Big five animals (Lions, Leopards, Buffaloes, Elephants and Rhinoceros) are some of the wildlife species you are likely to encounter the Pearl of Africa during African tours, thus undertaking Big five safaris in this country are one of the must-do activities that fascinate everyone that loves nature or wildlife. Now the most exciting moment comes when you photograph them in their natural habitats.
It usually involves a lot of leg work to spot these wildlife species during Uganda safaris. You might travel throughout the country but there are specific places that offer sights of these animals (at least four of the big five animals) and they include Murchison Falls National park within north-western Uganda (number one destination and iconic tourism draw card), Queen Elizabeth National Park within western Uganda and Kidepo Valley National Park within North Eastern Uganda.
The Big give animals are usually sighted during guided game drives, guided walks and self drive safaris but for Uganda’s case, you can only be able to see four of the big five animals because the Rhinos aren’t found in the National Parks but rather within Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary on the Kampala – Gulu highway (within Nakasongola district) where they are gazetted. Usually it’s not only these exceptional animals that can be sighted when conducting game drives but also birds and other animals thus whenever you reach waterholes, stop and listen to their sounds.
But also, prepare to be amazed by the leopards dozing in the branches of the tree or spot the white-rhino that is half hidden in the dense shrubs, a pride of the lions (the Kings of the Jungle) in the shade after a kill or being taken away by the herds of elephants or Cape buffaloes moving soundlessly across the road all offering priceless experiences during the Uganda safari.
How to reach the destination to see the Big five animals
If you are heading to Murchison Falls National Park, you can either fly to Pakuba or Bugungu airstrips and proceed to whichever part of the Park you desire or go by road transport by driving along Kampala-Luweero-Nakasongola-Masindi-to the Park. There are two routes that connect to the National Park with the first one passing through the Kichumbanyobo gate (85 kilometers) at about 2-3 hours drive from Masindi Town while the second one passes through Lake Albert side at 135 kilometers/5 hours’ drive.
If you are heading to Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can actually fly from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe International Airport to Kasese/Mweya airstrip then proceed to the Park by road. Alternatively, you can opt for road transport then use Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara – Bushenyi – Kasese to the Park.
For Kidepo Valley National Park, you can fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Apoka airfield. If you wish to use road transport, you can use the different routes that include; Kampala-Karuma-Gulu-Kitgum-Kidepo (571 kilometers,10 hours) and Kampala-Karuma-Lira-Kotido-Kaabong-Kidepo (705 kilometers, 12 hours).
What to Carry for big five safaris
If you are planning to engage in game drives/nature walks to sight the big five animals, you have to pack long sleeved shirts, long trousers, short sleeved/sleeveless shirts, pair of shorts, strong waterproof hiking boots, sandals (flip-flops), a camera, Binoculars, a rain jacket, a sweater, gardening gloves, long socks, pajamas, hat and sunglasses among others.