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Uganda called the Republic of Uganda is a country situated in East Africa and surrounded by Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Its southern regions include areas of the Lake Victoria, shared with Tanzania and Kenya and it also lies within the Nile Basin.
Although Uganda is landlocked, it is blessed with many lakes and rivers, especially in the southern area where the world’s biggest lake, Lake Victoria borders the country. Most of the important cities, including the capital Kampala are situated in the southern region of the country.
Uganda has a history of political and social upheavals that have largely been the talking point of the nation. Many development indexes too do not look too pretty in Uganda, however, naturally as well as in wildlife circles, Uganda is known for its varied biodiversity, fantastic wildlife and some stunning landscapes. The Mountain gorilla however, remains its main wildlife attraction, and pulls wildlife enthusiast and conservationists from across the globe. With ten national parks under its belt, Uganda is definitely for those seeking to view a rich biodiversity in its ultimate natural habitat.
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The mix of the savannah grasslands and forests gives Uganda a wide range of natural surroundings for its wildlife inhabitants. The Gorilla and chimps are the main attractions; however, a large number of other animals are also commonly sighted in the national parks of the country. Some of the wildlife that can be seen in Uganda is the White rhinos in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the lion seen commonly in the Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Park, giraffe and zebra in the Lake Mburo and Murchison Falls national parks. The Uganda kob, the national antelope and the sitatunga antelope are also seen in the different national parks. Other animals include, the buffalo, elephants, African wildcats, cheetahs, leopards and of course the primates, gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees and more. Some primates include the Patas monkey, De Brazza’s monkey, red tailed monkey and the grey cheeked mangabey.
There are about 800 mountain gorillas that exist today in the forests of Uganda and are the main crowd pullers. The gorilla tracking or gorilla trekking is the best way to spot these apes in their natural habitat.
The mountain gorillas live in the dense forests of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and in Uganda’s Mgahinga Goriila National Park, besides in the Virunga National Park that stretches into the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
Since mountain gorillas do not survive in captivity, one has to trek up the mountains that sometimes reach an altitude of 14000 feet to watch and interact with these friendly yet majestic beings. The trekking and trailing of the gorillas is as much of an experience as actually encountering them. The scenic and splendid surrounding views coupled with the muddy terrain, exhaustion and the sudden sense of proximity on finding munched bamboo or droppings is exciting and rewarding.
The mountain gorilla is the larger of the other gorilla species and due to its high altitude abode is recognized by a thicker fur over its body. They usually live in groups of 10-30 and though they look formidable and massive, they rarely mean or do any harm. In fact, the gorillas are considered as very calm and composed creatures.
The silverback male, distinguished by his white hair is usually the troop leader. Watching the gorillas at close quarters is a surreal experience and unlike other safaris, where one goes rolling past one animal after another, the dedicated pursuit of the mountain gorilla makes it special and memorable. A close encounter with the mountain gorilla or a look into its brightly searching eyes is memories and an experience of a lifetime.
Birds and reptiles
Uganda is home to several bird species, many of them not found anywhere else in the world. Some of the birds found in the country in its forests and around its lakes include the African piculet, African green broadbill, shoebill, black casqued wattled francolin, African pygmy goose, common waxbill, pied kingfisher, African marsh harrier, Goliath heron, African pied wagtail and many more.
The different reptile species in Uganda include the monitor lizard, nile crocodile, puff adder, rock python, mole snake and more.
Visit Uganda to take a glimpse at its rich biodiversity, savannah grasslands, forests and buzzing wildlife. However, visit Uganda most if you want to watch the mountain gorillas up close and personal.