Uganda has ten National parks and each park has uniqueness in the range of tourist activities to offer. Most of these National parks are concentrated in the South Western part of the country. In this week’s article, we bring your attention to five of Uganda’s National parks and the other five will come in another issue.
Murchison Falls National Park
Also referred to as the “Jewel of the Nile”, this park was gazetted in 1952 and it is the oldest national park in Uganda. The park is located along river Nile and it lies at the Northern end of the Albertine rift valley. Murchison falls National Park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, hence creating the mighty ‘Murchison falls’ after which the park was named.
Tourist activities: Game drives for game viewing, Chimp tracking, Chimp habituation experience, boat trips to the bottom of the falls, hiking to the top of the falls, bird watching, sport fishing, nature walks and cultural encounters.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This park is located on the edge of the Western rift valley, in South Western Uganda. It is jungle that contains both montane and lowland forests that can be accessed only on foot. This impenetrable forest is home to roughly half of the population of the world’s mountain gorillas, including several habituated species which can be tracked.
Tourist activities: Gorilla tracking is the major tourist activity. 8 people can track per group and visitors spend a maximum of one hour in company of these ‘close to humans’ in order to avoid behavioral disturbance and risk of disease transmission. Other activities include bird watching and guided forest walks.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Also located in South Western Uganda, the park is Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. Queen Elizabeth National park has diverse ecosystems, which makes it an ideal habitat for classic big game, including chimpanzees. Set against the back drop of the Rwenzori mountains, the park is graced with enormous craters, forests, savana, lakes and wetlands.
Tourist activities: Game drives for game viewing, Boat rides along the Kazinga channel, bird watching, guided nature walks, forest walks in Maramagambo forest, Chimp tracking in Kyambura gorge, visit to the ‘Bat caves’ and wildlife research tours.
Lake Mburo National Park
Located conveniently close to the highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda, lake Mburo National park is the smallest of Uganda’s savana national parks. It has a diverse habitat of open savana, dry savana, lakes, thickets, forests, rocky outcrops and dry hillsides, which are a home to a diversity of flora and fauna.
Tourist activities: Game viewing, sport fishing, nature walks, boat rides on Lake Mburo, hunting safaris and horse back safaris.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Gazetted as a National park in 1962, Kidepo Valley National park lies in the rugged semi-arid valleys between Uganda’s boarders with Sudan and Kenya. It is the most isolated National park in Uganda and it is a long journey from Kampala if you chose to travel there by road but it is ranked among Africa’s finest wilderness.
Tourist activities: Scenic drives to the Kanangorok hot springs and the Kidepo sand river, hiking walks to the Lomej mountains, cultural tours to the Lorokul cultural group, game drives and bird watching, which is done on the fringes of the Naurus and Namamukweny valleys.
Written by: Justine Ssembajjwe from Kampala – Uganda