Hippopotami in Murchison - Best all-inclusive 7-day Uganda safari with gorilla trek, chimp tracking, primate wildlife tour Uganda. Track rhinos, BIG-5 wildlife, gorilla tour in Uganda. Hippos, Murchison Falls - Best of Uganda Tour, 7 days most popular Uganda tour Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris

Best of Uganda Wildlife & Gorilla Safari - 7 Days

Gorillas and Wildlfe Safaris Hall of Fame Trip Advisor RecommendedAn all-in-all African Adventure holiday with thrilling close-up wildlife encounters, gorilla tracking, and memorable chimpanzee trekking experiences.

The 7-day  Best of Uganda Wildlife & Gorilla Safari is the most recommended for any first-timer on an African safari adventure for its ease to access wildlife at closer quarters, easy gorillas and chimpanzee tracking, and wide-ranging scenic drives across remote villages in Ugandan farmlands.

The safari can start on any day from Entebbe or Kampala. We shall first visit  Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for Rhino Tracking and then proceed to the magnificent Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale National Park, and then Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.

Tour highlights include adventurous safari drives, chimps tracking in Kibale National Park with 11 other primates there, guided gorilla tours in Bigodi Wetland, a boat trip or launch trip on the River Nile in Murchison Falls National Park, Rhino tracking at Ziwa Rhinos Sanctuary,  and then gorilla trekking or gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Best of Uganda Wildlife and Gorilla Safari - 7 Days

The Best of Uganda Wildlife & Gorilla Safari route allows you to visit Uganda’s Albertine Rift and visit its most important protected area including Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale National Park, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

It includes plenty of wildlife safaris looking for BIG-5, wildlife safaris and a boat safari, bird watching, chimpanzee trekking, and a Bwindi gorilla trek.

  • Day 1: Start from Entebbe or Kampala to Murchison Falls National Park Safari & track the rhinos at  Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary 
  • Day 2: BIG-5  Wildlife Game drive safari, Murchison Falls National Park game drive & boat trip safari to view wildlife
  • Day 3: Drive to Kibale Forest National Park for primate tracking chimps, monkeys, etc. (Or request for flight option)
  • Day 4: Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National Park & Guided primates walk Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
  • Day 5: Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park for Gorilla Tracking
  • Day 6: Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 7: Return to Kampala or Entebbe or end tour in Kigali

Itinerary for Best of Uganda wildlife and gorilla safari - Uganda Tour to gorillas, chimps and BIG-5 Wildlife in Murchison Falls National Park

Day 1: Drive to Murchison Falls National Park Safari & Track the White Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

We start the safari from your hotel in Entebbe or Kampala at 07:00 am. If you are arriving on the same day as we start the tour, you need to arrive no later than 10 AM.  

(We also help our clients on booking pre- and post-tour nights in Entebbe and Kampala but this isn't included in your Uganda tour cost. Most hotels in Entebbe provide free Airport transfers from Entebbe. Please let us know when you need our help.)

On the tour start day, your guide will be at your hotel at 7 am or before. You go through the program and have a general briefing about your Uganda safari before embarking on the 3 hours drive to Ziwa Rhinos Sanctuary. This is a generally beautiful scenic drive through some virgin African rural life. 

At Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary you track the Rhinos, not just from a vehicle but up close – great opportunities for these fabulous animals – there is other wildlife to be found here, so keep your eyes open so you do not miss any and your guide will also point any other animals.

You are accompanied by rangers who take you within 10 meters of the Rhinos.  You will most likely see other wildlife as you trek the rhinos such as antelopes, warthogs, and more.  This sanctuary has now been established to breed black and white rhino and restore Rhino populations in Uganda's protected areas at a later stage. You are allowed 1 hour with the rhinos while the sanctuary keeper gives all the information they can about them.

