Is Uganda Good For African Safari?
Is Uganda Good For African Safari? Uganda is located in the eastern part of Africa and is one of the most visited countries due to its so many attractions. There are a lot of attractions in Uganda and these include mountains, lakes, rivers, mammals, primates, and birds. The main reason why so many tourists love Uganda’s safaris is that Uganda has two national parks which are home to the endangered mountain gorillas that share 98%human DNA with human beings. These apes live in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla park both located in southwestern Uganda.
The other reason Uganda would have a good safari is the classic game drives that happen in the best national parks namely Queen Elizabeth national park, Kidepo valley national park, Murchison falls national park and Lake Mburo national park. During these game drives, you see a lot of mammals, primates as well as birds. Uganda has the best boat cruises done in Murchison falls national park to the bottom of the falls, boat cruise on Kazinga channel, and Lake Mburo.
Classic safari game drives in Uganda.
Uganda has 10 national parks but 4 of these offer the best game drive experiences. The national parks where game drives are enjoyed in Uganda are queen Elizabeth national park, Kidepo valley national park, Murchison falls national park, and Lake Mburo national park.
The best classic game drive on a Uganda safari can happen at three destinations and these are the famous Murchison falls national park, Kidepo valley national park in the rugged remote areas of the north as well as queen Elizabeth national park famous for tree-climbing lions. The above destinations are good for game viewing safaris as well as the smaller Lake Mburo national park which you can visit to or from Queen Elizabeth national park, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, and Mgahinga gorilla park.
Safari in Queen Elizabeth national park
A safari to queen Elizabeth national park takes you to western Uganda to the most visited national park as well as the second-largest park in the country. One of the top reasons why people visit Queen Elizabeth national park is because of the rare tree-climbing lions that are found nowhere in the world but in this park as well as Lake Manyara national park of Tanzania.
Queen Elizabeth national park has gained an outstanding global reputation for having the biggest number of tree climbing lions that find their home in the Ishasha sector of the park. The lions are better seen during the afternoon hours when they are resting on branches of big fig trees.
During the early morning or late evening hours, you can head out to Kasenyi plains for a fantastic game drive where you see a number of animals. Just like other national parks during these hours the animals will be easy to spot. The animals that can be seen in queen Elizabeth national park include lions, elephants, topis, buffaloes, hyenas, leopards, waterbucks, bushbucks, warthogs, giant forest hogs, banded mongoose, hippos, vervet monkeys, olive baboons as well as black and white colobus monkeys. There are also chimpanzees in Queen Elizabeth national park in Kyambura gorge.
Safaris in Queen Elizabeth national park can also contain a boat cruise which is done on the Kazinga channel. Kazinga channel is the biggest channel in the world and connects Lake George to Lake Albert. The boat cruise on the Kazinga channel is done on a daily basis unless when the weather conditions don’t allow it. They go for about 2-4 hours with opportunities of seeing hippos, crocodiles, fish, and different aquatic bird species such as yellow-billed stork, great and long-tailed cormorants, African skimmer, splendid pied kingfisher, and open billed stork among others. During the dry session, a lot of park animals are at the water sources drinking water.
Another activity that can be done on a safari to Queen Elizabeth national park is bird watching. The Park is home to more than 600 bird species which makes the park one of the best birding spots in Uganda. There are different birding spots in the park such as Kazinga channel, Mweya peninsula, Kasenyi area, Ishasha sector, Katwe area, Kasenyi area, and Maramagambo forest to mention but a few. Some of the bird species in Queen Elizabeth national park include African jacana, rare saddle-billed stork, grey crowned crane, rare shoebill stork, papyrus gonolek, papyrus canary, lesser and greater flamingo, bar-tailed godwit, pink-backed pelican, martial eagle, corn lake, white-winged warbler, African mustached warbler, barbets, black crake, hooded vulture, black belied bustard, white-tailed lark, grey kestrel, and swamp nightjar.
Chimpanzee trekking can also be done in Kyambura gorge and this begins with a briefing after which trekkers are grouped and a ranger guide leads them into the jungle. After locating the chimpanzees, trekkers are given a maximum of one hour to be around chimpanzees and this helps them to learn more about their habitats. The other activity that is done in queen Elizabeth national park is lion tracking and this is done in the Kasenyi plains located on the northern side of the park.
Safari in Murchison falls national park
Located in the northwestern part of Uganda, Murchison falls national park is the largest savannah park in Uganda one can go for a safari. The Park is a home of 76 mammal species and 451 bird species as well as Murchison falls which happen to be the strongest in the world. There are so many activities that can be done on a safari in Murchison falls national park and these include game drives, birding, sport fishing, hiking to the top of the falls, boat cruises, chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest and nature walks.
The boat cruise in Murchison falls national park is the best activity in the parka and this is done on Victoria Nile. The boat cruise is done in two sessions with one done in the morning and the other in the evening. The boat cruise lasts for 2-3 hours with opportunities of seeing water animals such as crocodiles, hippos, elephants, antelopes, giraffes, and water birds such as shoebills, giant kingfishers, long-toed plover, black-headed lapwing, and veracious dove among others. The boat cruise in Murchison falls national park takes you to the bottom of the falls where you get to see water passing through a narrow gorge making different sounds. At the bottom of the falls is also a link to the top of the falls. The boat cruise gives you an opportunity to take clear pictures of the waterfalls, water animals, and the animals on the shores of the river.
