Tourist Attraction

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Most of Uganda’s wildlife is concentrated in its protected areas, of which there are three main categories. Uganda has established 10 National Parks, enabling tourists to enjoy the pristine wilderness environment.

a) Murchison Falls National Park – The largest National Park in Uganda – covering 3,877 sq km – and one of the most spectacular in Africa. The river Nile plunges through a narrow crevice and overa 40-meter drop. On the banks, prolific wildlife including elephant, crocodile,hippopotamus, lion, giraffe, buffalo, and countless antelopes and birds can be observed.

b) Queen Elizabeth National Park – This is a Biosphere Reserve for Humanity under UNESCO covering 2,056 sq. km and includes a remarkable variety of ecosystems. Tree-climbing lions, the Uganda Kob, elephant, baboons, hippos, buffalo and chimpanzees. 500 species of birds have been recorded, making the park a magnet for bird watchers. The bird species include the black bee-eater, 11 types of king fisher, Shoebill storks,falcons, eagles and other raptors. In the crater lakes to the north, flocks of flamingos.

c) Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Home to the world-famous mountain gorillas, of which they are less than 600 still left in the entire world. Gorilla permits are required for tracking the gorillas.Reservation at least three months in advance.

d) Mgahinga Gorilla – The Park has been set aside to provide a secure habitat for the gorillas. Besides the gorillas, other wildlife may also be viewed including the leopard, giant forest hog, bushbuck,buffalo, and golden monkey. The summit of Mount Muhavura (4,127 m) has a small crater lake.

e) Kibale Forest National Park – The rain forest is situated to the north-east of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Inaddition to forest, there are also areas of grassland and swamp. The park is noted for its primate population – 13 different species inhabit the park including many families of chimpanzees and several types of colobus monkeys.Bushbuck, waterbuck, duiker and giant forest hog may also be seen. The forests and the grasslands support abundant bird life – almost 300 species have been identified and 144 types of butterfly.

f) Kidepo National Park – The Park is in North East Uganda and covers 1,436 sq. km. It is inhabited by various wildlife including elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, various antelope species, baboon, bush baby and over 200 species of bird. Two game viewing routes connect the rest camp with the prime wildlife areas near the River Winwing and the rock escarpment to the southwest. On the park’s northern borders are the Kananorok Hot Springs.

g) Mount Elgon – This is an extinct volcano located on Uganda’s eastern border. The mountain boasts numerous interesting features including gorges, ancient caves, water falls and hot springs. Birdlifeis abundant on the mountain although various wildlife may also be encountered.

h) Semiliki National Park – This is the only park in Uganda to be composed primarily of tropical lowland forest. The park is home to eight species of primate, 400 birds and 300 butterfly species,elephant, buffalo, leopard, civet, bush baby and flying squirrels.

i) Lake Mburo National Park – A small park(371 sq. km) is composed primarily of grassland, wetland and acacia woodland.Lake Mburo, which together with 14 other lakes, forms part of an extensive wetland area. Animals include the impala, eland, rock hyrax, zebra, waterbuck,buffalo, warthog, leopard, civet, hyena, hippo, and crocodile. There are also over 357 species of birds including the marabou stock and the crowned crane.

j) Rwenzori Mountains – Mist-shrouded peaks of the Mountains of the Moon on Uganda’s western border. Permanent snow and glaciers, lower slopes are covered with dense forests. Third highest mountainin Africa, Mt. Magherita, is 5,100 metres above sea level. Experienced and fit mountaineers should attempt an ascent on the peaks, which rival the Alps in difficulty. Wildlife includes chimpanzees, along with the blue monkey, hyrax,giant forest hog and many unique bird species such as the Rwenzori touraco, the francolin and the olive pigeon.

The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC)

The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe was created by the Government of Uganda. The Centre has grown considerably in recent years and hosts a variety of wildlife. The centre environment has been designed to be as close as possible to the wild. Visitor sare able to observe many of the indigenous species to be found in Uganda and also to receive comprehensive information on the species, their natural habitats and the complex ecologies of Uganda.

People and Culture

Traditional customs and lifestyles are still alive in many parts of the country, which adds spice to the tourist experience. Ugandans generally have a reputation for openness, and a friendly attitude to visitors. Various peoples make up Uganda and each group have their own traditional customs and ways of life. As a courtesy, tourists should always seek permission before taking photographs. There are also several cultural sites, such as the Kasubi Royal Tombs.

Lakes and Rivers

Uganda’s freshwater lakes offer opportunities for water activities and sports. White water rafting, is popular tourist activity, especially on the River Nile, lake cruises, sport fishing and sailing.

Uganda is a country of exceptional diversity and beauty. Seven of Africa’s 18 plant kingdoms are in Uganda. Unique flora and fauna, as part of the emphasis on eco-tourism and in response to increasing demand from tourists, new nature trails have been developed in virtually every protected area.

Bird Life

Over 1,000 recorded bird species, Uganda has almost half the species known on the African continent and over 10% of those on record throughout the entire world. The Queen Elizabeth National Park alone has 550 avian species.

The Ssese Islands

Consisting of 84 islands in the north-western section of Lake Victoria, many of the islands are uninhabited except for a few fishermen so their forests and swamps are ideal habitats for birds. The wildlife on the islands includes hippos, crocodile, waterbuck, sitatung aantelope, chimpanzees and monkeys. The islands can be reached by a nine-hoursteamer trip from Port Bell or a 45-minute ferry trip from Bukakata.