Safari

Tanzania

“The Land of Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar”

National parks

There are 14 national parks in Tanzania, which offer lovers of wild nature the true wild animals haven that could be found for instance in Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Mikumi, and Selous National Parks. Watching migration of animals in Serengeti plains is unrepeatable experience.

Serengeti National Park – Simply the Greatest

The Serengeti National Park, covering 14,763 sq km. is by common consent the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuary. One of the most breathtaking events in the animal kingdom is the annual migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles followed by the attendant predators.

Serengeti

Lion in Serengeti

Serengeti

Lion in Serengeti

Serengeti

Hippo in Serengeti

Serengeti

Lion in Serengeti

Serengeti

Lion in Serengeti

Serengeti

Serengeti

The park’s terrain is varied: the vast, treeless central Serengeti plains, savannah dotted with acacia trees, magnificent rock outcrops kopjes, reverie bush, thick scrub to streams, rivers, small swamps, and lakes. These features give the park a fascinating variety of habitats. The park contains an estimated three million large animals, most of which take part in the seasonal migration that is one of nature’s wonders. Serengeti National Park has about 35 species of plains animal from the hare to the elephant, and a wonderful selection of bird life.

Serengeti

Sunrise in Serengeti

Serengeti

Sunrise in Serengeti

Serengeti

Sunrise in Serengeti

Serengeti

Migration of wildebeests in Serengeti

Serengeti

Cheetah with her catch in Serengeti

Serengeti

Crane in Serengeti

Serengeti

Lion in Serengeti

Serengeti

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti

Serengeti National Park

Lake Manyara National Park – Arboreal Lions

Located under the wall of the Great Rift Valley, the peaceful and beautiful Lake Manyara National Park is often underrated and many tourists are amazed by how magnificent the park actually is. The park is 330 sq km in size, of which 230 is covered by the alkaline Lake Manyara. The park’s vegetation is diverse, ranging from savanna to marshes and acacia woodland, which allows it to support a variety of wildlife habitats.

Manyara

Giraffe in Manyara

Manyara

Giraffe in Manyara

The most famous spectacle in the park is the tree-climbing lions, which are occasionally seen relaxing on the branches of acacia trees. Other animals found in this area include elephants, leopards, impalas, hippos, and million of birds, especially pelicans and flamingos, as well as a diversity of other bird life. The park has the highest population of elephants per square kilometer in Tanzania.

Manyara

Zebra in Manyara

Tarangire National Park – River Blessed

Tarangire is a beautiful area that covers an area of 2,600 sq km. The park takes its name fro Tarangire River that crosses it lengthwise, giving support to a large wildlife population during the dry season. During this season, between June and October, it has one of the highest concentrations of wildlife of any of the country’s parks and thousands of animals including wildebeests, zebras, elands, elephants, buffaloes, hartebeests, and more migrate from dry Maasai steppe to the Tarangire River. Not surprising, lions and other predators find the place attractive. The park is also very good for bird-watching, as there are over three hundred different species.

Elephant in Tarangire

Elephant in Tarangire

Elephants in Tarangire

Elephants in Tarangire

Birds in Tarangire

Birds in Tarangire

Baobao tree in Tarangire

Baobao tree in Tarangire

Ngorongoro Conservation Area – The Natural Zoo

The Crater at 2,286 m. above the sea level, is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. Surrounded by very steep walls rising 610 meters from the crater floor, this natural amphitheatre covers an area of about 260 sq km, and is home to up to 25,000 larger mammals, almost half of them zebras and wildebeests. There are also gazelles, buffaloes, elands, hartebeests, warthogs, and others. Such concentration numbers attract predators, mainly lions and hyenas, but also cheetahs and leopards. More than 100 species of birds not found in the Serengeti have been spotted here. Countless flamingos form a pink blanket over the soda lakes. The animals also share the Crater with the local Maasai tribe that has grazing rights and you may come across them tending their cattle.

