There are few, very few, countries in Africa where you can be on safari seeing big game one day and then mountain gorillas the next day. Add to that the allure of Lake Victoria, the continent’s largest and main source of the River Nile, and you have a destination ripe for exploration. With its unspoilt rainforest, thundering Murchison’s Falls, and plentiful wildlife, Uganda is rightfully called “The Pearl of Africa.” But nothing beats the thrill of pursuing mountain gorillas through the lush greenery of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, one of the species’ last remaining safe havens.
Tucked away in the Uganda gorilla trekking southwest corner lies the UNESCO-enshrined Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, two reserves yet to become household names despite an estimated 400 mountain gorillas. Split between 14 different habituated groups comprises around half the world’s remaining species population.
While Uganda’s primary draw is its primates, Queen Elizabeth National Park also features shy sitatunga, large herds of Uganda kob, spotted hyena, and leopard. Lions can be spotted in Ishasha, chimpanzees can be found in Kibale, and the Kazinga Channel is teeming with elephants, hippos, and waterbirds. Jinja is the Nile’s source, and Murchison Falls National Park has breathtaking cascades and some of Africa’s most exciting white water. Uganda, known as the “Pearl of Africa,” provides far more than just primates.
Elsewhere, white rhinos can be seen at Ziwa Sanctuary on route to the lions of Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest. Named after the cascade that sees the nascent Nile plunging 43 metres through a gorge just seven metres wide, it is also home to bush elephant, kob antelope and rare Rothschild’s giraffe, and 450 different bird species.