Mostly Forest Birding! Read more
Day one: Meet and greet at the airport and transfer to the Botanical Gardens for an afternoon bird watching along the shores of Lake Victoria, hoping to see the resident Black and White Casd Horn Bills, African skimmers and a variety of gulls and terns. Overnight at the Windsor Lake Victoria Hotel on a bed and Breakfast basis.
Day Two: Morning pick up from Entebbe Windsor Hotel. Start 5 hour drive to Murchison falls National Park. You will unpack your Lunches at Pabidi Forest, after Lunch you will then be picked by your local forest Guide to begin a Bird walk in Pabidi Forest, the Afep Pigeon, Emerald Cuckoo and Chimpanzee are the residents here. After the Forest walk you will then be driven to Sambiya River Lodge where local birding on the ground and guided walk along the Sambiya River is excellent. DB at Sambiya River Lodge.
Day Three: Transfer to the Magnificent Top of the Falls a spot for the Bat Hawks, Rock Pratincloe and lots more can be spotted here where you marvel at the Mighty Nile being forced into a seven Metre crevice to thunder45 metres below in a series of cascades. The Nile can be viewed at different points up to the Baker’s Summit. Drive across the River crossing the Ferry at Paraa, arriving for Lunch at the well erected Sarova Paraa Lodge on the Bank of the Nile river. The afternoon then sees off the magnificent Boat Launch trip sailing towards the North of the Falls viewing the water fall from the bottom and searching the banks for the gigantic Shoebill Stork. Over Night at Sarova Paraa Lodge.
Day Four: After an early morning breakfast, embark on a half day Bird watching tour on the northern bank of the river Nile. Escorted by Game ranger, you are likely to spot Secretary bird, Abyssinian ground Hornbill, West Nile Red Bishop, Long throated Long Claw, Secretary Bird, Red throated bee eater, Oxpeckers and the reticulated Giraffe etc. After lunch, you may take the option of Doing an afternoon Game Drive or a boat Launch trip south of the River towards the River Delta where the Victoria Nile joins the Albert Nile take a for bird watching along The banks of the Nile. This is a paradise of the water bird species including the Water Dikkop, Black Crane, White Faced whistling duck, African Skimmer, Goliath Heron, African Darter, Shoebilled Stork. Hippos and Nile Crocodiles are also Inhabitants here. Dinner and Overnight at Inns of Uganda Luxury Tented Lodge.
Day Five: Breakfast early, then transfer to Budongo Forest watch out in the morning for the pennant winged night jar along the road forest for a Forest walk spotting Brown Twin spot, Black and White Cassocked Hornbills, Marsh Chagra, Nahan’s Francolin and many more species that you might have missed out in Pabidi Forest. On the walk, you may see encounter white colobus monkey, Red tailed monkey, Baboon, Grey cheeked Mangabeys or the chimpanzee. After the Morning walk,you will then drive to Masindi Town arriving for Lunch at the Masindi Hotel. After Lunch you then transfer to the edge of the Kibale Forest for overnight at the Ndali Lodge.
Day Six: Full day in Kibale forest searching out the Endemic Kibale Thrush and many Kibale forest specialities and do the rest of the day walking the Bigodi swamp which will probably yield spotting of Abyssinian ground Thrush, Papyrus Gonolek, Snowy Robinchat, Grey – capped Robin chat, White spotted Flufftail..Meals and Overnight Ndali Lodge.
Day seven: Depart for Lake Mburo National Park where bird walks are Allowed in the park. Birding walks can also be done along the Lake shore with escorted game Ranger where again many Ugandan dry country species and water birds will be spotted, Broad billed roller, Black bellied bustards, Blue napped mousebird, Temminck’s courser, Greater Blue eared starling, Yellow throated long claw, spur Winged plover……..Meals and overnight at Mantana Mburo Luxury Tented Camp. Day Eight :Dawn game drive in the park and transfer to Kampala crossing the equator and the traditional royal drum makers to Kampala/Entebbe airport for departure.