Ngorongoro

Lion in Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro

Zebras in Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro

Lion in Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro

Lion in Ngorongoro

The Crater has been declared a World Heritage site. Ngorongoro Crater lies within Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which covers more than 8,000 sq km. it is bounded by a salt Lake Eyasi (a salt lake lying at about 100m between the Eyasi escarpment in the north and the Kidero mountains in the south) in the southwest, and Gol Mountains in the north. In the east is the archeologically important Engaruki. Roughly in the center is the Olbalal Swamp and the arid Olduvai Gorge where many famous fossils have been unearthed. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is dotted with extinct craters and high plains and to the north is Oldonyo Lengai, a grey, forbidding perfect cone that is a still-active volcano. To the north-east on the Kenyan border is the beautiful Lake Natron.

Ngorongoro

Flamingos in Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro

Flamingos in Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro

Flamingos in Ngorongoro

Olduvai Gorge – Cradle of Mankind

The Olduvai Gorge is a canyon about 50km long and up to 90m deep which lies between the great wildlife sanctuary of Ngorongoro and Serengeti. The Gorge has yielded abundant of fossil material dating back at least two million years and possibly much longer. The remains of prehistoric elephants, giant horned sheep, and enormous ostriches have been unearthed here. Nearby is Laetoli where the footprints of hominids (said to be over 3 million years old) were discovered in 1979. Around these sites of man’s origin teem millions of wild animals.

A detailed record of Stone Age life exists on the walls of many caves and sheltered overhangs in Tanzania. From these paintings it can be seen that Stone Age people in Africa wore clothing, had a variety of hair styles, hunted, danced, sang and played music instruments among other activities. The paintings that still survive are extremely beautiful and delicate. The coloring materials consist of various pigments mixed with animal fat to form crayons. The most famous and extensive paintings sites are to be found at Kondoa Irangi. The Coastal area is also rich in archeological sites, most of them ruins from the Middle Ages.

Engaruka

Engaruka near the foot of Empakaai, is a small village that is known for its extensive ruins of a complex irrigation system with terraced stone housing sites estimated to be at least 500 years old.

Lake Natron

Lake Natron, 25km north of Oldonyo Lengai on the Kenyan boarder, is a 60km long alkaline lake known for the hug flocks of flamingos that gather at certain parts of the lake at the end of the rainy season. Lake Natron has no outlet so its size varies dramatically between seasons.

Arusha National Park – Pocket Park

Arusha National Park covers an area of about 137 sq km. it is located on the slope of Mt. Meru, which looms and has a spectacular view of its neighbor Mt. Kilimanjaro. The Ngurdoto Crater, Momela Lakes that are fed by underground streams, the highland mountain forest, and the rugged Mt. Meru (4,575m) are the distinctive features of the park. The park’s altitude, which varies from 1500m to over 4500m, has a variety of vegetation zones supporting numerous animals species such as colobus monkeys, velvet monkeys, bushbucks, buffaloes, red forest duikers, hippos, elephants, and giraffes. Birdlife, especially waterfowl, is abundant and interesting.

Gombe Stream National Park – Chimpanzees’ Haven

With an area of only 52 sq km, Gombe Stream is the smallest national park in Tanzania. The park is within the Rift Valley. It is formed by a strip of land 16 km long, lying between the eastern shore of the lake Tanganyika and the peaks of the mountain range that form the Rift Escarpment.

Gombe Stream National Park is one of the few areas in Africa that offers haven to chimpanzee. Apart from the Mahale Mountains south of Kigoma, there is nowhere else in the country where chimpanzees can be observed in the wild. Other primates found in the park are baboons, red colobus monkeys and blue monkeys. Bushbucks, buffaloes, and leopards are also other mammals present in the park, and a variety of a birdlife. Also there is a famous waterfall called Kakombe.

Mahale Mountains National Park – Peninsular Park

Mahale is one of the most remote parks in Tanzania and one of its most attractive. The park is dominant by the Mahale mountain chain running from the northwest across the middle of the park. The highest peak is 2462 meters above sea level.

Vegetation is mainly miombo woodland with narrow strips of reverie forest. The park supports variety of animal species including elephants, warthogs, giraffes, zebras, roan antelopes, buffaloes, hyenas, wild dogs. Also found in Mahale are chimpanzees and blue monkeys.

Katavi National Park – Crocodile Country

Katavi is famous for its undisturbed natural face. The main vegetation is miombo woodland with scatted acacia trees near Lake Chada. The lake is rich in birdlife and has the largest number of crocodiles in Tanzania.

