Tourist attractions in Uganda and Rwanda – Africa
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Uganda’s mots popular national park because it’s a habitat to about 440 mountain gorillas, which is half of the world’s last remaining population. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is situated in south western Uganda near the boarder of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. There are currently 14 gorilla families fully habituated for tourism purposes. These gorilla groups are found in the 4 sections of the park as below’
Buhoma Section: Located in the north of the park with mainly 3 gorilla groups namely; Rushaga, Mubare and Habinyanja groups.
Ruhijha Section: Found in the Eastern Part of the park with also 3 gorilla groups namely; Oruzogo, Bitukura and Kyaguriro groups.
Nkuringo Section: Located in southern part of Bwindi National park with 1 gorilla family known as Nkuringo family.
Rushaga Section: Also in southern park of the park with biggest number of gorilla groups namely; Kahunjye, Businje, Nshongi, Mishaya, Bitukura, Bikingi and Bushabo.
Note that the number of gorilla groups increase with time, new gorilla groups are habituated every after a couple of years.
Each section has a wide variety of accommodation lodges and campsites.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park is the main tourist activity and majority of the tourists mainly come for this activity, other tour activities include Batwa Experience, Bird watching, community tours and forest walk.
Mgahinga National Park
Uganda’s smallest National Park located in south western Uganda, and a home to mountain gorillas in the world. Here we have only one gorilla family known as “Nyakagezi”. Apart from gorilla tracking, other tour activities in Mgahinga National Park include Batwa Trail, Forest walk, Golden monkey tracking, Mt. Gahinga hiking and bird watching. Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda cost US$600 each, while golden monkey permits cost US$50 each.
Kibale National Park
Situated in Kibale district in western Uganda with the highest concentration of primates in Africa. Here we have 13 species of primates which include chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, vervets, L’hoest’s monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys grey-checked mangabeys and many others. The major tourist attractions include Chimps tracking, chimps habituation experience, bird watching with about 350 species, community tours, nature walk though Bigodi swamps, night forest walk and others. Other attraction around the area include Karambi tombs, Tooro King’s palace, Mpanga market to meet local people, historical and cultural sites such as “amabeere ga nyinamwiru” among others.
Murchison Falls National Park
Uganda’s biggest and oldest conservation area covering an area of 3,840km2, located about 5 hour’s from Kampala. The park hosts 76 species of mammals and 451 birds. The main tour activities include game viewing to search for some of the Big 5 Animals in Africa (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, and Rhinos found in Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary), other animals include antelopes, giraffes, warthogs, etc. Tourist also enjoy a fantastic boat cruise to the bottom of the falls. The boat exposes you to so many bird species and big mammals like Elephants, buffaloes, Hippos and Nile crocodiles seen basking along the shores. More bird watching takes place in Budongo forest with chimpanzee tracking / habituation experience.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda’s second largest national park covering an area of 1.978km2, located about 6-7 hour’s from Kampala. The park hosts 95 mammals, 10 primate species in Kyambura gorge and over 600 bird species. The main tour activities include game viewing to search for some of the Big 5 Animals in Africa (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo), other animals include antelopes, warthogs, etc. Tourist also enjoy a fantastic boat cruise along the Kazinga channel that connects Lakes George and Edward. The boat exposes you to so many bird species and big mammals like Elephants, buffaloes, Hippos and Nile crocodiles seen basking along the shores. Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura gorge also attracts many tourists, here you find primates like Baboons, Red tailed monkeys, Vervets, Galago and many others. The Ishasha section in southern part is famous for tree climbing lions. The Katwe explosion craters is the highest point of the park at 1,350m ASL, whereas Lake Edward marks the lowest point is at 910m ASL.
Mount Elgon National Park
Is an Extinct volcano located in Eastern Uganda and crosses to Kenya. It first erupted in the recent geological period of 24 million year ago. This was once Africa’s highest mountain, far exceeding Kilimanjaro’s current 5,895m. However, the millennia of erosion have reduced Elgon’s height to only 4,321m ASL, making it to the 4th highest peak in East African region and 8th on African continent. Wagagai is the highest peak and takes a minimum of 4 days and 3 night camping. You can start from Budadiri tourism center and come out from Sipi falls.
