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Below you can find a list of the key animals of Uganda you can see on a wildlife safari. Like many countries in Africa, Uganda has abundant mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

Many iconic wildlife species of Africa are native to Uganda, including gorillas, chimpanzees, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffalos, buffalo, zebras, and giraffes.

The country lies in east Africa between East African savannah, West African rainforests and semi-desert of the north. Being one of the top Africa safari destinations, wildlife safaris in Uganda delivers bucketloads of excitement and some of the best wildlife viewing on the continent.

Quick Overview

Thanks to a pleasant warm tropical climate and a variety of wildlife, Uganda is a fantastic destination to see animals year-round. There are just two rainy seasons that may influence your Uganda wildlife safari:

  • March to May (the ‘long rains’) – heavy downpours that flood rivers and turn dirt roads to sticky mud. The rain can make travel more difficult.
  • September to November (the ‘short rains’) – generally short-lived thundershowers in the afternoons. Game viewing is still great, photography conditions are sensational, and you won’t see many tourists around. Read our guide to learn more about the best time to visit Uganda:

The table below is a quick guide to the most likely animals you will see in Uganda and the frequency of sightings:

Animals of UgandaSightings
Mountain GorillaCommon
ChimpanzeeCommon
MonkeysAbundant
LionCommon
African buffaloAbundant
HipposAbundant
African elephantCommon
Rothschild's giraffeCommon
Plains ZebrasCommon
White RhinoRare
Nile CrocodileAbundant
Spotted hyenaCommon
LeopardOcassional
WarthogAbundant
AntelopesAbundant

What Animals Will You See on a Uganda Wildlife Safari?

1. Mountain Gorilla

Animals of Uganda

Seeing the magnificent mountain gorillas is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

The mountain gorilla is a subspecies of the eastern gorilla. More than half of the world’s population of around 1063 individuals lives in Uganda. 

The rest live in Rwanda and Congo (DRC). 

Mountain gorillas can’t survive in zoos, the only way to see them is by trekking up to their natural habitat: misty cloud forests that can reach altitudes of 14,763 feet. 

Mountain gorillas live in families led by a silverback (mature male). 

He does indeed have silvery hair forming a large saddle-like mark on his back, and he can weigh up 220kg! Part of the silverback’s job is defending the family from threats.

Where Can You See Mountain Gorillas In Uganda?

2. Chimpanzee

12 day Uganda Rwanda safari

Mountain Gorillas are not the only great ape you can see up-close on a Uganda safari tour. 

Uganda is one of the few places in Africa that offer a great chance to see chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Chimps are black-coated, apes, with hairless hands, feet and faces. 

They’re our closest animal cousins, sharing about 98.7% of our DNA. And just like us; chimps live in complex societies, solve complicated problems, make and use tools, engage in elaborate interactions, and communicate through a variety of sounds. 

There are approximately 300,000 wild chimpanzees left on Earth in the tropical forests across central, east, and western Africa. Uganda is home to about 5700 wild chimps – one of the highest populations in Africa.

Where Can You See Chimpanzees In Uganda?

Your best chance to see these animals of Uganda comes with chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park

Kibale Forest has a population of about 1500 chimps making it the best place in the world to see wild Chimpanzees. Other places to see chimps on Uganda safaris include:

 

3. Monkeys

why visit Uganda

Uganda has over 20 species of monkeys in the jungles. All the monkeys in Uganda are members of Old World Monkey. Uganda monkeys range from arboreal forms, such as the colobus, to fully terrestrial forms, such as the Patas Monkey. Here is a list of monkey species in you can see on your wildlife safari in Uganda:

  • Golden Monkey
  • Patas Monkey
  • L’Hoest’s Monkey
  • Olive Baboon
  • Black-and-white Colobus
  • Blue Monkey
  • Red-Tailed Monkey
  • Ruwenzori Colobus
  • Uganda Red Colobus
  • Vervet Monkey
  • De Brazza’s Monkey
  • Grey-cheeked Mangabey
  • Bushbaby
  • Potto
 


4. Lion

Animals of Uganda

Spotting the king of African Jungle on a Uganda wildlife safari is incredibly exciting. 

