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National Parks In Uganda | Uganda National Parks

The ten (10) national parks in Uganda have the primary impact on the continuously steadfast growth of Uganda safaris. The Uganda Wildlife Authority manages all these game parks in Uganda. 

Below is a list of the national parks in Uganda.

  1. Queen Elizabeth National Park
  2. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  3. Kibale Forest National Park
  4. Murchison Falls National Park
  5. Lake Mburo National Park
  6. Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  7. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
  8. Kidepo Valley National Park
  9. Mount Elgon National Park
  10. Semuliki National Park, and

These national parks are a gem in Uganda and most of them are located in western Uganda.

Savannah national parks include Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, and Lake Mburo National Park.

Murchison Falls National Park is the largest national park in Uganda, with 3,840 square kilometers. It also stands as the oldest, designated in 1952. The park holds the strongest waterfalls in the world, flowing from the longest river in Africa, which is the Nile.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is the second-largest national park in Uganda, with 1,978 km2. This savannah national park standing near the equator is a haven for a safari in Uganda, as it holds numerous wild animals and birds. A boat cruise safari on the Kazinga Channel will do you a lot of wonders.

Uganda is also blessed to have national parks that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites because of their biodiversity and their role in holding rear species of both animals and plants. These are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Rwenzori Mountains National Park.

Bwindi, Uganda, is home to almost half of the world’s mountain gorilla population and has all 24 Albertine Rift endemic birds.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park, on the other hand, has the mountains of the moon, one whose peaks snow all year round. It also has wild animals, birds, and plants that are not found in any other place in Uganda. More so, the park also has 19 out of the 24 Albertine Rift endemic birds.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest of all Ugandan national parks, with an area of 33.7 km2. This park is also home to mountain gorillas, hence promoting Uganda gorilla trekking safaris.

There is more to learn about Ugandan parks, as each of them offers a peculiar aspect to behold. Let us have a look at these national parks in Uganda that you will encounter as you safari in Uganda.

(I). Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park was designated in 1952 as Kazinga National Park. However, this name changed to the present “Queen Elizabeth National Park” in 1954 to honor the first visit of the former British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

This park lies in western Uganda near the iconic Rwenzori Mountains and it sits on an area of 1,978 km2 with an altitude of 1,300m.

Queen Elizabeth Park is a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve because of its biodiversity and various ecosystems. This consequently makes this park home to both humans and animals.

The park is clearly the most popular destination for safaris in Uganda and its star attraction is the Kazinga Channel. This stream hails with various Ugandan wildlife, hence a pillar for Uganda wildlife safaris.

Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, boasts a high diversity of wildlife. The park has over 95 mammal species, and it especially holds the highest concentration of hippos in the world at the Kazinga channel.

More so, the famous tree-climbing lions live in the Ishasha sector in the south-western part of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Also, this park proves to have the highest bird checklist in Uganda, with over 600 Ugandan bird species. This makes, therefore, birding in Uganda one of the top safari activities that you ought to encounter on a Queen Elizabeth safari.

Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Game Park is a sanctuary for the only habituated Chimpanzee family in this park.

Many beautiful crater lakes exist in this park, proving former volcanic activities in and around the area. Indeed, this park is a place to reminisce about historical natural formations!

The major things to do at Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda are the

  • Kazinga boat cruise
  • Safari game drives in the various sectors like Kasenyi plains, Ishasha sector, and Mweya Peninsular
  • Chimpanzee tracking at Kyambura gorge
  • Birding in all the sectors of the park
  • Visiting the volcanic crater lakes.

Queen Elizabeth National Park Africa has various lodges to soothe your stay in the park and they range from luxury to midrange and budget.

You can access Queen Elizabeth National Park Kasese by either road or air, using the various routes while following its geographic coordinates: 0.1577° N, 30.0794° E.

Let us explore this natural wonder further.

History Of Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park’s history dates back to ancient times, when the parkland was home to grazing settlements for the local Basongora pastoralists.

In 1906, the British government declared the north of Lake George a game reserve. However, in 1912, the whole of Lake George and the Ishasha sector were affirmed as restricted areas.

Settlers evacuated the park in 1930 due to sleeping sickness and this helped to further make plans for gazetting the park.

Queen Elizabeth National Park was designated in 1952 as Kazinga National Park. Nonetheless, it was renamed in 1954 to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip.

Queen Elizabeth National Park was also selected as a ‘Lion Conservation Unit’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC in 2006.

Where is Queen Elizabeth National Park?

Queen Elizabeth National Park is in south-western Uganda, in Kasese District. It lies along geographic coordinates of 0.1577° N and 30.0794° E and is about 410 km from Kampala, the capital city of Uganda.

Lake George borders Queen Elizabeth National Park on the north-east and Lake Edward on the south-west. These lakes are linked by the Kazinga Channel.

Mountain Rwenzori borders this park in the north-west and Virunga National Park, found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the west.

Attractions In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is rich in various attractions, like

  • Wild Animals
  • Birds
  • Kazinga channel
  • Many crater lakes

Animals Found In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park animals abound in large numbers; that is, the park has over 95 mammal species. These include 10 primate species, 20 species of predators, and many herbivores.

The park has 4 of the big five animals of Africa, which are the lions, leopards, elephants, and hippos.

The rare tree-climbing lions in Ishasha and the highly concentrated hippos on the Kazinga Channel are some of the major animals to see in the park. This park was even declared a Lion Conservation Unit in 2006 to protect these lions.

Below are some of the animals in Queen Elizabeth National Park

  • Hippos, which are over 5000 in the park.
  • African elephants abound—over 2500 in number.
  • Cape Buffaloes are about 1000.
  • Tree-climbing lions in both Ishasha and the Kasenyi plains total up to about 76 in number.
  • Ugandan Kobs
  • Topis
  • Warthogs
  • Giant Forest Hogs
  • African Bush Pig
  • Oribi Bushbuck
  • Sitatunga Antelope
  • Long-Haired Chimpanzee
  • Olive Baboon
  • Vervet Monkeys
  • Uganda Blue Monkey
  • Red-Tailed Monkeys
  • Black and White Colobus Monkeys
  • Red Colobus
  • Leopards
  • Spotted Hyena
  • Crocodiles

Birds In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park has over 600 bird species, the highest bird checklist of all national parks in Uganda. Some of these birds are migratory, native, rare, or common, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

These Ugandan birds spread through the different sectors of Queen Elizabeth National Park, that are the

  • Lake George
  • Kazinga Channel
  • Ishasha sector
  • Kasenyi plains
  • Mweya Peninsula
  • Kyambura Gorge
  • Maramagambo forest

The most notable birds in Queen Elizabeth National Park

  • Shoebill
  • Great Blue Turaco
  • Grey-crowned cranes
  • Long-crested eagle
  • Black and White Casqued Hornbill
  • Black Bee-Eater
  • Black-Rumped Buttonquail
  • African Finfoot
  • African Hobby
  • African Skimmer
  • Ayres’s Hawk Eagle
  • Broad-Billed Roller
  • Great White Pelican
  • Grey-Winged Robin-Chat
  • Caspian Plover
  • Collared Pratincole
  • Papyrus Gonolek
  • Pel’s Fishing-Owl
  • Common Sand Martin
  • Crab-Plover
  • Heuglin’s Gull
  • Palm-Nut Vulture
  • Western Banded Snake Eagle
  • Yellow-Throated Cuckoo
  • White-Backed Night Heron
  • Pink-Backed Pelican
  • Red-Chested Sunbird
  • Rufous-Bellied Heron
  • Spotted Redshank
  • White-Winged Tern
  • Yellow-Bellied Wattle-Eye

Kazinga Channel In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Kazinga Channel is a 32-kilometer stream that drains from Lake George to Lake Edward. The major activity here is a safari boat cruise, in which you can view various animals and birds and have some engaging sights.

Common animals to see in the Kazinga Channel include

  • Hippos
  • Elephants
  • Buffaloes
  • Crocodile
  • Giant Forest Hogs
  • Water Monitor Lizards
  • Bushbucks
  • Waterbucks

Other attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park are

  • Lake George and Lake Edward
  • Crater lakes
  • The equator
  • Omani coffee plantation near the park
  • Kasenyi plains
  • Ishasha sector
  • Maramagambo Forest
  • Kyambura Gorge
  • Mweya Peninsular
  • Katwe Area

Activities In Queen Elizabeth National Park

There are various adventurous things to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park while you have fun.

