Murchison falls also known as Kabalega Falls, it is a waterfall between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert on the White Nile River in Uganda. Sir Samuel and Florence Baker were the first Europeans to find them and Baker named them after Sir Roderick Murchison, president of the Royal Geographical Society. The falls lend their name to the surrounding Murchison Falls National Park. The park was first gazzetted in 1926 as a game reserve and covers an area of 3893sqkm. Murchison falls lies at the north end of Albertine rift valley where the bunyoro escarpment tumbles into the palm-dotted savannah. It was the first park to be gazzetted in Uganda and the largest with 76 mammal species and 451birds. The park is 260km from Kampala through Pakwach road which crosses the Nile at karuma falls bridge in the northeastern corner of the park. These gates are convenient for the people travelling to or from Gulu and kidepo national park.
It can also be accessed through the southern entrance to Parra leading out to Masindi town. Its 4hrs drive (305km) from Kampala if you take the Masindi route. The route via Masindi will give you a chance to Ziwa rhino sanctuary a home for the wild rhinos. The second route though longer but more scenic runs from Masindi to the park’s Bugungu gate that passes through Budongo forest reserve and is 440km from Kampala.
Air Travel is another means that can be used to access the park at Pakuba Airfield 19km from north Paraa using chartered aircraft from Entebbe international airport or Kajjasi airfield near Kampala.
Murchison fall national park is endowed with outstanding attractions that one cannot miss but to visit.
Murchison falls national park is acquitted with numerous stopovers like Ziwa rhino sanctuary in Masindi where you will track a number of rhinos, Budongo Forest reserve a home of different primates and quite a large number of bird species.
Game viewing drive and launch trip at the source of the Nile
Game drive is done very early in the morning after breakfast around 6am at Bugili on the northern bank with a trained guide it’s a fantastic way to see a wide range of animals in the Nile valley. Our guide will take you through to where the lions are hiding and you will be able to spot a leopard at dusk. You will return to the lodge for lunch and later in the day you will have a launch trip upstream presenting astonishing display of other wild animals like the buffaloes, crocodile, hippos and bird species on a tranquil sundown cruise.
Hiking and Nature walks
Hiking and Nature walks through Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forests provides sights of many primates and bird species around the Nile delta you will have a chance to see the shoebills for 2 to 4hours on a guided walk.
Birding; is done on both launch trips and game drives which gives you an opportunity to see very many bird species around the savannah forests , Albertine Rift and Water.
Accommodation for luxury accommodation Paraa safari lodge and Chobe safari lodge are recommended and for standard stay Pakuba safari lodge is recommended.
Best season; to visit Murchison Falls National Park the dry seasons of December to February and June to September are recommended
Queen Elizabeth National Park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga national park and was renamed two years later after Queen Elizabeth 11’s visit. The park covers an area of 1978sqkms and spans the equator line and monuments on either side mark the exact spot where the latitude crosses. The park is located in the western region of Uganda spanning the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rukirizi and Rukungiri. It’s approximately 420 km (7hrs &25mins) by the road, south west of Kampala and in the town of kasese is just outside the Northeastern edge of the park.
Queen Elizabeth National park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. It covers over 95 mammals and 600 bird species. The park’s magnificent visit include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into the green hills, panoramic views of Kazinga channel with its bank harboring hippos, buffaloes, elephants and endless Ishasha plains whose fog tress hide the lions and unsuspecting Uganda kobs.
Queen Elizabeth national park has outstanding activities that one can’t do without and these include:
The fascinating game drives. For a classic safari experience, the tracks through kasenyi , kazinga plains and the ishasha sector offers guaranteed buffaloes,antelopes,elephants and warthogs along with baboons. This activity is mostly done in the early mornings or dusk for a successful track down of the pride lions or even the odd leopards.
Chimpanzee tracking is another unforgettable experience carried out in Kyambura gorge. This activity is mainly done by discovering chimpanzees in their natural environment; it teaches the tourists about the ecosystem of kyambura gorge’s atmospheric underground rainforests for example the bird behavior and identification, vegetation type, the chimp and monkey ecology.
