Uganda National Parks

PianeUpe Game Reserve

PianeUpe Game Reserve is one of Uganda’s best kept secret. This beautiful, raw and less visited game reserve is the second largest conservation area after Murchison Falls National Park. It covers an area of about 2,788km2 to the north of mountain Elgon and is managed by Mountain Elgon Conservation department.  It is located in the North Eastern part of Uganda in Nakapiripiti and can easily be accessed by road from Kampala which takes about 8 ½ hours and about 2 ½ hours from Mbale and 6 hours from PianUpe to Kidepo Valley national park. The beauty of this game reserve is the stunning landscape sceneries with surrounding mountains and most of the time you will have the whole game reserve to yourself. The southern part of the reserve was gazetted as the Debasien Animal Sanctuary in 1958. In 1964 the area was expanded northward.

How the wildlife reserve got its name

There are two most popular pastoralist tribes around this reserve. The Pian, being part of a sub group of the Karamoja, and the Upe, being a Kalenjin speaking people more widely known as the Pakot within Kenya and Uganda thus the name PianUpe

A traveler can extend a visit to PianUpe from Sipi falls and continue on safari to wilderness Kidepo Valley National park. We can organize a tailor made Uganda and Rwanda safari for you to include this less visited wildlife reserve. Uganda was nick named ‘The Pearl of Africa’ by Winston Churchill.

Best Time to visit PianUpe

Most national parks and wildlife reserves in Africa have the best time to visit and PianUpe is not an exception. The best time to go on a wildlife safari to PianUpe is as below

  • January – March: This is the best time to visit PianUpe. The vegetation is dry, you have clear views and animals gather at the water sources which makes it easy for game viewing
  • April – October: rainy season, therefore muddy or even impassable roads and game drive tracks. The tracks are not well developed so in the wet season, it can be a bit challenging), lush vegetation, bad hazel views.
  • November – December: dry season but still lush vegetation that makes it difficult to spot animals, hidden in the grass, treetops etc.

Bird’s Nest Safaris recommends at least a two days visit to PianUpe game reserve to fully explore the reserve. Early morning game drives are better since rain showers may show up in the afternoon.

Things to do and see in PianUpe game reserve

If you are a traveler who wants to avoid crowds, then PianUpe game reserve on one of our safaris is the perfect for you.
On a guided safari to PianUpe, expect to see Jackals, hyenas, cheetahs, cape buffalo, Roan antelope (only conservation area in Uganda where you can find this fine looking antelope), dikdik, Uganda kob, water back, aardvark, velvet and patas monkeys and olive baboons and birds like the giant Ostriches.

Although Pain Upe wildlife reserve cannot be rated as high as the other national parks in Uganda like Queen Elizabeth National park and Murchison falls, in terms of density and diversity of wildlife, it is worth visiting when traveling to Uganda. Various types of antelopes especially the roan antelope, baboons, velvet monkey, the strong vocalized patas monkey, zebras, buffalos, dikdik, birds etc. are the easiest to be seen and with a bit of luck, you can also spot the cheetahs.

Bird’s Nest Safaris lists below the top things you can do in PianUpe wildlife reserve. You can combine a safari to Pain Upe with a visit to Sipi falls in Eastern Uganda and Kidepo Valley national park (6 hours) in North Eastern Uganda. Contact us for these combination Uganda safaris

The major activities in PianUpe are;

Guided wildlife safaris You can go for guided game drives in the plains of the reserve where you expect to see the Roan antelope. This is the only place you can see the roan antelope in Uganda. Other animals you should look out for on this Uganda safari are the cheetahs, the zebras, greater kudu, dikdik, buffalos, black backed and side stripped jackals, eland, and hartebeest. You definitely need a 4 x 4 wheel customized safari vehicle for the game drives since most of the tracks are not clear and not yet open. You will create your own game drive tracks too.

Bird watching safaris in PianUpe

PianUpe is a birder’s paradise. There are a massive number of birds, with about 242 confirmed, and 11 unconfirmed bird species. This makes the reserve 2nd to Queen Elizabeth National park to bird species density. You will see land’s largest bird- the ostrich only found here and in Kidepo Valley National park.

 Mountain climbing and viewing physical features in PianUpe

A traveler can go for Mountain climbing to the less challenging hills of the area like Mt. Kadam, but you can also go on one of our mountaineering adventure safaris to Mountain Rwenzori National park, up to Margherita peak, the only place with snow in Uganda.

Guided nature walks in PianUpe

Guided nature walks are a great way to get up close and person to wilderness at PianUpe wildlife reserve. For sight seeing, look out for zebras, antelopes, baboons and the many birds in the reserve. The walks are guided by a ranger from Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Cultural community visits

To learn about the culture and ways of the people living around PianUpe, go for a guided community visit. You will learn about their traditional weddings and marriages, traditional dances that you can take part in, and their raiding activities for cattle.

Visit to Napendio cave

This is an old cave that is close to the hearts of people around the area. During ancient days, the cave was used as a recreational place especially for art. Drawings of baboons and other animals by the first people who stayed here are still visible to-date.

Clothes to bring to a safari to PianUpe

Light clothing: PianUpe is very hot. I mean when the wind blows, it is literally hot. We advise that you pack appropriately for your safari for this raw and beautiful game reserve. Bring light safari clothing like shorts and sleeveless tops for the day, and underwear that is most especially in cotton material

Insect repellents: You need a good insect repellent to keep annoying bugs and insects whose bites can get really uncomfortable

Warm clothes: However, at night it gets very chilly so you would need warm clothing. There is always a camp fire at night you can sit around, under the stars

Wide rimmed hat: Bring a wide rimmed hat to protect you from the scotching sun.

Hiking shoes: These come in handy for guided walks and hikes

At Bird’s Nest Safaris we always email you a per-departure guide with all the details to help you prepare for your safari and this includes a recommendation of clothes to bring.

Accommodation in PianUpe wildlife reserve:

Uganda Wildlife bandas– There are two options; one is the self contained safari tents and the other option is the self contained cottages. They are very clean and affordable.

Meals here are basic and the menu includes rice, chicken and spaghetti, rolex (rolled eggs in chapatti) and chapatti. Alternatively, you can take your own food and pay someone at the reserve to prepare your meals.

Camping- For the more adventurous traveler, you can opt for camping. You MUST bring your own tents to pitch, you can camp at the reserve for about $ 5 US dollars only.

Accommodation near the game reserve

Sipi Falls- On your safari to PianUpe wildlife reserve, you may stay around Sipi Falls. There are many lodges around the Sipi area and it takes about 1-2 hours drive to the reserve.

Mbale Town- You may also stay in Mbale town and leave early for PianUpe for about 2 ½ hours.

Bird’s Nest Safaris will organize a trip to PianUpe customized to your needs. You can also take a look at some of our ready made itineraries for more safari options. If you are interested in a tour to this wildlife reserve, contact us and our safari specialist will get back to you.

PianUpe wildlife reserve tariffs courtesy of Uganda wildlife Authority

Park entry per person- $10 US dollars for non foreign residents, UGX 2500 Uganda shillings for East Africans

Guided nature walks per person– $ 30 dollars per person

Guided game drives- $ 20 dollars per vehicle

Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park     (Things to do and see – Accommodation)

Mount Elgon national park is found in the Eastern Region of Uganda although many travellers go for a hiking adventure to Mountain Rwenzori national park and miss out to explore Mount Elgon on a Uganda safari. The mountain lies on the Uganda and Kenya boarders and offers spectacular hiking opportunities on a 4 day sasa trail.  It is an extinct volcanic mountain with the largest surface area in the world and the highest peak being Wagagai, which is at 4,321 metres above sea level. The complete hiking circuit to the peak takes five days either from Sasa or Sipi trails. Birds Nest Safaris can organise your trip departing and returning to Sipi Falls. Sipi Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Uganda. There are three waterfall levels, two are small and the main one is at 95 metres high and attracts majority of the visitors who go for locally guided walks to the falls. Most lodges in the Sipi area have great views of these water falls. Travellers easily connect to Mount Elgon from Sipi Falls and can also combine a wildlife safari to PianeUpe wildlife reserve and or Kidepo Valley National park with a cultural visit to the Manyatas; (traditional homesteads of the Karamajog).

To hike Mount Elgon, a traveller doesn’t need special hiking gear and or skills to get to the highest peaks and it is possible to also go for guided community and forest walks. A traveller can choose to go for a 1 day hike or 5 days hike.

There are different trails one can choose to go for that offer beautiful sights and sounds of the flora, hot springs, elephants, small antelopes,  lakes, caves and water falls and not to forget the abundant birdlife. We offer a bird watching Uganda safari which can be customized to include a bird watching tour to Mount Elgon which is home to about 300 bird species that include the endangered Lammergeyer (Gypaetus barbatus)

Geography and climate of Mt. Elgon National Park

The climate at Mt. Elgon National park is moist to moderate dry. Annually, the mountain receives rainfall of over 1,270mm.
June to August and December to March are dry months although it can rain at any time of the year. April to October are the wettest months. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures are 23° and 15 °C respectively.
Maathai’slongleg, which is an endangered dragonfly was discovered in the park in 2005 and named after Nobel Prize winner Wangari Mathaai.
Important to note is that half of Uganda’s butterfly species have been found in the Mt. Elgon region

Flora and Fauna of Mount Elgon National park:
The Mountain has dense montane forests and mixed bamboo forests that support birds and bird watching. There are also the heath and moorland zones that have rare endemic plant species such as the Giant Lobelia and groundsels. The Flora and Fauna of Mount Elgon also supports primates such at the blue monkey and the black and white colobus monkeys and countless birds such as the Tacazze sunbird, Ross’s and HartlaubsTuraco, Black-and-white-casqued and crowned hornbills, Golden sunbird, Lammergeier, which is endangered and the Jackson’s Francolin. Look out for duiker, hyena, leopard and buffalo and you hike through

Guide porters and rangers Mount Elgon National Park:

