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Home » 10 National Parks of Uganda: Uganda National Parks: National Parks in Uganda

10 National Parks of Uganda: Uganda National Parks: National Parks in Uganda

The rich bio-diverse and picturesque national parks in Uganda have made this country a popular destination for safaris in East Africa.

These beautiful Uganda national parks are categorized into forest national parks, savannah national parks, and mountainous national parks for example Mountains Rwenzori National Park and Mount Elgon National Park.

Though there are many national parks in Uganda, each holds unique tourist attractions! For example, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park- in south western Uganda hold Mountain gorillas and are purposely visited for Uganda gorilla trekking safaris/gorilla treks.

Uganda national parks- Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, & Mburo park are great sites for Uganda wildlife viewing tours. They are home to abundant wildlife including; Lions, Cape Buffalos, Elephants, Leopards, Zebras, Giraffes, and several Antelope species as well as lovely birds. Therefore, all Uganda national parks are wonderful spots for Uganda birding safaris.

If interested in Uganda chimpanzee trekking tours, Kibale forest park offers the best chimpanzee tracking safaris in Uganda. Golden Monkeys are only found in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Note that, the best time to visit Uganda national parks is mostly in the dry season- June-early September and December-February. Late September-November and March-May is a wet season- Gorilla tracking trails can be slippery but, this is the best time for budget tours in Uganda.

Continue with me and explore a full list of Uganda national parks: national game parks in Uganda: examples of national parks in Uganda

1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best destination to track gorillas in Africa. It’s a natural world heritage site home to 50% of the amazing critically endangered mountain gorillas living on planet Earth!

Most gorilla trekking safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest take place in the Buhoma sector. However, you are free to track gorillas in Bwindi in other sectors such as Rushaga, Nkuringo, and Ruhija.

Also, avian tour guides in Uganda refer to Bwindi as the heart for Uganda bird watching tours, home to over 350 birds, with over 90% of Albertine Endemic birds counting the Grauers Broadbill and Neumann’s Warbler.

Location of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi impenetrable national park is found in the southwest Uganda corner about 450km from Kampala, a 9-10 hrs drive. It’s a picturesque full-day drive taking you via amazing stopovers in Uganda for instance, Uganda Equator crossing line.

From Kabale Town, it takes about 2-3 hours drive to reach Bwindi Forest. It’s also possible to access the Bwindi national park area from Queen via the Ishasha Sector.

History of Bwindi National Park

This great destination for Uganda gorilla tracking safaris– Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was gazetted in 1991. The 1st habituated gorilla group in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park got its first visitors in 1993 and as of now, over 20 gorilla families in Bwindi park are open for gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda.

Top Attractions in Bwindi National Park

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park holds various attractions, and the key ones:

  • Mountain gorillas: the best way to spot them is by undertaking gorilla treks in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
  • Wonderful birds
  • Other primates like; Blue Monkeys, Red-tailed Monkeys, Chimpanzees, and Black and white Colobus Monkeys, etc.
  • Colorful plant species
  • Wonderful butterfly species
  • Batwa people around the park

Popular Activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Although there are various things to do in Bwindi, the best activities in Bwindi National Park include:

  • Gorilla tracking tours
  • Gorilla Habituation Experience
  • Bird watching tours- are among the other highlights of Bwindi tours
  • Undertaking forest nature walks
  • Enjoying Batwa cultural tours. On this memorable adventure around the park, you can learn how the Pygmies build their huts- hut building
  • Undertaking cycling tours around Bwindi impenetrable forest national park

2. Queen Elizabeth National Park

Most wildlife viewing safari packages in Uganda hardly miss Queen Elizabeth National Park.

This great biodiverse park is home to over 95 animal species, including the Big Five, 600 birds, and an array of wonderful ecological zones/diverse ecosystems such as rainforests, dry savannahs, freshwater lakes, alkaline lakes, fertile wetlands, etc.

It’s the only park in Uganda to spot climbing Lions.

Location of Queen Elizabeth National Park

One of the Uganda national parks in western Uganda, Queen spans districts such as Kamwenge, Rubirizi, and Kasese. It’s about 2-3 hours drive from Fort Portal Town and 6-8 hours drive from Kampala, Uganda’s capital.

