Game drives in Uganda
Game drive in Uganda :Uganda is blessed with 10 national parks and five of these national parks are rich with wildlife including; Murchison falls national park, Lake Mburo national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Kidepo national park, and Semiliki national park. Each of these national parks has a unique wildlife attraction game driving in the park. Game drives fees are all standard for the 5 mentioned national parks. Everyone who enters the park is entitled to a game drive however, its best recommended to take a park ranger guide along for a game drive since they are aware of the trials and security of the parks. Park entry fee is 40$ per person for foreign non-residents to enter the park, 30$ per person is for foreign residents, 6$ per person for East African Citizens. To take an armed ranger guide on a game drive is 20$ per vehicle in use.
Game drives in Murchison falls national park. Murchison falls National Park is the largest and oldest national park in Uganda located in the North western part of Uganda at the vast Albertine western Rift valley. It’s also the richest national park with wildlife activity of game drives hence making it the largest wildlife reserve in Uganda. However, Murchison falls national park has a unique distinction from other parts and that is having a River Nile flow through the park, Africa’s longest River and there is a point of a narrow gorge where the waters forcefully pass through causing a forceful sound of the River hence the Most powerful waterfalls in the World – The Murchison falls. Murchison falls National Park was initially called Kabalega national park but later was named Murchison falls by Sir Samuel Baker on his visit to the park in 1864, named the park after Sir Roderick Murchison who was the president of Britain’s royal Geographical Society.
Despite the fact that the park suffered animal killings during the reign of President Iddi Amin and also the Kony wars (LRA rebels) and also poaching activities by the community, Murchison falls national park is still the most outstanding national park for short wildlife safaris with a variety of experiences including; African wildlife, birds, primates and River Nile.
Murchison falls has more than 76 species of mammals including; the big 4 game – Lions, Leopards, Buffaloes, and the Savannah Elephants. Other animals in the park include; the Rothschild Giraffes, crocodiles, hippos and the different Antelope species like the Uganda Kobs, Oribi, Jackson hartebeest, waterbucks, bushbucks and warthogs.
Game drives in Murchison falls national park take place in the Northern of the park since the park is divided into 2 sections, that is the Southern bank and Northern park but the northern bank has most of the animals hence it is the best game drive section in the park. The most effective game drive activity takes about 2-3 hours depending on availability of the animals either in the morning when the animals wake up to hunt for the day or in the evening as they also go to rest. The delta area is also one great place for game viewing. Guides can drive to the delta to find animals as some of them reach out to the Lake Albert to find water. Game drives can also be experienced while on the boat cruise as some of the animals like the elephants, buffaloes come to drink form the river. Other water animals expected to be seen include; hippos and crocodiles.
Game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park; Queen Elizabeth national park is unique for its habitat of the tree climbing lions. There are 2 major animals of game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park including Kasenyi area and Ishasha sector. However, most wildlife viewing activities take place in the northeast of the park in Kasenyi area. This area has a number of trails that take visitors close to the animals and is the most scenic area for morning game drives when the savannah shines golden and evening game drives. The common animals to be spotted include; the elephants, Buffaloes, waterbucks, Kobs, warthogs and the carnivorous animals hardly spotted include the lions, Leopards and hyenas. Ishasha sector is also offers classic game drives experience though it is main known for tree climbing lions given the nature of the savannah allowing prides of lions to obligingly spend their days resting on tree branches. However, other animals like the hippos, buffaloes, elephants, topis and other species of antelopes can be spotted in Ishasha sector.
Kidepo national park; Kidepo national park is one of those “must visit” wildlife national parks in Uganda that is rich in wildlife hence best for game drives in the rugged valley rimmed with hills. Kidepo national park is a hidden beauty located far north Eastern part of Uganda in Kaabong district. Of all the Uganda wildlife national park, Kidepo national park has been recognized and listed internationally by CNN as of the best wildlife destination in Africa. For game drives in Kidepo, its best recommended to move with a park ranger guide to help because the park is rugged given the nature of the landscape in the park. Game drives in Kidepo are best done in the dry seasons because the trails get easier to drive through as compared to the wet seasons.
There are 2 main areas of game drives in Kidepo national park including; Narus valley and Kidepo valley. Narus valley has the highest concentration of animals including herds of Buffaloes, buffaloes, zebras, bush duiker, bush pigs, Ostrich, Jackal, and bushbuck, and giraffes that were recently transported to the park. It’s at Narus valley where we find the carnivals including the lions, leopards, and the rare cheetah. The Narus River is the main source of water to the animals. On the other hand Kidepo valley is short of big game but enormous on scenery. The long hours’ drive to Kanangorok hot springs rewards visitors with magnificent and scape, crossing the dry, sandy bed of the Kidepo River to enter an expansive plain lined to the east by the Morungule mountain range. Animals are rare in Kidepo valley but the Ostriches and Secretary birds are commonly seen. The most effective game drives in Kidepo national park is 6 am and 4 pm are optimum times to start the game drives.
Game drives in Lake Mburo national park; Lake Mburo national park contains a range of wildlife for game drives. There are a range of tracks designed to enable explore the parks animals on game drives. These tracks include; the Zebra tracks, the Kazuma track and Kigambira loop.
The Zebra track offers great views of Zebras and other antelope species like the Iribi, bushbuck and reedbucks. The track connects to Ruroko track through the wetland and thick acacia woodland. The Ruroko tracks lead to the rocky out crops with opportunity to see the Klipspringer.
The Kazuma track connects through grassland dotted with wood species where the black-bellied bustards are common sightings. The climb to Kazuma hill offers great views the park and the animals tend to graze on the lower layers of the hill allowing game viewing.
The Kigambira loop connects through the woods and spaced thicket which opens visitors to bushbucks and the duikers. Other game drive tracks like the lakeside track allows visitors to explore the water logged areas and swamps around Lake Mburo.
Game drives in Semiliki national park; Semiliki national park is one of the least visited national parks in Uganda as it does not have a lot to offer for game drives. Semiliki national park is best for night game drives as it has many nocturnal animals in the park however; day game drives are also worth a visit. Semiliki national park as has mainly 3 tracks that cross through the savannah grassland of Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve. Usually forest animals are easily spotted including the elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, crocodiles, warthogs and bush babies.
Game drives in Uganda are best done in the morning and evening hours and they tend to last for 3-4 hours a day depending on the availability of the animals. During dry seasons, game drives are easily done since the tracks are easily passable and it’s easier to see the animals. Unlike during the rainy seasons, the animals are always in hiding as they can access everything they need like food and water in the same place. Hence the dry season is the best time to do game drives in Uganda.