GAME SAFARIS IN UGANDA
Think game safaris and you are most likely to conjure up pictures of adventure-filled fantasies of driving aboard open 4X4 safari vehicles through unsullied African wilderness, meeting face to face with incredible animals like the Cape buffaloes, lions, African bush elephants, leopards, spotted hyenas, Defassa waterbucks, bushbucks, zebras, hartebeests, serval cats, jackals, bushbucks, Uganda Kobs, impalas and Oribis along the way. Uganda undeniably plays a host to an incredible array of Wildlife Sanctuaries (savannah-dominated) but Murchison falls National Park takes pride as the country’s most popular game safari haven. A game safari in this 3840-square kilometer Protected Area promises an extraordinary experience.
Game safaris normally have no limit to the number of participant but if you desire a more private and rewarding experience, a smaller group size with maximum of 6 visitors is advised. Make it complete by including refreshments and several stops along the way for photography or stretch legs in addition to admiring jaw-dropping landscape sceneries. Also, make sure to have a Park Ranger guide, because they are skillfully trained on the intricacies of the Protected Area being explored (National Park or Wildlife Reserve) and the surrounding areas thus rewarding breathtaking anecdotes along the way. Game safaris are undoubtedly the ideal introduction to Uganda’s savannah-dominating wildlife species and therefore a must for every first-time safari goer.
Top Places that offer unrivalled Game Safaris in Uganda
Murchison falls National Park
Murchison falls National Park is the biggest Protected Area in Uganda and boasts of a magnificent diversity of wildlife that move through this extensive Wilderness. These include breeding prides of lions, leopards and herds of Cape buffaloes, African bush elephants, spotted hyenas, Defassa waterbucks, Topis, Oribis, bushbucks, serval cats, Hippos, Olive baboons, vervet monkeys, Uganda Kobs, Rothschild giraffes and duikers among others. The East African wild dogs, serval cats, side-striped and black-backed jackal can also be spotted driving through Murchison falls National Park.
Game safaris in Murchison falls National Park are mainly undertaken through the northern banks dominated by open savannah and short woodland shrubs. However, the southern part of the Park is equally rewarding for game drives, although it is slightly forested. Common game tracks here are Buligi area where spotted hyenas, Cape buffaloes, Defassa waterbucks, leopards, bushbucks and warthogs are common.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is undeniably the most exclusive destination for game safaris in Uganda. The 144200-hectare Protected Area is located on the north-eastern corner of Uganda and for game safaris here, having a Park Ranger is highly recommended for spotting lion prides on Valley’s rocks as well as jackals, cheetahs, leopards, Cape buffaloes, duikers, serval cats and so much more.
Game safaris in Kidepo Valley National Park are mainly undertaken in Narus Valley, especially early mornings and late afternoons where buffaloes, leopards, African bush elephants are giant elands are common.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Just 6 hours’ drive from Kampala City, this popular National Park offers jaw-dropping wildlife viewing experiences and is the second largest in Uganda. Huge herds of African bush elephants, Uganda Kobs, Hippos, lions, Cape buffaloes, Defassa waterbucks, bushbucks, mongoose, duikers, Olive baboons and many other animals (totaling to 95 mammal species) roam different ecosystems of Queen Elizabeth National Park. In the morning, travellers can hop on the safari vehicle from their lodges to enjoy game viewing through North Kazinga Plains, Kasenyi area, Ishasha grasslands and areas close to the Mweya Peninsula.
Lake Mburo National Park
As the smallest savannah National Park in Uganda, Lake Mburo National Park isn’t given the attention it deserves, yet it offers some of the rarest views of animals. This 37000-hectare Protected Area boasts of a network of game tracks running through its eastern boundary, passing a wide range of ecosystems that include between rocky outcrops acacia woodland, grassy hill slopes and Valley floors. The day game drives are perfect for spotting impalas, Defassa waterbucks, bushbucks, Cape buffaloes, giant elands, common warthogs, vervet monkeys, Rothschild giraffes, impalas and Olive baboons, to mention but a few. The night game drives through Lake Mburo National Park increase chances of seeing bush babies, leopards, spotted hyenas and pottos among others.
Semliki National Park
Semliki National Park in western Uganda (near Bundibugyo) presents an outstanding ecosystem that is relatively free from crowds. The incredibly diverse landscapes reward travellers with wildlife experiences that are unrivalled anywhere else in the country. There are three renowned game tracks that crisscross the savannah grasslands of Semliki National Park and expect the forest and bush elephants, buffaloes, leopards, Defassa waterbucks, Uganda Kobs, striped hyenas, caracals and bushbucks among others.
Besides these savannah-dominated National Parks, game safaris in Uganda are also enjoyed in the Reserves, especially Pian Upe, Kabwoya, Katonga and Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserves among others.
Best time to go on game safaris in Uganda
The perfect time to go on game safaris in Uganda is the dry season in December through February and June through September. During these months, scantier vegetation as well as few water sources means clearer visibility as well as unmatched spotting during game drives.