From Kampala, you can access Queen via the Kampala Mbarara Kasese route or the Kampala Mubende Fort Portal Kasese route. Inquire for the best!

History of Queen Elizabeth National Park

This protected area was gazetted as a park in 1952. Initially, it was called Kazinga National Park; however, it was renamed Queen Elizabeth National Park to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II of England in 1954.

Main Attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park- Unique Things to See in Queen Elizabeth National Park

The best attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park include the following:

  • Amazing game animals, including tree climbing Lions commonly spotted resting up in acacia trees during hot hours of the day
  • Beautiful birds
  • Kazinga Channel- main attraction commonly known for incredible wildlife viewing tours
  • Ishasha sector, prominent for its amazing  climbing Lions
  • Kyambura Gorge- a great destination for Uganda chimpanzee safaris
  • Mweya Peninsular
  • Maramagambo Forest
  • Crater lakes including Lake Katwe evaporation pans

Key Activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park

These include:

  • Game driving in the Kasenyi and Ishasha area
  • Boat cruise on Kazinga channel
  • Birding
  • Searching for the tree climbing Lions in the Ishasha sector
  • Chimp tracking in Kyambura Gorge
  • Taking nature walks in Maramagambo Forest
  • Lion tracking within Kasenyi plains
  • Undertaking the Crater Lake drive
  • Exploring Lake Katwe evaporation pans

3. Murchison Falls National Park

Covering over 3,840 km2, Murchison Falls National Park is another popular site for game viewing safaris in Uganda, comparable to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Within Murchison falls park, travelers can spot 4 of the Big Five (Lions, Elephants, Leopards, and Cape Buffalos), plus other game animals such as Giraffes, Hippos, Crocs, Hartebeests, Oribis, Bushbucks, etc.

Bird lovers on Uganda safaris in Murchison Falls Park will encounter countless birds, for instance, the rare Shoebill Stork in the Nile Lake Albert Delta area.

Location of Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is about 305km (5-6 hours drive) northwest of Kampala. Uganda Murchison Falls Park covers Buliisa District, Nwoya, Kiryandongo, and Masindi Districts.

The park sits just north of the Albertine Rift Valley.

History of Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park was gazetted in 1952 and it’s the oldest park in Uganda.

Top Tourist Attractions in Murchison Falls National Park

The main attractions in Murchison Falls Park include the following:

  • Amazing game animals, including all the Big Five
  • The breathtaking Murchison Falls- the world’s most powerful waterfall. It’s one of the main attraction of Murchison park
  • Lovely bird species, for instance, the Shoebill
  • Budongo Forest- a lovely area for Uganda birding tours
  • The mighty River Nile- the world’s longest river
  • Top of the falls, you can undertake a hike after the boat landing below the base of these giant falls
  • Buligi game area
  • Paraa area
  • The Nile-Lake Albert Delta
  • Amazing primates such as; Red-tailed Monkeys, Chimpanzees, and Blue Monkeys.
  • Rabongo Forest

Best Activities in Murchison Falls National Park- Top Things to Do in Murchison Falls National Park

Most of the safari activities in Uganda can be enjoyed in Murchison Park, and the most popular are:

  • Game driving
  • Boat cruise to the base of the falls
  • Bird watching tours
  • Chimpanzee tracking in Budongo Forest
  • Launch trip to the Nile Lake Albert Delta Area
  • Nature walks
  • Driving to the top of the falls

4. Kibale National Park in Uganda- Best Area for Uganda Chimpanzee Safaris

Uganda National Parks

Kibale National Park offers the best chimpanzee safaris in Uganda among all Uganda national parks. In Kibale forest park, over 1,500 chimpanzees have been recorded, and other 12 primate species such as; Olive Baboons, Red tailed Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, L’Hoest’s Monkeys, Uganda Mangabeys, and Black and White Colobus Monkeys, etc.

Also, Kibale Forest holds a rich bird life rising over 370 birds counting the Green Breasted Pitta. Kibale is a must not miss site for Uganda birding tours.

Location of Kibale Forest National Park: Where is Kibale National Park Found?

Situated in Kabarole District (western Uganda), Kibale Forest is about 300km drive west of Kampala and 2km From Fort Portal Town.