The guides that will take you through the mountain hikes are trained, knowledgeable, certified in natural, cultural, emergency first aid and communication.
Porters will give you moral support and will help carry up to 18kg of your hiking and camping gear, as well as prepare your meals as you hike up and down the mountain. These porters are affordable and we highly recommend that you hire one since you are also contributing directly to the locals. The cost package covers the porter’s, guide and park entry fees. During the climbs, you will also be with a ranger guide for safety reasons especially from animals

Top things to do in Mt Elgon National park- Uganda adventure safaris (Activities inside Mount Elgon National Park)

Day hikes in Mount Elgon National park. A visitor can go for day hikes from Budadiri or in the Mount Elgon Forest Exploration Centre. The center has 3 day hikes of about 3 and 7 km and offer visitors great chance to experience Mount Elgon and its plant and wildlife in a short time. There is also a new and 4th trail to Tutum cave which has also been opened. It is 11km from the exploration centre. This trail has vegetation that supports black and white colobus monkeys and different types of birds found in the region

Mountain hiking on Mount Elgon: Mount Elgon has two main starting points that get to the highest summit of the mountain. There is the Sasa trail that can easily be accessible from Mbale. The sasa trail passes through the biggest area of the bamboo zone. With this trail, however, comes a very steep and rugged hike of about 1600m on the first day. The less steep climb is via the Pisa trail which starts from Kapkwata. With this route, you will discover Podocarpus forest, which is also a bird watchers haven. To get to the highest peak, it takes 4-5 days to complete the full circuit. We have 2 packages that can take visitors to the peak in those days. We recommend that you visit the park in the drier months of June-August and December-March, however, it is possible to trek the mountain even during the wet months.

Birding watching safaris:  There are about 300 bird species in Mount Elgon National park, which makes it an idea place for bird watching. The forest area a long the Chebonet River supports many birds like the Chubb’s Cisticola, Mackinon’s Fiscal, African Goshawk, African Blue Fly catcher, White chinned Prinia,  Doherty’s and Luhder’s Bush Shrikes, Chin spot Batis and Baglafecht weaver. We have bird watching safaris which can be tailor made to including birds of Mount Elgon National park.

Game viewing: The Mountain supports primates and mammals giving visitor an opportunity for game watching. Expect to see see which include forest monkeys that include the black and white colobus and blue monkeys, elephant, buffalo and small antelopes that include the duikers.

Activities outside Mount Elgon National park

Sipi Falls hikes: Visitors can visit Sipi Falls at the foot of Mount Elgon. It is about 66km from Mbale town to the beautiful Sipi Falls. There are different trails visitor goes through to get to the falls passing through local communities and their farms. There are local guides who can take you to the three waterfalls of Sipi.

Abseiling and rock climbing at Sipi Falls: This is the only place in Uganda where you can go for abseiling down the 100m Sipi Falls. It is safe and some of the equipment used was imported. The activity doesn’t require special training and it is perfect for the adrenaline junkie. Visitors can also go for rock climbing

Caves: There are a number of large caves here that are worth a visit. Some of the caves especially the one near the trail head at Budadiri has painting

Viewing cave paintings near the trailhead at Budadiri

Accommodation in Mount Elgon National park:

Mount Elgon National Park has basic accommodations available

Kapakwata Guest House and Exploration centre at Kapkwai: Visitors who wish to stay at this guest house should make prior reservations through Mount Elgon National park visitors’ office in Mbale town. The accommodation is small and visitors should bring their own food or money to buy food upon arrival as they prepare for the park’s activities. A kitchen is available too. However, you do not have to go through the hustle and let Bird’s Nest Safaris organize everything.

Camping: Mount Elgon National Park has 5 basic campsites that are located strategically a long the hiking circuits. You can only camp at campsites designated by the national park. All camping equipments must be brought by you and some like the tents and sleeping bags can be hired from the park office in Mbale.

What to Bring to Mount Elgon National park

Below is the list of some of the things we recommend that visitors bring for their activities in Mount Elgon.

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Warm clothing
  • Gloves
  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Flash light
  • Bottled mineral water
  • Rain gear
  • First aid kit
  • Enough food supplies

How to get there to Mount Elgon National park

Road transport: From Entebbe and Kampala on Jinja road, it takes about 6 hours to Mbale and about 1 hour to the Elgon. This depends on the thickness of the traffic on Jinja road high way. The road is very good too and paved all the way.

If you are interested in hiking Mount Elgon, contact us and we will make it happen.

Semliki National Park and Wildlife Reserve

Semliki National Park and Wildlife Reserve – Things to do and see – Accommodation

Semliki national park, in Uganda is located within the Albertine Rift. It is one of the less visited national parks in Uganda and lies within the Western arm of the famous Great Rift Valley. Semliki national park cuts across Semliki Valley, western of Rwenzori Mountain. The park is largely occupied by the Ituri forests that follow the Congo basin. This unique national park is the only low land tropical forest in East Africa. Unknown to very few people, Semliki national park is divided into two; the national park which protects an extension of Ituri Forest in DRC,  and Tooro wildlife reserve, a mixture of tropical rainforests and grassy savannah plains where chimpanzee tracking takes place. Tooro Wildlife reserve is Uganda’s oldest reserve and it is home to both central African and East African species.

Abundance of wildlife in Semliki National Park

Semliki National park is 220km2 with altitude of 670m-760m above sea level with River Semuliki being the international boundary between Uganda and DR Congo.  The reserve was created in 1932 and was upgraded to a national park status in 1993. It is known as the oldest and most bio diverse forest that survived ice age that happened in 12-18000 years ago.

Although, many people who come for a Uganda safari rarely visit Semliki National park, it is home to 441 recorded bird species, making it a bird watching safari haven for bird watchers. It is also home to 53 mammals that include elephants and buffalos.

When to visit Semliki National park

Semliki National park can be visited throughout the year. It is surrounded by mountains and forests and attracts a lot of rain. Averagely, this national park receives 1,250 mm of rain fall.  March to May and September to December are the peak rainy seasons. A 4 x 4 WD vehicle is highly recommended since the heavy rains come with heavy floods and may make it impassable during activities. The park temperatures range between 18 to 30 degrees C.

Wildlife safaris and Activities of Semliki National park

Semliki National park has got variety of what to offer a tourist on a wildlife and game watching safari. The national park is popular for the amazing wildlife species, the rare bird life, cultural experience that involve a visit to the Batwa also known as the Bambuti people in the Semliki area. During the visit, you learn about their culture and day to day lives. You can also go visiting the amazing hot springs which are associated with lots of legends and many more other attractions. Although all activities are equally great, wildlife game drives and guided nature walks seem to be the most popular activities in the park

Bird watching in Semliki National park:

Semliki National park is surely one of the best birding places in Uganda, Africa. Bird watching of rare species is one of the biggest attractions in this national park’s riverine habitat and grassland. Over 441 bird species are recorded in this conservation area with 40 per cent of the country’s bird species and 60 per cent of the country’s forest birds. There are about five bird species that are endemic to Semliki National Park, forty-six Guinea-Congo biome species found nowhere else in East Africa.
Bird species to look out for here include the bizarre looking Shoe Bill in the mashes of the lake. There is the ground hornbill, the Nkulengu rail, yellow-throated Cuckoo, piping Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Black Dwarf Hornbill, White-crested Hornbill, Black-casqued WattledHorbill, Red-rumped Tinker bird, African Piculet, White-throated Blue Swallow, Yellow-throated Nicator, Leaf-love, and Swamp Palm Bulbul among others. You will be guided by very professional and knowledgeable bird watching guides who can spot these birds even from a distance or tell by their calls.

Wildlife safari game drives in Semliki National park

Safari game drives using 4 x 4 WD customised safari vehicles is one of the most popular activities in the park. Semliki National park caters for every tourist. Visistors who are not interested in birds can for for early morning game drives since the park is home to 53 mammals 27 being large mammals. Eleven species are endemic to the park and these include the pygmy antelope, two flying squirrel species and the peculiar water “fanged deer”.  On a lucky game drive, you may spot forest elephants which are smaller and darker than the savannah elephants, forest buffaloes, which are also smaller versions of their savannah relatives. Semliki forest is also very rich with primates that include chimpanzees, grey-cheeked mangabey, black-and-white colobus monkey, the Central African red colobus monkey, blue and red-tailed monkeys, among others and, warthogs, baboons. There are also leopards which are really rare to see. Don’t forget to look out for the elusive black wild pig. On the wildlife game drive, with your guide, you will follow 3 tracks in the national park that cut through TooroSemliki Wildlife reserve.

For the more adventurous visitor, there are night game drive activities for the nocturnal animals and primates that include pottos, the bush baby, bats, owls among others

Boat ride on the Semliki River to Lake Albert

Visitors can go for guided boat rides on Semliki River which is a 160km long River that runs off from the Rwenzori mountains also known as the ‘The Mountains of the Moon’ and continues to Lake Albert and the Nile, proving ancient geographers’ claims that the Nile flows (in part anyway) from a snow-capped mountain in the heart of Africa. The River is a miniature version of Congo River and Water bucks, Sitatungas, lizards, Nile crocodiles and pygmy hippos are often seen along the banks of the water. On the way to or from the park, visitors can watch the river meander across the rift valley from roadside viewpoints and hike through the forest to its banks.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Chimpanzee habituation like chimpanzee tracking takes place in Toro-Semliki wildlife reserve and the activity takes a full day.  A chimpanzee habituation permit must be obtained from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Chimpanzee habituation is the process of making chimpanzees feel comfortable with the presence of human beings and once fully habituated; they are ready to be tracked.