We will continue through the park stopping at the top of the falls which is a fantastic sight. Here the Nile, the longest river in the world, is forced through a narrow gap in the rock (only 7 meters wide), before ferociously plunging down 43 meters. From here we will continue onto our accommodation place along the Nile River

Murchison Falls National Park is the largest in Uganda at 3,840 square kilometers. Here is the awe-inspiring Murchison Falls where the River Nile hurls itself in convulsions through a narrow crevice and then plunges 40 meters in one breathtaking leap.

The park has a variety of vegetation ranging from riparian forests and swamplands to broad savannah and provides visitors the opportunity of seeing large concentrations of wildlife including lion, leopard, civet, hyena, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, hippo, crocodile, a host of smaller game, small primates and many bird species, including the rare shoebill stork. The park is especially famous for crocodiles and hippos.

Apart from game viewing, the launch trip to the bottom of the falls is another memorable adventure giving you the experience of the mighty Biblical Nile. On the launch, you may see schools of crocodiles and hippos basking on the river banks as well as a variety of birds.

Murchison Falls NP Accommodation options available

Up-market: Thatched cottage at Murchison River Lodge | Deluxe Room at Paraa Safari Lodge

Moderate: Pakuba Lodge or Fort Murchison Lodge 

Low Budget: Fort Murchison Lodge (tents) | Murchison River Lodge (tents) | Red Chilli Rest Camp

Meals today: Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner only.

Driving time: ±4 hours

Day 2: Game drive safaris and boat trip in Murchison Falls National Park 

It is highly advisable that you plan an early morning departure from the lodge today, somewhere not later than 6:30 am. We want to comb out all the thickets and bushes of Murchison Falls National Park in search of its prized wild game. The plan is to catch most of the big predators - the lions, hyenas, and leopards in hunting and feeding action and the best time for this is before the day gets warmer. Your guide is skilled in locating the best tracks on which they will be. On the game drive, you should also expect other more common hosts - the giraffe, herds of elephants, buffaloes, and many more.

There are really no limits as to how long this game drive will last. Your safari guide will try their best to cover as much as possible before returning to catch the afternoon boat trip to the bottom of Murchison Falls.

This boat trip along the calmer waters of the Nile is often cited as being the highlight of a safari in Murchison since it allows you to get up close and personal with the animals. Along this stretch of the river, there are reported to be around 4,000 hippos in addition to some enormous Nile crocodiles.

The birdlife is stunning with brightly colored kingfishers and bee-eaters darting along the riverbanks. If lucky, you may see the rare and prehistoric-looking shoebill, which is a cross between the dodo and a dinosaur. The boat takes you to the base of the falls which only adds to their impressiveness.

Accommodation options available 

Up-market: Thatched cottage at Murchison River Lodge | Deluxe Room at Paraa Safari Lodge

Moderate: Pakuba Lodge | Fort Murchison Lodge | Murchison River Lodge 

Low Budget: Fort Murchison Lodge (tents) | Murchison River Lodge (tents) | Red Chilli Rest Camp

Meals today: Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner only.

Day 3: Drive to Africa's Primate Capital - Kibale Forest National Park, (you can make a special request to fly from Murchison to Kibale).

Today we leave Murchison Falls National Park for Kibale Forest National Park via the Lake Albert escarpment, having a good view of the lake. The drive is famous for its views of the Great East African Rift Valley escarpments.  We also shall be driving across the interesting river Nkusi (flowing from the southern end of Lake Albert, through the villages of Kagadi, joining Victoria Nile). Both rivers join Lake Kyoga and flow through the Murchison Falls continuing to Lake Albert and north to the Mediterranean Sea.

You arrive at Fort Portal, then, continue toward Kibale Forest, one of the great African rainforest research reserves. Years of study by scientists (who have cut a grid through the forest) have habituated many of its animals to human observers. This forest is famed for the variety of primates found here and it is a te

During the afternoon we have time to visit the scenic crater lakes region, checking out the superbly terraced tea estates. In the south of Fort Portal is the Kasenda Crater Lakes region. It sits on the rim of Lake Nyinambuga—the back of the main building looks down over the lake, while the other side of the lodge looks out over another lake in the distance and, further off, the Rwenzori Mountains, which were perpetually shrouded in the clouds, except early in the morning. There’s plenty to do in this area and we can also take an hour’s walk around Lake Nyinambuga.

