The principal wildlife highlight in Uganda is the mountain Gorilla, a protected species and ‘must see’ for any wildlife enthusiast.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the main and best place to see gorillas, and there are now up to 12 habituated gorilla families than can be encountered. Gorillas can also be seen in Mgahinga National Park, though the experience is much less reliable. To learn more about what is involved seeing the gorillas, please visit our dedicated Gorillas & Other Primates page.
Uganda is also a great place to see chimpanzees in the wild, with several places this is possible. The best areas are Kibale Forest National Park and the Budongo Forest in southern Murchison Falls National Park. However chimps can also be seen in the Kalinzu Forest and Kyambura Gorge areas of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and there is an outside chance of seeing un-habituated groups in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the Semliki Wildlife Reserve. Close to Entebbe, Ngamba Chimp Island offers a more educational experience where it is possible for guests to handle orphaned chimps that can no longer survive in the wild.
Various other primates can also be seen in Uganda, including the beautiful red-tailed monkey, black and white colobus, red colobus and the ground dwelling L’Hoest’s monkey.
Aside from the primates, Uganda is a superb birding destination, with over 1000 species recorded. The varied habitats, from lakes and swamps, high mountains and savanna grassland, to both montane forest and lowland rainforest, make for incredibly varied birding opportunities. The ‘Royal Mile’ in Budongo Forest is considered one of the best birding hotspots in Africa.
Various specialist species can be seen, such as bathawk at Murchison Falls or African green pitta in Kibale Forest. However Uganda is probably best known as being home to the rare shoebill which can be seen in a few different parts of the country, notably on Lake Albert (from Semliki and Murchison Falls) and in Mabamba Swamps outside Entebbe.
Traditional big game takes a backseat in Uganda in comparison to the primate viewing and birding, but Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth and Kidepo Valley National Parks all offer reasonable game viewing, with animals such as hippo, elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard present. The Ishasha region of Queen Elizabeth National Park is known for its tree-climbing lions.