THE AMAZING WILDLIFE IN UGANDA

The Amazing wildlife of Uganda

If you are a wildlife lover, you may well have dreamed of taking a safari to Africa to take in the glory of its amazing animal species. There is really nothing like the thrill of seeing a leopard on the hunt, a hippo wallowing in a river, or a giraffe wrapping its long tongue around an acacia branch but when people think about going on an African safari, Uganda’s animals are often overlooked in favor of more celebrated countries like Tanzania and Kenya. Uganda has an astonishing array of magnificent animals, all living in some of the stunning landscapes to be found anywhere on the continent.

Uganda has 10 national parks, 12 wildlife reserves, 5 community wildlife management areas and 13 wildlife sanctuaries. These parks and sanctuaries are teeming with around 345 species of Mammals including more than half the world’s endangered mountain gorillas and over 1000 species of birds. There are plenty of ways to see them such as traditional game drive in a car with a pop-up roof, a horseback safari, river cruise, mountain hike, primate habituation experience and guided forest trek.

The following are beautiful and amazing animals you should see on Ugandan or East Africa safari;

Mountain Gorilla

Mountain Gorillas are so critically endangered that there are fewer than 1000 of the them left in the world and Uganda is one the few places on the earth you can see them. That’s why for many visitors try to reach and yarning for a chance to hike to see the gorillas. This is the main reason why you should visit Uganda.

Seeing mountain Gorillas is a such thrill not only because they are among our nearest cousins, sharing 98% of our DNA but also, they are so rare. As humans have expanded ever further into their mountainous territory and poaching and conflict continues to threaten them, their numbers have decreased. But there is hope to more awareness and conservation efforts, their numbers are on the rise again. It may be expensive to go and see them but it costs that much for a reason and your money is helping to secure the future of those gorgeous creatures.

Where to see Gorillas in Uganda

The main place to see gorillas in Uganda is in Bwindi impenetrable Forest in the west of the country, though its possible to see them in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. At Bwindi there are four Gorilla trekking sectors that is Buhoma, Ruhija and Nkuringo. East sector has a small number of habituated families. The price is the same wherever you go, where you end up depends on your person preferences and permits are available. Buhoma is the most easily accessible and the most popular area.

Chimpanzee

Gorilla trekking may be top attraction in Uganda but the chance to see chimpanzees up close in the wild is no less thrilling. Chimpanzees are our closest animal relatives with 99% of our DNA and when you see them in real life with their intelligent faces and the way the way they move and act like Humans. It is impossible not to see the similarities. In fact, there are many ways in which chimpanzees are just like us. They make and use tools to hunt and feed, they are very sociable and enjoy bonding and grooming, they communicate with verbal and non-verbal expressions like hand and facial gestures.

There over 300,000 chimpanzees in the forest of equatorial Africa of which Uganda is a home of around 5000. Over the years, scientists have spent time with some of the groups gently getting them used to the presence of humans so they can study them more closely. This process is habituation and means that visitors can now also have a chance to get close to these incredible creatures without scaring them off.

Where to see chimpanzees in Uganda

The most popular place to see chimpanzees in Uganda is Kibale forest national park where there are around 1500 chimpanzees. However, you can also see them in Kalinzu Forest and Kyambura Gorge near Queen Elizabeth National Park, Budongo Forest and Semuliki Wildlife Reserve.

Black and White Colobus Monkey and other Primates

Black and White colobus monkeys are particularly common. The name colobus which means multilated in Greek, comes from the fact that unlike other primates they have no thumbs. Baby colobus are born completely white and they develop their distinctive black markings at around three months. They particularly enjoy eating young leaves

Uganda is a home to at least 18 different species of primates such as black and white and red colobus monkey, blue monkey, red-tailed monkey vervet and Golden monkey, L’Hoest’s, De Brazza’s as well as small nocturnal species like bushbaby and potto.

Where to see monkeys in Uganda

Monkeys are one of the most common animals in Uganda especially the national parks. With their striking colouring and long hair, the black and white colobus are particularly eye -catching, though you will probably see vervets, blue and red-tailed monkeys if you keep your eyes active. Kibale forest is said to be a primate capital in Uganda but Queen Elizabeth national park is another great place to see monkeys and you will also spot them in Bwindi and many of the smaller forested parks.

