Little Green Beater, Secretary Bird, various eagles, pelicans, and egrets, among others.

Kidepo Valley National Park is also among the Uganda national parks recognized for their indigenous local communities that also live in and around the park for example, the Karamojong and the IK people, a hunter-gatherer group that are threatened due to their small population. You will also study their lives and ways, for example, hut building, cooking, and other important values.

Common animals to see at the Kidepo Valley National Park include elephants, buffaloes, lions, antelopes, and various other species.

Things to do at Kidepo Valley National Park

There are different safari activities to do at Kidepo Valley National Park, including game drives, bird watching, nature walks, and community visits. Located in an incredible wilderness, Kidepo Valley National Park is among the Uganda National Parks with the most beautiful of these experiences.

  1. Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest savannah national park in Uganda, but among the Uganda national parks, it has abundant wildlife that promotes the country’s tourism sector.

This Lake Mburo National Park covers an area of 370 kilometers square and it was designated a national park in 1983.

Lake Mburo Park is nearest to Kampala City in Nyabushozi County in Kiruhura District and it connects the city to western Uganda.

20% of the land in Lake Mburo NP is wetland, as it harbors 5 lakes and others surrounding it.

Attractions at Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo NP is one of the most beautiful national parks to watch over 315 bird species, including the Ruppell’s Starling, Southern Ground Hornbill, Black Bellied Bustard, Black-Throated Barbet, Mosque Swallow, and Bare-Faced Go Away Bird, among others.

There are also 68 mammal species at Lake Mburo Park, and some of these wildlife animals include buffaloes, zebras, topis, hyenas, hippos, leopards, elands, Reedbucks, Defassa Waterbuck, among others.

Things to do at Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park boasts various safari which include the game drive experience, boat cruises, nature walks, bird watching, community visits, sport fishing, and cycling tours, among others. Thus, it is one of the Uganda national parks with the best wildlife safari experiences.

  1. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla NP is the smallest national park in Uganda, found in Kisoro District in southwest Uganda, with a size of 33.7 kilometers square. It is a famous and only destination to experience the Golden Monkeys in Uganda.

The park is also well known for protecting one gorilla family that you can visit during your gorilla trekking adventures.

In 1991, Mgahinga Gorilla NP was declared a national park and consequently, the local Batwa who originally lived in the forests were sent away from the forests and given land around them.

This park sits at an altitude between 2,227m and 4,127m above sea level and is the only one of the Uganda national parks found in the Virunga conservation area/Virunga Mountains.

Attractions at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

However, Mgahinga is among the most beautiful national parks that are part of the Virunga conservation area/Virunga Mountains, which spans three or two other Uganda national parks, which are Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This area boasts a massif of 8 mountains that are both dormant and active in the Virunga Conservation Area/Virunga Mountains.

Travelers get the chance to experience the beauty of meeting about 76 mammal species including the famous Mountain Gorillas, Golden Monkey species and over 180 species of birds, including 14 bird Albertine Rift Endemics like the Kivu Ground Thrush.

Other animals to see in Mgahinga include buffaloes, giant forest hogs, bushpigs, and elephants, among others.

Things to do/Safari Activities at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

With the various remarkable attractions in the park, travelers are guaranteed different safari experiences and activities like mountain gorilla trekking safaris, golden monkey trekking adventures, volcano hiking safaris, bird watching experiences, Batwa community visits, and nature walk tours, among others.

  1. Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a wonder, known to many as the Mountains of the Moon, and the most popular Uganda mountain trekking safaris & tours. The park, found in Bundibugyo District in western Uganda, spans an area of about 996 kilometers square and it is shared by Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park has the highest altitude in the country at Margherita Peak, which rises to 5109 meters above sea level.

In 1991, Rwenzori Mountain National Park was formed, in 1994, it was declared a UNESCO natural world heritage site; and in 2008, this park was made into a Ramsar site.

Safari Attractions at Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The main attraction at Mount Rwenzori National Park is the Rwenzori Mountains, thus making mountain hiking the most common safari activity in the park. Ms Beryl, at the age of 78, was the oldest person to reach the Margherita peak in 2010.

Mount Rwenzori National Park, however, has a plethora of other highlights to explore as it is rich in some of the most endangered and endemic animals, birds, and vegetation in the ecological zones.

This park boasts over 70 mammal species and over 217 species of birds. This is also among the Uganda national parks with Albertine endemic birds, i.e., 19, for example, the Rwenzori Double-Collared Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis and Red Faced Woodland Warbler, among others.

Safari Activities at Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The top activity at the Rwenzori Mountains NP is mountain hiking, but you can also enjoy birding, nature walks, or village tours to visit the Bakonzo people.

  1. Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park is a vast plain, holding Mount Elgon that is shared within the Kenya Uganda border. It is among the Uganda national parks known for Uganda mountain trekking safaris & tours.

The Mt. Elgon National Park, which is an isolated national park in eastern Uganda in Mbale District, has an area of 1,121 square kilometers.

Mount Elgon is believed to have been at one point the highest mountain in Africa but with the continuous soil erosion over the years, its altitude has reduced to about 4321m to reach Wagagi Peak. This makes it the fourth-highest peak in East Africa and the 8th in Africa.

It is also believed that it is among Uganda’s oldest physical features, having first erupted about 24 million years ago. Mt. Elgon also has the largest volcanic base or Mountain Caldera, in the world, spanning 4,000 square kilometers.

