Queen Elizabeth National park
Queen Elizabeth national park is an iconic Uganda safari destination and a national park located in the western region of Uganda, the park is the most popular savannah park in Uganda famously known for hosting a great diversity of wildlife including the tree climbing lions making the park to be a perfect destination for Uganda wildlife safari. The park lies between Lake George and Lake Albert with the Kazinga Channel crossing through the 700 square mile land of the park, Queen Elizabeth national park is a wonderful destination named after Queen Elizabeth of England in 1954 following her visit in Uganda.
Queen Elizabeth national park is 1,978 square kilometers with a diversity of habitats including lakes, savannah grasslands, forests and wetlands which are a home to the large population of wildlife. Queen Elizabeth national park is a home of about 95 mammals including big game and 4 of the big five, primates and 618 bird species. The huge bird population in Queen Elizabeth national park has made the park to be recognized as the 6th highest diversity in the world and the highest in Africa thus being a perfect destination for birding safaris in Uganda.
Resident wildlife in Queen Elizabeth national park include Uganda Kob, warthogs, elephants, tree climbing lions, buffaloes, lions, hyenas, giant forest hog, topis and among others, tree climbing lions are found in the Ishasha sector in the southern region of the park. Queen Elizabeth national park is also a home to primates such as chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and olive baboons. These primates are found in Kyambura Gorge, Kalinzu Forest and Maramagambo.
Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the excellent birding destinations in Uganda hosting a remarkable population of bird life with about 618 bird species and these including White-faced Whistling, Spur-winged Plovers, Squacco Heron, Fish Eagle, Pink and white backed Pelicans, Long tailed Cormorants, African Jacana, Yellow backed Weavers, open-billed Stork, Water-Thick knee, Pied kingfishers, Wattled Plovers, the Black Crake and the Knob-billed Ducks, malachite, black-ramped buttonquail, Collard Pranticles, papyrus canary, verreaux’s eagle-owl, black bee-eater, Squacco heron, African fish eagle, swamp fly-catcher, long-tailed cormorants, Martial Eagle, Black- rumped Buttonquail African Skimmer, White winged terns, White-winged Warbler, shoebill, African skimmer, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Grey-headed kingfisher, papyrus gonolek, Papyrus Canary, and the thin-tailed Nightjars
Other tourist attractions found in Queen Elizabeth national park
- Kazinga Channel – a natural water channel connecting Lake Albert and Lake George
- Kasenyi plains – a home to a huge population of wildlife and perfect for game viewing
- The Kyambura Gorge – a verdant forested valley of 100 meters deep, the gorge is a home to a huge population of primates such as chimpanzees
- Mweya Peninsular – a stretch of land protruding into Lake Edward with various game drive routes.
- Kalinzu Forest – a home to chimpanzees and a destination for chimpanzee tracking
- Lake Katwe Salt works – found within the alkaline Lake Katwe and several salt mining works being carried out as the main economic activity in the area.
- Katwe Explosion Crater Lake – found in the northern region of the park and on the highest elevation.
SAFARI ACTIVITIES TO DO IN QUEEN ELEIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Game drives are the highlight activity offered in Queen Elizabeth national park, the park is a home to a huge population of wildlife which are spotted on game viewing experience. Game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park are mainly done in the Kasenyi area the largest kob mating ground, because of the Uganda Kobs this area attracts a high population of big cats such as lions, leopards, hyenas which you will spot during the game drive. other animals to lookout for include Uganda Kob, warthogs, elephants, buffaloes, giant forest hog, topis and among others.
Game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park are best done in early morning or evenings when the animals are more active as it is not hot.
Chimpanzee tracking in Queen Elizabeth national park offers an encounter with chimpanzees in their natural habitat, chimpanzee tracking is done in Kyambura Gorge which is an underground forests 100 meters below the Kichwaba escarpment. Kyambura is a home to 10 primate species including chimpanzees, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys among others. While on chimpanzee tracking experience you will enjoy watching these chimps playing on trees, grooming each other and take pictures.
Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the recognized habitats for birdlife and rewarding bird watching destination, the park is hosts over 600 bird species which you will enjoy watching during bird watching experience. Best areas for bird watching in the park include Kasenyi plains, Kazinga channel, Katunguru bridge, Kyambura gorge, Mweya peninsula and Lake Munyanyange. Some of the birds to look out for include lesser flamingoes, White-faced Whistling, Spur-winged Plovers, Squacco Heron, Fish Eagle, Pink and white backed Pelicans, Long tailed Cormorants, African Jacana, Yellow backed Weavers, open-billed Stork, Water-Thick knee, Pied kingfishers, Wattled Plovers, the Black Crake and the Knob-billed Ducks, malachite, black-ramped buttonquail, Collard Pranticles, papyrus canary, verreaux’s eagle-owl, black bee-eater among others.
Boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth national park is done on Kazinga channel a stretch of water connecting Lake Edward to Lake George, boat cruise lasts for about 2-3 hours offering excellent game viewing and bird watching experience. While cruising on Kazinga channel you will watch herds of elephants, buffaloes, bucks and waterbucks drinking water on the banks of the channel and hippos and crocodiles in the waters. You will also watch birds such as herons, shoe bills, grey crested cranes among others. Boat cruise on Kazinga channel are offered twice a day that is in the morning and afternoon.
Cultural tours in Queen Elizabeth national park are done in the fishing villages situated adjacent to the park, visiting the locals gives you an opportunity to engage with the locals, enjoy their stories, be entertained by local dances and drama and engage in the local activities such as cooking a quick vegetable meal, harvesting of farm produce and making of local crafts which you can also purchase.
HOW TO GET TO QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Queen Elizabeth national park is located in Uganda’s western region approximately 389 kilometers from Kampala the capital of Uganda, the park can be accessed by either road on a 6-7 hours drive via Masaka Road and by chartered flight. Chartered flights to Queen Elizabeth national park are offered from either Entebbe International airport or Kajjansi airstrip to various airstrips serving the park including Chobe airstrip, Pakuba airstrip, Mweya airstrip, Kasese airstrip, Ishasha airstrip and Kihihi airstrip.
WHERE TO STAY IN QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
In Queen Elizabeth national park there is a wide variety of lodges, campsites, hotels and tented camps to stay during your wildlife safari, the accommodations range from luxury, midrange and budget. Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth national park include Ishasha Jungle Lodge, Aramaga Rift Valley Lodge, White house hotel, Pumba safari lodge, Mweya safari lodge, Kasenyi safari camp, Ishasha Wilderness camp, Engazi lodge, Park View Lodge among others.