Chimpanzee tracking experience

Chimpanzee tracking takes place in Toro-Semliki wildlife reserve and this activity should not be missed on a visit to Uganda. The forest is home to different primate species living in this forest which makes it a great place for primate watching and these primates include the chimpanzee, the black and white colobus monkeys, the baboon, the grey-cheeked mangabey, vervet,  the Central African red colobus, Dent’s mona monkeys, blue, red-tailed and the de Brazza’s, among others. The guide transfers you the research camp for briefing about chimpanzee tracking. After that briefing, you walk towards Kijura observation point, tracking chimpanzees. This can take 4-6 hours and you will follow where the chimpanzees are and where they nested previously. During the tracking, you will also spot several birds and some times forest buffalos and elephants and lion. You will be with the chimpanzee for one hour and later return to the lodge

Sempaya hot springs in Semliki

While in Semliki National park, a visit to the famous Sempaya hot springs is a must. There are two types of hot springs in the park; the female and male hot springs. The male hot spring is known as Bintente is 12m in diameter and is in a lush swampy clearing while the female hot spring is known as Nyasimbi which means female ancestors. The female hot springs are the hottest, most dangerous and still erupting boiling at (103°C) which spurts bubbling water and steam up to two meters high. The steam can be seen from as far as 2km away. Local people used to cook their food in these boiling hot springs and you too have an opportunity to cook green bananas and eggs in the boiling water and consume them. During the walk, look out for birds and red tailed, grey cheeked mangabey and black and white colobus monkeys displaying their monkey acrobats

Nature and Hiking walks in Semliki National park

Visitors can go for guided forest walks on well developed natural trails. There are 3 main trails that visitors follow on a guided nature walk in Semliki National park.

Below are the three main nature trails:

Sempaya nature trail: This leads to the Sempaya hot springs, through a patch of forest. There is a big possibility of coming across the different types of monkeys in the forest like the black-and-white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys and grey-cheeked mangabey. On your way to the male hot springs, you will stopover at a tree house where you view the abundant birdlife and beautiful scenery of the forest.

The Kirumia trail: This is a 13 km trail. It is the best trail for bird watching since it ends up to the Semliki River across the forest.

Red monkey trail: The red monkey trail is 11 km long and it follows the park boundary to the east and ends up at the Semliki River. Look out for the rare DeBrazza monkey, only found in this park in Uganda

Batwa Cultural experiences

One of the great opportunities while visiting Semliki is The Batwa trail experience, letting you experience the lives of the pygmies who lived in this forest before it was made a national park, and meet their king; king Nzito and his queen. They now live around the park boundaries but sometimes they visit the forest in search of medicines. They will demonstrate how they lived in the forest, how the hunted, how the got food, the hunting tools they used, how they lived and danced.

Every October, they have an annual Bamaga Cultural festival. The festival gives the visitor a sneak peek into the lives of mountain people which gives you an opportunity to peek into the life of the mountain of Bundibugyo and the special attachment they have to the hot springs.

Fishing on River Semliki 

Another activity visitors can do is fishing on river semliki which is a major river, 140 kilometres long, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda in Central and East Africa. Fish to catch and release is Lung fish, cat fish, and salty fish among others

Accommodation      in     Semliki     National  park

Semliki Safari lodge– Luxury lodge- The oldest lodge in the Semliki area

Ntoroko Game Lodge– Mid range lodge located in the reserve side

It is only 3 hours from Fort Town to Semliki, visitors can visit Semliki and stay overnight in Fort Portal town.

Accommodation in Fort Portal

Kyaninga Lodge– High end

Mountains of the moon Hotel– Semi-luxury

Rwenzori View Guest house- Budget

Transport to Semliki national Park

By road transport

You can reach the park from Kampala – Fortportal and then Semuliki national park. It takes 55km from Fort Portal town and 8 hours from Kampala

By air transport

You can take scheduled or chartered flight from Entebbe to Kasese with our partners Aerolink

Recommended safaris to Semliki National park

Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda

Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda – (Things to do and see – Accommodation – Hiking)

Rwenzori Mountains National park also known as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’ is one of the best mountains to hike in Africa, offering the best mountaineering trekking opportunities that range from a one day trek to 9 days trek to get to the Margherita summit . Rwenzori Mountains National Park is found in Western Uganda, and it is one of Uganda’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites with stunning beautiful Rwenzori Mountain ranges that measure about 1,00km2 (386 square miles) boats having the third highest peak in Africa. What makes the Rwenzori Mountains even more spectacular, they are snow capped, and have lakes, waterfalls and glaciers that are sighted on the different trekking circuits. It should also be noted that the park is strategically located to other national parks in Uganda that include Queen Elizabeth National park, Kibale National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National and Semliki National park giving a variety of activities.Bird’s Nest Safaris will help tailor make a perfect Uganda safari to include visiting these different national parks

Hiking Rwenzori Mountain peaks.     Rwenzori Mountains Hiking to its peaks is perfect for the adventurous and getting to Margherita peak on one of the trekking excursions is an achievement compared to none. The hikes to Mountain Ruwenzori range from one day nature trails to 9 days that go up to Lake Mahooma, Lake Buraro chimpanzee forest, walks through Kichamba to Karangura plus a trek to Bundibugyo via Bwamba.

Trekker can also take the Mubuku River trail to have views of Mount Baker and Portal peaks at an altitude of 2,300 metres above sea level. The trails to the different peaks of Mountain Rwenzori offer visitors opportunities to see Vervet monkeys, Rwenzori chameleons, Duikers, Squirrels, forest elephants and buffalos, and different countless bird species.

Margherita Peak.    Margherita Peak, at 5,119 m above sea level and at an altitude of 16,795 feet is the highest summit of the Ruwenzori Mountains Range in Uganda and the third highest in Africa, coming after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya respectively.

Margherita peak was first hiked by a group of trekkers lead by Luigi Amedeo Abruzzi in 1906. It is named after Queen Margherita of Italy. It takes between 6 to 8 days to get to Margherita peak depending on the pace of the trekkers.

Mount Speke.      Mount Speke is the second highest in the Rwenzori Mountain range. The peak was named after the first European explorer from Europe- John Speke who was following the Journey of the River Nile to find its source. Although he never hiked this beautiful peak, in 1862, he found the source of the White Nile. This range receives high rainfall which offers visitors views of water streams, Rivers and dense vegetation.

Together with Mount Baker and Mount Stanley, they form a triangle encircling the upper Bujuku Valley. The closest peak to Mount Speke is Mount Stanley and it has multiple jagged peaks. Summits that done this mountain peak are Vittorio Emmanuele (4,890m or 16,040 feet), Ensonga at 4,865m or 15,961 feet, Johnston at 4,834m or 1,860 feet and Trident at 4,572m or 15,000 feet above sea level. They named from the Italian royal family

Mount Baker on Rwenzori Mountain.       Mount Baker is the 6th highest mountain in Africa standing at a height of 4,844 metres or 15,892 feet. It is locally known as Kiyanja and is located about 2.8km from the DRC boarder. Combined with Mount Speke and Mount Stanley, it forms a triangle enfolding the upper Bujuku Valley and it lies within an area of the ‘Mountains Of the Moon’

Austrian mountaineer RubertGrauer trekking along with two British missionaries, H. W. TegartAddox and H. E. M in January 1906, was the first trekkers to get to the top of Mount Baker

In the same year, around February and April, the same mountain was hiked by an English excursion mission including A. B. Wosnam, Alexander F. R. Wollaston and M. Carruthers. The uppermost summit of Mount Baker was at last ascended by an expedition headed by the Duke of the Abruzzi in June of 1906. This group hiked all the mountaintops of the other five top mountains of the Rwenzori.

On his expedition into the Ruwenzori in June 1891, Franz Stuhlmann saw the peak and named it either Ngemwimbi or Semper. It was renamed by Abruzzi after Samuel Baker, a British explorer who in 1864 was the first European to see and tour Lake Albert, found in the northeast of the Rwenzori Mountains, who was also reported to have sighted these stunning mountains from a distance, to the south of Lake Albert.

Mount Gessi.       Mount Gessi is one of the six mountains that make up the Rwenzori range. Like Mount Emin, it is positioned north of the triangle shaped by Mounts Stanley, Baker and Speke. Mount Gessi stands at an altitude of 15,018 feet or 4,578 metres and ranks the 5th tallest mountain in Uganda.

Mount Gessi and Emin are on either side of a long slim gorge heading north-southwards. The twin peaks of Gessi are Iolanda (15,470 feet) plus Bottego (15,418 feet). Mount Gessi is elevated to rocky north-south edge with the upper peak being at the south end. This mountain is characterized with huts and decent tracks from both the DR Congo and Ugandan side. From Mutsori in Congo with numerous shanties preserved all through the Rwenzori.

Mount Luigi Di Savora.      Mount Luigi di Savoia is the 6th highest mountain in Uganda and it is located near Margherita in the Rwenzori Mountain Ranges at a height of 14,885 feet / 4,537 metres about sea level.
Location: Uganda
Latitude: 0° 20′ 4.2″ (0.3345°) North,
Longitude: 29° 53′ 27.9″ (29.8911°) East
Average elevation: 4,537 metres or 14,885 feet

Mount Stanley.      Mount Stanley stands at an altitude of 5,109 m or 16,763 feet and it stands out most from both sides of DR Congo and Uganda. It is the third highest peak in the whole of Africa with Kilimanjaro at 5,895 metres and Mount Kenya at 5,199 metres.

This peak and numerous other neighbouring peaks are in a higher altitude enough to upkeep glaciers. It was named after Sir Henry Morton Stanley.

Mount Stanley has two twin summits plus quite a lot of lower peaks. This mountain was first hiked by Duke of the Abruzzi, J. Petigax, J. Brocherel and C. Ollier in 1906.
Elevation: 16,762
First Hiked: 1906
Prominence: 12,963
First Climber: The Duke of the Abruzzi, Prince Luigi Amedeo
Mountain Range: Rwenzori Mountains

Birds of Rwenzori.
Mountain Rwenzori National Park is a birder’s paradise for travellers on a Uganda bird watching safari. There are about 241 bird species only 19 out these are known. Some of these birds are endemic to Rwenzori. There is ongoing research with new species being discovered every now and then.

Endemic animals.
There are two mammals that are endemic to this mountain range. One is the Rwenzori climbing mouse and the other is the Rwenzori red duiker.

The national park is home to forest elephants and buffalos. Forest elephants and buffalos are smaller and more aggressive than their counterparts the savannah elephants and buffalos which are found in most national parks in Uganda

Primates in Rwenzori national park include the chimpanzees which are man’s closet cousins, sharing 98.7% DNA with man. Other primate species are black and white colobus and the handsome L’Hoest’s monkey.

