Gorilla Trekking Guide in Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking Guide in Rwanda

Getting up close and personal with mountain gorillas in the wild is an experience that comes once in a lifetime. Seeing these massive apes in Rwanda is only possible on a guided gorilla trekking tour. Gorilla trekking to see mountain gorillas isn’t done anywhere except only in the 3 countries: Rwanda, Uganda and D.R. Congo.

How many gorillas are left on earth today?
A total of only 1063 mountain gorillas still survive in the wild and these apes roam freely within the misty montane areas of Ruhengeri. There is something special about getting up close and personal with the unique mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. These large apes share over 98.2% of their DNA with humans making them our closest relatives in the wild.
Planning a Rwanda gorilla tour this 2023? Here is a complete guide to gorilla trekking in Rwanda –where to go for gorilla trekking, best time, what to carry and accommodation, etc.

Where to see Rwanda gorillas?

There is only one place to be visited for gorilla trekking in Rwanda and that is Volcanoes National Park. This is where 30% of the world’s 1063 endangered mountain gorillas all reside. The park lies within the Virunga Conservation Area (VCA) which also covers the Congo’s Virunga & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Volcanoes National Park location
Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is found on the Northwestern side of the country, and it is where Dian Fossey carried her research study for 18 years. The plight of the now endangered mountain gorillas got known thanks to Dian Fossey conservation efforts. Volcanoes National Park Rwanda was gazetted in 1925 and features in the Gorillas in the Mist film (1988). 12 (twelve) gorilla family groups live within this park and each is visited by a maximum of eight (8) guests.

The best time to visit Rwanda Volcanoes National Park
The best time to visit Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is during the dry season when there is low or no rain; the habitat is drier and easier to trek through the steep slopes. The dry season to travel for gorilla trekking Rwanda is around June, July, August, to September and December, January to February. The treks to see gorillas are also open during the wet or rainy season that is March, April, May & October, and November.

What to expect on a gorilla trekking Rwanda
Normal gorilla treks in Rwanda begin early in the morning after briefing at Kinigi offices. You will leave the park offices at 8:30 am with an experienced guide leading you through the whole adventure. The trek is lengthy and unpredictable often lasting for about 2-6 hours but includes one hour of a close encounter with a family of mountain gorillas.
A reasonable fitness level is required for you to have a successful gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda. Gorilla families often move to long distances and the ground can be muddy if it has rained. These and more are some of the important factors that determine the length of your gorilla trek.

An encounter with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda
Upon meeting the family of mountain gorillas, the park official or guide will allow you to stay for one hour enjoying a close interaction and taking pictures of these massive creatures. When interacting with gorillas, a distance of about 8 meters must be maintained at all times.
Minimal noise must be kept while on a gorilla trek in Rwanda. No flash camera should be used for taking pictures of gorillas as it can scare or make them irritated. You turn off the flashlight before you begin any photography.

Gorilla trekking permits/price of gorilla permits in Rwanda
All visits to see mountain gorillas require guests to have valid gorilla permits. A single Rwanda gorilla permit costs USD 1500 per person and this applies to guests with plans to visit Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking. 12 gorilla families are available for booking by visitors on the Rwanda gorilla trip and these translate to about 96 gorilla permits.

What to carry gorilla tracking tour
You must carry essentials if you are to have a successful gorilla trekking safari. Some of the items to pack or have on an actual gorilla tour include a waterproof daypack, waterproof jackets, long-sleeved shirt, waterproof jackets, socks, a wide-brimmed hat, gardening gloves, insect repellents, sunscreen, bottled drinking water, trousers, a first aid kit, extra batteries, and many more.

The best places to visit on Rwanda gorilla trekking

The recommended accommodation facilities to stay on gorilla trekking safari include budget, luxury and midrange. They include Virunga Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Bisate Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Gorilla’s Nest Lodge, Kinigi Guesthouse, Hotel Muhabura, Garr Hotel, Five Volcanoes Hotel, Best View Hotel and others.
Getting to Rwanda Volcanoes National Park (Northern Province)
Distance from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park is 104 km about 2-3 hours’ drive. The park is located in Ruhengeri, the Northern Province of Rwanda and from Uganda, you can cross via Katuna or Chanika border.

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Rwenzori Mountains National park

Rwenzori Mountains National park

Rwenzori Mountains National Park complete guide for the first timers. The Rwenzori National Park is the most visited park for mountaineering after Kilimanjaro NP. The park features the majestic Mount Rwenzori (Mountains of the Moon) which rises at an altitude of 5109 meters. This legendary mountain is completely a block mountain and Africa’s third-highest mountain. What makes it unique is the fact that it is the only block mountain with glaciers/snow on its summits.

Where is Mount Rwenzori NP located?
Mount Rwenzori N/Park is found in the Western tourism circuit of Uganda, adjacent to the border with the D.R. Congo. This is a UNESCO Heritage Site listed and established in 1991. The park extends covering only 996 and its boundaries stretch in the districts of Bundibugyo, Kasese and Kabarole.
In 2008, Rwenzori Mountains National Park was also listed among the Ramsar sites in Uganda. The park contains unique vegetation characterized by bamboo, montane, woodland and tropical rainforest.
Its mystical block mountain features 6 beautiful mountain ranges: Mount Gessi (4715m), Mount Speke (4890m), Mount Baker 4843m, Mount Stanley 5109m, Mount Luigi Di Savoia 4627m, and Mount Emin Pasha 4798m. Its peaks include Moebius Mountain 4925m, Alexandra 5044m, Albert 5101m and Margherita 5109m.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a water catchment area comprising of 20 Lakes that flow on its block mountain.

Other attractions in Rwenzori Mountains N/Park

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park holds a significant wildlife species, accounting for 70 species of mammals. The park’s mammal species include the Rwenzori otters, elephants, bushbucks, blue monkeys, chimpanzees, Rwenzori colobus monkeys, mongoose, Uganda clawed frogs, black and white colobus monkeys, leopards, golden cats, l’hoest monkeys, rock hyrax, and many reptiles including 3 horned chameleon.

Other than mountaineering, this park is also a special birding spot. It has a record of 217 species of birds and these include a variety of Albertine rift species that make it an important birding area. The birds to expect to encounter on a birding trip in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park: Archer’s robin chat, strange weavers, crimson wings, Rwenzori batis, montane sooty boubou, cinnamon chested bee-eaters, barred long-tailed cuckoos, strange weavers, long-eared owl, slender-billed starling, handsome francolins, Kivu ground thrush, lammergeyers, and others.

Tourism activities

If you are an enthusiastic mountaineering adventure seeker, Rwenzori Mountains National Park is one place you must consider a must-visit. The park offers memorable hiking experiences and getting to Margherita peak (5109m) is everyone’s dream. This is possible on the two designated trails including the central circuit and Kilembe trails. At least 9-10 days or more are required for you to trek up to the Margherita and or hike through other peaks.

Nature walks
The park offers more than mountaineering experiences. It also provides exciting and rewarding nature walking tours along its slopes. There are trails leading to different locations and include the Lake Mahoma and Buraro chimpanzee forest trail. This trail takes nature lovers to the communities around or you can take the Ruboni and Turaco community trails. You can also conquer the Mubuku River with a guide leading.

Birding/bird watching
The Rwenzori Mountains National Park offers the best birding tours and it is the best place to encounter most of the Albertine rift and endemic species. The birds to be identified include blue-headed sunbird, cinnamon-chested bee-eaters, grauer’s cuckoo shrike, montane sooty boubou, slender billed starling, Archer’s robin chat, Montane Rwenzori nightjars, barred long-tailed cuckoo, purple breasted sunbird, red thighed sparrow hawks, red throated alethe, Kivu ground thrush, golden-winged sunbird, dwarf honey guide, African long-eared owl, stripe breasted tit, scarlet tufted malachite, white collared olive back, dusky and shelley’s crimson wings, and lagden’s bush shrikes.

Cultural encounters
The Rwenzori Mountains National Park safaris also allow you to visit the adjacent communities for a cultural encounter. The park is surrounded by the Bakonzo communities and for authentic cultural experiences, you may also consider visiting the Ruboni village, or embark on Bulemba-Ihandiro cultural trail to Bakonzo traditional museum.

When to visit

Rwenzori Mountains National Park has its gates open to visitors all year round. But the dry season is the best time for guests to conquer at ease the park’s majestic block mountain- the Rwenzori Mountain ranges. The dry months: June, July, August, and December, and January to February.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park accommodation options
➢ Ruboni Community Camp
➢ Tropical Savanna Guesthouse
➢ Tours Holiday Inn
➢ Mihunga Safari Lodge
➢ Sandton Hotel Kasese
➢ Rwenzori Backpackers
➢ Trekkers Hostel
➢ Equator Snow Lodge
➢ Hotel Margherita
➢ Rwenzori Turaco View Campsite

How to travel to the park
Rwenzori Mountains National Park (Uganda) can be reached by road/air. Accessing the park by road is possible on 2 routes: the Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Kasese route or the Kampala-Mubende-Fort Portal route. By air, take a scheduled/chartered flight from Entebbe airport to Kasese airstrip.

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Volcanoes National park

Volcanoes National park

Volcanoes National Park (Parc National de Volcans) travel guide brings you everything you need to know about this beautiful park. Volcanoes N/Park offers the most exhilarating mountain gorilla trekking adventures. The park is home to 30% of the remaining mountain gorillas (1063) and contains 12 habituated gorilla families. It is a rich protected area when it comes to faunal and floral species.