Olive baboon

On Uganda safari you will definitely see olive baboons along the roadside. Baboons seem to show no fear of humans and can be quite alarming when they eye up or approach your car hoping for food. They live in groups of up 150, made up of lots of females with their young, headed up by a few dominant males while the babies can be pretty and cute, the largest males can weigh up to 50kg and be quite aggressive and it is easy to spot around the edges of Uganda’s forests.

Baboons are native in 25 countries right across equatorial Africa and are listed as a species of least concern by the international union for conservation of Nature. One of the reasons for their abundance is the fact that they are omnivorous, eating just about everything they come across from insects, small mammals and birds to leaves, roots, grass, flowers and fruits. They hunt small rodents and other primates and come into conflict with humans when they raid crops and orchards.

Where to see baboons in Uganda

You can see baboons in all of the national parks apart from Mgahinga, Rwenzori mountains and mount Elgon and frequently seen by the side of the road or scavenging near populated areas.

African Lion

African lion is one of the safaris Big Five and for good reason their grace, power and beauty is truly exhilarating to see. If your lucky enough to see a pride on the hunt, its an experience you will never forget. After gorillas, lions are the most popular Ugandan animal.

Where to see African lions in Uganda

Not all national parks in Uganda are home to lions but the best places to spot them are; Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison falls national park and Kidepo valley national park. In ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park the lions developed the unusual habit of climbing lions. Most lions don’t climb trees except in extreme circumstances, so the chance to see tree climbing lions is definitely not to be missed in Queen Elizabeth national park and what’s great is that not only much easier to spot and photograph a lion when he is sitting up in a tree but lions will tend to rest there for most of the day, giving you ample opportunity to spend time with them.

African Leopard

The African leopard is native to sub-Saharan Africa but compared with lions they are not easy animal to spot in Uganda due to their solitary nature. Lions move in pride and frequently hunt during the day time while leopards operate alone. They also mainly nocturnal and spend their days resting in trees, caves or in long grass where their stunning spotted coat helps camouflage them, making them difficult to see but when you see a leopard, it really a Jaw-dropping experience.

Where to see African Leopard in Uganda

Leopards can be found in Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth national park, lake Mburo national park, kidepo and semiliki national park. I was lucky enough to see a leopard in queen Elizabeth national park in a tree around 10am and I had it on heart and it was one of the most thrilling moments of my entire queen Elizabeth national park experience.

Spotted Hyena

The spotted Hyena is the most common large carnivore in Africa. There over 40000 spotted hyenas in sab-Saharan Africa and although they are nocturnal, your chances of seeing hyena on your Uganda safari are relatively high. They are such a successful species because they eat almost anything. They are primarily hunters but also scavenge and they can consume an entire carcass including the bones and skin. They hunt in groups of 2-5 and can chase their prey for several km at speed of up to 60km per hour.

Spotted hyenas are also known as laughing hyenas because of the weird barking noise they make. This is one way they alert other members of the pack to a potential food source and the sound can be heart up to three miles away.

Where to see spotted hyenas in Uganda

Head to lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls or Kidepo valley national parks.

African elephant

African elephant are big animals on the earth. Uganda is home to both African savanna elephants and the smaller forest elephants.

Elephants are the largest animals on land and can live up the age of 70. They are sociable, caring, intelligate animals that live in family groups led by a female. They travel hundreds of miles in search of food, single adult can consume up to 350kgs of vegetation and around 200 liters of water in a single day. They play a great role in the renewal and survival of ecosystem

Due to heavy poaching, the populational of this beautiful animal in Uganda collapsed. Thanks to conservation efforts, numbers are now increasing though recovery is slow. A single female elephant has only one calf about every 9 years.

Where to see elephants in Uganda

You can see elephants in Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth National Park, kidepo valley national park and you can also see forest elephants in Bwindi and Kibale forest national park though they are much harder to spot.

Southern white Rhinoceros

There are two kinds of Rhinos in Africa that is white Rhino and the black Rhino. Though they are called white and black are both have the same color.

In Uganda, Rhinos are subspecies of white Rhino called the Southern White Rhino which is the most common kind of Rhino though still endangered due to poaching for its horn.

Rhinos are native to Uganda but were declared extinct due to poaching in 1983 and 1997 the government began a project to reintroduce them. They established a sanctuary and began a bleeding program; the project has been a success.

Where to see Rhinos in Uganda

The only place you can see Wild Rhinos in Uganda is Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Here you can do a guided walk and get a soundingly close to adult and baby Rhinos. There are also two rhinos at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre.