Kibale Accommodation options available

Up-market: Ndali Lodge | Crater Safari Lodge| Primate Lodge Kibale 

Moderate:  Isunga Lodge | Chimpanzee Forest Lodge (in the en-suite cottage) |    Kibale Forest Camp (ensuite rooms) | Turaco Treetops Lodge

Low Budget: Chimpanzee Forest Lodge | Kibale Forest Camp (tents) 

Meals today: Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner only.

Driving time: ±5 hours

Day 4: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest National Park & Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Your safari guide will be meeting you at your accommodation for the transfer to Kibale Park offices for the chimpanzee tracking experience. At the park office, you shall be briefed about the chimpanzees and other primates in the forest. You will also be guided on how you need to conduct yourself while tracking the chimpanzees in the forest. After all this, it is time to trek into the jungles in search of the chimps. The walk, in general, requires only moderate physical fitness and most guests can easily manage without much hustle. We shall be trekking for about 2 hours or so before encountering the first signs of the chimpanzee troupes in this forest. You should hear them by their distinctively loud pant-hooting in the canopies of the forest. 

When we eventually get very close, you should be able to see the chimpanzees playing in the tree canopies. Some will be on the forest floor feeding on the undergrowth vegetation. You will be allowed 1 hour with them, to take photographs and have all your questions answered by the park rangers.

The ranger guides will then be requesting you to start preparing to leave. As you trek from the chimpanzees, be on the lookout for the other primates in Kibale like the black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, bush babies, and pottos. If you are curious about the birds, you might be able to spot the yellow-spotted nicator, rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, green-breasted pitta, the crowned eagle, and black bee-eater among others. Your chimps trek rangers will exercise plenty of caution as you walk to dodge direct encounters with the fierce elephants in Kibale.

In the afternoon we visit a nearby Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary that is excellent for viewing primates and other forest animals. Bigodi is located on the eastern edge of the Kibale forest and is maintained by the local community. You might spot birds like the great blue turaco, blue monkeys, baboons, otters, mongoose, bushbucks, bush pigs, and others.

Kibale Accommodation options available (all on a full board basis)

Up-market: Ndali Lodge | Crater Safari Lodge| Primate Lodge Kibale 

Moderate:  Isunga Lodge | Chimpanzee Forest Lodge (in the en-suite cottage) | Kibale Forest Camp (ensuite rooms) | Turaco Treetops Lodge

Low Budget: Chimpanzee Forest Lodge | Kibale Forest Camp (tents) 

Meals today: Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner only.

Driving time: ±30 minutes

Day 5: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Today we depart from Kibale to the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where we shall be having the gorilla tracking experience.  The drive is not less than 5 hours but traverses remarkably beautiful tropical savannah plains with herds of wildlife grazing along the way. 

We shall be arriving in Bwindi late in the afternoon and you can spend the rest of the day resting and preparing for the next day's adventure to the gorillas.

Bwindi Accommodation options available (all on a full board basis)

Up-market: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany LodgeFour Gorillas Lodge | Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge 

Moderate:  Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge | Lake Mulehe Lodge

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Havens | Gorilla Conservation Camp| Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp 

Meals today: Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner only.

Driving time: ±6 hours

Day 6: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Tracking the gorillas in Bwindi is a highlight for most tourists on safari in Uganda. There are only 1065 mountain gorillas alive on earth and of these, over 50% live in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorillas National Park. That is one reason why being one of the few humans to come face-to-face with a family of mountain gorillas in their wild home is a truly special event in one's lifetime.