( Night not included as will depend on Flight plans )
END OF SERVICES
SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK
Semuliki National Park is an eastern extension of the vast Ituri Forest and forms part of the forest continuum during the climatic upheavals of the Pleistocene; this is one of the richest areas for both flora and fauna in Africa. (Especially for birds)
Semuliki National Park is situated in the remote corner of extreme west of Uganda, in Bundibugyo District. It lies on Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border within the western arm of the East African Rift Valley. The geographical coordinates are 0º 44′- 00 53′ N – 290 57-30º 11’E. To the southeast are the Rwenzori Mountains, to the west is DRC and to the north Lake Albert.
Semuliki National Park (220 km2) gazetted in October 1993, is one of Uganda’s newest National Parks. The Park occupies a flat to gently undulating landform ranging from 670 -760 metres above level.
As all streams and rivers from the surrounding areas are flooded drain into the Park plus the poor drainage and topography, many areas are flooded during the rainy season. The average annual rainfall is 1250 mm which peaks from March to May and September and December. The temperature varies from 18º C – 30º C (34ºF- 86ºF) with relatively small daily variations.
Fantastic scenery, Hot springs, forest jungle walk, birding, primate viewing and river Semuliki meanders are some of the ideal attractions. Surely, you don’t have to miss but get off the regular tourists’ circuit and spend three to five days camping and hiking in the only real jungle in East Africa.
A trip to Semuliki has the most marvellous and breathtaking views! Come and experience the thrilling, meandering Bundibugyo road through the Rwenzori escarpments.
At “Mungu Ni Mukubwa” while in the mountains, the road offers scenic views of the meandering Semuliki River, fuming Hot springs and the tropical rain forest extending up to Ituri forest in DRC. A stepping stone to Central Africa, offering unforgettable views. Two Hot springs situated in a tract of hot mineral encrusted swampland, rich in visible bird, insect and mammal life accessed by modern trail network. Come and see a two metre high jet of hot water (130ºC/266ºF) and a pool (12 metres diameter) oozing with boiling water (106ºC/223ºF ). You can boil food especially eggs in the natural boiler within ten minutes and enjoy the free energy from Mother Nature.
Jungle life in Semuliki is breathtaking especially for birders, primate, butterfly and plant lovers. The jungle walk usually takes you up to River Semuliki which is the only one that meanders in East Africa. With luck, you may see forest buffaloes and elephants, sitatungas, leopards, pigmies, hippopotamus, crocodiles, primates and a wide range of forest and water birds. You can also come with fishing facilities for sport fishing along the river.
RWENZORI MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK UGANDA
The 120 km Rwenzori chain is regarded to be the legendary snow-capped Mountains of the Moon, described by Ptolemy in AD150. Reaching an elevation of 5,109m at its highest peak, it is also Africa’s tallest mountain range, exceeded in altitude only by the free-standing Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro.
The distinctive glacial peaks are visible for miles around, but the slopes above 1,600m are the preserve of hikers, who rate the Rwenzoris to be the most challenging of all African mountains.
A variety of large mammals inhabits the lower slopes, but the Rwenzoris are notable more for their majestic scenery and varied vegetation. The trails lead through rainforest rattling with monkeys and birds, and then tall bamboo forest, before emerging on the high-altitude moor land zone, a landscape of bizarre giant lobelias, towered over by black rock and white snow, looking just like the set of a science fiction film.
If you like mountaineering, then the Margharita peak, towering at 5,109 metres, snow covered, will offer you the unique experience you’ve been looking for – The Range is also known as the ‘mountains of the moon’ and protected as Rwenzori Mountains National Park which is also a World Heritage Centre. The mist-shrouded peaks provide stunning back drops to this magnificent mountain. Ever since the Rwenzori became known to the World, its features have been changing.
Today, the most visible and probably preventable, changes in the Rwenzori are the fragile vegetation along the trails. A trip into the Rwenzoris is an exhilarating and rewarding experience, but one which must be planned. The key to an enjoyable visit is ‘be prepared!’ You can do the central circuit in just 7 days and our excellent guides will be there to add flavour to your experience.
The few who have climbed this mountain have promised to come back, if you are an excellent hiker, looking for a lifetime adventure, the mountains of the moon are just your choice.
