Uganda’s Conservation Areas
Uganda’s list of gazetted conservation areas encompasses 10 national parks, 8 wildlife reserves, 4 wildlife sanctuaries, and 9 Ramsar sites. National parks are accorded higher status and conservation priority than other reserves, and from the visitor’s point of view, they are generally better developed for tourism.
Bureaucratic considerations aside, the most meaningful way to categorize Uganda’s various national parks and reserves is based on the type of habitat they protect. We occasionally refer to some national parks as game or savanna reserves, forest reserves, and montane reserves. In this sense, the term ‘game reserve’ applies to any reserve or national park that protects a savanna habitat and supports typical plains animals. In contrast, the term ‘forest reserve’ refers to any reserve or national park covering a forest environment and associated animals.
The three montane conservation areas considered national parks in Uganda can, in some circumstances, be classified with forest reserves. They all support montane and bamboo forests up to an altitude of about 3,000 meters above sea level, at what point the habitat gives way to Afro-montane moorland at higher altitudes.
National Parks in Uganda
- Bwindi Impenetrable | 310 sq km | Forest | mountain gorillas, forest birds
- Kibale Forest | 766 sq km | Forest | chimpanzees, monkeys, forest birds
- Kidepo Valley | 1,344 sq km | Savanna | dry-country antelopes, predators, and birds
- Lake Mburo | 256 sq km | Savanna | wide variety of antelope and waterbirds
- Mgahinga | 33 sq km | Montane | mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, hiking, volcanic peaks
- Mount Elgon | 1,145 sq km | Montane | hiking, forest birds
- Murchison Falls | 3,900 sq km | Savanna | Murchison Falls, big game, waterbirds
- Queen Elizabeth | 1,978 sq km | Savanna | big game, chimps, 612 bird species
- The Rwenzori Mountains | 996 sq km | Montane | mountaineering, forest birds, Afro-montane plants
- Semuliki | 220 sq km | Forest | hot springs, Rift Valley setting, 45 birds found nowhere else