Where is the park located?
Volcanoes National Park is situated in the Northern Province of Rwanda, spanning up to 160 The park was gazetted in 1925 primarily to protect and conserve a section of mountain gorillas. It is set within the Virunga Conservation Areas (VCA) in East-Central Africa, a region that also encompasses Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Virunga National Park in the D.R. Congo.
Volcanoes NP is where the late Dian Fossey camped while conducting research on gorillas. She established the Karisoke Research Center, a centre that played and still carries on with the conservation and research initiatives that Dian Fossey had begun. The plight of mountain gorillas was spread to the world through the Gorillas in the Mist book which was later translated to film.
Volcanoes National Park is most popular for its unique wildlife species, spectacular landscape featuring tropical forests, Lakes, Rivers, and Virunga Volcanoes (Mt Karisimbi 4507m, Bisoke 3711m, Muhabura Volcano 4127m, Gahinga, and Sabyinyo 3634m).

Other important attractions in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei) are Volcanoes N/Park’s most sought for attractions on Rwanda safari. Over 30% of these unique species reside within the park’s habitats plus birds and other species. The park also contains many forest elephants, bush pigs, golden monkeys, bushbucks, spotted hyenas, buffaloes, duikers, forest hogs, bushbucks, and others.

The birds
Within Volcanoes NP alone, a total of 200 bird species freely roam in its different habitats. The park’s diverse birdlife include forest and Albertine rift endemic bird species. The birds to identify in this park: are Rwenzori batis, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, collared apalis, handsome francolin, Kivu ground thrush, Archer’s ground robin, and others.
Top tourism activities to do in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla trekking
A total of 12 habituated gorilla families reside within Volcanoes National Park and these make it one of the excellent gorilla trekking destinations in Africa. It is one of the 4 parks where mountain gorillas are found and gorilla groups to be visited include Sabyinyo, Hirwa, Agashya group, Uganda, Susa A, Pablo, Kwitonda, Umubano, Titus, and Susa B. Trekking with Rwanda gorillas in Volcanoes NP does require everyone to have valid gorilla permits, each costing USD1500 per person.
All participants in gorilla trekking tour in Rwanda must be above 15 years and your fitness level matters a lot. The gorilla trek adventure starts from Kigali after the morning briefing and at 8:00 am, the 2-6 hours search for mountain gorilla groups begins with the leader of an experienced Rwanda park guide. You set off with all essentials for your gorilla trekking tour including waterproof hiking boots, long-sleeved shirts, a camera, a daypack, bottled drinking water, high-energy giving snacks, and gorilla permits.

Golden monkey tracking
Golden monkey tracking is another top safari experience that awaits visitors on Rwanda tour in Volcanoes N. Park. Golden monkeys are endemic species to the Albertine region and visits are done in already habituated troops. Like gorilla trekking, during the golden monkey trek, visitors are led by an experienced park guide.

The Dian Fossey trek
The Dian Fossey trek offers visitors a chance to visit the tomb of Dian Fossey and explore her gorilla conservation legacy. She was a devoted conservationist, researcher, and with courage, she fought against poaching practices in the region resulting in the protection of the once critically endangered mountain gorillas. The Dian Fossey tomb visit takes at least 2-3 hours and participants pay a fee of USD 75.

Volcano hiking
Visitors also have plenty of hiking/volcano climbing opportunities. These include climbing Mount Karisimbi summits 4507 meters, Africa’s 8th highest mountain. This volcano requires at least 2 days for you to have a complete trek. Mount Bisoke trek is a must-do in Volcanoes N/Park and the hike starts at Kinigi offices. Muhabura Volcano 4127 meters offers remarkable hikes and it is best hiked with the lead of an experienced guide.

The Twin Lakes tour
After or before engaging in actual activities within Volcanoes National Park, there is an opportunity to explore the charming Twin Lakes of Ruhondo and Burera. These spectacular lakes provide an excellent relaxation environment and city escape. You can take a boat ride through the lakes to one of the beautiful islands.

Musanze cave excursion
Musanze cave exploration takes you through the Musanze, a natural cave with stretch of 2 km. Tourists officially began visiting the cave in 2013 and this was officially done by the Rwanda Development Board. The caves are situated in the Musanze district and have walkway leading visitors to their interior.

When to visit the park
The best time of the year to travel for a safari in Volcanoes National Park is during the dry season. The park records the dry season starting from June, July, August and September or December, January to February. The dry months offer excellent gorilla trekking adventures or volcano hiking experiences.

Volcanoes National Park accommodation
Volcanoes National Park accommodation facilities consist of budget, midrange and luxury options. For visitor comfort, here are the top places to book for an overnight stay: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Kinigi Guesthouse, La Palm Hotel, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Virunga Hotel, Villa Gorilla Lodge, Five Volcanoes Hotel, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Bisate Lodge, and more.

How to get to the park for a vacation
Volcanoes National Park comes second after Akagera National Park as the most accessible Rwanda safari park. You need 2-3 hours to drive starting from Kigali to this park for your gorilla safari or golden monkey tracking tour. There is also an option of crossing from the Uganda side (Kisoro) through the Chanika border or Kabale via the Katuna border to the Northern Province of Rwanda.

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Mgahinga Gorilla National park

Mgahinga Gorilla National park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park lies on the Virunga Volcano slopes, home to both endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. It is a special Uganda safari destination to explore on a guided gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking safari tour. Mgahinga is set high in the clouds at an altitude of 2227 and 4127 meters.

Location, and size of Mgahinga Gorilla N/Park in Uganda
Mgahinga National Park safari park is found in Kisoro, Southwestern Uganda. This stunning park is lying within the Virunga Volcanoes, at Uganda’s border with Rwanda and the D.R. Congo. It was gazetted as a National Park in 1991 and the prime reason for its establishment was to shelter the now-endangered mountain gorillas.
Unlike other gorilla trekking parks in East Africa, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park covers a land area of only 33.7 It derives its name from Gahinga Volcano, and the word Gahinga is translated as small lava stones common in garden at Gahinga Volcano foothills. Its size makes it Uganda’s smallest National Park.

Why visit Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda)

The main reason why most tourists travel to Mgahinga National Park is to track mountain gorillas, & golden monkeys. These two great apes dwell within the lush tropical rain forest of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Trekking gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park involves spending a long day searching for Nyakagezi gorilla family. This is the only habituated family of mountain gorillas and takes you about 2-6 hours or less then you return to your accommodation/park offices to meet the driver guide to transfer you to your next destination.
Wildlife/Animals to find in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
More than 39 mammal species live in Mgahinga National Park. These include side-striped jackals, golden cats, serval cats, patas monkeys, mangabeys, hyenas, golden mountain gorillas, baboons, bush babies, forest hogs, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, geckos, buffaloes, porcupines, elephants, and others.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a special birding spot on its own way although it remains not fully explored. The park supports 180 bird species and most of them are endemic species to the Albertine rift. Mgahinga Gorilla NP bird species include scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird, black kite, African paradise flycatchers, cape robin-chat, Shelley’s dusky crimson wing, streaky seedeaters, White starred robin, white-napped raven, yellow-throated long claws, regal sunbird, Southern red bishop, cinnamon bracken warblers, red necked spur fowl, paradise flycatchers, mountain masked apalis, rufous chested swallow,
Others include blue-headed sunbird, Doherty’s bush shrike, fire finch, brown-crowned tchagra, Archer’s ground robin, Kivu ground-thrush, dusky turtle dove, grey-capped warblers, Alpine chat, banded prinia, and more.

Tourist Activities in & around Mgahinga Gorilla N. Park

Gorilla trekking
Other than Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga is another incredible place that is worth visiting for mountain gorilla trekking. Over 80 mountain gorillas live in this park and comprise of one habituated gorilla family. The Nyakagezi group is the fully habituated gorilla group family that is open for gorilla tourism in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Treks to interact with Nyakagezi group begin at Ntebeko at 8:00 am after a briefing from the Uganda Wildlife Authority official. Like Bwindi and other gorilla trekking parks, visitors on the gorilla tour in Mgahinga are accompanied by an experienced guide and the normal trek lasts for 2-6 hours inclusive of one hour for a magical encounter. A valid gorilla permit is required for all gorilla treks in Mgahinga and each permit is issued at USD700 per person. The permits can be booked by a reliable tour operator on the ground or directly with the reservation team from Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Golden monkey tracking
Golden monkeys are some of the numerous mammals and primates that Mgahinga Gorilla N/Park inhabits. A good number of these beautiful primates have been habituated and can be trekked starting from Ntebeko Area. Golden monkeys are endemic to the 3 Virunga Conservation Areas (Mgahinga Gorilla National Park-Uganda, Virunga National Park –D.R. Congo & Volcanoes National Park –Rwanda).

Mountain climbing/hiking
Mountain climbing is a remarkable adventure that Mgahinga is most popular for. The park has 3 of the 8 Virunga Volcanoes and all of them can be hiked from Mgahinga side. They include Gahinga (3474m), Sabyinyo 3669m and Muhabura 4127m. Hiking to the summits of these volcanoes reward hikers with breathtaking views of the surroundings and you have opportunity to capture the best pictures.

Mgahinga is compact but holds up to 180 bird species. The best time to travel for birding tours in the park is around April, May & October, November. Most migratory birds from Europe and other parts of the world often fly to nest from November to April. The common birds to identify on birding tour in Mgahinga include western green tinker bird, white-necked raven, yellow-vented bulbul, waxbills, streaky seedeater, white-starred robin, yellow-throated long claw, red-faced woodland warblers, paradise fly-catchers, stray seedeaters, olive woodpeckers, mountain masked Apalis, olive pigeon, Rwenzori batis, red throated alethe, red necked spur fowl, montane nightjars,
Fire finch stonechat, handsome francolins, Doherty’s bush shrikes, Chubb’s cisticolas, brown woodland warblers, greater double collared sunbird, scarlet tufted sunbird, archer’s robin chat, blue-headed sunbird, banded prinia, crowned crane, collared apalis, and others.