Mount RWENZORI CLIMB: ’’Mountains of the Moon“
Day 1: Pick up and transfer to Kasese the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains.We will stop at the equator crossing enroute for a photograph one feet in the South and one feet in Northern Hemisphere.We will then head to Mbarara for Lunc an the Lake View Hotel before finally driving to the foothills of the mountains of the Moon. We will Check in at the Margarita Hotel for dinner and overnight.The rest of the day shall be spent acclimatising to the climate.
Day 2: Morning, transfer to Nyakalengija on to Ibanda and start your
5-6 hour Climb into the Mountains. You will climb through the thick vegetation arriving at the Nyabitaba Hut(2650metres) in the late evening for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Breakfast Early, then start a morning hike through the Kurt
Sharfer Bridge to marvel at the Mobuku River Confluence. A Climb through the Open Patches and Lobelia and the Heath Moss Forest before proceeding up to the John Matte Hut for overnight.
Day 4: Depart early through the Giant Lobelias and the Heath trees.
You ascend to the Bigo Bog and Scenic Landscape of Lobelias, Giant
Groundsels. Dinner and overnight at Bujuku Hut (3977) Hut.
Day 5: Leave the Valley in the Beautiful Vegetation consisting of
Giant Groundsels and Lobelia and head on an ascent to Mount Victoria
Emanue l(Mount Speke 4890)
Day 6: Depart through the lovely views of the Savoia and Elena
Glaciers. Scale further to through the Scott Elliot Pass(4372m) and proceed through the Snow to the Elena Hut for Overnight.
Day 7: Final Ascent to the Alps of Africa. Early morning ascend to
through the Snowy Alexander Peak (5092m) and the Highest Peak (5109m).
Thereafter, descend to the beautiful Lake Kitandara for overnight at the
Day 8: Descend early after breakfast and picnic lunches proceeding
to Guy yeoman Hut for dinner and Overnight.
Day 9: Descend to Nyabitaba and proceed to Ibanda and check in at the
Margarita Hotel for Overnight.
Day 10: Break fast at leisure and transfer back to Kampala / Entebbe.
WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU FOR THE MOUNTAIN:
-Pair of crampons
-Day pack warm gear including jackets, hat, thermal under wear, cotton stockings and any other from your hiking experience on snow.
ABOUT THE RWENZORI MOUNTAINS.
The 120km Rwenzori chain is regarded to be the legendary snow-capped Mountains of the Moon, described by Ptolemy in AD150. Reaching an elevation of 5,109m, it is also Africa’s third mountain after Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya,this mountain range, exceeded in altitude only by the free-standing Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro.
The distinctive glacial peaks are visible for miles around, but the slopes above 1,600m are the preserve of hikers, who rate the Rwenzoris to be the most challenging of all African mountains.
A variety of large mammals inhabits the lower slopes, but the Rwenzoris are notable more for their majestic scenery and varied vegetation. The trails lead through rainforest rattling with monkeys and birds, then tall bamboo forest, before emerging on the high-altitude moorland zone, a landscape of bizarre giant lobelias, towered over by black rock and white snow, looking for all the world like the set of a science fiction film.