Let us take a look at these activities at Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Game Drives In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Safari game drives are one of the top activities to do on the Uganda tour in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

These game drives primarily take place in the Kasenyi plains but also occur in the Ishasha sector and the Mweya Peninsular. The activity mostly happens in the Kasenyi area, making the region not have night game drives to not fuss the animals. However, tourists on Uganda tours and safaris can have night game drives in the Mweya Peninsular and the Ishasha sector.

Therefore, Queen Elizabeth National Park is open for both day and night game drives.

Bird-watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Birding is an exploratory activity in which you observe birds in their natural habitat. There are over 600 bird species in the park and this gives you a wide variety for your birding experience in Uganda.

Boat Cruise In Queen Elizabeth National Park

This activity majorly occurs on the Kazinga Channel, which spreads with various birds and animals in the morning, afternoon, and evening. The Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Mweya Lodge are currently responsible for these boating trips.

Also, boat cruises are done in the Katunguru Bridge Area and different communities manage them, especially to promote Uganda budget safaris.

The boat cruise on Kazinga Channel begins from the shipping deck just below Mweya Peninsular and goes as far as the shore of Lake Edward.

Other activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park include

  1. Chimpanzee tracking
  2. Guided nature walks
  3. Cultural tours and community walks
  4. Lion tracking
  5. Mongoose tracking
  6. Crater lakes tour
  7. Hippo Census

Lodges In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the national parks in Uganda with many accommodation facilities that range in luxury, midrange, and budget.

Luxury lodges in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda

  1. Mweya Safari Lodge
  2. Mazike Valley Lodge
  3. Ishasha Wilderness Camp
  4. Elephant Plains Lodge
  5. Queen Elizabeth Katara Lodge
  6. Kyangabi Crater Resort
  7. Jacana Safari Lodge
  8. Kyambura Game Lodge

Midrange Lodges in Queen Elizabeth National Park

  1. Enganzi Game Lodge
  2. Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge
  3. Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge
  4. Ishasha Jungle Lodge
  5. Baboon Safari Resort
  6. Kingfisher Lodge
  7. Enjojo Lodge
  8. Marafiki Safari Lodge
  9. Savannah Resort Hotel
  10. Buffalo Safari Lodge
  11. Lake Munyanyange Caves Lodge
  12. Kasenyi Safari Camp
  13. Parkview Safari Lodge
  14. Kikorongo Safari Lodge
  15. Elephant Hab Lodge
  16. Njovu Park Lodge

Budget Lodges to stay in while in Queen Elizabeth National Park

  1. Pumba Safari Cottages
  2. Bull Bush River Camp
  3. Tembo Safari Lodge
  4. Irungu Forest Safari Lodge and Campsite
  5. Simba Safari Camp
  6. Kazinga Channel View Resort
  7. Mweya Hostel
  8. Topi Lodge
  9. Engiri Game Lodge and Campsite
  10. Forest Hog Safari Camp
  11. Elephant Home
  12. Kitandara Hippo Hill Lodge
  13. Craters Campsite and Country Lodge
  14. Queen Elizabeth Safari Camp
  15. Lake Chibwera Camp
  16. Queen Elizabeth Safari Lodge
  17. Ishasha Ntungwe River Camp
  18. Kabatooro Guest House
  19. Kyambura Tented Camp

What Is Unique About Queen Elizabeth National Park?

The fact that Queen Elizabeth National Park is a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve makes it unique. Amidst all the wildlife in this park, different communities live alongside the animals inside it and the park sustains both of them.

This park is the only place in Uganda where you will meet the rear tree-climbing Lions.

Additionally, Queen Elizabeth National Park has the highest bird checklist in East Africa, with over 600 bird species documented.

The park also holds the highest concentration of Hippos in one place, with over 5000 according to the last census by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Kazinga Channel is also another uniqueness at Queen Elizabeth National Park. This stream connecting Lake George and Lake Edward abounds with various wild animals that drink and bathe from it.

(II). Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park derives its name from the Runyakitara word “Mubwindi” which means a dark place. This indicates the thick dense forest of this Uganda Park.

This park sits in the Southwestern region of Uganda in Kanungu district.

Bwindi impenetrable forest was designated a world heritage site in 1994 due to its profuse ecology and biodiversity.

The endangered Mountain Gorillas are specifically the major attraction in this park and the primary factor for which the park was gazetted in 1991. There are over 459 Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi, which is nearly half of their world population. These Mountain Gorillas live in 50 different families, but 20 families are habituated for gorilla trekking safaris in the park.

Bwindi impenetrable forest Uganda is therefore one of the only two national parks in Uganda where you can find Mountain Gorillas. The other destination is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

This park is also home to over 120 mammal species including 10 primate species. There are about 30 rare Forest Elephants, 6 species of Antelopes, and 5 kinds of Forest Duikers in the park.

Additionally, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a sanctuary to over 350 bird species with all the 24 Albertine rift endemic birds and 14 others that are not in any other place in Uganda.

This park also has 200 Buffer fly species and many reptiles and amphibians with the outstanding Three Horned Chameleon which is an Albertine Rift endemic.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda has 4 sectors which are Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija, and Nkuringo. These regions are the places where Uganda tourists do Gorilla trekking. The Buhoma sector is where you can particularly do birding.

Another enthralling aspect in Bwindi Uganda is the indigenous Batwa pygmy tribe who were evicted from the park’s forest in 1991. Their peculiar forest culture has since been evolving even though they have not adjusted to the new ways.

Bwindi holds many luxury, mid-range, and budget lodges that will make your tranquil stay a more memorable one.

You can access the park through the various routes either by road or air with the geographic coordinates 1.0521° S, 29.6201° E.

Let us take a deeper step into this unique national park of Uganda.

Background/History Of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was divided into two Crown Forest Reserves in 1932.

The Northern sector was Kayonza Crown Forest Reserve and the southern part was Kasatora Crown Forest Reserve.

The reserves were communally 207 km2 and in 1942, the two crown forest reserves were joined as one and renamed Impenetrable Central Crown Forest.

In 1948, the forest was re-gazetted as Impenetrable Central Crown Forest Reserve under the 1947 Forest Act and the new forest covered 298 square kilometers. The game and forest departments of the Ugandan government jointly managed it.

In 1961, this forest reserve was designated an animal sanctuary, and amendments were made in 1964 to protect the Mountain Gorillas. This was when the forest was renamed the Impenetrable Central Forest Reserve.

Two other forest reserves joined this main reserve in 1966, enlarging its area to about 321 square kilometers. It was then managed as both a game sanctuary and a forest reserve.

In 1991, the Impenetrable Central Forest Reserve was designated one of the national parks in Uganda with its current name, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The major intention was to protect numerous species like Mountain Gorillas.

Further demarcations of the park affected the Batwa Pygmies who were banished from inside the forest and prevented from entering or accessing it.

Gorilla trekking began in April 1993 after the habituation of the first gorilla family, which raised the park’s tourism to another level.

In 1994, the Mbwa tract which was 10 square kilometers was added to the park and Bwindi was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was because of its abundance of biodiversity and ecosystems.

Also in 1994, Uganda Wildlife Authority became responsible for the management of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

The Bwindi and Mgahinga Conservation Trust was formed in 1995 to manage the two parks.

Destabilization affected Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1999 when there was an Interahamwe attack that greatly affected Gorilla safaris. This park was closed for many months, but tourism later recovered, thrived, and grew tremendously.

A piece of land, 4.3 square kilometers, just near the park was added to the park in 2003.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Location

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is in Western Uganda in Kanungu District.

The park neighbors the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kisoro District, Rukungiri District, and Rukiga District.

Bwindi Uganda is about 500km from Kampala, the Capital city of Uganda and lies on the geographic coordinates 1.0521° S, 29.6201° E.

Attractions In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Even though Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is famous for its Mountain Gorillas, there are also various other wonders to encounter in this park.

The attractions are in 4 major sectors which are Buhoma in the North East, Rushaga in the South West, Ruhija in the East, and Nkuringo in the South West.

Attractions in Bwindi include

  • Mountain Gorillas
  • Birds
  • The Batwa tribe

Bwindi Gorillas

The Bwindi national park’s Mountain Gorillas are its star attraction and their population is almost half of the Mountain Gorillas in the whole world.

Mountain Gorillas are scientifically called Gorilla Beringei Beringei and they are omnivore mammals that live in families led by an alpha. Their leader is responsible for planning activities like eating, nesting, and group movement.

They majorly feed on roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, tree bark, and pulp. However, 2% of their diet consists of insects and other invertebrates.

Their lifespan is 35 years in the wild and they share 98% percent of DNA matches with humans.

These Mountain Gorillas survive on the green, volcanic slopes of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo hence being endemic to these places.

