Reviews of Game Parks in Uganda

The reviews of the parks on this page are my own subjective opinions based on the limited time I was there. In each case, I indicate the dates I was in the park and I offer a short description. I also give each park a rating of "G" (Good); "VG" (Very Good) or "E" (Excellent).

Uganda:

I visited Uganda for ten days in September 2000, primarily to see the gorillas. Along the way, however, I stopped at two other game parks. The country of Uganda suffered years of turmoil and destruction in the 1970s and 1980s under the regime of Idi Amin and its aftermath. During this time, many animals were caught in the crossfire, shot for food, for profit or just for sport during a lawless time. Many species have never recovered and those that have are more wary of vehicles and people (and thus harder to see and photograph) than their counterparts in other countries. The good news is that Uganda today is stable and the country seems very much on the mend.

For general game viewing, Uganda probably should not be considered your first choice. Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa all have more richly varied wildlife and safari infrastructure. For the gorillas and bird watching, however, Uganda is clearly a prime destination.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Sept 4-8, 2000):    Rating: E

Although in recent years there has been an effort to attract bird watchers to the many unique species found in this area, Bwindi essentially is a one-dimensional park: gorillas. There are very few places in Africa where gorillas exist, and even fewer where they can be seen by tourists. Bwindi is one of the select few. Along the way, you might see some birds or monkeys high in the trees, but the gorillas are the only animals that you'll probably get to see up close. It is, however, worth the trip and worth all the effort trekking through the dense forest to see these magnificent creatures. For more details about the trek and the gorillas themselves, see the gorilla page. It's an experience that I highly recommend!

Lake Mburo National Park (Sept 3-4, 2000):    Rating: G

I chose to drive across the country (with a guide) from Entebbe to Bwindi, rather than flying. Along the way, I spent the night at Lake Mburo National Park. The only time I had in the park was late in the afternoon of my arrival and for a few hours the next morning before departing. The park is shared with local farmers so among the other animal sightings here, I saw a fair amount of cattle. As for the animals one comes to Africa to see, Lake Mburo does not have much to offer. During my time there, I saw only warthogs, buffalo, zebra, baboons and impala (interestingly, this is the only park in Uganda with impala). I would not consider this park a destination park, but if you're nearby it is worth seeing (and it was a great place for a night's stopover).

Queen Elizabeth National Park (Sept 8-11, 2000):    Rating: VG

Queen Elizabeth is a huge park (770 square miles) with landscapes that range from dormant volcanoes with crater lakes, grassy plains, rivers, swamps and dense forests. One of the great experiences was a boat trip on the Kazinga channel that connects Lake Edward to Lake George. Seeing Africa from a boat always offers a different and interesting perspective. Sightings in Queen Elizabeth Park included lions, hyenas, elephants, the Uganda kob, giant forest hogs, warthogs, bushbuck, waterbuck, buffalo, hippos and a great variety of birds (especially waterbirds along the Kazinga Channel). In addition, we stopped at a fishing village along the shores of Lake Edward. While in Queen Elizabeth Park I stayed at Mweya Safari Lodge, which was excellent.

For reviews of game parks in other countries see: Botswana Game Parks, Kenya Game Parks, Namibia Game Parks, South Africa Game Parks, Tanzania Game Parks, Canoe Safari in Zambia and Zimbabwe Game Parks.