Amazing places to visit in northern Uganda

About 30 districts make up the Northern region of Uganda. Despite its usual hot and dry climate, the region has a lot to offer travel-enthusiasts in terms of fun and tourism activities. Here are some of the top places to visit in the region:

Kidepo Valley National Park

Often described as the virgin national park due to its isolation and wilderness feel, Kidepo National Park is a haven for wildlife viewing including some rare species that may not be found elsewhere in Uganda. It is located in North Eastern district of Kaabong.

The park was gazetted into a national park in 1962 and is home to 470 species of birds and over 75 species of mammals.

The abundance of wildlife makes game drives a memorable experience where one can see waterbucks, lions, giraffes, elephants, cheetahs and leopards, among others. For bird lovers, ostriches, black-breasted barbets, the singing bush lark and many others can be seen.

Other fun activities include hiking, nature walks and visits to the Narus Valley, the Kanangorok Hot Springs, Mount Morungule, Namamukweny Valley and Lomej Hills among others.

Visitors may also opt to go on a cultural trail to discover the famous cultures of the Karamajongs and the Acholis who live in the region.

Pian Upe Game Reserve

The reserve is located in the Karamoja region, North Eastern Uganda. It is the second-largest protected area with the first being Murchison Falls National Park and it borders a number of mountain ranges and waterbodies.

The 2,788 square kilometer expanse of land is found between the Kidepo National Park and Mount Elgon National Park and also bordered by Bokora Wildlife Reserve and Matheniko Game Reserve.

The are a variety of animals to see in the reserve, including gazelles, zebras, elands, oribi, spotted hyenas, jackals, serval cats, cheetahs and leopards, among many others. It is also home to some primates like the patas monkey, vervet monkey and olive baboon. Reptiles like pythons, monitor lizards, puff adders and chameleons can be found here. Therefore, one of the most common activities is the game drive to get a realistic view of these animal species.

Birdwatching, nature walks, cultural trails, and mountain/ rock climbing are also common activities in the reserve. Also, one may take a dive into history by exploring caves where ancient rock paintings can be found. Some of the caves include the Napendio and Napedet where cooking stones that are over 500 years old can be viewed.

Murchison Falls National Park

Found in the northern end of the Albertine Rift valley, Murchison falls National Game Park is home to one of the most powerful waterfalls and is the country’s largest game park.

Murchison Falls National Park is home to 76 species of mammals and over 451 bird species which is why mammal watching is one of the most common activities here. The centerpiece of this park is the river’s eruption through a narrow gorge at Murchison Falls, a spectacle that has captivated visitors since the explorer Samuel Baker added it to his map and made it known to the world in 1864.

The boat trip to the falls is an essential activity where you can view the resident hippos and crocodiles. Visitors should ensure to visit the top of the falls viewpoint to see, hear and feel the Nile thunder through a 7m wide gorge. For breathtaking views, take the hot air balloon and explore the park from way above the ground, a priceless experience.

Other worthy ventures at this location include chimp trekking, game drives, a launch trip, a visit to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the National Park Safari, fishing, as well as the most anticipated cruise on the Nile.

Budongo Forest

Budongo Forest spans over 825 square kilometres of which 435 square kilometres are continuous forest cover making it one of Uganda’s largest natural forests. It is located at the top of the Albertine Rift.

Four natural rivers flow within the forest namely the Waisoke, the Kamirambwa, the Sonso and the Siba providing permanent water sources to quench the thirst of plants and animals resident here.

Budongo boosts of a population of 465 tree species, 36 bird species, 130 moths, 24 mammals, 290 butterflies, and 9 primates including chimpanzees. This is why Chimpanzee trekking is a popular activity in the central reserve. It is also a haven for wildlife researchers.

Some of other activities to indulge in are nature walks and birding where one can see the rare species of Yellow-footed Flycatcher and Illadopsis puveli.

Mount Moroto

Being the highest mountain of the Karamoja region, Mount Moroto is a must-visit when in the Northern region of Uganda. It features a number of peaks that provide breathtaking views and unique sights along its trails.

The nature reserve enclosing Mount Moroto is home to over 220 bird species, monkeys and wild cats, which would make for a beautiful nature walk and bird watching experience.

Without a doubt, the most common activities here are hiking and mountain trekking. Camping is another popular activity here that gives one an opportunity to watch unmatched views of the sunset and sunrise at an elevated plain.

With a bit of energy, snacks, water and the right shoes, the Mount Moroto experience is definitely a worthwhile experience.