Hulking mountain gorillas. Tree-climbing lions. Screeching chimpanzees. The wildlife you see on a western Ugandan safari makes other countries’ lazing antelope seem like the cold pasta salad of the savanna buffet. Tour the region’s five key national parks and you’ll find that even the roadside cattle—with horns up to 12 feet across—are more interesting in Uganda.
Starting in Kampala, here’s are the five stops you should make while taking a counterclockwise tour of western Uganda’s national parks.
Murchison Falls National Park
The Uganda Wildlife Authority’s riverboat gets up close to hippos and crocodiles.
Kibale National Park
Thirteen primate species live here, including blue monkeys, gray-cheeked mangabeys, and 1,450 chimpanzees.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The Rwenzoris are Africa’s highest mountains, with multiple 15,000-foot peaks.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Hike past crater lakes to the Ishasha sector and see lions lounging in fig trees.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This park is home to about half of the world’s 750 remaining silverback mountain gorillas. While there, stay in one of eight bandas (classic Ugandan thatched-roof huts) at Bwindi Safari Lodge (From $400 per person, including meals, drinks, laundry, and massage.). Trek through tree ferns, red stinkwoods, and tangled vines on a guided nature walk or enjoy the jungle view from your room’s broad veranda. Bwindi’s Rushegura gorilla family frequently visits the lodge, which means the apes might just come to you.
Uganda safari tour operators
Uganda’s parks are best visited with a tour operator. Here are three of our top choices:
- Abacus African Vacations, 256/312-261- 930, abacusvacations.com
- The Uganda Safari Company, 256/414- 251-182, safariuganda.com
- Wild Frontiers, 256/414-321-479, wildfrontiers.co.ug