Nature walks
Nature walking in Mgahinga comes with plenty of opportunities to uncover its hidden treasures. You get a chance to immerse yourself in the jungles as you keep an eye on birds, primates and floral species. The key areas of interest for nature walking safaris in Mgahinga NP include the border trail along the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo. This is 5 hour’s hike leading you to Gisozi hill where you can be viewing the lush Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. There is also the Sabyinyo gorge trail perfect for enthusiastic hikers in need of challenging hikes.

The Batwa trail & cultural encounter
The Batwa pygmies lived in Mgahinga NP forest and Bwindi for many years. They lived peacefully with gorillas and they were displaced when the park was officially gazetted. The Batwa trail (Mgahinga in Kisoro) offers an incredible interaction with the Batwa pygmies who lived in the forest as hunters and gatherers. They will also entertain you with cultural and musical performances –this is especially in the evening after gorilla trekking.

When to go for a tour in Mgahinga N/Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park experienced mild to cold/wet kind of climatic conditions. Its weather and climatic conditions are influenced by its altitudinal range 2227-4127m and temperatures can drop up to 9 degrees celsius at night. The dry season allows visitors to enjoy the best of gorilla trekking or golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga and this is from June to July and December to January.

Where to stay –accommodation facilities in Mgahinga
All accommodation options are available for guests to choose for their overnight stay while on Mgahinga Gorilla National Park safaris. These include budget, midrange and luxury options. The top lodges to book in/around Mgahinga include Traveler’s Nest Hotel, Virunga Hotel, Lake Mutanda Campsite, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Mount Gahinga Rest Camp, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Amajambere Iwacu community camp and others.

How to reach Mgahinga by road & air in Uganda
By road transportation: Leave Kampala for Mgahinga through the Masaka-Mbarara-Kisoro route 9-10 hours’ drive using a 4×4 drive vehicle. Or depart Kigali for Mgahinga via Chanika border 4-5 hours’ drive through Kisoro and by air, you will need 2 hours to fly from Entebbe Airport to Kisoro airstrip.

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Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park

If there is a special destination that is worth visiting for game viewing in Uganda, then it is Lake Mburo, National Park. The park occupies a compact land area measuring about 370 sq. km but harbors plenty of interesting animal species. Its unique landscape features a mosaic of habitats including vast savannas, Lakes, bush thickets, forests, and rocky outcrops. For guests in need of off-the-beaten-path experiences, no better place is worth spending a holiday in than Lake Mburo National Park.

Where is the park located?
Lake Mburo National Park is one of the stunning parks lying in the Western tourist circuit of Uganda. The park lies within Kiruhura District and other neighboring districts, especially Isingiro, Lyantonde and Mbarara. It was founded as a controlled hunting area in 1933 and upgraded to a game reserve in 1963. In 1983, Lake Mburo National Park was officially gazetted as an Uganda National Park.

Fauna/animals of Lake Mburo N.P
Lake Mburo National Park is comprised of 68 species of mammals and other species of animals. The popular wildlife in this park include a huge concentration of antelope families (elands, topis, impalas, reedbucks, waterbucks, klipspringers, oribis, duikers, sitatungas, kobs), Rothschild giraffes, leopards, lions, cape buffaloes, warthogs, genets, white-tailed mongoose, bush pigs, hyenas, Burchell’s zebras, hippos and crocodiles.

A bird record of about 350 bird species exists within Lake Mburo National Park and these are acacia-associated species and water birds. The bird-list of Mburo NP include the long-tailed cisticolas, brown-chested wattled plovers, papyrus yellow warblers, Abyssinian ground hornbills, African fin foot, bare faced-go away, yellow billed duck, grey crowned crested crane, white winged barbet, green hood hoopoes,
White headed barbet, tabora cisticolas, yellow breasted apalis, grey woodpeckers, White tailed pelicans, scimitar bill, lilac breasted rollers, shining blue kingfishers, blue spotted wood dove, red winged francolins, temminck’s courser, black winged bishop, blue quails, Chub’s Carruther’s, rufous chested swallow, swam warblers, yellow throated long claw, black bellied bustard and shoebill storks.

The Vegetation
Lake Mburo National Park is a stunning park and it is dominated by boscia, acacia trees and olea species. On its swamp fringes, there are papyrus home to numerous birds, especially the yellow, red and black papyrus gonoleks. Most of the park’s wildlife species also reside within its diverse vegetation area.

Tourism activities

Game drives
A game drive in Lake Mburo National Park is all about exploring its diverse animal species. The park holds unique animal species of visitor interest on a guided game drive including jackals, giraffes, topis, hyenas, leopards, cape buffaloes, waterbucks, lions, reedbucks, bird species, zebras, and many others. The available game drive options in Lake Mburo NP include day and night game drives.

Bird watching
Lake Mburo National Park is a birder’s paradise, holding up to 350 species of birds. A birding trip in this park allows you encounter a variety of avifaunal species including brown-chested wattled plovers, papyrus yellow warblers, scimitar bill, lilac breasted rollers, shining blue kingfishers, blue spotted wood dove, red winged francolins, temminck’s courser, green hood hoopoes,
White headed barbet, tabora cisticolas, yellow breasted apalis, grey woodpeckers, White tailed pelicans, black winged bishop, Abyssinian ground hornbills, African fin foot, bare faced-go away, yellow billed duck, grey crowned crested crane, white winged barbet, blue quails, Chub’s Carruther’s, rufous chested swallow, swam warblers, yellow-throated long claw, black-bellied bustard and shoebill storks.

Nature walks
Nature walking is a special experience Lake Mburo National Park has to offer. A nature walk through the park is an incredible opportunity to enjoy a close encounter with wildlife in various habitats. There is the highest possibility of encountering animal species such as zebras, birds and giraffes. If you are interested in forest walks, Rubanga Forest also has you covered. This lush forest host about 40 bird species and different floral species, etc.

Cycling experience
Lake Mburo NP is one of the best places in East Africa where you can explore not only in a 4×4 safari vehicle but also using a bicycle. Get to interact with the park’s diverse animal species along the different biking trails using a bicycle rather than a 4×4 safari car. The cycling trails come with exciting views of animals such as giraffes, zebras, buffaloes and several antelope families. Other than cycling, the park is also most popular for its thrilling quad biking experiences.

Launch/boat cruise
Lake Mburo N. Park offers a remarkable encounter of aquatic life while you are at the comfort of a boat. The boat excursion is done perfectly on Lake Mburo and you will have a chance to see crocodiles, hippos and water birds.

Sport fishing
Sport fishing is such a memorable recreational experience, providing anglers opportunity to explore Lake Mburo N/Park. Sport fishing in this park is best done at Mazinga and participants must have valid fishing permits obtained from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). The different fish species to expect to catch on this adventure include lung fish, haplochromes, tilapia and mud fish.
Horseback riding
Nothing brings ultimate excitement on the face of a nature lover like viewing wildlife clearly on a horseback. Horseback riding is one unique experience tourists should expect while in Lake Mburo N.P and several animal species can be spotted including giraffes, zebras and antelopes, etc.

Cultural experience
A game viewing combined with a cultural tour makes your Lake Mburo National Park a memorable one. The park is surrounded by over 13 local community groups and these have been well-trained in eco-tourism and biodiversity activities. A visit to their communities allows you to explore the different local initiatives that have been put in place to boost livelihoods and also explore the unique cultures and traditions of Ankole people. The community groups living around Lake Mburo NP include the Rwabarata Drama Group, Ankole Cultural Community and Rwenjeru Campsite, etc.

When should you travel to the park?
Lake Mburo National Park is an ideal safari destination experiencing favorable weather conditions with a temperature range of 27 degrees celsius during the day and at night 14 degrees celsius. The dry season is however, the most favorite time of the year to visit the park for wildlife safaris and this is from June, July, August to September, or December, January to February. Bird watching is excellent during the months of March, April, May or October to November when most birds are breeding and migratory birds confine in the different parts of the park.

Lake Mburo National Park safari lodges to stay
This park is a complete destination with a long list of lodging facilities-budget, midrange and luxury. The available lodges to book in and around the park include Lake Mburo Safari Lodge, Eagle’s Nest Lodge, Mantana Tented Camp, Kigambira Safari Lodge, Mihingo Lodge, Rwakobo Rock Lodge, Arcadia Cottages, Leopard Rest Lodge, and others.

How you can get to the park
Lake Mburo National Park is the most accessible park away from the city center, taking you about 4 to 5 hours’ drive. The park’s gates that offer access include Sanga gate and Nshara. By road: the tour operators can also arrange to fly in safaris for their guests and set off place is Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Nyakisharara airstrip.

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Bwindi Forest National park

Bwindi Forest National park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park isn’t only home to the endangered mountain gorillas but also one of the remotest and the most beautiful destinations with abundant floral and faunal species. With its wildlife abundance, it is with no doubt that Bwindi is a special place where visitors’ travel spirits can be ignited. Its unique and massive great apes –mountain gorillas are a reason

why Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is Uganda’s most visited destination.
Getting up close and personal with a family of mountain gorillas in the wild is such a powerful and humbling experience. These large apes strictly reside only in the 4 parks in the world and the other 3 national parks include Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park & Virunga National Park.

