Often overlooked by tourists who head instead to neighboring Kenya and Tanzania, Uganda has been described as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ such is its natural beauty and charm. The landlocked country is home to a diverse array of ecosystems which are fascinating to explore and, untouched and wild, they are stunning to behold.
The undoubted main attraction has to be the mountain gorillas for which Uganda is renowned. Viewing them up close in their natural habitat is simply awe-inspiring and certainly makes for unforgettable memories.
Map of National Parks in Uganda
With amazing whitewater rafting and the serene Lake Victoria also on offer; this lovely country will astound you with all that there is to see and do. Here are the most beautiful national parks in Uganda which should you give you some inspiration as to what you just have to see in this country.
Despite its size, Lake Mburo National Park certainly has a number of amazing attractions that belie its small stature. With five lakes contained within its boundaries, the most impressive is the lake that gives the park its name: Lake Mburo. The huge lake stretches away in the distance and taking a boat trip on its tranquil waters is simply delightful. Due to the wetlands and waterways present in the area, visitors should be able to see crocodiles and hippopotami either basking on the banks or slowly cruising their way through the water. Leopards, buffaloes and zebras also reside in the national park and taking a horseback riding safari is an exhilarating and memorable way to get up close to the animals in the wild. With a number of diverse ecosystems on offer, trekking through the forests and savannah with a ranger is another great way to spend your time. Approaching the salt lick on foot is absolutely amazing as a wide range of animals gather around it to enjoy the salty soil. A memorable experience all round.
Located right in the west of the country on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this national park is a biodiversity hotspot. Its abundant and diverse fauna and flora attract a huge range of different species of bird that flock to the dense forests and undergrowth of the park. The scenery on show is stunning and the sun glinting off of the Semuliki River that runs through the park is lovely to behold as are the Sempaya hot springs that bubble up ferociously between fissures in the ground. While large mammals such as elephants, forest buffaloes and leopards reside in Semuliki National Park, a number of local communities also live within its confines. As such visitors to the park can catch a glimpse into the lives and culture of the Basua people who live as hunter-gatherers within the forests of Semuliki.
The beautiful forests that cover the hills and valleys of Kibale National Park are home to a wide array of primates who playfully swing from branch to branch between the trees. It is these delightful creatures that are the main attraction of the park and many people come to gaze upon the chimpanzees and the red colobus monkeys that Kibale protects. The variety of tree species on offer is in large part why just so many types of primate call the area home and birds too are prevalent throughout the park. With one of the largest primate populations in Africa, Kibale National Park is well worth a visit and the scenery on show isn’t bad either!
The rugged and isolated terrain of Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the far north of the country on the border with South Sudan. Its secluded location has helped to protect and preserve the spectacular sprawling plains and savannah that are only punctuated by mountain ranges off in the distance. The huge park feels never-ending and herds of zebra and buffalo cross the plains while elephants, giraffes and lions can be found wandering beneath the beautiful blue skies. Mount Morungole towers above the flatlands and at the not inconsiderable height of 2,750 meters; it offers panoramic views of Kidepo Valley. Majestic in appearance and with a wealth of wildlife on offer, safaris in the park will certainly leave you with cherished memories.
Named after Mount Elgon, the national park actually bisects the Kenya-Uganda border with the highest peak being on the Kenyan side. The incredible scenery on show is spectacular to behold and the long extinct volcano of Mount Elgon makes for some fantastic trekking. Descending into its caldera is an awe-inspiring experience and passing waterfalls, gorges, hot springs and plunging cliff faces only adds to the beauty of the park. The view from Endebess Buff is breathtaking and the caves dotted around the mount also make for some amazing exploring. With ancient cave paintings, ample wildlife and the indomitable Mount Elgon rising so dramatically from amidst its surroundings; this national park must be seen to be believed.
For the smallest national park in the whole of Uganda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has a huge amount to see and do. Encompassing three volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains, it is these lofty peaks that give the park its distinctive and beautiful features and they make for some amazing hikes to their summits. The lush vegetation and verdant forests that coat their slopes are home to a family of gorillas and trekking through the undergrowth to catch a glimpse of them in their natural habitat is an exciting and unforgettable experience. The local Batwa community also call these forests their home and learning about their culture and history of life in the area is fascinating. The stunning scenery on show only adds to the appeal of this amazing national park.
Stunning to behold, the beautiful falls that give this national park its name are a must-see among all the other attractions on show in the area. Here, the Nile waters spray dramatically and violently out of a narrow gap between the rocks, covering its surroundings in a fine layer of spray. Below the cascades, the Nile widens out and to either side of the river visitors will see buffaloes, crocodiles and hippos going about their daily lives. Murchison Falls has a fantastic array of wildlife residing within its confines and it is home to four of the big five with only rhinos missing from the menagerie. Take a boat trip on the Nile and watch the lovely landscapes of the park slowly drift before your eyes.
The most popular park in the whole of Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park’s spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife make it a firm favorite with visitors to the country. With over 500 different types of bird flitting and flying around the park, it is a paradise for bird watchers and Maramagambo Forest is the perfect place in which to view them. A wide array of primates also call the forest their home and walking along the trails with chimpanzees swinging off to the side of the paths is an unforgettable experience. The beautiful waterways on offer such as Lake George and Lake Katwe Crater are delightful to explore by boat and drifting on their tranquil waters is a dreamy affair. Despite these thrilling attractions, the prime draw of the park are the large mammals that roam its ever-changing terrain. Lions, hippos, elephants, leopards and more make their way around the volcanic features of Queen Elizabeth National Park, perfectly at home in this natural wonder that is just waiting to explored.
Be prepared to be amazed when visiting Rwenzori Mountains National Park as the landscapes on show are awe-inspiring for the spectacular scenes that they paint below the heavens. One of the most beautiful places on earth, the unique and unusual landscapes of the park make for some amazing trekking that you won’t be forgetting any time soon. The towering mountain range that gives the park its name is breathtaking to behold and stunning waterfalls and icy glaciers dot the higher reaches of the mountainsides. The snow-capped Mount Stanley is simply stupendous and interspersed around the amazingly varied terrain of the park; tranquil lakes provide a moment of peace away from the jagged rocks and domineering peaks. Untamed and untouched, Rwenzori Mountains National Park will delight and astound any lucky visitor who adventures into this wild paradise.
The endless forests that cover this amazing national park appear impenetrable such is their density and thankfully so as the lush vegetation has protected the main draw of the park for eons: the rare and elusive mountain gorilla. Traipsing through the dense overgrowth, the biodiversity on show is dazzling for the incredible wealth of different fauna and flora contained within the park. With beautiful birdsong echoing around you in the steamy forests, head deeper into the mountains for a chance to see the majestic mountain gorillas up close in their natural habitat. The stunning scenery of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a fitting setting in which to behold these fantastic and unforgettable creatures.