Uganda lies in East Africa within both the African Great Lakes region and the Nile basin. Aptly named the ‘Pearl of Africa’ by Winston Churchill, it is home to some of the most diverse and concentrated African wildlife, including the highly-endangered mountain gorilla, as well as the chimpanzee. Uganda has ten national parks to choose from, offering safaris of all kinds to its visitors. Besides gorillas and chimpanzees, visitors could see elephants, eland, hippos, lions, leopards and more.
One of the most popular tourist spots, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is an Afromontane rain forest situated at the edge of the Rift Valley. This ‘impenetrable forest’ comprises of steep, mist-covered hills and valleys shrouded by one of Uganda's oldest rainforests. What makes this park so special, however, is the fact that it is home to roughly half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. Here safari enthusiasts get the opportunity to observe this majestic great ape in its natural habitat. Adventurers can also go on nature walks, hikes and bird-watching safaris in this park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park, another popular tourist destination, boasts a diverse range of ecosystems from savanna grasslands and humid forests to sprawling lakes and wetlands. The area also contains numerous explosion craters and is set against the backdrop of the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains. The park hosts four of the big five (the rhino is sadly not present), as well as antelope, chimps and other primates. Top activities in this area include boat trips on the Kazinga channel, balloon safaris, chimp tracking safaris, birding and cave tours.
On the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley lies the Murchison Falls National Park. Murchison Falls is the name given to the point where the river Nile (the world’s longest river) is channelled through a narrow gorge within the Rift Valley, descending nearly 50 meters below. The Murchison is the only Ugandan national park which contains all five of the Big Five. At present rhinos are being re-introduced as they were sadly extinguished from the area by poachers. This park offers birding, fishing, cultural tours and game safaris, as well as hot air balloon rides where you can see the majestic falls from high above.
Kibale National Park contains some of the most beautiful and varied tropical forests in Uganda. Here the northern and central parts are dotted with patches of swamp and grassland and are situated on an elevated plateau. This park is famous for having 13 species of chimpanzee alone, as well as 70 species of mammals and over 375 bird species. Kibale’s most popular activity is chimpanzee tracking and other activities include bird watching safaris, cultural tours and nature walks and hikes.