The major attractions include Lake Katavi with its vast short-grass plains in the north, palm-fringed Lake Chada in the southeast, and the Katuma River. Animals found in the park include zebras, sable and roan antelopes, elands, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, lions, and waterfowl.

Mikumi National Park – Most Accessible

Mikumi National Park, which has an area of 3,230 sq km, is the closest park to Dar es Salaam, and is quite accessible by road and by charter plane.

The park gets its name from the borassus palm trees that are common in the area. It is dominated by river flood plains with ridges, swamps, and open grassland. The miombo woodlands found in the park and the mountain ranges that border it on two sides are also significant features of the park.

Mikumi has a wide variety of wildlife. Large herds of buffaloes and elephants feed and wander on the river plains. Many wildebeests, warthogs, jackals, etc. make the plains their home. Black-and-white colobus monkeys inhabit the trees in the south of the park, and crocodiles and hippos make use of its water. The park, too, has many of species of birds, some of which are Eurasian migrants commonly seen between October and April.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park – Forest Wonderland

Udzungwa Mountains National Park has an area of 1900 sq km and is a paradise for hikers and one of Tanzania’s wilderness areas. The major attraction is its biologically diverse and unique forest that harbors plant species found nowhere else in the world, from tiny African violets to giant trees 30 meters and more tall.

Apart from about six species of primates, its plateau contains the rare Iringa red colobus and the Sange crested mangabey monkeys, as well as populations of elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, hunting dogs, and several hundred forest bird species.

Ruaha National Park – lullaby in bird land

Ruaha National Park covering 10, 000sq km is a vast wilderness area which is sanctuary of the largest elephant populations in Africa. It is a relatively new and undisturbed park in Tanzania. It name derives from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its entire eastern border creating spectacular gorges and scenery. The park has large herds of buffalo, concentration of greater and lesser kudu, hippos, crocodiles, turtles and fish inhabit the river. There are also wild dog, ostrich, cheetah, roan and sable antelope, and rich in different bird species. The best months for game viewing are July to November.

Selous Game Reserve – it is number one

The Selous Game Reserve is the largest in Africa, an uninhabited area of approximately 50 000 sq km, covering 5 % of Tanzania’s total land area. If visitors are looking for elephants, this is the place to find them; there is a large population of these giant mammals. Other species commonly found here are lions, wild dogs, buffaloes, bushbucks, impalas, elands, baboons, zebras, great kudus, and some of Tanzanian’s last remaining black rhino.

The Rufiji River system, the greatest in East Africa, flows through the reserve and is home to countless of hippos and crocodiles. Linked to the Rufiji is Lake Tagalala, where waterbucks, reedbucks, bushbucks, and the rare sable antelope can be seen.

Walking safaris, game drives and boat trips are organized. Fishing is allowed in the rivers of the Kilombero Game reserve, where tiger fish and catfish are plenty. Much of this reserve is available for hunting. The best time to visit is from June to October.

Rubondo Island National Park – Unique Environment

The peaceful and beautiful Rubondo Island National Park in the south west corner of the Lake Victoria is an excellent place for bird watching and relaxing and it has an area of 240sq km, and is surrounded by about dozen smaller islets that belong to the park. Unlike other parks, cars are prohibited on the island: hence, there are guided tours led by park rangers, who are usually armed. There is also an airstrip capable of handling light aircraft.

The major attraction is the presence of many sitatungas, a reclusive antelope indigenous to the island that likes to hide among the marshes and reeds along the shoreline. Other animals include hippos, crocodiles, velvet monkeys, marsh mongooses, genets, and pythons. Several other animals have been transplanted on the island, including giraffes, elephants, rhinos, black and white colobus monkeys and chimpanzees. Around 400 species have been identified including fish eagle, heron, stork, ibises and cormorant. In addition to all the birds, there are many different types of butterflies.

Kenya

The boundless wilderness and big game of this region has long attracted adventure seekers from all over the globe. No other African country can boast such an incredible range of landscapes, unique geographical features and species.

Kenya offers the visitor a chance to experience a natural world unchanged by the passage of time. The Kenyan wilderness is home to an endless array of ecosystems, the staging ground for natural cycles of life, death and regeneration as old as the planet itself.