Location, size of Bwindi Impenetrable NP Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Kanungu District) is the leading primate trekking safari destination in Uganda. Bwindi is located in Southwestern Uganda, and regardless of its location, tourists on Uganda safaris can easily get there and enjoy gorilla trekking. The park features a dense Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the main habitat to over 459 endangered mountain gorillas.
Bwindi National Park is compact in size, covering 331 and it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. It was declared a UNESCO site due to its biodiversity. This protected area is set at an altitudinal range of 1160 and 2607 meters. Its boundaries span covering Kanungu, and Kabale districts, comprising of 4 main sectors –Nkuringo, Rushaga, Buhoma and Ruhija.

Wildlife/Animals to see
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is prime habitat to over 120 mammal species and these dwell within the park’s magnificent tropical forest and other habitats. The numerous mammal species that live in Bwindi include duikers, elephants, golden cats, giant forest hogs, black-fronted duikers, yellow-backed duikers, bush pigs, mountain gorillas, buffaloes, side-striped jackals, rodents, bats, clawless otters, civet, chimpanzees,
Spectacled galagos, Demidoff’s galagos, baboons, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, L’hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, pottos, and more.

Bwindi birds
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park supports over 350 bird species. This makes this park one of the most outstanding birding safari destinations in Uganda. They include 23 Albertine rift endemic bird species, plus 14 species not found anywhere else in Uganda. The notable birds of Bwindi include dwarf honey guide, bar-tailed trogon, Rwenzori batis, Handsome francolins, Chapin’s flycatchers, Red-throated alethe, Strange weavers, Black bee-eaters, Western bronze napped pigeon,
White-bellied robin chat, African wood owl, Western green tinker bird, Kivu ground-thrush, Grey cuckoo-shrike, Regal sunbird, Tit Hylia, Cinnamon-chested bee-eaters, Purple-breasted sunbird, Black-faced warblers, Black-faced rufous warblers, Yellow-streaked greenbul, Neumann’s warblers, Mountain masked apalis, bush shrikes, Black billed turacos, Shelley’s crimson wing, and others.
Bwindi also supports more than 200 colorful butterfly species most of which are endemic to the Albertine rift including the cream-banded swallowtail, African giant swallowtail. Over 27 amphibians and several reptiles also reside within this tropical forest-dominated park.

Tourist Activities to do while in Bwindi NP

There are many exciting tourism activities tourists can do while on Uganda safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. These include primate treks & cultural encounters in the adjacent communities.
Gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking is the leading safari experience that tourists can enjoy in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It is one adventure that ushers you into the dense tropical forest to interact with the family of mountain gorillas. All the daily gorilla treks in Bwindi are done with lead of a trained park from Uganda Wildlife Authority and you must be the holder of valid gorilla trekking permit.
The maximum acceptable age limit for you to participate in gorilla trekking is 15 and above. This park alone has 20 habituated gorilla families and these live within its 4 sectors: Nkuringo, Rushaga, Ruhija and Buhoma. Essentials for a gorilla trekking tour include long-sleeved shirts, gardening gloves, a walking stick, waterproof hiking boots, non-flashlight cameras, bottled drinking water, a daypack, safari hat, and energy-giving snacks.


Bwindi Impenetrable National Park isn’t only visited for magical gorilla trekking adventures but also for birding tours. It is one of the few birding spots listed by African Bird Club, it being home to over 350 bird species with the majority comprising of Albertine rift endemic species. A birding tour in Bwindi allows you to encounter diversity of avifaunal species including the yellow streaked greenbul, Shelley’s crimson wing, regal sunbird, Ruwenzori Apalis, Grauer’s broadbill, black-faced warblers, black-faced rufous warblers, black-billed turacos, black bee-eaters, African broadbill, cinnamon-chested bee-eaters, Neumann’s warblers, handsome francolins, and others.

Forest/nature walks
Bwindi is also recognized for its remarkable hiking trails. Each of the park’s trails leads guests to different habitats and there is a chance to see birds, primates and floral species. The trails to explore in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest include the Rushura hill walk, Buhoma-Nkuringo trail, Ivy River, Muzubijiro loop, Muyanga waterfall walk, Mubwindi and more.

Biking/cycling tours
Bwindi lies on the hillside of the country- Kigezi region and its location makes it an excellent spot for biking or cycling adventures. The Ride 4 a Woman, a local initiative at Bwindi organizes biking tours and they have bikes for hire too.

Community visits
Community/cultural tours make safaris to Bwindi memorable. Imagine combining gorilla trekking and Batwa pygmy community visit. This is a lifetime opportunity for you to explore the different traditions, and cultures of the Batwa who once lived in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The cultural tour also comes with entertainment from residents as they dance before you- this is perfectly enjoyed in the evening after gorilla trekking.

Best time to visit the park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is open to all tourists on Uganda safaris at any time of the day or year. However, the best time to travel and engage in activities such as gorilla trekking is during the dry season- June, July, August, September, or December, January to February.

Bwindi NP accommodation
Around Buhoma sector- Buhoma Lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Bwindi Lodge, Ride 4 a Woman, and Buhoma Haven Lodge. Rushaga sector lodges: Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge, and others. Nkuringo sector accommodation: Nkuringo Safari Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, and Gorilla Heights. Ruhija sector lodges: Broadbill Forest Camp, Bakiga Lodge & Agandi Lodge.

Getting there
Traveling to Bwindi is possible on 2 options; by road/air. Choosing road transportation means, you can begin your road trip from Kampala/to Kigali. From Kampala, expect to spend 8-9 hours and you will be driven along the Masaka-Mbarara-Kabale route and from Kigali, cross to Uganda via Chanika-Kisoro/Katuna border-Kabale then connect to Bwindi NP. By air, scheduled/charter flights can be arranged and you set off from Entebbe airport to Kihihi where the driver guide can pick you up and transfer you to the lodge.

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Kidepo Valley National park

Kidepo Valley National park

Lying in far Northeastern Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park is most popular for its authentic wilderness experiences. The park sits in isolation in the Kabong district close to the Uganda border with South Sudan and Kenya. It features spectacularly rugged savannas, great valleys and hills. Kidepo was initially gazetted as a Game Reserve in 1958 by the colonial government and in 1962, it was upgraded to a National Park.
Spanning over 1442 sq. km, Kidepo NP features 2 scenic valleys: Kidepo and Narus Valleys. About 77 mammal species and 475 species of birds are all contained within the Kidepo Valley National Park.

Main attractions in Kidepo Valley N/Park

Kanangorok hot springs
The Kanangorok hot springs are situated in the Northern side of Kidepo close to Kidepo River. These hot springs have a boiling rate of about 50 degrees Celsius. The hot springs are located in an area overviewing the mountain ranges.

Mount Morungole
Mt. Morungole is a spectacular natural feature lying on the Southern boundary of Kidepo National Park. It is found at an altitude of 2750 meters and offers home to the IK people.

Namamukweny Valley
Namamukweny lies in the Northwestern Kidepo Valley National Park. The word Namamukweny is derived from the Napore dialect and it is translated as a lonely place with few people/birds. At the valley, there are some amazing birds to be spotted including the green wood hoopoe, eastern paradise whydah, Abyssinian roller, and common bulbul.
Other sites include Mount Lonyili (this features some primate species like colobus monkeys) and Lomej Hills (this hill is ideal for birding and sighting the mountain reedbucks).

Kidepo Valley National Park is a good habitat for numerous wild animals including 77 mammal species and reptiles. The common animal species to see on Kidepo National Park safari include lions, cheetahs, leopards, zebras, Rothschild giraffes, bat-ear fox, Defassa waterbucks, Oryx, Kudus, elephants, duikers, spotted hyenas, reedbucks, Uganda Kobs, elands, Jackson’s Hartebeests, reedbucks, jackals, roan antelopes, gazelles, and oribis.

The park protects several endemic and savanna bird species making it an excellent birding area. Kidepo NP bird species include yellow-rumped seed-eaters, Karamoja Apalis, yellow necked spurfowl, superb starling, Kori bustard, bush larks, Jackson’s hornbills, white-bellied bustard, Egyptian vultures, Abyssinian rollers, Verreaux’s eagles, ostriches,
Northern carmine bee-eater, fox kestrel, purple grenadier, rose-ringed parakeet, red-throated bee-eaters, white-bellied go-away bird, chestnut weaver, black-breasted barbet, pygmy falcon, rufous chatterer, red-winged pytilia, Eastern pale chanting goshawks, Ethiopian swallow, Fan-tailed raven,
Little green bee-eaters, marsh tchagra, black coucal, silver bird, African grey flycatchers, broad-tailed warblers, African moustached francolins, red-billed oxpeckers, Abyssinian ground hornbill, and more.

Things to do/safari activities in Kidepo N/Park

Game drive
Most tourists prefer Kidepo Valley National Park for its rewarding game drives. On a game drive in Kidepo, expect to come across many animal species including cheetahs, leopards, lions, jackals, hartebeests, giraffes, zebras, cape buffaloes, elephants, gazelles, elands, hyenas, reedbucks, and more.

Nature walks
Nature walks are done on foot with lead of an experienced park ranger guide. The available hiking or nature walking opportunities include Lamoj Hills, Kanangorok Hot Springs, and Kidepo Valley. You can also explore the Namamukweny Valley, an area endowed with bird species green wood hoopoe, eastern paradise whydah, Abyssinian roller, and common bulbul.

There are many birding opportunities that Kidepo offers to visitors on Uganda safari tours. The birds to be identified including African grey flycatchers, broad-tailed warblers, Kori bustard, Clapper ton’s francolins, Nubian woodpeckers, orange-winged pytilia, black-breasted barbet, crimson rumped waxbill, superb starling, scarlet-chested sunbird, white-billed buffaloes, yellow-billed shrikes, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Little green bee-eaters, yellow-spotted petronia, standard winged nightjars, ostriches, Ethiopia vulture, African moustached, Eastern pale chanting goshawk, and more.

