Tuesday, October 16, 2012

7 Natural Wonders of Uganda

The "Seven Natural Wonders Organization" is currently asking for the public to cast their votes for what they consider to be the 7 natural wonders of Uganda.  Let's face it, Uganda is a stunning country which boasts a lot of natural beauty but after some careful consideration, we came up with our list.  Here's what we consider to be Uganda's top 7 natural wonders.

#1 - Murchison Falls

The Nile River is a natural beauty on its own but there is no mistaking that to see the mighty river force its way through a 7 metre gap in the rocks and fall 43 metres is a sight to behold.  From the top of Murchison Falls the water violently thunders past crashing and surging, blowing a fine mist high into the sky filled with dancing rainbows.  The view from a boat below also gives a sensational view of the majestic falls, while surrounded by crocodiles, hippos and other game. Truly a stunner!

Murchison Falls

#2 - Rwenzori Mountains

The Rwenzori Mountains sometimes referred to as the Mountains of the Moon climb high from the Albertine Rift Valley floor and provide a stunning backdrop to the Queen Elizabeth National Park.  The highest peaks are permanently snow capped and although they are often surrounded by clouds, you do get the rare opportunity to see their massive existence in full.  The Rwenzoris are host to the widest variety of mountain flora in Africa and for this reason, is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site.  The Rwenzori mountains are popular with climbers who trek through rainforest and alpine meadows to the snowcapped Margherita summit at 5109 metres. Some of the many streams high up are also home to trout.

The Rwenzori Moutains

#3 - Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha

In the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park along the Democratic Republic of Congo border, resident lions have taken to a curious habit, climbing into giant fig trees and Acacia trees to laze about.  It is not fully understood why they do this but it's clear they enjoy hanging around in the trees which makes for a rare treat for safari goers. 

A lioness in a tree in Ishasha, southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park

#4 - Gorillas

Uganda is one a few places in the world to trek the critically endangered mountain gorilla.  The opportunity to get up close and personal with these giants that live high in the impenetrable forest is a truly magical experience.  The trek up the steep mountain hillsides can be a real challenge for many however the reward of seeing them and spending an hour of your life with them is a reward that one remembers for a lifetime.

Mountain Gorilla

#5 - Birds

Uganda is one of the most popular birding destinations in Africa.  The country boasts 1061 species of birds a number of which are endemic.  Given the concentration of so many bird species in the relatively small country of Uganda means that serious birders can travel to many birding locations throughout the country with relative ease in the attempt to check off as many species as possible and enjoy the scenic countryside along the way. 

Birds of Uganda

#6 - Explosion Craters

There are a large number of extinct volcanoes known as explosion craters that dot the landscape of Western Uganda.  The craters are concentrated in three areas, the Katwe Explosion Craters within the Queen Elizabeth National Park, the Bunyaraguru Crater Field near the Kichwamba escarpment and the Ndali-Kasenda Crater Field located near Kibale National Park. Many of the craters are home to freshwater lakes and in the Katwe area a couple craters have saline lakes.  The explosion craters are very scenic and offer great views from the rim.  The areas around the craters are generally lush and full of thriving vegetation.  A wonder that has evolved from such violent beginnings.

Kyemengo Crater

#7 - Lake Bunyonyi

In the south west of Uganda lies one of the deepest lakes in Africa.  Lake Bunyonyi is Uganda's deepest lake at 2950+ feet (900+ metres) deep.  The landscape around the lake is indicative of its depth with steep slopes covered with lush green vegetation protruding from the water's edge.  Bunyonyi means "place of many little birds" and as the name suggests, there is plenty of bird life around the lake.  The lake also plays host to freshwater crayfish, one of the few places in Uganda they can be found.  With many resorts on the lake shores and on the many islands in the lake, there are plenty of spots to enjoy this beautiful lake from.

Lake Bunyonyi

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Big Birding Day Uganda

The 2012 Big Birding Day to take place in Uganda is nearly here with this years event set for October 20th. Birders from all around the country are getting ready to record as many species as they can within the 24 hour period.  The main purpose of Big Birding Day is to raise awareness of bird species within Uganda and to promote the country as one of the best birding destinations in the world.

This is the first year that we are involved in the event.  We will be doing our species count from the Jinja area and will be joined by several other birders to compete as "TEAM JINJA" in Big Birding Day 2012.  The event should be a lot of fun and we're excited to see just how many species we will be able to record.  We will post a full report after the event.  Stay tuned and happy birding!

To register your own team contact Nature Uganda

For news and updates on Big Birding Day, follow the hash tag #BBD on Twitter