Where to Spend Your Christmas Holiday in Uganda
Uganda has been described as the “Pearl of Africa” and it is of no doubt that it is one of the most sought after safari destinations in the continent and the world at large mainly for its spectacular attractions. It features as one of the smallest countries in East Africa and yet also credited for its stunning sceneries that encompass the snow capped Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon, Lake Victoria, abundant wildlife species like the rare mountain gorillas, bird species that make up over 11% of all the world’s population as well as its most stunning protected areas. For adventure tourists on a safari in Uganda, the following places are worth visiting;
Kidepo Valley National Park
Lying in the extreme Northeastern side of Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park is undeniably one of the most exceptional wilderness destinations Uganda has in offer to world visitors. This park lies within 3353 meters above sea level, featuring the most stunning anthills on the savanna grassland. As you descend from the skies, plunging into the enthusiatic afternoon winds, you will catch a glimpse of thorny savanna vegetation cover in this park as they appear more like the rock outcrops. As you draw closer, you will be amazed with the breathtaking plateau and as you continue, do not miss to catch a glimpse at the incredible Morungole Mountain ranges as they stand high at 2750 meters above the plains of the most outstanding wilderness in the country. Besides, you will also be amazed by its abundant wildlife species that make up over 77 distinct mammal species and 463 species of birds. Among the notable wildlife species for you to encounter include the Greater and lesser kudu, black and white and side stripped jackal, cheetah, carcal, klipspringer, lions, African elephants, buffaloes, leopards, Burchell’s giraffes, bat eared fox. Unlike other wildlife, the stripped hyenas, Beisa Oryx and grant’s gazelles and many other rare species are limited to Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda. The park is credited for its abundant bird species some of which include the Abyssinian ground hornbill, secretary bird, ostriches, Kori bustards, carmine, yellow billed and Jackson’s hornbills and many more. About 56 of prey bird species and the 14 of them are endemic to Kidepo Valley and the Karamoja region. Kidepo is incredibly Africa’s most scenic protected area and was ranked the 3rd by the CNN. If you love game drives, culture and breathtaking adventures, Kidepo Valley National Park should be a must to visit while on Uganda safari.
Murchison Falls National Park
Located in Northwestern Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest protected area and offers refuge to the mighty Murchison Falls which is exceptionally one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world. A boat cruise to the top of the Nile allows you to explore this breathtaking waterfall as it squeezes itself into a narrow gorge of about 7 meters wide, 43 meters below. You will be amazed with the powerful roar of this powerful waterfall as it also makes a permanent rainbow. Besides, a game drive to its vast savanna grassland is such a breathtaking wildlife safari that you shouldn’t miss in this park as you look out wildlife species like African elephants, Jackson’s hartebeests, lions, leopards, Uganda kobs, antelope family, giraffes, buffaloes as well as birdlife especially the Abyssinian ground hornbill, elusive shoebill stork and many more. Along the Nile, you will also catch a glimpse of hippos and the crocodiles as well as several water bird species while on a launch cruise.
Budongo Central Forest Reserve
If you love primate adventures then you have got it all in Uganda where over 5000 chimpanzees are all confined in this spectacular country, some of which are found in Budongo Forest. This offers you opportunity to go for your exciting and memorable chimpanzee tracking after or before game drives at the savanna grassland in Murchison Falls National Park. Budongo forest is a continuation of Murchison and covers 825 square kilometers making it one of the few tropical rain forests that still thrive in Uganda. Budongo offers refuge to over 600 chimpanzees but only 80 have been set for eco tourism.
Other exceptional protected areas for primate safaris include Kibale Forest National Park, Kyambura Gorge, Ngamba Island, but Kibale Forest National Park is exceptionally described as the capital of primates in the world offering refuge to over 13 distinct primates with the largest population being the chimpanzees that make up over 1500 members. This makes it one of the best national parks for chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation experience.
The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
For a complete big five game in Uganda, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only place for you to realize your dreams. Just as you head to or return from Murchison Falls National Park, do not miss to visit this sanctuary that will amaze you with the most spectacular views of the only endangered white rhinos in the country. This sanctuary is located in Nakitoma Villa, Nakasongola District-Kafu River Basin along the Kampala-Gulu highway approximately 180 kilometers from Kampala city center. It offers refuge to about 19 rhinos.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Uganda is one of the only three countries in the world where the rare mountain gorillas are inhabited in their natural habitat. Over 480 individuals are estimated to be thriving within the jungles of Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These parks are found in the Southwestern part of the country making Uganda one of the most sought after destinations for mountain gorilla trekking safaris in Africa. Uganda has 15 gorilla groups have been habituated for gorilla trekking, research and gorilla habituation experience. Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda are obtainable at $600, while for habituation experience cost $1500 per person. Besides, Bwindi also offers refuge to over 360 bird species including the African broadbill, Chapin’s flycatcher and Shelley’s crimson wing and many others.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is another remarkable wildlife safari destination in Uganda, featuring the rare tree climbing lions, the African elephants, buffaloes, leopards giraffes as well as over 620 bird species which include the African skimmer, malachite and pied kingfishers, white winged terns, swamp fly catcher, grey headed kingfisher, African jacana, grey capped warbler, Gabon and slender tailed nightjars, the lovely black headed gonolek, martial eagle, great and long tailed cormorants, papyrus gonolek and many more.
Visit Jinja for adrenaline adventures
Jinja has been described as adrenaline capital in East Africa offering mainly breathtaking white water rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking and also allows visitors to explore the source of the Nile.
Community visits for thrilling cultural encounters
Wildlife safaris in Uganda are complete with cultural encounters. Uganda has been described as a boiling pot of cultures and indeed it is. Visit the Batwa community to encounter the Batwa pygmies who lived in the forest for more than 500000 years while hunting and gathering but left without any negative impact on the environment, explore the gamara caves and be welcomed by darkness and later most thrilling songs of sorrow as the marginalized Batwa pygmies sing with hopes of being given the chance to return to the jungles. Also you can visit the Ndere cultural center for different cultural performances from all regions that make up Uganda. If you love religious tourism, you can visit the Uganda Martyrs shrine and explore more on Uganda’s Christianity.
In conclusion, if Uganda is your next dream safari destination in Africa, there is a lot more in offer waiting for you to enjoy. A trip to this incredible country allows you to explore its magical wanders that describe it as the pearl of Africa.