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Road Trip Uganda: Best Places To Visit When On A Northern Route



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By Staff Writer

When it comes to road trips in Uganda, every region has something unique for tourists to explore and experience. Embarking on the Northern route presents travelers a great opportunity to explore the country’s distinct attractions.

Unlike in the past when travel to northern Uganda was hard, today it is easier to explore Uganda’s unique treasures. You can either to choose a self drive adventure with a budget Uganda car rental or go on a guided safari in Uganda. The Northern Trail features some of the most beautiful Uganda national parks. In addition it also boasts of unique culture including the nomadic culture of the Karimojong people. Here are some of the best places to visit when on a Northern route;

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only home to wild rhinos in Uganda. Wild rhinos became extinct in Uganda in the 1980’s and this was attributed to poaching, encroachment and human-wildlife conflicts. 6 rhinos were later re-introduced in 2005 and hosted in the 70sq.km Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary lies in the Nakasongola District and this is one of the favorite stopover spots for tourists on Uganda safaris to Murchison Falls National Park or Kidepo Valley National Park along the Northern circuit. The sanctuary is found in Northwestern Uganda and holds not only rhinos but also over 300 bird species, reptiles and other mammal species.

Other animals to expect to encounter on a tour in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary include waterbucks, duikers, bushbucks, pangolins, mongoose, vervet monkeys, oribis, Aardvark, hippos, crocodiles, etc. Birds to identify at this sanctuary include fork-tailed kingfishers, woodland kingfishers, Ruppell’s long-tailed starling, black-headed gonoleks, martial eagle, African grey hornbill, African thrush, purple-banded sunbird, butler eagle, levillant cuckoo, Gabar goshawk and many more.

The available safari activities to do while at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary include rhino trekking, birding/bird watching, wildlife/game viewing and others. Getting to Ziwa is possible along the Kampala-Gulu highway.

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the leading tourist destinations you should expect to explore while on the Northern route. Located in Northwestern Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park is home to 4 of the big 5 game and it is the biggest of the 10 Parks. This magnificent Uganda safari park is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and lies at the extreme Albertine rift valley featuring the world’s most powerful waterfalls –Murchison Falls.

Murchison Falls National Park holds over 451 bird species, 76 mammal species and reptiles. They include buffaloes, waterbucks, lions, warthogs, bushbucks, Jackson’s hartebeests, Uganda Kobs, elephants, Nile crocodiles, giraffes, hippos, hyenas, and more. The primates in Murchison Falls NP include chimpanzees, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, baboons, black and white colobus monkeys. Most of the park’s primates reside within the Kaniyo-Pabidi Forest a section of Budongo Forest where over 800 chimpanzees live.

Birds of Murchison Falls NP include standard-winged nightjars, long-toed lapwing, black-headed lapwings, Senegal thick-knee, shoebill stork, giant kingfishers, pia-piac, yellow-billed stork, yellow-fronted tinker bird, gray crowned crested cranes, Denham’s bustard, Abyssinian ground hornbill, sandpipers, black-billed barbet, African qualifinch, African jacanas, swamp flycatchers, red-throated bee-eaters and palm-nut vultures, etc.

Budongo Forest birds –over 360 bird species reside within this tropical rainforest reserve. They include Cassin’s hawk eagle, African dwarf kingfishers, chestnut-capped flycatchers, crowned eagle, yellow-footed flycatchers, lemon-bellied crombec, blue-breasted kingfishers, olive-breasted greenbul, chocolate backed kingfishers, Cassin’s spine tails, Brown twin spot, and more.

Activities to do in Murchison Falls National Park of Uganda- hike to the top of the falls, game drives, birding or bird watching, nature walks, hot air balloon safari, boat cruise –to the base of the falls or the Delta Launch cruise excursion.

Kidepo Valley National Park

The remote Kidepo Valley National Park is part of the incredible destinations to explore along the Northern circuit/route. Lying in the far Northeastern Uganda, Kidepo was founded in 1962 and it occupies the land area of 1442sq.km which makes it Uganda’s 3rd largest park.

Kidepo Valley NP is a savanna grassland-dominated protected area, home to 77 mammal species, 475 bird species and other animal species. The wildlife to see on Uganda safaris in Kidepo include reedbucks, roan antelopes, waterbucks, zebras, cheetahs, lions, gazelles, elephants, Kudus, buffaloes, hyenas, giraffes, and leopards.

The birds to identify in this park include Kori bustards, Abyssinian rollers, Verreaux’s eagles, ostriches, yellow-billed hornbills, pygmy falcons, Egyptian vultures, red and yellow barbet, dark chanting goshawk, Karamoja apalis, little bee-eaters, secretary bird, and others. The main activities to do in Kidepo include game drive, birding, nature walks and cultural tour.

Other tourist attractions to explore along the Northern route include Aruu waterfalls, Ajai Game Reserve, Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, Mount Moroto, Fort Patiko-Baker’s Fort, Mount Morungole and more.

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