Launch trip is done on the Kazinga channel on the boat cruise that justifies the hundreds of enormous hippos and buffaloes plus the elephants lingering on the shoreline. Queen Elizabeth National Park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music and more.
The other activities are birding with over 600 bird species to see, Bat cave where tourists are able to view the resident bats and pythons and the nature walks or hiking which is mainly done in the shady Maramagambo forest, Mweya peninsula with scenic views and Ishasha River where you may spot a variety of forest and savannah species.
Best Season: The best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National park is June to August though January, February and September are good months to visit too. The peak seasons are June and July.
The main accommodation centers in Queen Elizabeth national park are Mweya safari lodge and Ishasha wilderness camp for luxury stay, bush lodge and samba safari camp for midrange stay as well as hotel Margarita for a budget.
There are other accommodation facilities located far from the main activity centers i.e. Ihamba Lodge, Jacana safari lodge, Tembo safari lodge, Engiri game lodge,Virina garden hotel, kyambura game lodge, village eco-lodge and white house hotel
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was gazzetted as National park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO natural world heritage site in 1994. Mubare gorilla group was the first to become available for tourism in Uganda in April 1993. Bwindi is located in the south western Uganda on the edge of the rift valley and covers an area of 331sqkms. It is the source of five major rivers which flow into Lake Edward. Its major tourist attraction is gorilla tracking with 4 gorilla tracking trailheads, 9 groups that are habituated for tourism and one for research purposes. 8 tourists are booked per group per day.
The park is about 530km from Kampala and can be accessed on several roads. The Kampala –kabale-kanungu- Buhoma road is (5-6hrs journey) while the Kampala- Ntungamo_Rukungiri-Kihihi-Buhoma road is (5hrs journey).
Bwindi with its mist covered hillsides, this impenetrable forest is the oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest with over 120 mammal species, 346 bird species and 27 frog, chameleons and geckos among others. The species to expect in the park are the gorillas, birds like Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Banded Prinia, Black-faced Apalis, Black-throated Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, and Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher and Ashy Flycatcher and Dusky-blue Flycatcher.
The park is blessed with forest trails that lead to various attractions that include rivers, waterfalls, wildlife concentration and swamps. Birding is another attraction in the park that provides a wide opportunity to venture in various Albertine rift such as the short- tailed warbler. Other activities are Mountain biking and Nature walks to the falls and part of the forest, wonderful hikes along the hills crest and rivers.
Bwindi Impenetrable main activities are:
Gorilla Tracking is an experience worth to remember since its challenging and one needs to be reasonably fit enough to go venturing. The activity commences at 08:00hrs with briefing at the receptions and then tracking begins at 8:30hrs and can last for 2hours to a whole day depending on where the gorillas were left the previous day.
The other activities are the Nature walks arranged to depart in the morning at 9:00am or afternoon at 1415hrs.the walks include Munyanga River trail, water fall trail, Rushura hill trail as well as Muzabajiro loop trail and River Ivi trail and this will give you an opportunity to see different bird species, trees and butterflies.
Buhoma village walks
The village walks are managed by the local community and lasts for three hours. It introduces the tourists to rural homesteads, traditional healers, banana beer demonstrations and cultural performances in the evening.
Bird watching is held at Bwindi Impenetrable NP since the park harbors over 346 bird species and 90% of the Albertine Rift species difficult or impossible to see in East Africa. The species available include African green broad bill, dwarf honey guide, kivu ground thrush, lagden’s bush shrike, yellow eyed flycatcher, the montane double-collared sunbird and the dusky twinspot.
Mountain Bike rides; these are available for rent with prior notice and are done around the forest and villages on well maintained bikes.
Peak periods for mountain-gorilla trekking are the 2 dry seasons of (Jun–Sep & Dec–Feb). Mandatory gorilla-viewing permits are often cheaply obtained during the quieter rainy seasons (Mar–May & Oct–Nov), though trekking conditions tend to be more difficult at this time.
