Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s rewarding wildlife viewing destination. The park is famous to the world for its amazing wildlife safari game drives, boat cruises, nature walks, chimpanzee tracking is located in the southwest of Uganda near Kasese, covering 1978 sq km. It is Uganda`s most popular and accessible savanna reserve convenient for tourists on Uganda gorilla safaris to Bwindi Forest National park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is situated in western Uganda and spans up to about 1978 square kilometers making it the second largest national park in Uganda. It covers the Crater dotted foothills of the Rwenzori Mountain ranges in the north, the shoes of Lake Edward to the lush Ishasha River in the south combining the varied habitats from wetlands, savannas to lowland forests. Its vast size inhabits diverse wildlife compared to most safari destinations in Uganda. Queen Elizabeth National Park is a home to about 95 mammal species, 20 predators, about 620 birds among others.
The savanna grassland of Queen Elizabeth National Park inhabits mostly the African elephants, buffaloes, lions plus tree climbing lions, hyenas, leopards, antelopes (including Oribis, topis, waterbucks, Uganda Kobs and others) and several bird species. They are most spotted along Kasenyi track in the north and Ishasha track in southern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Ishasha area is popular for tree climbing lions and many savanna wildlife species.
The water bodies like Kazinga channel, Lake George and Lake Edward plus many others within Queen Elizabeth National Park inhabit varied aquatic life including crocodiles and hippos as well as variety of water birds.
Over 620 bird species are confined within Queen Elizabeth National Park thus making it one of the most Important Birding Areas in Uganda. The birds to spot out in Queen Elizabeth National Park include terrestrial and aquatic birds.
Kyambura Game Reserve, Maramagambo Forest are ideal sites for primate exploration. The two sites inhabit chimpanzees and many primate species.
Places of Interest
Queen Elizabeth National park is surrounded by Ishasha River and Lake Edward in the west, in the north by Rwenzori mountain foothills in Kasese, Lake George in the East and Kyambura gorge and Kalinzu forest in the south. Much as the park is known for open savanna and acacia trees, it also embraced with a crater lake and a beautiful kazinga channel that offers variety of fun and excitement to tourists of all kinds. The big thanks go to those who declared it as a national park for human activities and conservation of wildlife in 1979.Trips to Queen Elizabeth run each day with many unveiling the raw beauty.
If you planning to visit Uganda soon get excited about this park because it’s one of the places you must explore on your Uganda safari.
Things to Do in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Game drives here never end without lion photos and the most interesting moment is when you spot the tree climbing lions in Ishasha sector of the park and the highlight for every Uganda wildlife safari. The side-striped jackal, spoted hyena, leopard, beautiful Uganda kob, bush buck,topi and Defassa water bucks- all antelope species, Bufalloes, elephants, and remarkable primates like- chimpanzee, black -and- white colobus , olive baboon,the vervet blue, red-tailed and L’Hoest’s monkeys, etc are all available to welcome you in their natural home.
The best way to meet with Queen Elizabeth national park wildlife and enjoy them is early in the morning or late afternoon hours when the weather is calm. An experience of meeting up with wildlife can make you excited and happy all though the day especially if you spot you’re favorite. Most enjoyed are Elephants making their way down to the waters during hot days, hungry lions looking for their prey, bush backs and buffaloes grazing and relaxing along the game drive channel?
Game viewing along the Kasenyi Plains
Kasenyi savanna plains are situated in the northern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park. A game drive along Kasenyi track rewards you with incredible sights at wildlife species such as the elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, Uganda Kobs, birds and others.
Besides the park isn’t just a game reserve but it is also blessed with several beauties including one of the ten crater lakes in the world, rewarding hiking areas and the misty mountain of the moon that is that offers endless lovely views in the backdrop of the park. Truly many writers have tried describing the great views of the famous mountain of the moon but feel them not worthy because the incredible views are surely colorful. If mountain climbing and hiking is one of your favorite, get the opportunity and climb mountain Ruwenzori found in a few kilometer distances from queen Elizabeth National park. Better still is that the park offers hiking packages for its visitors to get an up close view from up the ranges. And if you cannot make it to the top, you can still get to see how amazing the elephants, giraffes and other animals are and at the same time enjoy the snaking Kazinga channel. There is always something for you to see, something new to learn from and you will be surprised throughout your tour in Queen Elizabeth National park.
Boat tours along the Kazinga Channel
Kazinga Channel is ideal for boat cruise which takes you along a channel that extends up to about 32 kilometers connecting Lake George and Lake Edward. This gets you the best views of hippos, crocodiles, water birds as well as elephants, buffaloes at the banks. The birds to sight at include the African fish eagle, African skimmer among others.
Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge is remarkable experience offered to visitors on safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park. About 20 chimpanzees are confined within Kyambura Gorge making it an ideal site for you to take part in chimpanzee adventures. Trekking chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge also comes with amazing sights at other primates including the black and white colobus monkeys, baboons and forest birds.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a birders’ paradise with about 620 distinct bird species. Birding tour in Queen Elizabeth National Park allows you to spot out birds such as the white faced whistling, African jacana, yellow backed weavers, white backed pelicans, water thick knee, pied kingfisher, knob billed ducks, wattled plovers, black crake, open billed stork, long tailed cormorants and these mostly spotted along the Kazinga Channel. Others include shoebill stork, grey headed kingfishers, martial eagle, papyrus canary, verreaux’s eagle owl, black bee-eaters, swamp flycatchers a mention but a few.
The forest birds to spot out in Queen Elizabeth National Park include the grey wood peckers, black and African emeralds cuckoos, speckled tinker bird, purple headed starling, green hylia, hairy breasted barbet and other. These mostly sighted in Maramagambo Forest.
Plan Your Safari
Best time to see wildlife in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park can be visited at any time on wildlife safari. However, dry season is the best time for you to see variety of wildlife in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The dry months in Queen Elizabeth National Park start from June to September and December to February. The trails/tracks remain relatively drier during the dry season due to low rain fall received. The wet season is also ideal especially for bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The rainy/wet season begins from March to May and from October to November.
Getting to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in western Uganda about 5 to 6 hours’ drive from Kampala capital city. You need a good 4 wheel drive safari vehicle to help you navigate through the remote routes. Drive from Kampala through Masaka-Mbarara-Bushenyi route or Kampala via Mubende-Fort Portal to Kasese route. By air, take a flight from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kasese, Mweya/Ishasha airstrip.
Where to stay in Queen Elizabeth National Park
There are many lodging options for visitor overnight stay at Queen Elizabeth National Park. They include Mweya Lodge, Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Kyambura Gorge Lodge, Katara Lodge (Luxury); Ihamba Lodge, Kasenyi Safari Camp, Marafiki Safari Lodge, Kingfisher Lodge (Midrange) or Bush Lodge, Simba Safari Camp, Pumba Safari Cottages (Budget) and many others.
In conclusion, Queen Elizabeth National Park is a home to diverse wildlife species. Visitors have a chance to explore them while on a game drive, boat cruise or nature walk among others.