Community/cultural visit
Community visits are done in the 2 communities: Karamojong and IK. The Karamojong are traditional nomads and they reside in the Northeastern side of Uganda. They share most of their traditions and cultures with the Maasai people of Kenya. The IK people on the other hand live on the summits of Mount Morungole and both communities get you exposed to unique traditions and cultures.
When to travel to visit Kidepo Valley N/Park (Uganda)
Kidepo experiences 2 seasons each year- wet and dry seasons. The most preferred time to visit the park to enjoy excellent game viewing is during the dry season and which is July, August, December to March. It is easier to navigate through the Narus and the Kidepo Valley areas while on a guided wildlife tour. Most wildlife species can be clearly spotted during these months of the year, especially as they confine around the few oases in River Kidepo.

Kidepo National Park accommodation facilities

The accommodation facilities in and around Kidepo range from budget, to midrange, and luxury options. They include Apoka Safari Lodge, Apoka Rest Camp, Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp, Kidepo Savanna Lodge, and camping.

How to reach the park
Kidepo Valley National Park from Kampala is 521 km, about a 10-12 hours’ drive in a good safari rental car. By air, a flight can be chartered or scheduled and you can start your trip from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Apoka airstrip.

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Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park

Formerly known as Kabalega National Park, Murchison Falls National Park is one of the leading wildlife tour destinations in Uganda. This is where the world’s most powerful waterfall exists and emits huge volumes of water estimated at 300 cubic meters per second. Murchison Falls NP is the largest of all 10 National Parks, measuring up to 3840 sq. km.

Murchison Falls National Park is a beautiful wildlife safari park in East Africa, located in Northwestern Uganda. Its boundaries extend covering different districts within and beyond the Bunyoro Escarpments. The park’s boundaries stretch covering the Northwestern districts including Buliisa, Masindi, Kiryandongo and Nwoya. It also extends to the Albertine rift valley and it is separated into 2 by the Victoria Nile River.
Murchison Falls NP was gazetted in 1952 and holds a huge profusion of wildlife species. The park covers a vast area and its landscape is characterized by woodlands, savanna grasslands, wetlands and open plains. Murchison Falls N/P lies within the wider Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA) which encompasses Budongo Forest, Kaniyo-Pabidi, Rabango Forest, Karuma Wildlife Reserve and
Bugungu Wildlife Reserve.

Attractions in Murchison Falls National Park
Wildlife/animals of Murchison Falls Park
Murchison Falls National Park Uganda holds a huge profusion of wildlife species including 76 species of mammals, 451 bird species, amphibians, and reptiles. The different wildlife or animal species that are commonly spotted on Uganda safaris include leopards, cape buffaloes, elephants, the Rothschild giraffes, lions, side-striped jackals, Nile crocodiles, spotted hyenas, monitor lizards, hippos, Bohor reedbucks, Defassa waterbucks, bushbucks, Jackson’s Hartebeest, Uganda Kobs, & oribis, etc.
Primates to encounter living within Budongo and Rabongo Forest include patas monkeys, olive baboons, chimpanzees, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys.

Murchison Waterfalls
Murchison Waterfalls is where the park takes its name. It is a powerful waterfall, known for its thunderous roar as the water squeezes itself into the narrow rock measuring 7-8 meters before plunging 43 meters. Adjacent to Murchison Falls, there is a scenic Uhuru waterfall.

Bird species
Murchison Falls NP is an incredible birding location in Uganda, holding up to 451 bird species. The park supports a variety of birds including the African darters, Abdim’s stork, African skimmers, Abyssinian ground hornbills, African fish eagle, black crakes, black-billed barbet, Africa quail-finch, bar-breasted fire-finch, black-headed gondola, black-billed wood dove, black scimitar bill, black-lored babblers, blue-napped moosebirds, black-headed gonoleks, double-toothed barbets, dark chanting goshawks, Denham’s bustard, pied kingfishers, Eastern grey plantain eaters, fawn-breasted waxbill, malachite kingfishers, goliath herons, long-tailed nightjars, Northern carmine bee-eaters, secretary birds, grey-headed bush shrikes, martial eagle, long-toed plovers, pennant winged nightjars, Hugli’s green-winged pytilia, rock pratincole, red-winged grey warblers,
Speckled-fronted weavers, bluff-bellied warblers, Senegal thick-knee, saddle-billed storks, shoebills, sulfur-breasted bush shrikes, swamp flycatchers, squacco herons, white-backed night heron, white-rumped seed eaters, white-faced whistling ducks, spur-winger geese, spotted mourning thrush, sandpipers, sacred ibis, white African fish eagle, yellow-throated greenbul, veracious dove, white-rumped seed-eaters, yellow fronted tinker birds.
Exciting safari activities to do in Murchison Falls NP

Visit the top of the falls (Murchison Falls)
The top of the falls is often the first place tourists visit on the Murchison Falls National Park tour. The Nile River squeezes itself into a narrow gorge of 7-8m before it makes its way to Egypt.

Launch cruise to the base of the falls
A boat cruise or launch cruise excursion offers a great chance for you to explore the Victoria Nile River for 2-3 hours. This comes with an amazing view of the falls and aquatic life including the Nile crocodiles, hippos, and birds like goliath herons, saddle-billed storks, kingfishers, fish eagles, bee-eaters, and others.

Game drives
Murchison Falls NP offers incomparably remarkable game viewing experiences and takes you 2-3 hours to enjoy a morning or an afternoon game drive in this park. On a game drive, there are plenty of wildlife to be spotted at the comfort of your 4×4 safari car including elephants, spotted hyenas, the Rothschild giraffes, warthogs, leopards, lions, reedbucks, waterbucks, bushbucks, oribis, hartebeests and kobs, etc plus birds.

Fishing tours
Sport fishing excursions are conducted at the base of the Murchison Falls and Karuma waterfalls. These spots allow you to capture heavy Nile Perch that weighs more than 200 pounds. It is a challenging adventure but exciting when you finally capture your heaviest catch. For any enthusiastic anglers, Murchison Falls NP is a remarkable location to consider a must-visit for sport fishing in Uganda.

Bird watching
Birding opportunities in Murchison Falls NP are enormous. You can enjoy bird watching on a guided nature walk, game drive, and boat cruise. The park has plenty of interesting birds of birders’ interest on Uganda safaris including secretary bird, shoebill stork, African jacanas, Abdim’s stork, bar-breasted fire-finch, Abyssinian ground hornbills, bluff-bellied warblers, martial eagles, Denham’s bustards, grey crowned cranes, fawn-breasted waxbill, pennant-winged nightjars, red-winged grey warblers,
Swallow-tailed bee-eaters, white-browed sparrow weavers, yellow-billed stork, white-backed night herons, sulfur-breasted bush shrikes, Pel’s fishing owl, swamp flycatchers, long-tailed nightjars, Northern crombec, malachite kingfishers, black-headed gonoleks, silver birds, sacred ibis, pied kingfishers, and more.

Chimpanzee tracking
Budongo Forest located in the Southern side of Murchison Falls NP offers excellent and memorable chimpanzee tracking experiences. This is where more than 800 chimpanzees reside plus other primates which you will be encountering along the way. They include red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, forest galagos, black and white colobus monkeys, etc.

Hot air balloon
Hot air balloon tours in Uganda are limited to only 2 places including Murchison Falls National Park & Queen Elizabeth National park. Balloon tours offer outstanding aerial views of the park’s diverse animal species in the savanna’s grassland areas. Tourists can engage in the morning balloon session which comes with bush breakfast or afternoon/sunset.

Forest/nature walks
Nature or forest walks offer a close interaction with nature and are perfect for visitors who prefer educational experiences. The best part of Murchison Falls NP to experience a guided nature walk is the Rabongo and Budongo Forest. These are rich forest areas with primates, flora, and bird species.

Cultural experiences
Cultural visits are possible while in the adjacent communities and areas of interest include the Boom Women’s Group. This community group offers an actual rural African experience and remarkably, they have bandas in which visitors can spend a night.

When to visit Murchison Falls NP for wildlife tours
Wildlife tours in Murchison Falls N.P. can be done at any time of the day/year. The park enjoys favorable weather conditions all year round making it an ideal place to start your 2023 expedition. But the best time to visit it is during the dry season –from June to September or December to February. Being an all-year-round destination, it is possible to travel even during the wet months of the year: March, April, May or October, and November.

Murchison Falls NP safari lodges
Budget safari lodges
➢ Murchison Backpackers
➢ Boomu Women Bandas
➢ Red Chili Camp

Midrange safari lodges
➢ Budongo Eco-lodge
➢ Pakuba Safari Lodge
➢ Fort Murchison Lodge
➢ Sambiya River Lodge

Luxury accommodation
➢ Chobe Safari Lodge
➢ Nile Safari Lodge
➢ Paraa Safari Lodge
➢ Baker’s Lodge

Getting to Murchison Falls N/Park in Uganda
Access to Murchison Falls N/Park is possible by road or air. Traveling by road involves departing from Kampala via the Gulu highway about 5-6 hours drive in a full-time 4×4 safari vehicle. A flight can also be chartered or scheduled and you depart from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airfield to Chobe/Pakuba & Bugungu airstrip.

