Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Overview

Spin the globe and discover your next adventure in Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s most and scenic national parks with high opportunities of catching a glimpse at the 4 of the big 5 game. The Kyambura area protects the south eastern banks of the kazinga channel which consists of four crater lakes, the Ishasha sector harbours a variety of wildlife and the Maramagambo forest stretching up to the eastern escarpment.

Located in the heart of south western Uganda, combined with Kigezi and the Kyambura Wildlife Reserves they form one of Africa’s the most varied ecosystems stretching from the scenic crater lakes region on the foothill of the towering Rwenzori Ranges extending along Lake Edward’s shores to the distant River Ishasha in the southern part of the park.

Capture all the actions teemed with wildlife, dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains with a myriad of Lakes of different types and sizes, they range from great fresh water Lake and inland salt Lakes to mirror surfaced crater Lakes.

Morning Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park are the best for sightings as the animals wake up and make their way through the bush across the plains in search of a little morning sun.There’s such an incredible variety and concentration of Game and Wildlife.

Wild life in Queen Elizabeth National Park

This park is a natural beauty that is overwhelming with a diverse: green savannah plains with small acacia and euphorbia trees With a diversity of vegetation including; forest, grassland, bushy grassland, Acacia woodland and swamp vegetation.

Elephant

 The park is home to 95 types of mammals and the highest number of 612 bird species found in any protected area in Africa.

Attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park

This park is one of the most visited  and scenic in Africa with a variety of Flora and Fauna rendering it a unique park appreciated by many tourists. The park has various attractions that make it famous and loved by all the travelers that venture into Uganda and they include;

Mweya Peninsula

The peninsula overlooks Katwe bay of Lake Edward and is the heart of sightseeing activities with excellent accommodation in the park with the best way to enjoy your tour in this park being by touring with a ranger guide.

Kazinga Channel.

The Kazinga channel is about 40m long adjoining Lake Gorge to Lake Edward with the perfect view of the parks’ major wildlife ventures. The shores of the lake attracts a large concentration of mammals, birds as well as reptiles all year around.

Tree Climbing Lions

Ishasha River along with Lake Edward have a diversity of wildlife such as climbing lions, rare shoebill stork giving a genuine Africa wilderness experience.

The Equator and the Queen’s Pavilion.

The Uganda’s Equator provides a beautiful place for photo shooting along with craft shops that can make you buy a souvenir with the Queen’s Pavilion easily spotted by the northern entrance to the Crater Drive.

Katwe Explosion craters

These are expansive volcanic basins spread across the park just 27 kilometers drive between Kabatoro gate and Queen’s pavilion offering views of the enormous craters, circular Lake, the Rift valley escarpment and the Kazinga channel all in front of the mighty backdrop of the Rwenzori Mountains

Kasenyi plains and Lake George

The open savanna of Kasenyi is the best setting of real African safari experience with dream photographic opportunity of the Uganda Kob breeding ground that attract lions, warthogs grazing down on their knees, large dark elephants, buffaloes and numerous grassland bird species.

The Swamp between Lake George and Kikorongo

For bird lovers, this is the best spot for you to sight the rare shoebill stork and many native birds on the Lake and papyrus endemics like papyrus gonolek and papyrus warbler and white winged warbler and during the northern winter big number of migrant waders and waterfowl.

The papyrus swamps included on the Ramsar wetland site is home to the semi aquatic sitatunga antelope.

Maramagambo forest and Kyambura gorge

Maramagambo forest and Kyambura gorge are situated in southeastern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park with great opportunities of encountering the chimpanzees, baboons and many monkey species with the Kyambura gorge as home to crater lakes, chimpanzees and bird species such as the greater and lesser flamingos and great egrets.

The Kasyoha – Kitomi Forest Reserve

The Kasyoha – Kitomi Forest is near Queen Elizabeth Park, south of the Kazinga Channel and Lake George is a place of discovery with primates, birds, hiking trails and crater lakes.

In conclusion, if you are searching for the best destination to spend your next vacation, Queen Elizabeth National Park shouldn’t miss out in your bucket list

Activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park

The park is one of the most visited in Africa with many attractions that many travellers find it a must visit destination on their travel to Uganda and they include:

Boat Safari along the Kazinga Channel

Kazinga Channel is 32-km-long wide and connects Lake Edward with Lake George and is an excellent place to experience nature in Queen Elizabeth Park with a rich array of animals and 60 species of birds during a boat trip including the great white and pink-backed Pelicans, African shoebill, yellow-billed stork and long-tailed cormorants alongside one of the world’s largest concentrations of hippos, numerous Nile crocodiles, elephants, antelopes and buffaloes from the surrounding savannah while they are drinking and searching for some fresh grass.

Wildlife Game Drives

Wildlife Game Drives in Queen Elizabeth prove to be a delight with an amazing number  of animal life including 3,000 Elephants, over 10,000 buffaloes, warthogs, waterbucks, Uganda Kob, Topi Antelopes, the rare semi-aquatic Sitatunga Antelopes that have webbed toes.