A female Mountain Gorilla gives birth after a gestation period of about 9 months and she can produce over 6 babies in her lifetime.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has about 20 habituated families out of the 50 in the park. These habituated families live in different sectors so let us discover them below.

The Buhoma sector has the;

  1. Mubare gorilla family
  2. Habinyanja gorilla family
  3. Rushegura gorilla family
  4. Katwe Gorilla Family
  5. Muyambi Gorilla Family

The Rushaga sector has the;

  1. Nshongi gorilla family
  2. Mishaya gorilla group
  3. Kahungye gorilla family
  4. Busingye gorilla group
  5. Bweza gorilla group:
  6. Bikingi gorilla family
  7. Rwigi gorilla family

The Ruhija Region has the;

  1. Bitukura Gorilla Family
  2. Oruzugo Gorilla Family
  3. Kyaguliro Gorilla Family
  4. Mukiza Gorilla Family

The Nkuringo Region has the;

  1. Nkuringo Gorilla Family
  2. Bushaho Gorilla Family
  3. Christmas gorilla family

Other Primates In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

This park has other primates apart from the Mountain Gorillas, for example

  • Chimpanzees
  • L’Hoest Monkeys
  • Black and White Colobus Monkeys
  • Red-Tailed Monkeys
  • Olive Baboons

Birds In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda is famous for having all 24 Albertine rift endemic birds. They include

  1. Handsome Francolin
  2. Rwenzori Nightjar
  3. Rwenzori Turaco
  4. Dwarf Honeyguide
  5. Kivu Ground Thrush
  6. African Green Broadbill
  7. Red-Throated Alethe
  8. Collared Apalis
  9. Archer’s Robin-Chat
  10. Grauer’s Warbler
  11. Mountain Masked Apalis
  12. Grauer’s Scrub Warbler
  13. Yellow-Eyed Black Flycatcher
  14. Neumann’s Warbler
  15. Red-Faced Woodland Warbler
  16. Chapin’s Flycatcher
  17. Stripe-Breasted Tit
  18. Rwenzori Batis
  19. Blue-Headed Sunbird
  20. Purple-Breasted Sunbird
  21. Regal Sunbird
  22. Shelley’s Crimsonwing
  23. Dusky Crimsonwing
  24. Strange Weaver

The park is also a reliable source for birding safaris in Uganda since it holds over 350 bird species.

Animals In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has a rich number of animals because of its high altitude and its importance as a refuge for wildlife since the Pleistocene error. Some of these animals include

  1. Forest Elephants
  2. Sitatunga antelopes
  3. Bush duikers
  4. clawless otter
  5. Grey-Cheeked Mangabeys
  6. Bushbucks
  7. African golden cats
  8. The rare giant forest hog
  9. Bushpig
  10. Domestic cats
  11. Common warthog
  12. Sun squirrels
  13. Frogs
  14. Toads
  15. Salamanders
  16. Lizards
  17. Snakes
  18. Skinks
  19. chameleons
  20. Squirrels

Other attractions in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

  1. The Batwa pygmies
  2. Vegetation in Bwindi national park
  3. Butterfly species in the park
  4. Bwindi’s scenery

Activities In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a home for adventurous exploits. Below are the various activities to do at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

  1. Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda

This involves a group of tourists walking to find a Gorilla family to spend time with them.

The tourist activity began in 1993 when the first trekkers visited the Mubare family in the Buhoma sector. Over time, however, this activity is famous among visitors on Uganda safari tours.

It begins with a briefing at 8:00 am and the activity itself starts at 9:00 am. Nonetheless, only eight people can go for a Gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi and only those above 15 years can do it.

  1. Gorilla Habituation Experience In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

This is a process by which humans relate closely with the Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park thus making them used to human presence.

This activity occurs through a group of researchers, conservationists, and trackers.

Habituating the gorillas takes between 2 to 3 years and the current family being habituated in Bwindi National Park are the Bikingi and Bushaho Gorilla families.

  1. Birding In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi National Park has over 350 bird species including all 24 Albertine Rift endemics hence, this is a birding spot for every birder.

Other activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

  1. Batwa cultural encounter
  2. Nature walks and hiking
  3. Canoeing at Lake Mutanda near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Accommodation In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Luxury Lodges In Bwindi

  1. Buhoma Lodge
  2. Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
  3. Mahogany Springs Safari Lodge.
  4. Volcanoes Safari Lodge
  5. Gorilla Safari Lodge
  6. Chameleon Hill Forest Lodge
  7. Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

Midrange Lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

  1. Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
  2. Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
  3. Gorilla Mist Camp
  4. Gorilla Valley Lodge
  5. Silverback Lodge
  6. Eco Marvel Gorilla Resort.
  7. Mutanda Lake Resort
  8. Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge.
  9. Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge
  10. Rushaga Gorilla Lodge
  11. Ruhija Gorilla Lodge
  12. Bakiga Lodge
  13. Gorilla Close up
  14. Gift Of Nature Lodge
  15. Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp
  16. Haven Lodge Buhoma
  17. The Crested Crane Bwindi Hotel
  18. Agandi Lodge

Budget Lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

  1. Bwindi View Bandas
  2. Wagtail Eco Safari Camp
  3. Buhoma Community Rest Camp
  4. Nshongi Gorilla Resort
  5. Trekkers Tavern Cottages
  6. Ruhija Community Rest Camp
  7. Bweza Gorilla Lodge.
  8. Broadbill Forest Camp
  9. Cuckooland Tented Lodge
  10. Kisoro Travelers Rest
  11. Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort And Campsite

What Makes Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Unique?

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its biodiversity and the various ecosystems that it preserves.

This park holds almost half of the world’s Mountain Gorilla population. The park has 459 Mountain Gorillas out of the estimated 1,063 in the whole world!

Bwindi has all the 24 Albertine Rift endemic birds, making it a reputable birder’s haven.

(III). Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is largely a forest habitat for Chimpanzees, and it is one of the best national parks in Uganda. It is known as the primate capital of the world due to its richness of over 13 primate species including Chimpanzees.

The park has over 1500 Uganda Chimps out of the estimated 5000 in Uganda. It also has over 375 bird species, 70 mammal species, and 250 Butterfly species thus making it a rich destination for wildlife safari in Uganda.

The park covers an area of 795 km2 and sits at an altitude ranging between 1100m to 1600m. In addition, the park has both lowlands and montane areas.

The major activity in this park is Chimpanzee tracking at the Kanyanchu visitor’s center. This center is also a favorable place for birding and monkey viewing.

Another major attraction near this park is the community-run Bigodi swamp.

Various accommodation classes facilitate your adventurous stay at Kibale National Park and they range from luxury to midrange and budget.

History Of Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale National Park was first gazzeted in 1934 and then designated a national park in 1993.

Location Of Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is in Western Uganda in Kabarole District, the South East of Fort Portal.

The park is about 326 km from Kampala the capital of Uganda and borders the Ndali Kasenda crater area, Queen Elizabeth National park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, and Semuliki National Park.

The park lies at the geographic coordinates 0.4862° N, 30.3897° E.

Attractions In Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park is a sanctuary of many attractions as compared to other national parks in Uganda so let us look at them.

1. Chimpanzees In Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzees are the major attractions in Kibale Forest National Park. There are over 1500 of them out of the approximated 5000 in the whole of Uganda.

These Chimpanzees are the closest relatives to humans with about 98%-99% DNA match.

Four Chimpanzee communities are being habituated in the park, but the most visited is the Kanyanchu community which has been habituated for about 25 years. Thus, increasing the chances of seeing these Chimpanzees to 90%.

The Kanyantale community is another popular community to spot, and they have thrived since 1993.

2. Other Primates In Kibale National Park

Apart from the Chimpanzees, Kibale National Park has 12 other primate species that live in families. These primates are present both in the park and in the Bigodi Wetland sanctuary, hence boosting primate safaris in the park. They include

  • Red-Tailed Monkeys
  • Black And White Colobus Monkeys
  • L’Hoest’s Monkeys
  • Olive Baboon
  • Vervet Monkeys
  • Gray Cheeked Mangabeys
  • Uganda Mangabey
  • Blue Monkey
  • Uganda Red Colobus Monkey
  • Pattas Monkey
  • Potto
  • Demidoff Galago

3.  Birds In Kibale National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is a haven of over 375 Uganda bird species including the Green-Breasted Pitta which is one of Uganda’s most sought-after birds.

