Introducing Southwestern Uganda
If Uganda is the ‘pearl of Africa’, then southwestern Uganda is the mother of pearl. Easily the most beautiful part of the country, it’s a lush region of lakes, islands and mountains. And whether you’re here for adventure or respite, the southwest’s got you covered in spades.
There are top-notch treks all along the western Rift Valley, whether it be taking in the three-nation vistas from atop the Virunga volcanoes or making a weeklong slog though the otherworldly moorlands on the snowcapped Rwenzoris. After the mountains, head to the water for an all out R&R assault on Lake Bunyonyi or the Ssese Islands.
With most of Africa’s national parks, the southwest is Uganda’s top wildlife-watching region too; and one of the world’s best for primates. There are, of course, the mountain gorillas, living la vida languorous on the steep slopes of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. Kibale Forest National Park has what’s often described as the greatest variety of primates on the planet, and this is just one of the places where you can track a habituated troop of chimpanzees as they groove through the treetops. The famous tree-climbing lions steal the show at Queen Elizabeth National Park, but the area’s largest and most diverse park is full of other big wildlife and is one place certain to satisfy your safari urge.
As in the rest of the country, it can take a long time to get from place to place. And it’s tough to properly explore most of the national parks without your own set of wheels, but as this is the most popular part of Uganda it’s usually not too tough to team up with other travellers to share the costs.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Home to almost half of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas, the World Heritage-listed Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of Africa’s most famous national parks. Set over 331 sq km of improbably steep mountain rainforest, the park is home to an estimated 360 gorillas: undoubtedly Uganda’s biggest tourist drawcard.