While at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park you will stay at Buhoma lodge and Ruhija Gorilla safari lodge for luxury stay, Buhoma community rest camp, Bwindi guest house and Nkuringo Gorilla for a budget stay.
Lake Mburo was originally gazetted in 1933 as a controlled hunting area and upgraded to a game reserve in 1963. The Banyankole Bahima residents continued to graze their cattle in the reserve until it was upgraded to national park status in 1983. This location is approximately 240 kilometers (4hrs), by road, west of Kampala, Uganda's capital city and covers approximately 370sqkms. Park is located in Kiruhura District in the Western Region of Uganda and is about 30 kilometers, by road, east of Mbarara, the largest city in the sub-region. The wetland in the park covers 20% of its area. The park is mainly known for its gigantic Elands, zebras, buffaloes, oribi, Impalas, warthogs, water bucks, and the Eland antelopes and may others. The lakes in the park attract many hippos and crocodiles while the swamps hide secretive papyrus specialists such as the sitatunga antelope and the red and black papyrus gonalek. It is also a harbor for different bird species like the shoebills, yellow warbler, African fin foot, saddle billed stock among others.
Lake Mburo harbors a lot of attractions that include:
Rubanga Forest though small provides a taste of the tropical high forest with closed canopy and is a home for forest birds. It is located on the western side of Lake Mburo National Park.
The Conservation Educational Center 1km west of Sanga gate provides accommodation and education hall for school groups, seminars, workshops and tourists.
Game tracks are carried out in the eastern side of the park with several networks of tracks alongside which variety of savannah animals and birds can be sighted. Impalas are the most commonly seen along the Impala track well as zebras frequent the grassy valleys.
Lake Mburo on the eastern shore can be explored by jetty boat departing from at the lakeside near Rwonyo. Watch out for crocodiles and hippos as you cruise along for two hours. You can also sight different bird species along the way.
At Lake Mburo National Park several activities like game drives and nature walks that are conducted on foot during either day or night with aid of a guide aiming at getting exposed to flora and fauna. Boat cruise is another interesting activity that is done at Lake Mburo.
Best Seasons are June to August and December to February to view wildlife at the park.
Expect comfortable stay at Acadia cottages for luxury and Eagle nest for midrange accommodation. Other accommodations existing are Rwakobo rocks, Mburo safari lodge, Mantona tented camp and mihingo lodge
Kidepo valley National Park is a 1,442 square kilometers and located in the Karamoja region in northeast Uganda. Kidepo is rugged savannah, dominated by the Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers. Kidepo Valley National park is located in Kaabong District, in the northeastern corner of Uganda. The park is approximately 220 kilometer’s, by road northwest of Moroto, the largest town in the sub-region. It is approximately 520 kilometers, by road, northeast of Kampala, Uganda. It was gazetted as a game reserve by the British colonial government in 1958. The purpose was both to protect the animals from being hunted and to prevent further clearing of bush for tsetse fly-control. The newly independent government of Uganda under Milton Obote as a president converted the reserve into the Kidepo Valley National Park in 1962. The first chief warden of the park was Ian Ross, a Briton. In 1972, Paul Ssali, a Ugandan, replaced him.
Kidepo is a hot, dry and Wilderness Park with rugged savannah harboring 77mamals and 500 bird species. The park’s vegetation is diverse with grey-haired acacia, savannah woodland that emerges in the south and into a fire climax grassland, tree and shrub steep which slowly transcends into bush lands with forests on the Mountain slopes. Some of the animals unique to this park include caracal, cheetah, aardwolf, a striped hyena, greater and lesser kudu, klipspringer, dik-dik, Bright’s gazelle and Chandler’s mountain reedbuck. Bird species including lammergeier Verreaux’s eagle, the pygmy falcon and Egyptian vulture and the hornbills which are characteristic of the savannah habitat.
Activities expected in Kidepo National Park include:
Game drive is done along Narus Valley both at night and day since wildlife concentrates here most of the year. This area has aquatic tracks that enable tourists to view animals at a close range.
Nature walks can be done around Apoka camp which enables tourists to view different animal species like the elephants, zebras, giraffes, bulbul, reedbucks and many others.