Other notable birds in the park include

  • Abyssinian Ground Thrush
  • Afep Pigeon
  • African Pitta
  • Black Bee-Eater
  • Black-Capped Apalis
  • Black-Eared Ground Thrush
  • Blue-Breasted Kingfisher
  • Blue-Headed Bee-Eater
  • Blue-Headed Sunbird
  • Brown Illadopsis
  • Brown-Chested Alethe
  • Cassin’s Spinetail
  • Crowned Eagle
  • Dusky Crimsonwing
  • Green-Breasted Pitta
  • Grey Parrot
  • Little Greenbul
  • Masked Apalis
  • Nahan’s Francolin
  • Purple-Breasted Sunbird
  • Red-Chested Owlet
  • Red-Faced Woodland Warbler
  • Ruwenzori Apalis
  • Scaly-Breasted Illadopsis
  • Western Nicator
  • White-Naped Pigeon
  • Yellow-Rumped Tinkerbird

4. Wildlife Animals In Kibale National Park

With over 70 mammal species, this park keeps various animals of Uganda like primates, herbivores, and carnivores.

Some of these animals include

  • Forest Elephants
  • Forest Buffaloes
  • Bush Bucks
  • Sitatunga
  • Antelopes
  • Leopards
  • Forest Hog
  • Warthogs
  • Blue Duiker
  • Red Duiker
  • Peter’s Duiker
  • Red-Tailed Monkeys
  • Black and White Colobus Monkeys
  • L’Hoest’s Monkeys
  • Olive Baboon
  • Vervet Monkeys
  • Gray Cheeked Mangabeys
  • Uganda Mangabey
  • Blue Monkey
  • Uganda Red Colobus Monkey
  • Pattas Monkey
  • The Potto
  • Demidoff Galago
  • Geckos
  • Chameleons

 Other attractions in Kibale Forest National Park are

  1. Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru Near Kibale National Park
  2. Bigodi Wetland Near Kibale National Park
  3. Ndali-Kasenda Craters Near Kibale Forest National Park
  4. Butterfly Species In Kibale Forest National Park

Activities In Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park abounds with many activities to do during your safari, they are

  1. Chimpanzee Tracking In Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale National Park is the best destination for Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda. The park has the highest number of Chimpanzees than any other place in Uganda and there is about a 90% to 95% chance of seeing them.

The activity occurs at Kanyanchu with a briefing at the Kanyanchu visitor’s center.

Maximally 6 visitors visit the community in each session and they do the activity for between 2-5 hours depending on how fast they meet this family.

Only those above 16 are allowed to do Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park

  1. Chimpanzee Habituation In Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzee habituation is the process by which wild Chimps are made to get used to human presence.

This activity happens once a day and it begins at the Kanyanchu visitors center at 6:30 am.

  1. Bird Watching In Kibale Forest National Park

Bird watching in Kibale National Park mostly occurs when visitors are for the Chimp trekking safari activity from the Kanyanchu Visitor’s center.

The Bigodi Wetland sanctuary near the park is also a good destination to do Uganda birding safaris around the park.

Other activities in Kibale National Park

  1. Nature/ forest walks and hiking in Kibale Forest National Park
  2. Community tours in Kibale Forest National Park
  3. Crater lake tours near Kibale Forest National Park
  4. Bushcraft children in Kibale Forest National Park

Accommodation In Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale National Park has various accommodation facilities including those ranging in luxury, midrange, and budget.

Luxury Lodges in Kibale Forest National Park

  1. Primate Lodge
  2. Crater Safari Lodge
  3. Kyaninga Safari Lodge
  4. Ndali Lodge
  5. Papaya Lake Lodge
  6. Aramaga Safari Lodge

Midrange Lodges in Kibale Forest National Park

  1. Isunga Lodge
  2. Kibale Forest camp
  3. Mountains of the Moon hotel.
  4. Turaco Treetops
  5. Chimpundu Lodge

Budget Lodges in Kibale Forest National Park

  1. Rwetera Safari Park
  2. Chimpanzee forest Lodge (guest house)
  3. Lake Nyamirima cottages
  4. Mwamba Kelele Lodge
  5. Rwenzori view Guesthouse
  6. Nyinabulitwa country Resort

How Is Kibale National Park Unique Among The National Parks In Uganda 

Kibale is a forest national park that preserves the highest number of Chimpanzees in Uganda. The park has over 1500 Chimpanzees out of the estimated 5000 in Uganda. It is therefore a sure destination for tourists who would love to experience Chimpanzee tracking safaris.

This park also has 12 other primate species apart from the Chimpanzees, hence making it surely the primate capital of the world.

Kibale National Park is also a top destination for butterfly safaris since the forest has many butterfly species.

(IV). Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park also known as Kabalega National Park is the oldest and largest of the national parks in Uganda. The park was established in 1952 and it covers an area of 3,840 km2.

It is famous for its waterfalls which many consider the world’s strongest waterfalls.

Murchison Falls National Park is blessed with about 76 mammal species and over 556 bird species, including the rare shoebill.

Major safari activities in Murchison Falls National Park include wildlife safari game drives and bird watching. Others include Chimpanzee tracking, a boat cruise at Victoria Nile, nature walks, and community tours.

Murchison Falls National Park boasts various accommodation facilities ranging in luxury, midrange, and budget to make your Uganda safari tour more than memorable.

History Of  Murchison Falls National Park

The first explorers to visit Murchison Falls National Park were John Speke and James Grant in 1862.

Sir Samuel Baker named the Murchison falls after the geologist Roderick Murchison who was then the president of the Royal Geographical society.

Between 1907 and 1912, local inhabitants were evicted from the park as boundaries for its demarcation were beginning to be set.

It became a game reserve in 1926 and in 1952, the British declared it a national park under the National Park act of Uganda.

In the 1970s during the presidential reign of President Idd Amin Dada, the park’s name changed to “Kabalega National Park” after the Omukama of Bunyoro. However, its original name was reinstated after the downfall of the president in 1979.

Location Of Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is in Northwestern Uganda, Masindi District at the rim of the Albert Rift valley. However, there are majorly four districts that neighbor the park and these are Nwoya, Bulisa, Kiryandongo, and Masindi.

This park lies on the geographic coordinates1.9289 ° N, 31.6644° E with a distance of about 305km from Kampala.

Attractions Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park welcomes very many visitors each year due to its abundance of attractions and which include

  • Murchison Falls
  • Animals
  • Birds

Murchison Falls In Murchison Falls National Park

Sir Samuel Baker named Murchison falls after Roderick Murchison, a geologist who then was the president of the Royal Geographical society.

Murchison Falls flow by the Nile River through an 8-meter gorge and many refer to it as the strongest waterfall in the world.

Animals In Murchison Falls National Park

There are over 76 mammal species in Murchison Falls National Park ranging from carnivores, herbivores, primates, and reptiles. Some of the animals to see include

 Herbivores

  • Rothschild giraffes
  • Elephants
  • Buffaloes
  • Hippopotamus
  • Jackson’s Hartebeests
  • Uganda Kob
  • Oribi
  • Deffasa Waterbuck
  • Bush Buck
  • Reedbucks
  • Warthogs
  • Aardvark
  • Bush pigs
  • Duikers

Carnivores

  • Lions
  • Leopards
  • Spotted Hyena
  • Serval cats
  • Jackals
  • Honey badger
  • African Civets
  • African Wild cat
  • Genets
  • Mongoose

Primates

  • Chimpanzees
  • Olive Baboons
  • Patas Monkeys
  • Black and White Colobus Monkeys
  • Vervet Monkeys
  • Red-tailed Monkeys
  • Blue Monkeys
  • Grey cheeked Mangabays

Reptiles

  • Nile Crocodiles
  • Monitor Lizard
  • Geckos
  • Giant Chameleon
  • Flap-Necked Chameleon
  • Graceful Chameleon
  • African Cobra
  • Puff adders
  • Gabon Vipers
  • Rock python
  • Boom slang
  • Green mambas
  • Black mambas

Birds In Murchison Falls National Park

There are over 556 bird species in Murchison Falls National Park, making it a rich place for birding tours in Uganda. This includes the rare and elusive shoebill and various wading and savannah bird species.

Migratory birds are in the park from around November to April while some birds to see in Murchison Falls National Park include

  1. Shoebill
  2. White-faced Whistling-Duck
  3. Fulvous Whistling-Duck
  4. Knob-billed Duck
  5. Egyptian Goose
  6. Red-headed Lovebird
  7. Meyer’s Parrot
  8. Gray Cuckooshrike
  9. White-breasted Cuckooshrike
  10. Ring-necked Dove
  11. Vinaceous Dove
  12. Laughing Dove
  13. Brubru
  14. Northern Puffback
  15. Gray-backed Fiscal
  16. Yellow-billed Shrike
  17. Northern Fiscal
  18. Pennant-winged Nightjar
  19. Standard-winged Nightjar
  20. Black-shouldered Nightjar
  21. Flappet Lark
  22. Western Nicator
  23. Green Crombec
  24. Lanner Falcon
  25. Peregrine Falcon

River Nile In Murchison Falls National Park

This longest river in Africa passes through Murchison Falls National Park and bisects the park into two parts, then flows westwards into Lake Albert.

