National Parks in Uganda

Sanctuarys, Forests and National Parks: Gorilla Trekking Uganda and more

We saw a lot during our 8 day trip with HomeToAfrica [ad] through the country, known as the Pearl of Africa. We want to introduce you to the most beautiful national parks and areas in Uganda so that you know which animals you can see where. So much already: The country has cast a spell over us.

On our Uganda Safari we visited the fenced Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the beautiful Murchison Falls National Park, the Kibale Forest National Park, the Queen Elizabeth National Park and the mystical Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

The Rhino Sanctuary was the first stop on our Uganda Safari and is about two hours north of Kampala. The park is fenced and guarded. Unfortunately, this is imperative because the rhinoceros is on the brink of extinction. You don't notice the fence when you move around the protected area and watch the impressive animals. Due to the size of the park, it feels like in the wild.

Twenty-five Southern White Rhinos live in the park. Over the next few years, the first animals will be released into the wild to reintroduce the rhinoceros to Uganda. Hopefully you can already see the first free and wild rhinos in Uganda on your Uganda Safari.

rhino sanctuary, Uganda

We were allowed to watch seven rhinos on a bushwalk and came really close to them. Always accompanied by a ranger, you get incredibly interesting information and with your visit you also support the conservation of this endangered species.

Short fact about rhinos: They can't see well, but they can smell and hear damn well.

rhino sanctuary, Uganda
rhino sanctuary, Uganda

MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK

The Murchison Falls National Park is divided into the southern and northern parts by the Victoria Nile. The southern part is characterized by lush green jungle, the northern part is savannah and is home to the animals for which you go on safari in Uganda.

Murchison falls national park, uganda

A boat tour to the mighty Murchison Waterfalls is possible from both sides. On this tour we were able to observe elephants, hippos and crocodiles from the water and came very close to them.

The goal of the boat tour is the waterfall, which does not show all of its beauty from below. For this you should look at it from above.

The boat trip takes about 2 to 3 hours and is really cool.

Murchison falls, Uganda
Murchison falls national park, Uganda
Murchison falls, uganda

The captain lets the passengers out at a small jetty if necessary, so that you can hike to "Top of the Falls".

Prerequisite: Your guide knows and will pick you up again. The walk costs $ 15 and is idyllic along the waterfall.

Murchison falls, Uganda
Murchison falls, uganda

The car ferry that connects the southern and northern parts of the park crosses the Nile every hour in the high season and every two hours in the low season. The crossing takes about 5 minutes.
In the northern part there are the big cats, an incredible number of giraffes and elephants. We have never seen so many giraffes anywhere else. The landscape is incredibly beautiful. A beautiful vegetation with tall grass, palm trees and large trees. Everything is lush green, because the Murchison Falls National Park has many small water sources.

In our opinion, the Murchison National Park is the most beautiful of all Uganda National Parks in terms of landscape and wildlife.

Murchison falls national park, Uganda

There are several accommodations in this national park in northern Uganda. The lodges are not fenced, so you can visit wild animals at night. But of course you are safe in the buildings. This also enabled us to observe giraffes in the immediate vicinity at sunset from the pool. Incredibly beautiful.

Murchison falls national park, Uganda

KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK - UGANDA NATIONAL PARKS

If you want to see chimpanzees, take care of the permits long before your Uganda Safari. With about $ 150 per person you are there. In comparison to the Gorilla Permits a real bargain and also an absolute highlight of the Uganda Safari. If you book a safari package, the tour provider will of course take care of the permits.

Early in the morning we got together with other groups at the park entrance. After a brief informative briefing on the rules of behavior, the territory and the way of life of the primates, we marched into the jungle in small groups. The terrain is mostly flat and not particularly difficult to walk on. If necessary, you can book a carrier that supports you.

Kibale, uganda

There are four chimpanzee communities in Kibale Forest, three of which may only be visited by humans for research purposes, the fourth of which is accessible to tourists. So it tries to put a little strain on the natural balance through tourism.

chimp trekking, uganda

We recommend the following equipment for the walk in the jungle to the chimpanzees:

- Long clothes
- Long socks (put the pants in the socks)
- Mosquito spray
- Drinking water
- Rain jacket (as it can rain in the rainforest from time to time)
- Photo equipment
- Walking boots
- Tip (for the guide)

chimpanzee trekking, Uganda
chimp trekking, Uganda

After about 20 minutes of walking through the humid jungle, we heard the first chimpanzees. Your screeching really echoes through the whole jungle. Soon we saw the first primates in the tree tops. After a few minutes, he actually came down from his tree to the ground. He marched through the jungle at a decent pace. We, of course, at a reasonable distance behind. Suddenly we were in the middle of the chimpanzee family and were viewed with suspicion from all sides. What a cool experience.