Three Horned Rwenzori Chameleon.
The three-honed chameleon, also known as Johnston’s chameleon is endemic to Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. In Uganda, this interesting specie is found in Rwenzori National park, Mgahinga Gorilla national park and in Bwindi Impenetrable national park. The male chameleons have three horns while the female doesn’t have them.  In the Rwenzori, you will see a number of them as they camouflage according to the surrounding colours and temperature

Route Access to Rwenzori Mountains

By Air transport
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is found in south western Uganda in the districts of Kasese and Bundibugyo. It is easily accessed from Entebbe Airport and or Kampala through Aero Link– our partners.

By road Transport;
It is easily accessed from Entebbe or Kampala through Mityana, Mubende, Fort portal, Kasese up to the Mountains. It is the shortest route

The second route is from Entebbe or Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Bushenyi through Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kasese and finally to the Park. This is a longer route but the road is paved. This route is great for visitors who want to combine some wildlife safari activities in either Lake Mburo or Queen Elizabeth National Park with a hiking adventure to Mountain Rwenzori.

What to bring for Mountain Rwenzori Hike
It is very important for travellers ready to hike Mountain Rwenzori to be very fit and consider some of the basic requirements

Carry the right footwear. One needs proper hiking boots since some trails are very wet and boggy. Bring nice fitting hiking boots that provide support, grip and stability to the ankle

Handy oxygen supplies to help lessen altitude sickness: In case of sever headache or other indicators of high altitude sickness; try to go downhill at least 3,000 feet instantly for medication

The right hiking gear:  It is very important for one to come with the right hiking gear to make the trekking an unforgettable experience. Bring outfits that don’t restrict your movements and those that are water proof

Hiking poles: These help you retain your balance as you hike through a rough topography.

Sun glasses to keep your eyes out of the sun

Sun screen since the higher you go the more penetrating the sun rays get

Water: Bring water to keep hydrated since you may sweat more as you hike

Food: Food and water are always included in the package paid to the mountaineering services through Bird’s Nest Safaris

Back pack: Bring that fits very well

Camera: Bring a good camera to capture your memories


There are a number of accommodations around Rwenzori Mountain National park for every visitor. There are several hotels in Kasese town, which is the nearest town to the Mountains. These are;

  • Hotel Margherita
  • White Horse
  • Springs International hotel
  • Ruboni Community camp
  • Sandton Hotel
  • Marafiki Safari Lodge
  • Ruwenzori View Guest House

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park     (Gorillas and golden monkeys – Top things to do and see)

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is only 33 sq km (13 sq mile) in size and lies 14km (8 miles) from Kisoro town. Mgahinga Gorilla National park is one of the small national parks in Uganda and it is located far in South Western Uganda bordering Bwindi Impenetrable national park in the South, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo. Explore Rwanda and DRC with Bird’s Nest Safaris on one of our exciting safaris. It is famous for gorilla tracking, golden monkey tracking and Batwa trail making it perfect for a traveler who is interested in seeing silver backs, golden monkeys and a cultural experience of the forest people- the Pygmies.

It is also located on the northern slopes of the three northern most extinct Virunga Volcanoes: Mt. Muhavura which is 4,127 metres above sea level, Mt. Gahinga which is 3,474 metres above sea level and Mt. Sabinyo at 3,645 metres above sea level. Although the sun shines on this park, because of its high altitude, it can get very cold and chilly in the evening but thankfully the lodges always have an open campfire to warm you up. We recommend that you bring warm clothing for this weather and a list of what to bring is included in a pre-departure guide that we always email to our clients signed up on any of our safaris to Uganda, Rwanda and Congo

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park cannot be under estimated because of its small size. It is well endowed with adventure activities like hiking to the ‘lslands of the sky’- the Virunga volcanoes as mentioned above, gorilla tracking, Batwa trail experience and the endangered golden monkeys.

Activities in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
The stars in Mgahinga Gorilla National park are the mountain gorillas but this small park has in store other adventure activities one can do;

A close up encounter with a gorilla in Mgahinga gorilla national park.

Mountain Gorilla Tracking
Mgahinga National park is home to man’s closest, the mountain gorillas which roam freely in the forest looking for food. The park is one of the 4 places where the rare and endangered mountain gorillas can be seen since they can not survive any else. Because it is one of the few places with the mountain gorillas, the park is visited throughout the year on a Uganda safari for the gorilla adventure trek.

Golden Monkey Tracking
Mgahinga Gorilla National park offers travellers a golden opportunity to track golden Monkeys. These monkeys are absolutely gorgeous and all that glitters is gold. The golden monkey is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List because its habitat is threatened due to destruction.
Tracking golden monkeys is an activity that one should not miss out while on a Uganda or East African safari. They will entertain you with their acrobat skills, jumping from one tree to the other through the bamboo forest.    Tracking Golden monkeys is easier than gorilla tracking. Look out for other animals and the countless birds in the area.

Batwa Trail and Garamba Cave
Another great activity in Mgahinga Gorilla National park is the Batwa Pygmy trail which takes visitors to Garamba Cave which is a 3km hike. The activity starts from the National park head offices with a brief history about the cave and its importance to the Batwa- the forest people. Batwa would raid their neighbours, and return to the cave which is 342 metres long and 14 metres deep. Since the forest is now gazetted as a national park, the Batwa no longer live in the cave and it now home to bats. You will also learn about how they made fires, treated diseases and worshipped.

Hiking Volcano Mountains
Mgahinga Gorilla National park is a diverse small park that can let visitors go hiking one of the three Virunga Volcanoes which can be combined with a gorilla trek, golden monkey trek or Batwa trail

These are Sabyinyo which is 366m or 1,200 feet. It is also known as Old Man’s Teeth because the crown has been eroded with time. Hiking Sabinyo can take about 8 hours depending on the hikers pace, and is 14km or 8 miles.

The second one is Mt. Gahinga which is 3,474 meters or 11,397 feet above sea level. One needs at least 6 hours to hike to the top through the bamboo forest zone. Gahinga in the local language means a pile of rocks. It covers an 8km distance or 5 miles.

The last virunga Mountain of Mgahinga Gorilla National park is Muhavura which means The guide in the local language because it can be seen from the whole or Kisoro area and acts as a land mark too. The hike to the top takes about 8 hours; of course this depends on ones hiking pace and it is 12km long. It is a tough hike and hikers will need to bring a lot of water, food and very nice trekking shoes.

Birding in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National park is a birder’s paradise. There are about 180 bird species in the Park, some which are Albertine Rift endemics and every birder on a Uganda birding safari should not miss a chance to go birding in Mgahinga National park. The park has montane bird habitants and is home to some of the birds that include Kivu Ground Thrush, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, White Starred Robin, RwenzoriTuraco, RwenzoriBatis, Archer’s Robin Chat, Olive Pigeon, and Black headed waxbill, Western Green Tinker bird, Cape Robin, White-starred Robin, Brown Woodland Warbler, Striped breasted Tit, Malachite, Scarlet-tufted, Greater Double collard Sunbirds among others. You may go for a 3 hours gorge trail between Gahinga and Sabinyovolcano mountains or take the bamboo trail which is at 2500 meters above sea level.

Border Trail           
A visitor to Mgahinga Gorilla National park may go for a 10km (6miles) hike, that takes about 5 hours depending on the hiker, up to the base of Sabinyo Volcano Mountain. You will have great views of the gorge and the peaks. This trail follows the conger border before returning to the park offices.
There are high chances of seeing golden monkeys and some forest elephants that reside in the area. This trail hike is also great for birders

Viewing platform
800 meters from the national park gate, there is a viewing platfoam where visitors can get a beautiful panoramic view of Mgahinga Gorilla National park. The platfoam has display panels that visitors can use to know what they are viewing.

Accommodation in  Mgahinga Gorilla National park
There are different accommodation options for a very traveller that range from luxury to Budget

Contact Bird’s Nest Safaris for an adventure safari to Mgahinga Gorilla national park to experience its mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, and a hike to the Volcano Mountains and or to take part in the Batwa trail to experience how these forest people used to live, hunt and worship

How  to  get there:          
Mgahinga gorilla national park is easily accessible from Entebbe, Kampala and from Rwanda. There are two options;

Road transport: By road, it will take a full day drive from Kampala, Entebbe to Kisoro town and then take about half an hour further from Kisoro to the park entrance or gorilla tracking briefing offices. From Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, it takes about 3 hours to this park.

Air transport:  Mganhinga gorilla national park can easily be accessed by air from Entebbe International airport to Kisoro town. Bird’s Nest Safaris partners with Aerolink which offers scheduled and chartered flights to most of Uganda’s national parks and reserves.

Recommended safaris to Mgahinga Gorilla national park

Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park (Things to do and see – Accommodation)

Kidepo Valley National park, also managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority was gazetted as a game reserve in 1958 and later became a national park in 1962. It is 1,442 km2 and ranges from 900 to 2.750 m in altitude.

Kidepo Valley national park is the most wild of all the national parks in Uganda with breath taking savannah landscapes and endless views of the horizon. It is one of the less visited national parks in Uganda and so you experience the feeling of having the whole national park by yourself. On guided game drives, you will see many elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, lions, baboons, and a variety of antelopes, warthogs, jackals and countless savannah birds. It is the only national park in Uganda where you can see cheetahs. The park has the largest buffalo population with a herd of about 1,700 buffaloes, not recorded any where else on earth. You may also go for bird watching, a guided walking safari and a nocturnal game drive.
There are different types of accommodation for each traveller from high end to budget accommodations and camping is also available for the more adventurous ones.

A Uganda safari to this scenic park is a must. It is a long distance from Kampala to Kidepo but our safaris to Kidepo have a stopover in Gulu or Kitgum to breakdown the journey and you can also fly-into Kidepo Valley National park for an experience that should not be missed.