The river also flows into a narrow 8-meter gorge, hence forming the Murchison Falls.

This river has not only facilitated great sights but also boat cruise safaris in the park.

Other attractions in Murchison Falls National Park are;

  • Karuma Falls
  • The neighboring people and communities
  • Rabongo Forest
  • Kaniyo Pabidi eco-tourism site in Budongo Forest
  • Paraa

Activities In Murchison Falls National Park

The park has numerous activities to explore during your safari. They include

  1. Boat Cruise In Murchison Falls National Park

The Murchison Falls boat cruise takes place toward the bottom of the falls and the Albert Delta.

On a boat cruise, you will be able to spot the different wildlife animals, and birds as you experience the waters of the Nile.

  1. Hiking To The Top Of Murchison Falls

Hiking to the top of Murchison Falls National Park begins from Baker’s point and it takes about 45 minutes to reach the top. The activity requires physical fitness for the hikers.

  1. Game Drives In Murchison Falls National Park

This activity occurs in the Northern sector and the Southern sector of Murchison Falls National Park. In the Northern sector, game drives occur in the Buligi track while in the Southern sector, it occurs in the honeymoon track and it goes for about 2-5 hours.

Other activities in Murchison Falls National Park

  1. Bird watching
  2. Chimpanzee tracking
  3. Nature Walks
  4. Sport Fishing
  5. Community tours and visits

Accommodation In Murchison Falls National Park

Accommodation in Murchison Falls National Park ranges from luxury to midrange, and budget.

Luxury accommodations in Murchison Falls National Park 

  • Paraa Safari Lodge
  • Nile safari Lodge
  • Bakers Lodge
  • Chobe Safari Lodge

Mid-range accommodations in Murchison Falls National Park 

  • Fort Murchison Lodge
  • Pakuba Safari Lodge
  • Sambiya River Lodge
  • Kabalega Wilderness Lodge
  • Twiga Safari Lodge
  • Murchison River Lodge

Below are the budget Lodges in Murchison Falls National Park

  • Red Chilli Rest Camp
  • Hornbill Bush Lodge
  • Heritage safari Lodge
  • Parkside Safari Lodge
  • Bar Lyec Safari Lodge
  • Yebo Safari Camp
  • Boomu Women’s Group Bandas
  • Mama Washindi Lodge.
  • New Court View Hotel
  • Masindi Hotel.
  • Geo Lodges Shoebill Campsite

What Makes Murchison Falls National Park Unique Among The National Parks In Uganda?

Murchison Falls National Park has the most powerful waterfall in the world, which is Murchison Falls.

The longest River in Africa, which is River Nile, passes through Murchison Falls National Park. Hence attracting various tourists for different adventures.

Murchison Falls National Park is the first and largest national park in Uganda, making it an icon of the tourism industry in the country.

Still, the park has an innumerable number of animals and birds which are a great source of tourism in the country.

(V). Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park, with the theme, “Whispers of the wild” is the smallest savannah national park in Uganda with an area of 370 km2.

This park sits at an altitude of 1,220m-1,828m above sea level and has over 68 mammal species, counting the highest Burchell’s Zebras.

The park was named after Lake Mburo which forms a 50km-long wetland system linked with 13 other lakes linked by a swamp.

Lake Mburo National Park also has the highest concentration of leopards and is the only place in Uganda to find the Impala antelopes.

This park also harbors over 350 bird species, thus making it one of the top destinations for birding safaris in Uganda.

More so, the park is the only national park in Uganda where you can do horseback riding and cycling.

Lake Mburo National Park has a variety of lodges and campsites where you can stay during your adventure in the area. They range from luxury, midrange, and budget.

History Of Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park derives its name from the myth of the two brothers, that is, Mburo and Kigarama. One night, Kigarama had a dream that their residence had flooded and because dreams were seen as a warning from the ancestors, he told it to his brother Mburo.

However, Mburo did not respond immediately but Kigarama left with his family to a nearby hill. That very night, the place flooded and Mburo drowned in it with his family. The lake formed was then called Lake Mburo in memory of Mburo and the nearby hill, Kigarama to remember the Kigarama family that migrated there.

Lake Mburo National Park was first gazzeted as a controlled hunting area in 1933. In 1963, the park was made an animal reserve and it became a national park in 1983 when Dr. Milton Obote was the president of Uganda.

It is believed that president Obote’s decision to make it a park was intentional to punish the Ankole who were against his reign. This was because the Ankole pastoralists used the land to graze their cattle.

Location Of Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is in Western Uganda in Kiruhura District. Four districts surround the park and these are Lyantonde, Mbarara, Isingiro, and Kiruhura Districts.

This park lies at the geographic coordinates 0.5805° S, 30.9919° E, and is about 240 km from Kampala city.

Attractions At Lake Mburo National Park

This savannah national park holds a great variety of things to see including

  1. Animals In Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park has over 68 mammal species with the highest population of Burchell’s Zebras in Uganda. It is also the only park in Uganda where you will find the Impala Antelopes.

Therefore, the animals to see in Lake Mburo National Park are

  • Burchell’s Zebras
  • Impala Antelopes
  • Leopards
  • Rothschild Giraffes
  • Elands
  • Buffaloes
  • Oribi
  • Defassa Waterbucks
  • Topi
  • Olive Baboons
  • Vervet Monkeys
  1. Birds In Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is a birder’s paradise that mostly has acacia-related birds. You can see these birds, especially in the Rwonyo zone and some you can see are the

  • Mosque Swallow
  • Black-Bellied Bustard
  • Bare-Faced-Go Away
  • Ruppell’s Starling
  • Brown-Necked Parrot
  • Meyer’s Parrot
  • Gray Cuckooshrike
  • Black Cuckooshrike
  • Petit’s Cuckooshrike

Other attractions at Lake Mburo National Park are;

  1. Culture and people around Lake Mburo
  2. Lakes in Lake Mburo National Park
  3. Rubanga Forest Lake Mburo National Park

Activities In Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park has various activities that you can enjoy in your safari tours to Uganda. These include

  1. Game Drives In Lake Mburo National Park

Game drives in Lake Mburo National Park occur during the day and the night to view various wildlife.

During the game drives, you will view animals such as Zebras, Buffaloes, Impalas, Giraffes, and many other bird species.

  1. Boat Cruise In Lake Mburo National Park

The boat cruise in this park occurs on the small Lake Mburo and it takes about 2 hours where you can view the various wildlife and birds.

  1. Bird Watching In Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park hosts over 350 bird species hence making it one of the ideal destinations to do birding. Since the park is also in swampy areas, it hosts a number of both wading and savannah birds.

Other activities in Lake Mburo National Park

  1. Nature walks
  2. Horseback riding
  3. Sport fishing
  4. Cycling
  5. Community and cultural tours

Accommodation In Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park holds many lodges that give amazing experiences to customers. These lodges range from luxury, midrange, and budget. They include

Luxury Lodges in Lake Mburo National Park

  • Mihingo Lodge
  • Kigambira Safari Lodge
  • Mburo Safari Lodge

Midrange Lodges in Lake Mburo National Park

  • Acadia Cottages
  • Rwakobo
  • Mantana Tented Camp
  • Mpogo Safari Lodge

Budget accommodation in Lake Mburo National Park

  • Mburo Eagle’s Nest
  • Rwonyo Rest Camp
  • Leopard Rest Camp

What Makes Lake Mburo National Park Unique

This savannah National Park has the highest number of Burchell’s Zebras and the highest concentration of leopards in Uganda.

Lake Mburo National Park is also the only protected area in Uganda where you will find the Impala Antelopes.

It is also the only National Park in Uganda where you can do horseback riding and cycling.

(VI). Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rwenzori Mountains National Park was named after the mountains themselves, also called the mountains of the moon because their peaks have snow glaciers.

It is among the most toured destinations in Uganda due to its richness in wonderful rare features like the vegetation.

The park has 6 mountains and sits in a range of 120 km in length and 65 km wide. These 6 mountains are among the tallest mountains in Africa and hiking those take about 7-9 days.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park has 217 bird species with 19 Albertine rift endemics and over 70 mammal species.

There are 20 beautiful lakes that you can see while hiking to the top of the mountains while the richness of flora is a whole other new experience. The mountains have the land of triffids which are a very rare plant, growing only on the tallest mountains in the world.

