The 13 best places to visit in Uganda

 

Circling the Earth, the equator is the imaginary line that divides our planet into the northern and southern hemispheres, and although that equatorial line passes across five different African countries, one of the best places to see it in action is within Uganda. Markers are located at various points around the country, with the most famous of these on the road from Kampala to Masaka. As well as the sign itself, there are sinks on either side of the line showing how water runs clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

13. Equator Markers

Covering most of the south eastern portion of the country, shared between Uganda and Tanzania with a small part in Kenya is the famous Lake Victoria, named in honour of Queen Victoria in 1858, though known locally as Nalubaale. One of Africa's Great Lakes, it is the worlds largest tropical lake and the worlds second largest fresh water lake after Lake Superior in North America. Wildlife in and around the lake includes Nile crocodiles, various turtles, otters and hippopotamus, as well as a rich variety of fish.

12. Lake Victoria

 

In the extreme south west of the country, close to the border with Rwanda is the freshwater Lake Bunyonyi, a name that means Place Of Many Little Birds. Surrounded by small villages and terraces, this green and verdant hilly area is regarded a haven of tranquility in rural Africa.

11. Lake Bunyonyi

 

In the extreme west of the country, right on the border with the Democratic Republic Of The Congo is the 220 square kilometre (85 square mile) Semuliki National Park, encompassing the only lowland tropical rain forest in East Africa. Lying within the Albertine Rift, the park is well known for its two hot springs in a hot mineral encrusted swamp. The springs, as a salt source for many animals have made Semuliki National Park one of the richest areas for animal and plant species in Africa.

10. Semuliki National Park

In the south west of the country, east from the city of Mbarara is the 260 square kilometre (100 square mile) Lake Mburo National Park, the smallest of Uganda's protected savannah terrains. Home to an abundance of wildlife species, visitors to the park have excellent chances of spotting zebra, hippopotamus, impala, African buffalo, leopard and a wealth of bird species.

9. Lake Mburo National Park

 

In the extreme north east of the country, straddling the border with South Sudan is the 1,442 square kilometre (557 square mile) Kidepo Valley National Park, a rugged savannah cut by the Kidepo and Narus Rivers. Among the flat grasslands, the terrain is dominated by the 2,750 metre (9,020 ft) Mount Morungole. Wildlife in the park includes 86 mammal species including lion, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, zebra and African buffalo among many others, perfect for jeep safaris.

8. Kidepo Valley National Park

 

In the west of the country, at the northern end of Lake Albert that forms the border with the Democratic Republic Of The Congo is the 3,893 square kilometre (1,503 square mile) Murchison Falls National Park, the largest protected landscape in Uganda. Home to African buffalo herds, African bush elephants, giraffes and lions among many others, highlights include the Murchison Waterfall, from which the national park takes its name.

Pictured is Murchison Falls.

7. Murchison Falls National Park

 

In the south east of the country, straddling the Democratic Republic Of The Congo and covering an area of some 1,978 square kilometres (764 square miles) is Queen Elizabeth National Park, named in 1954 to commemorate the visit by the British Monarch. Encompassing the Maramagambo Forest and a landscape of volcanic features, the highlight of the park is the Kazinga Channel, connecting Lake George and Lake Edward. This channel attracts a large number of animals and birds, with one of the worlds largest concentrations of hippopotamus and Nile crocodiles. Visitors to this popular wildlife area have an excellent chance of spotting African Buffalo, African bush elephant, leopard, lion and chimpanzee among the 95 mammal species.

6. Queen Elizabeth National Park

 

In the west of the country, between Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Albert is the 776 square kilometre (300 square mile) Kibale National Park, protecting a vast moist evergreen forest that is among the most significant expanse of pre-montane forest in East Africa. An important eco-tourism and safari destination, the forest is home to giant forest hogs, African buffalo, leopards, African golden cats, mongoose, lion and 13 species of primate that includes the common chimpanzee. The primate species of Kibale National Park is one of the largest populations on the continent.

5. Kibale National Park

 

In the extreme south west of the country, connecting across the border with Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic Of The Congo is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, an extremely small protected area of only 34 square kilometres (13 square miles). Located entirely within the Virunga Mountains, this wonderful landscape encompasses three inactive volcanoes among large bamboo and montane forests. As the name suggests, the park is home to the spectacular and endangered mountain gorilla.

4. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

In the east of the country, shared between Uganda and Kenya is the 1,279 square kilometre (494 square mile) Mount Elgon National Park, taking its name from the 4,321 metre (14,177 ft) high extinct shield volcano of Mount Elgon. The terrain of the park is a wonderful mix of cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, mountain peaks, calderas and hot springs among huge montane forests, home to a number of species that include antelope, colobus monkey, blue monkey and red tailed monkey among many more.

 

The starting point for trails heading up Mount Elgon begins at Sipi Falls, one of the parks major highlights. With its 100 metre (328 ft) single drop it is among the most beautiful waterfalls on the continent.

Pictured is Sipi Falls.

3. Mount Elgon National Park

In the far south west of the country, straddling the border with the Democratic Republic Of The Congo is the 331 square kilometre (128 square mile) Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, encompassing a terrain of both a primeval montane and lowland forest. Protecting habitat for over 120 species of mammal, 350 bird species and nearly 1,500 flowering plant and tree species, it is among the most diverse forests in East Africa. Only accessible on foot, the impenetrable forest is a sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and half of the worlds population of the endangered mountain gorilla. With such a high level of biodiversity, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

In the extreme west of the country, straddling the border with the Democratic Republic Of The Congo is the 998 square kilometre (385 square mile) Rwenzori Mountains National Park, protecting a landscape that is among the most spectacular in Africa. Located within the Albertine Rift System, the Rwenzori Mountains are home to the 3rd, 4th and 5th highest peaks in Africa, with glaciers, snowfields, waterfalls and lakes making it one of the most beautiful mountain areas on the continent. Home to various species of wildlife that include forest elephant, chimpanzee, colobus monkey, the endangered L'Hoests monkey among many other species, the park has been noted for its diversity of plants, described as some of the most beautiful in the world. The pristine and incredible landscape of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1. Rwenzori Mountains

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