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Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda is one of the top visited parks in East Africa, providing outstanding wildlife safari experiences. This is Uganda’s 2nd biggest park, lying on the Western side of the country and its boundaries extend to cover the districts of Kasese, Rubirizi, Rukungiri, and Kamwenge.
Queen Elizabeth NP was gazetted in 1952 as Kazinga National Park and its name only changed in 1954 to the current name in remembrance of the late Queen Elizabeth II. The park lies at the border with Kibale National Park and comprises numerous game viewing locations including Maramagambo Forest, Kyambura Gorge, Kasenyi sector, Mweya peninsula, and Kazinga Channel.
The main attractions in Queen Elizabeth N/Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a special destination with unique attractions. The park features abundant wildlife, birds, unique vegetation, and landscape. ‘
More than 95 mammal species are contained within the different habitats of Queen Elizabeth N/P. These share the same habitat with over 620 bird species, reptiles, and amphibian species. The common wildlife that thrives within this park includes serval cats, Uganda Kobs, leopards, warthogs, waterbucks, forest pigs, topis, sitatungas, spotted hyenas, mongoose, jackals, buffaloes, elephants, lions, leopards, tree climbing lions also reside in this park and other wildlife species.
Primates to see on the Queen Elizabeth NP safari include the red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, and chimpanzees. These can be spotted on guided chimpanzee trekking or nature walks.

Queen Elizabeth N/Park has a record of 620 bird species and including woodland and aquatic species. The common birds to find on birding safari in this park include the black-bellied bustards, grey kestrels, hooded vultures, papyrus canary, scarlet-chested sunbird, blue-napped mousebirds, African wattled plovers, lesser and greater flamingos, slender tailed nightjars;
Verreaux’s eagle owl, yellow-throated cuckoos, yellow-wagtails, yellow-backed weavers, white-tailed lark, slender-billed storks, grey-headed kingfishers, knob-billed ducks, water thick-knee, spotted redshanks, swamp flycatchers, papyrus gonoleks, slender-billed storks, Eurasian wigeon, Chapin’s flycatchers, black bee-eaters, African harrier-hawks, African jacanas, African broadbill, African beautiful black-headed gonoleks, lesser and greater flamingos, open-billed stork, pin-tailed whydahs, brown snake eagles, bateleurs, African mourning doves, African fish eagles, and more.

The main attractions & activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one destination offering plenty of memorable safari activities or experiences. Some of the amazing activities to do include;
Game drives
Game drives offer over 95% chance for you to encounter Uganda’s most popular mammal species. The park is home to 95 mammal species and at the comfort of your 4×4 vehicle, you will be viewing wildlife species such as elephants, cape buffaloes, leopards, spotted hyenas, Uganda kobs, warthogs, and crossing to the Ishasha area- expect to see the tree climbing lions, topis, and others. The important game drive sessions to take part in Queen Elizabeth NP include the morning and afternoon.

Boat cruise
There is the morning and afternoon launch or boat cruise that you can participate in along the Kazinga channel. The extensive natural channel is known for its incredible views of aquatic life such as hippos, crocodiles, and birds. Kazinga channel connects Lake George and Lake Edward, and along its banks, many elephants and buffaloes can also be spotted.

Birding holiday in Queen Elizabeth NP exposes birds to a variety of birds that make it a preferred birding tour destination. They include migratory and resident birds including the shoebill storks, red-chested sunbirds, yellow wagtails, yellow-backed weavers, slender-billed storks, swamp flycatchers, saddle-billed storks, sedge warblers, gey kestrel, little stint, Knob-billed ducks, corncrakes, curlew sandpipers, African skimmers, bar-tailed Godwit, long-tailed cormorants, open billed storks, pink-backed pelicans, flamingos, water thick-knee, African jacanas, African harrier hawks, African broadbill, and more.

Chimpanzee tracking
Queen Elizabeth NP also provides the best chimpanzee trekking experiences. This primate adventure is enjoyable in Kyambura Gorge where habituated chimpanzee communities exist. This natural gorge is 100 meters deep and 500 meters wide, extending up to 16 km long. Besides chimpanzees, it holds other primates including the black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, colobus monkeys and plenty of reptiles.

Nature walks/forest walks
The best places to go nature walking/forest hiking in Queen Elizabeth NP include the Maramagambo Forest and the nearby Kalinzu Forest. The Maramagambo Forest contains a significant population of forest birds, primates- about 9 of them, and floral species. The primates of interest on Maramagambo Forest Reserve include bush babies, L’Hoest monkeys, chimpanzees, Red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, and more.

Wildlife research/conservation tours
If you are enthusiastic about wildlife conservation then embarking on lion tracking or mongoose tracking/hippo census should be a must-do on the Uganda tour in Queen Elizabeth NP. These are among the many experiential wildlife tours you should expect to enjoy while on a tour in this protected area.

Hot air balloon
Other than Masai Mara or Serengeti National Park, the other best place to enjoy a hot air balloon tour is Queen Elizabeth National Park or Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda. This entirely provides clear aerial views of wildlife including leopards, lions, elephants, antelopes, buffaloes, birds, and the breathtaking landscape of this charming park. The morning session begins at Kasenyi with a briefing and you set off for your aerial wildlife viewing expedition.

Cultural experience
There are many communities located adjacent to the park that offer authentic cultural experiences. These include the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Group, Kasoga cultural experience, Nyanz’ibiri cave community, Katwe village walk, Leopard village, and others.
Best time to visit the park for a holiday
The best months of the year to visit Queen Elizabeth NP run from June to September or December to February. These months are excellent for game-viewing experiences as it is minimal or no rain recorded. The wet season often comes with remarkable birding opportunities, especially if you are interested in migratory bird species.
The park accommodation facilities

Budget safari lodges/hotels
➢ Topi Lodge
➢ Kazinga Channel View Resort
➢ Pumba Safari Cottages
➢ Simba Safari Camp
➢ Irungu Forest Safari Lodge & Campsite
➢ Tembo Safari Lodge
➢ Queen Elizabeth Safari Camp

Midrange lodges
➢ Enganzi Game Lodge
➢ Bush Lodge
➢ Ishasha Jungle Lodge
➢ Mbogo Lodge
➢ Enjojo Lodge
➢ Buffalo Safari Lodge

Luxury accommodation option
➢ Ishasha Wilderness Camp
➢ Mweya Safari Lodge
➢ Kyambura Game Lodge
➢ Kasenyi Safari Camp
➢ Katara Safari Lodge
➢ Jacana Safari Lodge
➢ Elephant Plains Lodge

How to get there
By road: Hire a car from a tour operator and you can go self-drive or have a driver who will take you to the park, starting your journey from Kampala via the Masaka-Mbarara-Bushenyi route or Kampala-Mubende-Fort Portal-Kasese route. By air: spend 1 hour on a charter or scheduled flight which sets off from Entebbe Airport to Mweya or Kasese airstrip.

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Nyungwe Forest National ark

Nyungwe Forest National ark

Nyungwe National Park is a beautiful Protected Area, protecting one of the oldest montane rainforests on the African Continent, and boasts of rich biodiversity, than ever witnessed in any other safari destination in Rwanda. Kibale Forest sprawls over 386 square miles (about 100,000 hectares), Nyungwe Forest National Park is popular for protecting the largest surviving tract of lush and raw montane rainforest in the East and Central African region. Nyungwe National Park sits within the southwestern side of Rwanda, where it forms a contiguous Forest Block with Burundi’s Kibira National Park.


Nyungwe forest was declared a Forest Reserve in 1933 by the German Colonial Government but the rise in population coupled with the encroachment on the Reserve’s borders greatly threatened its existence. For this reason, the Protected Area’s size reduced from the original 440 square miles to 393 square miles between 1958 and 1973. This was also the time Rwanda was undergoing political instability due to Civil Wars. However, research studies were started between the 1970s and 1980s and this also led to the establishment of buffer zones to mark-off boundaries with local communities. Serious reconstruction initiatives started in 1995 to develop a number of infrastructures and in 2004, Nyungwe Forest was declared a National Park making it the third National Park in the country at the time.


Nyungwe National Park is made up of beautiful forest cover but with varying vegetation types. The change in altitude has a great effect on the varying vegetation zones whereby between 1900 and 2250 meters above sea level, the tallest tree species such as Newtonia, Carapa, and Cyathea Manniana are found. Between 2250 and 2500 meters above sea level, species such as Symphonia, Polycscias, and some Newtonia are found, and beyond 2500 meters above sea level are the Alpine vegetation like Shrubs and Bamboo.

Attractions of Nyungwe National Park


A total of over 1100 plant species are found in Nyungwe Forest National Park and of these, there are over 200 species of trees and about 140 orchids. Interestingly, 24 of these plant species are endemic to the Albertine Rift region and they include the rare Begonia pulcherrima among others.


Nyungwe Forest National Park has over 96 mammal species which include 63 different species of rodents and bats, and 13 species of primates (that include chimpanzees, L’Hoests monkeys, Hamlyn’s monkeys, blue monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, the Rwenzori Colobus monkeys, and Olive baboons among others). It will interest you to know that over 16 mammals here are endemic, 5 are categorized as threatened by IUCN. Also present in this Park are over 30 Amphibian and reptile species.


Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the best Birding Areas in the African Continent, especially for birders interested in sighting the Albertine Rift endemics and forest species. Of the 300 species of birds in Nyungwe, 26 species are Albertine Rift endemics. Some of the must-see species are Mountain masked Apalis, Red-collared mountain babbler, handsome francolin, black and white hornbills, Collared Apalis, Chapin’s flycatcher, Regal sunbirds, Strange weavers, Rwenzori batis, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Rwenzori Turaco, to mention but a few.

Other natural features such as waterfalls (such as the Isumo waterfalls), and wetlands (Kamiranzovu) add to the beauty of Nyungwe Forest National Park, hence must-see during guided walks.