The Rwenzori are well known for their unusual flora which includes many species endemic to the Albertine Rift in the higher altitude zones. Of the 278 woody plant taxa found in the afro-alpine zone, 81% are endemic to east Africa and 19% are found only in the afro-alpine belt (Herberg, 1961; Lush, 1993). Most stunning are the giant heathers, ground-sells, ericas and lobelias of the tree heath and alpine zones (Butynski, 1992). Vegetation depends largely on altitude, with five zones being distinguishable. Below 2,400m, the vegetation is broken montane forest consisting of species such as Symphonia globulifera, Prunus africana, Albizia spp. and Dombeya spp. Few large trees occur and the canopy is consequently broken except in valley-bottoms and ridge tops where the gradient is slight. The montane forest zone merges into a bamboo forest zone (Arundinaria alpina), which occurs in pure stands in many places up to an altitude of 3,000m. Up to 3,800m, the bamboo zone is replaced on poorer soils by a tree heath vegetation consisting of dense thickets of giant heathers, Philippia trimera and Protea kingaensis, frequently over 10m in height. On better soils the vegetation is characterised by a tangled undergrowth punctuated by a mixture of small trees including Rapanea rhododendroides, Hypericum lanceolatum, H. keniense and Hagenia abyssinica. Upwards to 4,400m, is a zone of Afro-alpine moorland (Howard, 1991). As a result of most botanical effort having been directed to the high altitude flora, only 75 tree species (18% of the country’s total) have so far been recorded in the montane fores
t zone; many more are expected from this zone. Two trees are found only in the Rwenzori (Hypericum bequaertii and Schefflera polysciadia), and seven others occur only here and in the other montane forest zones of south-west Uganda, namely Senecio erici-rosenii, S. adnivalis, Erica kingaensis, Philippia johnstonii, Vernonia adolfi-friderici, Ficalhoa laurifolia and the nationally threatened Ocetea usambarensis (V) (Howard, 1991).
Knowledge of the fauna is skewed in favour of the higher altitude species. Overall, the mountains contain at least 89 species of forest bird (27% of the country’s total), 4 species of diurnal primate, and 15 species of butterfly (22% of the country’s total) (Howard, 1991). Although none of these species are unique to the Rwenzori, many are endemic to the Albertine Rift region (for instance 19 of the birds are Albertine Rift endemics), and a high level of sub-specific endemism occurs, including the Rwenzori colobus monkey, hyrax and leopard. A recent study of invertebrate life forms listed 60 species in the alpine zone, 25 of which were new to science (Salt, 1987). This is indicative of a much more extensive fauna waiting to be discovered. Although in low numbers, the following globally threatened speciesare found in the park: elephant Loxodonta africana (V), chimpanzee Pan troglodytes (V), l’hoests monkey Cercopithecus l’hoesti.
Over 199 species have been recorded on Mt Rwenzori. The bamboo zone on the mountain may reward us with the Handsome Francolin, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Cinnamon Bracken-Warbler, Mountain Yellow Warbler and Dusky Crimson-wing., Rwenzori Turaco and Shelley’s Crimsonwing, the rare Ruwenzori Nightjar and African Wood-Owl, Red-chested Owlet and Fraser’s Eagle-Owl are also possibilities. Others may include:localised Grauer’s Broadbill, the Great Blue and Black-billed turacos, the spectacular Yellow-billed Barbet, Black-tailed Oriole and mixed flocks of Slender-billed, Waller’s, Narrow-tailed and Stuhlmann’s starlings.,African Hill Babbler, Black-faced, Ruwenzori and Chestnut-throated apalises, Red-faced Woodland-Warbler and Cameroon Scrub-Warbler, White-tailed Blue-Flycatcher, Ruwenzori Batis, Mountain Sooty Boubou, Lagden’s and Doherty’s bushshrikes, Sharpe’s Starling, Strange Weaver and Oriole Finch. Flowering trees attract the incredible Purple-breasted Sunbird as well as Blue-headed and Regal sunbirds, Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Bronze-naped Pigeon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Cassin’s Honeyguide, Green-backed and Elliot’s woodpeckers, Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike, Toro Olive-Greenbul, White-chinned Prinia, Cassin’s and the enigmatic Chapin’s flycatchers, Mountain Wagtail…..
The Rwenzori mountains, which are known internationally as ‘The Mountains of the Moon’, are a site of world-renowned aesthetic and scientific value, the most permanent sources of the River Nile, and one of the country’s (and indeed region’s)most vital water catchments on which greater than 500,000 people directly depend. Due to their immense altitudinal range, the mountains support an outstanding range of species, many of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift region, especially in the higher altitude zones. Also present are at least three globally threatened mammals, plus a potentially large number of undocumented invertebrates and plants. Because the park constitutes a small but significant element of one of the most extensive conservation zones in Africa (the transnational system of protected areas in the Albertine Rift region) conservation of the Rwenzori offers a unique opportunity to maintain a sensitive and extensive natural habitat intact (Howard, 1991).