Usually, tourists on Uganda safaris to Kibale Forest Park use Kampala, Mubende Fort Portal highways.

History of Kibale National Park

Kibale Forest Park was gazetted in 1993 to protect a large area of forest that was formerly a logged forest reserve.

Best Attractions in Kibale National Park

Below are the top attractions in Kibale National Park:

  • Chimpanzees
  • More primate species, such as Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, and Red-tailed Monkeys.
  • Lovely birds
  • Bigodi wetland around
  • Ndali Kasenda Craters
  • Wonderful vegetation

Main Activities in Kibale Forest National Park

Here are the most amazing activities/things to do in Kibale National Park: 

  • Chimpanzee trekking
  • Bird watching
  • Chimpanzee habituation experience
  • Taking guided nature walks
  • Kibale Crater Lakes tour
  • Undertaking community visits around Kibale Forest
  • Visiting Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru around

5. Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park is Uganda’s most isolated national park; however, it’s worth visiting due to its amazing wildlife and breathtaking landscape, dabbed as Africa’s true wilderness. Within Kidepo Valley National Park, you can encounter most of the African safari Big Five and about 500 birds.

Location of Kidepo Valley National Park- Where Is Kidepo Located?

Situated within Kaabong District, Kidepo Valley National Park is about 700km northeast of Kampala on the border of South Sudan. It’s the most isolated national park of Uganda.

History of Kidepo National Park

Uganda Kidepo Valley National Park was gazetted as a national park in 1962.

Major Tourist Attractions in Kidepo Valley National Park

There are numerous amazing tourist attractions in Kidepo Valley National Park but, the most prominent are:

  • Wonderful game animals such as Giraffes, Lions, Cape Buffalos, Leopards, Cheetahs, Elephants, Zebras, Spotted Hyenas, Oribis, etc.
  • Beautiful birds
  • Narus Valley- a wonderful site for game viewing tours
  • Kidepo Valley
  • The mystic Kanangorok hot spring
  • Amazing local people
  • Mount Morungole and,
  • Namamukweny Valley

Popular Activities in Kidepo National Park

Travelers enjoying Uganda wildlife safaris in Kidepo Valley National Park can enjoy the following activities:

  • Game viewing tours during game drives. On this thrilling adventure, expect to encounter numerous wildlife species, such as game animals and birds, as well as the beautiful golden plains.
  • Nature walks in Kidepo Valley
  • Cultural encounters with the local communities around, for example, the Karamajong community and the IK of Morungole Mountain
  • Hiking Mountain Morungole

6.Lake Mburo National Park

Famously, Lake Mburo National Park is renowned for impalas. However, it’s also home to other wildlife like Elands, Buffalos, Zebras, Oribis, waterbucks, Bushbucks, Leopards, Hippos, and, Hyenas, etc.

Among the Uganda national parks, Mburo national park is the most ideal site to spot acacia dwelling birds on Uganda birding tours. About 350 birds have been in this park.

Location of Lake Mburo National Park

Found within western Uganda, Mburo park is situated between Masaka and Mbarara District. From Kampala, Mburo park is about 228km taking about 3-4 hours to drive and it’s the most convenient park in Uganda.

It’s situated between the town of Masaka and Mbarara city.

History of Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo NP was first gazetted in 1933 as a controlled hunting area but later, it was upgraded to a game reserve in 1963.

Best Attractions in Lake Mburo National Park

  • Amazing game animals
  • Rwonyo Rest Camp
  • Rubanga Forest
  • Mburo Lake
  • Beautiful bird species
  • The rich culture around Lake Mburo Park

Main Activities in Lake Mburo National Park

These are the best things to do in Lake Mburo National Park:

  • Game viewing on game drives- both day and night game drives are possible
  • Nature walks, for instance, Rubanga forest walks
  • Bird watching
  • Boat cruise on Lake Mburo
  • Horseback safaris- only carried out in this Mburo amongst all the Uganda national  parks
  • Cycling tours
  • Community visits around Lake Mburo Park
  • Sport fishing in Lake Mburo

7.Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the few Uganda national parks where tourists can spot both the endangered Mountain gorillas and Golden Monkeys. Famously, Mgahinga National Park is renowned for Uganda gorilla trekking tours but, visitors who visit this park hardly miss out on golden monkey trekking expeditions as well.