Hippopotamus

One animal you are almost guaranteed to see in Uganda is the Hippo. Ugandan many lakes and rivers are home to thousands of these awaresome animals which are second largest land mammal after elephants. The word hippopotamus means river horse in Greek

Although their closest relatives are whales and dolphins, hippos cannot float or swim. They walk or bounce along the bottom where they can stay submerged for up to six minutes without taking a breath. During the day they stay in the river to protect their skin from burning sun and at night they come out onto the land to graze on grass

Hippos are of the most dangerous animals on land. They can charge at terrifying speeds up to 40km per hour and many deaths in Africa are caused by humans coming into contact with hippos.

Where to see hippos in Uganda

The best way to see these animals in Uganda is by boat. You can take boat safaris to see hippos in Murchison falls national park on the river Nile Boat Safari or on the wonderful Kazinga channel boat ride in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Other options are on the boat ride on lake Mburo or Semliki Wildlife Reserve where you can take a trip on the Semliki River or into lake Albert.

When I stayed at Bush Lodge in Queen Elizabeth national park, I had a hippo wandering through the camp and at night, it was really a pretty thrilling experience.

Rothschild Giraffe

There is only one species of giraffe and nine subspecies. The giraffes found in Uganda are Rothschild’s giraffes also known as Ugandan giraffe which can only be found in Uganda and Kenya. They look different from other types of giraffes because their patches are darker brown and less sharply defined than other giraffes and they have no markings on their lower legs

Giraffes are nature’s gentle, grace giants. They move peacefully in same sex herds, either related females and their young ones or unrelated adult males and they are very sociable often coming together in large groups. Although they are generally peaceful, they will defend themselves fiercely against attacks by lions, Hyenas and Leopards. Males also engage in fights where they use their heads and necks to strike each other. This is a way for a male to prove his dominance and again access to females.

Where to see giraffes in Uganda

The best place to see giraffes in Uganda is Murchison Falls National Park, kidepo valley national park, lake Mburo national park and at Uganda wildlife education Centre where you do behind the Scenes tour you have the chance to actually feed these stunning Ugandan animals.

African Buffalo

The African Buffalo is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous animals in Uganda thanks to its powerful build aggressive temperament and unpredictable nature. African Buffalo trample. This is also the reason it’s never been domesticated unlike its gentler Asian cousin, the water Buffalo.

Buffalo lives in large family herds, sometimes hundreds strong but they are feisty and very democratic. When the herd is ready to move all face direction, they want to go which ever direction gets the most votes, wins and that’s the way they go.

You don’t need to worry too much about getting hurt by a Buffalo. They never roam far from water and in Uganda’s hot sun they spend most of their time wallowing around the edges of the country’s many lakes and rivers, preferring to graze at night when it cools.

Where to see Buffalos in Uganda

The best places to see these impressive animals in Uganda is at boat ride on kazinga channel in queen Elizabeth national park where huge herds congregate, Murchison falls national park, lake Mburo national park among others.

Zebra

Uganda’s zebras are Plain zebras most common kind. Uganda used to be home to thousands of Zebras but their numbers have declined dramatically. This decline is thought to be caused by climate change affecting vegetation they eat

Zebras are well-known and popular animal in Uganda thanks to their distinctive stripes which are like fingerprints. Its thought a zebra’s strips help individuals identify each other and protect the animal by confusing predators and repelling insects.

Zebras are social animals that live in large herds. Unlike elephants and Giraffes, they can be skittish and run away when humans approach.

Where to see Zebras in Uganda

Surprisingly, Zebras are only found in two national parks that is kidepo valley national park and lake Mburo national park. Others are unsuitable for zebra due to their thicky vegetation and long grass. Zebras prefer open plains so they can spot predators approaching.

There are also a few Zebras in Katonga Wildlife Reserve near Kampala and on Kyahugye Island Wildlife Reserve in Lake Bunyonyi.

Uganda kob

Uganda kob is the national animal of Uganda and features on the Ugandan coat of arm. The kob is a type of antelope found all across Sub-Sahara Africa. They move around in small herds which can come together into large groups sometimes up to 1000 strong. Kobs are abundant and not protected through their grazing areas are coming under strain due to farming.

In Uganda, these animals are one of the main sources of food for predators including lions, leopards and hyenas.

Male kobs can Whistle which they do both to mark their territory and as part of their courtship rituals.

Where to see Kob in Uganda

You will have no trouble spotting kob in Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth national parks among many others.

