Uganda has a variety of further parks and reserves that are worth including if you have time.
As most visitors will enter or leave the country via Entebbe it is worth considering a half day trip to the Mabamba Swamps to try and see the rare shoebill. Nearby on Lake Victoria it is also possible to see rescued chimps on Ngamba Island.
In the far west of the country the fabled Rwenzori ‘Mountains of the Moon’ rise up to form the western edge of the Great Rift Valley between lakes Albert and George. Home to Africa’s third highest peak, Margherita on Mt Stanley which rises to 5110m, the 90 miles long range consist of peaks, ravines and ridges, criss-crossed by many rivers and ‘bogs’ which are fed by almost constant equatorial rains. Walking and climbing is possible, though the wet environment is challenging!
Located between the northern reaches of the Ruwenzori Mountains and the southern end of Lake Albert, Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve is the oldest protected area within Uganda. The habitat is exceptionally diverse covering grassland, wetlands, riverine woodland and montane forest, and this supports a huge range of wildlife including elephant, buffalo, chimpanzee and an exceptional birdlife population (over 400 species, including shoe bill).
Roughly half way between Kampala and the south-western regions lies Lake Mburo National Park. The park covers some 260 sq.kms., and is dominated by five lakes, of which Lake Mburo in the south is the largest. Aside from elusive leopard and hyaena populations, predators are few, but the other mammals species present account for an impressive list – zebra, impala (the only place in western Uganda where these are found), oribi, topi, eland, Defassa waterbuck, hippo, crocodile, reedbuck, warthog and buffalo. In some areas, black and white colobus are found but they are rarely seen.
The birdlife, with an impressive 315 species recorded, is typical of drier regions with various species of hornbill, barbet, shrike and ground birds found. Along the lakeshore, African finfoot, papyrus yellow and white-winged warblers, and brown chested wattled plover are some notables. Numerous walking trails can be undertaken throughout the park, boat cruises on the lake, and horse riding on the edge of the park.
Kidepo National Park covers some 1440 sq.kms and lies in the extreme north-east of the country. The habitat is of typical savannah, set amongst a terrain of inselbergs, hills and rocky outcrops and more reminiscent of Kenya than the rest of Uganda. The Narus Valley in the south-west supports most of the wildlife with splendid panoramic views of buffalo, zebra, giraffe and elephant against the mountainous terrain. Walking is available to compliment game drives. Access is difficult and due to security issues further south is restricted to flights from Kampala.