The Top Five Least Visited Uganda National Parks : When it comes to safaris in Uganda, popular destinations like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and Murchison Falls National Park typically make the majority of travelers’ bucket lists, while others go unexplored. Uganda, with a variety of tourist sites and attractions, is one of East Africa’s top tourist destinations.
Along with the aforementioned parks that receive the most visitors each year, Uganda also has a number of lesser-known locations that provide exceptional wilderness experiences. You can find out what the world is missing from these stunning locations by going on a safari to one of Uganda’s least visited areas. In addition to other notable locations, Uganda has a total of 10 National Parks and 12 Wildlife Reserves, but these are the top 5 least visited tourist locations that you shouldn’t skip visiting.
- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Unquestionably the smallest of the ten national parks in Uganda, Mgahinga National Park is situated in the far southwest of the country in the Kisoro District, not far from the country’s borders with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The 33.7 sq. km. park is one of Uganda’s least visited tourist destinations, but it is proud of its distinctive features, including the critically endangered mountain gorillas.
A section of mountain gorillas was the main reason Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was designated a national park in 1991. The strikingly beautiful golden monkeys are only found in Uganda, where many of them have already become accustomed to humans and are available for tracking. In addition, the park safeguards three of the eight Virunga Massifs’ extinct volcanoes, including Mount Sabyinyo, Muhabura, and Gahinga.
Expect life-changing experiences while on a safari in Uganda at Mgahinga National Park. You can participate in a variety of interesting activities, such as tracking golden monkeys, hiking the Batwa Cultural Trail, tracking mountain gorillas, birding, taking nature walks, and exploring the Garama Cave. You can enjoy the Batwa Trail or go on a birding walk as part of a 3-day Uganda gorilla tour to Mgahinga National Park, in addition to seeing gorillas in the wild. Nyakagezi is the only group that is trekked daily by a small group of 8 tourists on the gorilla tour in Mgahinga. It is simpler to reach Mgahinga Gorilla National Park by air or road for a safari vacation in Uganda.
By road transportation: The drive to the park from the main Kampala Capital City via Mbarara, Kabale, and Kisoro takes about 8 to 9 hours. Mgahinga is just a 3- to 4-hour drive from Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.
By air transportation: Entebbe International Airport, Kajjansi Airfield, and Kisoro Airstrip can be reached in less than an hour.
- Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park, which is home to over 441 bird species and one of the world’s hot springs called “Sempaya Hot Springs,” is located in Western Uganda’s Bundibugyo District. Despite its natural beauty, Semuliki National Park is one of Uganda’s least visited places. The park, which was founded in 1993 and covers an area of 220 square kilometers, is renowned for its wide variety of wildlife, including 374 butterflies, 53 mammal species, and 441 bird species, making it one of the top birding destinations in Uganda and East Africa.
The important wildlife and bird species that you shouldn’t miss while on a Uganda safari include buffalo, bush babies, crocodiles, leopards, hippos, and other species. The Shoebill stork, Black Coucal, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Red-necked Falcon, African Pygmy Goose, Greenwood Hoopoe, African Crane, Pennant Winged Nights, and Marsh Tchagra are just a few of the numerous bird species found in Semuliki NP.
- Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
Without a doubt, Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is the largest of all Uganda’s protected areas, but it is also the least visited and among the top five least popular. The reserve is located in northeastern Uganda, in the Greater Karamoja Regions, about nine to ten hours’ drive from the capital, Kampala. Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is undoubtedly a unique location that offers travelers authentic African wilderness experiences. African Lions, Leopards, Rothschild Giraffes, Kudus, Roan Antelope, Topis, Colobus Monkeys, and Vervet Monkeys are just a few of the diverse animal species found in this vast savanna reserve.
- Kidepo Valley National Park
A hidden gem of Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park is located in the far northeast, 10–12 hours’ drive from Kampala. Kidepo, which is best known as a genuine African wilderness, is one of the top five least visited places in Uganda because it is still largely unexplored.
Kidepo National Park is the third-largest National Park in the nation and was designated as an official Uganda National Park in 1962. It has a land area of 1442 square kilometers. Kidepo Valley National Park, home to 475 bird species and 80 mammal species, is a unique travel destination that is worthwhile to see on safaris in Uganda.
The vast savanna plains of Kidepo are home to a large concentration of animal species, including Rothschild giraffes, Zebras, Hyenas, and Jackals. Kidepo is famous for its breathtaking landscapes as well. Lions, Elephants, Cape Buffaloes, Reed Bucks, Aardwolves, and Cheetahs are some of the other animals. The park also is home to some of the bird species such as; Ostriches, African grey flycatchers, Long-tailed nightjars, White-faced scoop owls, White-billed weavers, Pygmy falcons, Black-breasted barbets, Greater kestrels, Northern carmine bee-eaters, Rufous chatter, Abyssinian rollers, Jackson’s hornbills, etc. In addition, it is renowned for having a unique vegetation cover made up of semi-desert shrubs, savanna grasslands, riparian woodland, and others.
The must-do activities in Kidepo Valley National Park include escorted game drives (during the morning, afternoon, and evening), bird watching, hiking, picnicking, and visiting Kanangorok hot springs. Camping is one of the additional activities, as is a cultural visit to the Karamojong or IK people on Mount Morungole.
- Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park, which is five to six hours’ drive from Kampala, the capital of Uganda, in the far east of the country, is unquestionably one of the top five least visited places. The park is home to the largest caldera in the world, whose peak, Wagagai, rises 4321 meters. The best reasons to go to Mount Elgon National Park are for fly fishing, game viewing, mountain climbing, or a hike to Sipi Falls.
The 1121-square-kilometer-long Mt. Elgon National Park in Uganda is a designated UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve. Over 300 bird species, including the endangered Lammergeier, African goshawk, White-chinned prinia, Blue flycatchers, Baglafetch weavers, Ross’s and Hartlaub’s turacos, etc., can also be found in Mt. Elgon National Park alone, in addition to mammals like forest elephants.