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Uganda’s National Parks – An Introduction

Uganda’s National Parks

Elephants Maramagambo Forest Queen Elizabeth National Park

Still my favourite elephant photo – taken as we drove along the Ishasha Road through Maramagambo Forest in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Within living memory, elephants wandered across three quarters of Uganda. These days the larger mammals are mostly confined within Uganda’s protected areas: the National Parks and Forest Reserves managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Forest Reserves, managed by the National Forestry Authority.

You’ve heard of the Big Five, but how about the Big Seven?

In Uganda we can go TWO better! On safari in Uganda, not only can you see the Big Five (elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard)  you can trek the mountain gorillas and track the chimps. Uganda is the only country where you can see all these animals.
Uganda may not have the large numbers of wildlife that you can see in Kenya and Tanzania, however, patient game tracking can be rewarding. All the major wildlife attractions can be seen easily and you often feel you have the National Park to yourself. You’re certainly very unlikely to meet a traffic jam in Uganda’s bush!
Identifying a Sunbird. Sunbird Hill Uganda

Identifying a Sunbird – not always easy, even with the bird guide! Photo taken at Sunbird Hill, edge of Kibale Forest

Uganda has arguably Africa’s greatest variety of birdlife with over 1,030 species recorded. Uganda’s Birding Big Five are: Shoebill, Secretary Bird, Green Breasted Pitta, African Green Broad-bill and Pel’s Fishing Owl.

It’s possible to spot over 450 species of birds in Uganda in a two or three week trip, if you’re well prepared with a professional bird guide. Even if you don’t see yourself as a birder, I defy you not to fall in love with birds after visiting the Pearl of Africa!

Uganda’s National Parks

The majority of Uganda’s tourists will visit one or several of Uganda’s ten national parks, these being:
Uganda’s National Parks are open to the public every day of the year. They’re not the only place where you can enjoy wildlife and birds in Uganda but they have the best facilities and guides. They have the widest range of lodges, camps and other accommodation. Wildlife has the best protection in the National Parks and by visiting them, you are supporting conservation in Uganda.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority is responsible for managing the ten National Parks.