There’s so much to discover while on your safari to Uganda and part of it can be seen during nature walks and hiking. From the beautiful landscape, different animal and plant species, rivers and lakes, and more that you will be able to discover on these guided walks.
Nature walks or hiking can be done either within protected reserves/national park or outside within communities. Walk through the rural communities as you will get to discover how people within relate to each other, their lifestyle, culture and more. During the safari you can even choose to purchase cultural hand made materials like clothing, bracelets, caps, necklace and more.
Within the national parks you will be able to come close to different species of mammals, birds, primates, amphibians, butterflies and some reptiles.
Hiking and nature walks within Murchison fall national park.
Situated in north western Uganda, Murchison falls National Park is Uganda’s largest and oldest national park. This park covers an area of 3840 square kilometers and hosts a number of wildlife species that include different antelope species, birds, the big four-lions, buffaloes, hippos, elephants, butterflies and some of these can be seen during walks within the set trails within the park. trails that are within the park include:
Hiking to the top of the falls: This 45-minute journey is quite refreshing and not tough. However, it does require some level of physical fitness. This guided walk is relieving as you get to see different landscapes, birds, butterflies and then finally to the roaring and powerful Murchison falls. While at the top, you will be able to spot the Nile River as it forces itself through a narrow hence the roaring sound. Also get to experience the freshness of the waters as they splash on you while here on the top.
Other walk trails found within the park include the;
Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forests.
Kaniyo Pabidi is situated southern part of Murchison falls national park close to the Kichumbayobo park entrance while Rabongo forest is located in the south east of the park. The two forests act as haven for different birds and harbor the chimpanzees and other primates that can be seen with the help of guide.
While here, look forward to seeing different wildlife species like the: White colobus monkeys, Grey-cheeked mangabeys, Olive baboons etc. mammals like Duikers, elephants, Warthogs, herds of buffaloes plus birds like hornbills, chocolate-backed kingfishers, Black-headed Plover, Denham’s Bustard, Black-bellied, Rock Pratincole and many others.
You can also be part of the guided walk along the Nile delta where you will be able to see incredible species like the popular shoebill.
Walks in Queen Elizabeth national park
This is yet another perfect place where you will be able to discover so much while on a walk through the trails within the boundaries of the park. Hiking trails found here Mweya Peninsular, Maramagambo forest, Kyambura gorge and along the Ishasha River.
Kyambura gorge one of the trails a visitor shouldn’t miss while on their safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park. While on this trail, you will able to come close to chimpanzees right in their natural habitat.
Maramagambo forest trail offers a stunning experience to every visitor that does walk through the trails within the dense canopy-ed forest. This place is a paradise to a number of birds like forest flycatcher, white-naped pigeon, Rwenzori turaco and while here you will be able to see other species that can’t be seen in open space.
This forest happens to also host primates like the chimpanzees, white and black tailed monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, velvet monkeys, blue monkeys and baboons. Bat species like the bat-gorged python can also be found here.
Mweya peninsula situated in the north eastern side of Kazinga channel is covered up with both savannah and woodland is good spot for scenic views while on a hike/walk. Here you will also be to see bird species making it one of the places within Queen Elizabeth national park to visit.
Ishasha river: popularly known to host the tree climbing lions, this trail does have a lot to offer to a visitor. Walking along the Ishasha-Ntugwe river you’ll be mesmerized by the beauty of nature and the diverse biodiversity like several bird species and mammals.
Other trails that are found within queen Elizabeth national park include the trail along lake George where you will be able to see the semi-aquatic sitatunga antelope and other species like the shoebill. Also walk to the lake Katwe trail where you will discover salt mines and how it’s done traditionally.
Nature walks and hiking in Lake Mburo national park
Located along the Masaka-Mbarara highway, Lake Mburo national park offers visitors a chance to get close to nature and view different species in their habitats or roaming around the park through the available walking trails. Guided walks from Rwonyo to the salt licks do give visitors a close look at some of the wildlife species that come to this place taste the salty rocks and they can be seen from the observatory centre.
Other trails that you shouldn’t miss out while in lake Mburo are the Rubanga Forest where you will get to see different bird species and other species that can’t be seen in open space, hiking to the top of the hills found within the park does offer you an opportunity to have a look at different species in the wild as they roam around the park.
