Tourism in Southwestern: Uganda’s Richest Tourism Region
Southwestern Uganda is a very instrumental region as far as tourism in the country is concerned. The region has got a portion of each and every item on Uganda’s tourist menu. Starting from the famous gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga jungles, Chimpanzee tracking, game drives, bidding, forest walks and boat cruises in Queen Elizabeth, Kibale and Lake Mburo National Parks. The region also hosts other minor tourist activities including hikes to crater lakes, Hot Springs, visiting the traditional stalagmites and stalactites of Nyakasura. Adventure loving travelers have got tenacious hikes to the Rwenzori Mountains Peaks (Mountains of the moon) and Virunga Mountains around Mgahinga. The area is also self-contained in terms of accommodation facilities with all categories including luxury, medium and budget lodges available for every traveler and they are well located around the national parks.
The region is Uganda’s only home to the endangered mountain gorillas that are found in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla national parks. All together the two parks host more than half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas with the majority found in Bwindi. As many travelers have constantly declared trekking mountain gorillas as the best wildlife experience in the world, this is what exactly Uganda safari to her Southwestern region offers you.
Chimpanzee tracking and other primates safaris
Majority of Uganda’s chimps are found here I the Southwest with typical Uganda chimpanzee tracking safari best done in Kibale Forest national park. The forested park has got thousand s of individuals of this primate specie more than any other park in East Africa. More chimps can also be tracked in the Kyambura Gorge of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Other primates’ species in the region include monkey species including the famous golden monkey, black and white colobus and many more. Most of the varied monkey population is found in Kibale forest national park though Mgahinga gorilla national park in the far south is more known for its huge population of golden monkeys than any other park, whereas Bwindi Impenetrable national park also offers great monkey viewing.
Game drives and other park activities
Southwestern Uganda boasts a lion’s share of Uganda’s national parks with the region hosting seven of the ten national parks in the country. Incredible safari activities are the order of the day within these parks with the major highlights featuring game drives, boat cruises and birding in Uganda’s largest wildlife reserve of Queen Elizabeth national park. The park is also a home to the famous tree-climbing lions in her Southern sector of Ishasha. The Park’s large mammal list includes all the “big five” that include lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino plus several antelope species. A boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel takes you closer to view the park’s water dwellers including crocs, hippos and the huge elephants that regularly camp around the shores. Lake Mburo National Park offers the unique horseback-safari in addition to her variety of wildlife activities game drives, birding and boat cruises.
The Bigodi Wetland located just outside Kibale Forest National Park is the bird paradise in the region with over 138-recorded species. The birds can be viewed during a guided walk along the established boardwalk trail and on the viewing platforms. Common birds that are regularly spotted at Bigodi include the yellow-spotted barbet, white-spotted flufftail, yellow-billled barbet, grey-winged-robin chat, western nicator, brown-throated wattle-eye, black-crowned waxbill, black-and-white shrike-flycatcher, among others including several Rift Valley endemics.
The Rwenzori Mountains in Western Uganda host several peaks famously known as the Mountains of the moon. The Margherita peak on top of Mount Stanley is the highest point in Uganda sitting at 5,109 meters above sea level. This snow-capped peak is just one of the six glacial peaks of the Rwenzori Massifs that also include Mount Speke and Mount baker. Hiking to the Rwenzori peaks is such a tenacious activity that is likely to take you between 7-days before you get to the summit. The hike takes you through the overlapping vegetation zones along the slopes where you meet various fauna species including mammals, birds and primates before you get to the glacial top of the summit. The less physical hikers can embark on the extinct volcano summits of Virunga Mountains around Mgahinga national park that include Mount Muhabura the highest standing at 4,127 meters above sea level and Mount Sabyinyo.
Lake Bunyonyi Boat Cruise
Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest of all the Rift Valley Lakes in Uganda set between the steep terraced slopes of Kigezi. The lake is a chilling place as you enjoy its heartwarming boat cruises before or after the tedious gorilla trekking encounter in Bwindi.
Visiting Toro Crater Lakes and Hot Springs
The Toro region has got over 30 Crater Lakes occupying the foot slopes of the volcanically formed Rwenzori hills. Visit several Hot Springs across the region and discover the magic hot water, which the locals use as medicine that cures skin infections and at the same time use it to boil eggs.