If you’re exploring options for wildlife safaris in Uganda, you may wonder what kind of animals you might see during your travels. Uganda is home to a vast amount of animal species, making this one of the best places to go on truly wild safari!
From elephants to big cats, Uganda has almost every kind of wild animal that you can imagine.
So keep reading to learn more about the abundance of wildlife throughout Uganda.
What animals are there to see on a Wildlife safari in Uganda?
Uganda is home to several animal species, but it is best known for the African lion, the African bush elephant, the mountain gorilla, and the Cape buffalo.
To say that Uganda has plenty of wildlife would be an understatement. This country boasts 345 mammal species, over 1,000 bird species, 501 fish species, over 1,000 butterfly species, and 142 reptile species. The national animal of Uganda is the Crested Crane, a tall bird with silver feathers, a crest of gold feathers, and a long neck.
Here’s a run down of some of the most impressive species you can find roaming free while on a wildlife safari in Uganda:
Crocodile: You can find these giant lizards on the banks of the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park or in Murchison Falls National Park.
African Bush Elephant: Kibale National Park is a great place to see these elephants, and they also inhabit Uganda’s grasslands and woodlands.
Cape Buffalo: You can usually find these buffalos near a water source.
Hippopotamus: Look for hippos in swamps, lakes, and rivers. These creatures have been spotted in the Ntungwe River in Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park.
Giraffe: Murchison National Park and Kidepo National Park both have a decent giraffe population. In general, these animals live on savannahs with abundant grass and leaves.
Leopard: Lake Mburo National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park are both home to leopards. These big cats generally live in the savannahs and the forests of Uganda.
The locals see some animals in Uganda every day, while others are more rare and hidden from sight.
There are also many threatening animals in this country. Some of the most dangerous animals in Uganda include:
- Cape Buffalo: This buffalo can charge at someone at a speed of 30 miles per hour. Making this animal angry is extremely dangerous as it gets aggressive when threatened.
- Puff Adder: This venomous snake is the leader of fatal snakebites in Uganda. While it cannot lift its head off the ground, it is known for biting people on the feet.
- Mosquitos: These bugs may not seem dangerous at first glance, but don’t let their size fool you! While mosquitos themselves aren’t dangerous, they become a threat when they are carrying malaria.
- Hippopotamus: Approximately 500 people die every year from hippopotamus attacks. These creatures may look friendly, but their jaw is strong enough to break a boat in half!
How many national game parks are there in Uganda?
There are ten national parks in Uganda. These include:
- Queen Elizabeth National Park: Located in southwestern Uganda, this park is home to 95 mammal species and 600 bird species. Known for its abundant wildlife, you may encounter elephants, hippos, giant forest hogs, waterbucks, crocodiles, hyenas, and chimpanzees within this park.
- Lake Mburo National Park: Nestled in the Kiruhura District of western Uganda, this park has a large impala population, along with many other animal species, such as zebras, buffalo, leopards, elands, and hyenas. This is a popular spot for a wildlife safari in Uganda.
- Murchison Falls: Sitting on the shore of Lake Albert, Murchison Falls is known for stunning waterfalls, an abundance of game fish, and plenty of elephants and hippos. While the animals here are spectacular, this park is famous for boasting the most powerful waterfall in the world.
- Kidepo Valley: This 1,400-square-foot national park boasts rugged savannah ecosystems with over 77 mammal species. Housing over 450 bird species, this is an excellent spot for those who love bird-watching!
- Kibale: Located in western Uganda, Kibale National Park is comprised of a lush evergreen forest and is home to carnivores and terrestrial mammals, including bushbucks, bushpigs, warthogs, buffalo, golden cats, and mongoose.
- Mount Elgon National Park Uganda: Straddling the border between Uganda and Kenya, this stunning park area holds the largest surface area of an extinct volcano on the planet, and one of the highest mountains in Africa. While you’re here, you are likely to see black and white colobus and blue monkeys. There are also a few elephants that reside in this area.
- Rwenzori Mountains: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is 1,000 square kilometers and boasts majestic mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, and lakes. Rwenzori is home to 70 mammal species, including elephants, giant forest hogs, otters, and bushbucks.
- Semuliki: Situated in a highly remote area of Uganda, this national park is home to the country’s largest bird and kob population. Encompassing 219 kilometers of Africa’s only lowland rainforest, the park has animals such as buffalo, bush babies, hippos, elephants, and monkeys.
- Mgahinga Gorilla: As the name implies, Mgahinga is an essential habitat for many gorillas in Uganda. At the moment, about 300 gorillas reside in this area. It is also home to the endangered golden monkey, bushpigs, and elephants.
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: This incredible dense forest is home to hundreds of plant and tree species, and is a popular destination for gorilla trekking. While searching for gorillas, you may see bats, buffalo, golden cats, bushpigs, and elephants.
Endangered animals of Uganda
Some of Uganda’s endangered animals include the mountain gorilla, African savannah elephant, chimpanzee, crested crane, African wild dog, giant ground pangolin, lions, rhinos, and the lappet-faced vulture. One of the least seen animals at the moment is the African wild dog, which many humans have killed off due to viewing them as a threat to their livestock and animals.
Uganda is home to about 400 of the estimated 700 gorillas currently alive. However, this group of animals is slowly growing due to the care of the African people. Rhinos are also very endangered, and Uganda only has about 17 Southern White Rhinos currently. While these animals were nonexistent at one point due to hunters killing them for their horns, which are believed to have medicinal properties, they are slowly making a comeback.
Unfortunately, Uganda has many other animals that are endangered. These animals have declined in population due to land development, hunting, disease, and a loss of food resources.
10 of the Best Wildlife Safaris in Uganda
The dramatic and lush landscapes throughout Uganda make it a perfect habitat for hundreds of animal species, creating some of the best wildlife tours in Africa. This country is brimming with animals of every kind, from big cats and other carnivores to various bird species and primates. If you want to see gorillas, wild cats, and water creatures, check out some of our favorite Uganda wildlife safaris below!
3-Day Tour to Uganda – Gorilla Trekking Bwindi Forest: This safari focuses on the Bwindi Forest, where you can enjoy a thrilling gorilla-trekking adventure!
5-Day Wildlife SIghting Trip to Uganda Including Gorilla Trekking: Throughout this five-day journey, you can go gorilla trekking and chimp tracking, while also seeing other animals along the way, like birds, hippos, and crocodiles.
6-Day Trip to Uganda Wildlife Sighting, Including Gorilla Trekking: On this six-day trip, you will see plenty of primates, like gorillas, red-tailed monkeys, and chimpanzees. You will also have the opportunity to view Cape buffalo, elephants, lions, and leopards.
8-Day Trip to Murchison Falls, Big 5 Sighting Plus Gorilla Trekking: This eight-day trip includes gorilla trekking, chimp tracking, and sightings of the Big 5, including the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and African buffalo. The beauty of Murchison Falls is simply the cherry on top of an exciting excursion.
9-Day Wildlife Sighting Safari – Including Chimp and Gorilla Trekking: Enjoy a variety of game drives, gorilla treks, and chimp treks throughout this nine-day trip. Throughout Uganda’s varied landscapes, you will see several bird species, monkeys, big cats, and crocodiles.