There are game drives in Murchison falls national park and these expose you to park animals and bird species. the game drives in the park take you through different tracks with opportunities of seeing animals such as lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, oribis, Uganda kobs, bushbucks, waterbucks, warthogs, hyenas, olive baboons, hartebeests, giraffes, hippos, oribis, and duikers among others.
Another activity commonly done in Murchison fall national park is birding because the park is one of the best birding places with over 451 bird species that have been so far recorded in the park. There are different birding spots where one can get an opportunity of seeing birds such as African emerald cuckoo, African fin foot, black coucal, red-throated wryneck, yellow bill, blue shouldered robin cat, grey crested crane, sulphur breasted bush shrike, African warbler, barbets, white-winged warbler, brown illadopsis, black bishop, white-winged tern, white-breasted nigro-finch, chestnut wattle eye, yellow wagtail, African jacana, sacred ibis, black crake, and grey crowned crane among others.
Safari in Kidepo valley national park
Kidepo valley national park in the north of Uganda could be the less visited national park in the country because it is located in rugged remote areas. The government is working hard to make it one of the most visited national parks in the country by constructing better roads to the park as well as better accommodation facilities. Kidepo valley national park has the highest number of lions in the country and the population is increasing compared to Queen Elizabeth national park and Murchison falls national park.
There are so many activities that can be done in Kidepo valley national park among which include game drives where you have an opportunity to see over 85 mammals of which 28 are found nowhere else in Uganda. The animals likely to be seen on a game drive in Kidepo include zebras, lions, Uganda kobs, hippos, bat-eared foxes, elephants, waterbucks, wild dogs, leopards, elands, klipspringer, Jackson’s hartebeest, cheetahs, mountain reedbuck, buffaloes, oribis, dik-dik, caracal, kudus, kongoni, patas monkeys, and bush babies.
Birding is also another activity one could do on a safari to Kidepo valley national park. The park is a home of 450 bird species that have been so far recorded in the park. The ostrich is the famous and common bird in the park but there are other bird species that are likely to be seen on a safari such as Kori bustard, dark chanting goshawk, red-winged pytilia, Jackson’s hornbill, Ethiopian swallow, Abyssinian scimitar bill, rufous chatterer, rufous chatter, chestnut weaver, black-breasted barbet, black coucal, golden pipit, greater kestrel, red-throated bee-eater, pygmy falcon, rose-ringed parakeet, steel-blue whydah, golden kestrel, Karamoja Apalis, pygmy falcon, northern carmine bee-eater, white-bellied go-away bird, Abyssinian roller, fox kestrel, D’Arnaud’s barbet, scarlet chested sunbird, and little bee-eater among others.
Kidepo valley national park offers the best cultural encounters in Uganda. There are two tribes living around Kidepo valley national park and these are the IK and the Masai. These people are mainly cattle keepers and the more cows a person has the more he is respected. When you visit these people, you get to learn their way of dressing, taste local foods, enjoy traditional dances and much more.
Safari in Lake Mburo national park
Lake Mburo national park is Uganda’s smallest national park located on Masaka Mbarara road. the park covers an area of 260 sq. km and has 5 small lakes with Lake Mburo being the largest. Because the park is small travelers can view wildlife on foot. There are so many activities in Lake Mburo national park among which include game viewing where you get to see some of the park animals such as zebras, topis, buffaloes, waterbucks, impalas, duikers, hippos, and warthogs among others.
There are boat cruises in the park done on Lake Mburo. The boat cruise on Lake Mburo exposes you to crocodiles, hippos, water birds, and other park animals on the shores of the lake drinking water. The boat cruise is done in 2 sessions one in the morning and the other in the evening. There is horse riding in the back and this can only be done by tourists who sleep in Mihingo Lodge. Horseback riding gives you opportunities of exploring the park animals, birds, and vegetation.
Birding is also another activity done in lake Mburo national park. The park is a home of over 360 bird species and this gives you an opportunity of seeing birds such as Tabora cisticola, great snipe, rare shoebill stork, African fish eagle, saddle-billed stork, African finfoot, papyrus yellow warbler, African-wattled lapwing, yellow-rumped tinkerbird, emerald spotted wood, African finfoot, jacana, white-winged tit, bare-faced go-away-bird, black papyrus gonolek, grey crowned crane, striated swallow, and Abyssinian ground hornbill among others.
What consists of a good safari in Uganda?
A good safari in Uganda consists of a good comfortable safari vehicle which would give you the best views during the game drives, a good safari driver-guide who knows how to communicate clearly and one who is well trained with experience, good accommodation facilities which can give you the best sleep and good tourism activities. About activities a good safari would be having primate watching let’s say chimpanzee trekking or gorilla trekking, a boat cruise on Lake Mburo, Kazinga channel, or Albert Nile in Murchison falls national park and a game drive in the 4 best national parks with game drives.
In summary, Uganda is a blessed country with so many attractions among which primate trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park lead. But to have the best safari in Uganda you must deal with trusted Uganda safari operators that can draw a good all-inclusive itinerary.
Best time to visit Uganda
Uganda can be visited at any time of the year but the best time to visit the country for an inclusive safari is the dry season. The dry season in Uganda happens from June to September and December to February. It’s during these months that the roads leading to the parks are passable, the tracks in the game parks are dry and the trekking trails in primate parks are not muddy or slippery.
The rainy season of March to May and October to November is also good for a safari to Uganda most especially when you want to do birding because there are migratory birds in the country during this period, the accommodation facilities are cheap because of a few people coming into the country and primate trekking takes a few hours because the primates don’t move far in the forests because there is plenty of food everywhere. The rainy season comes with bad roads, rainfall, and slippery or muddy trails and tracks.