Game Drive/Viewing In Uganda

Game Drive/Viewing In Uganda

A game drive simply means driving through a national park using a 4×4 car with the help of a guide or ranger while spotting/viewing several wildlife species that can be seen roaming through the open savannah grasslands in the park.

Uganda in particular offers such an activity in some of her parks and its done early in the morning hours where you can easily spot many of the wildlife species get out of their habitats and some hunting for their morning feast. On a lucky day, you may be able spot the lions chasing kobs in the Kasenyi plains or even hyenas feasting on the leftovers by lions. Late afternoon hours also give you a chance to view some of the incredible species trying to cool off in a shade or heading to water reserves for water and in the evening hours where you can see some of the wildlife creatures head back to their havens and some hunting for dinner. Game drives are designed to be carried out in such intervals simply because wildlife creatures are more active during that time of the day compared when the temperatures are high.

Of the 10 national parks in Uganda, there only five where game drives take place and these are; Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison falls national park, Kidepo national park, Semiliki national park and Lake Mburo national park. Game drives in Uganda take between 3hrs to 4hrs but in some instances it can be extended to more than 6hrs giving a tourist more time to discover more species out in the wild.

Majority of the tourists prefer going into the open savannah grasslands with guides because these highly trained people exactly know the exact location where specific group of wildlife are found giving you an experience like no other filled with memories.

Game drive in Queen Elizabeth national park

Queen Elizabeth is one of the top spots best for game viewing/ drives in Uganda. The park has two popular sectors for game viewing i.e. Kasenyi plains and the Ishasha sector. The north east part of the park offers one an opportunity to come close to most of the wildlife species like the elephants, antelopes, buffaloes and you may also spot lions on a lucky day.  Leopards can also be seen in the plains with the help of a trained guide. However, the best time to see  them is during night game drives.

The northern parts of the Kazinga channel also gives you an opportunity to come close to other species like the baboons, mongooses and antelopes as well.

In the Ishasha sector of the park, you will be able to spot the popular tree climbing lions as they relax on tree branches of fig trees on a hot sunny day. There other species of wildlife you can see in this sector like herds of buffaloes, topis, elephants, antelopes and many others.

Game drive in Kidepo national park

Kidepo national park found in the north eastern part of Uganda is rich in wildlife species with over 80 mammals here. With a variety of species, the park is the best place to carry out game drives and was recognized by CNN as the number one spot for such an activity in Africa. The park is also known to host the highest concentration of predators than any other park in Uganda. The predators found in this place include cheetahs and black-backed jackal.

To be able to spot a number of creatures in Kidepo, a tourist is advised to go into the wild with a game ranger because these people know the exact track to use and where specific species can be found. Wild life species found in this park include: Burchell’s zebras that can be found here and lake Mburo national park, cheetah, buffaloes, elephants, lions, eland, Rothchild giraffes, hunting dog, bat-eared fox, stripped hyena, bush pigs, Ostriches, bushbuck, caracal, aardwolf, Lesser Kudu plus Grant’s gazelle, secretary birds and many others. The main common areas where majority of these species can be found are the Narus valley and the Kidepo valley with Narus with the highest concentration of these incredible wildlife species.

Game drive in lake Mburo national park

This is the smallest national park in Uganda however it’s one of the perfect spots for game viewing where you will be able see different species of wildlife as they roam in the open savannah grassland within the park. The park has different tracks used for game viewing and they include: Kigambira loop, the zebra track, the Kazuma track.

The Kigambira loop allows a tourist to view different species of wild life though the woods and spaced thickets. Here you will be able to view wildlife animals like duikers and bushbucks as they feed.

The zebra track is one of the popular tracks so far known. The track happens to be home to zebras and other species like the bushbucks, elands, giraffes, antelopes, oribi and more. Connecting you further to the Ruroko track through the acacia woodlands, you will also get to see the klipspringer.

The Kazuma track hosts a huge number of black-bellied bustards and a hike to top of Kazuma hill will give you a satisfying view of the park and different wildlife species as they feed on the lower slopes.

Game drive in Murchison national park.

Murchison national park is one of the first parks to be established in Uganda and the largest so far occupying an area of 3,893 square kilometers. The park that’s located in the north western part of the country, has a variety of wildlife species that graze in the open savannah grassland hence making it the best are for game viewing.

Its unique in its own way in that it happens that the longest river on the continent crosses it and reaches a point where it forces itself through gorge making a hovering sound which makes it as the most powerful waterfall in the world-Murchison falls.

Murchison falls national park hosts more than 80 mammals with four of the big five inclusive. The big four found here include: leopards, lions, elephants and buffaloes. The rhinos can’t be found here however, you will be able to view them at Ziwa rhino sanctuary that’s along the way as your heading to the park. other species that you will be able to see once you are at Murchison are; Rothchild’s giraffes, hippos, antelope species like the Uganda kobs, waterbucks, bushbucks, oribi, Jackson hartebeest and warthogs. Spotted hyenas can also be seen here.

Game drives in Murchison are carried out in the northern part of the park which is divided into two sectors i.e. the northern bank and the southern bank. However, the northern bank offers the perfect game viewing experience since its here where you will be able to spot many of the wildlife species in the savannah grassland.

Game driving in Murchison national park lasts for about 2-3hrs and like the other parks in Uganda that carryout the activity, most of the drives happen in the early morning hours where visitors will be able to spot these species as they get out of their habitats and late evening when majority of the species are heading back to their habitats.

Game drive in Semiliki national park.

Semiliki national park is one of the less crowded places by tourists in Uganda just because it has less species to make the game viewing experience memorable. This park located in the western part of the country, has 3 tracks that cross through the open savannah grassland of the Toro Semiliki wildlife reserve. Here you will be able to spot different forest species like the waterbucks, elephants, bush babies, warthogs, buffaloes, crocodiles and different bird creatures.

Game drives in this park take 3-4hrs a day and to have the best out of game viewing, you will need to be part of the morning and evening drives as animals are more active during these hours of the day.

Cost of Game Drive Permits

Its an exciting and enjoyable activity however, to be part there’s a specified amount of money you will be required to pay inorder to secure a permit to allow you go for game viewing. This was put in place for conservation purposes, pay game rangers and guides and to promote anti-poaching campaigns.

Permits for travelers who would like to go for a game drive during day cost $20 per person for foreign non-residents, $20 per person foreign residents and Ugx20,000 for East African citizens.

Guided game drives during night cost $30 per person for foreign non-residents, $30 per person for foreign residents and Ugx30,000.

Best time to do game driving/viewing in Uganda

Tourism in Uganda is successful throughout the year. However, there’s a season known as the peak season when parks are crowded with visitors from every corner of the world wanting to see different wildlife species and this is the dry season when majority of the parks are receiving less rainfall.

Game viewing like all the other activities is also done in the dry season simply because the savannah grasslands are shorter and trails through the park are dry hence easing access. During this season, its when you will also be able to see majority of the wildlife species as they graze in the open savannah and also on the routes that lead to water bodies where they can get the water to cool off.

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