Mount Rwenzori National Park
Located in Western Uganda, 7 hour’s drive from Kampala, covering an area of 996 sq kms. The park was gazetted in 1991, and recognised as World Heritage site in 1994 and Ramsar site in 1998. Margherita is the highest peak at 5,109m above sea level. Hiking to this peak taking the central circuit requires 7 – 8 days. It attracts many tourists from different parts of the world.
Kidepo Valley National Park
One of Uganda’s smallest covering an area of 1,442 km2, located in north eastern Uganda on the boarder with Kenya and Southern Sudan. It was gazetted in 1962 and hosts over 77 mammal species and about 475 bird species. The main tour activities include game viewing to search for some of the Big 5 Animals in Africa (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo). This is Uganda’s most isolated park, mostly accessed by air to Apoka air strip. By road, it takes over 12 hour’s drive. The areas of interest include Kidepo Valley, Narus Valley and Apoka.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest savannah national park in Uganda covering 370 sq kms and altitude ranges between 1,220m – 1,828m above sea level. The park inhabits approximately 350 species of birds and animals like hippos, impala, reedbuck, buffalo, zebra, Defassa waterbuck, oribi, leopard, hyena, topi and eland. 15 giraffes have been introduced to this park from Murchison Falls national park. This took place at the end of June 2015.
Semilik National Park
It covers an area of 220km² with an altitude between 670 and 760m ASL. It hosts approximately 441 bird species and 53 mammals. Main activities include community walk, birding, chimps tracking, night game drives and Sempaya Hairspring among others.
Volcanoes National Park
This is a home to one of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Volcanoes National Park Rwanda forms part of the Virunga chain of mountain ranges shared by Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). The Virunga mountains inhabit half of the world’s last remaining gorilla population. The remaining half is found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Tracking mountain gorillas is the major tourist attraction and attracts majority of the visitors to Rwanda. Other attractions around Volcanoes National Park Rwanda include golden monkey trekking, community tours, Iby’Iwacu cultural village tour, Musanze caves tour, Dian Fossey Tombs tour and mountain hiking (Mt. Bisoke and Karisimbi). Gorilla tourism around Parc National Des Volcans has influenced the development of many Rwanda gorilla trekking lodges and these include Virunga Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback gorilla lodge, Mountain gorilla view, Le Bambou Lodge, Kinigi guest house and Villa Gorilla among others.
Nyungwe National Park
Is the largest mountainous forest in East and Central Africa. It is famous for primates tracking such as Chimpanzees, Black and white colobus monkeys habituated for tourism purposes. Other tourist activities include canopy walk adventure, forest walk through different trails, tea harvesting with the local community and bird watching. Over 300 bird species recorded in Nyungwe National Park. It is situated in south western part of the country, about 5-6 hour’s drive from Kigali capital. Sights enroute from Kigali include Nyanza King’s palace, Rwanda national museum in Huye / Butare and Murambi genocide memorial museum that was a technical school and gazetted into museum after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Akagera National Park
Located in eastern Rwanda on the boarder with Tanzania. Its famous for gave drive in search for animals like zebras, oribis, giraffes, Elephants, Buffaloes and Lions that have been re-introduced from South Africa. Another activity is bird watching and boat ride on Lake Ihema where you may see marine wildlife such as Hippos, crocodiles and birds. The main accommodation options are; Ruzizi Tented Camp and Akagera Game Lodge.
Historical, Cultural Sites and Genocide memorial museums
Rwanda is one of the African countries with the finest historical museums and unique history. After the 1994 genocide, many places with massive massacres were gazetted into genocide memorial museums / sites such as Gisozi museum in Kigali, Murambi Genocide museum, Bisesero museum, Nyamata church, Ntarama church, etc. They all attract many tourists from different parts of the world to witness what happened before, during and after the genocide in Rwanda.