Uganda is a country that is full of life giving treasures, joy and fun! On every vacation holiday you choose to take be it sole, private or family tours, there are lots of interesting thing to do! The natural national parks add value to your true African safari given the existing biodiversities! From rare and unique wildlife to interesting birds, there is a lot to see & do. The 5 remote National parks not to miss on a Uganda safari circuit are;
BWINDI FOREST NATIONAL PARK
The famous and known Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in south western Uganda! It sits on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rain forests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 400 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population. These rare and unique apes have made Uganda a fvorite destination for travelers interesting in primate safaris. Today there are several habituated groups, which can be tracked by tourists interested in gorilla tours, wildlife safari experiences that involve you hiking through the forest and meeting the mountain gorillas eye to eye in the wild.
The park provides habitat for some 120 species of mammals ten of which are primates and more than 45 small mammal species, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species. In terms of fauna, the Bwindi area is amongst the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern sector which has a lower altitude is rich in species of the Guineo-Congolian flora. These include two species internationally recognised as endangered that is; Brown mahogany and Brazzeia longipedicellata.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest became a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its ecological importance. The park has a large variation of altitude and habitat types, there by supporting a variety of species of trees, reptiles, butterflies, birds, moths, and small mammals.
QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalos and Elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.
Queen Elizabeth National Park has been designated a Biosphere Reserve for Humanity under UNESCO auspices. The park, includes a remarkable variety of ecosystems, from semi-deciduous tropical forest to green meadows, savannah and swamps. It is the home of the famous tree climbing lion as well as the Uganda Kob, other antelope species, elephant, baboons, hippos, buffalo and chimpanzees. Over 600 species of birds have been recorded, making the park a magnet for bird watchers. The bird species include the black bee-eater, 11 types of king fisher, Shoebill storks and several species of falcons, eagles and other raptors. In the crater lakes to the north, flocks of flamingos can be found. The best way to view the game is by launch trip on the Kazinga Channel between Lakes George and Edward.
The major tourist activities in the park include game viewing typically around the Kasenyi area and game drives in the Ishasha sector in search of the tree climbing lions, chimpanzee tracking in the Kyambura Gorge and the nearby Kalinzu forest reserve, Launch cruise along the Kazinga channel rewards you with sights of a diversity of bird species as well as wildlife, there are also forest walks in the Maramagambo forest which has a bat cave.
KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
With the Rocky landscape, and green hilly vegetation that fills the park dramatic untamed, wildlife reserve surrounded by impressive sky views make Kidepo one Uganda’s best wildlife park to explore for those interested in seeing the big five and other park habitats. The karamajong culture is an added advantage to whoever visits the park and it’s something you shouldn’t miss on your visit to Uganda. The water spring attracts various wildlife when it gets hot giving tourist a chance to spot even those they had missed out during the morning and evening game drives. Of the many national parks scattered in different parts of Uganda, Kidepo Valley is simply the best when it comes to amazing Uganda wildlife experience. The more you see wildlife and other park habitats is the more you will come to appreciate these parks’ magic and the more you will want to discover and even extent your stay if not a tight travel program.
when on a game drive you have the feeling that you are all alone here and alone you are in the most remote park in Uganda the whole of East Africa. Kidepo Valley Park is a rugged, beautiful park that is like the Africa that you imagined it to be, but only better. A park not be missed. It is on many people’s bucket list and yet it receives less than 10 visitors per day! CNN named it the Number 3 Wildlife Park in all of Africa
RWENZORI MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
The Rwenzori also named as the fabled Mountains of the Moon lie in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border. The equatorial snow peaks include the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. Huge tree-heathers and colourful mosses are draped across the mountainside with giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects the highest parts of the 120km-long and 65km-wide Rwenzori mountain range. The national park hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation.
The Rwenzoris are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination. A nine- to twelve-day trek will get skilled climbers to the summit of Margherita – the highest peak – though shorter, non-technical treks are possible to scale the surrounding peaks. For those who prefer something a little less strenuous, neighbouring Bakonzo villages offer nature walks, homestead visits home cultural performances and accommodation, including home-cooked local cuisine.
Rwenzori is exceptionally rich in endemics: it harbours at least 1 hawk moth, 6 butterflies, 19 bird species and 12 small mammals that occur only here and/or in a few other highlands on either side of the Albertine Rift (including the Rwenzori hyrax Dendrohyrax arboreus ruwenzorii and Rwenzori Leopard Panthera pradus ruwenzori). Twelve species are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals including the ‘vulnerable’ Moon striped Mouse (Hybomys lunaris), the ‘vulnerable’ Rwenzori Horse-shoe Bat (Rhinolophus ruwenzori), the ‘near threatened’ Rwenzori Otter Shrew (Micropotomogale ruwenzori) and the ‘least concern’ Rwenzori Turaco.
The park is home to 70 species of mammal, including six Albertine Rift endemics; 12 are endemic to the park and three are rare species. Other mammals include the Elephants, chimpanzee, Rwenzori otter and leopard. Though wildlife is difficult to spot in the dense forest, do look out for primates such as colobus (Angola and black-and-white varieties are both present) and blue monkeys; small antelope such as bushbucks; and unusual reptiles such as the three-horned chameleon.
MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is an afro-montane forest, covering the smallest area as a vegetation type on the continent. The vegetation in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park consists of woodland, and only a small area of pure montane forest still remains at the base of Mt Muhabura following encroachment in the 1950s. Above the montane forest belt is the bamboo zone that stretches from the western boundary on Sabyinyo to the lower slopes of Muhabura. The Hagenia-Hypericum zone appears above the bamboo zone on Mt. Sabyinyo and below it on Gahinga. The Afro-Alpine Belt, characterised by giant Senecio and Lobelia species, occurs above the Ericacious Belt and reaches its maximum development on Mt. Muhabura.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which has one habituated trans-boundary gorilla group was declared a game sanctuary by the British administration in 1930; it was gazetted as a National Park in 1991.
As well as being important for wildlife, the park also has a huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivalled.
Mgahinga’s most striking features are its three conical, extinct volcanoes, part of the spectacular Virunga Range that lies along the border region of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. Mgahinga forms part of the much larger Virunga Conservation Area which includes adjacent parks in these countries. The volcanoes’ slopes contain various ecosystems and are biologically diverse, and their peaks provide a striking backdrop to this gorgeous scenery.
In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, there have been 39 mammal species recorded, although it is believed that up to 89 do occur in the park. The larger mammals include the mountain gorilla .elephants and Buffalos. There is also the rare golden monkey known only to occur in the Virungas and two other forests in Central Africa, also recorded is the blue monkey. Other mammals include; the spotted hyena, the golden cat, leopard, serval cat, side-striped jackal, giant forest hog, black-fronted duiker, and bushbuck.
The park has 79 bird species, including several endemic to the East Congo Montane region. A total of 185 bird species have been recorded in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and most are likely to occur in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.