Common Warthog

Warthogs have become pretty popular ever since Disney created the character of Pumbaa in the Lion King and when you see them, you have to admit they are pretty funny with their skinny legs and the way they run with their tails straight up in the air.

Warthogs are omnivorous eating grass, insects, eggs, fruits, bark, roots, fungi and carrion. They live in burrows and although they can use their front feet and tusks to dig, they usually take over the vacated burrows of other animals which they enter backwards so that they can charge out, tusks first, should they be threatened by a predator. Although their first line of defense is to sprint away. Warthogs can also pack a punch and they have even been known to kill lions by fatally wounding them with their sharp tusks.

Where to see warthogs in Uganda

Warthog can easily be seen in many of Uganda’s national parks including Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth.

Chameleon

There are over 200 different species of chameleons which are type of Lizard. They vary widely in appearance from the tiny pygmy chameleon to the parson’s chameleon which can grow up to 70cm long the weird-looking three-horned chameleon. They come in many different colors and some are famous for being able to change colors.

Chameleons are excellent climbers and hunters. They can be found all over the world in warm climates such as Africa, south Asia and South Europe.

Chameleons are iconic for two main reasons: their swiveling eyes which can look in any direction and their long, sticky tongues which they use to catch insects.

Where to see chameleons in Uganda

Due to their small size and excellent camouflage, it is not easy to spot these animals in Uganda. You may be lucky to cross one in the Rwenzori mountains and in Sipi Falls region. sometimes kids will catch one and show them to tourists though its not advisable. And if you want to be sure of seeing a chameleon, visit Entebbe Reptiles village.

Nile crocodile

Nile crocodile is the largest reptile in Africa and 150 million years old. They can be found in26 countries across Africa mainly in central, east and south regions. These animals can grow up to 6m long and weighs almost a ton.

Nile Crocodiles are extremely aggressive predators. They mostly feed on fish, birds and small mammals but can happily attack anything that comes a cross even Humans. Nile crocodiles kill or injure hundreds each year and most dangerous reptile predator of humans, beating more notorious animals like lions and sharks’ hands down. This is because there are more of them but they often come into contact with humans. The only animals responsible for more human.

Where to see crocodiles in Uganda

The best and safest way to see these animals in Uganda is on a boat safari. Great options launch trip along the Nile at Murchison Falls and along the Kazinga in Queen Elizabeth national park. You can also see them on the shores of Lake Mburo.

Forest cobra

Uganda is a home to six different types of venomous snakes; puff adder, Gaboon viper, Jameson’s mamba, black mamba, black-necked spitting cobra and the forest cobra.

Forest cobras are the biggest kind of cobra reaching up to 2 meters long. Forest cobras are identified by their distinctive yellow and black stripes and their hood just like that of other cobras. They are excellent swimmers and are often found near water.

Like other cobras when threatened it will raise its body off the ground and spread its hood. A bite from a forest cobra will kill you if not treated quickly.

Where to see cobras in Uganda

You can easily see cobra in Uganda at the Reptiles Village in Entebbe where they house snakes that have been found in people’s homes.

Jackson’s tree snake

Not all of Uganda’s snakes are dangerous to humans. The Jackson’s black tree snake as its name suggests, lives in trees. It can climb high to eat eggs from birds’ nests, also eats frogs, chameleons and small mammals.

These animals can grow to a little over two meters long. When threatened, it puffs up its neck to nearly twice its size.

Where to see tree snakes in Uganda

Most snakes are shy and will slither away when they hear people so with the cobras, the best place to check these beauties out is the Uganda Reptiles village.

Monitor Lizard

Uganda is home to two kinds of monitor lizards; the savanna monitors and the Nile monitor. The Nile monitor is Africa’s largest lizard growing up to two meters long but unlike their cousins the crocodiles they are harmless to humans and infact make popular pets

Monitor lizards are powerful with sharp claws and a strong tail. They are carnivorous, eating small reptiles, birds, fish, small mammals and crocodile eggs.

Where to see monitor lizard in Uganda

Like the crocodiles, the easiest way to see these animals is along the edges of Uganda’s lakes and rivers. A boat safari on the Kazinga Channel on the Nile near Murchison Falls or on Lake Mburo are your best options if spotting monitor lizards.

In my opinion, Uganda has a very beautiful and amazing wildlife where you can get a great experience especially in game safaris and boat safaris. You will have a great experience of different wildlife on Uganda safari in different national park such as Murchison falls, queen Elizabeth, Bwindi impenetrable, kibale, kidepo national parks and many more other places.

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