When it comes to safaris in Uganda, usually notable places like Murchison Falls National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park never miss on most of the visitors’ bucket list leaving others untapped. A fact is that Uganda is one of East Africa’s leading tourist destination with a range of tourist sites and attractions.
Other than the most visited parks mentioned above, there are several destinations in Uganda that are least visited every year yet offer exceptional wilderness experiences. A safari to any of the Uganda’s least visited is a great opportunity for you to discover what the world is missing from these beautiful places. A total of 10 National Parks, 12 Wildlife Reserves are in Uganda among other significant destinations but here are the top 5 least visited tourist destinations you shouldn’t miss exploring.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Located in the far Southwestern Uganda, Mgahinga National Park is with no doubt the smallest of all the 10 Uganda National Park sitting on land area measuring up to only 33.7sq.kms in Kisoro District, just near the Uganda borders with Rwanda, D.R. Congo. The 33.7sq.kms park is one Uganda’s least visited destinations yet boasts of its unique attractions rarely seen on the planet including the very endangered mountain gorillas.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park officially became a National Park in 1991 and the primary reasons was to protect a section of mountain gorillas. In Uganda, it is only the only place where the strikingly spectacular golden monkeys live with many of them already undergone habituation and they are open for tracking. Besides, the park protects 3 extinct volcanoes of the 8 Virunga Massifs including Mount Sabyinyo, Muhabura & Gahinga.
While at Mgahinga National Park for a Uganda safari holiday, expect exhilarating experiences of a lifetime. You can engage in diversity of unique activities/experiences including among others Mountain gorilla trekking, Golden monkey tracking, Batwa cultural trail, Birding, Nature walks, Hiking, Garama cave visit/exploration. A 3 days Uganda gorilla tour to Mgahinga National Park allows you not only to see the gorillas in the jungle but also enjoy the Batwa trail, or take a birding walk. On gorilla tour in Mgahinga, Nyakagezi is the only group that is daily trekked by only 8 visitors.
Accessing Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for Uganda safari holiday is easier by road or air.
- By road transportation
The park is approximately 8-9 hours’ drive from the main Kampala Capital City via Mbarara, Kabale to Kisoro. From Rwanda’s Kigali Capital, Mgahinga is only 3-4 hours’ drive
- By air transportation
You can spend less than 60 minutes setting off from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airfield to Kisoro Airstrip.
Semuliki National Park
Nestled in Western Uganda, Bundibugyo District is a beautiful Semuliki National Park a home to over 441 bird species and one of the world’s hot springs ‘Sempaya Hot Springs.’ Semuliki National Park is naturally endowed but remains among the top five least visited destinations in Uganda. The park sits on 220sq.kms of land area, established in 1993 and noted for its diverse species including 53 mammal species, 441 bird species making it one of the leading birding spots in Uganda and East Africa, 374 butterflies etc.
The important species of wildlife and birds many Uganda safari travelers often miss in Semuliki which you shouldn’t include Buffaloes, Bush babies, Mona monkeys, Crocodiles, Leopards, Hippos, Bush babies etc. The bird species in Semuliki NP include among many the Shoebill storks, Black coucals, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Red necked falcons, African pygmy goose, Greenwood hoopoe, African crake & pennant winged nights, Marsh tchagra.
Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is with no doubt the biggest of all the protected areas in Uganda but remains untapped and notably the top five least visited destinations. The reserve lies in the Greater Karamoja Regions, Northeastern Uganda about 9-10 hours’ drive from Kampala Capital. Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is by far one exceptional destination that guarantees visitors true African wilderness experiences. The vast savanna reserve hosts diversity of animal species including the big game and other small animals such as the African Lions, Leopards, Rothschild giraffes, Kudus, Roan antelope, Topis, Colobus monkeys, Vervet monkeys.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is truly a hidden treasure of Uganda, lying in the far Northeast 10-12 hours’ drive off from Kampala Capital. Best known as a true Africa’s wilderness, Kidepo remains untapped and each year attracts fewer visitors making it one of the top five least visited destinations in Uganda.
Kidepo National Park was gazetted as official Uganda National Park in 1962 and sits on land area of 1442sq.kms making it 3rd biggest National Park in the country. About 80 mammal species, 475 bird species all live in different habitats of Kidepo Valley National Park making an exception travel destination worth visiting on Uganda safaris.
Kidepo isn’t only popular for its breathtaking landscapes but comes with huge concentration of animal species which range within its vast savanna plains including the Rothschild giraffes, Zebras, Hyenas, Jackals. Others include Lions, Elephants, Cape Buffaloes, Reed bucks, Aardwolves, Cheetahs. Birds such as Ostriches, African grey flycatchers, Long tailed night-jars, White faced scoops owls, White billed weavers, Pygmy falcons, Black breasted barbet, Greater kestrel, Northern carmine bee-eaters, Rufous chatter, Abyssinian roller, Jackson’s hornbills etc. It is also noted for its distinct vegetation cover characterized by semi-desert shrubs, savanna grasslands, Riparian woodland and others.
In Kidepo Valley National Park, the must-do activities include guided game drives (in the morning, afternoon/evening), bird watching, hiking, picnicking, touring Kanangorok hot springs. Others activities include cultural visit to the IK people on Mount Morungole or Karamojong people, camping.
Mount Elgon National Park
Located in the far Eastern Uganda at border with Kenya 5-6 hours’ drive from Kampala Capital, Mount Elgon National Park is undoubtedly one of the top five least visited destinations. The park hosts the worlds’ biggest caldera and its peak Wagagai rises 4321m. Mount Elgon NP is best to visit for volcano/mountain climbing or hike to Sipi Falls, game viewing, fly fishing.
Mt. Elgon N/Park Uganda sits on 1121sq.kms and it is a designated UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve. Other than mammals like forest elephants, over 300 bird species can also be explored in Mt. Elgon National Park alone including the endangered Lammergeier, African goshawk, White chinned prinia, Blue flycatchers, Baglafetch weavers, Ross’s and Hartlaub’s turacos etc.