For a traveller who loves getting off the ‘tourist track’, then you should not miss visiting Kidepo Valley National park on your Uganda Safari

From Kidepo Valley National park, you can easily connect to Murchison falls national park, Uganda’s biggest conservation area named after the famous Murchison falls. Bird’s Nest Safaris has designed Uganda wildlife safaris that combine these two national parks and if you are interested, contact us.

Because of its uniqueness and spectacular wilderness, Kidepo Valley National Park was recently rated 3rd-best National Park in Africa by CNN

Top things to do and see in Kidepo Valley National park- Wilderness safaris:

Kidepo Valley National park is Africa’s finest wilderness and visitors can choose from different activities as below. The Narus Valley is Kidepo’s major area of interest for game drive safari.

Game drive safaris in the Narus Valley: The most popular place for safari game drives in Kidepo Valley National park is the Narus Valley which is in the southern part of the park. It has water throughout the year and many animals gather in this grass rolling plains for water giving travelers the opportunity to enjoy their game drive safari with views of many animals like the elephants, buffaloes, zebras, hartebeest, bush pigs, warthogs and different types of antelopes. The park has well developed game tracks to make game drives easy but a 4 x4 WD vehicle is recommended. Kidepo Valley National park inhabits about 80 mammals of which 28 are only found here. Apart from the animals mentioned above, there are predators such as the lions, leopards, cheetahs. Kidepo is the only national park with cheetahs in Uganda, but you can also find them in one of the biggest wildlife reserve known as Pian Up wildlife reserve in Eastern Uganda.

Game drives in Kidepo Valley National park are guided by an armed ranger of Uganda Wildlife Authority. These rangers are very knowledgeable and most of them are locals who will educate you a lot about the wildlife, birds of the national park and the history of the people in the surrounding communities.

A traveler can go for full day games, or choose between morning games and evening game drives.
To be able to see animals that are only active in the night and lions hunting, you can go for a guided nocturnal game drive safari. Night game drives are only possible in four national parks in Uganda.

Birding in Kidepo Valley National park: Kidepo Valley National park is a birder’s paradise and perfect for bird watching. About 58 bird species have been recorded in the park and you can go for bird watching in the morning, afternoon and late evening a long the Narus and Namamukweny valleys. Some of the birds watched are the purple heron, Verreaux’s eagle, Egyptian vulture, pygmy falcon, super starling, Abyssinian roller and Abyssinian ground hornbill. Clapperton’s Francolin is only found in Kidepo Valley National park.

Picnics at Kidepo Valley River banks:  Kidepo river bank has a beautiful picnic site that visitors can go to. Because the Valley hardly has water throughout the year, there are a handful of animals in this area but it is still worth a visit and walk a long its bed of white sand surrounded by beautiful palm trees.

Hikes and nature walks in Kidepo Valley National park: Travelers can go for a 4 hours hike to Lomej Mountains or go for short guided walks for two hours. These guided walks can take you to Narus valley where most of the animals gather for water. Visitors can also go for hikes to Morungole Mountains to meet the special IK tribe.

Cultural community walks:  Cultural community walks are a great way to interact and learn more about local cultures of people in Uganda. Walks in Kidepo Valley National park take you to the Karamajong Manyattas which are homesteads to the local people. Visitors will learn about their way of dancing, traditional clothes, hunting and their cherished jewellery.

How to get to Kidepo Valley National park

Road transport: The Park can be easily accessed by road, offering scenic landscape and local communities. It is advisable that you break down the journey from Gulu or Kitgum. The roads have been worked on and are now easy to drive on.

Air transport: There are chartered and scheduled air flights from Entebbe International Airport to the park Headquarters. There is an airstrip located at Lomej which is about 3km south of the Headquarters. Bird’s Nest Safaris partners with Aerolink Uganda for your scheduled flights to Kidepo Valley National park.

What to bring for a safari in Kidepo Valley National park

  • Light clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Wide rimmed hat
  • Cotton underwear
  • Insect repellent
  • A flash light
  • A camera with spare batteries
  • Binoculars for wildlife and bird viewing
  • A lot of water
  • Food if staying at the rest camps

Accommodation inside Kidepo Valley National park

Apoka Safari LodgeLocated in Kidepo Valley National park, which is Uganda’s most remote national park, this high end safari lodge is perfect for visitors who want to experience wilderness combined with luxury. The lodge has 10 spacious rooms each with a private veranda to offer great savannah views of the park. The lodge was built using local materials and by local craftsmen. The rooms have big hand hewn beds with draping mosquito nets and hand woven carpets. The lodge has a swimming pool carved out of the big rock perfect for a dip on those hot days after a safari in the park.

Apoka Rest Camp This rest camp is managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda’s conservation body. It has clean self contained cottages and in the evenings, many animals come around. It is also possible to hitch your own tent or hire one; at the camp grounds. The rest camp is the perfect place for starting all the activities of the park that include wildlife game drives and bird watching. If booked in advance, you can get basic meals from the camp, but alternatively, you may bring your food and request a chef to prepare it for you as you enjoy the wilderness.

Kakine Self-catering Campsite This camp is so basic and only has tents but offers the greatest wilderness views. It has a basic toilet and bathing area. You will be guarded by a ranger from Uganda Wildlife Authority at all times. You will have to bring all your food and provisions

Accommodation outside Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Savannah LodgeKidepo Savannah lodge is Kidepo’s new lodge on the block. It is located 500 M away from the park gate, and it feels like one is inside the national park. The lodge has a thatched dining and bar with great views of the Kidepo National park. Lunches are two course meals while dinners are a 4 course meals. Clients with special diet requirements are considered.

The lodge has 8 self contained tents each on a raised deck and a private veranda and the tents have hot showers. It has 9 non self contained lodges for the budget option with a communal block that has hot showers and flushing toilets.

Bird’s Nest Safaris recommends Uganda wildlife safaris to Kidepo National park as mentioned below. These are just suggested itineraries which can be customized to fit the client’s interests. You can combine a wildlife safari from Kidepo Valley National park, to other national parks in Uganda.

Recommended Wildlife safaris to Kidepo Valley National park

4 Day Luxury Fly-in Wildlife safari to Kidepo Valley National Park

5 Day Uganda wildlife road trip to Kidepo Valley National Park

Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park Things to do and see – Accommodation – Uganda wildlife safaris

Lake Mburo National park, the smallest national park in Uganda is about 4 hours drive from Kampala and can connect easily to Queen Elizabeth National park und Bwindi Impenetrable national park; which is home to mountain gorillas that can be tracked on our gorilla tracking safaris.

The beauty of Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National park is blessed with rich diverse animal and bird life with more than 315 different bird species for those interested in bird watching safaris and 68 different mammals that can be seen during game drives, guided walking safaris, horse riding safaris and nocturnal safaris. The mammals include impala, buffalo, leopards, zebras, elands, topis and recently about 16 giraffes were relocated to this beautiful jewel of a national park. You will see lots of hippos wallowing into water on a boat safari on Lake Mburo. Some of the animals in this park are found no where else in Uganda. It is less crowded too so you will likely have the whole park by yourself.

Most of our Uganda Safaris include a visit to this beautiful national park. If you are interested in any of our safaris and you would love to explore Lake Mburo national park, contact us.

Wildlife at Lake Mburo national park

There are over 68 mammal species in Lake Mburo National Park which can be spotted easily during the game drives and the wildlife boat trips. The park has well maintained tracks that make it easy for game viewing. Animals to look out for are impalas, a type of antelope that is found only in Lake Mburo National park, in the whole of Uganda. Other antelopes include the eland (one of the large and shy antelopes which are found only here and in Kidepo Valley National park), bush backs, Defassa Waterbuck, Topi and other animals that include African Cape buffalo, hyenas, an only lion that comes and goes, warthogs, and Zebras

Birds in Lake Mburo national park

Lake Mburo National Park is home to about 315 bird species which makes birding one of the top activities in the park. Because of its different habitants, there are savanna, forest and water birds in this small underrated national park. Some of the birds include Crested Francolin, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Barefaced Go-away bird, Red necked Spur, common Quails, Black-billed Barbet, Greenwood Hoopoe, Blue-napped Mouse bird, Lilac-breasted Roller, African-grey Hornbill, Nubian Woodpecker, Trilling Cisticola, Bee-eaters and the Cheeky bronze-tailed starling and the crowned crane which is on the Uganda emblem. On the boat safari, you will look out for the African Finfoot, shoebill stork, Malachite, pied and grey headed kingfishers, African fish eagle among others

Top Activities in Lake Mburo National Park

Morning and Night safari Game drives in customized safari vehicles with pop up roofs

Visitors in Lake Mburo national park can go for guided nigh and day safari games drives. Both times are perfect for game viewing since animals are very actives during those times. Uganda Wildlife Authority opened and maintains wildlife game drive tracks that make it easy for visitors to spot the animals in the park.

Lake Mburo national park is one of the few animals where night game drives take place with supervision of a ranger guide from Uganda Wildlife Authority. The night game drives offer chances of seeing the nocturnal animals that include bush babies and leopard. The other animals to look out for are warthogs, zebras, and the different types of antelopes. The game drives normally take about 3 hours

Wildlife boat safaris in Lake Mburo National Park:

One can go for a 2 hour wildlife boat safari on Lake Mburo which is found inside the National park. Animals come to the lake to drink water, offering many animal sightings on the boat safari. Expect to see crocodiles, more than you can possibly imagine hippos, monitor lizards, buffalos and different types of birds that include African Fin Foot, different types of Kingfishers, weaver birds, African fish eagle, lapwings, hamerkop, shoebill stork, and herons among others. You will have stunning views of the distant hills that surround the lake.

Birding in Lake Mburo national park

Lake Mburo national park is a bird watchers haven because it is home to over 315 species of birds. Birding will be better around Ruganga forest with a ranger guide, Warukiri, Rwonyo area, and around the salty lick area. It is so easy to go birding in Lake Mburo National park and the birds to look out for are white winged tit, Bare-faced Go-away bird, White-headed Barbet, Red faced barbet,  Red-shouldered cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed Cisticola, Brown parrot, Grey crowned crane, Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, and black bellied bastard, night heron, malachite and pied kingfisher, African fish eagle among other birds.

