Top Wild animals in Uganda

Matt Smith

Nestled in the Eastern part of Africa, Uganda is a prominent destination that draws several holidaymakers per year. Together with Kenya and Tanzania, Uganda is home to the largest lake in Africa and a diverse range of wildlife species.

Uganda’s Wildlife includes wild animals, primates, reptiles, insects and different bird species. It is one of the most treasured in Africa by Wildlife enthusiasts. 

Thousands of trippers pack to immerse these species in the country’s biodiversity per year. For those after wild animals, below is the highlight about the top wild animals you should not miss.

Mountain Gorillas.

These subspecies of the Eastern gorillas stand among the main draw for most travelers to Uganda from different parts of the World. Mountain Gorillas are rarely seen and Uganda is one of the three localities where you can go for these apes. 

They are herbivores in nature; feed mostly on tree leaves, bamboo shoot and stem, insects, fruits and coconuts. Gorillas live in groups popularly known as Gorilla families that consist of male and female adults, infants and Juveniles. 

The group is led by a dominant Silver-back that is often responsible for protecting group members, looking for what to eat and construction of temporary huts. Uganda provides habitat to almost half of the remaining Gorilla population in all world.

There are mainly found in its two national parks namely; Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – both located in the Southwestern part of the country.

African Bush Elephant.

Elephants in Uganda are of two types including African Savannah and Bush elephants. There are one of the biggest animals in Uganda and included among the African Big fives because they were difficult to hunt on foot. 

When compared, female elephants are smaller in size. A large male can stand up to 13 feet tall and weighs 11.5 tons. Elephants are herbivores in nature and mostly feed on Savannah grass and tree leaves. 

Today these animals are a must-see for any wildlife lover in Uganda. There are mostly found in Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, Lake Mburo and Kidepo Valley National Park.

Uganda Kob

Antelopes make up a good percentage of Uganda’s wildlife. Over twenty-nine species are home to the country including Uganda kobs, the country’s national antelope. Kobus kobthomasi (Uganda kob) is a subspecies of the kob. 

These animals are small in size. Males usually weigh up to 200 pounds and the size of females range between 130 -140 pounds.

African Lion

Amongst the African Big fives, this is what’s more preferred by Wildlife lovers. It is inclusive of Uganda’s animals and the most social of the big cats. Lions are omnivores, only feed on fresh and antelopes are their main feeds. 

They live in groups that are known as a pride that include cubs, females and adult males. Cubs are usually born at the same time and it’s the lioness’s responsibility to take care of them along with hunting for some food. 

Males usually protect the pride from enemies. These animals are common in Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Park.


Chimpanzees are the closest primates to humans. It shares about 98 per cent of their DNA in common with human beings. There are omnivores – feeding both on meat and grass though their favorite food is fruits and grass. 

Chimpanzees usually inhabit the woodlands, grasslands, bamboo and tropical rainforests. These primates live in communities that consist of about 30 -150 members. A chimpanzee can live up to 60 years and reach maturity at the age range of 11-13 years. 

You can meet with chimps in Kibale Forest National Park, Budongo forest, Kyambura gorge in Queen, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Kalinzu Forest reserve.

Cape buffalo.

Cape buffaloes are a subspecies of the African buffalo. This is another member of the African big fives. Buffaloes are more dangerous and killed the highest numbers of big game hunters. Both males and females have horns. 

There are herbivores; only feeds on grass and tree leaves. A male buffalo can weigh up to one ton and its six feet when standing. These animals usually live in herds that consist of thousands of members.

Golden Monkeys.

Uganda is inclusive of the African destinations that are endowed with numerous primate species including the Golden monkeys. 

These primates are a subspecies of the old World monkey family. There are characterized by golden fur on their body, tail, cheeks and black limbs. 

Found mostly in the mountainous areas of Virunga Volcanoes in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Golden monkeys are herbivores; feeds mostly on the bamboo shoot and stem. In Uganda, Golden monkeys are only found in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

White Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros are also among the African Big Fives. These animals are herbivores in nature feeding only on grass. Rhinoceros were typical residents in Uganda, but due to unfavorable conditions (constant civil wars, diseases, limited pastures and hunting), these animals phased out of the country. 

In 2005, the rhino fund in association with Uganda Wildlife Authority established Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to reintroduce these animals back to Uganda. 

The protected area is currently home to species of White Rhinoceros. You can usually stop by while heading to the great Murchison Falls National Park.


A sitatunga is a semi-aquatic antelope that mostly live in swamps. It usually swims with the help of its splayed feet. Male Sitatungas are larger than the females; they can weigh up to 275 pounds and 63 inches long. These antelopes are common in Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth National Park. 


Hippos are aquatic species and one of the animals that are native to Uganda. There are closely related to dolphins and whales. The reason why these species spend a lot of time in the water is that they have no sweat glands. 

Hippos are large enough and rank the third largest terrestrial mammals after elephants and buffaloes. Though hippos are aquatic, they mostly feed on grass. 

If you after them, endevour to be to partake a launch trip cruise along the Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth Park and the one in Murchison Falls National Park.

Rothschild’s giraffe

Also known as Uganda giraffe, Rothschild’s is the tallest among the varied subspecies of giraffes. It can stand up to 19 feet. There are herbivores and feed on tree leaves. 

These giraffes are endangered and few still enjoy Uganda’s lush habitats. While in Uganda, you can only find them in Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Park.