Your driver shall be at your accommodation to pick you up for this special day's adventures. Gorilla trekking starts with a briefing exercise done at the Bwindi Park offices (normally very close to your accommodation). The pre-trek briefing starts at about 8 am and it is mandatory for everyone tracking the gorillas to attend. Here you will be given more information about the mountain gorillas' conservation and ecology, and how to conduct yourself while tracking the gorillas. Afterward, you will be allocated a gorilla group to which you will be visiting.

Most trailheads to the gorillas will be located a few minutes' drive from the park office but some treks just commence right there. Either way, expect to trek for about 2-3 hours in the thick jungles before meeting the gorillas. Once you meet them, the rangers will allow you to up to 6 meters close while guiding you to the best spots to photograph the gorillas. You will be allowed 1 hour with the gorillas and then it will be time to descend back to camp.

Bwindi Accommodation options available (all on a full board basis)

Up-market: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Lodge| Four Gorillas Lodge | Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge 

Moderate:  Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge | Lake Mulehe Lodge

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Havens | Gorilla Conservation Camp| Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp 

Meals today: Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner only.

Driving time: ±30 munites

Day 7: Return to Entebbe (daily flights also available to Entebbe).

Today is our last day of the Uganda Wildlife and Gorilla Safari. We shall prepare to leave the mountain gorillas' jungles early in the morning for our ±7 hours' drive back to Entebbe airport.

The drive traverses the grassed and terraced escarpments of southwestern Uganda while taking in the breathtaking sights of the hills of the region dubbed ‘the little Switzerland of Africa’. This area is a highly fertile, mountainous region with steep-sided hills covered from top to bottom in neatly terraced cultivated rows.

Another remarkable highlight of this journey is the Equator line and surely you will cross it as we have a brief stop here.

We will be in Entebbe in the evening before your flight back home.

Meals today: Breakfast & Lunch only.

Driving distance: ±7 hours to Entebbe.

Accommodation is situated either in National Parks, on the banks of a river, or in other places of interest. Most accommodation options have a private bathroom with a shower and toilet, while others have shared ablutions available. Some properties are equipped with swimming pools and bar areas.

Upscale Accommodation for this Uganda Wildlife and Gorilla Safari

At all times, we will try our best to get the best high-quality lodges at all the parks in this Uganda safari. 

In Murchison Falls NP we book either the thatched cottage at Murchison River Lodge or Paraa Safari Lodge

In Kibale, we book Kyaninga Lodge or Ndali Lodge or Crater Safari Lodge

In Bwindi the upscale lodges include Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Buhoma Lodge or Chameleon Hill Lodge

Each lodge cost per night is about $300 per person.

Midrange (Moderate) Accommodation for this Uganda Safari

The midrange accommodation for this  Uganda safari is largely mid-luxury safari camps and lodges with bigger space, ensuite bathrooms and toilets among other amenities.

In Murchison Falls NP we book  Fort Murchison Lodge, or Pakuba Game Lodge or Twiga Safari Lodge

In Kibale, we book Isunga Lodge or Kibale Forest Camp, or Tutaco Treetops Lodge.

In Bwindi, the midrange options include Lake Mulehe Lodge, Engagi  Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge

The lodging cost per night is ranging at about $140 per person per night.

Lower Budget Accommodation for this Uganda Wildlife and Gorilla Safari

The lower budget accommodation quoted will usually be sheltered tents often with shared bathrooms/ toilet, or smaller ensuite cottages (depending on availability), or rooms.

Nice comfortable bedding is always provided with mosquito nets for your comfort.

You don't need to bring your own tent or bedding for this tour.

In Murchison Falls NP we book either lazy camping tent Fort Murchison Lodge or Red Chilli.

In Kibale, we book  tents at Kibale Forest Camp or rooms at Chimpanzee Forest Lodge

In Bwindi we book either Gorilla Conservation Camp or Rushaga Gorilla Havens or Ruhija Gorilla Friends.

 

Best of Uganda Wildlife and Gorilla Safari - Cost Inclusions and Exclusions

This is a private Uganda tour with unshared transfers, and you would only be joined by others on the gorilla trek tour, rhino tracking, chimps trek, and boat trip to Murchison Falls NP.