Community walks are one of the ways to spend time learning about the ways of life of the karamajongs and their culture as well. This will enable you know their dressing code, dancing style and the tools used. Karamajongs are traditionally cattle raiders and hunters though through community conservation their life style is changing.
Bird watching is another activity done in the park. It’s usually done in the early morning and late afternoon since the park has many bird species to see and these include, Golden Pipit, Ring-necked Spur fowl, Taita Fiscal, Rufous Chatterer, Fox’s Cisticola, Yellow and red spotted Barbet, Fox’s Weaver, Lesser Kestrel, Pallid Harrier, Black-winged Pranticole, White-crested, Hartlaub’s Turaccos, Dusky-turtle Dove, White-bellied Go-Away bird, Abyssinian Scimitar bill, Jackson’s and African-pied Hornbills, Yellow-billed Shrike, Emin’s Shrike, Piapiac, Red-winged Lark, Black-rumped Waxbill and ostrich.
Best Season is during the Dry season (September to March). Kidepo is however located in a semi-arid region and can be visited throughout the year. The Wet season months (April to August) are less hot and bring beautiful bird scenery.
For luxury stay Apoka safari lodge, Nga’moru wilderness camp and for budget stay Apoka rest camp and kidepo savannah camp.
Kibale National Park is located in southern part of Uganda, It is 795 square kilometers in size and despite encompassing primarily moist evergreen forest, and it contains a diverse array of landscapes. Kibale is one of the last remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests. In eastern Africa, it sustains the last significant expanse of pre-montane forest. It is 299km (5hr) from Kampala, along newly surfaced road via kasese (Queen Elizabeth National park). It can also be accessed from Kampala via Mubende and Fort portal.
The park was gazetted in 1932 and formally established in 1993 to protect a large area of forest previously managed as a logged forest reserve. The park forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park. This adjoining of the parks creates a 180 kilometers wildlife corridor. It is an important eco-tourism and safari destination, popular for its population of habituated chimpanzees and twelve other species of primates. Its major attraction is the chimpanzees though as you peruse through the forests you will not miss to sight over 372 bird species.
Kibale National park consists of very many activities including,
Chimpanzee tracking Chimpanzees are sister primates to gorillas but smaller than the gorillas with brains much more powerful. They are referred to as cousins to human beings and love to impress their visitors by jumping from tree to tree in excitement. Chimpanzees are emotional and love to play with their loved ones and care for them. This experience starts at 8:00am and 2:00pm and lasts for 2-3hrs.it allows only six people per group and advance booking is essential.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience: This is more rewarding than chimpanzee tracking because you get a chance to spend the whole day with the chimpanzees. You use this chance to observe the chimpanzees from the time they wake up from their nests, to the time they go to rest, you can imagine the experience!
Day hiking and Nature walks this experience allows the tourist to have close contact with nature. The walks and hikes lasts for 2-3 hrs. And give you pleasant scenic of the Adam and Eve tree, one of kibale’s unique attractions.
Bird watching is done mainly in forest because of the 60% bird species found there. There are different unique bird species found in the park both during day and night like bats, owls, Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, Cabanis’s Greenbul and Joyful Greenbul as well as White-spotted Fluff tail, Dusky and Olive Long tailed Cuckoo, Lesser Honey guide, Blue-shouldered Robin Chat, White-chinned Prinia, Grey Apalis, Olive-green Camaroptera and White-collared Olive back.
Bigodi Swamp walk where we take a walk of a totally different kind with special attention for primates and birds. This is mainly done in the afternoon.
Have a relaxing night at kyaninga lodge or primate lodge for luxury well as Safari camp kamwenge, chimpanzee forest guest house, chimps nest and kibale forest, mountain of the moon and Rwenzori view guest house for mid-range and budget accommodation.
Best Season to visit the park is June to September and December to February since they the dry seasons but also you can visit in March to May and September to November the wet season for bird watching.
