5 Memorable Uganda Wildlife Safari Discoveries

A post COVID-19 Lock-down safari to the Pearl of Africa offers Memorable Uganda wildlife discoveries. Uganda opened up for tourists on 1st October and is among the Must Visit wildlife safari destinations in East Africa.

Arriving tourists are expected to have tested negative for COVID 19 within 72 hours prior to arrival. On departure one is again required to test 72 hours before departure to ensure that he/she left the country safe. All these tests must be done from a credible health facilities and will be required at the airport.

Below are some of Uganda wildlife discoveries you will enjoy while on a safari to this beautiful country.

1. Mountain Gorillas

These rare apes inhabit the forested mountains of Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga gorilla parks in southwestern Uganda. The total mountain gorilla population on the entire planet is estimated at 1063 and Uganda has half in Bwindi. Mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga offers finest Uganda wildlife discoveries as you meet the gorillas in the wild.

A gorilla trek starts in the morning taking 1 to 6 hours depending on the movement of the gorillas. As you hike the forested mountains you encounter other wildlife species in the park especially birds.

When on a visit to Uganda ensure to have a mountain gorilla trek on your bucket list. Gorilla tracking can be done anytime of the year and permits for international tourists cost USD 700 per person.

Mountain Gorilla Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Mountain Gorilla in Bwindi Uganda. Courtesy Photo

2. Shoe-bill Storks at Mabamba Swamp

Mabamba swamp is located in Entebbe on the northern shores of lake Vitoria. The swamp is one of the best birding spots in Uganda with over 300 bird species. The swamp is home to the rare shoe-bill storks that are incredible Uganda wildlife discoveries while on birding excursions.

Mabamba is one of the best places in Uganda for spotting the shoe-bill stork often attracted by the lungfish. Lungfish is the Shoe-bill storks favorite food and shoe-bill storks are often seen on the lookout for fish.

There are over 12 shoe-bill storks here and the best time for a shoe-bill stork excursion is 7:00 am. You can as well try out late evening like from 5:00 pm and also get to enjoy the African sunset. Other notable bird species at Mabamba swamp include African Fish eagles, African Jacanas, Black-headed herons, blue swallow Egrets and others.

Shoebill Stork at Mabamba Swamp. Safari Experiences
Shoe-bill stork at Mabamba Swamp. Photo by Ryan Wilkes

3. Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park

Uganda is no doubt East Africa’s primates haven with the largest chimpanzee population in the world in Kibale National Park. There are several chimpanzee families with over 30 individuals that are often encountered here.

Chimpanzees are mans’ closest primate species with over 95% DNA similar to humans. They live in a setup of families just like human beings headed by dominant male chimpanzees. These determine the days routine and spend most of the day feeding and looking for fresh feeding areas.

Trek with the chimpanzees of Kibale forest national park for memorable Uganda wildlife discoveries of the primate world. A chimpanzee permit for international tourists cost USD 200 but they are on high demand. Ensure to have your chimpanzee permit booked on advance in order to be part of this wildlife adventure.

Chimpanzee Kibale Forest National Park Destination Uganda
Chimpanzee in Kibale Forest National Park. Photo by Jonathan Benaiah

4. Snow capped Rwenzori Mountains

These are located in western Uganda in Rwenzori mountains National park a habitat to unusual wildlife species. Rwenzori mountain ranges stretch along the Uganda DRC border with the highest peak Margherita at 5,109 meters above sea level.

The Mountains are very unique as the upper parts are snow capped and with glaciers forming incredible wildlife features. A number of adventurous mountain climbers often take on the Rwenzori challenge to have fun and explore the snow.

The slower slopes of the Rwenzori mountains are covered with various vegetation types from tropical rainforests. These act as homes to wildlife including the rare three horned chameleon. A hike to the snow capped Rwenzori mountains no doubt presents unique Uganda wildlife discoveries.

Rwenzori Mountains. Uganda Wildlife Discoveries
Snow capped Rwenzori Mountains. Photo by Ssebuuma Ivan

5. The Nile River at Murchison Falls National Park

The Nile River is Africa’s longest river that start its journey north through Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean sea. The River is one of Africa’s hopes of life as it supports a number of wildlife species.

In Uganda the Nile river forms the great Murchison falls as its squeezed in a 10 meters gorge. With this pressure, the falls form a thunderous sound and a permanent rain-ball; quite a spectacular sight to watch.

As the Nile river leaves the gorge, it gives a breath of life with incredible wildlife species often seen here. These include Nile Crocodiles, Africa’s giants like Elephants usually seen at the river banks feeding. All these can be well explored while on the Murchison falls bottom of the falls boat cruise.

Murchison falls is Uganda’s finest Savanna national park with wildlife like Buffaloes, giraffes, warthogs, antelopes usually explore on game drives. The park is a 5 to 6 hours drive from Kampala Uganda’s Capital City and can be accessed by road. In-case you don’t want this drive then you can fly from Entebbe to Pakuba airstrip located within the park.

Uganda Opens Entebbe International Airport and borders For Tourists After 7 months Closure

Uganda Airlines; Entebbe International Airport
Uganda Airlines Bombardier. Courtesy Photo

H.E Yoweri Museveni on 20th September 2020 announced the opening up of Entebbe International Airport and land borders for tourists. This is after a 7 months closure in March that was aimed at restricting the spread of COVID-19.

The Ugandan President was holding a Presidential address on latest updates on matters regarding COVID 19.

Tourists will be required to show COVID 19 negative results at the airport tested 72 hours before arrival in Uganda.

The local tour operators have also been mandated to ensure that the tourists don’t mix with the local Ugandans. They will be directly driven to their Hotels on arrival or to the wildlife destinations like national parks.

There are airlines that will resume flights to and from Entebbe International Airport now that it is finally open. They include Uganda’s national carrier; Uganda Airlines, RwandAir, Kenya Airways, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Brussels Airlines and others.

Earlier this month, Uganda Wildlife Authority opened primates national parks for chimpanzees and mountain gorillas that had remained closed since March. This was because primates have over 95% DNA similar to humans with high chances of contracting human disease like COVID-19.

After several consultations with the Ministry of health and local tour operators, the parks were finally opened. These will however be run basing on standard operating procedures of social distancing and sanitising.

Entebbe International airport and land borders are now fully open, tourism business in Uganda will resume slowly. Tourism depends a lot on air travel and international border crossings as tourists easily connect to their intended destinations easily.

Uganda’s Main Tourist Attractions

Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga gorilla parks in south western Uganda tops this list. Mountain gorillas are apes that prefer to live in forested mountains and mostly feed on plant vegetation.

All the gorilla parks are now fully open to tourists and can be accessed by road or air by flying to the nearby airstrips. Ensure to buy gorilla permits in advance as they get fully booked because gorilla tours are on high demand.

Savanna wildlife species are other key attractions of tourists to the Pearl of Africa. They include lions, elephants, buffaloes, Rhinos, birds, hippos, zebras and are evenly distributed in the different national parks in Uganda.

Savanna wildlife species are enjoyed on game drives, nature walks and on boat cruises in Parks with Lake and Rivers.

Given that Entebbe International airport and all borders are open, one can visit Uganda for a wildlife safari. There are many tour operators who tailor make Itineraries featuring the various destinations.

Uganda’s COVID-19 cases are stand at 6,017 with 2544 recoveries and 63 deaths. Much as tourism is now fully open there is need to be careful for our own safety.