This great range of natural habitats means that there is plenty to explore, and plenty of species to encounter. This is a land of endless potential for the wildlife enthusiast. From great migratory herds of the open savannah to an incredible abundance of birdlife, from the depths of a tropical rainforest to the depths of the Indian Ocean teeming with fish, this is a world of natural wonders.

Archaeological and Historical Sites

Fort Jesus – Mombasa

Fort Jesus is an interesting place to spend a day exploring the gun turrets, battlements and houses within the walls. There is an excellent Museum and trained guides available.

Today the majestic Fort Jesus is a National Monument, standing high over the Mombasa harbor.

Gedi Ruins

Gedi is one of Kenya’s great unknown treasures, a wonderful lost city lying in the depths of the great Arabuko Sokoke forest. It is also a place of great mystery, an archaeological puzzle that continues to engender debate among historians. To this day, despite extensive research and exploration, nobody is really sure what happened to the town of Gedi and its peoples. This once great civilization was a powerful and complex Swahili settlement with a population of over 2500, built during the 13th century. The ruins of Gedi include many houses, mansions, mosques and elaborate tombs and cemeteries.

Despite the size and complexity of this large (at least 45 acre) settlement, it is never mentioned in any historic writings or local recorded history. The nearby Portuguese settlement at Malindi seems to have had no contact with, or even known of the existence of Gedi. The town has all the appearances of a trading outpost, yet its position, deep in a forest and away from the sea makes it an unlikely trading centre. What was Gedi trading, and with whom? But the greatest of all of Gedi’s mysteries was its sudden and inexplicable desertion in the 17th century.

The entire town was suddenly abandoned by all of its residents, leaving it to ruination in the forest. There are no signs of battle, plague, disturbance or any cause for this sudden desertion. One current theory is that the town was threatened by the approach of the Galla, an inland tribe known to be outwardly hostile at that time, and that the townspeople fled ahead of their arrival. Yet once again, local recorded history fails to mention any such large scale evacuation at this time. No written account of either the rise or sudden fall of Gedi was ever made.

The ghostly ruins of Gedi lay within the forest that has overgrown and consumed the town. They had become a part of local folklore, regarded as a sinister lair of malevolent spirits, until archaeologists began to uncover the site in the 20th century. It was gazetted in 1948.

Today there is an excellent museum and well trained guides on hand to take visitors through the ruins. Gedi remains a mysterious and atmospheric place to visit. The pillars and stone walls, ruined mosques and tombs now lie among stands of trees. The stone floors are thick with leaves, and giant shrews scuttle through the deserted houses while birds and butterflies drift through the air. Wandering through Gedi is an ideal way to spend a morning or afternoon, lost among the secrets of the past.

Samburu National Reserve

Samburu National Reserve is one of the lesser-known national parks, but is nevertheless teeming with life. Situated alongside the Ewaso Nyiro River, there is plenty to attract wildlife from the surrounding savannah plains.

The dry season starts in late May, and goes up to early October when a large concentration of wildlife is found in the reserve due to availability of lush vegetation along the Ewaso Nyiro River, the main source of water to the Reserve and the nearby communities.

The reserve is rich in wildlife with an abundance of rare northern specialist species such as the Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and the beisa oryx (also referred to as Samburu Special Five).

The reserve is also popular with a minimum of 900 elephants. Large predators such as the lion, leopard and cheetah are an important attraction (Kamunyak the miracle lioness that adopted the baby oryx is a resident in the reserve).

Wild dog sightings are also a common attraction to this unique protected area. Birdlife is abundant with over 450 species recorded. Birds of the arid northern bush country are augmented by a number of riverine forest species.

The Lesser Kestrel and the Taita Falcon are species of global conservation concern and they both utilize the reserve. Five species categorized as vulnerable have also been recorded in the reserve.

These are the African darter, great egret, white-headed vulture, martial eagle and the yellow billed ox-pecker. The critically endangered pancake tortoise (malacochersus tornieri) is also found in the reserve.