From their incredible roar that travels miles to the surprising size of their muscular bodies, lions are a part of the Big Five for many reason. 

Seeing a lion resting under a tree in the late afternoon is a magical sight in itself, but catching a pride of lions during a kill is an experience you’ll never forget, should you be lucky enough to witness it.

Where Can You See Lion in Uganda?

You can see lions in Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth and Kidepo National Park. If you are visiting Queen Elizabeth Park, keep your eyes peeled for tree-climbing lions. It’s a very uncommon sighting, so count yourself lucky if you do come across these climbing cats!

5. Buffalo

Animals of Uganda

The African Buffalo the unpredictable member of the Big Five is considered to be one of most dangerous animals on Earth, although you’d never think so looking at them. 

Large indeed (up to 1000 kg), their cow-like shapes are often misinterpreted for them being docile animals, however; the African buffalo is far from it. Their large busks, heavy weight and staggering speed are just a few of the reasons these animals of Uganda have very few predators.

Where Can You See Buffalo in Uganda?

6. Hippopotamus

Animals of Uganda

The name hippopotamus is derived from the ancient Greek for ‘river horse’. Therefore, it’s not surprising that you are most likely to see vast pods of these animals in the rivers, lakes and swamps of Uganda. 

In spite its superficial similarity to a pig, the hippo’s closest living relatives are cetaceans – whales, dolphins, porpoises, etc. Because of its highly aggressive and unpredictable nature, the hippo is one of the most dangerous animals on Earth – especially when they emerge from water to graze at dusk. 

After the African elephant and white rhino, this heavyweight herbivore is the third largest of Africa land animals.

Where Can You See Hippo in Uganda?


7. Elephant

Animals of Uganda

Uganda wildlife safari game parks host a huge number of African Elephants (except Lake Mburo National Park). These gentle giants are both charming and intimidating, with their often unpredictable manners and a polarising sense of calm. 

It is no wonder they’re on many a safari traveler’s bucket list. They truly are a magnificent sight to see. Whether you see a lone bull or a whole herd with babies, the elephant will undoubtedly make your whole day that much better!

Where Can You See Elephant in Uganda?

  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Kidepo Valley National Park

8. Giraffe

The Giraffe is the skyscraper of the animal kingdom and arguably the most extraordinary of Uganda wildlife icons. It is the world’s tallest land animal. It stands up to 6 meters tall. Needless to say, no safari in Africa would be complete without a sighting of these wonderful creatures.

Where Can You See Giraffe In Uganda?

The subspecies of giraffe that you’ll see on a Uganda wildlife safari is the Rothschild’s giraffe (one of the most endangered). Murchison Falls National Park has about 1,250 Rothschild’s giraffes, more than half the world population of this localized subspecies. Other places to see giraffes on your Uganda wildlife safari include:

 

9. Zebra

animals of Uganda

These striped equines inhabit two of Uganda wildlife game parks. The one subspecies found among wildlife in Uganda are the common plains zebra. It is the commonest of the three zebra species in Africa and the one familiar to most Africa safari goers.

Where Can You See Zebra In Uganda?

  • Kidepo Valley National Park
  • Lake Mburo National Park – has the largest zebra herds in the Uganda.

10. White Rhino

Animals of Uganda

Though you can see all the Big 5 animals in Uganda, wild rhinos are found only in one conservation area. Since the beginning of the 20th century, these prehistoric creatures have been pushed to the brink of extinction due to poaching. Sadly, the same cannot be said for humans because the horn of a rhino has a perceived value of over $60,000 per kilogram.

Where Can You See Rhino In Uganda?

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is home to Uganda’s only rhinos. Here you get the opportunity to track wild white rhinos on foot.


11. Nile Crocodile

The Nile crocodile, Crocodylus niloticus reside in most of Uganda’s aquatic environments. On average, an adult male Nile crocodile can reach up to 16 feet in length and 750 kilograms in weight! It is the biggest freshwater predator in Africa, capable of taking down almost any Uganda animals within their range.