Mountain hiking is the main tourist activity in the Rwenzori Mountain National Park, whereby various tourists go to the great heights of Margherita peak.

Lodging facilities at the park or near it include luxury, midrange, and budget hotels.

History Of Rwenzori Mountains National Park 

Ptolemy, an ancient Greek first called the Rwenzori Mountains the “Mountains Of The Moon” in AD150, and the Duke of Abruzzi first hiked this highest peak in 1906.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park was gazetted as a national park in 1991. In 1994, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and then a Ramsar site in 2008.

Location Of Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is located in South Western Uganda in the Bundibugyo district in the Western Albertine Rift Valley.

The Rwenzori Mountains in the park lie in both Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the park lies along geographic coordinates 00°22′N 29°57′E.

Virunga National Park also borders the Rwenzori Mountains National Park.

Attractions In Rwenzori Mountains National Park

This destination abounds with several attractions and they include,

1.  Rwenzori Mountains In Rwenzori Mountains National Park

There are 6 mountains in Rwenzori Mountains National Park and they are among the tallest mountains in Africa,

  • Mountain Speke at 4,890 meters is (the 4th tallest in Africa)
  • Mountain Stanley at 5,109 meters (3rd tallest in Africa)
  • Mountain Baker at 4,843 meters (5th tallest in Africa)
  • Mountain Emin at 4,798 meters
  • Mountain Gessi at 4,715 meters
  • Mountain Luigi da Savoia at 4,545 meters

2. The Rwenzori Glaciers Or The Snow Peaks In Rwenzori National Park

The snowy glaciers that cover the Rwenzori Mountains are another attraction in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda.

Although the Rwenzori Mountains sit near the equator, the mountain ranges are permanently snowy.

You can reach these peaks through two trails, that is the Central Circuit Trails and Kilembe Trails.

Below are the snowcapped peaks in the Rwenzori ranges in Mountain Rwenzori National Park

  • Margherita Peak on Mountain Stanley
  • Vittorio Emanuele Peak on Mountain Speke
  • Albert Peak on Mountain Stanley
  • Edward Peak on Mountain Baker
  • Alexandra Peak on Mountain Stanley

3. Vegetation Zones In Rwenzori National Park

Unlike other national parks in Uganda, Rwenzori Mountains National Park is more famous for its flora than for its fauna. The mountains have different peculiar vegetation types on almost every level. Among these different types include

  • Afro-montane forest 1,800-2,500 meters
  • Bamboo zone 2,500-3,000 meters
  • Heather zone 3,000-4,000 meters
  • Alpine Zone 4,000-4,500 meters
  • Rock and glacier 4,500-5109 meters

Other attractions in Rwenzori Mountains National Park

  • Birds in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  • The triffids in Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  • Wild Animals In Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  • Lakes in Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  • Bulembe houses in Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  • Communities around Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Activities In Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The various activities to do at Rwenzori Mountains National Park include;

1. Mountain hiking In Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Mountain climbing is one of the great activities to do at the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. There are six summits of the mountains to climb and each of them will give you breathtaking scenery below.

The different trails to follow while mountain climbing at the Mountain Rwenzori National Park are the

  • Central Circuit trail.
  • Kilembe Trail.
  • Bukurungu Trail

2. Bird Watching In Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Birding in this park is another of the most adventurous activities. The park has about 217 bird species with 19 out of the 24 Albertine Rift endemics. This activity is best done in the morning and the evening hours when the birds are active.

Other activities at the Rwenzori Mountains National Park

  • Nature walks in Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  • Community and cultural visits around Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  • Game viewing

Accommodation In Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park has luxury, mid-range, and budget lodges

Luxury Lodges in Rwenzori Mountains National Park

  • The Equator Snow Lodge

Midrange Lodges in Rwenzori Mountains National Park

  • Hotel Margherita
  • Sandton Hotel Kasese

Budget Accommodation in Rwenzori Mountains National Park

  • Ruboni Community Camp
  • Rwenzori Trekkers Hostel
  • Rwenzori International Hotel
  • Rwenzori Turaco View Campsite
  • Rwenzori Backpackers
  • Mihunga Safari Lodge

Why Is Rwenzori Mountains National Park Unique

Rwenzori Mountains National Park holds some of the highest peaks in Africa. These peaks are permanently snowcapped and climbing them is a very fulfilling adventure.

Being famous for its vegetation, Rwenzori Mountains National Park has some of the rear plants, some of which grow on only the highest mountains in the world. Mountain climbers at the Rwenzori Mountains will meet the land of triffids which is a whole new wonder of its own.

The park has some of the endemic plants, animals, and birds that you can not find in any other part of Uganda.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park has 19 out of the 24 Albertine Rift Endemic birds that you can see during a Uganda birding safari.

(VII). Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest of all national parks in Uganda, having an area of 33. 7km2 and an altitude between 2227m and 4127m above sea level.

It is home to the transboundary endangered Mountain Gorillas which move through Uganda, Rwanda, and DRC.

This park is particularly home to the habituated Nyakagezi gorilla family and the golden monkeys which are not in any other place in Uganda.

Mgahinga National Park also harbors the Virunga Mountains, which are also an important source of attraction in the park.

The park is a good destination for birding safaris as it has over 180 bird species with 14 Albertine Rift endemics. Furthermore, over 76 mammal species are also in the park providing memorable wildlife tours in Uganda.

For cultural enthusiasts, you may want to meet the indigenous Batwa tribe that once lived inside the forest before they were evicted.

Mgahiga Gorilla National Park also has various accommodation facilities ranging from luxury, midrange, and budget.

History Of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga National Park derives its name from the local word “Gahinga” which means small piles of stones.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was declared a game sanctuary in 1930 and was acknowledged as a National park in 1991.

Location Of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

This park lies along geographic coordinates 1.3641° S, 29.6383° E.

Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda borders Mgahinga National Park in the South West. On the other hand, Virunga National Park borders it in the West.

Attractions In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

The various attractions in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park include

  1. Mountain Gorillas In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

There is one habituated family that lives permanently in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which is the Nyakagezi Gorilla Family.

However, there is another transboundary Gorilla family called the Hirwa Gorilla Family that migrated from Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

These families can be tracked on your Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda.

  1. Golden Monkeys In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

The Golden Monkeys in Mgahinga National Park live only in the Albertine Rift Valley hence in Uganda, you can only see them in this park.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority suggests that they be habituated to promote tourism in Uganda.

  1. Wild Animals In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga National Park has about 79 Mammal species that live in the Montane and Bamboo vegetation. Hence a source for wildlife safaris.

Other attractions In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

  1. Virunga Mountains
  2. Birds in Mgahinga National Park
  3. Batwa Pygmies around Mgahinga National Park

Activities In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

There are various activities to do at Mgahinga National Park;

  1. Gorilla Trekking In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the four places in the world where you can do Gorilla Trekking. The other three are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Volcanoes National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Virunga National Park in Rwanda.

In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, you can participate in tracking the Nyakagezi Gorilla Family.

  1. Golden Monkey Trekking

Tracking Golden Monkeys in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is easier than tracking Gorillas because they do not usually change their nests. Your guide will lead you through the Gahinga trail to trek the monkeys.

  1. Mount Gahinga Hike

Among the three Virunga volcanoes, Mount Gahinga is the easiest to hike because it is the smallest among the three.

Nonetheless, one needs to be fit for this activity which will give you beautiful scenery.

Other things to do in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

  1. The Batwa Trail Experience
  2. Bird Watching
  3. Nature Walks

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Accommodation

Luxury Lodges in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

  1. Mount Gahinga Safari Lodge
  2. Chameleon Hill Forest Lodge

Midrange Lodges in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

  1. Mutanda Lake Resort
  2. Lake Chahafi Resort
  3. Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge.
  4. Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge

Budget Lodges in Mgahinga National Park

  1. Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp

What Makes Mgahinga Unique?

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the only two places in Uganda where you will meet the endangered Mountain Gorillas. The other destination is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

This park is the only place in Uganda where you will meet the Golden Monkeys which are endemic to the Albertine Rift. This makes Mgahinga National Park the only place where you find Mountain Gorillas living together with the Golden Monkeys. Hence its theme “Where Silver Meets Gold”.

Additionally, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has 14 out of the 24 Albertine Rift Endemic birds.

The park lies below the Virunga ranges, giving tourists an expansive tour of these mountains as they view parts of Rwanda and Congo.

(VIII). Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park is a savannah National Park that covers an area of 1,442 km2 and stands at an altitude between 914m-2750m above sea level.

CNN Travel ranked Kidepo National Park as one of the best national parks in Africa.