Hell’s Gate National Park

Hell’s Gate National Park covers an area of 68.25 square km and is situated in the environs of Lake Naivasha about 90 km from Nairobi. It is characterized by diverse topography and geological scenery. It is an important home of the lammergeyer. Hell’s Gate has two gates that are used by visitors – the main Elsa Gate and the Olkaria Gate. The latter also serves the Olkaria Geothermal Station that is located inside the National Park.

Attractions of the park includes game viewing, raptor nesting in cliffs, spectacular gorge walks, hot springs, scenic landscape, the Geothermal Station, Maasai culture. There is a wide variety of wildlife animals such as eland, buffalo, lion, giraffe, zebra, leopard, impala, Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle, klipspringer, rock hyrax and Chanler’s mountain reedbuck. The park is accessible to visitors all year round.

Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park is unique by being the only protected area in the world with a variety of animals and birds close to a capital city. The park is a principal attraction for visitors to Nairobi.

The park also serves many residents and citizens living in the city. It has a diversity of environments with characteristic fauna and flora. Open grass plains with scattered acacia bush are predominant. The western side has a highland dry forest and a permanent river with a riverine forest in the south.

In addition, there are stretches of broken bush country and deep, rocky valleys and gorges with scrub and long grass. Man-made dams also attract water dependent herbivores during the dry season. The park has a diverse birdlife with 400 species recorded. However all species are not always present and some are seasonal. Northern migrants pass through the park primarily during late March through April.

Nairobi National Park is one of the most successful of Kenya’s rhino sanctuaries that is already generating a stock for reintroduction in the species former range and other upcoming sanctuaries. Due to this success, it is one of the few parks where a visitor can be certain of seeing a black rhino in its natural habitat. Also major attraction include over 80 recorded species – rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, hyena, cheetah, crocodile and hippo (no elephants);  diverse birdlife – more than 400 species of birds; and aggregations of large herbivores – eland, buffalo, zebra and wildebeest.

Maasai Mara Game Reserve

Covering an area of over 1,500 square km, the Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Kenya. The reserve is located in the Great Rift Valley in primarily open grassland. Wildlife tends to be most concentrated on the reserve’s western escarpment.

The swampy land provides more access to water and less access to tourists. The eastern end is closest to Nairobi and hence easier to access by tourists. The Maasai Mara is regarded as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas. The annual wildebeests migration alone involves over 1.5 million animals arriving in July and departing in November.

There have been some 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and over 400 birds species recorded on the reserve. Apart from the big five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino), other game include hippopotami, cheetah, Grant’s gazelle, impala, topi, Coke’s hartebeest, giraffe, Roan antelope and the nocturnal bat-eared fox. However wildebeest are by far the dominant inhabitants of the Maasai Mara.

Amboseli

Amboseli is a land of giants. This is a place of wide dry plains, where the horizons stretch into the furthest distance and become one with the sky.

Amboseli is renowned for its elephant populations and large herds, including some impressively tusked bulls are drawn to a series of large, lush swamplands. But the most impressive giant of all is Mt Kilimanjaro. Africa’s largest mountain lies just over the border in Tanzania, but the most impressive views of its snow-capped peak are to be found in Amboseli. The early light of dawn turns the mountain a dark hue of purple, and its snows into an ethereal pink. The sight of Kilimanjaro high above herds of elephant crossing the plains of Amboseli is a timeless African image.

This area is home to many Maasai communities, centered around the Amboseli National Park. The park is 400 sq kms, with its southern boundary along the Tanzanian border. The park is home to more than just Elephants, and herds of wildebeest, zebra and impala graze on the open plains. There are areas of acacia forest that make for good birding, and are home to many small mammals. Cheetahs are also often sighted here.

The park is centered around a large hill, with fantastic views of the surrounding plains, often crossed by whirlwinds that send winding columns of dust into the sky. This open country is good walking territory, and many camps and lodges organize game walks, or trips to spend time in local Maasai villages.

East and West Tsavo

The twin National Parks of Tsavo East and West together form one of Africa’s largest wilderness reserves. This single National Park is larger than the island of Jamaica. Tsavo as a whole consists of 10 million acres of pure wilderness, incorporating savannah, ranges and hills, acacia and montane forest, and an extensive river system.

The vast plains of Tsavo are crossed by the main Nairobi-Mombasa railroad. This historic railway was, in 1899, the scene of one of Africa’s greatest Adventure stories.

