National Parks and Game Reserves in Uganda
Uganda National Parks and Game Sanctuaries
Murchison Falls National Park
The largest park in Uganda, renowned for its scenic beauty and the spectacular Falls from which it gets its name.No visit to Murchison Falls would be complete without a visit to the magnificent falls. They can be viewed from the top where the Nile River narrows from 50 meters to crash through a 7-meter gorge, falling 45 meters to the rocks below. Avid birdwatcher will want to seek out some of the 424 species identified in the park. Fishermen can test their skills above and below the Falls, waiting patiently for 20-70 kg. Nile perch. Other game fish found in the Nile include Barbel, Electric Catfish and Tiger fish.While on the game drives, Cape buffalo, Rothschild's giraffe, Uganda kob, hartebeest and waterbuck are commonly seen. You may also spot oribi, bushbuck, Bohor reedbuck, shy sitatunga, bush duiker, warthog and bushpig. Large carnivores include lion, leopard and spotted hyena.
Chimpanzees and olive baboons head the list of six species of primates found in the park. Crocodile and hippo will be seen along the banks of the Nile. Some of the more common birds that can be seen include goliath heron, Egyptian geese, pelican, bee-eaters, kingfishers, hornbill, cormorant, saddle-bill stork and the rare shoebill stork. A boat cruise to the delta is a highlight for the avid birdwatcher.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
It is the Ugandan part of the Virunga Conservation Area, where half of the world's mountain gorillas make their home, this park shares boundaries with Rwanda and Congo/Zaire. The park is comprised of parts of three extinct volcanic mountains, Mt. Muhavura (4127 m), Mt. Gahinga (3475 m) and Mt. Sabyinyo (3645 m). The vegetation of Mgahinga is typically afro-montane, with a forest belt, a bamboo zone, an ericacious belt and an alpine zone. The park supports a variety of animal species including gorilla, rare golden monkey, buffalo, elephant, leopard and several cat. There are also over 180 species of bird found in the region. Among these are the handsome fancolin, the Rwenzori touraco and the side-breasted tit.About 45 mountain gorillas use the Mgahinga sector of the Virunga Conservation Area seasonally.
Gorilla trekking is available here when the gorillas are in the park. They are usually resident in the months of April, May and June and October, November and December. Mgahinga also offers a number of other exciting half-day hikes and the challenge of a full-day climb to the summit of Mt. Muhavura or Mt. Gahinga, or the breathtaking Sabyinyo Gorge.
Bwindi Forest National Park
It is one of the largest natural forests in East Africa, supporting a large number of plants and animals not found elsewhere. About half the world's population of 600 mountain gorillas reside in Bwindi. The vegetation, as the park's name implies, is composed of tropical rainforest with dense undergrowth. This rugged terrain makes hiking in search of gorilla strenuous work. Visitors who trek should be prepared for up to 8 hours of hiking. Good physical condition is required. A maximum of only 6 permits per day are available for advance booking, so confirmation 4-12 months in advance is required to avoid disappointment. Along with the gorillas, there are nine other species of primates including chimpanzee, blue monkey, redtail monkey, L'hoest's monkey, black and white colobus, potto, Demidoff's and needle-clawed galago.
Three hundred forty-seven species of birds have been recorded in Bwindi; seven species are listed as endangered. Species of particular interest include the Kivu ground thrush, white-bellied robin chat, red-throated alethe, collared apallis, short-tailed warbler, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Rwenzori batis, blue-headed sunbird, strange weaver and the Shelley's crimsonwing. Over 200 species of butterflies have also been recorded here.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
As one of the outstanding treasures of Uganda, QENP has recently been designated a Biosphere Reserve for Humanity under UNESCO. It is the home of the famous tree-climbing lions, the Uganda kob and other antelope as well as elephant, buffalo, hippos, baboons and chimpanzee. Over 500 species of birds have been recorded here making it a prime target for birdwatchers. Species recorded include the shoebill stork, black bee-eater, 11 types of kingfishers and a variety of raptors including several falcons and eagles. In the crater lakes, spectacular flocks of flamingos gather, creating the image of a moving pink carpet.
The launch trip along the Kazinga Channel between Lakes George and Edward is a memorable way to view the abundant game in Queen Elizabeth. North of the main gate is the crater area, one of the most scenic parts of the park. To the East, in Kyambura Gorge, visitors can climb through tropical forest and catch a glimpse of a variety of primates, including chimpanzee. In the more isolated Ishasha sector of the park, search the woodlands for the tree-climbing lions perching on the boughs of ancient fig trees. To the southeast, travelers can explore newly opened trails in Maramagambo forest.
Kibale Forest National Park
It contiguous with the northern end of Queen Elizabeth National Park, but Kibale is much wetter with a unique moist forest habitat and an extremely high diversity of animals and plants.This mature tropical rainforest supports the highest number of primate species in Uganda, and one of the highest primate densities in the world. There are 12 species of primates located here: red colobus monkey, black-and-white colobus monkey, redtail monkey, L'hoest's monkey, blue monkey, mangabey, olive baboons and several communities of chimpanzee. About 400 species of birds have been reported in Kibale. A number of these species are found only in this park. In addition, over 150 species of butterflies and a large number of moths can be discovered here.
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