Uganda may not be the first country that comes to mind when you start planning an African wildlife experience, but it should certainly be at the top of your list if you are interested in primates. Uganda is simply Primate Paradise and there are several National Parks here that protect and conserve some of the world’s rarest and most endangered primates. Here you can lock eyes with a giant Silverback Mountain Gorilla – there are estimated to be less than 800 Mountain Gorillas left in the entire world! But Uganda is not only about Gorillas in the Mist! There are several other National Parks to thrill you; go Chimpanzee trekking in the rainforests of Kibale or enjoy viewing hundreds of Hippo and Crocodiles in Murchison Falls National Park. Queen Elizabeth National Park is the place to see the tree-climbing Lions of Ishasha, while the entire country is a staggeringly good destination for bird-watching with over 600 recorded species to tick off your list.
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Uganda is at the forefront of conservation efforts to save this critically endangered species, widely believed to be Man’s closest relative. And there is good news! The WWF reports that conservation efforts have resulted in an increase of the Mountain Gorilla population from 620 animals in 1989 to around 786 today. Come and see them in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park on the edge of the Rift Valley, where about 320 of them live, including nine habituated groups which can be tracked on foot – the ultimate primate adventure. There are also many other primate species here as well as Elephants, antelopes and hundreds of birds.
At Kibale National Park, one of the loveliest of Uganda’s protected areas you can go Chimpanzee trekking through the tropical rainforest and spot some of the other 10 primate species and the 374 recorded bird species that are found here. You can even take part in the Chimpanzee Habituation project.
Gorillas, Chimps and other primates may be one of your main reasons for visiting Uganda’s National Parks, but it should certainly not be the only reason. Queen Elizabeth National Park is set against the dramatic backdrop of the Rwenzori Mountains and offers classic big game viewing with a few surprises – this is one of the very few places in Africa where you can see tree-climbing Lions.
Uganda is also world-famous as a bird-watching destination and there are more than 600 species of recorded birds to look out for. One of the best National Parks for birders is the Murchison Falls National Park, which is bisected by the Victoria Nile River which dramatically forces its way through a narrow gorge to plummet 45m to the valley floor. This is also a great place to see Elephant, Nile Crocodiles and Hippos.
Come and visit some of Uganda’s thrilling National Parks for the experience of a lifetime, or combine Uganda with Kenya and Tanzania for a more in-depth look at Africa’s National Parks heritage.