Tourist Activities in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Chimpanzee tracking

Chimpanzee tracking is the main tourist activity offered in Nyungwe Forest National Park, and this has been made possible by the presence of over 500 chimpanzees and research studies- habituation, where two chimpanzee communities are open. Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe is done in two sessions- Morning and afternoon and only visitors aged 12 years and above are allowed to trek a particular community and spend one hour.

Monkey tracking

Another primate tracking adventure offered in Nyungwe Forest National Park is the tracking of different monkey species. This Park is a haven for Rwenzori colobus monkeys, L’Hoests monkeys, blue monkeys, and owl-faced monkeys among others which can be tracked during your visit to this Park. Just like most activities in the Park, you will meet at the visitor center for a briefing before joining the trailhead to track the monkeys.

The Nyungwe Canopy walk

Few places in Africa offer the canopy walk and Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of them. Visitors are given the chance to explore the 200-meter-long walkway which is suspended between the higher slopes and tall trees (about 1 kilometer from Uwinka) and over 40 meters above the ground. This adventure is a wonderful opportunity to watch different tree species, primates, birds, and other attractions of the Park.

Bird watching

It’s no brainer that Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the best birding spots in Rwanda. While on your birding adventure, expect to sight at least one of the 26 Albertine Rift endemics, 11 Guinea-Congo forest species, 71 Afro-tropical highland Biome species and so much more. The unmissable birding trails to try for the best sightings are Gisakura, Karamba, and Bigugu where the Rockefellers’ sunbirds, Kivu ground thrush, Grauer’s swamp warblers, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Rwenzori Turaco, handsome francolin, Purple-breasted sunbirds, and Rwenzori batis are common.

Guided Forest walks/ Hiking

There are so far 15 renowned and well-maintained hiking trails in Nyungwe Forest National Park and these lead visitors through the forest to sight different species of wildlife, birds, waterfalls, and outstanding tree species. The trails are Bigugu, Karamba, Buhoro, Rukuzi, the Congo-Nile Divide, Kamiranzovu, Umuyove, Uwinka Trail, Irebero, Umugote, Muzimu, Isumo waterfall trail, Imbaraga, Igishigishigi, Ngabwe, and others.

Community tours

Community walks around Nyungwe Forest National Park involve visiting the Banda Community Village, Cyamundo Culture Group, Kitabi Cultural Village, or the Friends of Nyungwe Troops whereby travelers get an insight into how traditional meals are prepared, locals tend to their gardens or rear cattle among others.

When to visit Nyungwe National Park

When to visit Nyungwe National Park depends on your personal interest, budget, and time factor but one thing for sure is that this Park is open all year round. However, certain months are considered ideal and these are January, February, May, June, July, August, September, and December because they are the drier months, marked by reduced precipitation levels. For this reason, forest trails and Park roads are drier, less muddy or slippery, and the vegetation cover is sparser. This makes them peak months for chimpanzee treks, primate walks and hiking.

On the other hand, certain months like March, April, October and November are avoided because they are wet months marked by heavier rainfall, denser vegetation, and muddier or slippery trails/Park roads hence making them “unfavorable” for certain activities. However, this doesn’t mean that the activities aren’t possible. All activities can be undertaken and also given the effects of climate change and the nature of Nyungwe’s vegetation (predominantly rainforest), it becomes difficult to predict the weather.


For a comfortable and unforgettable stay when discovering Nyungwe Forest National Park, travelers are recommended to stay at One & Only Nyungwe House, Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel and Gisakura Guesthouse among others.

Getting to Nyungwe National Park

Nyungwe National Park is in the southwest of Rwanda, approximately 217 kilometers from Kigali City and can be accessed by air or road transport. For the latter, a good 4WD Vehicle is recommended. You can use private means (Car rental, or personal car), but if you opt for public means, it is advisable to use an early morning bus from Nyabugogo Bus station (Kigali) to Rusizi and this takes about 7-8 hours.

For Car Rentals, there are a number of reputable Car hire Companies or tour operators that you can use within Kigali.

For air, a helicopter charter can be arranged from Kigali International Airport to Nyungwe Forest National Park and this lasts about 40 minutes.




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Kibale Forest National park

Kibale Forest National park

Kibale Forest National Park is one of the most popular National Parks in Uganda, known for sheltering the country’s highest-ever-recorded species of primates. For most travelers who hope to meet face-to-face with the chimpanzees in their natural habitat, this Park is usually the first destination of choice. Kibale Forest National Park is situated in the western part of Uganda, protecting one of the largest tracts of Tropical rainforest between altitudes of 1100 and 1600 meters above sea level. The verdant Protected Area is just a stone’s throw from the beautiful Ndali-Kasenda Crater Area and only a 2-4 hours’ drive to Queen Elizabeth (depending on the route used) or about 3-4 hours from the Rwenzori Mountains and Semliki National Parks, and the extraordinary Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.

Size and vegetation
Kibale Forest National Park encompasses an area of about 79500 hectares, making it one of the largest Tropical rainforests in the country. It mainly protects the moist evergreen rainforest (which makes up 75% of the vegetation). The Grassland savannah only shows up on tops and ridges, and it will surprise you to know that this Park is one of the last remaining areas protecting both lowland and montane rainforests in the East African region.
Kibale Forest National Park makes a continuous forest with the popular Queen Elizabeth National Park, creating a 180-kilometer wildlife corridor.

Kibale was first gazetted into a Forest Reserve in 1932, then gained its “National Park” status in 1993. The main aim of gazetting the area was to protect a vast area of forest that was initially managed as a logged Forest Reserve, and also to offer refuge to its incredibly rich biodiversity of montane and lowland forests.
Attractions of Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is one of the rawest and most diverse ecology settings within the African Continent, and the richness of its diversity is one of the reasons why thousands of travelers choose to visit it each year.
It is here that the country’s highest diversity and concentration of primate species are found and it is for this reason that it was christened the “Primate Capital of the World”. Interestingly, at least half of this Park’s 13 different primate species can be spotted during a single trip. About 1500 of the country’s 5000 chimpanzees live in Kibale Forest National Park alone.
A number of chimpanzee communities in Kibale Forest National Park are well-studied and habituated for tourism hence making it the most preferred destination for chimpanzee trekking adventures.
Aside from Chimpanzees, Olive baboons, L’Hoests monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, the Ugandan red colobus monkeys (procolobus tephrosceles), the rare nocturnal Pottos, the rare Grey-cheeked mangabey, blue monkeys, and the nocturnal bush babies also call the Tropical rainforests of Kibale home.
Other wildlife species found in Kibale Forest National Park are the forest elephants, giant forest hogs, African golden cats, bush pigs, Forest buffaloes, bushbucks, serval cats, common warthogs, Otters, Mongoose, blue and red duikers, and Sitatunga among others.

Bird species
It can’t go without mention that Kibale Forest National Park is one of the 33 documented Important Bird Areas in Uganda, boasting over 375 species of birds of which 6 are endemic to the Albertine rift Valley, others to the Congo-Guinea Biome, while some are only found in this Park. While the Green-breasted Pitta is the most sought-after bird in Kibale Forest, other species to look-out for include African pitta, Abyssinian ground thrush, black-eared ground thrush, Brown-chested alethe, Black-capped Apalis, Black bee-eater, Blue-breasted kingfisher, black bee-eaters, blue-headed sunbird, crowned eagle, Dusky Crimsonwing, blue breasted kingfishers, Eastern Nicator, yellow spotted nicator, Olive long-tailed Cuckoo, western tinkerbird, little greenbuls, red-faced woodland warbler, Purple-breasted sunbird, Lowland-masked Apalis, Yellow-rumped tinkerbird, , yellow rumped tinker bird, to mention but a few.

Activities & Attractions

Chimpanzee trekking and Habituation Experience
Kibale Forest National Park is always travelers’ first choice for tracking and seeing mankind’s closest relatives of the animal Kingdom. Travelers go through 1-4 hours of searching for the chimps (on-foot tracking), before finally spending quality time with them.
Chimpanzee treks in Kibale Forest National Park are conducted in two sessions- morning and afternoon sessions, but each starts with registration and briefing at the Park Headquarters (Kanyanchu Reception Center). This is followed by allocation into any of the chimpanzee communities, then walking for several hours before finally seeing the Great Apes.
Participants have to be 12 years and physically fit for the long walks through the jungles. Chimpanzee permits cost only $200 and only 6 persons can trek each habituated chimpanzee community in Kibale Forest National Park. However, there is also an option of spending an entire day with chimpanzees as they undergo habituation through the famous “chimpanzee Habituation Experience”, but a permit costly slightly higher- $250 per person.

Cultural tours
The Batoro and Bakiga are the two major Tribes around Kibale Forest National Park and spending a few hours in their midst will introduce you to their exceptional ways of life, food, cultural dances, unique architectural designs, and others. Get the chance to learn about local medicines from the traditional healer, visit the nearby school, health centers, and other projects established from community tourism initiatives like in Bigodi.

Bird watching
Kibale Forest National Park is an Important Bird Area that shelters over 375 bird species. Birders are offered the chance to walk through any of the well-maintained forest birding trails or view from the raised platforms and boardwalk. Look out for the green-breasted pitta, Purple-breasted sunbird, white-bellied crested flycatcher, grey-throated flycatcher, red-winged francolin, African Pitta, black-capped Apalis, grey-winged robin, red-faced woodland warbler, woodland warbler, Black bee-eater, Abyssinian ground thrush, to mention but a few. Birding is done all year round, but the wet months offer better sighting, as flowers blossom and it’s the breeding season.

