Uganda is one of the most amazing tourism destinations in East Africa. This country is blessed with hundreds of tourists attractions with most of the located up country in areas like western Uganda. The west includes places like Kasese, Fortportal, Bushenyi, Mbarara, Kabale, Kibale, Kiruhura and many others. The region almost out competes the rest of the regions in this country when it comes to tourism attractions which includes the beautiful landscape, the amazing rivers and lakes, hundreds of bird species, amazing cultural experiences, primates and other wildlife species. You can expect to have an amazing Uganda safari if you choose to visit the western region of the country. You can visit any of the places below:
Visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
This is one of the most dense rain forest in the country, located in south western of Uganda and it’s most popular for being a home to more than half the population of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. There are over 450 mountain gorillas living in this forest and are Uganda’s biggest attractions. Gorilla tracking takes place in various sections of Bwindi forest like Buhoma, in Ruhija, Rushaga and in Nkuringo sector.
Generally, mountain gorillas are found in either Uganda, Rwanda and DR.Congo. They are also the most endangered types of primate across the world. In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, you will find both the wild and habituated gorilla, which are open to tourist for gorilla tracking and researchers. This park does attract the highest number of tourists that come from the different parts of this world.
A trip to Bwindi is a lot more fulfilling than you can expect because this place has more than the mountain gorilla, it has the most beautiful and breath-taking scenery, its surrounded by people with some really interesting cultures. If you love culture, you will learn a lot from these people if you decide to visit their communities. Other activities you can do during your visit to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest include bird watching, nature walks, hiking, bicycle rides, chimpanzee watching and many more. These are often the most popular additional activities that most tourists do after gorilla tracking.
Gorilla trekking starts with a briefing from a ranger at the park headquarters and later start with the trek led by armed rangers and porters if you need them. A gorilla trek last between 1-8 hours, which means the duration, is unpredictable. Only people that are above 15 years are allowed to go for gorilla tracking and you must follow the gorilla tracking rules and regulations.
Visit Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa and the deepest in Uganda, it’s also found the south west of Uganda and it is located between two districts of Kisoro and Kabale towards the Uganda- Rwanda border. The word Bunyonyi is a local word that means birds and it gets its name from the fact that it is home to so many different species of birds living in the swamps and the so many small islands in the lake. This lake is also named as a bird paradise.
Lake Bunyonyi is often used as a base for most of the tourists visiting western Uganda and this is because of it beautiful view and relaxing environment. A part from the scenery, there are various tourism activities that you can engage in while in the area.
You can take a boatride to any of the different 29 small islands in the lake and once at the island you can do a nature walks and birding. There are a few animals living on these islands but thousands of birds. Bird watchers will find this place very interesting thus the reason its listed as one of the must visit destinations for birders. You can check out several smaller islands with amazing history attached to them that you may be interested in learning about for instance, the Kahungye island, there is Bwama and Njuyeera which means sharp’s island, the famous Bucuranuka which means upside down and the most popular of all is the Akampene which means punishment. Just like the name suggests, this island was used a dumping place for every girl that got pregnant before she ever got married. To punish such a girl, she would be taken and dumped on this tiny island and left there to starve to death.
After the hectic gorilla safari in Bwindi, it is wise to visit Lake Bunyonyi so you can relax from there. Enjoy the scenery, go birding if you love birds, swimming too is allowed since this lake is bilharzia free. Just like close to Bwindi, there are also Batwa pygmies living around Lake Bunyonyi. You can visit their communities for entertainment and learning about their cultures.
Visit Kibale Forest Park
This park is very famous for its huge population of chimpanzees. Its characterized of different vegetation covers including the swamps, the lowland, the montane type and the rain forest that covers the largest part of the park. Because it’s a home to a big number of chimpanzees, the main activity done in this park is chimpanzee tracking. Other places where chimpanzee tracking is done includes places like Budongo forest in the north, Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth Park, in Kalinzu forest and in semliki game reserve in Toro.
