Wildlife Game Drives in Uganda
Wildlife Game Drives in Uganda is one of the best safari experiences for any traveller with for endless encounter filled with great memories of the unexplored Uganda attractions. Everyone wants to catch that moment when the jungle law is applied, especially by the kings of the Savannah, the lions. What better way to catch the drama than on a wildlife game drive. Game viewing safari is a striking feature that is seen when you drive through Uganda’s wildlife national park and reserves. Given that Uganda is situated right on the middle point of the Eastern Savannah and Western jungle ecosystems, Uganda has excellent terrain for a wide variety of safaris, from traditional game drives through golden grassland seeking lion or elephant to strapping on your hiking boots and trekking through lush rainforest, you will may find that you have driven through thousands of acres of Savannah while enjoying the wildlife beginning at the main point of arrival in Entebbe, most safaris will head west to the broad belt of national parks that form the western border. Safari game drives in the national parks vary in length and distance, depending on individual preferences and depending on the availability of animals in the park. Game drives provide the best way to explore the numerous national parks in 4Wheel Safari vans, Land cruisers which are comfortable and with pop-up roof for game viewing while on safari
Wildlife Game viewing is one of the main highlights of a Uganda Safari and is the best way to enjoy a classical wildlife safari feeling. Safari game drives are one of the most popular ways to see wildlife in Uganda in the national parks, including Queen Elizabeth National Park, Toro-Semliki wildlife reserve, Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and Pian Upe wildlife reserve.
The Uganda National Parks consist of an ecosystem is renowned for its abundance of wildlife and while in these national parks, you will encounter the big four which include the Lions, Elephants, Buffaloes and Leopards. The Rhino can only be found in Ziwa Rhino sanctuary. Other numerous wildlife animals and birds can also be captivated by the vast beauty of the savanna, with its rolling hills and infinite horizon of the Uganda national parks.
Where the game drives in Uganda
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls National Park is Uganda’s largest national park with a variety of wildlife life with the most powerful waterfall in Africa along the River Nile which bisects flourishing Savannah, flanked by lush riverine woodlands, before bursting through a chasm in the Rift Valley escarpment to form the raging Murchison Falls. Murchison falls national park is located in the Southern of Uganda offering the best experience of the big four game that can completed when visitors stop via Ziwa rhino sanctuary to see the Rhinos.
Game viewing in Murchison falls national park is one of the best experience given that the park is large enough game and also given the existence of the Nile River. Murchison Falls National Park has about 76 species of mammals that call the park their home including four of the big five. To have a complete big 5 list, you will need to pass by the Rhino Sanctuary on the way to the park.
Animals in Murchison falls national park are often found and during game drives in the park in the delta area of the park, these animals include; Elephants, Giraffes, Buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, Bushbucks, Jacksons Hartebeests, Oribi, waterbucks and warthogs to mentions but a few. The big cats of Leopards and Lions have higher chances of being seen on an early morning game drive before the sunset before they nude during the day. It is also home to several primates including Baboons, Patas monkeys, Blue monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys and Black-and-white Colobus monkeys and Chimpanzees are found in the forested area of Kaniyo Pabidi which is part of Budongo forest.
Animals in Murchison falls national park are also often found on a boat cruise safari on the Nile and Wildlife lovers can expect to see great pods of hippo and immense rafts of crocodile in-and-around the Nile as well as an array of exceptional water birds.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth national park is the second largest national park after Murchison falls national park. Queen Elizabeth national park is located in the western part of Uganda in Kasese district divided by two lakes that is Lake Edward and Lake George. Queen Elizabeth national park is the most famous of them all the national parks in Uganda boasting of its highest biodiversity ratings of any reserve in the world, and home to the unusual tree-climbing lions and the large concentration of hippos.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to about 95 animal species as well as more than 600 types of birds which are the main tourist attractions of the park to the visitors to the park. It has four of the ‘Big Five’ including Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Buffalo. It is also home to thousands of hippos that spend all their day time in the water shores of Kazinga Channel which is a 49 kilometres long channel that connects Lake George to Lake Edward. Kazinga channel has the largest herd of hippos. The park is an open Savannah spread with acacia and euphorbia trees that provide a habitat for leopards, elephants, lions, Uganda kobs, Topi, hyenas, and big herds of buffaloes, large families of banded mongoose, warthogs, bushbucks and waterbucks. Chimpanzees and other primates are found in the adjacent Kyambura gorge and ‘underground forest’. Look for the black-and-white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons etc.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo national park is the third largest national park of Uganda and it is one of Africa’s most celebrated national parks with magnificent wilderness. Kidepo national park is located in the far north-eastern park of Uganda in the Karamojong region neighbouring South Sudan border. The rugged isolated wilderness of the Kidepo National Park ranks as one of Africa’s most prized, less explored destinations.
