Idi Amin's 15-year despotic rule of Uganda in
the 1970's, the country's wildlife was almost
wiped out by wayward soldiers using animals
as target practice. Now 30 years on and in times
of peace, Uganda is once again teeming with
wildlife in national parks well worth visiting.
The Nile River
calms itself after the falls into a rather more
gentile flow and the best way to experience
the abundance of animal and bird life along
its banks is on a riverboat from Paara Lodge.
The river is full of unbelievably large Nile
crocodiles who sunbathe on rocks and display
their entire 15-foot (4½ metre) reptilian
bodies. Occupying the same waterway are thousands
of pink-eared hippos who take defending their
territories seriously and can startle you with
a sudden mock charge.
Buffaloes wade nonchalantly through the prolific
floating water hyacinth fringing the banks,
and huge herds of over 100 elephants cool themselves
in shallow creeks and graze silently on the
lush grasses. The park is also home to giraffe,
oribi, hartebeest, waterbuck and Uganda kob.
During the boat
excursion your senses are bombarded with such
diversity, it is hard to know where to look.
It is a bird spotters paradise and is especially
good for seeing the bizarre looking and very
rare shoebill (or whale-headed) stork. It stands
alone four-feet high (over 1 meter), with a
head like a wobbly wooden mallet and a timid
pouting expression. It is almost matched in
height by the goliath heron, who appears elegant
Season: June to September is the driest
time when most animals remain near water, but
be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms at any
time. The hot dry time is January to February
and is a good time to visit. Dry season temperatures
average 80°F (25°C).
Rainy Season: It rains anytime
from October to December and March to May when
many roads become impassible.
national parks covers 600 miles² (1,500
The Nile's flow is dam regulated so the water
levels remain more or less constant throughout
The park is accessible on a tarmac road from
the capital city Kampala. The journey takes
This is a malarial area.