Location of Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (within Virunga Conservation Area) covers about 33.7 km2 of land in south western Uganda, on the border of Uganda with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

From Kampala to Mgahinga park, it’s about 510km however, most people visit Mgahinga from Rwanda via the Chanika border.

History of Mgahinga National Park

The British administration made the area a game sanctuary in 1930 and it was upgraded into a national park in 1991.

Best Attractions in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

On your Uganda safari trip, these are the top attractions in Mgahinga National Park:

  • Gorillas
  • Cercopithecus mitis kandti
  • Scenic volcanoes
  • Batwa people/pygmies
  • Colorful birds
  • Ngarama Cave
  • Picturesque vegetation: the vast views of bamboo vegetation and dense forests on Virunga Mountains slopes explain the incredible natural beauty of most Uganda national parks

Top Activities in Mgahinga National Park: Best Things to Do in Mgahinga National Park

Below are the best activities in Mgahinga National Park:

  • Gorilla trekking
  • Golden monkey trekking
  • Bird watching
  • Volcano hiking
  • Nature walking
  • Undertaking the Batwa cultural trail experience

8. Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Uganda National Parks

Rwenzori National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Center, holds the snowcapped Rwenzori Mountains, the 3rd highest mountain in Africa, rising over 5109m above sea level. This makes it one of the most beautiful national parks of Uganda.

Most people who visit Rwenzori Mountains National Park are interested in climbing Mount Rwenzori and this hike takes about 7–10 days.

Location of Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda: Where is Rwenzori Mountain Located?

Spanning about 996 km2 along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwenzori National Park is situated in the west of Kasese and Fort Portal District.

Rwenzori Park is about a 50km drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park and it’s also possible to be accessible from Kibale Forest Park the best area for Uganda chimpanzee safaris.

From Kampala, Mountain Rwenzori National Park is over 397km drive via the Kampala-Mubende highway.

History of Rwenzori Mountain National Park

This game park was gazetted in 1991 and it was recognized as a World Heritage site in 1994 & a Ramsar site in 2008.

Best Attractions in Rwenzori Mountains National Park: What Is Mt Rwenzori National Park Famous for?

The following are the unique attractions in Rwenzori Mountains National Park:

  • Snowcapped peaks of Mountain Rwenzori
  • Wonderful wildlife, such as Forest Elephants
  • Incredible bird species
  • Lovely vegetation
  • Attractive glacial lakes
  • Bulemba Bulemba house

Best Activities in Rwenzori Mountains National Park—What to Do in Rwenzori Mountain National Park?

These are the best things to do in Rwenzori Mountains National Park:

  • Climbing Mount Rwenzori
  • Bird watching
  • Taking nature walks
  • Undertaking nature walks
  • Cultural encounters around the park

9. Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park holds Mount Elgon, a unique stratovolcano holding the world’s largest volcanic base. Mt. Elgon is also the oldest solitary volcanic mountain in East Africa.

Within Elgon National Park, about 300 bird species have been recorded, and various game animals, including forest elephants, leopards, blue monkeys, and black and white colobus monkeys, also dwell here.

Location of Mountain Elgon National Park: Where is Mountain Elgon National Park Located?

Mountain Elgon NP is found in Eastern Uganda on the Kenya Uganda border. From Kampala, it’s about 238km to Mount Elgon Park. It’s among the most beautiful national parks of Uganda!

History of Mount Elgon National Park

Elgon Park was declared a National Park in 1993. This park was also approved as a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve in 2005.

Top Attractions in Mount Elgon National Park: What Is Mountain Elgon National Park Known for?

