Wildlife is Uganda’s top tourist attraction as it mostly attracts lots of travelers from different parts of the world. They come to see the different wildlife species across the country in national parks and game reserves where they are being protected mainly for conservation purposes. The hot tropical sunshine of Uganda is ideal for more than 340 mammal species including African elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, buffaloes, cheetah, giraffes, zebras, Uganda kobs, waterbucks, and Jackson’s Hartebeest among others. It is home to the Big 5 and tourists have a chance to see them. Uganda records about 20 species of primates with the most popular and common ones being the endangered mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, golden monkeys, and more.
Popularly known as “The Pearl of Africa”, Uganda also boasts more than 1,060 species of birds found I different habitats like lush forest, savannah, woodland, and swamps. They harbor pelicans, ostriches, storks, flamingos, eagles, jacanas, plovers, lapwings, and many others. The hot equatorial climate of Uganda is ideal for various species of reptiles including crocodiles which are commonly seen on banks of rivers and lakes, monitor lizards, chameleons, pythons, and other snake types.
Just like most tour operators do, we usually ask our visitors what they wish to see during their Uganda safari. Meanwhile, they also ask which animals they are likely to see during a Uganda wildlife safari in some of the top parks around
In this article, Mumwe Global safaris presents to you the most sought after wildlife species in Uganda;
These apes are one of the most endangered primates in the world found in only three countries; Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. They share about 98% DNA with humans and have interesting behaviors and appearance that trekkers enjoy when they encounter them. Today, Uganda records thousands of visitors for gorilla trekking safaris every year to go and have a life changing experience of coming face to face with the gentle giant.
Uganda boasts two national parks where you can see mountain gorillas; Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park both in the southwestern part of the country. Take a hike through the lush forests and once you finally find the gorillas, you are allowed to stay with them for an hour learning about them and taking pictures, an experience you can not compare to anything else.
Chimpanzees are great apes in the forests of West and Central Africa. They are the closest living relatives to humans sharing a DNA percentage of 99%. Tracking these primates in the African jungle is one of the most exciting wildlife encounters of a safari. Among the best places for tracking chimpanzees on the continent is Kibale national park in western Uganda. The 776 sq.km nature reserve is home to about 1,450 chimps alongside other 12 primate species.
An experienced guide leads you through the tropical rainforest to search for the allocated chimp habituated family which you will come across have an hour to learn about them and take as much pictures as you can. Depending on the mood of the day, the chimps could be lively and playful jumping from one branch to another or probably relaxed or feeding.
Other destinations to see chimpanzees in Uganda are Kyambura gorge, Kalinzu forests reserve, Budongo forest and Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary.
Spotting lions is one of the things that make an African safari complete. The king of the jungle is among the mammal species that you would not get enough to watch because of their magnificence. Uganda also prides in offering wildlife safaris to see tree climbing lions found in Queen Elizabeth national park. Although lions can be sighted in many other national parks across the continent up in trees, a game drive in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park gives higher chances of spotting tree climbing lions.
Despite the fact that most tourists come for primate trekking and wildlife viewing, those that visit with the major intention of bird watching are as well increasing in number. One of the most sought out bird species in Uganda is the elusive shoebill stork. The bird got its name from its huge shoe-shaped bill. Adult shoebill storks are mainly grey in color while juveniles are browner.
The shoebill stork is endemic to Africa and is found in freshwater swamps of central tropical regions of the continent. A birding safari in Uganda to look out for the shoebill takes you to Mabamba bay or the Albert delta on a boat cruise downstream the Nile in Murchison falls national park. it is also sighted in Ziwa Rhino sanctuary, lake Mburo national park and Semuliki national park.
The elephant is one of the “Big 5” and is another mammal that makes a safari fun especially when watched from up close to have a clear picture of its enormous size. Uganda has two types of elephants; the African savannah and African forest elephants. The African savannah elephant is the largest land animal on earth. A fully mature African elephant can weigh up to 6,000 kilograms.
Destinations in Uganda where visitors have higher chances of spotting elephants are Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison falls national park and Kidepo valley national park.
Of the various types of antelopes in Uganda, the eland is among the animals that a number of tourists would like to see on their safari. It is the largest antelope specie. A mature eland can weigh 900kg and stand 1.7m at the shoulder. In Uganda, the eland can be found in lake Mburo and Kidepo Valley national parks.
The golden monkey is another rare primate like their ape relatives the mountain gorillas. The unique monkey specie can only be seen in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. These monkeys have a golden body, grey cheeks plus black limbs and darker crown on the head. A mature golden monkey can weigh up to 25 pounds.
The only place to track and see golden monkeys in Uganda is Mgahinga Gorilla national park. These primates are playful and trekkers witness them jumping around the trees in the forest.
The leopard is one of the “Big 5” animals and also belongs to the big cats’ family. It has a beautiful golden body with rosette spots which help it to camouflage when hunting at night and morning. Leopards are powerful animals known for pouncing when catching their prey. They are solitary and can only be seen together as adults when mating. Cubs start living alone at 12-18 months.
You can see leopards in Uganda in Murchison falls national park and Queen Elizabeth national park during game drives. They like climbing trees and will often be seen in trees on Uganda safaris.
The rhinoceros commonly abbreviated as “rhino” is a member of the “Big 5” African animals. The black and white rhinos are native species to Africa and have increased in number in recent years due to conservation efforts. Up to early 1970s, Uganda had an abundant concentration of rhinos but later on got extinct due to poaching, prolonged human conflict plus failure to manage their natural habitats.
Currently, you have a chance to track and see rhinos at Ziwa Rhino sanctuary where Uganda Wildlife Authority in collaboration with Rhino Fund Uganda restored these mammals where they can be expanded by breeding and later on re-introduce them to the parks.
The great blue turaco
This is a stylish specie of turacos that is also quite widely distributed compared to other birds of the same category. The birds are social as they are often spotted in pairs and both the male and females are colorful. They have a bold blue plumage, blue-black crest and a yellow and red bill.
Great blue turacos prefer to stay in canopies, secondary growth trees and in forest patches in montane, humid and savannah areas. In Uganda, you can see the great bleu turaco in Bigodi swamp, the forested areas of Mount Rwenzori and Bwindi Impenetrable national park. if you haven’t seen a great bleu turaco, this is the time to consider arranging a birding safari in Uganda.
Without doubt, Uganda is one of Africa’s top safari destinations and visitors come to see different attractions of their interests. The above are some of the wildlife that tourists look out for most on during Uganda safaris. Uganda is a blessed place you will find it all. Contact us for your safari today through firstname.lastname@example.org or call our travel consultants via +256-700135510/ +256 414-699459.