Where Can You See Crocodile In Uganda?

  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Lake Mburo National Park

12. Spotted Hyena

Animals of Uganda

The Spotted hyena is one of the most misunderstood animals in the world. They are hated as cowardly, thieving; dirty, ugly, lazy…the list goes on. Fortunately, though, more and more people are coming to appreciate hyenas for the fascinating creatures they are. 

These animals of Uganda, along with vultures and jackals play a vital role in the ecosystem by consuming carrion – they are Mother Nature’s recyclers! While on a Uganda wildlife safari, you’re likely to fall asleep to a distant, whooping serenade of hyenas. They are very common Uganda animals and can be found pretty much anywhere where there’s enough plains game for predators to feed on.

Where Can You See Hyena In Uganda?

  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Kidepo Valley National Park
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Lake Mburo National Park
  • Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

13. Leopard

Animals of Uganda

Shy and solitary, spotting a leopard on a Uganda wildlife safari will transform your game drive into a lifelong memory. The leopard’s mastery of camouflage and stealth makes it extremely elusive, thus being such a sought-after sighting. This predator’s regal beauty is fascinating; its magnificent coat has captivated humans for millennia. They radiate a muscular feline grace and move like liquid gold.

Where Can You See Leopard In Uganda?

You will have to work a bit harder to spot a leopard – or just be very lucky! Lake Mburo National park has the highest number of leopards in Uganda, which can be seen on a night game drive. You can also see this evasive member of the Big 5 in:

  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Kidepo Valley National Park
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park

14. Warthog

Animals of Uganda

Warthogs, made famous by the character Pumba in the Lion King are a sight that many people hope to see on wildlife safaris in Uganda. These fast-moving creatures, with their amusing antics and radio-antenna-like tails, are often spotted in groups reminiscent of a small family – most likely with a baby in tow!

Where Can You See Warthog In Uganda?

  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Lake Mburo National Park
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Kidepo Valley National Park

15. Antelopes

Animals of Uganda

Uganda is home to 29 species of antelopes. The antelope is a term used for even-toed ungulate species with bony horns confined to Africa and Eurasia. 

They feature long, slender legs which give them great speed. Their unbranched horns do not shed like deer. Most Uganda antelopes occur in savannahs, but you can also find them in rainforests, mountains, and swamps. Below Are the Antelopes you can see on your Uganda wildlife safari:

  • Uganda Kob – the national antelope
  • Impala
  • Waterbuck
  • Bushbuck
  • Eland
  • Hartebeest
  • Topi
  • Sitatunga
  • Reedbuck
  • Greater Kudu
  • Lesser Kudu
  • Oribi
  • Klipspringer
  • Dik-Dik
  • Duikers

16. Cheetah

Animals of Uganda

When you’re the fastest land mammal on Earth – capable of exceeding 100 km/h or 60 mph, you want flat and wide-open spaces in which to chase down your prey. 

Watching these fast felines hunt is one of the most exhilarating sightings you will experience on a wildlife safari in Uganda. The Kidepo National Park and Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve’s relatively flat and treeless landscape is the perfect hunting ground for these Uganda animals.

17. Shoebills

Animals of Uganda

This huge elusive swamp-dwelling grey bird is one of the 1097 recorded bird bird species in Uganda. The bird derives from its massive bill, which looks like a shoe. It is one of Africa’s most coveted ticks for birders. Sightings of this rare bird, resembling something from the dinosaur era, are excellent Uganda’s Mabamba Swamp and Murchison Falls National Park.

17. Giant Forest Hog

The largest of African pig species, the Giant Forest Hog is a nocturnal creature of the forest interior, and so very rarely seen. However, it possibly occurs in all Uganda wildlife parks in western Uganda, and is often seen by day along Channel Drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Different Ways To See Animals of Uganda

While daily game drives in 4×4 vehicles are par for the course with a Uganda wildlife safari, there are alternative ways to experience the Uganda wilderness:

Ready to Start Planning Your Uganda Wildlife Safari?

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