Uganda has 10 national parks in the different regions. All the parks have the unique features that you cannot find in the other. Though the most notable visited national parks are Bwindi, Queen Elizabeth national park and Murchison Falls National Park, there are some beautiful but hidden national parks that you should not miss in Uganda. These include Kibale Forest National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Bwindi Forest National Park to mention but a few. Here is a list of national parks hidden in the far end but with thrilling beauty you would not want to miss out, and these include;
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga is one of the smallest national parks in Uganda sitting at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m in the virunga conservation area, mgahinga is in the foothills of virunga ranges sharing with the neighboring Rwanda and Congo. The Virunga ranges include Mt Gahinga at 3,473 meters above sea level covered up by Crater Lake on top, un fortunately it was covered by swamps. Gahinga literally means” a pile of rocks”.
Mount Muhavura as the highest peak at 4,127 meters Seen from far beyond Kisoro town, hiking mount Muhavura takes about 6 hours but with rewarding views of Lake Edward and George in Kasese, Queen Elizabeth national park, Ruwenzori mountain ranges and Bwindi forest.
Mount sabyinyo,” old teeth” it is one of the oldest volcanoes in the Virunga conservation area, the thrilling part of is once you hike it, at the mountain you are physically present in three countries, Uganda Rwanda and Congo. This hike though is a bit a tough and takes about 8 hours.
Semuliki national park
Semuliki National Park cuts across the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of Ruwenzori. The park is dominated by the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin, one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests that survived the ice age 18,000 years ago. The forest includes 305 species of trees recorded, of which 125 species are restricted to this park alone, savannah grassland, swamps and hot springs.
The forest is home to numerous Central African wildlife species, and the local population includes a Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri, Batuku cattle keepers, Bwamba farmers and Bakojo cultivators As a result, this park provides a taste of Central Africa without having to leave Uganda.
The beauty of semuliki national park include 53 species of mammal which have been recorded including the rare and nocturnal and diurnal species like , chimpazees, olive baboons, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Vervet, Red-tailed and Mona, Blue Monkeys, and Guereza Colobus, De Brazza’s Monkeys. While nocturnal primates include Galagos and Pottos. Other mammal species include, Bush pig, Water Chevrotain, Buffalo, Sitatunga, White-bellied Duiker or Dwarf Antelope, Beecroft’s Anomalure and elephants
Semuliki national park is also home to various bird species, among these include, Red-chested Owlet, Bates’ Nightjar, Chocolate-backed, White-bellied and African Dwarf Kingfishers, White-crested, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, Piping and Black-wattled Hornbills, Red-rumped Tinker bird, Spotted, Spot-breasted Ibis, Hartlaubs’s Duck, Chestnut-flanked Goshawk, Red-thighed Sparrow hawk, Long-tailed Hawk, Forest Francolin, Nkulengu Rail, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Black-collared Lovebird, Yellow-throated Cuckoo Lyre-tailed and Zenker’s Honey guides, African Piculet, Gabon Woodpecker, Red-sided Broadbill, White-throated Blue Swallow, Green-tailed Bristle bill, Forest and Grey Ground Thrushes, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Ituri Batis, Red-billed Helmet -Shrike, Red-eyed Puff-back, Black-winged Starling, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Blue-billed, Crested and Red-bellied Malimbes, Pale-fronted and Chestnut-breasted Negro finches, Grant’s Bluebill.
Pian Upe reserve
This is the second largest conservation area in the greater regions of karamoja. Pian upe covers an area of about 2,788km2 to the north of mountain Elgon and is managed by Mountain Elgon Conservation department under Uganda wild life authority.
Wild life species in pian upe include wild cats like cheetahs, serval, leopard, civets, and jackals the Primates include patas monkeys, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, and mammal species like Cape buffalo, topis, giraffes, elands, waterbuck, Ugandan kobs, zebras and so many others.
The reserve is also a birding destination with array of 242 amazing bird species like Jackson’s Hornbill, ostrich white-headed buffalo-weaver and others
Reptiles are also in pretty in the reserve which includes geckos, skinks, rock python, water snakes, lizard, savannah monitors among others.
Kidepo National Park
In the semi-arid region of karamajong lies Kidepo national park, the furthest park but yet with exciting features in the wilderness. The park has rare species like cheetah, hunting dog, ostriches that you will never find in any national park. Kidepo National Park was gazetted in 1962 and it host over 77 mammal species which include elephants, leopard, bush duiker, jackal, bushbuck, bush pig, giraffes, bush baby, buffalo and much more as well as around 475 bird species including the endemic species like the pygmy Falcon, Varreaux’s Eagle plus , Egyptian Vulture.
The slopes of mountain murongole are occupied by the IK people, who are the tiniest ethnic group found in Uganda, and have their own special culture.