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the second largest national park in Uganda at 1,978 sq. km and lies north and south of the equator in the West of Uganda. It is a 5-6 hour drive from Kampala.
It is a world biosphere reserve since it is the only park in Uganda that is inhabited by human beings and animals. Queen Elizabeth incorporates a variety of fresh water and crater lakes it is a classified by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area with 568 of Uganda’s 1017 of bird species, more than any other park in Africa, the mammals checklist of Queen Elizabeth is up to 66 species.
The park is divided into two Peninsulas; the Northern peninsular is the Mweya area that has the park Head quarters and the southern part of the park is the Ishasha Sector. The Mweya Peninsular houses Mweya Safari Lodge; Jacana Safari Lodge situated on the margin of Maramagambo Forest close to Lake Nyamusingiri and Kyasanduka both are upgrade hotels. Albertine Rift Safaris camp, Kingfisher Safari Lodge are budget facilities There are hostels and dormitories that only provide basic facilities of bed, toilet, bathroom and breakfast at the Ecotourism center hostel for back packers and drifters. The Kyambura Gorge is famous for its tranquil atmosphere ideal for picnics as well as chimp tracking. Mweya houses the Maramagambo forest, a series of crater lakes, Katwe salt works.
Ishasha Sector is known for its expansive savannah landscape teeming with a variety of wildlife possibly due to its continuity cross border migration of wildlife and is famous for the tree climbing lions. Ishasha Sector is served with accommodation facilities like the bandas, the camp sites (3) and the tented bush camp. At the tented Bush Camp, accommodation and meals are provided. “Missing Ishasha is simply missing QENP”.
The most popular activities in Queen Elizabeth include launch trips on the 33 km Kazinga Channel, chimp tracking in Kyambura gorge, nature walks In Maragambo forest, game drives to the Kasenyi area as well as in the Ishasha sector, to katwe salt works, a drive to view the crater lakes and the fishing villages.
MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
The Murchison Falls National Park is cut in half by the mighty River Nile as it squeezes itself through a 7-metre gap in a cleft of rock, creating an explosion of white water. It’s the most powerful natural flow of water anywhere on earth and the rock actually shakes from the force of the water. You may catch a glimpse of a Nile perch being spat from the river.
In the cool early morning before the sun rises too high, you will see plenty of game on the Buligi, Albert and Queenâ€™s tracks north of the river Nile. At Nyamusika cliffs you can picnic, enjoy the view and watch elephants and other game on the grassy hillsides, Go well prepared for a four-hour game drive accompanied by a guide.
Nile perch and tiger fish provide an exciting challenge to anglers. Sport fishing is possible in the river sections above and below the falls. Prior booking with the park has to be made, as the number of people doing sport fishing at designated sites at any time has to be regulated. You can bring your own fishing equipments and boats are available for hire on prior booking.
Launch trips on the Nile;
One of the highlights of a visit to Murchison falls national park is a launch trip from paraa to the foot or base of Murchison falls. Hippos and crocodiles are abundant and you will seeÂ elephants, buffaloes, water bucks and a variety of birds like herons cormorants, ducks, bee eaters, fish eagles, king fishers and sometimes the rare shoe bill. T he launch trip from paraa to the falls and back takes about three hours. A boat trip from paraa to the delta and back takes about four to five hours and you can see a similar variety of animals and birds. The boat trip is scheduled for 0900hr and 1400hr every day. Any special time arrangement can be made with park arrangement.
Murchison falls protected area offers the opportunity to explore the world on foot. Animals, birds and plants can be closely and quietly observed. Nature walks are offered at Rabongo Forest, top of the falls and Kaniyo pabidi in Budongo Forest.
Top of the falls;
Trails around the top of the falls go right up to the waterâ€™s edge. You have the opportunity to hike to the top of the falls from the boat landing and to get close to the narrow gorge through which the river explodes into the falls. Campsite, picnic sites and walking safaris are available here.
This is an un disturbed area of natural forest within Budongo forest reserve, where you can walk beneath mature mahogany and iron wood trees. Chimpanzee tracking is the most famous activity. You certainly see many forest birds, including the chocolate backed kingfisher, Wight thighed hornbill and puvelâ€™s illadopsis found nowhere else in east Africa. Kaniyo pabidi is on Masindi Paraa road, 8kms from kichumbanyobo gate. There is a campsite where water and fire wood are available. Kaniyo pabidi is managed by the national forestry authority.