There are more than 1500 chimpanzees living in Kibale forest some of which are habituated therefore used for tourism and research purposes while others are not. Other than chimpanzee tracking, you can also go for the chimpanzee habituation experience. The difference between the two experiences is the with tracking, you are given an hour to spend with the chimpanzees after you find them while during habituation, you have an entire day to spend with the chimpanzees unless you feel you have had enough and choose to walk out.
Other than chimpanzees, there are other wildlife species like the forest elephants, bush pigs, worthogs duikers, the buffaloes and many more. There are several monkey species including the black and white colubus,the vervet monkeys, olive baboons,the red tailed monkeys, the blue tailed monkeys and the L’Hoests monkeys to mention but a few.
Bird watchers will also find this National park really interesting to visit since there is more than 325 different bird species with the most common being the yellow potted nicator, there are also African King Fishers, the African grey parrots, the weaver birds,there are pigeons and so many more as you will see while you walk through the forest or through Bigodi swamp sanctuary which popular for housing so many birdspecies.
Visit Queen Elizabeth National Park
This park is a wildlife hub. Its also situated in the west shared by districts like Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi and it include most of the Kazinga channel a natural water body that separates Lake Edward from Lake George. This is the second largest park in this country and it is a home to so many wildlife species and birds.
If you are interested in gameviewing, then Queen Elizabeth park is a must visit place for you. It is known for its high concetration of animals like buffaloes, elephants, there are tree climbing lions in the Ishasha sector, many more. During the game drive around the park, you can expect to see mammals like Elands, hippos are commonly seen during the boat rides, there are Topis, Uganda kobs, warthogs, antelopes, waterbucks and many more.
Other than wildife, this park is also popular for being a hub for over 600 amazing bird species including birds like African morning doves, African fish eagles, weaver birds, African kingfishers and many more. There are also primate species like chimpanzees and different types of monkeys found in kyambura gorge.
Other activities you can do when you visit Queen Elizabeth includes nature walks, you can visit the crater lakes region, visit the Katwe salt lakes, you can also go for community visits. To relax and chill around after a long day, you can go for a boat cruise on Kazinga channel so that you get the chance to see different acquatic life.
While game viewing is usually done during day time, you can still go for night game drives so you can see the different noctunal animals. You will have an armed ranger drive around the forest with flash lights looking for animals like leopards, owls, among other. Not all parks do night game drives though.
Visit Mountain Rwenzori National Park
Mountain Rwenzori is also referred to as mountains of the moon, its located along the border of Uganda and DR. Congo. This park gets its name after the Mountain Rwenzori which is Africa’s third highest mountain rising upto 5,109 meters high and lso the only snowcapped mountain in the country.
This park is also UNESCO heritage and it is most famous mountain climbing. This is the number destination for hikers and if you’re interested in mountain climbing, you can seek our service or mountaineering service to organise a wonder mountain climbing adventure. More than 7500 tourists visit this park in a year and while some are only interested in scenery, the little wildlife and other attractions, there are hundreds of hikers from different parts of the world that are interested in hiking.
There are various trails that you can follow and depending on how experienced you’re, you can go for a 1 day hiking adventure or a weeks hiking adventure which takes you upto the highest peak of the mountain called margherita. This is also peak is fully covered with snow all year through.
Other than mountain climbing, there are other activities that you can engage in like nature walks, a little bit of game viewing. You can also expect to see the rare three horned chameleon.
You can also go for some bit of cultural encounters, you can visit the Bakonzo people and may be participate in some of their different daily activities, learn about their different cultures, traditional dances and storytelling.
Birders will also find this park very interesting to visit because it is a home to more than 250 species of birds. You will have to walk through the forest as you search for birds.
Western Uganda is that one places the you can’t miss visiting if you’re on a safari in Uganda. With all the tourism attractions located in the part of the country, its unlikely that one can plan a Uganda safari and exclude a place or two from his itinerary.