Guided Nature Walks in Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is one of the two national parks in Uganda where a visitor can go for a guided nature walk. You must go with a ranger guide from Uganda Wildlife Authority. We highly recommend this rare activity where you will spot the wildlife of the park on foot.

The ranger will tell you which foot print or droppings belong to which animal and you will approach the wildlife at such a close range. This is an opportunity that should not be missed out while on a safari in Uganda. The early morning walk normally begins at 7am after early breakfast and one has high chances of seeing hyenas returning to their dens and hippos returning to Lake Mburo. The walk too provides opportunities of spotting out some of the forest and savannah birds. The morning guided walk can be done before you proceed to your next destination and is wrapped up by a walk to the top of one a hill that offers stunning views of nine of the fourteen lakes in the region.

Horse back safaris in Lake Mburo National park:

A horse back safari in Lake Mburo National park is one that should not be missed while in this beautiful diverse park. The rides are between 2 to 3 hours on well trained and maintained horses. The horse rides are for all different levels of riders and will offer great opportunities for game viewing of the different animals in the park that include African cape buffalo, Zebras, Topi, Impala, Eland, warthogs, etc

Sport fishing at Mazinga

Lake Mburo is a designated sport fishing area and anglers can go sport fishing at Mazinga. One will need a sport fishing permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority which we can arrange, and better to come with your own fishing equipment. It has 6 types of fish that include lung fish, mud fish, cat fish among others and tilapia is the most common one. The method of fishing in Lake Mburo National park is catch and release

Community and cultural experiences in Lake Mburo National Park

A visitor in Lake Mburo National park may go for communitu cultural experience in the neighbouring communities. The people in these communities are mainly cattles keepers of the Endangered Ankolelond horned cattle. On these activities, you will learn about their lifestyle, how to milk cows and process ghee as well as listen to stories told by the people. Note that a certain percentage from the money paid to the national park goes to the neighbouring communities to help with conservation and for the communities to benefit from the park

Accommodation in Lake Mburo National Park

There are different types of accommodation in Lake Mburo National Park that suit every traveller. Some of the lodges, border with the park but you will feel like you are inside the national park

  • Mihingo Lodge- Luxury
  • Rwakobo Rock- Mid range
  • Arcadia cottages Lake Mburo- Mid range
  • Mburo Safari Lodge- Budget
  • Eagles’ Nest- Budget

How to get there:

Road transport: It is about 5 hours from Entebbe and 4 from Kampala to Lake Mburo national park. From this park, you can easily connect to Queen Elizabeth, Kibale National park, Rwenzori Mountain and Bwindi Impenetrable national parks

Suggested safari itineraries that include lake Mburo National Park

Queen Elizabeth National park

Queen Elizabeth National park – Things to do and see – Accommodation

Queen Elizabeth National park in Uganda was officially established in 1952 Kazinga National park and it offers a visitor the opportunity of a classic East African Safari on savannah plains. The park covers an area of 774 sq miles between Lake Edward and Lake George, connected by the Kazinga channel.

Queen Elizabeth National park is one of the most popular national parks in Uganda and is home to over 95 mammals and 600 bird species, with a dramatic background of the Majestic Rwenzori Mountains. Visitors can enjoy many safari activities from sunrise, afternoon and night safari game drives on the great savannah plains in the northern and Ishasha sectors, boat safaris on the Kazinga channel that attracts lots of big and small game like elephants, buffalos, crocodiles, hippos, monitor lizards, and lots of birds more than you can possibly imagine. The birds include the pied and malachite king fishers, African fish eagle, spoon billed stork, yellow billed stork, pink backed pelicans, marabou stocks and saddle billed storks. One can also go for chimpanzee tracking in the Kyabura gorge or just a guided walk to the bat cave in Maramagambo Forest.

Activities in Queen Elizabeth National park

Sunrise, Afternoon and night safari game drives:

A Uganda safari is not complete without a game drive in Queen Elizabeth National park. With countless types of mammals that include elephants, different types of reptiles that include snakes, crocodiles and monitor lizards and about 600 bird species, Queen Elizabeth National is perfect for visitors who want to explore African wildlife. All game drives are guided in 4 x 4 WD customized safari vehicles with a professional safari guide. The park is home to large numbers of buffalos, lions, leopards, hippos, elephants, giant forest hogs, warthogs, hyenas, bush bucks and different types of antelopes that include the Uganda Kob which is an endemic antelope and is on the coat of arms together with the crested crane.

Boat Safaris on Kazinga channel:

Boat safaris a long the Kazinga Channel are a great way to view animals that come to the water banks to drink water. The Kazinga Channel is 32 km and connects Lakes George and Edward and attracts countless animals that include the elephants, buffalos, schools of hippos and rich number of birds. You will all those animals and numerous Nile crocodiles basking in the sun. Bird watchers are normally overwhelmed by over 60 bird species spotted during this boat safari. The birds include the spoon billed stork, long tailed cormorants, African fish eagle, pelicans, marabou storks, pied and malachite king fishers, sacred ibis among others

Tree climbing Lions in Ishasha Sector:

Ishasha sector in the southern part of Queen Elizabeth National park is famous for tree climbing lions. There are only two places in the world where lions climb trees i.e. in Ishasha Uganda and in Lake Manyara National park in Tanzania. The reasons why these lions climb trees is unknown. It has been said that may be they climb to run away from Tsetse flies, of to escape the scorching sun. The lions lie lazily on the branches of fig trees in the sector. A game drive or a night in the Ishasha area will give a visitor an opportunity to spot these lions. Apart from tree climbing lions, other animals like topis, buffalos and elephants can be seen on game drives in Ishasha plains. These however tend to be more aggressive since most probably they have crossed from Virunga National park in Congo where poaching is a great threat. Remember to bring your binoculars.

Lion tracking:

If you want to get up close and personal and at the same time contribute to the research data base, then lion tracking is perfect.  This experience will allow visitors to monitor lions using locator devices. You will learn habituation calls, behaviours and habits of lions. Lion tracking gives you a 95% chance to see the lions in their natural habitant. The number of people for this activity is very limited so that the lions are not stressed but also makes the experience more quality and exclusive.

Other experience activities in Queen Elizabeth National park include hippo census, bird counting and mongoose tracking. You will either go for lion tracking in the morning or in the evening and sometimes at night and these must be booked through Uganda Wildlife Authority

Hot air balloon safari

Another unique way to experience Queen Elizabeth National park wilderness is to fly over its savannah plains on a hot air balloon safari. From above, you will watch over elephants, buffalos, antelopes and the African savannah

This hot air balloon safari should be added on your things to do while in Queen Elizabeth National park. It is very exciting. You will wake up early for this opportunity, fly high for approximately one hour. You will rise as the sun rises and float in the direction the window takes you. After the safari when you come done, you will have a hearty bush breakfast. Hot air balloon safaris in Uganda are only in two national parks, Queen Elizabeth National park and Murchison falls National Park

Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge:

You can visit Kyambura Gorge which is popular for chimpanzee tracking. Kyambura gorge is a tropical rain forest and it is located in the far eastern corner of Queen Elizabeth National Park and it is 16km to the Kazinga channel. The gorge is drained by the Kyambura River and has some of the most stunning landscapes in Uganda. Many animals come to the gorge for water and even though it is surrounded by the savannah, it has a big number of primates.  It is home to chimpanzees, red tailed, black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, other animals and birds. The other alternative for chimpanzee tracking is in Kalizu forest.

Bush walks in the Maramagambo forest:

Besides the traditional safari game drives, one can go for a nature walk in Maramagambo forest. For a little bit of adventure, you can visit the bat cave that has snaking always waiting to swallow bats in the cave

General safari Requirements to Queen Elizabeth National park

  • Light safari clothing’s i.e. shorts/sleeveless for the day
  • Warm clothing/sweater for the evening
  • Anti Malarial/Yellow fever vaccination

Getting around to Queen Elizabeth National park

By Road transport:

It takes about 7 hours from Kampala via Mbarara to Queen Elizabeth National park. Those hours exclude breaks and lunch stops

By Air transport:

The park can be access by air transport from Entebbe airport with Aerolink.

Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth National park

Luxury Accommodation inside the park

  • Mweya Safari Lodge- Views of the Kazinga channel

Luxury accommodation outside the park

  • Kyambura Gorge Lodge- Views of the Kyambura gorge

Semi- luxury outside the park

  • Katara Lodge- Views of the rift valley
  • Mazike Safari Lodge
  • Kasenyi safari camp

Mid range accommodation

  • Marafiki Safari Lodge- Views of Lake George
  • Twin Lakes Safari Lodge- Views of the rift valley and national park
  • Ihamba Safari Lodge- Views of Lake George

Budget accommodation

  • Bush Lodge- Views of Kazinga channel
  • Irungu Forest Safari Lodge

Accommodation in the Ishasha sector- South of Queen Elizabeth National park

Luxury accommodation in Ishasha

  • Ishasha Wilderness camp- Views of Ishasha River

Mid range accommodation in Ishasha

  • Enjojo lodge cottages
  • Ishasha Jungle Lodge

Budget accommodation in Ishasha

  • At the River

Suggested safari itineraries that include Queen Elizabeth National park

Murchison Falls National Park

Located in the North-western part of Uganda, Murchison falls national park is the largest national park in Uganda and covers an area of 3,893 sq km about 1,503 sq miles. It is the oldest and first conservation area in Uganda and it is divided by the Victoria Nile. The park was named after the popular Murchison falls where the Victoria Nile forces its way through a narrow gap before plunging 43 meters down with a thunderous roar. The park is surrounded by Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves. A Uganda safari to Murchison falls national park can never disappoint and on one of the safaris here, a traveler may see all the big 5 animals when combined with an en route visit to Ziwa Rhino sanctuary for guided Rhino tracking. Travelers who visit Murchison Falls National park can also combine it with a chimpanzee tracking safari to Kibale National park.