It is essential to always keep a certain distance of respect and to follow the rules of conduct. But be careful, sometimes a safe distance doesn't help against crazy chimpanzees who want to show how strong they are. The monkeys throw sticks and tear out trees. They are running a huge circus to show us that we are only guests here. In our group, a chimpanzee hit someone with a wooden stick. These guys are really crazy.

The Kibale Forest National Park is really the most extraordinary of the Uganda National Parks we visit, because the chimpanzees really captivate you.

QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK - UGANDA NATIONAL PARKS

This national park in Uganda is known for its tree-climbing lions. Unfortunately we were not as lucky here as in the other parks and hardly saw any wildlife, so it was the most unspectacular park for us.

Of course, a safari in Uganda always has to do with being in the right place at the right time, and unfortunately we were not so lucky in QE. But our accommodation was the most spectacular on the whole Uganda safari.

* Update: In Queen Elizabeth National Park there was a kidnapping of a safari tourist and her guide by rebels from neighboring Congo in early 2019. Both were released intact after payment of a ransom. So you could at least take it from the media.

queen Elizabeth national park, uganda
queen Elizabeth national park, uganda
queen Elizabeth national park, uganda

In addition to traditional game drives, there is also the possibility to explore the park on a boat trip on the Kazinga channel. The channel connects Lake Edward (the larger part of this lake belongs to the Congo, the smaller to Uganda) and Lake George (Uganda). From the boat, we spotted numerous animals such as elephants, hippos, buffaloes and if you are lucky even lions.

Tip: The boat trip should be most amazing during dry season.

kazinga channel, uganda
kazinga channel, Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest - Gorilla Trekking Uganda

The mystical Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the last places on earth where the legendary mountain gorillas live and thus also the highlights of our Uganda National Parks.

gorilla trekking, uganda

A permit is required for gorilla trekking, which must be applied for long before the Uganda Safari. The permit is not cheap at $ 600.

The Bwindi National Park is divided into the four areas Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. You have to specify the area when you book the permit.
A maximum of 72 people can participate in gorilla trekking per day. More than eight people per group are also not allowed. The park administration wants to prevent the gorillas in Uganda's southernmost national park from being adversely affected.

Early in the morning, when the visitors are still asleep, trackers start tracking the gorilla families. When the visitors arrive, the trackers guide the visitors to the gorillas via radio. Depending on the location of the primates, the hike may take between 5 minutes and several hours. After an informative briefing, the adventure starts. In small groups we hiked through heavy terrain in the rain forest. The guides and armed ranger provide interesting information about the gorilla family and its social structure.

gorilla trekking, uganda

Even before the hike, you can book a porter, who carries backpacks or assists hiking.

You should dress and equip as follows:
- Long clothes
- Long socks (put the pants in the socks)
- Mosquito spray
- Drinking water
- Rain jacket (as rain occurs in rainforest)
- Walking boots
- Packed lunch (since you never know how long the trekking lasts)
- Tips (for guide, ranger and tracker)

gorilla trekking, uganda
gorilla trekking, uganda

We found our gorilla family after about an hour of hiking. The gorillas were sitting on a slope in the bushes. It was really a wonderful experience. The gorillas really come very close and it really enchanted us to be able to look over your shoulder in their social life. All in all, we were on the road for about four hours including a hike and a snack in the jungle and arrived back at the starting point totally dirty but overjoyed. Gorilla trekking in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was the spectacular highlight of our Uganda Safari.

In the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, warm clothing should always be in your luggage. It can get really cold at night. The camps are well prepared and offer log fires, hot water bottles (bush babies), tea and so on, but do not underestimate the temperatures up there on the high plateau. The thermometer sometimes drops below five degrees at night.

gorilla trekking, Uganda
gorilla trekking, Uganda

Other posts you may be interested in:

Index

Safari packing list

Here you will find our packing list for your safari to Uganda.

Tour operator in Uganda

We introduce you to the safari provider in Uganda with whom we did the 8-day safari.

Uganda Travel Tips

In this blog post you will find information about Uganda in general.