Two large lions actively preyed on the railway workers as they built a bridge over the Tsavo River, claiming over 120 victims. They evaded hunters for well over a year, and the legend of the Man-eaters of Tsavo was born. The sheer scale of Tsavo gives the visitor a chance to really get away from it all, and to explore the wild in total solitude. On safari here you will see large herds of Elephant, their hides often a luminous red with dust, as well as Lion, Buffalo, Eland, Giraffe Impala, Kudu and possibly Rhinoceros.

Tsavo is a birdwatcher’s paradise with numerous species of weavers, hornbills, sunbirds, rollers, and raptors commonly seen. One of Tsavo’s most interesting geographical features is the Lugard Falls, where white water rages through a series of spectacular rock formations.

Also not to be missed is the volcanic Mzima springs. These natural springs produce 50 million gallons of fresh sparkling water daily. These waters are alive with shoals of barbel and Hippopotamus and waterfowl. A unique underwater observatory has been built that gives you an incredible view of this crystal clear underwater world, where massive hippos glide silently through swirling shoals of barbel.

These springs have created a sprawling wetland paradise of giant Raphia palms and oases alive with waterbirds. Both Tsavo East and West are ideal for those who enjoy solitude and a chance to explore wilderness without encountering other people. Lodges and Camps tend to be remote and accessible by long drives or air transfer. Of the two Parks, Tsavo East is the more remote and less visited. Many of these can organize game walks and other activities.

The relative proximity of Tsavo East to the coast makes it an ideal safari destination for those staying on the coast, or wishing to combine a safari and beach holiday. Many coast based visitors combine a safari to Tsavo with visits to the Shimba Hills and Taita game sanctuaries, Amboseli National Park, or the Chyulu Hills.

Uganda

“The Pearl of Africa”

Uganda is often described as the Pearl of Africa and as a source of the River Nile has within its borders the second largest fresh water lake in the world, Lake Victoria. Uganda also possesses some of the most spectacular scenery in Africa, from its shining lakes, lofty mountains, mysterious forests and game-parks teeming with wildlife. In the north there are wonderful Murchison Falls, while in the west side of the country there is the dense forest and the splendid Ruwenzori ranges.

The attractiveness of Uganda can be considered its natural attractions and scenery. In terms of wildlife, Uganda’s main attraction is the endangered Mountain Gorillas. The mountain Gorillas are peacefully giants and the biggest of the primates. Currently, there are around 700 of these gentle giants world-wide and they can be found in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda-Congo border and in Bwindi Forest in Uganda.

National Parks

Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park is located in western Uganda near Fort Portal. The most accessible of Uganda’s major rainforests, Kibale is home to a remarkable 13 primate species, including the much localized red colobus and L’Hoest’s monkey. This park covers 766 sq. km and runs contiguously with the northern end of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The main attraction of Kibale is the high density of primates that inhabit the rainforest. This forest supports the highest number of primate species in Uganda and one of the highest primate densities in the world. In addition to a large community of chimpanzees, there are 15 other primate species, including red and black-and-white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s, red-tailed, vervet and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, olive baboons, as well as four species of nocturnal primates.

Nevertheless, the major attraction of this park is the chance to track habituated chimps. These delightful apes are tremendous fun to watch as they squabble and play in fruiting trees.

The elusive forest elephant, smaller and hairier than its savannah counterpart, moves seasonally into the developed part of the park, while other terrestrial mammals include buffalo, giant forest hog and a half dozen antelope species. More commonly encountered are bushbucks, duikers and montane sun and giant forest squirrels.

Murchison Falls National Park

This park covers an area of about 3840 sq km.  It is named for the dramatic Murchison Falls, where the world’s longest river explodes violently through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment to plunge into a frothing pool 43m below.

Attractions of park include trips to the base of the falls that offer fine game-viewing and birdwatching. Boat trips to the Lake Albert delta provide the best chance in Africa of sighting shoebills.

Chimp tracking at Rabongo Forest, and en route from Masindi in the Budongo Forest. You can have a game drives on a good network of roads. Elephant, buffalo, giraffe and a variety of antelope are regularly encountered on game drives, while lion are seen with increasing frequency.  In the southeast, Rabongo Forest is home to chimps and other rainforest creatures.