Mount Rwenzori National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Rwenzori Mountains in the south western Uganda near kasese its bordering Virunga National park in west of DRCongo. It’s about 375km from Kampala via Fort portal road and Almost 1,000 km2 in size. The park has Africa's third highest mountain peak and many waterfalls, lakes, and glaciers. The park is known for its beautiful plant life. Rwenzori Mountains National Park was established in 1991 and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 because of its outstanding natural beauty.
Mountain climbing is the most attractive activity in the park on the legendary “mountain of the moon” it’s heavily snowcapped peaks are one of the few beautiful landscapes in the world. The mountain is also notably known for its varied vegetation, spectacular landscape that comprises of waterfalls, hot springs, blue cirque lakes and snow clad peaks. The park is also a home for18 mammal species, 217 birds.
The Aesthetic values of Mountain Rwenzori can be put in three Activities:
Nature Walks Rwenzori is notable for its majestic scenery and varied montane forests, bamboo, tree health bog, hagenia rapanea scrub and afro alpine moorland that allows the tourist to interact with nature.
Peak Climbing is a six day loop trail that is tough and rewarding. The hike takes you through vegetation zones and glacier peaks within the Rwenzori ranges along all routes. They include Margherita (5,109m) on Mt Stanley, Vittorio Emmanuelle (4842m) on Mt Speke and Edward (4842m) on Mt Baker. These high peaks should be attempted by experienced mountaineers.
Trekking is done along all routes; a 7day trekking of the central circuit and a 5 days trek along kilembe route to the southern part of the park. Shorter hikes are also arranged.
Bird watching ;There are many bird species to lookout for among which include:- Albertine Rift endemics like; Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Montane (Rwenzori) Nightjar, Dwarf Honey guide, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Kivu Ground Thrush, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Montane Masked and Collared Apalises, Stripe-breast Tit, Rwenzori Batis, (Grauer’s Cuckoo-shrike ), Blue-headed, Regal and Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Strange Weaver, Dusky and Shelley’s Crimson wings.
Accommodation at the Park; equator snow lodge (luxury), Ihamba safari lodge (mid-range) and Ruboni community camp (budget)
Best season; January – February and July – August in the dry months.
Mount Elgon National Park is 234 kilometers east of Kampala and can be accessed through the tarmac roads of Jinja to Mbale in the west before reaching Kapchorwa in the North West. The park covers an area of 1,110 square kilometers it is named after Mount Elgon, an extinct shield volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya. It is a home for over 300 species of birds and endangered mammals. Joining with the fauna and flora, the park has a variety of attractions that includes cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, mesas, calderas, hot springs, and the mountain peaks. The most popular areas are the four explorable, vast caves where frequent night visitors such as elephants and buffaloes come to lick the natural salt found on the cave walls. Kitum cave, with overhanging crystalline walls.
Activities done in Mount Elgon National park
Mountain Biking takes about 1.5hours and provides a scenic view of the water falls.
Birding is a brilliant exploration through forest and thick scrub that support, African Goshawk, Chubb’s Cisticola, White-chinned Prinia, African Blue Fly-catchers, Chin-spot Batis, MacKinnon’s Fiscal, Doherty’s and Luhder’s Bush-Shrikes and Baglafecht Weaver.
Mountain Climbing; visiting Mount Elgon presents an interesting alternative of climbing to the peaks with milder climate and lower elevation.
Hiking; The Forest has three trails ranging between 3 and 7 km. These trails offer an excellent opportunity to experience Mt. Elgon’s unique plants and wildlife. A fourth trail has recently been opened to reach the enormous Tutum Cave, 11 km from the center. This trail offers an opportunity to see wildlife such as Black and White Colobus Monkeys and a variety of birds. The other activities present are Mountain biking, Nature walks which exposes you to flora and fauna, Sport fishing and Rock climbing as well as cultural encounters such as the Embalu cultural dance and their livelihood.
Accommodation facilities are available in the park as well as outside include Sipi River lodge positioned outside sipi trading center along Kapochrwa road for luxury stay, kayegi hotel for standard stay and Mt Elgon View hotel, suam guest house and Lacam lodge for budget accommodation.
