National Parks are part of Uganda’s protected areas. 10 National Parks make Uganda a treasured wildlife safari destination. These are managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), and they are the top destinations tourists visit for Uganda safaris. Amazingly, each of Uganda’s National Parks has its distinct attractions and a variety of activities or experiences for nature lovers to explore and experience. Here is a complete list of the 10 National Parks in Uganda;
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi is most popular for its ultimate gorilla experience. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site lying in extreme Southwestern Uganda and it is where half of the 1063 endangered mountain gorillas live.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park officially became a park in 1991 and in 1994, it was recognized as a UNESCO Site. It is a rich ecosystem, home to 120 mammal species, 360 bird species, 27 frog species, 100 ferns, 163 tree species, and over 202 butterfly species. Bwindi protects a variety of endemic birdlife including Chapin’s flycatchers, African green broadbill, Shelley’s crimson wing, Dwarf honey guide, Grauer’s rush warblers, and Kivu ground thrush.
Kibale National Park
Kibale Forest National Park (the primate capital of the world) is a spectacular primate destination in Uganda, home to more than 13 species of primates. Kibale is a chimpanzee paradise and different monkey species. Over 1500 chimpanzees occur in Kibale Forest alone, together with a long list of other primates including the red colobus monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, the red-tailed monkeys, bush babies, black & white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, pottos, and others.
Besides primates, Kibale Forest also supports forest elephants, buffaloes, warthogs, bush pigs, duikers, golden cats, 250 butterfly species, reptiles, frogs, 375 bird species and these include the green breasted pitta, African grey parrots, and more.
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is where the world’s powerful waterfall is found- the Murchison Falls. Lying in Northwestern Uganda, Murchison Falls Park is the biggest park and conservation area occupying 3840sq.kms. Founded in 1952, Murchison Falls N.P supports a variety of wildlife including mammals, 451 bird species, butterflies, reptiles, plant life, and more.
Murchison Falls Park is divided into 2 sections by the Victoria Nile forming the Northern and Southern sectors. It supports wildlife such as the Rothschild giraffes, hartebeest, leopards, lions, oribis, Uganda kobs, waterbucks, bush-bucks, the Nile crocodiles, hippos, and others.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park- a true African wilderness lies in extreme Northeastern Uganda. This is a magical savanna destination established in 1962 and offers refuge to a variety of wildlife. Covering a land area of 1442sq.km, Kidepo hosts over 77 species of mammals and 475 bird species. These include African wild dogs, caracals, striped hyenas, elands, roan antelopes, the lesser and greater Kudus, zebras, Aardwolf, Beisa oryx, gazelles, the dik-dik, etc.
Lake Mburo National Park
Located in Western Uganda, Lake Mburo N/Park is Uganda’s most reachable park from the city center. From the heart of Kampala capital to Lake Mburo National Park takes tourists not more than 4 hours. This protected area boasts of its diverse habitats that comprise;-Lakes, dry savannas, forests, woodland, rocky outcrops, thickets, dry hills, and swamps.
Lake Mburo National Park’s diversity comprises of 68 mammals, 350 bird species and reptile species. The park’s animal species to look out for on Uganda safaris include crocodiles, hippos, zebras, duikers, cape elands, waterbucks, bushbucks, buffaloes, impalas, tree hyraxes, dwarf mongoose, lions, leopards, reedbucks, monkeys and others.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga -where gold meets silver, a splendid protected area rising high in the clouds and featuring a lust tropical forest where both the endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys live. Established in 1991, Mgahinga lies at an altitudinal range of 2227m to 4127m. Besides the two prominent primates, this park hosts 3 of the 8 Virunga volcanoes and they are all open for hiking/volcano climbing. These include Muhabura volcano at 4127 m, Sabyinyo 3645m and Gahinga volcano 3474m.
Mount Elgon National Park
Elgon National Park lies in far Eastern Uganda, 5-6 hours’ drive from Kampala and it is where the world’s largest mountain caldera is found. This park derives its name from Mount Elgon and spreads to cover 1110sq.km of land area. It has beautiful waterfalls, cliffs, gorges, hot springs, calderas, faunal and floral species.
40 mammal species and 312 bird species occur within Mount Elgon National Park. The animals of interest on Uganda tour to Elgon Park include bush pigs, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, birds such as black-collared apalis, Jackson’s francolins, green-tinker bird, black-collared apalis, lammergeier and others.
Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park is set in Western Uganda, and it is the one of the least visited parks. Boasting of its varied wildlife and birdlife, Semuliki is a special destination for bird-watching. Known as a true birder’s haven and for its powerful hot spring- the Sempaya hot spring, Semuliki supports over 441 bird species, and 53 mammal species including forest buffaloes, monkeys, hippos, bushbabies, elephants, flying squirrels, duikers and more.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth Park -a medley of wonders, takes its name from the late Queen Elizabeth two of England. This is Uganda’s most popular wildlife tour destination, home to 4 of the big 5 game including leopards, buffaloes, elephants and lions plus the tree-climbing lions. More than 620 bird species, 98 mammal species including a variety of antelopes, hippos, and primates like chimpanzees occur in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The Rwenzori Mountains Park lies in Western Uganda and it is officially recognized among the world’s UNESCO sites in 1994. Priding itself of breathtaking scenery, this park is home to the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountain ranges/Mountains of the Moon and it was gazetted as a park in 1991. The Rwenzori Mountains N/Park supports a total of 217 bird species including the Rwenzori turacos, 77 mammals, butterfly species, and 6 peaks/mountain ranges -Speke, Baker, Stanley (5109m) also where Margherita peak is, Mount Gessi, and more.