National Parks & other Interesting Places

Uganda National parks

Budongo Forest
Budongo Forest is located on the banks of Lake Albert, south of Murchison Falls National Park. It covers an area of 793 km² of which only 53% is forest. The remaining 47% is grassland.

Budongo Forest is the largest Mahogany forest in East Africa and home of the largest population of chimpanzees (600-700) in Uganda.

Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro Ecotourism site are the major tourist site within Budongo Forest Reserve.

Budongo Forest has a high biodiversity with 24 species of small mammals; nine being primates; 465 species of trees and shrubs; 359 species of birds; 289 species of butterflies; and 130 species of moths.

The bird life is extremely rich with many outstanding species, including a number of colorful turacos, kingfishers, barbets, woodpeckers, and sunbirds.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda.

It comprises 331 square kilometres of jungle forests and contains both montane and lowland forest.

Only accessible on foot.

The park provides habitat for 90 species of mammals, including 11 primates, 346 species of birds, 202 species of butterflies, 163 species of trees, 100 species of ferns, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species.

The park has about 340 individual mountain gorillas. There are four habituated Mountain Gorilla groups open to tourism: Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura near Buhoma; and the Nkuringo group at Nkuringo.

Area: 331 km²
Ishasha (Queen Elizabeth NP)
The Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to the tree-climbing lions, unique to this area. The males of these lions sport manes that are black, another unique feature.
Kalinzu Forest Reserve
Kalinzu Forest Reserve is located in the Bushenyi district in Western Uganda and covers an area of 137 km2.

In Kalinzu Forest you can find 414 species of trees and shrubs, 378 species of birds, 6 different species of primates, 262 butterflies and 97 moths.

The total number of chimpanzees in this reserve is about 240 of which 70 or two groups have been habituated for tourism and research purposes.
Katonga Wildlife Reserve
Katonga Wildlife Reserve is located in western Uganda, along the banks of River Katonga.

It was established in 1998 and measures approximately 211 sq km.

The reserve is a recent addition to Uganda's list of protected wildlife areas.

The wildlife reserve is named after Katonga River, which flows from Lake Victoria in the east to Lake George in the west.

Home to over 40 species of mammal and at least 150 bird species (many specific to wetland habitats) it is an ornithologist's haven. Most on seen are the elephants, colobus monkeys, waterbucks and reedbuck and river otter.

The reserve is best explored on foot or by river canoe.
Kazinga Channel (Queen Elizabeth NP)
The Kazinga Channel is a wide and dominant feature of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

It connects Lakes Edward and George at the foot of 5100m Rwenzori Mountains and is 32km long.

The channel attracts a varied range of animals and birds, with one of the worlds largest concentration of hippos and numerous Nile crocodiles.

A tourist dream is not fulfilled while in Queen Elizabeth National Park unless the Kazinga Channel cruise is made to view lots of animals and birdlife on the two Lakes
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale forest national park is located in western Uganda, protecting moist evergreen rain forest.

The park was created in 1993 to protect a large area of forest previously managed as a logged Forest Reserve (gazetted in 1932).

The park adjoins with Queen Elizabeth National Park and is an important eco-tourism and safari destination, popular for its population of habituated chimpanzees and 12 other species of primates.

The park's population of elephants travels between the park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, and other large animals that live in the park include leopards, bushpigs, three species of duiker and two species of otter. Bird life is also prolific.

Area: 776 km²
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National park is located in the northeastern corner of Uganda.

Perennial water makes River Kidepo an oasis in the semi-desert which hosts over 86 mammal species including lion, cheetah, leopard, bat-eared fox, giraffe — as well as almost 500 bird species.

Area: 1,442 km²
Kigezi Wildlife Reserve
The Kigezi Wildlife Reserve is found in Uganda. It was established in 1952. It covers an area of 265 km².

This reserve is a buffer between Queen Elizabeth National Park's Ishasha sector, Maramagambo Forest and heavily populated areas to the south.

Kigezi is a refuge for elephants that move east from the Rwindi Plain in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and south from Queen Elizabeth NP at the start of the wet season.
Kyambura Gorge (Queen Elizabeth NP)
Kyambura Game Reserve, also known as Kyambura Gorge, is part of the Queen Elizabeth National Park. It's located approximately 30 km from QENP Headquarters.

Kyambura Gorge spans a distance of 16 km, links to the Kazinga Channel and is 154 sq km.