Tour Inclusions

  • Gorilla trek permits (each at US$700)
  • Chimpanzee tracking/ viewing permits
  • Rhinos tracking
  • Accommodation with all meals indicated on the program
  • Services of a good English-speaking Uganda safari guide
  • Park fees for the various parks
  • Transport on tour using a customized game-viewing safari land-cruiser
  • Entrance fees for tours mentioned in the program
  • Boat rides as on the program
  • Bottled drinking water on the vehicle

Uganda tour cost excludes

  • Tips
  • visas and travel documentation
  • Optional Tours
  • Pre-tour or post-tour accommodation and transfer arrangments
  • Flight tickets
  • Beverages at lodges 
  • Optional tours not on the itinerary
  • Porters for treks

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IS THE BEST OF UGANDA WILDLIFE & GORILLA SAFARI FOR ME?

TRAVEL STYLE: Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris Journeys

Greater exploration, insider access, and the freedom to roam – all without sacrificing comfort.

SERVICE LEVEL: Up-gradable

Quality accommodations and more inclusions than on other Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris tours, like meals, private transport, and activities.

PHYSICAL RATING: 3 Moderate Difficulty

Bits of heavy hiking on the gorilla tracking but mostly gentle combined with driving ±6 hours on some transfers.

TRIP TYPE: Private/Small Group

This Uganda Wildlife and Gorilla Safari is purely private. It will only be you and the tour leader on the safari vehicle. On the gorilla trek, chimps trek, and boat trip you might be joined by other tourists though. But on wildlife safaris (game drives) and transfers, it is only your safari guide and the local guides. The safari vehicle carries a maximum of 7 persons each with a window seat but we have a lot of solo travelers doing this tour as well.

AGE REQUIREMENT: 12+

Travelers below the age of 12 will not be allowed to trek gorillas but can be left at the lodge to tour the villages with a guide.

Clients' Testimonials from the Uganda Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris

  • star rating  A stunning glimpse into the natural world  - A simply stunning experience from start to finish. What started as a spur of the moment idea to visit the mountain gorillas turned into an extraordinary and continually delightful tour... read more

    avatar thumb Samuel T
    14th January 2024

    star rating  Amazing experience and Richard is the best  - I did a 3 day gorilla tracking safari with Richard and I had the time of my life. The gorilla tracking was amazing, and the whole 3 days were just... read more

    avatar thumb TomBroenink
    19th December 2023

    star rating  My sister organized an itinerary through Gorillas and Wildlife Safari. We love that it was Uganda-owned. She worked with Ivan to put together a fabulous itinerary through Rwanda and Uganda... read more

    608savannahw
    31st August 2023
  • star rating  Amazing experience with Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris - We did a 7 night, 8 day gorilla and Safari tour. It was fantastic - we had such a great time. Ivan was quick to respond to all... read more

    Marissa W
    29th August 2023

    star rating  My wonderful 13-day trip across Uganda - I just returned from my wonderful 13-day trip across Uganda with Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris. My interactions with Ivan as well as my guide, Huzaima, were fantastic. Ivan was very... read more

    Jafar M
    19th August 2023

    star rating  Amazing experience from the start! - We cannot recommend Gorilla and Wildlife Safaris enough! From the very beginning in planning the trip, Ivan was extremely responsive to all our questions and very helpful in creating the... read more

    323kristalb
    10th August 2023

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More information on the Best of Uganda Wildlife Safari 7 - Days to Murchison Falls, Kibale Chimps Tracking and Bwindi Gorilla Trekking

On your safari, you have a chance to experience some of the most spectacular yet undiscovered wildlife. Uganda has very beautiful scenery, comfortable weather year-round, and above all friendly people that will make your holiday a journey to remember. Besides, Uganda has such a wealth of attractions that a single visit will not be enough to discover all its wonders…!

Uganda as a country is one of the most thought-for destinations when it comes to African safaris. This is due to its natural endowment with natural beauty, characterized by good natural physical features, amazing African landscapes, and scenic views.