On a Uganda wildlife safari to Murchison Falls, expect to see a massive number of wildlife on sunrise or sunset game drives. Look out for African Cape buffalo, the graceful giraffes, elephants, lions, and leopards, different types of antelopes, monkeys and different bird species and on a boat to the delta, you will have a high chance of seeing the bizarre looking shoebill stork which is one of the famous birds looked for on our bird watching safaris. There are many optional activities in this beautiful national park that include a hike to the top of the falls. You do not need to be physically fit to go for this hike which offers stunning photographic views of the falls. At the top of the falls, you will see a beautiful rain bow. Other optional activities are a balloon safari over the park, sports fishing which requires a sport fishing permit, and chimpanzee tracking tour in Budongo forest. On a boat safari at the bottom of the falls, you will see hippos, Nile crocodiles and beautifully feathered birds.

The park has different types of accommodations for every traveler. Luxury lodges include Bakers lodge and Paraa Safari lodge; mid range lodges include Pakuba safari lodge, Murchison River lodge and Fort Murchison and budget accommodation include Red chilli Murchison Falls.

Top things to do and see in Murchison Fall National park- Uganda big five safaris.

Boat safaris to the base of Murchison Falls:  A boat safari at the bottom of the Murchison falls national park is one of the highlights of this national park and should not missed. At the stunning Murchison Falls, River Nile which is the world’s longest river forces itself through a narrow cleft before dropping 43m down with a thunderous roar. River Nile divided Murchison Falls National park in North and south sectors and attracts a huge number of animals which come to drink from the river. A boat safari to the bottom of Murchison falls offers visitors an opportunity to see and photograph animals that come to drink especially during afternoon or evening hours. Apart from the animals, the river attracts huge numbers of birds. You will see Nile crocodiles relaxing at the river bank, hippopotamus splashing waters, elephants, giraffes, antelopes among others. Birds include pied king fisher, fish eagles, saddle billed storks and bee eaters. Boat safaris in Murchison falls national park happen in the morning, in the afternoon and early evening and booking in advance is recommended.

Hike to the top of the Murchison Falls.     The Murchison falls are stunning and a hike to the top of the falls with a constant rainbow is breath taking. This activity by all means should not be missed while in the park and it can also be done by children. The hike offers stunning views of the falls and the green scenery surrounding them. The hike is an easy one and takes about 30 minutes for people who are really fast and about an hour for people who are less fast and with stopovers for the guide’s briefing on some of the stop points. The hike trails are well developed although the steps are quite steep on some point. A traveler will have great views of the Uhuru falls too and you will have some of the best photographs taken from here. The hike starts from the bottom of the falls and your driver guide MUST wait for a visitor at the top of the falls. It is an easy hike but we recommend wearing closed shoes

River trip to the Nile Delta.      Another top activity in Murchison Falls National park is a river boat trip to the Nile Delta. This is where the Victoria Nile flows into Lake Albert and a boat trip here is a must for bird watchers. The banks of the Nile Delta are famous for the weird looking shoebill stork which is rare and pre-historic.  The shoebill stork is one of Uganda’s highly sought after birds on every bird watching safari. Apart from the shoebill stork, look out for other birds like the giant Kingfisher, bee eaters, pelican and other storks. You will see many Nile crocodiles, some elephants and numerous antelopes. If time allows, have a bush breakfast by the northern bank or river Nile. As you approach lake Albert, you will have beautiful views of mountains on the other side. Few people go for the Nile Delta boat safari, so you will have the whole river to yourself.

Sunrise, sunset and night safaris in Murchison Falls National park.       The best way to come face to face with the animal kingdom in Murchison falls National parks is by the going for a sunrise, sunset or night safari, in the Northern part of River Nile where most wildlife of the national park are. Travelers who stay at Paraa Safari Lodge and Pakuba Safari lodge do not need to cross the ferry for the game drives since they are located in the North where the activity starts from. On these game drives expect to see lots of elephants, giraffes, Africa cape Buffalo, lions, leopards, primates,  and different types of antelopes that include the oribi and the water buck. Murchison Falls National park is also home to many birds which can be seen during the game drives. On a nocturnal or night game drive, you will see nightlight of nocturnal animals like lions hunting.

Birding watching safari in Murchison falls National Park.     Murchison falls National Park is also one of the best birding places in Uganda and the park’s main attraction is the shoebill stork, best sighted on the Nile Delta boat safari. The best time to see the shoebill stork in Murchison Falls National park is January to March. Bird watching can be done during game drives. The most common birds sighted are the Abyssinian ground hornbill, black bellied Bustards, open billed storks, secretary bird. On your boat safari at the bottom of the Murchison falls you will see the kingfishers, hornbills, the Grey heron, fly catchers and bee eaters among others. At the Nile river bank, you will also see stilts, plovers, and geese. Birding watching can also be done from Budongo Forest for forest birds and a long the royal mile. We have a ready made bird watching safari which you can sign up to, for birds of Uganda.

Hot air balloon safari in Murchison Falls National park.      A hot air balloon safari gives a visitor in Murchison Falls National park a bird eye’s view of the national park. Hot air balloon safaris are only possible in the morning, and they are wrapped up by a bush breakfast. One sees lots of animals from above and the safari also offers beautiful views of Lake Albert, River Nile and colorful sunrises.

Chimpanzee tracking Budongo Forest, Murchison Falls NP.     Although Budongo Forest is known as one of the best bird watching locations in East, the forest is home to different types of primates that include red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, the dog shaped olive baboons but the star are the chimpanzees. A visitor can combine a wildlife safari to Murchison falls national park and chimpanzee tracking of habituated chimpanzees in Budongo forest.  Chimpanzee tracking can be done in the morning or in the afternoon. For keen bird watchers, includes bird watching a long the Royal Mile track which is one of the best bird watching places. The other best places for chimpanzee tracking and habituation are Kibale National park and Queen Elizabeth National park

Sports Fishing safari in Murchison Falls National park.        One of the less known activities in Murchison Falls National park is sport fishing which requires a special permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Sport fishing are done at the bottom of river Nile and Nile Perch is the most common fish caught by anglers doing sport fishing on River Nile. The other types of fish caught are cat fish and tiger fish. Most anglers agree that sport fishing in the wild Murchison Falls is one of the most challenging and clients are always provided with expert guides for safety and for successful fishing. All fish caught during sport fishing is released back to the water. The best months for sport fishing are the dry months of December to March and June to October. Some of the world’s renowned anglers that have done sports fishing in Murchison falls at the base are Jeremy Wade (River Monsters presenter), John Wilson a UK TV presenter, and Zeb Hogan of Monster Fish National Geographic TV. Contact us if you are interested in sport fishing at Murchison falls

What to bring for a safari in Murchison Falls National park.

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the hottest national parks in Uganda due to its location. Below are the basics essentials to bring.

  • Cool and light clothing
  • Sun glasses to protect your eyes from the sun
  • Waterproof or plastic bags for cameras, phone and binoculars on the boat safari since it can pour anytime
  • A good insect repellent since insects especially tsetse flies can be a problem in the evening and when hiking around the river’s vegetation. You may also bring long sleeved shirts and long trousers for this purpose
  • Spare batteries for your camera since some places don’t have electricity all the time
  • Flush light

Accommodations in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National park has different types of accommodation for every traveler from High end luxury safari lodges, mid range and budget lodges. Below is a list of some of the safari lodges

High end accommodations in Murchison Falls National park

Paraa Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls NP.
Paraa Safari lodge is one of the oldest safari lodges and was established in 1954. The lodge has perfect views of River Nile and is located in the Northern part of Murchison Falls National park where most of the activities like game drives, boat safaris and sport fishing take place. Each room at the lodge is en suite and has a private veranda. Some rooms have beautiful views of River Nile. It has a swimming pool, a restaurant and bar, a gift shop and a conference centre.

Chobe Safari Lodge.
This is a perfect safari lodge with a modern touch. There are 36 en suite rooms on one block each with a private bathroom and shower, a ceiling fan, hair driers and with a private balcony that offers stunning views of River Nile. Activities one can go for while staying at Chobe Safari lodge are fishing, safari game drives, boat safari on River Nile and a boat trip to the Nile Delta.
Other facilities at Chobe Safari lodge are a swimming pool, restaurant and bar, health club and spa and a conference center

Baker’s Lodge.
Baker’s Lodge is located on the southern bank of River Nile, a great location to explore the Murchison Falls. The lodge derives its name from English Sr. Samuel Baker. This exclusive private lodge has a fabulous setting with luxurious rooms, great food and service and it is in the middle of Murchison Falls National park.    The lodge has 8 spacious thatched safari suites each raised from the ground on decks, overlooking the Nile.  Each room has a fan, a mosquito net, locally crafted furniture, en suite bathrooms with solar hot water.       The restaurant, lounge and bar are raised on wooden decks too, allowing guests to have a sunrise kissed breakfast and a sunset in the evening over the river.
There are different multi course menus a visitor can choose from as well as good wine and other bar drinks.      Hot beverages are available throughout the day which are self served by the clients but can also be delivered to the cottage

Mid range accommodation in Murchison Falls National park

Pakuba Safari Lodge     Located at the Eastern bank of the Albert Nile, Pakuba Safari Lodge is tastefully designed and offers comfort to travelers who stay here while in Murchison Falls. Travelers can enjoy different activities of Murchison Falls National park which include game drives, hikes to the top of the falls, bird watching and boat safaris at the bottom of the falls.

The lodge has 46 rooms which are en suite with a private bathroom and flushing toilets.  The rooms are clean, comfortable and with mosquito nets.
The food is nice, and the stuff is excellent and friendly. Many animals especially giraffes come right to the lodge to graze.

Murchison River Lodge    Over looking Murchison Falls from the southern bank of River Nile, Murchison River Lodge is a comfortable and relaxing mid range lodge in Murchison Falls National park. It has accommodations for all budgets. It has en suite thatched cottages, self contained thatched safari tents, and comfortable camping tents. You may also bring your own tent to hitch.

The lodge has a swimming pool, a restaurant and bar. The accommodation is simply stunning and the restaurant is set on the most photogenic spot.

