5 of The Best Uganda's National Parks

Known as the Pearl of Africa in recognition of its abundant resources and natural beauty, landlocked Uganda is a rewarding safari destination in East Africa.

For gorilla excursions, choose the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or the small Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

For a surreal alpine landscape near the equator, head to the Rwenzori Mountains; or experience world-class bird watching in the Marsh of Wonders around Lake Mburo.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about Uganda: Planning a Trip to National Parks

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Whatever your interests - from multi-day hikes to river safaris to grand safaris - there is a national park for you in Uganda!

1. Murchison Falls National Park

The country's largest and most iconic safari destination, Murchison Falls National Park, is located at the end of the Albertine Rift Valley in northwestern Uganda.

It stretches for more than 1,500 square miles, stretching inland from the shores of Lake Albert and across the Victoria Nile.

On its journey west, the river plunges through a narrow gorge and into a 141-foot drop, creating the spectacular waterfall that gives the park its name.

The river safaris are the highlight, offering the opportunity to see four of the Big Five, namely: elephant, buffalo, lion, and leopard.

Other specialties range from the endangered Rothschild's giraffe to troops accustomed to chimpanzees. For bird watchers, the main attraction is the resident population of rare frog storks.

2. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

In southwestern Uganda, where the plains meet vast areas of ancient mountain forest, is the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is noted for its incredible variety of flora, including 160 species of trees and 100 different types of ferns.

Many of the park's plant, bird, and butterfly species are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley.

Above all, Bwindi is famous for being one of the four national parks in the world where endangered mountain gorillas can be seen in their natural habitat.

The gorillas that live here makeup almost half of the world's population. Visitors can track 12 accustomed soldiers on foot, allowing for unforgettable encounters.

Other threatened primate species are the chimpanzee and the l'Hoest monkey.

3. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Gorillas can also be tracked in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

At just 13 square miles, Uganda's smallest national park occupies the southwestern corner of the country, where the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo meet in the peaks and valleys of the Virunga Mountains.

Mgahinga is home to a used gorilla family across the border. It is also the only national park in Uganda with a population of endangered golden monkeys.

Three extinct conical volcanoes dominate the park's landscape while walking safaris led by local Batwa pygmies give a glimpse into the life of an Indian tribe that survived as hunter-gatherers in the forests of the Virunga Mountains for thousands of years.

4. Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth Equatorial National Park is one of Uganda's most popular destinations for its diverse wildlife.

It is located in western Uganda between Lake Edward and Lake George and is divided by the Kazinga Channel that connects the two.

Many different habitats are represented in the park's 760 square kilometers, including savannas, forests, swamps, and hills dotted with volcanic craters.

Together, they provide a sanctuary for 95 species of mammals, including four of the Big Five, chimpanzees, and the famous Ishasha tree-climbing lions (a phenomenon found only in Tanzania's Lake Manyara National Park).

With 600 registered bird species, Queen Elizabeth National Park has also been recognized as an important area for bird watching by Birding International.

5. Kibale National Park

Located on the opposite shore of Lake George, Kibale National Park combines with Queen Elizabeth National Park to create a continuous wildlife corridor.

It is known for its dense plain and mountainous forest. Some of its trees, of which there are more than 350 different types, are more than 200 years old.

A famous research base for primatologists, Kibale is home to the largest chimpanzee population in the country.

Most people come here for a chance to track down the park's usual troops on foot and marvel at the familiar demeanor of our closest living relatives.

The Kibale forests are home to 12 other primate species, including the endangered red colobus and the rare l'Hoest monkey.

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