Happy New Year everyone!
Last year didn’t seem favorable a year for traveling after the invasion of the novel coronavirus. By the end of March, many countries had imposed a lockdown where they encouraged people to stay and work from home to quarantine and control the spread of the virus. Many sectors were affected by the virus, and one of the most hit sectors was the tourism sector as borders were closed, and so were the airports, game parks closed. Events were canceled, social gatherings were stopped. This rendered travel inactive.
Later on, slowly by slowly, a few countries started to open up. Internal borders grew more porous; international travels were given the go-ahead. There were requirements for travel, though: a negative test result, masking up, sanitizing, social distancing. This stimulated the love of tourism amongst many people especially local tourists. Uganda went ahead to launch Travel campaigns for its local citizens under the hashtag #TakeOnThePearl and #VisitUganda to exhibit the beauty that lies within the country. Today, I bring you a list of ten (10) places you should visit this year;
Queen Elizabeth National Game Park.
It’s located in Kasese District, and many could argue Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. Queen Elizabeth National Gamepark’s diverse ecosystems which include; sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes, and fertile wetlands make it the ideal habitat for the classic big game. It is home to ten primate species, including chimpanzees, and over 600 species of birds. Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo, and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kobs. As well as its outstanding wildlife attractions, Queen Elizabeth National Park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music and more. The gazetting of the park has ensured the conservation of its ecosystems, which in turn benefits the surrounding communities.
Rwenzori Mountain Ranges
The fabled “Mountains of the Moon” is one of Uganda’s UNESCO heritage sites and lies in Western Uganda along the Uganda-DR Congo border. The snow-covered equatorial peaks rise to a height of 5,109m, and the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland and rich montane forest. Most parks are accessible only to hikers, although the magnificent scenery and 19 Albertine Rift endemics would be an ample reward for Birders. Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects the eastern slopes and glacial peaks of the 120km-long Rwenzori Mountains, a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination. Mount Rwenzori stands as the third tallest mountain range in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. The mountain features six main peaks that are kept apart by profound gorges, including; the highest Mount Stanley 5,109m (16,763 ft.), Mount Speke 4,890m, Mount Baker rising to 4,843m, Mount Emini rising to 4,798m, Mount Gessi towering to 4,715m and Mount Luigi di Savoia rising to 4,627m. The Mountain comprises metamorphic rocks and the ranges that were tilted upwards by the tectonic plate movement. It is a magical adventure destination worth exploring on adventurous Uganda safaris and tours in the West near the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Semliki National Game Park
Semliki Forest Reserve was created in 1932 but was later upgraded to national park status in 1993. And it’s believed to be the only tract of true lowland tropical forest in East Africa, hosting 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals. Semliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori. The park is dominated by the eastern-most extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests, one of the few to survive the last ice age, 12-18,000 years ago. The Semliki Valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. West African oil palms shade thatched huts; the Semliki River (which forms the international boundary) is a miniature version of the Congo River. The forest is home to numerous Central African wildlife species local population includes a Batwa Pygmy Community that originated from the Ituri. As a result, this park provides a taste of Central Africa without having to leave Uganda. While Semuliki’s species have been accumulating for over 25,000 years, the park contains evidence of even older processes. Hot Springs bubble up from the depths to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years.
Murchison Falls National Game Park
Murchison Falls National Park sits on the shore of Lake Albert in northwest Uganda. It’s known for Murchison Falls, where the Victoria Nile River surges through a narrow gap over a massive drop; it’s also the largest game park in Uganda. Park wildlife includes elephants and hippos, and there are chimpanzees in the Kaniyo Pabidi mahogany forest. The Lake Albert Delta is home to rare shoebill storks. There are game fish in the cascades of Karuma Falls.
