The lion is one of the most sought-after safari species, and one of the most impressive to observe. Living in prides of around 15 individuals, lions adhere to strict social structures. Groups consist of related females and their cubs, who are often born around the same time and raised communally. New mothers, however, will live in dens with their cubs for the first few weeks, moving them one by one to a new den every few days to avoid building up a scent which would attract predators. A new male taking over a pride will often kill all cubs, and mate with each of the females.
The male’s distinctive mane plays a role in making it look much larger and more intimidating to other lions and spotted hyenas - the lion’s main rivals. It is the lionesses, however, who are responsible for around 90% of the hunting, doing so in coordinated groups which can allow them to pursue larger species such as buffalo and giraffes as well as smaller antelope. The kill is not shared evenly, however, and only the larger prey is brought back to the pride, making survival difficult for cubs during times of hardship.
Information sourced from African Wildlife Foundation http://www.awf.org/
The striking leopard is one of the hardest large species to observe in Uganda, thanks to its nocturnal, solitary behavior and well-camouflaged coat.
Their survival is partly due to their adaptability to warm and cold climates and ability to climb trees while carrying heavy prey - keeping it safe from other predators such as lions and hyenas. They can run at incredible speeds of up to 58 km (36 miles) per hour, and hunt antelopes and monkeys as well as fish, birds, insects and reptiles.
Historically, leopards were hunted for their beautiful fur; loss of habitat is now their greatest threat.
Information sourced from African Wildlife Foundation (Link to http://www.awf.org/
Uganda is home to many different primate species, with Kibale National Park containing the highest density in all of Africa. As well as the chimpanzee and gorilla, the black-and-white colobus, red-tailed monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, l’Hoest’s and blue monkeys, and olive baboons can be seen during game drives, launch trips or nature walks, along with smaller nocturnal species such as the bushbaby and potto. Mgahinga National Park also contains one of the last remaining habitats of the endangered golden monkey.
Black-and-white colobus monkeys are among the most frequently spotted species. The name “colobus” means “mutilated” in Greek, as, unlike other primates, they are lacking thumbs. The troops of 5-10 individuals are easily seen in the branches as a result of their striking coloring - black with long white hair running from the shoulders to rump, and white tufts at the ends of their long tails. Infants are born pure white.
The dog-like baboons live in large groups and are regularly seen along roadsides where they wait to ambush cars in search of food. They spend more time on the ground than most other primate species, but sleep in trees at night. If water is scarce, they can survive for long periods by licking the dew from their fur.
Information sourced from African Wildlife Foundation (Link to http://www.awf.org/)
Thanks to its hot equatorial climate, Uganda is a haven for many cold-blooded reptiles. The largest of these is the Nile crocodile, observed along the banks of rivers and lakes, basking open-mouthed in the heat as blackbird plovers pick tasty morsels from between their teeth. The species was once threatened with extiction as a result of being hunted for its high quality leather.
They typically grow to between 3.5 and 5 meters (11.5 to 16 feet) in length, though examples of over 6.5 meters have been reported!
Much less scary are the diminutive three-horned chameleons, living at higher altitudes on the slopes of the Rwenzori. They are often bright green, changing their color rapidly according to their mood and temperature.
One eye moves around independently of the other, giving them 360 degree vision, and they will whip out their extraordinarily long tongues in order to catch unsuspecting insects to eat.
This comical-looking creature seems to have an oversized head, protruding tusks, bristly mane and excessively long-skinny legs, causing it to kneel down to graze. When frightened, they run away with their tails standing vertically. Warthogs cannot dig so they use holes dug by other creatures to sleep in. When chased, they will back into a burrow, allowing them to surprise their aggressor by charging out, tusks first - they have even been known to kill lions by inflicting severe wounds.
Warthogs can easily be seen in Uganda’s savannah National Parks. Be careful not to store snacks in your tent if you are camping - they have been known to rip through the canvas if they can smell food!
Information sourced from African Wildlife Foundation
Lake Mburo contains around six species of fish, with tilapia being the most common. The designated fishing spot is at Mazinga.
Lake Mburo's key birding spots include swampy valleys and viewing platforms near the salt licks and in the forest. Species found at these locations include the Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard and Brown-chested Lapwing.
Horseback safaris are an exciting way to view wildlife including eland and buffalo. Also commonly sighted are warthog, topi, impala, duiker, bushbuck, waterbuck and zebra.
Unusually, the whole park is open to walkers as long as they are accompanied by a ranger guide. Locations include the salt lick at Rwonyo, the lake's banks, Rubanga Forest and a hilltop with gorgeous lake views.
The network of game tracks in the east of the park passes a variety of landscape features including acacia woodland, wetlands, grassy hillsides, rock outcrops and seasonally flooded valley floors.