Uganda Safari And The Big 5 : The Big 5 refers to the five most sought-after animals for viewing on a safari in Uganda. These animals include the African elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, and rhinos.
Uganda is a fantastic destination for a safari experience to see the big five in their natural habitat and also has a diverse landscapes and an abundance of wildlife. There are 10 national parks in the country where wildlife safaris in search of the big five can take place.
- African Elephant
The African elephant is the largest land animal and can be found in various national parks in Uganda, such as Queen Elizabeth National Park , Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo valley national park.
These majestic Elephants are often spotted roaming the savannah or near water sources. Uganda is also home to forest elephants which can be seen in national parks including Kibale forest national park, Bwindi national park and also Mgahinga national park.
The largest population of elephants in Uganda can be encountered during a safari in Queen Elizabeth national park located in the south western part of the country.
There are differences between forest elephants and the African savannah elephants which include that forest elephant have straight tusks which point downwards while savannah elephant tusks are curved. Forest elephants are also smaller in size as compared to the savannah elephants.
Elephants in Uganda feed on grass, leaves, branches and twigs around the different national parks in the country.
The buffalo is known for its formidable appearance and can be observed in herds across Uganda’s national parks including Murchison falls national park, Kidepo valley national park, Queen Elizabeth national park.
Buffalos are often seen grazing around the grasslands or near waterways and also in muddy areas, making them a common sight during safaris in Uganda. They live in their herds and can also be spotted as solo animals during a wildlife safari.
Herds of buffalos are of two types and include the herd of females and the young ones while the male buffalos have bachelor herds. Both male and female buffalos have horns but the males are bigger in size as compared to the female buffalos.
The types of buffalos in Uganda include the savannah buffalos and forest buffalos. African buffalos are also referred to as cape buffalos.
Buffalos feed on grass and although they don’t look dangerous, they are very dangerous and can charge and kill when they sense danger.
Uganda is home to populations of lions, particularly in national parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo valley national park and Murchison Falls National Park.
Lions are known for their iconic presence and can be observed resting or hunting within their natural habitats. Tree climbing lions in particular are a unique sight to see during safaris in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park.
In Queen Elizabeth national park, tourists can enjoy an experiential form of tourism which is lion tracking and encounter the lions in the wild. Lions can be a little difficult to spot when exploring the national parks in Uganda but it is exciting when encountering them in their natural habitat as they feed, hunt, relaxing under tree shades or up in the tree branches.
They are known for their carnivorous nature and are also among the feared predators. Apart from what they hunt for themselves, lions are also known to steal kills from other predators in the wild like leopards among others.
Male lions have manes and are more vocal as compared to the female lions which can be seen during Uganda safaris.
The elusive leopard is another member of the Big 5 that can be found in Uganda around national parks such as Murchison falls national park, Queen Elizabeth national park and Kidepo valley national park. They can also be seen in Lake Mburo national park and Semuliki national park during safaris in Uganda.
Leopards are more challenging to spot during wildlife safaris in Uganda due to their solitary nature and nocturnal habits. They can be spotted in the wild by their dark rosette like spots on their bodies although they tend to camouflage in the savannah.
The kind of habitat for leopards around Uganda includes areas with dense vegetation and rocky outcrops. Leopards are known for their speed and for also being stealthy which makes it easy for them to catch their prey.
The leopards are also strong and good climbers and they can carry their prey up in the tree branches after making a kill. They are also good swimmers and can also eat fish and other reptiles.
Rhinos in Uganda can be seen during tours to the Zziwa rhino sanctuary located in Nakasongola district found on the way to Murchison falls national park.
The Zziwa rhino sanctuary is the only place in Uganda where rhinos can be seen during a safari and it completes the big 5 safari tour in Uganda. This is because rhinos in the national parks were killed in the 1970s in Uganda.
Tourists engage in rhino tracking tours around Zziwa rhino sanctuary and see the rhinos in the wild on foot accompanies by ranger guides. There are about 15 rhinos found at the sanctuary and they are closely monitored by the rangers.
The rhino tracking experience in Uganda costs 50 USD including entry fees and rhino tracking fees.
The cost of a Uganda safari to see the Big 5 typically includes accommodation, meals, transportation within the national parks, park entry fees, and the services of a professional guide. Additionally, some tour packages may also include activities such as game drives, boat cruises, and nature walks.
Park entrance fees for the national parks where the big five can be seen varies for adults and children and also for different nationalities such as foreign nonresidents, foreign residents, East African citizens.
In conclusion, Uganda offers an incredible opportunity to witness the Big 5 in their natural habitats, providing an unforgettable safari experience for wildlife enthusiasts.