LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK
Lake Mburo park is the nearest to Kampala. With plenty of wildlife in rolling hills, grassy valleys, forests, swamps and lakes, Lake Mburo has enough for the visitors to see. Acacia and olive woodland harbor buffalos and the shy bush duikers. Waterbuck, vervets and baboons are common and easily seen. Keep a watch for the elusive klipspringers and rock hyrax on the picturesque granite rocky outcrops in the west and rocky hills in the East of the park.
A boat ride on the lake gives one the opportunity to catch a glimpse of water birds diving for fish, Nile Hippo and Crocodile. The surrounding swamps hide the beautiful sitatunga antelope.
The only large predators in the park are Leopards and hyenas; they tend to be extremely reclusive and difficult to see.
Lake Mburo National Park offers the bird watcher a wide variety of water and dry land species, including the rare shoebill storks, Abyssinian ground hornbills, saddle bill storks, white pelicans papyrus Gonolek, swamp flycatcher and many others. Rubanga forest and forest infringing the river Ruizi are rich in birds including Narina trogond and provide a welcome change from dry hills and valleys.
Open grassy valleys offer the best game viewing. Expect to see large herds of Impalas and Zebras, Eland. Small groups of Topi are easily approached, as are Oribi, generally seen in pairs and families of water hogs. Watch out for Reedbuck hiding in the grass.
Ranches and the lands of the traditional Bahima people border Lake Mburo National Park. Herds of their famed long-horned Ankole cattle are a common sight. These are massively horned cattle, which have been bred in this region for centuries and are used as an indicator of personal wealth. The horns of these domestic animals may measure well in excess of four feet each. Small children tend their herds, making sure that the cattle don’t invade the fertile fields and banana plantations that dot the countryside. Visitors may see cattle, impala and Zebra grazing together.
MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
This park is named after the famous falls where the Victoria Nile rushes through a narrow, 20-foot- (6-m) wide rock gorge with tremendous force to crash on the rocks 150 feet (45 m) below. This is the largest park in Uganda and is one of the most spectacular parks in all of Africa. Fish dazed by this fall are easy prey to one of the largest concentrations of crocodile on the continent.
Located in northwestern Uganda, this park covers approximately 3893 sq km of predominantly grassy plains and savannah woodlands with altitudes ranging from 1650 to 4240 feet (500 to 1292 m). Riverine forest lines some parts of the Victoria Nile, which traverses the park from east to west.
In addition to viewing Murchison Falls from the top where the Nile narrows from 5 meters to crash through a 7 meter gorge, a highlight of the park is the 3-hour, 7-mile (11 km) launch trip from Paraa Lodge to the foot of the falls. Numerous crocodile and hippo in the river and along its banks, as well as buffalo, elephant, and prolific bird life (over 400 species), can be approached closely.
Another great excursion is a six-hour launch trip from Paraa Lodge to the delta where the Victoria Nile flows into Lake Albert. Shoebills (whale-headed storks) are often seen on this trip.
The park is also home to giraffe, waterbuck, oribi, hartebeest and Uganda kob.
Some of the best fishing can also be carried out below and above the falls. Record Nile perch over 200 pounds (90 kg) have been caught in the Nile. Other fish species include barbell, electric catfish and tiger fish.
Park headquarters and the most extensive road system for game viewing are near the Paraa- Lodge. The Buligi Circuit takes one to the confluence of the Albert and Victoria Niles. Waterfowl are especially abundant, along with a variety of game.
The Rabongo Forest has a population of chimpanzees.