There are few – very few – countries in Africa where you can catch sight of big game one day and mountain gorillas the next. 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.
Tucked into Uganda’s southwest corner lies the UNESCO-enshrined Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, two reserves yet to become household names despite the presence of an estimated 400 mountain gorillas. Split between 14 different habituated groups, together they comprise around half the world’s remaining population of the species.
Fit for a queen, Queen Elizabeth National Park and the adjoining Kibale National Park are known for their big game species. While their lakes are home to resident hippos and Nile crocodiles, their mix of savannah and open woodlands are also great places to spot forest elephant, lion, leopard and chimpanzee.
Elsewhere, white rhino 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, as well as 450 different bird species.