Uganda currently has 10 national parks dispersed in various regions of the country with Murchison Falls National Park appearing as the biggest of all and Lake Mburo emerging as the smallest.
Not all these parks are frequently visited and some of them like Mt. Elgon National Park are on the verge of losing their national parks statuses because they bring almost no revenue at all to Uganda Wildlife Authority implicating anytime Uganda could have 9 national parks or even more if UWA upgrades more reserves.
So many travelers book Uganda safaris annually and our point here is citing out the parks they visit the most. I personally visited over twenty safari operators who managed to share with me the itineraries of their past 10 or so trips that helped me carry out my research and present to you 5 of the most visited / popular national parks in Uganda so as to help you plan your safari well.
If parks like Mt. Elgon and Semuliki are rarely visited, why should you prioritize them? I believe it’s better to go with the band wagon because at times people know what can be best for them. So which are the most visited national parks in Uganda?
1. Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen is undoubtedly the most visited / popular national park in Uganda. The park was nicknamed ‘A Medley of Wonders’ because of it’s exceptional scenery that form up the panoramic views of it’ wilderness. This park harbors a lot of wildlife but is mainly common for it’s big population of tree climbing lions that reside it the Savannah plains of the Ishasha sector.
Activities carried out in Queen include; Game Viewing in Ishaha and Kasenyi Trails, Chimpanzee Tracking in Kyambura Gorge, Birding and launch trips on Kazinga channel but over 95% of it’s safaris are wildlife safaris. I recently crowned Queen Elizabeth National Park the best place for wildlife safaris in Uganda.
2. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi takes up the second slot on the list. This park is mainly known for Gorilla trekking because it harbors over half the total population of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world, making it the best place to see Mountain gorillas in the world.
Of all the safari parks in Uganda, Bwindi generates the most revenue to Uganda Wildlife Authority annually because of the huge numbers of visitors it receives annually. Each of these tourists has to spend about $600 on gorilla permits in the high and low seasons respectively.
Bwindi is very accessible. Its more accessible from Rwanda, reason why so many tourists book Uganda gorilla trekking safaris from Kigali.
3. Murchison Falls National Park
Uganda’s biggest national park comes in third on the list. You might be wondering why i didn’t indicate it first on the list but truth is the two parks above receive more trips compared to Murchison because they are just so close to each other. It’s uncertain of tourists tracking Mountain Gorillas first then heading to Murchison Falls for wildlife viewing.
Usually after gorilla trekking, most itineraries include queen as the nest destination for wildlife viewing because Murchison Falls NP is quite a distance away. Sometimes i believe it Bwindi was close to Murchison then Murchison would be the most visited / popular national park in Uganda.
This park is mainly known for it’s centerpiece, Murchison Falls – a place where water plunges about 45 meters down through a gorge to form the falls. This place is also called ‘The Devils Cauldron’. Besides that, people have long prefered Queen to Murchison in terms of wildlife viewing.
4. Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale is not only so popular for it’s big population of Chimpanzees but is definitely the best place for Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and one of the best in Africa. Over 80% of the Chimpanzee trekking activities in Uganda take place in this park and it’s strategic location to Bwindi and Queen has also impacted positively to it’s statistics of visitors.
I believe if this park was far away from the two it would definitely sell out all those Chimpanzee trekking permits like it currently does annually. The main activity in this park is Chimp trekking though other activities like Birding and Forest Walks are also carried out by several tourists. Kibale is the fourth most visited national park in Uganda.
5. Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo might be the last on this list but it one of the best places for birding in Uganda. This park is also another great place for wildlife viewing only that it’s very small compared to the rest. It it the only park that harbors the most Zebras in Uganda and Impalas. Lake Mburo also a lot of features that will reward you the best sights hence, it’s a good place to be visit.
That wraps up our list of the most visited / popular national parks in Uganda. Unfortunately, i left out Kidepo because it’s not so visited like the rest but is definitely one of the most popular wildlife destinations in Africa. If possible, try combining all these 5 destinations in a single itinerary to get the most of a wildlife experience in the Pearl of Africa (Uganda).
Some safari packages feature all these parks and i guess you won’t find a hard time locating one if only you make the right search. So you know the most visited parks right? If you are planning to visit any or all of them then you might want to check out my step by step guide for booking a memorable safari in Uganda