Hiking in Semiliki National Park
Semiliki national park found in western Uganda on the border of DRC, gives travelers the best safari experience while in Uganda. This park has a number of trails that include: the male and female hot springs, trails through the forest make it one of the top spots perfect for birders as it harbors rare bird species, look out for other animals like the crocodiles, hippos and more that can be seen along River Semiliki.
Hiking to the Sipi falls and Mt. Elgon
A visit to these iconic sites situated in the eastern part of Uganda is absolutely rewarding. A hike along the slopes of Mount Elgon does offer a spectacular view of the Karamoja plains and several communities living down the slopes. The Sipi falls found on the foothills of Mount Elgon comprises of three water falls that can be explored while on a half or whole day trek.
Hiking to Rwenzori mountains
Nature walks and hikes in the Rwenzori mountains offer the very best experience to travelers given the beautiful scenic views and landscape. The mountains popularly referred to as mountains of the moon are located in the western part of Uganda and has one of Africa’s highest peaks. The highest peak which lies 5109m above sea level is snow capped and hike to this place takes between 8 to 10 days.
While its rewarding to hike till you get to the summit, its does require you to be physically fit. Hikers who are unable to get to the peak are always taken to the nearer peaks. As you hike the mountains, you will come across different plant species, bird species and also the spectacular views of lake George.
Hiking in Bwindi Impenetrable national park
This is yet another area where you will get to enjoy hiking. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. To see these endangered species, you will have to into the dense forests and it does require some form of physical strength and fitness to hike to where a given gorilla family is located. This is the most preferred location to a number of tourists as it does have various accommodation options compared to other hiking and nature walks areas.
Lake Mutanda and Bunyonyi
Nature walks along these two lakes is absolutely worth it and something to try out while on your safari to Uganda. The two places are quiet, calm and you will get to enjoy the scenic views of the beautiful countryside. A trip here is usually coupled with gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Kidepo valley and the Irk trek
A trek within the Kidepo National Park is absolutely rewarding and this will take you through the Narus valley which is the perfect spot for birders where you will get to see several species of birds like Clapperton’s Francolin, Purple Heron, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill and Abyssinian Roller that are only found in this place.
If you are very sure about your physical fitness, there’s a 15 kilometer route that follows the ridgeline into the hills that will offer you views of the park and other features surrounding it.
Nature walks and hiking in Kibale forest
A walk through Kibale forest national park will give you the best experience as you may get an opportunity to see the endangered species of chimpanzees. This park is also home to other 12 primate species that can be seen roaming through the park.
To see chimpanzees, you will need wake up early in the morning, head to the park headquarters for briefing. While here you will be guided on the do’s and don’ts that you will follow once in the forest in search of the primates. On the trek, you will also be able to see primate species like the red colobus monkey, L’hoest monkey and the white colobus monkey. Other wildlife species like mammals, butterflies, insects.
Bigodi swamp walk: This another perfect spot for birders looking forward to watching rare bird species. Birds you will see while in this place include the great blue turaco, papyrus canary, white-collared olive back, rear green breasted pitta, papyrus ganolek and many others.
Hiking in the Virunga volcanoes
The Virunga volcanoes are made up of 8 volcanoes that are found within Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo. These mountains act as a haven to a number of wildlife species like the golden monkeys, mountain gorillas, endemic birds and among others.
Of the eight volcanoes, three of these are found in Uganda and they include Mount Muhabura, Mount Mgahinga and Sabinyo which sits at the border of Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. A hike to the summit of these three mountains is very rewarding as you will be able enjoy the beautiful scenic views of areas surrounding the mountains.
Best time to go for hiking and nature walks in Uganda
While nature walks and hiking are absolutely rewarding, there’s a specific time of the year that you will be enjoy this fun packed activity and this is during the months of June to September and December to February simply because its within this time that Uganda is receiving less or no rainfall. During this time, the trails are drier which does make hiking easier.
The other months of march to May and October to November, Uganda is always receiving heavy amounts if rainfall which makes hiking harder since the trails are more slippery and dangerous to use. However, this doesn’t discourage travelers who are passionate about hiking and nature walks, during this time the trails are less crowded and this works for individuals that prefer hiking in small numbers.