The Nile itself hosts one of Africa’s densest hippo and crocodile populations, and a dazzling variety of waterbirds including the world’s most accessible wild population of the rare shoebill stork.

Lake Mburo National Park

This park covers an area of 260 sq km and is located in the south, near Mbarara.  It lies in the part of Uganda that is covered extensively by acacia woodland, which makes it to have markedly different fauna to other reserves.

The major attraction to tourists is the game viewing, as it is famous for its richness in biodiversity. It has about 68 different species of mammals. The common ones are zebra, impala, buffalo, topi, the gigantic eland antelope and roan antelope. Predictors like leopard, hyenas and jackals are also found in this park.  Lake Mburo is the best place in the country to see several acacia-associated birds.

The lakes within the park attract hippos, crocodiles and a variety of waterbirds, while fringing swamps hide secretive papyrus specialists such as the sitatunga antelope and red, black and yellow papyrus gonalek.

The lake is rich with a diversity of animal and plant species which can only be viewed clearly by taking a boat trip. The crocodiles, hippopotamuses and birds like pelicans, black crake, heron, cormorant, fish eagle, and the rare shoebill stork may also be observed.

Guided walks can also be arranged and the nature trail offers the visitor a chance to admire nature insitu. Visitors can walk in the circuit at his / her pace, but must be accompanied by an armed guide.

A walk to the near by salt location that is hidden in wood offers a chance to see at least four different species of animals at any one time while they lick the salty soil. Most interesting to note is that this is done without the animal’s conscience.

Ruwenzori National Park

The 120 km Ruwenzori chain is regarded to be the legendary snow-capped Mountains of the Moon. Reaching an elevation of 5,109m, it is also Africa’s tallest mountain range, exceeded in altitude only by the free-standing Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro.

The distinctive glacial peaks are visible for miles around, but the slopes above 1,600m are the preserve of hikers, who rate the Ruwenzoris to be the most challenging of all African mountains.

A variety of large mammals inhabits the lower slopes, but the Ruwenzoris are notable more for their majestic scenery and varied vegetation. The trails lead through rainforest rattling with monkeys and birds, then tall bamboo forest, before emerging on the high-altitude moorland zone, a landscape of bizarre giant lobelias, towered over by black rock and white snow, looking for all the world like the set of a science fiction film.

The Ruwenzori trekking is a tough but rewarding hike. However, the high peaks should be attempted only by experienced mountaineers.

Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park covers an area of 220 sq. km and it was gazetted in October 1993, as one of Uganda’s newest National Parks. The Park occupies a flat to gently undulating landform ranging from 670 -760 meters above sea level. All streams and rivers from the surrounding areas drain into the Park and the poor drainage and topography of the park makes many areas of the park to be flooded during the rainy season. The average annual rainfall is 1250 mm.

The park is located in the west, about 50km from Fort Portal. Semuliki National Park is an eastern extension of the vast Ituri Forest and forms part of the forest continuum during the climatic upheavals of the Pleistocene, this is one of the richest areas for both flora and fauna in Africa.

Fantastic scenery, hotsprings, forest jungle walk, birding, primate viewing and river Semuliki meanders are some of the ideal attractions of this park. Jungle life in Semuliki is breathtaking especially for birders, primate, butterfly and plant lovers. The jungle walk usually takes you up to River Semuliki meanders, you may see forest buffaloes and elephants, statungas, leopards, pigmy hippopotamus, crocodile primates and a wide range of forest and water birds. You can also come with fishing facilities for sport fishing along the river.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

This park is located in the southwestern corner of Uganda bordering Rwanda and Congo, 14km from Kisoro town. The Park covers the northern slopes of the three northernmost Virunga Volcanoes: Mt. Muhavura (4,127 m), Mt. Gahinga (3,474 m), and Mt. Sabinyo (3,645 m). The Park is about 10 km south of Kisoro and is bordered to the south by the Republic of Rwanda and to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each of these countries protects its own portion of the Virungas, in the Parc National des Volcans and Parc National des Virunga respectively. The three parks together form the 434-sq. km. “Virunga Conservation Area” or VCA. Mgahinga is 33.7 sq. km, just 8% of the VCA.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is 33.7 sq. km and consists of the partly forested slopes of three extinct volcanoes. From far away, the huge cones of the virunga volcanoes dominate the landscape and beckon you as you approach. When you reach the park you can get a great overview of the area by walking up the viewpoint, just 15 minutes from Ntebeko Gate. Mgahinga Park has great biological importance because throughout the climatic changes of the Pleistocene ice ages, mountains such as these provided a refuge for mountain plants and animals, which moved up or down the slopes as climate became warmer or cooler. The Virungas are home to a large variety of wildlife, including about half the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas.

