A Guide to National Parks
Uganda is a country blessed with an abundance of wildlife, from the magnificent mountain gorillas to the majestic lions and elephants. With a total of 10 national parks, Uganda offers some of the most diverse wildlife experiences in Africa. In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the best national parks to visit for wildlife viewing in Uganda.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is undoubtedly Uganda’s most famous national park, known for its population of mountain gorillas. The park is located in southwestern Uganda and covers an area of 331 square kilometers. Bwindi is home to over 400 mountain gorillas, which is almost half of the world’s total population of these endangered animals. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is located in the rugged Karamoja region in northeastern Uganda. The park is one of Uganda’s most isolated and remote national parks, but it’s well worth the journey to get there. Kidepo Valley is home to over 77 mammal species, including lions, cheetahs, leopards, and elephants. The park is also home to over 475 bird species, making it one of the best places for bird watching in Uganda.
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest national park, covering an area of 3,893 square kilometers. The park is located in northwestern Uganda and is home to the spectacular Murchison Falls, where the Nile River is forced through a narrow gap in the rocks before plunging 43 meters into the gorge below. The park is home to over 76 mammal species, including giraffes, elephants, lions, and chimpanzees. Visitors to Murchison Falls can also enjoy boat safaris, game drives, and guided walks.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in southwestern Uganda and is one of the country’s most popular national parks. The park is known for its diverse wildlife, including lions, leopards, elephants, and chimpanzees. Visitors to Queen Elizabeth can enjoy game drives, boat safaris, and guided walks. The park is also home to the famous Kazinga Channel, where visitors can witness one of Africa’s largest concentrations of hippos and crocodiles.
Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park is located in western Uganda, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is known for its hot springs, which are believed to have medicinal properties. Semuliki is also home to over 400 bird species, making it a popular destination for bird watchers. The park is home to several mammal species, including elephants, chimpanzees, and forest buffaloes.
Other National Parks to Consider
Other national parks in Uganda worth visiting include Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, home to Uganda’s other population of mountain gorillas; Rwenzori Mountains National Park, home to the Rwenzori Mountains, Africa’s tallest mountain range; and Lake Mburo National Park, known for its zebras and antelopes.
Planning Your Visit
Uganda’s national parks are open year-round, but the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from December to February and June to September. During the wet season, many of the national parks become inaccessible due to flooding, and the wildlife tends to be harder to spot due to the dense vegetation.
To enter Uganda’s national parks, visitors must obtain a park permit, which can be purchased at the park’s entrance gate or through a tour operator. The cost of park permits varies by park and activity
How much does it cost to visit the national parks in Uganda
The cost of visiting national parks in Uganda varies depending on the park and the activity you want to do. Here are some approximate costs:
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: A gorilla trekking permit costs $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX 250,000 for East African residents.
- Kidepo Valley National Park: Entrance fees cost $40 for foreign non-residents, $30 for foreign residents, and UGX 20,000 for East African residents. Game drives, guided walks, and other activities may have additional fees.
- Murchison Falls National Park: Entrance fees cost $40 for foreign non-residents, $30 for foreign residents, and UGX 20,000 for East African residents. Boat safaris, game drives, and guided walks may have additional fees.
- Queen Elizabeth National Park: Entrance fees cost $40 for foreign non-residents, $30 for foreign residents, and UGX 20,000 for East African residents. Boat safaris, game drives, and guided walks may have additional fees.
- Semuliki National Park: Entrance fees cost $35 for foreign non-residents, $25 for foreign residents, and UGX 15,000 for East African residents. Hot spring visits, bird watching, and other activities may have additional fees.
It’s important to note that prices are subject to change and that park fees do not include the cost of accommodation or transportation. It’s recommended to book park permits and activities through a reputable tour operator to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.