Tourism in Uganda is a major driver of employment, investment and a source of foreign exchange revenue. It is focused on the country’s wildlife and landscapes. Tourist attractions in Uganda include but not limited to:
National game parks, Game reserves, Natural tropical forests, Traditional sites, Waterfalls, Religious sites (Faith based tourism) Game and Bird viewing, Snowcapped mountains to mention but a few.
National Game Parks
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This park lies on the edge of the rift valley in the Southern Western Part of Uganda, revealing mist- covered hillsides encased by one of the country’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests that shelter the world’s famous mountain gorillas, of which they are less than 600 still left in the entire world that can be tracked, including other primates like the chimpanzees, baboons and monkeys. Gorilla tracking permits sell out so fast so one has to make a reservation months in advance.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo forms part of a 50Km long wetland system linked by a swamp, and composed primarily of grassland, wetland, wetland and acacia woodland, at the Centre of which lies Lake Mburo, which together with14 other lakes, forms part of an extensive wetland area. There are many different species of birds including the crowned crane and the Marabou stock. Animals in the park include Zebras, the Impala, Hippos, Leopards, Hyenas, Crocodiles, Eland (the world’s largest antelope), Waterbucks, warthogs, Roc hyrax Buffalos and others
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Located on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains, in the extreme southwest corner of Uganda, Mgahinga is an important habitat for the endangered Golden monkey, the Park, another haven for the persecuted mountain gorilla is famous for wildlife and has enormous cultural significance in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies who are thought to have been the forest’s first people. The park whose three conical, extinct volcanoes make it the most striking future has been set aside to provide a secure habitat for the gorilla
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls, the biggest National park in Uganda lies at the Northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley and is bisected by the Victorian Nile that plunges about 45 meters over the remnant rift valley wall. It is one of the most spectacular in Africa where the river Nile plunges through a narrow crevice and over a 40-metre drop. In the eastern sector of the park, before the Murchison Falls themselves, are the Karuma Falls, where the Nile cascades over a breathtaking 23 km of rapids, creating some of the most exciting white-water rafting opportunities in Africa. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents. It is in this park that all these animals live together with lions in the same environment.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is a 1,442 square kilometers (557 sq. m) in the Karamoja region in northeast Uganda. Kidepo is rugged savannah, dominated by the 2,750 meters (9,020 ft.) It is inhabited by various wildlife including lions, buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, leopards, cheetahs, and various antelope species, baboons, bush baby and over 200 species of birds.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
The park has diverse ecosystems that includes a remarkable variety of eco-systems ranging from semi-deciduous tropical forest to green meadows, swamps, shady humid forests, sparkling lakes, fertile wetlands and sprawling savanna and this makes it the ideal habitat for classic big game that includes chimpanzees a number of primate species and many different species of birds that include the black bee-eater, Shoebill storks, different types of king fisher, and several species of falcons, eagles and other raptors. In the crater lakes to the north, flocks of flamingos can be found. The Park in the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley, covering 2,056 sq. km has been designated a Biosphere Reserve for Humanity under UNESCO auspices.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The Rwenzori Mountains that lie in Western Uganda are commonly referred to as Mountains of the moon. The snow-capped mountain includes the third highest point in Africa while the lower slopes are covered in moorland, bamboo and rich moist montane forest. Some of the wildlife found in the park include, the blue monkey, chimpanzees hyrax (also known as a rock rabbit), giant forest hog plus many unique bird species such as the olive pigeon, Rwenzori turaco, and the francolin.
More than half of all the bird species in Africa can be found in Uganda making it the birder’s paradise and the richest birding destination in Africa. It is in Uganda that you get to see some species that are not found anywhere else in Africa. Such are; Endemic bird (Fox’s Weaver), 23 Albertine Endemics occur here and are difficult or even impossible to find somewhere else. Bird species found in Uganda include but not limited to: Yellow eyed black flycatcher, Regal Sunbird, sunbird, Red- faced woodland Warbler, Rwenzori Turaco, Blue Headed sunbird and the incomparable Shoebill to mention but a few.
Lakes and Rivers
Uganda is a well-watered country with nearly one-fifth of the total area open water or swampland. Most of the country lies in the watershed of the Nile River and four of East Africa’s Great Lakes: Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga, Lake Albert, and Lake Edward lie within Uganda or on its borders. Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa and the second largest inland freshwater lake in the world (after Lake Superior) dominates the southeastern corner of the nation, with almost one-half of its 10,200-square-kilometer area lying inside Ugandan territory. It feeds the upper waters of the Nile River, which is referred to in the region as the Victoria Nile.