This park hosts over 77 mammal species with four out of the big five animals of Africa. They include Lions, Elephants Buffaloes, and Leopards with Rhinos being absent.

This park is also one of the few places in Uganda to spot Cheetah and wild dogs and it has the highest concentration of Buffaloes than any other national park in Uganda.

Kidepo Valley boasts over 12 antelope species for example the Hartebeest, Eland, Uganda kob, Oribi, and Klipspringer.

There are over 476 bird species in Kidepo National Park with the Ostrich and the Secretary bird being common residents.

This park moreover boasts marvelous scenic views like the Narus valley, Kidepo valley, Mountain Morungule, and various vegetation types.

Kidepo is another ideal place for cultural encounters. You will meet the Masai-like Karamojong and the IK people who are the smallest tribe in Uganda.

Kidepo Valley National Park has various lodging choices ranging from luxury, midrange, and budget. These will all give you the unfathomable African experience that you have been yearning for.

Let us look at this beautiful park deeply

History Of Kidepo National Park

The name Kidepo derives from the Dodoth language “akidep” meaning “to pick-up”.

In 1958 Kidepo National Park was a game reserve and in 1962, it was declared a national park under the presidential reign of Dr. Milton Obote. This, therefore, caused the local people living in the park to be evicted.

Also, the gazetting of the park occurred to prevent the spread of tsetse flies and to control human-animal conflicts.

Ian Ross a British then became the first warden of Kidepo Valley National Park.

Location Of Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo National Park is located furthest among all the National Parks in Uganda, which is in the Northeastern corner, in Karamoja District.

South Sudan borders the park in the North and Kenya borders it in the East.

This park lies on the geographic coordinates 3.7274° N, 33.6931° E, and is about 510 km from Kampala.

Attractions In Kidepo National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park has various attractions including;

  1. Animals In Kidepo Valley National Park

Carnivores

  • Lions
  • Leopards
  • Cheetah
  • Bat-eared fox.
  • Black-backed jackals
  • Side-striped jackal
  • Spotted Hyena
  • African Wild dogs
  • Aardwolf
  • Caracals

Herbivores

  • Elephants
  • Buffaloes
  • Rothschild giraffes
  • Burchell’s zebras
  • Bush pigs
  • Warthogs
  • Aardvark
  • Mongoose

Antelope species

  • Jacksons Hartebeest
  • Uganda kob
  • Eland
  • Oribi
  • Bushbuck
  • Waterbuck
  • Common duiker
  • Mountain reedbuck
  • Klipspringer
  • Greater Kudu
  • Lesser Kudu
  • Gunther’s dik dik
  • Grant’s gazelles
  • Bohor reedbuck
  • Beisa Oryx

Primates

  • Vervet Monkeys
  • Olive baboons
  • Patas Monkeys
  • Red tailed monkeys
  • Black and white Colobus monkeys
  • The Senegal Galago

Reptiles

  • Dwarf crocodile
  • Monitor lizards
  • Rock pythons
  • Geckos
  • Chameleons
  • African Cobra
  • Puff adders
  • Gabon Vipers
  • Rock python
  • Boom slang
  • Green mambas
  • Black mambas

Birds in Kidepo

  • Common Ostrich
  • Secretary bird
  • Helmeted Guinea fowl
  • African Cuckoo
  • Bearded Woodpecker
  • Great Spotted Cuckoo
  • Plain Nightjar
  • White-rumped Swift
  • Eurasian Moorhen
  • Long-crested Eagle
  • African Hawk-Eagle
  • Pied Cuckoo
  • Little Grebe
  • Hartlaub’s Bustar
  1. The 2 Valleys Of Kidepo National Park-

The two valleys that provide amazing scenic views in the Kidepo Valley National Park are the

  • Narus Valley
  • Kidepo Valley

     3. People And Culture Around Kidepo National Park

The most common tribes around Kidepo Valley National Park are the

  • Karamojong, who are similar to the Masai of Kenya.
  • IK people are the least populated tribe in Uganda.

Other attractions in Kidepo Valley National Park during your safari to Uganda are

  • Kanangorok hot springs
  • Mountain Morungule
  • Namamukweny Valley
  • Kidepo River
  • Lomej Hills near Kidepo Valley National Park
  • Lonyili Mountain near Kidepo National Park

Activities In Kidepo Valley National Park

Common activities at Kidepo Valley National Park are,

  1. Game Drives
  2. Bird Watching
  3. Cultural Tours and Visits
  4. Hiking And Nature Walks

Accommodation In Kidepo Valley National Park

Luxury Accommodation Lodges in Kidepo National Park

  • Apoka Safari Lodge

Midrange Lodges in Kidepo Valley National Park

  • Kidepo Savannah Lodge
  • Adere Safari Lodge
  • Nga Moru Wilderness Camp

Budget Lodges in Kidepo National Park

  • Apoka Rest camp
  • Zebra Safari Lodge
  • Nagusokopire and Kakine Camp sites

What Makes Kidepo Valley National Park Unique

Kidepo Valley National Park is one of the places where you can do an amazing cultural tour where you can meet the indigenous Karamojong people and the elusive IK people.

The park also has the highest concentration of Buffaloes of any other Uganda national park.

This park also has over twelve Antelope species and over 476 bird species making it a beautiful destination for your wildlife safaris in Uganda.

(IX). Mount Elgon National Park

Even though Mount Elgon National Park is among the least visited parks compared to other national parks in Uganda, it is rich in very beautiful attractions and safari activities.

This park was named after the Mountain Elgon which is the second tallest Mountain in Uganda after Mount Stanley.

Mountain Elgon also has the biggest volcanic base in the world and the second biggest caldera in Africa after Ngoro Ngoro crater caldera in Tanzania.

The mountain has 5 major peaks with Wagagai as the highest with a height of 4,321 m above sea level on the Ugandan side. On the other hand, it sits on an area of 1,121 km2.

Mount Elgon was once the tallest mountain in Africa, but due to erosion, the highest peak was reduced to 4,321m, hence now the 4th high in East Africa.

Tourists are greatly impressed by hiking the mountain that reveals beautiful landscapes dotted with waterfalls, gorges, caves, and cliffs.

Mount Elgon National Park also has over 300 bird species that include endemics and migratory bird species. Some notable ones include

  • Jackson’s Francolin
  • Hartlaub’s Turaco
  • Bearded Vulture
  • Moorland Francolin

On the other hand, some major animals in the park are the

  • Forest Elephants
  • Duikers
  • Serval Cats
  • Olive Baboons
  • Oribis
  • Forest Hogs

Mount Elgon is the easiest mountain to climb in Uganda compared to other national parks as many unfit climbers have managed to reach its top.

Tourists can also enjoy other safari activities in the park including nature walks.

History Of Mountain Elgon National Park

This park was first established as a forest reserve in 1938 but was upgraded to a national park in 1993.

It was declared a UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserve in 2005.

Location Of Mountain Elgon National Park

Mountain Elgon National Park is in Eastern Uganda, Mbale District on the Uganda-Kenya border.

Mountain Elgon National Park lies on 1.0404° N, 34.7927° E.

Attractions At Mount Elgon National Park

Below are the attractions at Mount Elgon National Park

  1. The Peaks Of Mountain Elgon

Mountain Elgon National Park has some of the highest peaks in Africa that are shared both between Uganda and Kenya. Hiking them is an activity every tourist to Mount Elgon should partake in.

The different peaks to hike in this mountain include

  • Wagagai Peak (4,321m)
  • Sudek Peak (4,302m) is on Uganda/Kenya border
  • Koitobos (4,222m) is in Ken
  • Mubiyi Peak (4,211m)
  • Jackson’s summit (4,161m)
  1. Birds In Mountain Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park is home to over 300 bird species and many of them are afro montane moorland endemics.

Some of the birds to see at Mount Elgon National Park are the

  • Crested Guinea Fowl
  • Moorland Francolin
  • Scaly Francolin
  • Mountain Yellow-Warbler
  • Cinnamon Bracken-Warbler
  • Rock Martin
  • Bronze Sunbird
  • Northern Double-Collared Sunbird
  • Variable Sunbird
  • Golden-Breasted Bunting
  • Northern Crombec
  • Gray-Backed Fiscal
  • Northern Fiscal
  • White-Necked Raven
  1. The Caldera At Mountain Elgon

The Mountain Elgon erupted many years, but a large bowl-like caldera was left in the middle.

This is the second largest caldera after Ngoro Ngoro crater caldera in Tanzania.

More so, this caldera has some crater lakes and hot springs to view in your safari.