The gorge is home to a variety of wildlife, including the only primates in the Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The area is an important water source for many animals and is surrounded by savanna.

It has three saline crater lakes, which attracts a large number of flamingoes (not found anywhere else in Uganda).
Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi ('Place of many little birds') lies in south western Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale close to the border with Rwanda.

Located at 1,962 m above sea level, it is about 25 km long and 7 km wide. The depth of the lake is rumored to vary between 44m and 900m, which if true would make the lake the second deepest in Africa.

Dotted with at least 20 small Islands and encircled by steep terraced hills, Bunyonyi is a magical spot, and it has been a popular day trip out of Kabale for decades.

It is one of the few lakes in the region that is free of bilharzia and safe for swimming.

This large freshwater lake supporting otters, sitatungas and waterbirds
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is located in western Uganda.

The park has a variety of animals such as zebras, impala, buffaloes, and over 300 bird species. At 260 square kilometres, the park is the smallest of Uganda’s Savannah national parks.

Area: 260 km²
Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to visit this lake.
With a surface area of 68,800 km², Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, and it is the largest tropical lake in the world. Lake Victoria supports Africa's largest inland fishery.
Mabira Forest
The Mabira Forest is a rainforest located in the Mukono District between Kampala and Jinja. It covers about 300 sq km.

It has been protected as Mabira Forest Reserve since 1932.

Hundreds of bird and butterfly species call the forest home. The forest also hosts a wide range of animals, including endangered primates. There are leopards, antelopes and snakes.

Mabira Forest is nature’s seventh heaven. Because of its beauty, location and biodiversity, the jungle is now one of the most visited eco-tourism spots in the country.
Mgahinga national park
The Mgahinga national park is located in the Virunga Mountains and is contiguous with the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mgahinga is one of two locations in Uganda in which mountain gorillas can be found; the other being Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Mgahinga covers an area of 33,7 sq km.
Mount Elgon National park
Mount Elgon National park is located on the border of Kenya and Uganda.

Elephants and buffalo can be found on the lower slopes. The park is also home to a variety of small antelope and forest monkeys, including the Black-and-white Colobus and Blue Monkey. Over 300 birds can also be found in the area.

The park has a variety of scenery; this includes cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, mesas, calderas, hot springs, and the mountain peaks.

Area: 1279 km² (total)
Mpanga Forest
Mpanga Forest is a Tiny (45 sq km) but intact tall rainforest and swamp community with 205 tree species, 8 large mammal species and 78 butterfly species.

Mpanga Forest is easily accessed from Kampala and well worth a stop on a visit en-route to the west of Uganda.

Mpanga has a vibrant birdlife where you can see the African Pied Hornbill, Black and White Casqued Hornbill and African Grey Parrot. The Great Blue Turaco and Blue Chested King Fisher are the most conspicuous of the 180 birds recorded.

Visitors are welcome to picnic or camp at the forest center and follow any of the way marked trails to the south of the river.
Murchison Falls National
The Murchison Falls National park lies in north western Uganda, spreading inland from the shore of Lake Albert around the Victoria Nile.

It's Uganda's largest national park and the only one which has all "big five". Buffalos, elephants, lions, leopards are best to be seen in the northern part (above the Nile).

Rhinos were sadly extinguished but are now being bred again in the rhino sanctuary south of the park; 40 to 50 rhinos are planned to be released into the wild in approx. 30 years (by 2040).

Area: 3,480 km²
Pian-Upe Wildlife Reserve
The reserve covers an area of 2,275 sq km, and is Uganda’s second largest Protected Area after Murchison Falls National Park.

It is located in Karamoja, in eastern Uganda and is th most important game reserve in the region.

141 species of flowering plant were identified, and 4 vegetation types were described: grassland and wooded grassland, which covers most of the reserve, riverine woodland, kopjes, and cultivated land.

It gives home to 31 species of large mammals, 12 species of small rodent, 3 species of shrew, 5 species of bat, and 11 species of reptiles.
Queen Elizabeth Natinal Park
Queen Elizabeth Natinal Park is located in western Uganda.

It's home to 95 species of mammal and over 500 species of birds.

You can find hippos, elephants, leopards, lions and chimpanzees. The area around Ishasha in Rukungiri District is famous for its tree-climbing lions, whose males sport black manes, a feature unique to the lions in this area.

The park is also famous for its volcanic features, comprising volcanic cones and deep craters, many with crater lakes such as Lake Katwe, from which salt is extracted.

Area: 1,978 km²
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is located in southwestern Uganda.