Fort Murchison lodge    Designed in a Swahili kind of style, Fort Murchison Lodge is located on the Eastern banks of River Nile. It offers money for value accommodation from mid range to budget options. The mid range rooms are 12 self contained with spacious bedrooms and comfortable beds. Each room has a private balcony

The restaurant has Swahili décor and guests are served 4 course menus. The bar on the roof top has great views and is perfect for a sun downer.

Budget accommodation in Murchison Falls National Park

Fort Murchison tents  Fort Murchison has a budget option and offers non self contained tents that have 2 single beds, mosquito nets, all linen, a bed side table and a power socket for charging your electrical equipments. The tents are under grass thatched roofs with a private terrace. Visitors who stay in tents have shared showers and flushing toilets

How to get to Murchison Falls National park

Road transport: It is about 7 and 6 hours from Entebbe and Kampala respectively to Murchison Falls National park. This time excludes breaks en route and the time at the Ziwa rhino sanctuary for those who include rhino tracking on their itinerary.

Air transport: Murchison Falls National park can also be accessed by air through charter and scheduled flights to Pakuba airstrip through Aerolink, our partners.

Bird’s Nest Safaris offers exciting Uganda wildlife safaris to this spectacular national park. We have already made itineraries for every traveler that can also be tailor made to suit the traveler’s interests, budget and time frame. We offer short to long safaris to Murchison falls as recommended below. Our short safaris are perfect for travelers with limited time but want to experience a typical Uganda wildlife safari

Our Recommended safari packages that include Murchison falls national park.

3 days Murchison falls national park

13 days Primates predators and wildlife safari

11 days gorilla, lions, Nile and wildlife safari

Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale National Park    (Things to do and see – Accommodation)
Kibale National park, this fascinating primate capital of the world, is 766 sq km and is located near Fort Portal and Kasese towns in Western Uganda. Kibale National park is about 325km and 6 hours from Kampala city. The forest is one of the lush and beautiful forests in Uganda, surrounded by Batoro and Balinga.
The park can easily be accessed from all corners of Uganda and a traveler can combine an extension Uganda safari to Semliki, Mountain Rwenzori, Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi impenetrable national parks. This park is popular for chimpanzee tracking safaris although chimpanzee tracking can also be done from Budongo forest, Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park, and Kalizu forest which is managed by National Forestry Authority (NFA).

Kibale National park is home to Chimpanzees among other primate species. Chimpanzees are in the family of Hominidae with gorillas, orangutans and humans although they separated from humans about 6 million years ago. They share 98.8% DNA with man making them man’s closest cousins being members of the Hominia long with extinct species of the sub tribe Hominina. Male chimps are bigger than female chimps. They can stand up to 5.6 ft high and weighs about 150lbs. Chimpanzees also live 40 years in the wild and about 60 years in captivity. Chimpanzee’s arms are longer than the legs and they can walk with knuckles, or walk on all the legs and arms. They can also walk on two and hold things in their hands

The park can be visited all year round and is one of the last remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests and forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is a bird watcher’s paradise and the Green-breasted pitta which is one of the highly thought after birds, is here. You can book a bird watching safari with Bird’s Nest Safaris.

Apart from chimpanzees, there are about other 13 primate species which include the black and white colobus monkeys, red colobus monkeys, red tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkeys among others.  Colobus is a greek word which means ‘missing’. The colobus monkeys miss the 5th finger. Instead of chimpanzee tracking, a traveller may opt for chimpanzee habituation. With habituation, you spend the whole day with chimpanzees and this can prepare you for your gorilla trek safari.     The full day chimpanzee habituation is worth the money and the effort; you will feel like Jane Goodall. You only spend one hour with the chimps for the normal chimpanzee trek. You can combine the chimpanzee trek with a guided nature walk to Bigodi swamp, a community run activity.

How to get there:

By road: It is about 6 hours from Kampala to Kibale Forest National park and 1 hour from Kasese. We use customised safari vehicles to make your journey a comfortable one.

By air transport: A visitor can fly from Entebbe to Kasese town with our partners, Aerolink Uganda.

If you are interested in a chimpanzee tracking safari, contact us and our safari experts will work with you to organize one for you.

Activities to do in Kibale Forest National park.
Chimpanzee Tracking:   Chimpanzee tracking is one of the highlights that make a Uganda safari unique. What makes Uganda safaris more special is that you can go for chimpanzee and gorilla tracking in the same country. Kibale Forest National Park is with no doubt the best place in Uganda and in the world to see chimpanzees in their wild nature. The chimpanzee tracking starts at 8:00am from the park head quarters where visitors are briefed first. Then they are led to the forest by 2 ranger guides from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Many chimpanzee families call this forest home but its also a home to many other primates that include the red colobus monkeys, the grey checked mangabey, blue monkey, L’Hoest monkey among others.  There are also olive baboons and the nocturnal bush babies and pottos which may be seen on a night walk in the forest.

Chimpanzee Habitation: Chimpanzee habituation in Kibale Forest National park, a tropical forest is now popular and it is an experience like no other. Because chimpanzee trekking is very popular, another group is being habituated and visitors have an opportunity to participate in the chimpanzee habitation process at $220 per person. The price includes park entry fees; ranger guides fees and habituation fees. For a long time now, since the 1960s, a team of scientists have been habituating chimpanzees so visitors are able to go chimpanzee tracking. Chimpanzees are found in 19 African countries but they are endangered since their habitant is being destroyed by man. You will spend a whole day with chimps contributing to the habituation process with rangers and habituation experts from UWA.

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary:     Bigodi Wetland swamp sanctuary is about 6 km south of Kibale National park and is run by the community surrounding the park. 200 bird species that include the great blue turaco, about eight different primates that include the grey checked mangabey, the blue monkey, the red tailed, the black and white colobus monkey among others, beautiful butterflies call this swamp home. The guided swamp walk takes bout 2 to 3 hours walking through beautiful grasslands and communities with children waving at you warmly. The scenery too is beautiful.

Bird watching:         About 370 bird species have been recorded in Kibale National park and surrounding area. What more can a bird watcher ask for? The breasted pitta is one of the highly thought after birds, and our bird watching itinerary includes birding in Kibale national park. Bird watching in Kibale National park can be done thought the year. The other best bird spot is the Bigodi wetland sanctuary that is home to the great blue turaco, black and white cascade hornbill among others.

Crater walk lakes:    With over 70 crater lakes found are the area, a visitor can go for a 2 to 3 hour crater walk or more and hike to the top of the world for stunning views. Some of the crater lakes that are due to volcanic activities and explosions ages ago are Lake Nyabikyere, Ndali and Kyaninga.

Visit to Palace:    On your way to Queen Elizabeth National park, one can decide to visit Toro palace to learn more about Toro kingdom which is one the 5 traditional kingdoms in Uganda and King Omukama Oyo Rukidi IV became the youngest king in the world in 1995 at the age of 3.

Cultural home stays.   It is also possible to visitors to do a home-stay at one of the homes in the communities and experience first hand how the local people go by their lives. You will also participate in going to the farms with them, preparing and enjoying traditional Ugandan food.  .

Night nature walk:    If booked early through the national park, one can go for a guided night walk to look out for bush babies, golden cats and pottos. Before the night walk, forest elephants that call Kibale Forest National park have to be monitored first for peaceful night nature walks

Differences between chimpanzee tracking and gorilla tracking
One of the differences is that chimpanzees spend more time in trees than on ground. They move from one tree canopy to another. Gorillas however eat and move around on the ground, although sometimes some of them will be in the trees. It is so fascinating watching the acrobat skills for chimpanzees moving from one tree to another. It is thus a bit hard to take photos of the chimpanzees in trees than take photos of the gorillas on the floor.

Chimpanzees are more vocal, noisy and pat hoot a lot making the whole experience lively while gorillas are quite.

The chimpanzee tracking is flatter compared to the gorilla trek is more tense in a mountainous lush region making it more strenuous.

Unlike gorilla tracking, because the chimpanzee treks are shorter, one can either go in the morning or in the afternoon for the trek. Any time is great. Gorilla tracking goes for a whole day depending on where the gorillas nested the previous night.

However, both gorilla tracking and chimpanzee tracking require permits and the total number of permits is limited. So it is always recommended to book the permits in advance since they are on first come first served basis

For both gorilla tracking and chimpanzee tracking, you will need to wear sturdy hiking boot to make the treks easy.

We also recommend gaiters if you have them or tuck your safari pants in your boots to stop safari ants from getting to you.

Gardening gloves are also recommended for both treks to avoid stinging nettles and thorns from hurting you.

Accommodation in Kibale National park

While in and around Kibale National park, there are many great accommodation options to stay. These range from High end to Budget accommodations. There is accommodation for every one.

Luxury accommodation

 Semi- luxe accommodation

 Mid range accommodation

  • Kibale Forest camp
  • Kibale Guest Cottages

Budget accommodation

  • Kibale Forest camp- Lazy camping

Other places in Uganda where you can go for chimpanzee tracking:

 Budongo forest in Murchison Falls National park: In Murchison Falls, one can for chimpanzee tracking in Budongo Forest. The forest costs about 50 chimp individuals. The forest is rich in biodiversity with 9 primates, 289 butterfly species without forgetting 130 month species, 465 tree and shrub species, and about 359 species of bird.

Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National park: Chimpanzee tracking in Queen Elizabeth National park takes place in Kyambura gorge. There about 20 habituated individuals. Although the chances of seeing the chimpanzees in the gorge are 50/50, the gorge itself is very beautiful. A minimum requirement of fitness is required since the gorge is slippery and a bit steep.

Kalinzu Forest Reserve: This is located in Western Uganda near Queen Elizabeth National park with high chances of seeing the chimpanzees. A visitor can combine a savannah wildlife safari in Queen Elizabeth National park with a chimpanzee tracking adventure in Kalinzu forest

Our Recommended safari packages that include chimpanzee tracking activities:

3 days chimpanzee tracking Kibale forest national park
11 days gorilla, lions, Nile and wildlife safari
13 days Primates predators and wildlife safari
10 days Gorilla, chimps, Lions and wildlife safari (Uganda-Rwanda)