Kidepo national park has about 77 mammal species and around 475 bird species find shelter amidst a pristine Savannah landscape, in both the Kidepo and Narus River valleys. Some of the animals found in this national park include; the Rothschild’s Giraffe, Elephants, Burshell’s Zebras, Oribi, Zebras, Uganda Kobs, Striped Jackals, Buffaloes , Elands, Hartebeests, Klipspringer, Hyenas and Buffaloes. The wild cats include the Cheetah, Lions, and Leopards. Kidepo national park has the largest single herds of the Cape Buffaloes. Some of these animals are shared by all national park expect for the Cheetah, Ostrich birds and the greater and lesser Kudu. On some occasions, the white-eared kob that comes from the neighbouring South Sudan can be spotted. Visitors are treated to exceptional wildlife sightings during game drives in the park which is if not the only major activity in Kidepo national park.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo national park is the smallest of them all the savannah national parks in Uganda located in the Western part of Uganda. Lake Mburo national park is home to over 68 mammal species that can be spotted in the park’s savannah plains and on Lake Mburo. Animals in Lake Mburo national park can be spotted along the trucks of game drives, on guided walking safaris, and Horseback rides which is the only done in this park of all parks providing great sightings in the park. Animals that are found in Lake Mburo national park include; Buffaloes, Zebras, Leopard, waterbucks, hyenas and Eland together with various species of antelopes can all be viewed during the game drive. The only animals that is found only in Lake Mburo national park is the Impala. These can be enjoyed best on morning game drives, evening game drives and night game drives. It is believed that the lions and leopards are best spotted in the night. Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards and Hippos are commonly spotted in Lake Mburo during the boat cruise experience.
Other destinations are the wildlife reserves in Uganda and the major wildlife reserves best for game viewing in Uganda included Pian Upe in the Karamojong region and Toro Semiliki wildlife reserve.
Pian Upe wildlife reserve is one of the most fascinating and interesting distinct wildlands dominated by wooden savannah plains which makes it one of the most distinguished places for harbouring quite a number of rare animals found nowhere else in Uganda, including a healthy population of Cheetahs and Uganda’s only remaining population of Roan Antelopes. Seeing the Cheetah measures up to 80% chances thus Pian Upe wildlife reserve is the best place to see world’s fastest mammal. Other predators found in the reserve include; the wildcats, Jackals, Spotted Hyenas, Civets, Serval Cats, the mysterious Leopards and prides of Lions are reported to periodically travel between the nearby Amudat Wildlife Conservation Area and Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve. The reserve is also home to large herds of ungulates including the Common Eland, a small population of Zebra, Hartebeests, Günther’s Dik Dik, the popular Oribis, and the Impalas which were recently relocated here from Lake Mburo National Park. Cape buffalo, the Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Blue and Common Duiker, Klipspringers and the Bohor and Mountain Reedbuck also enjoy the homely Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve. Some of the rare animals in the reserve including; the Ververt and Patas Monkeys, the African Hare, Crested Porcupine, , Aardvarks, , Rock Hyrax, Four-toed HedgeHogs, and the Olive Baboons. Pian Upe wildlife reserve is home to a variety of reptiles including; the common Agama, Geckos, Venomous puff adders, rock pythons, Savannah monitors, Chameleons and crocodiles that can be found in River Girik. The reserve is still untouched with low numbers of visitors, this guarantees all wildlife sightings in a private, and intimate experience, dismissing crowds that can be seen in other national park. Morning and evening game drives are the best time to see most of the animals with the dazzling sunsets and sunrises for example every morning the sun comes out behind the mountains and descends over the horizon in some of the most fascinating sunsets.
Toro Semuliki wildlife reserve is also yet another reserve with savannah grasslands suitable for game viewing unlike the Semuliki national park itself which is more of the forest. Toro Semuliki wildlife reserve has about 53 animal species such as the pygmy hippos, bush babies, Uganda kobs, white-tailed mongoose, Buffaloes, forest elephants, warthogs, crocodiles to mention a few. Night game drives are also doable in Semuliki wildlife reserve as the park has most of the night animals like the bush babies, white-tailed mongoose and other night creatures can be spotted during nocturnal game drives. Game viewing can are best done in the morning, evening and in the night.
Unlike the national parks where entry fees cost US$40 per person for foreign non-residents, US$30 for foreign residents and UGX20,000 for East Africa citizens, Uganda wildlife reserves entry fees cost $35 for a foreign non-resident to enter the park for a game drive and 10, 000 Uganda shillings for East African residents.