Uganda Tourism Resources
The Uganda Tourism focus in recent years has been the rare mountain gorilla. The success of these tourism initiatives have caused the Demand for Gorilla viewing permits to significantly exceed supply.
The Uganda Tourist Board with assistance from the European Union have identified the following new Uganda tourist products:
- Avi-tourism (bird watching)
- Sport fishing
- Primate tracking (Gorillas, Chimps and others)
- Game Viewing
- Walking and trekking
- White water rafting
Uganda National Parks
Uganda’s wildlife is concentrated in its protected areas, categorized as
- National Parks
- Wildlife Reserves, and
- Forest Reserves.
These areas are Conserved and managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) under the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry and the Uganda Forestry Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Uganda has 10 established National Parks where you can enjoy the African wilderness.
The largest National Park in Uganda covering approximately 3,877 sq km and one of the most spectacular in Africa.
At the Murchison Falls, the Nile River plunges through a narrow crevice and over a 40-metre drop.
East of the Murchison Falls within the park, are the Karuma Falls, where the Nile River cascades over a breathtaking 23 km of rapids. The scene creates one of the most exciting white-water rafting opportunities in Africa. Your cruise upstream the Nile to the Falls is would definitely be an unforgettable experience. On the banks of the Nile River you will find prolific wildlife including elephant, crocodile, hippopotamus, lion, giraffe, buffalo, and countless antelopes and birds can be observed.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park has been designated a Biosphere Reserve for Humanity under the auspices UNESCO. Located in the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley, Queen Elizabeth covers approximately 2,056 sq. km. You will find a remarkable variety of ecosystems within the park; from semi-deciduous tropical forest to green meadows, Savannah and swamps. Queen Elizabeth National Park is the home of a species including: the famous tree-climbing lion and the Uganda Kob, antelope species, elephants, baboons, hippos, buffalos, chimpanzees and over 500 species of birds.
The park would definitely make you a wonderful Uganda birding Safari.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi is Impenetrable because of its dense ground cover of vines and shrubs. The Park is home to the world famous Mountain Gorillas, of which they are less than 600 still left in the entire world. You will need to reserve a Gorilla Permit at least 3 months in advance as a requirement for tracking these Uganda Gorillas. Bwindi is one of the richest areas for flora in Eastern Africa. The forest is also sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and many bird types including some endangered species.
Mgahinga National Park is yet another haven for the persecuted Mountain Climbing Gorilla. Located on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains, in the extreme southwest corner of Uganda, the park has been set aside to provide a secure habitat for these Uganda gorillas. Besides the gorillas, however, you can view other wildlife within the park including the leopard, the giant forest hog, bushbuck, buffalo, and the golden monkey. You will also find the summit of Mount Muhavura with Mgahinga National Park, about 4,127 m high, with a small crater lake.
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale rainforest is situated to the north-east of Queen Elizabeth National Park. In addition to forest, you will also find areas of grassland and swamp. The park is popular for its impressively varied primate population. You will find 13 different primate species inhabiting the park including many families of chimpanzees Columbus monkeys, Bushbuck Waterbuck Duiker and Giant. The forest hog may also be seen. You will find the forests and grasslands supporting almost 300 species of bird life and over 140 types of butterfly.
Kidepo National Park
Kidepo National park is located in North Eastern Uganda and covers a good 1,436 sq. km. The park is inhabited by various wildlife including elephants, buffalo lion, leopard cheetah giraffe various antelope species baboon, bushbaby and over 200 species of bird. Two game viewing routes connect the rest camp with the prime wildlife areas near the Winwing River and the rock escarpment to the southwest.
On the park’s northern borders are the Kananorok Hot Springs.
Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano located on Uganda’s eastern border. The Mountain boasts of numerous interesting features including gorges ancient caves waterfalls and hot springs.Bird life is abundant on the mountain although various wildlife may also be encountered.
