Wildlife

Tree climbing lion on Ishasha Plains.

We’d just love to sit and write all about Uganda’s mammals, birds and reptiles but we could be here for months and years… And we want to get you out into our parks and should of course, leave an element of surprise! So we have produced an overview instead…

Mammals:

The official number of mammals found in Uganda’s parks and reserves is 342 species. Of these 132 of these are classed as ‘large mammals’. Uganda has recorded 38 carnivores, these are five canidae species, seven felines, three hyaenas, ten mongooses (yes, it is the plural!), six mustelids, and seven viverrids. Uganda is also a paradise for primate with thirteen diurnal and six nocturnal species. All of the monkeys found in Uganda are members of the same family known as ‘Old World Monkeys’. There are also four great ape species in the world and Uganda is home to two of them, the rare mountain gorilla and the common chimpanzee. Uganda is also home to ‘The Big Five’ (with the southern white rhino in a protected conservation ranch). In addition to a wide range of antelope species, Uganda is home to African elephant, hippopotamus, buffalo, giraffe and zebra.

Reptiles:

Uganda, is home to Nile crocodiles, snakes, lizards, tortoises and terrapins. The Nile crocodile has been here for a while, around 150 million years! They are commonly found in (and are confined to!) four of Uganda’s national parks: Murchison Falls, Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth and Semuliki.


The snake that you’re most likely to see in Uganda is the non-venomous rock python, which has gold-on-black mottled skin. Of the venomous snakes, the most commonly encountered is the puff adder (we will keep you away from these guys!). You might see one through the window of your vehicle but they’re all shy so it’s rare! Uganda is also home to tortoises and terrapins. The most common is the leopard tortoise, which like the rock python has a gold-on-black mottled shell. That’s really the only similarity though! The largest of Uganda’s 4 species of terrapin is the Nile soft-shelled terrapin, which in rare instances, can reach a length of about 90cm. Giant monitor lizards inhabit both savannah and riparian areas and can grow up to 2.2 metres long. They feed on anything from birds’ eggs to smaller reptiles and mammals. Agama lizards, slightly larger than the common house gecko are coloured with a combination of blue, purple, orange of red scales. The most fascinating reptile (or so we think at Kombi Nation Tours!) is the chameleon. Famed for their capacity to change colour to either suit their mood or to blend into their environment. The most common species here in Uganda is the flap-necked chameleon (often seen crossing roads!). In the savannah and woodland you can find the graceful chameleon, generally yellow-green in colour. Found mostly in the foothills of mountainous regions is the triple horn chameleon (though only the male is distinguished by the horns).

Birdlife:

Uganda is famed for its large number of bird species, with 1061 species having been recorded in Uganda to date, which is almost half of Africa’s avifauna! The key to Uganda’s diversity of birds is its variety of habitats, which include arid, semi-dessert, savannahs, lowland and montane rainforests, wetlands, volcanoes and an Afro-alpine zone. The country is also positioned at a transitional point between the semi-desert of the north, the east African savannah, and the west African rainforests. Uganda arguably has more bird species per square kilometre than any other country in Africa. Whilst 1061 species have been recorded, the startling number of species endemic to the country is: one! This is the Fox’s weaver – a very ‘ordinary’ bird! Uganda does however have more than 10% of the east African regional checklist.

A note on dangerous animals:

You might be asking yourself a few questions about your safety, particularly concerning game walks and wildlife tracking! In partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and selected third party activity providers, we take your safety seriously.
It’s a general rule that most wildlife fears us more than we fear them. Risks posed to tourists by animals are low. Your safety is enhanced by knowledge and by our capability to ensure that you are briefed on any potential dangers. Always take advice from your guides and report anything you feel threatened by, immediately. Depending on the areas that you are visiting and the activities that you are partaking in, your Driver/Guide will brief you. Once you are at the site, the third party activity providers will brief you in more depth.

    – We strictly follow rules and regulations set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority whilst we are inside of their national parks. Please contact us if you’d like a copy of these rules.
    – Kombi Nation Tours Driver/Guides are members of the Uganda Safari Guides Association. They are trained in wildlife behaviour and first aid. Kombi Nation Tours driver guides are not armed.
    – We inspect all sites for accommodation and third party activities once a year.
    – Kombi Nation Tours strictly uses robust well-maintained vehicles for your comfort, and safety.
    – On most of our game drives we take rangers from the Uganda Wildlife Authority who are experts on safety inside the parks. Rangers are usually armed. In a rare situation where they may need to disperse wildlife, they fire into the air.

    NB. We have a 100% record in safety. In the highly unlikely event of an incident or accident, we will have, as per our ‘Terms & Conditions of Booking’, copies of your insurance documents and emergency contact details.