Uganda offers an exceptional wildlife viewing experience, its flora and fauna being both extensive and diverse, with opportunities to see everything from the Big 5 on a traditional safari to huge concentrations of hippo during river cruises. In Queen Elizabeth National Park, see the famous tree climbing lions, whilst Kibale has forest elephants and Murchison National Park its dramatic waterfall. Chimpanzee can be widely viewed, along with over 1,000 species of birds. Perhaps the biggest draw is the endangered mountain gorillas which inhabit the high montane forests, with Uganda being home to half the world’s population of these precious animals. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda sits within the mountainous Virunga Massif, a visually stunning landscape encompassing six active and three extinct volcanoes – the dramatic peaks reaching towards 5,000m. The first National Park to be created in Africa, it rose to fame through the work of renowned primatologist Diane Fossey – the ancient rainforest is home to eight habituated family groups of gorilla with further opportunities to view golden monkey, elephant and bushbuck.
Gorilla tracking takes place year round – early booking is essential as permits are strictly limited. The climate is pleasantly tropical due to the high altitude and the temperature varies little year round. The rainier months are generally between March to May and mid September to November.
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Impenetrable by name and nature due to its tangled vegetation and deeply fissured landscape, the UNESCO Word Heritage Bwindi National Park is home to roughly half of the worlds mountain gorillas, as well as supporting many more species of mammals, primates and birds. A limited number of permits are issued each day enabling small trekking parties to observe the gorilla families- the massive Silverback males weighing up to 500 pounds and standing
six feet tall.
Home to around half the world’s population of gorillas, the park sits within the mountainous Virunga Massif, a visually stunning landscape encompassing six active and three extinct volcanoes – the dramatic peaks reaching towards 5,000m. The first National Park to be created in Africa, it rose to fame through the work of renowned primatologist Diane Fossey and is without doubt one of the best places in Africa to track gorilla – the ancient rainforest being home to eight habituated family groups of gorilla with further opportunities to view golden monkey, elephant and bushbuck.
With its sweeping savannah, rainforest and tranquil crater lakes, the park is thought by many to be Uganda’s most scenic. Famous for its tree climbing lions, its complex ecosystem supports over 100 species of mammal and 600 species of birds – the highest in any protected area of Africa. Visit Katwe salt lake to view migrating flamingos from October to May or take a boat trip along the Kazinga Channel to spot hippo and buffalo. Game drives bring frequent sightings of elephant, lion, hyena and warthog.
Uganda’s oldest and largest national park, named after the dramatic Murchison Falls where the Nile descends through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment. Divided by the Nile, the Park is characterised by wooded savannah across which roam large populations of giraffe, lion, leopard, elephant and many more. Birders are drawn here by the phenomenal array of over 460 recorded species, including the elusive shoebill stork. Falls boat trips to view hippo and crocodile are popular, along with fishing excursions.
Huge swathes of rainforest dominate Kibale, the habitat of the greatest concentration of primates found anywhere in East Africa. Track habituated chimpanzees as they move through the trees, keeping an eye open for localised Red Colobus monkeys, black faced vervet monkeys and bush babies. Forest trails pass through terrain rich in flora whilst birders have well over 300 species of birds to watch. The smaller, hairier forest elephant is a seasonal visitor.
Located between the Rwenzori Mountains and Lake Albert, the reserve is a place to experience real wilderness. The diverse habitat of classic savannah, river valleys and forest supporting populations of chimpanzees, black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, forest and savannah elephants, with chances to view lion, leopard, Uganda kob, waterbuck and buffalo. The birdlife is equally impressive, the swamps around the lake providing the perfect habitat for rare species including shoebill storks.