Mount Elgon National Park is a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, as it also has the Sabiny and the Bagisu living around the slopes of Mt. Elgon as a conservation effort to protect the wildlife and provide better living conditions to the people.

However, it is a rich destination with various fauna and flora to experience during your trip to the country.

Attractions/Things to See at Mount Elgon National Park

Other than Mount Elgon, which is the main attraction of Mount Elgon National Park, there are about 300 species of birds, including the rare and endangered Lammergeyer.

Like many of the Uganda National Parks, some of the common mammals in Mt. Elgon National Park include antelopes, black and white colobus monkeys, Blue Monkeys, and Elephants.

Safari Activities at Mount Elgon National Park

Expect to explore Mt. Elgon National Park through various activities such as mountain hiking, nature walks, birding, and cave visits, among others.

  1. Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park is also known as a birder’s haven and it is found in Bundibugyo District in western Uganda, near the Rwenzori Mountains. The park sits at an altitude of between 670m to 760m above sea level. This park area is also known for Uganda cultural tours.

In 1932, the place was made a reserve and in 1993, it was declared a national park.

Semuliki National Park is on the floor of the Semuliki Valley, west of the Rwenzori Mountains. It carries a rich biodiversity of tropical forests and the Ituru Forest in the Congo Basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo is known as one of the oldest dense forests in Africa that has survived since the last ice age, which occurred about 12,000 to 18,000 years ago.

Attractions at Semuliki National Park

Although Semuliki National Park has over 120 mammal species, it is more famous for its large number of unique bird species, which totals over 441 bird species. The park protects the endangered Albertine Rift endemics and some Congo Biome species.

This bird list includes Guinea Congo Forest biome species like the Congo Serpent Eagle, Spot Breasted Ibis, and Chestnut Flaned Goshwak, among others.

Likewise, Semuliki National Park protects 12 species of birds that have a limited distribution within the country. There are also about 300 butterflies, including 46 forest swallowtail species and 235 moth species.

Additionally, Semuliki National Park protects the beautiful hot springs that are part of the features that formed the Rift Valley about 14 million years ago. These are the Sempaya hot springs, which are also known as the Semuliki hot springs.

Enjoy the exploration into the lives of the Batwa local communities, who also once lived in the forests of the park but were later evicted from the forest. By meeting them, you will get to understand their way of life and how much they have adjusted to the outside world, for example, their hut building style, dances, and singing, among others.

Safari Activities at Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park will therefore give you the chance to explore various safaris and activities such as bird watching, nature walks, and visiting the Sempaya Hot Springs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Uganda National Parks

How many national parks are in Uganda?

There are 10 Uganda national parks to explore during your Uganda safaris. Below, we discuss these national parks in Uganda;

  1. Queen Elizabeth National Park
  2. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
  3. Murchison Falls National Park
  4. Kibale Forest National Park
  5. Kidepo Valley National Park
  6. Lake Mburo National Park
  7. Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  8. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
  9. Semuliki National Park
  10. Mount Elgon National Park

Which Park is Most Visited in Uganda? | What is the Most Visited National Park in Uganda?

Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most visited Uganda National Park by tourists on Uganda safaris. However, Uganda is also famed for being greatly visited in Bwindi Impenetrable NP, Murchison Falls NP and Kidepo National Park.

With the great biodiversity of these destinations, the Uganda national parks can be visited all year round in both the dry period and the wet season.

Which is the Largest National Park in Uganda? | What’s the Largest National Park in Uganda? | Which is the Biggest National Park in Uganda?

Murchison Falls National Park is the largest of all the Uganda national parks. This Uganda national park covers an area of 3,840 km2.

What is the best wildlife park in Uganda?

Uganda is blessed to have some of the best wildlife in Uganda national parks, thus providing visitors with exceptional experiences on their trips. International conservationists and various reviews from seasoned travelers have ranked the following national parks as the top wildlife Uganda national parks.

  1. Queen Elizabeth National Park
  2. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  3. Murchison Falls National Park
  4. Kidepo Valley National Park
  5. Kibale national Park

What is the smallest national park in Uganda?

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in southwestern Uganda is the smallest of the Uganda National Parks, with an area of 33.7 square kilometers. It is among the unique Uganda national parks protecting the critically endangered mountain gorillas and the only Uganda national park where you can see the golden monkeys.

Which game park in Uganda is famous for mountain gorillas?

Bwindi Impenetrable NP in Western Uganda is the most famous safari park for mountain gorillas in Uganda, protecting 24 habituated gorilla families for travelers to explore through gorilla treks.

Nonetheless, gorillas can also be seen in Mgahinga Gorilla NP, which protects 2 gorilla families in its forests.

What is the best season to visit the Uganda National Parks?

Although the Uganda national parks can be visited in both the dry season and the wet season, the dry season, which makes the treks easier and experiences more enjoyable, is the best time to visit the Uganda national park.

Although the wet season makes most tracks muddy thus hard to pass through, it is also great time to visit as there are less people in the parks and the costs of accommodation are less costly.

Conclusively, the Uganda national parks are the most remarkable destinations to visit while for your travels to Uganda. Spanning these Uganda national parks will expose you to unforgettable wildlife experiences as you explore both the common and the globally endangered animals in the country.

Visit Uganda today for this amazing experience in the Uganda national parks.

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