Rabongo forest eco tourism center is situated in an island of tropical riverine forest in the southeast of the protected area. The forest is surrounded by savannah grass land is one and a half hour drive from paraa. Guides will help you explore the forest on foot, spotting primates like black and white colobus, red tailed monkeys, baboons and occasionally chimpanzees, identifying animals, birds, medicinal plants and trees. Picnicking and camping by the river wairingo is also possible. The place is also ideal for student group.
Boat trips to Lake Albert Delta provides a chance in Africa of sighting the shoe bills
Kigaju Forest Masindi;
This is a finger forest that lies with in the budongo forest catchments area this forest has a stream in between and is a habitat for a variety of primates like chimpanzee, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkey, baboons and a variety of birds and butterfly species. This camp lies in the western side of Masindi town, a ten minutes drive out of Masindi town and an average drive of three hours out of Kampala city on a good tarmac road.
This camp offers activities like;
is one of the most exciting activity the camp offers. These chimps are always most exciting in morning and evening hours these may be found on tree tops/nests. The black and white colobus monkey, red tailed monkeys and the baboons can also be found in here.
Nature walks as well as forest walks; is also an exciting activity and here visitors are able to enjoy the silent natural forest setting underneath a rain forest like canopy with a stream in between. The forest has variety of flora and fauna, mahogany trees and an variety of birds like famous turaco, wild green kasuku/parrot, and a variety of butterfly species.
Camping can also be done in Kigaju forest for those who are extending there stay in the forest. Thus campfires and barbeque can easily be arranged for large groups of visitors.
Village walks and crafts for visitors who are interested in traditional African homes, their life, and cultures.
However the forest has no specific threats or dangers but for conveniences visitors are requested to carry jungle boots and appropriate clothing. Taking a guided tour through this forest is a great contribution to the conservation of the forest
By the road fromÂ Kampala through Masindi [via Kichumbanyobo gate], paraa is 4 and a halfÂ hours drive 303km, 2 hours on tarmac and 2 and a half hours on murram roads. Â four wheel drive is recommended. The ferry at Paraa operates on scheduled time between the southern and northern bank of river Nile.
By air, charter services are available to all weather aerodromes at pakuba about 19kms North West of paraa and bugungu 13kms from paraa.
MOUNT ELGON NATIONAL PARK UGANDA
Elgon is a 4,321m high extinct volcano which in prehistoric times stood taller than Kilimanjaro does today. Although the mountain straddles the Kenya border, its loftiest peak, Wagagai, lies within Uganda and is best ascended from the Uganda side. It contains the largest intact caldera in the world, a collapsed crater measuring over 40 Km. at the top. Elgon is an important watershed, and its slopes support a rich variety of altitudinal vegetation zones ranging from montane forest to high open moor land studded with the other-worldly giant lobelia and groundsel plants.
Visiting Mount Elgon presents an exciting setting for extended hikes, interesting and unique flora and fauna, magnificent water falls, enormous caves, scenic peaks, gorges and hot springs which bubble up at 48ºC (118ºF). No technical climbing equipment or skills are required, as all major peaks are accessible.
Hiking/trekking is the most popular activity carried out in the park. While ascending Mt. Elgon’s enchanting slopes, one can meet four distinct forest types; the lush montane forest where the Elgon peak is, mixed bamboo belt, the fascinating heath and the spectacular moor land hyrachs which contain stands of some of the rarest and endemic plant species, like the giant Lobelia elgonensis and dotted clusters of peculiar groundsels, which are unique to Africa.
The Sasa trail is the most direct route to the peaks, though steep with a rugged climb of over 1600m on the first day. It passes through the park’s largest area of bamboo forest. The Sipi trail offers the spectacular Tutum cave hidden with extensive forest while the Piswa trail is renowned for the towering podocarps forest, an excellent place for wildlife viewing.
