Wildlife of Uganda

Wildlife of Uganda

Uganda is extraordinarily diverse in natural resources within its borders area freshwater lakes, waterfalls, elevated plains, swamps, arid depressions, high snow capped mountains, forests, woodland, all supporting an incredible range of plant and animal life.

The remarkable diversity is demonstrated within its animal kingdom where the country ranks amongst the top 10 in the world in terms of the diversity of its mammal groups, in fact, second in Africa and 9th in the world in mammal species and birdlife as the country is home to almost half of the world’s bird species.

As yet untouched by mass tourism Uganda’s national parks and game reserves are ideal retreats for the discerning tourists. The experience is very different in each of the national parks in the region therefore no tarmac roads through the prime game areas, no mass zebra camouflaged safari trucks, and no animals turning up by appointment, the experience takes you back to basics where patience and good game tracking skills are paramount.

Half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population estimated at about 450 mountain gorillas is in Uganda and Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla national park being the prime areas, huge chimpanzee population in Kibale forest national park, rich birdlife in Semuliki national park and extreme savannah game viewing in Lake Mburo national park and Queen Elizabeth in the central and western Uganda, Kidepo and Murchison falls in north and eastern Uganda and the high mountain ranges of Rwenzori and Mount Elgon in the south and eastern Uganda.

Also, several game reserves and wildlife sanctuaries are breeding and protection centers and areas for wildlife.

List of common wildlife seen in Uganda

Size & Location
How to get there
Areas of interest
When to visit
Where to stay
  • Otter
  • Large eared Galago
  • Hedgehog
  • Uganda shrub hare
  • Ground squirrel
  • Tortoise
  • Rwenzori three-horned chameleon
  • Rainbow lizard
  • Nile monitor lizard
  • Nile crocodile
  • Red river hog
  • Giant forest hog
  • Warthog
  • Mongoose
  • Hyena
  • Wild dog
  • Jackal
  • Serval cats
  • Lions
  • Leopard
  • Cheetah
  • Zebra
  • Defassa Waterbuck
  • Uganda Kob
  • Topi
  • Sitatunga
  • Oribi
  • Klipspringer
  • Hartebeest
  • Guenther’s dik-dik
  • Grants Gazelle
  • Impala
  • Eland
  • Bushbuck
  • Rhinoceros
  • Hippopotamus
  • Giraffe
  • Elephant
  • Buffalo
  • Vervet monkeys
  • Red-tailed monkey
  • Red colobus monkey
  • Patas monkey
  • Mountain gorillas
  • L’hoest monkeys
  • Grey checked mangabey
  • De Brazza’s monkey
  • Chimpanzee
  • Blue monkey
  • Black and white colobus monkey
  • Baboons
  • Pangolins
  • Potos
  • Bushbabies
  • Blue duickers
  • Red-fronted duickers.

Where to see the wildlife of Uganda

Ugandan wildlife is spread across the country’s vast landscape co-operated by tropical rain forest, open savannah woodland, low land forest, Lakes, Rivers, Swamps, wildlife Sanctuaries, and Game reserves.

The countries best wildlife viewing areas are in the North and southwestern Uganda with limited wildlife in the central part of the country.

How to see the wildlife of Uganda

Safari game drive vehicle

Ugandan wildlife can be seen in different ways, for African big game you will need to take the safari game drive vehicle with an experienced safari guide and take your time as you look into potential game areas at the right time.

On boat

Ugandan water bodies offer unique boat safaris to see both wildlife and the birds. Some of the top boat safaris are in Murchison falls national park to see the shoebill, wildlife, and the magnificent waterfalls, Queen Elizabeth national park famous for the boat cruise on the Kazinga channel which is famous for its abundant bird and wildlife sighting in the area, Lake Mburo is spectacular birders boat cruise where you have high chances to see the African finfoot.


Some wildlife areas are accessible by small dag out canoes more especially when searching for the shoebill in Mabamba swamp, searching for the Sitatunga and other areas like Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mutanda where you can see the otters, the canoes are motorized with small engines like 5-10 horsepower to maneuver through the narrow channels within the swamp as you look out in the marsh for the endangered shoebill stork.

On foot (Walking safari)

The rhino sanctuary north of the main capital is a home to introduced white rhino species which were introduced by Ziwa rhino sanctuary and the breeding has been successful, which has seen a huge rise in the rhino population and the sanctuary is open for tourism, and clients will walk on foot to see the Rhinos.

By Trekking

The primate national parks of Bwindi, Mgahinga gorilla national park area famous for gorilla trekking and Kibale, Budongo, Kyambura, Kalinzu are famous for chimpanzee trekking and these activities are possible by trekking in the rain forest and the low land forest.

Viewing platforms

Some areas like the Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary 23 kilometers south of Entebbe will give you an opportunity to see the chimpanzees on a wooden platform and also in Kidepo valley national park there is a wildlife viewing platform that gives you insane views of the Narous valley in the heart of the park

Cage viewing

At the Uganda wildlife education center where the animals are rescued from trafficking and injured ones too are kept in cages where you will view them as one of the ways to protect African wildlife.

Why you must see wildlife in Uganda

Ugandan tourism is still untouched and the country is home to the world’s biggest population of mountains and the best place to trek chimpanzees and also the countries located in the pearl o Africa allow easy access to other top wildlife areas like RwandaTanzania, and Kenya.

When to see the wildlife of Uganda

Uganda safaris can be booked and experienced all year round as the country lies on the equator making it a perfect setting for equatorial climate meaning the country receives about 1000 mm of rainfall annually and this will mean few hours of rain in the rainy season and north of the country is dry and it is really at its peak for wildlife during the rainy season.

Uganda game safaris are at the peak just at the end of the rain season that’s from December and January and from April, May, and June however the primate safaris at the peak during the dry season from June to August and December to February.