Other attractions at Mount Elgon National Park

  • Animals in Mountain Elgon
  • Vegetation zones in Mountain Elgon
  • Mountain Elgon caves
  • Jackson’s Pool and Jackson’s peak
  • Sipi Falls near Mountain Elgon National Park
  • People and communities around Mountain Elgon National Park
  • Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre
  • Wanale Ridge near Mountain Elgon National Park

Activities At Mount Elgon National Park

Below are the various activities at Mount Elgon National Park,

1. Hiking Mount Elgon

Mount Elgon National Park is easier to climb than any other mountain in Uganda. This is because some inexperienced climbers have managed to reach the top.

On the hike, you get to use various trails like

  • The Sasa Trail
  • Sipi Trail
  • The Piswa trail

2. Nature Walks In Mountain Elgon

Nature walks in Mount Elgon National Park will get you closer to both animals and the local people.

On the nature walks, different trails are followed for example the

  • Khauka Cave Trail and
  • Bamboo Trail; which leads to the Kapkwai Cave through tropical and bamboo forests.

3. Birding At Mountain Elgon National Park

There are over 300 bird species in Mount Elgon National Park with some species that are nowhere else in Uganda and an example is the Bearded Vulture.

The bird-watching trail begins at Pakwai Forest Conservation Center which goes through various vegetation including the forest montane from where you can see various monkeys.

Other activities at Mount Elgon National Park

  1. Rock Climbing near Mountain Elgon National Park
  2. Abseiling at Sipi Waterfalls near Mountain Elgon National Park
  3. Community and Cultural tours around Mount Elgon National Park.
  4. Mountain biking around Mountain Elgon National Park
  5. Sport Fishing near Mountain Elgon National Park

Accommodation At Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park has a variety of lodges in luxury, mid-range, and budget.

Luxury Lodges in Mountain Elgon National Park

  • Sipi River Lodge
  • Mountain Elgon Hotel and Spa

Standard Lodges in Mountain Elgon National Park

  • Mbale Resort Hotel
  • Rafiki Lodge Sipi
  • Wash and Wills Hotel Mbale
  • Kayegi Hotel Mbale.

Budget Lodges in Mountain Elgon National Park

  • Noah’s Ark Hotel
  • Lacam Lodge
  • Mountain Elgon View Hotel
  • Wimpey Hotel
  • Crow’s Nest Camp
  • Masha Hotel

What Makes Mountain Elgon National Park Unique

Mount Elgon National Park is a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve that preserves both the different communities and the animals of the park.

This Uganda National Park has Mountain Elgon which has the world’s largest volcanic base and the second-biggest caldera in Africa.

It is also the second tallest mountain in Uganda and the tallest is Mount Stanley of the Rwenzori ranges.

(X). Semuliki National Park-h2

Semuliki is a renowned and peculiar birding destination with over 441 bird species. 66% of these birds are forest birds with many Congo Biome species.

The Semuliki Forest is among Africa’s most ancient and diverse forests that are believed to have survived the last ice age, which is about 12-18,000 years ago.

Semuliki National Park lies on a flat to gently rising land of about  670 to 760 m.

The park stands at an altitude between 670m-760m above sea level on an area of 220km2.

This park also has breathtaking male and female Sempaya hot springs which have attracted visitors from near and far.

Among the various things to see at the Semuliki National Park are over 53 mammal species, 300 butterfly species, and 8 primate species.

Birding is the major tourist activity at Semuliki National Park, but you can also do hiking, and visit the Batwa pygmies.

To make your stay a comfortable one, Semuliki National Park has various lodging places ranging from luxury, midrange, and budget.

History Of Semuliki National Park

From 1932 to 1993, Semuliki National park was managed as a forest reserve and in October 1993, it was established as one of the national parks in Uganda.

Location Of Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park is in Western Uganda in Bundibugyo district in the Albertine Rift Valley. It is on Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The park is bordered by the Rwenzori Mountains on the South East and Lake Albert on the North.

Lying on geographic coordinates 0.8334° N, 30.0434° E, Semuliki National Park neighbors the Semuliki and the Lamia Rivers.

Attractions In Semuliki National Park

Below are the attractions at Semuliki National Park.

1. Birds In Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park has over 441 bird species including 35 Guinea-Congo forest biome bird species. Some of the notable ones include,

  • Spot-Breasted Ibis,
  • Congo Serpent Eagle
  • Chestnut
  • Red Thighed Sparrow Hawk

Twelve rear bird species occur in the park, for example, the Western Bronze Naped Pigeon and the Yellow-Throated Cuckoo.

2. Wild Animals In Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park is rich in various animals that promote wildlife tourism. They include;

  • African buffalo
  • Bushpig
  • Sitatunga
  • Leopard
  • Hippopotamus
  • Mona monkey
  • Water chevrotain
  • Bush babies
  • African civet
  • African elephant
  • Crocodiles
  • Duikers

3. Sempaya Hot Springs In Semuliki National Park

The Semuliki national park hot springs are among the most popular attractions in Semuliki National Park and you can see these hot springs during a broad nature walk.

Other attractions at Semuliki National Park

  • Primate
  • The Bambuti of Bundimasoli around Semuliki National Park
  • Lake Albert and Shoebills

Activities In Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park abounds with many activities which are

4. Birding In Semuliki National Park

Bird watching is the top activity at Semuliki National Park. The park has over 440 bird species with both Albertine Rift endemics and Congo biome species.

Birding in Semuliki National Park occurs through the following trails

  • Sempaya trail
  • Ntandi trail
  • Red monkey trail
  • River Semuliki trail
  • Kirumia River trail

5. Hiking In Semuliki National Park

Through the hiking activity, you can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere in Semuliki National Park, as you also view the birds.

These hiking activities occur on the different trails and tracks listed below

  • Kirumia trail
  • Red Monkey truck
  • Sempaya Nature trail
  • Batwa trail
  • Nyaburogo gorge trail

Other activities at Semuliki National Park

  1. Batwa Cultural Experience
  2. Looking For Shoebills on Lake Albert

Accommodation At Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park has accommodations ranging from luxury, midrange, and budget

Luxury Lodges in Semuliki National Park

  1. Semuliki Safari Lodge

Midrange Lodges in Semuliki National Park

  1. Mountain of the Moon
  2. Ntoroko Game Lodge
  3. Kluges Guest Farm

Budget Lodges in Semuliki National Park

  1. Rwenzori View Guesthouse.
  2. Kirumia guesthouse
  3. Bamuga Campsite
  4. Semuliki River Camp

What Makes Semuliki National Park Unique From Other National Parks In Uganda?

Semuliki National Park is a birder’s haven as it has some of the rear bird species in Uganda. These include the Shoebill at Lake Albert, several Congo biome species, and some Albertine Rift endemics.

The park hosts the Sempaya hot springs which are also a rear feature to see in Uganda.

The ten national parks in Uganda hold rich biodiversities and ecosystems that are a treasure for tourism. Each park relays a message that points us to the conservation of these protected areas and the gem that they hold. Book your Uganda safari holiday today and get to visit the national park of your choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a National Park?

A national park is a legally protected area by the government to help preserve different wildlife in it.

2. What is the largest/ biggest national park In Uganda?

Murchison Falls National Park is the largest of all national parks in Uganda with an area of 3,893 km².

3. How many National Parks are in Uganda?

There are 10 national parks in Uganda. The Uganda National Parks list includes

  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Kibale Forest National Park
  • Lake Mburo National Park
  • Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  • Kidepo Valley National Park
  • Mgahinga National Park
  • Semuliki National Park, and
  • Mount Elgon National Park

4. What is the best season to visit the National Parks in Uganda?

The dry season is the best time to visit the national parks of Uganda. This includes the months from December to February and from June to August.

During this time, many tracks and trails are dry, animals are active and you are to expect almost no rainfall.

5. What should you carry while going to a National Park in Uganda?

When going for an adventure to any of the Uganda game parks, carry

  • A camera for wildlife photography
  • Pair of binoculars
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Sunglasses
  • Sturdy shoes, a hat, long-sleeved shirts, and trousers
  • An insect repellant
  • A rain jacket
  • A backpack

6. What are the important precautions to follow while in any of the Uganda National Parks?

  • Make sure that you drive on the right track.
  • While in any park, avoid sounding motor horns because they stress the animals.
  • Make campfires only in the areas chosen for that purpose. This is to avoid the risk of burning the animals’ habitat.
  • Keep your litter in your back bag until you can find a safe place to put them.
  • Avoid bringing other pets inside the park.
  • Do not drive inside the park between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am. Kindly leave this to only the game drives.
  • While driving during the day, do not exceed 40km per hour.
  • Avoid picking flowers or destroying any vegetation while in the park.
  • Kindly keep with all your official receipts for inspection.

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