Campsites are located at strategic points along the trekking circuit. A trained ranger will lead the trek and enrich the journey by interpreting the environment and ensuring safety. Local porters make your trip even easier by carrying up to 18 kg of supplies, in addition to collecting water, cooking and preparing the camp.
Bird lovers can enjoy about 300 bird species, including the endangered lammergeyers, the rare Jackson’s Francolin, sunbirds, Turacos and many more. A number of primates inhabit the mountain. Other animals including bushbuck, antelope, civet, wildcat, and the elusive leopard roam below. Bush duiker, hyena, jackal, rock hyrax, buffalo and elephant rove between the forest and moor land. Many of these animals visit the caves for valuable mineral deposits.
MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was gazetted in 1991 becoming part of the great Virunga Conservation area; it is the smallest park in Uganda covering an area of about 38 sq km. It is found in Kisoro District 540km from Kampala in the extreme Southwestern corner of Uganda adjoining the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park and Rwanda’s volcano. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park houses parts of Mt Muhavura, Mt Mgahinga and Mt Sabinyo. The Peak of Mt Muhavura forms the highest point in the Park at 4127m, Mt Sabinyo at 3669m and Mt Gahinga at 3474m.
The park has two rainy seasons; February-May and September-December. The maximum annual rainfall is 240mm (October) and minimum is 10mm (July)
The park has afromontane vegetation dominated by bamboo a delicacy to the mountain gorillas. Animals in the park include; the mountain gorilla, buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, Colobus Monkey, Jackal, Porcupine, Golden Cat, Duiker, Aardvark, Giant forest hog, Leopard, Honey Badger, the threatened golden monkeys and many others including a diversity of bird species for example the Rwenzori Turaco, crowned hornbill, black kite and crowned crane.
Activities in the park include: gorilla tracking, Mountaineering, volcano climbing to the three volcanoes Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhavura, birding, Nature walk to the Garama cave. For gorilla tracking, access to the families is strictly controlled; only small groups of visitors are allowed per tracking always accompanied by a trained ranger. One needs to book at least three months in advance to ensure that requested dates are available. Registration of trackers at the gate commences at 7.45am, but the tracking experience starts at 8.30am and can take three to eight hours; it generally requires physical fitness.
Accommodation is available at Travelers Rest Hotel, Volcanoes’ Mt Gahinga Rest Camp, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Virunga hotel and in nearby Motels in Kisoro. Mgahinga Safari Lodge, Rwagingana campsite, Mubano Hotel, Sky Blue Hotel, at the park gate there is community campgrounds with ample space for “do it your self camping”.
LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK
A 2 hours drive west from Kampala along the Mbarara Road 1Sq.Km & 558 Sq.Kms respectively.
Lake Mburo is the best place in Uganda to see gigantic eland antelope as well as most plains game including the rusty coloured top,which always stand like a sentry ready to sound the alarm at any sign of approaching danger from carnivores.The park boasts a huge number of migrant and habitual species of birds,and the five lakes within the park attract hippos,huge crocodiles as well as waterbirds.Fringing swamps area perfect habitat for the rare and shy Sitatunga antelope and red,black and yellow papyrus gonalek.Mburo is the closest park to Kampala and offers the perfect stopover for those travelling to or from western parks and reserves.
Covered in extensive acacia woodland, Mburo has different fauna compared to other parks. Lake Mburo is the best place in the country to see the gigantic eland antelope, as well as zebra, topi, impala, and several acacia-associated birds. The five lakes within the park attracts hippos, crocodiles and a variety of water birds, while fringing swamps hide secretive papyrus specialists such as the sitatunga antelope and red, black and yellow papyrus gonalek. Mburo is the closest national park to Kampala and offers a refreshing stopover when traveling to and from western parks.
Activities include game drives, boat trips and guided walks.
The closest savannah reserve to Kampala, Lake Mburo National Park is centred on a series of swamp-fringed lakes known for their rich birdlife, notably the secretive African finfoot. The green acacia woodland surrounding the lake harbours dense populations of zebra, warthog, buffalo, impala and various other grazers, including the last surviving Ugandan population of eland, the largest of African antelope.