Uganda is also known both as a world of birds and the world of wildlife.

Uganda lies astride the equator between Kenya to the east and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. It covers an area of 236,000m2 with 25% of its surface made up of large lakes including lakes Victoria, Albert, Edward, and George.

With our Uganda safaris, you can expect to see Africa’s Big Five and other land animals, gorillas, chimpanzees, and other primates, waterfalls, forests, islands, and plenty of bird life.

Uganda offers excellent Africa vacation tours to its national parks and game reserves where you may have the opportunity to see a diversity of wildlife through game drives and walking or chimpanzee trekking safaris.

Unlike Tanzania and Kenya safaris, Uganda includes wildlife and gorilla safaris to Bwindi national parks where the Virungas extend to Rwanda and Congo. Hiking expeditions offer additional adventure in Rwenzori National Park similar to those of Mount Kenya.

The tourism and hospitality sector provides a variety of safari accommodation options including camping, safari lodges, hotels, resorts, and guest houses. These may be luxury or discounted/cheap depending on what you want for your Uganda accommodation.

MAIN NATIONAL PARKS FOR YOUR 7-DAY BEST OF UGANDA WILDLIFE SAFARI FOR GORILLAS, WILDLIFE AND PRIMATES

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The park is located in southwestern Uganda, covering parts of Rukungiri, Kisoro, and Kabale Districts. It is situated in a hilly countryside that, together with some remnant lowland forest outside the boundary constitutes an important water catchment area for many rivers, supplying the agricultural land of the surrounding region.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a true equatorial jungle, inhabited by four gorilla groups. Amongst the dense vegetation, the colobus monkey jumps from branch to branch, chattering its warning to its fellows hidden by the foliage. Chimpanzees, in families of 20 or 30, make the rounds, searching for fruit and edible plants.

The best time to visit Uganda is late December to late February, and from June to September, as the weather at this time of year is generally dry, and warm. Temperatures average at around 25 degrees Celsius.

Kibale National Park

Once this tropical rainforest provided a (very substantial) dinner, bed and breakfast for large herds of migrating forest elephants and, even now, the park contains the largest population of this subspecies in Uganda. Although they're rarely seen, and dangerous, the signs of these elephants' presence are abundant.

However, Kibale's claim to fame is its enormous variety of primates and its families of habituated chimpanzees - it's home to an astonishing 12 species of primate and provides one of the highest primate densities in the world. Here, on a daytime or evening guided forest walk, you may find families of chimpanzees and red colobus monkeys chattering and swinging through the ancient forest trees.

The sightings of birds in the forest are no less impressive - there are at least 325 species, many of which are found nowhere else. In addition, there are over 144 species of butterflies.

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most spectacular in Uganda, and indeed in the whole of Africa. This is the largest game park in the country (3,840 sq.km.) and has the most intense concentration of animals along the river. The park is really spectacular that it is hard not to include it in an all-inclusive Uganda wildlife safari. On the way there, we track the white rhinos in the Ziwa sanctuary. While on safaris in the park, we might encounter giraffes, lions, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, buffalo, and many other wildlife species for a Uganda safari.

Here is the awe-inspiring Murchison Falls, where the River Nile hurls itself in appalling convulsions through a narrow crevice and then plunges 40 meters in one breathtaking leap. Before the Murchison Falls themselves, in the eastern sector of the park, are the Karuma Falls where the Nile cascades over 23 kilometers of rapids in a breathtaking sight. This is some of the most exciting white water in Africa.

A launch trip upstream to the falls is one of the great experiences in Africa. Elephant, hartebeest, giraffe, buffalo, crocodiles, and countless antelope and birds (including the rare shoebill stork) can be admired at the water's edge as the launch glides along the Murchison Falls National Park, with its variety of vegetation ranging from riparian forests and swamplands to broad savannah, provides the opportunity of seeing many of the animals found in Uganda.