Sipi Falls is located in the East of Uganda, approximately 277km from Kampala, Uganda’s capital in Kapchorwa district. These falls are found on Mountain Elgon’s foothills just at the edge of Mount Elgon National park nearing the Kenyan border to Uganda. The sipi falls are comprised of 3 waterfalls, each flowing from a different altitude. The highest fall drops from an altitude of 100m referred to as the main fall since it is the last fall in the series, this fall is a little bigger than the other two falls, but all give Uganda beautiful scenery. In fact, most people say that sipi falls are the “most romantic falls” in Uganda, which is evidenced by the wonderful falls. This area is majorly where most hikes to Mt. Elgon are started from. Hiking up to these falls gives a beautiful scenic view, like Lake Kyoga, the Karamoja low lands, coffee plantations, and other surrounding areas.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Game Park
The mist-covered hillsides are sheltered by one of the ancient and very biologically varied rainforests in Uganda that date back to more than 25,000 years, comprising about 400 varied plant species. This “impenetrable forest” also protects a predictable 320 population of mountain gorillas, approximately half of the world’s population, among which are several habituated groups that can be tracked by visitors, thus promoting Mountain Gorilla tours/tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. One must be really physically fit to take part in this mountain gorilla tracking/trekking adventure because it may involve climbing the steep terrain. In addition to the endangered impressive mountain gorillas, there are also 346 bird species and more than 200 butterfly species, about 324 species of trees, ten of which are only found in these areas in the whole of Uganda. This is really a destination to explore. This biologically varied region also offers shelter to additional 120 mammals, among which are various primate species like the baboons plus chimpanzees, in addition to elephants and antelopes.
Kidepo National Game Park
Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park. Still, the few who make the long journey north through the wild frontier region of Karamoja would agree that it is also the most magnificent, for Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. Apoka, in the heart of the park, a savannah landscape extends far beyond the gazetted area, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges. During the dry season, the only permanent water in the park is found in wetlands and remnant pools in the broad Narus Valley near Apoka. Combined with the open, savannah terrain, these seasonal oases make the Narus Valley the park’s prime game viewing location.
Lake Mburo National Game Park
Lake Mburo national park is a special place, it has a vast ecosystem, and nature prevails in its western region. Rocky Ridges and forested gorges, Narrow bands of lush, riparian woodland, and much more. Like many lakes, this has been an addition to the formation of beautiful sceneries, hence attracting many tourists to see the park’s hidden treasures. Since lake Mburo national park is a special place, it harbors 68 mammal species though it does not have elephants and lions. The fact that there are no lions; gives the tourist a chance to freely move close to the animals and have a close impact on them. The park has a wide range of birds flopping in the sky and is visible to visitors. Some of the birds seen in this park include rare, rare shoebill, stork, African finfoot, pelican, and heron. Lake Mburo national park is blessed with forests that act as a habitat to animals in the park and help in the influence and formation of rainfall that provides water. This helps to complete tasks that need water at the park-like; it acts like drinking water for the animals hence improving their wellbeing and outlook. The park is rich with acacia trees, valleys, grasslands with different grass types fed on by the wild animals. It also has seasonal and permanent swamps where papyrus grows, which is used to make various things sold and improve the government’s economy.
Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary
It is only in this sanctuary that one can enjoy the rhino trekking experience in Uganda. This activity will start with a briefing session at the sanctuary entrance in which several instructions are given, among which is the need to walk in a single file or line. The rationale for this is that walking alone or in isolation from the line renders you an easy target for the rhinos in the event of an attack. You must heed the ranger’s instructions while on this trek to avoid any regrets. Depending on the Rhinos location, you may drive to the closest route nearest to where they are located to avoid walking for long-distance. Remember this is the home of the newly born calf named Rae Ruparelia that was christened after Rajiv Ruparelia, son of businessman Sudhir Ruparelia.
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale National Park is an attractive park in Uganda with varied tracts of the tropical rain forest and a multiplicity of animals located in western Uganda slightly off the Equator. The annual temperature ranges between 14-27C and is generally cool. It is known as the “primate capital of East Africa,” with 13 different primate species. It is home to more than 1,450 chimpanzees protected within its borders of 795km2. It is by far the best place to see Chimps in East Africa. The chimpanzees have been habituated for over 26 years, giving you a chance to see the great apes in their natural environment. Children have to be 15 years and above to track the Chimpanzees. If younger, they can opt to see chimpanzees at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary located off Lake Victoria in Entebbe; there is a raised platform where visitors can view the chimps they come from the forest for their midday snacks. The forest’s varied altitude supports different habitats; woodland, Savannah, wet tropical forest, and semi-deciduous dry tropical forest, which gives the park opportunity to host different wildlife in the different habitats.
Always try as much as you can to travel at least once a month, this will really help you explore a lot of numerous exciting features that will improve your health and happiness. Create moments and share your experience with others.