Nocturnal Game Drives

Conduct Nocturnal game drives in the company of a guide as you search for the feline cats that you can often spot on Night Game Drives such as lions, leopards, civet cats, genal, and serval cats.

Chimpanzee tracking in the Kyambura Gorge

Located in the far eastern corner of Queen Elizabeth National Park, the gorge is drained by the Kyambura River and includes some of the most impressive landscapes in Uganda. It is rich in tropical rainforest is home to a variety of wildlife. Here you will find chimpanzees, baboons, colobus, vervet, and red-tailed monkeys as well as many other mammals and birds.

Tree-Climbing Lions in Ishasha

The Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park is known as the home to the famous tree-climbing lions and is thought that they sit in the branches to get away from the tsetse flies and to enjoy a cool breeze.

Nature Walks in the Kyambura gorge

These nature walks offer amazing views including three crater lakes, which attract large numbers of Flamingos that are not found anywhere else in Uganda.A guided nature walks takes visitors into the gorge and offers a great chance to track habituated chimpanzee in their natural habitat.

Alongside the black and white colobus and red-tailed monkeys, Olive baboons and other primates as well as plenty of forest birds.

Birding                                                                          

Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda is one of the best parks for birding in Uganda with over 619 species including 54 raptors and various migratory species includeing the Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Skimmer, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Pink-backed Pelican, African Broadbill, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Black Bee-eater, White-tailed Lark, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Corncrake, Lesser and Greater Flamingo, Shoebill, Bar-tailed Godwit.

Traditional Salt Work Visit

A visit to one of the oldest salt mines and industries in Uganda is rewarding at the enclave of L. Katwe town. This lake is far too salty to support much wildlife though has ensured the survival of the Katwe villagers as they harvest salt from its milky waters.

Mongoose Tracking on the Mweya Peninsula.                                                                               This is a fascinating activity and you will see mongoose and other wildlife, birds along the hike as you venture along Kazinga Channel on the Mweya Peninsula as you observe the Mongoose and learn about their habits and ways for 3 hours.

Lion Research Tracking

Lion Tracking Research Experience lasts between 1-3 hours where lions with radio-collars attached to them. You will be with researchers and learn the habits of the Lions in Queen Elizabeth Park.

Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth National Park

This Park is constantly visited by travellers and is one of the most visited park in Uganda thus it provides a variety of Lodging choices ranging from luxurious to midrange to budget options. The lodges are located either in the Ishasha and the Mweya sectors of the park  including;

  • Mweya safari lodge
  • Kasenyi Safari Camp
  • Ishasha Wilderness Camp
  • Enganzi Lodge
  • Park View Lodge
  • Elephant Plains Lodge
  • Elephant Hub Lodge
  • Simba Safari Camp
  • Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge
  • Mweya Hostels
  • Lake Chibwera Camp
  • Kyambura Tented Camp
  • Kyambura Gorge Lodge
  • Pumba Safari Cottages
  • Kingfisher Lodge Kichwambwa
  • Katara Lodge
  • Jacana Safari Lodge
  • Ishasha Ntungwe River Camp
  • Ishasha Jungle Lodge
  • Ihamba Safari Lodge
  • Ishasha Tented Camp
  • Kitandara Hippo Hill Lodge

The best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park

The park can be visited at anytime of the year though January, February, August and September are best months to travel there. June, July, August, September, January and February are the drier months of the year during which the animals can easily be viewed as they draw closer to the water sources. This is the best time to go on game drives to view wildlife, take guided walks and go on chimpanzee tracking expeditions when the trials are not slippery and impassible.

During the wet season of October, November, December, March, April and May, the scenery in and around the park is extremely beautiful with green and lush vegetation capturing the true picture of the tropics. There are migratory birds from Europe and Northern Africa in the park during this season which makes it the best to go bird watching.

How to get to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park lies within the Western Rift Valley of Africa running from the north through neighbouring Malawi and south to Uganda and is between the Kasese, Kamwenge, Bushenyi and Rukungiri districts in southwestern Uganda.

The park can be accessed both by air and road according to the traveller’s preference

By Road

  • Kampala to Mbarara to Bushenyi
    The tarmac road from Kampala via Mbarara town and Bushenyi leads to the center of the park and covering a distance of 420 km while the north through Fort Portal covers a total of 410 km to the Mweya Peninsula, the main tourism hub.
  • Kampala to Kasese to Fort Portal to Bushenyi
    The park can be accessed on the tarmac road through Mbarara to Kasese to Fort Portal covering a distance of 410 km. The park is 5-6 hours from Kampala on surface road via Mbarara.
  • Queen Elizabeth national park can also be reached via Ishasha sector, which is south of the park and takes 2-3 hours and 3-4 hours to Mweya sector.

By Air:

  • Queen Elizabeth National Park is also accessible by air through the nearby airstrips of Kasese, Mweya or Ishasha by scheduled flight  or chartered aircraft from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airfield near Kampala.
  • Aerolink flies from Entebbe to the airstrip in Kihihi, which is convenient for visiting both the northern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

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