Semuliki National Park
Semuliki is the only park in Uganda composed primarily of tropical lowland forest. The forest is very dense and quite flat, creating a startling contrast to the rugged Rwenzori Mountains nearby. The Semliki River attracts many animals and the park is home to 8 species of primates, 400 birds 300 butterfly species, Elephant, buffalo, leopard, civet, bushbaby and flying squirrels.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is situated between the towns of Masaka and Mbarara. When compared with other parks Lake Mburo is a comparatively small on measuring only 371 sq. km is The park is primarily grassland, wetland and acacia woodland. At the center lies the Lake Mburo, which together with 14 other lakes, forms part of an extensive wetland area. The animals you will find in the park include the Impala Eland, Rock hyrax, Zebra, Waterbuck, Buffalo warthog, leopard, Civet, Hyena, Hippo, and Crocodile. The park has over 357 species of birds including the marabou stock and the crowned crane.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Located on the Western Ugandan border,the mist-shrouded peaks of the Mountains of the Moon give you a stunning backdrop to the magnificent Rwenzori park. In the center of the range, some of the peaks are permanently covered in snow and glaciers, while the lower slopes are covered with dense forests.
The Rwenzori Mountain ranges host the third highest mountain peak in Africa, Mt. Magherita. Magherita rises to approximately 5,100 metres above sea level. You have the opportunity of making a Walking tour in the foothills of the Rwenzoris however, only the experienced and fit should attempt an ascent on the peaks.
The difficulty in climbing these mountains is second to none and only comparable to the Alps. Some of the wildlife to be found in the mountains includes the chimpanzees, the blue monkey, hyrax, the giant forest hog and many unique bird species such as the Rwenzori touraco, the francolin and the olive pigeon.
Uganda People and Culture
Ugandan society is still predominantly rural with 80% of the population living in rural areas. Traditional customs and lifestyles are still alive in many parts of the country, and these can spice up your tourism experience. Ugandans generally have a reputation for openness, and a friendly attitude to visitors.
The customs of various the Ugandan tribes are kept alive by many colourful ceremonies marking specific historical events. Spontaneous dancing and music are typical of life in Uganda and visitors are often welcome to observe these ceremonies. As a courtesy, you should always seek permission before taking photographs. In addition to the rich cultural experiences, you can choose souvenirs from countless local traditional art pieces and handcrafts. These are sold in most villages, along the roadsides, and also at specific tourist curio shops within Kampala.
You also have the opportunity to visit a number of cultural sites. Including Kasubi Royal Tombs, the Official Burial site for Buganda Kings, and a host of other historical sites in many different parts of the country.
Uganda Lakes and Rivers
Uganda has been called a land of lakes because almost one third of the country is covered by water.
- Lake Victoria is the largest fresh water in Africa, dominates the southern border of the country.
- Lakes Edward and Albert lie to the west.
- Linked to Lake Edward is the Kazinga Channel
- Lake Mburo, 230 km to the west of Kampala, is the only lake entirely within a National Park.
- Lakes Kyoga and Kwania in Center are fed by the waters of the River Nile.
Other lakes include
- Lake Bunyonyi near Kabale and
- Lake Bisina in the shadow of Mt. Elgon
Uganda’s fresh water lakes offer opportunities for water activities and sports including:
- White water rafting, pioneered by Adrift, the country now attracts 500 rafters every month.
- Lake cruises, on Lake Victoria
- sport fishing and
The Ssese Islands
Consisting of 84 islands in the north-western section of Lake Victoria, the Ssese Islands have, for a long time, only been visited by local people and campers because of lack of tourist facilities. As of today, three campsites have been opened and you book them through your local tour operator. Nonetheless, many of the Ssese Islands are un-inhabited; you can only find a few fishermen there. Forests and swamps on the Ssese Islands are therefore ideal for birding Safaris. The wildlife you will find on the Ssese islands includes hippos, crocodile, waterbuck, sitatunga, antelope, chimpanzees and monkeys. The islands can be reached by a nine-hour steamer trip from Port Bell or a 45-minute ferry trip from Bukakata.