The following are the most amazing things to see in Mt Elgon Park:

  • Mountain Elgon
  • Amazing game animals counting Forest Elephants
  • Lovely birds such as the endangered Lammergeyer
  • Stunning flora
  • Mountain Elgon peak & the caldera
  • Sipi Falls around Mt Elgon park
  • Kapwaki Forest Center
  • Jackson’s Peak and Pool
  • Charming local people around the park
  • Pleasing caves on Mount Elgon slopes

Main Activities in Mount Elgon National Park

Here are the best things to do in Mount Elgon National Park:

  • Climbing Mount Elgon
  • Birding
  • Taking coffee tours around the park
  • Enjoying community visits
  • Exploring Sipi Falls around Mount Elgon park
  • Rock climbing around the park
  • Mountain biking in Mt Elgon
  • Taking guided nature walks
  1. Semuliki National Park

Travelers who have visited Semuliki National Park on Uganda birding tours have referred to it as a “True Birders Haven”!

Over 441 bird species have been recorded in Semuliki and it’s the only park within East Africa to spot West African birds Like Nkulengu Rail, and several Hornbills.

Semuliki park is also home to 53 animal species however, they are rarely spotted due to dense forests- thick tropical forests. Incredible primates such as Red-tailed Monkeys, Black and white Colobus, Vervet Monkeys, and Blue Monkeys are common during nature walks.

Location of Semuliki National Park in Uganda

Found within the western region of Uganda, Semuliki National Park lies in Bundibugyo district on the border of Uganda and DR Congo. It’s just on the remote western side of Mount Rwenzori.

History of Semuliki National Park

Semuliki Forest Reserve was gazetted in 1932 and it was upgraded to a national park status within 1993.

Main Attractions in Semuliki National Park: What are the Unique Attractions in Semuliki National Park?

  • Various bird species
  • Sempaya Hot Springs- magical hot springs boiling over 1000C
  • Several primate species such as Red-tailed monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Baboons, Blue Monkeys, etc.
  • Other wildlife, for example, Forest Elephants, and Bushbucks.
  • Batwa people around Semuliki forest park

Top Things to Do in Semuliki National Park: Semuliki National Park Activities

Below are the best activities in Semuliki National Park:

  • Bird watching
  • Exploring Sempaya Hot Springs
  • Taking guided nature walks
  • Visits to local communities- Batwa cultural experience
  • Exploring Semuliki River
  • Game driving in the nearby Semuliki Game Reserve

More FAQs About Uganda National Parks

  1. How Many National Parks are in Uganda?

Destination Uganda has 10 national parks. The popular national parks in Uganda include; Bwindi national park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale forest park, Mburo park, Murchison Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park.

Other Uganda national parks are; Semuliki, Mountain Elgon NP, and Mountain Rwenzori National Park- one of the most beautiful national parks within Uganda.

All Uganda national parks are managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). UWA does all the conservation effort to protect these Uganda national parks.

  1. What is the Most Visited National Park in Uganda?: Which Park is Most Visited in Uganda?

Out of the many Uganda national parks, Queen is the most visited park. It holds various ecological zones home to abundant wildlife species, roughly 95 mammal species, and over 600 birds.

  1. Which is the Largest National Park in Uganda?: Which is Biggest National Park in Uganda?: What’s the Largest National Park in Uganda?

Murchison Falls NP is Uganda’s largest park, covering about 3,840km2 in western Uganda. It’s a picturesque park bisected by the Nile River (Victoria Nile) and most wildlife can be spotted along the banks of the Nile River during game viewing in Buligi Game Area- a beautiful, secluded location.

  1. What is the Best Wildlife Park in Uganda?

Every park in Uganda features something unique! However, most travelers can choose Queen as Uganda’s best wildlife park.

Other incredible Uganda national parks include; Murchison park for wildlife safaris and Bwindi national park for Uganda gorilla safaris. Not forgetting Kibale forest park for extraordinary chimp tracking tours.

  1. What is the Smallest National Park in Uganda?

Mgahinga national park- 33.7km2 in southwest Uganda within Virunga Mountains is the smallest national park in Uganda. It’s commonly visited for gorilla trekking tours & golden monkey tracking expeditions.

  1. Which Game Park in Uganda is Famous for Mountain Gorillas?

Bwindi national park is Uganda’s park famously known for Gorillas. The other park to see gorillas in Uganda is Mgahinga park in south western Uganda.

Email our friendly safari expert to tailor your Uganda safari tour and explore the magic of Uganda national parks. Popular tours in Uganda include; gorilla safaris, chimpanzee tours, mountain hiking expeditions, and cultural encounters among others.