Best Season; although the park is open all year round, the best months to visit are the dry months of June- august and later from December to February.
Mgahinga Gorilla National park is 510km (9hrs) from Kampala the most common route passes through kabala to Kisoro. The park is about 15 kilometers, by road south of the town of Kisoro and approximately 55 kilometers by road, west of Kabale, the largest city in the sub-region. The park is located within Bufumbira county of the Kisoro District. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, though unpopular, is the second habitat of the mountain gorilla in Uganda after Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It has only one habituated gorilla family, Nyakagezi group. A maximum of 8 people are allowed to see the great apes in a day. Gorilla tourism in Mgahinga is developing steadily over the past five years especially with additions of new tourist activities such as the Batwa Trail and Golden monkey trekking. The park is known for its three north virunga volcanoes: Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Sabyinyo. These dormant volcanoes are international mountains, with Muhabura and Gahinga on the Uganda/Rwanda border, and Sabyinyo a tripoint on the Uganda/Rwanda/Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) borders.
The Park involves in different activities such as;
Gorilla tracking: this is done in the wild forests with many hill tops. This excursion mainly lasts for about 2-4hrs searching and viewing their behaviors also have an impressive sight of birdlife in the forest
Cultural Encounter: for so long ago Mgahinga’s dense forests were home of the Batwa people commonly known as the pygmies. They were hunters, gatherers and fierce warriors who used the forest as shelter, food and medicine. They now lead tourists through the forest to introduce them to their old life and how they survived in the forest and their cultural dances.
Golden monkey tracking this is the activity mostly common at Mgahinga Gorilla National park with its rare species of monkey known as the Golden Monkey. It is done mainly in the bamboo forest since the monkeys feed on the bamboo stems.
Birding takes place in the most beautiful scenery of the gorge between Mt Gahing and sabinyo, bamboo forest and montane forests. While there you will have the chance to see the beautiful Rwenzori turaco amongst other bird species.
Mountain climbing this activity takes a whole day trying so hard to reach the peaks of each three mountains. The views from the peaks are worth the effort.
While at park accommodation is provided at Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp, traveler’s Rest hotel, Mucha hotel and Kisoro tourist hotel (budget) and Mount Gahinga Lodge (luxury).
Best Season to take this trip is during the drier seasons from June to August and December to January. At this time the trails tend to be easier to navigate and spending a precious hour with the gorillas might be more pleasant when it isn’t raining.
Semuliki National Park is located in Bwamba County, a remote part of the Bundibugyo District, in western Uganda. It was made a national park in October 1993 and is one of Uganda's newest national parks. It covers an area of 220sqkm and has two major roads that lead to the park, Kampala- Fort portal via Mubende is 180km (4-5hrs) which is the shortest route and the other one is Kampala- Fort portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese 456km (7-8hrs) longer but offers more stopovers along the way, you can stop at Lake Mburo NP, Kyanbura Wildlife reserve, Rwenzori Mountains NP and Queen Elizabeth Np.
There are numerous activities that can be taken at this park.
Birding is one of the activity that is so rewarding to birders who make it there as some of the African best forest birding destination. Sempaya and Ntandi harbor have excellent view of birds like the white crested hornbill, red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, piping Hornbill, yellow-throated Nicator, greater blue and Ross’s turaco.
Hot springs is a 30 minutes trail that goes through the palm forest to the inner spring dominated by boiling geyser where eggs and green plantain can be cooked. This trail leads through the forests where you can sight the red-tailed monkey, grey –cheeked mangabeys and black and white colcbus monkeys to the tree house that provides an aerial view.
Game Drives is done across the savannah grassland to Toro semuliki Wildlife Reserve where smaller and larger savannah elephants are seen along with buffaloes, waterbucks, crocodiles, warthogs and Uganda Kobs. With luck you may have a chance to see the pygmy hippopotami’s, leopards and bush babies.
While at semuliki you will stay at kyaninga lodge for (luxury) and semuliki guest house, Ruwenzori view guest house, Hotel Vanilla, Picfare guest house for (budget).
Best Season to travel to semuliki national park is from December to February and from June to July