Beyond the Big Five : In the center of Africa lies undomesticated Uganda’s nature and marvellous beast world. A Ugandan safari has something more than African big five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffaloes. It reveals a world of exotic, intriguing safaris beyond the ordinary. In this article, we shall traverse the beautiful environs of the pearl of Africa revealing the concealed wonders in a variety of species surpassing the big five.
The nation Uganda which is commonly known as ‘Pearl of Africa’ under the leadership of Mr. Winston Churchill includes variety ecosystems from forests to water falls. The variety of the landscape makes it a home for many species of animals some of which are only found in Kenya. Although famous for its “Big Five”, Uganda has other natural delights that every nature lover will admire.
- Mountain Gorillas: The most unique primate safari.
Imagine among a family of mountain gorillas, the biggest among the great apes, browsing among thick foliage of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Uganda offers one of the world’s most enchanting and intimate wildlife encounters: gorilla trekking.
However, for those who still long for an ultimate adventure in the heartlands of Africa, trekking through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is worth every effort and dollar spent. Using experienced trackers, you will push your way through thick vegetation until standing in front of a soft-natured bull. There is a real bond between people and their close cousins – gorillas-the fact in itself emphasizes the need for gorilla protection.
The mountain gorillas number fewer than 1000, which makes the possibility of an encounter uncommon. It is a tough trek, but its reward is beyond words. Seeing these amazing creatures in their own natural setting, as impressive and breath taking as it is will just be one of those unforgettable moments you’d always carry along with you. You are going to remember so much about those soft eyes, sweet gestures and the music of that forest for life.
- Tree-Climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Southwest Uganda has a wilderness called Queen Elizabeth National Park which blends open savannas with dense forests. Those famous with a tree climbing lions population. Surprisingly, these lions have started behaving differently by sitting on top of an acacia tree or fig.
However, experts continue to debate the underlying causes of such strange behavior. Some hold that this is just another strategy for avoiding the dreaded tsetse flies on the ground; yet other argue that this works as a superior tactic for locating prey. The reasons are not important. However, it is worth capturing some pictures of these magnificent cats resting on tree branches.
To see these arboreal lions, you had better visit the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National park in Uganda. While driving in this area your attention shall constantly remain focused on the tree tops in a search for these majestic feline’s.
- The Birding Paradise of Uganda
Uganda is like heaven for avir birdwatchers with plenty bird species. Insects alone offer the country more than 1,000 species of birds, ranking it among the best places for birding on a global scale. In as far as Uganda is concerned, this country has an amazing birdlife from the colourful and melodious southern red bishop to the enigmatic and ancient looking shoebill stork.
For passionate birders, a trip to Murchison Falls National Park has to be included in their itinerary. It has several species of aquatic birds, like the Goliath heron and African fish eagle. On the other hand, Kibale National Park has many species of forest bird such as the green-breasted pitta and African pitta.
You should consider hiring local guides that are proficient enough to identify different type of bird species from their cries or movements. Ready to enjoy the orchestration of voices and visuals of Uganda’s birdlife?
- The Enigmatic Shoebill Stork: A Living Dinosaur
The shoebill, which is one of the peculiar birdlife in Uganda, ranks among the most captivating ancient-looking creatures. This huge bird is commonly known as the “whale-necked stork” and is indeed a true living fossil of the dinosaur era. The bird is quite famous for its humungous bill that resembles a shoe, and can be seen feeding on fishes from the wetlands or marshes where it lives.
To find the African shoebill stork outside, visit the Mabamba swamp which is close to the shores of Lake Victoria. In this area, you will take a canoe trip through the peaceful wetlands of papyrus where a local experienced guide will assist you show the amazing birds. Encountering a shoebill stork in the wild is an experience that will remain etched in one’s memory because these notorious creatures are said to be difficult to spot.
- Kibale National Park: The Realm of Primates
Kibale National Park deserves its name as Primates capital of the world for a good reason. Chimpanzee with their mischievous but endearing nature are a common sight in this luxurious rainforest that boasts up to thirteen species of primates.
The chimps tracking in Kibale is actually involving. And as you walk into the forest with competent guides, you’ll be greeted by the distant screams of chimpanzees who are swinging on tree tops. At times, you will be lucky enough to see how complicated are their patterns of communication and remarkable acrobatics performed while moving in the canopy.
The park is also home of the endangered red Colobus monkey as well as the rare L’Hoest’s monkey; primatologists must consider this an ultimate paradise. While in Kibale, take part in ‘habituation’ experiences that gives you longer hours with these beautiful primates so as to understand their daily life activities.
- The Hippos of Kazinga Channel
Queen Elizabeth National Park also boasts of a spectacular scenery, the 40 km long Kazinga channel that hosts wild animals and birds as well. The residents of Wamba include huge-looking hippos that wallow on muddy beaches or laze around shallow waters.
One can take boating in the Kasinje Channel and witness how these semi-aquatic beasts go about their day today. For instance, as you sail down the channel you will notice hippos wrestling with each other and if you are very fortunate enough, you might even catch one yawning and display its massive tusk teeth.
- The Elusive African Shoebill Stork
The African shoebill stork is an enigmatic bird that is larger than life. This isolated and old-looking species of bird has a gigantic beak that looks like footwear, and they present themselves in a somewhat aristocratic way as though they are sculptures.
One of the finest locations to see this mysterious animal within the borders of Uganda is the Mabamba Swamp on the coastline of Lake Victoria. You can take a canoe safari and go directly into the middle of where the shoe-bills are found. Be on the lookout for the shape of this splendid creature outlining itself against the wetland as you move through submerged channels.
In addition, there is nothing more fulfilling and exciting than seeing the African shoebill stork in its actual habitat of the natural wilderness. This confirms Uganda’s position of being among the world’s most sought after hotspots for biodiversity and an ever-surprising destination for nature lovers worldwide.
The wilds of Uganda present more than just your typical safari adventure. The Big Five are attractive; however, they pale in comparison to the unusual wildlife excursions like face-to-face encounters with mountain gorillas and encountering the ancient grace of the Shoe Bill Stork that make a safari in Uganda unforgettable for every
In Uganda, anyone can hear gold calling from behind a bush or out of a lake or a distant tree. It’s a land that straddles the boundary between people and animals in such a mystical way that its visitors are left deeply aware that all life is one.
If you are planning to go for another trip, try moving away from the big five and traveling to Uganda this time. Allow Australia’s rare species of animals and plants to be the most inspiring wildlife encounters that your open your mind and make you aware of what nature can offer and how important it is to conserve natural heritage sites. Uganda is waiting for you to open its mysteries and define a new approach to safari adventures