It has Africa's third highest mountain peak and many waterfalls, lakes, and glaciers.

The park has 89 species of birds, 15 species of butterfly, and four primate species.

The park's wildlife varies with elevation, and its species include the forest elephant, chimpanzee, hyrax, black-and-white colobus, L'Hoest's monkeys, duiker, and Ruwenzori Turaco.

Area: 998 km²
Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve
Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve, formerly called Toro Game Reserve, is the oldest protected area in Uganda.

It's stretching from the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains to the southern tip of Lake Albert and is a rich mosaic of grassland, savannah, forest and wetland habitats.

The 558km² area of the reserve supports a huge array of fauna including lion, leopard, elephant (both savannah and forest species) buffalo, and chimpanzees as well as a staggering number of birds, with over 400 having been recorded.
Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park is located in the Bundibugyo District in western Uganda.

It was made a National Park in October 1993, and is one of Uganda’s newest national parks and is one of Uganda's most important safari destination.

The 220km² area of the reserve supports 336 tree species, over 53 mammal species, more than 400 bird species, 8 primate species and almost 300 butterfly species.

The Hot Springs at Sempaya are Semuliki National Park’s most famous attraction.
Ssese Islands
The Ssese Islands are an archipelago of 84 islands in the northwest of Lake Victoria, Uganda, in the nation's Kalangala District.

Some Islands are large and densely inhabited, others small and deserted.

The islands get their names from the enormous swarms of lakeflies that breed in giant clouds near the shores. Although this sounds irritating, the enormity of the swarms is quite a sight.

The Ssese islands are blessed with over 13 forests, uncountable beaches and over seven hours of sunshine. This makes the Ssese islands the most perfect destination for holiday, honey moons or relaxation retreat.

The islands are home to a variety of animals including primates.

Rwanda National parks

Akagera National Park
The Akagera National Park covers 1,200km² in eastern Rwanda, against the Tanzanian border.

It was founded in 1934 to protect animals and vegetation in three ecoregions: savannah, mountain and swamp.

The park is named for the Kagera River which flows along its eastern boundary feeding into several lakes the largest of which is Lake Ihema. The complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps makes up over 1/3 of the park and is the largest protected wetland in central Africa.

Due to land shortages, in 1997 the western boundary was regazetted and much of the land allocated as farms to returning refugees. The park was reduced in size from over 2,500km² to its current size.

Although much of the best savannah grazing land is now outside the park boundaries, what remains of Akagera is some of the most diverse and scenic landscape in Africa.
Gishwati Forest
Gishwati Forest is a protected reserve in the north-western part of Rwanda, not far from Lake Kivu.

The reserve’s forests were largely intact in 1978, and substantial forest cover still remained in 1986.

During the Rwandan Genocide, wave after wave of refugees arrived in Gishwati Forest and began clearing it, often for subsistence farming. By 2001, only a small circular patch of native forest remained, 1500 acres of the forest’s original 250,000. In addition to tremendous loss of biodiversity, the region experiences soil erosion and degradation and landslides. Reforestation efforts in the past few years have increased the remnant native forest to about 2,500 acres. Large tea estates occupy the central and northern parts of the reserve.
Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine (western) Rift, a part of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika.

The lake covers a total surface area of some 2,700 km2 and stands at a height of 1,460 metres above sea level. Some 1 370 km2 or 58% of the lake's waters lie within DRC borders.
Mukura Forest Reserve
Mukura Forest is a protected reserve in the North-West part of Rwanda, covering about 12.00 km²
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest National Park is a national park in southwestern Rwanda, located south of Lake Kivu on the border with Burundi.

The park was established in 2004 and covers an area of approximately 970 km² of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs.

The nearest town is Cyangugu, 54 km to the west. Mount Bigugu is located within the park borders.

The park is the location of the most distant source of the Nile.

Nyungwe has a wide diversity of animal species, making it a priority for conservation in Africa.

The park contains 13 different primate species (25% of Africa's total), 275 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. Many of these animals are restricted-range species that are only found in the Albertine Rift ecoregion in Africa. In fact, the number of endemic species found here is greater than in any other forest in the Albertine Rift that has been surveyed.
Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park (French: Parc National des Volcans) lies in northwestern Rwanda and borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.

The national park is known as a haven for the mountain gorilla. It is home to five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains (Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo), which are covered in rainforest and bamboo.

The park was the base for the zoologist Dian Fossey.