Gorilla tracking is the most thrilling tourist activity in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The habituated gorilla in this park is called the Nyakagezi, which consists of 9 members, 2 silverbacks, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants. Gorilla tracking is an intensive experience that can take the whole day. The guide leads you through the gorilla’s world, explaining aspects of their ecology and behavior along the way.

Free birding along the edge of the park is now available on request. The guides are happy to take you out from 5-6 p.m. if you book earlier. A stroll along the buffalo wall toward the Congo takes you through a wetland area where Ibis, Whydah, Speckled Mousebird, and Fire Finch are found. Stonechat, Grey Capped Warbler, Waxbills, and Yellow-Vented Bulbul are often seen around the campground.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park covers an area of 1,978 sq km. As one of the outstanding treasures of Uganda, The park has recently been designated as a Biosphere Reserve for Humanity under UNESCO. It is the most popular and easily accessible game reserve in Uganda.

This park is located in the southwest of Uganda, near Kasese. From open savannah to rainforest, from dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward, it is little wonder that the park boasts one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world.

Almost 100 mammal species and a remarkable 606 bird species makes this park the most attractive area to visit, with elephant, a profusion of hippos, the elusive giant forest hog all regularly sighted around the tourist village on the Mweya Peninsula – which also boasts a marvelous waterfront setting in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains.  It is the home of the famous tree-climbing lions in Ishasha, the Uganda Kob and other antelope species, as well as elephant, buffalo, hippos, baboons and chimpanzee.

A total of 547 confirmed and 15 unconfirmed bird species have been recorded in this park. This is one of the highest totals in the world and is truly remarkable for such a relatively small reserve. Species recorded include the Shoebill stork, black bee-eater, 11 types of kingfishers and a variety of raptors, including several falcons and eagles.

In the crater lakes, spectacular flocks of flamingos gather, creating the image of a moving pink carpet. The launch trip along the Kazinga Channel between Lakes George and Edward is a memorable way to view the abundant game in Queen Elizabeth and to see an astounding number of bird species.

In the eastern section of the park is Kyambura Gorge where visitors can climb through a tropical forest in hopes of catching a glimpse of a variety of primates, including chimpanzees.

The Maramagambo Forest is home to an alluring selection of forest monkeys and birds, and flocks of flamingo are resident on the crater lakes.

In the more isolated Ishasha sector of the park, visitors can move through the woodlands in search of tree-climbing lions perched on the boughs of ancient fig trees.

Kidepo Valley National Park

The Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Uganda’s most spectacular parks. It is 1,442 square kilometers and harbors scenery unsurpassed in any other park in East Africa. Tucked into the corner of Uganda’s border with Sudan and Kenya, the park offers breathtaking Savannah landscapes, which end in rugged horizon. A huge latitudinal range and correspondingly wide climatic conditions have evolved an extremely diverse flora. As a result the variety of animal species in the park is equally abundant including many which are found no where else in Uganda.

The vegetation can best be described as open tree Savannah which varies much in structure and composition. Mountain forest dominates some of the high places, while areas along the Lorupei River support dense Acacia geradi forest. The flora and fauna of the park are more typical of Kenya than the rest of Uganda. The landscape throughout the park is studded with small hills, rocky outcrops and inselbergs from which one can obtain stunning views in all directions.

Bwindi Impenetrable Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park covers an area of 331 sq km. The park is located in the South west of the country close to the town of Kabale. It is home to roughly half of the world’s mountain gorillas.

The national park has 90 mammal species, including 11 primates, of which the black-and-white colobus, with its lovely flowing white tail, is prominent. The forest birding ranks with the best in Uganda, with 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics present.