Why you should visit Uganda for wildlife tours? Uganda is the best destination not only in East Africa abut also in the whole world. There are several tourist attractions in Uganda and these include game parks, lakes, rivers, and mountains more than any other country in Africa. Uganda is also one of the lucky countries to host the endangered mountain gorillas in the tropical and subtropical forests of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla park.
Visiting Uganda gives you an opportunity to see different animals among which include primates like chimpanzees in Kibale forest national park, golden monkeys in Mgahinga gorilla park, mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla Park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, as well as different mammal species in different national parks such as Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo, Murchison falls and Kidepo valley national park. The animals include rhinos, lions, zebras, lions, buffaloes, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs and so many others. Uganda is also home to over 1066 bird species found in different bird spot areas.
Reasons for visiting Uganda for wildlife tours
Visiting queen Elizabeth National Park- Lion tracking is an activity that involves one taking a close look at lions and learning their behavior. Lion tracking is done by a group of researchers who use radio collars and radiation locators to track the animals. Lion tracking activity is only done in Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda in the plains of Kasenyi. The activity is done by only 4 people and it requires one to have a valid lion permit which costs $100 foreign nonresidents and foreign residents and East African citizens UGX10,000.
Where to see lions in Uganda ? There are 4 national parks in Uganda where lions can be seen. These are Kidepo valley national park with the highest population, queen Elizabeth national park alongside tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector, Murchison falls national park and Lake Mburo national park.
Enjoy the Ugandan endangered mountain gorillas- Uganda is one of the luckiest countries to be hosting rare mountain gorillas. These great apes of the world can be traced in Uganda’s parks of Mgahinga Gorilla Park and Bwindi found in southwestern Uganda. Other places in the world or Africa where you can find mountain gorillas are volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in DR Congo.
Gorilla trekking in these national parks starts with a briefing at the park headquarters after which trekkers are grouped into 8 people and later a ranger guide leads them into the jungle to look for these gentle apes. Only 8 people cam trek mountain gorillas in Mgahinga gorilla park because the park has only one habituated gorilla family while in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park there are 19 habituated gorilla families open for trekking and 2 are for habituation that can be accessed in 4 tracking sectors- Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo. Gorilla trekking is done by persons above the age of 15 and they must be free from communicable diseases such as flu, cough, and diarrhea.
Gorilla trekking is done for 1 hour around mountain gorillas and the permits go for $700 foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents, and UGX250,000 East African Citizens. Gorilla habituation allows you to spend a maximum of 4 hours around mountain gorillas and the permits go for $1500. Gorilla habituation is done in the Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
African savannah game drives- It’s in Uganda where you can enjoy moving around the vast savannah plains in a comfortable 4×4 safari car. Uganda has 4 savannah national parks where game drives can be done and these are Kidepo valley national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison falls national park, and Lake Mburo national park. These national parks are managed by the Uganda wildlife authority a body in charge of tourism in Uganda.
During game drives in Uganda’s national parks, you are likely to meet animals such as lions, elephants, buffaloes, cheetahs, leopards, African civets, spotted hyena, mongoose, genets, jackals, otters, bat-eared fox, caracal, serval, African wild cat, rhinos in Ziwa, giraffes, hippos, zebras, oryx, eland, kudu, hartebeest, waterbucks, bushbucks, impalas, sitatungas, Uganda kobs, reedbucks, gazelles, duikers, klipspringer, oribi, bushpig, dik-dik and giant forest hog among others.
Birds in Uganda- Uganda has over 1066 bird species making it one of the best places to do birding in Africa. The bird species in Uganda are found in different national parks such as Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, Kibale forest national park, Lake Mburo national park, Murchison falls national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Mgahinga gorilla park, Kidepo valley national park, Semuliki national park, Rwenzori mountains national park, Mabamba bay wetland, Mabira forest, and so many others.
Bird species in Uganda include Papyrus gonolek, Cameroon somber greenbul, African- pied wagtail, brown eared woodpecker, zebra waxbill, blue-throated roller, African dusky flycatcher, blue-throated roller, black-billed weaver, yellow-rumped tinker bird, blue breasted kingfisher, chubb’s cisticola, black-capped waxbill, Africa shrike flycatcher, African black-headed oriole, African green pigeon, regal sunbird, African jacana, African pitta, black and white shrike flycatcher, Abyssinian ground thrush, Kivu ground thrush, montane oriole, crowned eagle, dusky crimsoning, collared appalis, black bee-eater, yellow spotted nicator, little greenbul, brown chested alethe, black-billed turaco, barn swallow, grauer’s rush warbler, western green tinker bird, Angolan swallow, chestnut throated apalis, papyrus canary, African green broadbill, fine banded woodpecker, African citril, short-tailed warbler, shinning African blue, white-tailed blue fly, African emerald cuckoo, white-headed saw wing, impressed African emerald, white collared olive, and Shelley’s crimson wing to mention but a few
The culture of Uganda- What is the culture of Uganda like, the food, the dances, and the music? Uganda has different cultures in the central region, western region, and the northern region but the famous ones are the Batwa in Mgahinga gorilla park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, and then the Karamojong and IK in northeastern Uganda that can be combined on your wildlife tours
The Karamojong and IK
The Karamojong people are nomadic pastoralists who move around with their cattle from one place to another. They are found in districts such as abim, kaabong, moroto, Kotido, napak and in nakapiripirit. Tourists to Uganda interact with these people mostly on a safari to Kidepo valley national park after game drives or birding activities. The Karamojong people live with the IK people also found near Kidepo valley national park.
When you visit the Karamojong you will see the way of style they build their manyatta houses, the livestock, get involved in making ghee, local art and craft, get involved in traditional dances, and see their way of dressing. Around the same region in northeastern Uganda are the IK group of people and these are animal keepers. They are polygamists meaning they marry as many wives as they want as long as they can pay dowry. The dowry can be paid in form of cash, sheep, goats, chicken, or beehives. Travelers to Kidepo valley national park can visit the IK and Karamojong and get to experience the true image of Africa in its original form.
The Batwa pygmies
Living in the southwestern part of Uganda, the Batwa group of people can be visited on a safari to Mgahinga national park or Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The Batwa were originally forest dwellers living in the thick tropical forests of Mgahinga and Bwindi impenetrable forest but when the government decided to gazette the national parks, they were evicted from the forest to the surrounding places. The Batwa were fruit gathers, beekeepers, and also hunters. They used local herbs as their medicine. A visit to Batwa will make you know about their old stories, how they used to make fire from stones, collect honey, hunt animals using snares, and also get entertained through dancing and drama.
What is the best time to go Uganda wildlife tours?
Uganda can be visited at any time of the year but the best time are the 2 dry seasons which happen in June to August and December to February. The weather is good with little or no rainfall, the roads leading to the parks are passable, the vegetation in the parks is thin for clear views of animals and photography, the trekking trails and tracks in the parks are dry, less muddy, and not slippery.