National Parks and Reserves in Uganda
Katonga is a little-known, low-key wildlife reserve about 270km/168mi (five to six hours drive) east of the city of Kampala. Efforts to better protect the park against poaching are slowly restoring the animal population. Several antelope species are easily seen, including the Uganda kob. The rare, marsh-dwelling sitatunga antelope can sometimes be spotted as well, as can hippo and otter. There are no roads for vehicle safaris, so the park is best explored on foot.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects the highest parts of the 120km-long and 65km-wide Rwenzori mountain range. The national park hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation.
The Rwenzoris are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination.
At 4,000km² Mt. Elgon has the largest volcanic base in the world. Located on the Uganda-Kenya border it is also the oldest and largest solitary, volcanic mountain in East Africa. Its vast form, 80km in diameter, rises more than 3,000m above the surrounding plains. The mountain’s cool heights offer respite from the hot plains below, with the higher altitudes providing a refuge for flora and fauna.
Mount Elgon National Park is home to over 300 species of birds, including the endangered Lammergeyer.
Budongo Forest is home to two ecotourism sites: Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro. Kaniyo Pabidi is en route to Murchison Falls (and in fact now falls into the greater Murchison Falls Conservation Area) and offers excellent chimpanzee trekking. Busingiro is home to the Royal Mile, one of the top bird-watching tracks in the country. The forest is also a good place to see other primates including black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkey. Birds and butterflies are abundant.
The Semuliki Valley is mainly of interest to bird watchers. The reserve has an impressive checklist, which includes many birding specials. Other attractions are the hot springs at Sempaya and a Pygmy village in the adjacent Semuliki National Park. The only lodge in the reserve offers a very exclusive bush experience with guided activities.