Guided forest walks
Undertaking guided forest walks is a wonderful way to see other primates, butterflies, Amphibians, unique tree and plant species, and reptiles that call Kibale Forest National Park home. Travelers have recorded success in encountering forest elephants, bushbucks, Sitatunga, duikers, and sometimes snake species during the daily guided walks. Night guided walks increase chances of sighting leopards, bushbabies, Pottos, and tree hyraxes among others.

When to visit Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park can be visited all year but different seasons offer different challenges and opportunities. While this is majorly a Tropical rainforest, the Northern part is considerably wetter and receives an average rainfall of 1700 millimeters per year. However, the overall wet months are March, April, May, September, and November, and these make trails wetter and muddy hence avoided by travelers. Surprisingly, chimpanzees have more food during the wet months and thus are easier to sight. The peak for most activities is the dry season months of January, February, June, July, August, and December when the average temperature is 25˚C. During these months, trails are drier due to reduced rainfall.

Where to stay

A number of accommodation facilities have been set up around Kibale Forest National Park, to make it easier and effortless for travelers to explore this stunning Protected Area. Some are just a stone’s throw from the Park, others around Fort Portal, and some in the Bigodi Area. These are Primate Lodge, Crater Safari Lodge, Kibale Forest Camp, Kibale Forest Lodge, Ndali Lodge, Kyaninga Safari Lodge, Papaya Lake Lodge, Mountains of the Moon Hotel, Nyinabulitwa Resort, and Safari Camp, Chimps’ Nest, Aramaga Rift Valley Lodge, Kanyanchu River Camp, Sebitoli Campsite, Lake Nkuruba Nature Reserve, to mention but a few.

Getting to Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale National Park is found in the western part of Uganda and the southeast of Fort Portal. This Park is accessed by air and road. For the latter, you can use two routes from Kampala. The first is Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara- Fort Portal then to the Park, taking 6-7 hours. The most popular is Kampala-Mityana-Mubende-Fort Portal to its Northern side, taking 5-6 hours. For air, travelers fly from Entebbe International Airport/Kajjansi Airstrip to Kasese Airstrip, then continue (2 hours) to Kibale Forest by road.

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Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park

Akagera is one of the four National Parks, and undoubtedly one of the unmissable safari destinations in Rwanda. For big game safaris and unmatched wilderness experiences, this Protected Area is the answer. Akagera National Park at the Eastern side of Rwanda is beautiful Akagera National Park extending for over 433 square miles/112200 hectares and is one of the country’s most renowned safari destinations. At the time it was gazetted, this Park covered an area of 965 square miles but due to several years of encroachment, it has tremendously reduced in size.

Vegetation of Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park’s 433-square mile size protects a typical African savannah ecosystem with acacia species and bushlands that are dotted with open grassland and dozens of swampy vegetation. It also has a complex system of Lakes and connecting Papyrus swamps that make it Central Africa’s largest protected wetland and the last remaining refuge for savannah-adapted species in the country. There are also montane forests, woodlands, and Rivers (Kagera River that drains through the Park along its Eastern boundary with Tanzania).

Akagera became a National Park in 1934 and was named after the Kagera River that drains through the eastern border of Rwanda with Tanzania, into Lake Ihema and other smaller Lakes.
Like most African Protected Areas, Akagera National Park has suffered a number of conservation setbacks such as encroachment into its boundaries, poaching, civil wars, and animal extinction. However, partnerships between the Rwandan Government and different International Conservation Organizations have been fundamental in the restoration of this Park to its former glory. In so doing, the wildlife that once called this Park home like the lions, Black and white Rhinos, Masai giraffes and many others have been re-introduced through the years. The year 2010 also saw Rwanda Development Board enter into a 20-year renewable agreement with the African Parks network for the effective and sustainable management of Akagera National Park.

Akagera National Park attractions
The diverse vegetation of Akagera National Park shelters different wildlife species, and a number of bird species, which are fundamental to the beauty and attractiveness of Akagera National Park
Akagera’s vast savannah plains, stunning rolling hills, and wetland-fringed Lakes are home to lots of wildlife species, many of which only live here and nowhere else in the country. It’s only here that you will see the big five game (Rhinos, leopards, buffaloes, lions, and elephants). Also sheltered in this National Park are bushbucks, serval cats, zebras, Duikers, mongoose, elands, olive baboons, Masai giraffes, Impalas, Defassa waterbucks, Klipspringer, side-striped jackals, Hippos, Topis, warthogs, blue monkeys, Roan antelopes Bohor reedbucks, vervet monkeys spotted hyenas, Oribis, to mention but a few.

Bird species
Akagera National Park’s savannah, montane forests, Bushlands, woodlands, wetlands, Lakes and other ecosystems offer shelter to over 500 species of birds. These include African fish eagles, papyrus gonolek, grey-crowned cranes, red-faced barbets, Hadada Ibis, Senegal Lapwings, Water thick-knee, giant kingfishers, grey-backed Fiscals, Hammerkop, Lilac-breasted rollers, Bateleur, Ross Turaco, African harrier hawks, pied crows, Long-crested Eagles, shoebill storks, , swamp flycatcher, Pied crows, African wattled plovers, to mention but a few.

Stunning Lakes
While most travelers are drawn to the diverse wildlife and bird species of Akagera National Park, the photographers are nature lovers cant resists the stunning Lakes. The Park’s swamp-fringed Lakes are simply unmissable. Lake Ihema is the largest Lake in this Park and surprisingly the second largest in the country. This is where boat cruises are undertaken. Other beautiful Lakes are Shakani, Rwanyakazinga, Gishanju and Mihindi among others.

Exciting Tourist activities in Akagera National Park

Hot air balloon Tours
Introduced in January 2022, Hot air balloon tours in Akagera National Park are operated by Royal Balloons and offer visitors the opportunity to explore the beauty of this Park. With this activity, it is possible to take in the scenic views of the different ecosystems- Lakes, Plains, savannah, and forests along with the animals. This is one of the ways to reach some of the remote areas that aren’t reachable through other activities such as game drives and nature walks.

Game drives
Another amazing way to discover the beauty of Akagera National Park is undertaking a game drive through some of the well-maintained game tracks to see the majestic zebras, lions, Masai giraffes, impalas, Topis, Kobs, leopards, Rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, and many others.
Early morning and evening/night game drives introduce you to nocturnal wildlife such as serval cats, leopards, jackals, spotted hyenas, and lions. Other unmissable species are giant elands, bushbucks, Roan antelopes, Defassa waterbucks, warthogs, Oribis, and Mongoose, mostly spotted during day game drives.

Boat cruises
The best way to see the Hippos and Crocodiles of Akagera National Park is by taking part in Boat Cruises, conducted on Lake Ihema, the largest Lake in the Park. During this 3-4 hours’ boat cruise, you will also see herds of Elephants, Cape buffaloes, and antelopes, as well as bird species such as papyrus gonolek, African fish eagles, pelicans, Malachite Kingfishers, Hammerkop, giant and Pied Kingfishers, to mention but a few.

Guided bush walks
There is no better way to get up close to nature and see the smaller creatures of Akagera National Park than undertaking bush walks. In so doing, lots of bird species, smaller wildlife species, butterflies, and outstanding plant species will be spotted during the bush walks. Don’t worry about safety because the activity is undertaken in the presence of an armed Park Ranger and an experienced guide.

With the highest ever-recorded bird species in the country, Akagera National Park is simply unmissable during birding tours. Don’t be surprised to see at least half the Park’s bird species in a single birding trip. Always look out for the shoebill storks, Senegal Lapwings, Papyrus gonolek, long-tailed Cisticola, giant and pied kingfishers, grey-crowned cranes, swamp flycatchers, African fish eagles, red-faced barbets, African jacana, Herons, Long-crested Eagles, Pelicans, Pied crows, Grey-crowned cranes, to mention but a few.

Sport fishing
Are you interested in sport fishing during your Rwanda safari and wondering how to go about it? This is possible within Akagera National Park and it is done in Lake Shakani. Cat fish and Tilapia, are the mostly caught species here but as you go about your activity, expect surprise visits from the Hippos, and antelopes.

Bush Camping
While Camping is a form of accommodation, it is also an adventure for many travelers as a way of experiencing the wilderness. Unforgettable experiences can be derived from any of the three Campsites and guests are provided basic facilities like running water, flush toilets, and solar-heated showers. Camping is provided while providing views of the rolling grassland hills, stunning Lakes, and savannah plains.

Community visits
Visiting the communities around Akagera National Park provide an insight into the culture of typical Rwandan rural areas, and these are centered around cattle rearing, local beer production, arts and crafts, preparation and savoring on traditional food as well as festivities. Our visitors get the chance to visit the Imigongo Art and Craft Center to learn about the heritage of the people (cattle rearing). Here, there is a chance to see how cows are milked locally, banana beer brewing, and honey harvesting, to mention but a few.

Helicopter Tours
Conducted by Akagera Aviation, the Helicopter tour start from Kigali International Airport and explores the country’s countryside to Akagera National Park while providing aerial view of the Park’s diverse vegetation, wildlife and so much more.

When to visit Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park has few but remarkable accommodation options that include Magashi Camp, Akagera Game Lodge, Ruzizi Tented Lodge, Karenge Bush Camp, Dereva Hotel, and Campsites (Shakani, Mutumba). Other places of stay worth trying are far from the Park and they include Umubano Hotel, Manor Hotel, and Cari Hotel among others.

Getting there
Set in the Eastern part of Rwanda, about 120 kilometers/two and a half hours’ drive from Kigali City is Akagera National Park. This is the most accessible Park in the country and because of this, day excursions are possible for travelers limited by time. Akagera is currently mainly accessed by Road transport because there are no domestic flights to the Park, although charter Helicopter transfers can be arranged (provided by Akagera Aviation, lasting only 22 minutes).

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