Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth national park is located in the western part of Uganda. The national park covers the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi and Rukungiri. It is the second-largest national park in Uganda, spanning over a radius of 1,978 square kilometres. The national park was founded in 1995 and harbours over 95 animal species including the big 4 animals such as elephants, buffaloes, climbing lions and leopards, home of over 600 bird species hence a great destination for bird watching. 

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Attractions in Queen Elizabeth national park

Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda has a wide variety of attractions which attract lots of visitors to the park. Some of the attractions in the park include;

  • Wildlife: Queen Elizabeth national park is richly blessed with a wide range of wildlife species. The National Park is home to over 95 animal species, 600 bird species, butterflies, reptiles, savannah vegetation among others. The tree climbing lions in Queen are among one of the unique tourist attractions in the national park and can be found in the Ishasha sector southern part of Queen Elizabeth. 
  • Kazinga channel: Kazinga Channel is a water body in Queen Elizabeth that adjoins Lake Gorge and Lake Edward. Kazinga channel harbours many wildlife species which can be seen during the launch cruise.
  • Kyambura escarpment: This is a landscape that is found in the eastern part of the park. Kyambura gorge gives you great moments in that it is blessed with biodiversity such as chimpanzee primates, birds, animals, rain forest, savannah, woodland vegetation among others.
  • Lake Katwe salt mine: Lake Katwe is a crater lake located north of Mweya peninsular in the northern part of the national park. It is a salty lake with in lets and with no outlets, during the dry season water forms salt pans at the bottom and crystal salt on the surface of the lake due to high concentration.
  • Crater lakes:  Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda has three main crater lakes including Bunyaruguru craters which are located in the southern part, Lake Katwe and the Ndali-Kasenda craters near Kibale national park.

Activities done in Queen Elizabeth national park.

Queen Elizabeth national park offers visitors an opportunity to participate in different activities while on a safari in Uganda which include

Day game drives: Queen Elizabeth in Uganda offers one of the best game drive safaris in the country; with day game drives being the best alternative for visitors to explore the national park and view stunning wildlife in the park. Game drives in the national park are carried out either in the morning or evening and the visitors will get a chance of viewing various animals such as Elephants, Buffaloes, Uganda kobs, Warthogs, Giant forest hogs, Waterbucks, Bushbucks, Lions, Leopards, bird species among others hence giving you a wonderful experience.

Night game drives: Night game drives in Queen Elizabeth are conducted in the Mweya peninsula; with game rangers and spot lights for clear viewing of the nocturnal animals. Night game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park start like at around 8pm after the visitors have had dinner at their lodges. Visitors on a night game drive will be able to view some of the animals which they missed to see during the day game drive and nocturnal animals such as Leopards, Lions, Civet cats, Genal, Serval cats, Hyenas among others which gives great experiences to visitors on a safari in Uganda.

wildlife in queen Elizabeth park

Lion tracking experience: The lion tracking experience in Queen Elizabeth is one of the unique activities that the park offers to its visitors. Lion tracking experience can be done during the day or evening game drives where Uganda Wildlife Authority guides will track the lions with tracking device in the park for visitors to view since the lions are hard to see on a normal day. During lion tracking vehicles are allowed to go off tracks regardless of where the lions are visitors will be able to see lions at a close range and other animal species like the buffaloes, elephants, warthogs, bushbucks, waterbucks, Uganda kobs among others. Lion tracking experience takes about 1 to 3 hours and is limited to a few numbers of visitors for the protection of the lions. The national park is famous for climbing lions which are found in Ishasha sector southern part of the park which are usually seen hanging on the fig trees due to hot temperatures on the ground, to get a better view of the prey among others. 

Chimpanzee trekking: Chimpanzee trekking in Queen Elizabeth national park can be conducted in Kalinzu forest or Kyambura Gorge. Kyambura gorge is a home of 10 habituated chimpanzee families which are available for trekking on a daily basis and visitors will be able to learn their behaviours, feeding habits among others and Kalinzu is a home of 6 primate species. During chimpanzee trekking in Queen Elizabeth national park trekkers are able to view other primates such as Baboons, Red tailed monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Blue monkeys, Black and white colobus monkeys, Butterflies, Moth, Reptiles, Bird species, Flowers among others. 

Bird watching: Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda is one of the top 5 birding destinations in Uganda. The national park is a great destination for bird lovers in that it harbours over 600 bird species hence referred to as a birder’s paradise. Bird watching in the park is done on the shores of Kazinga channel during the boat cruise, in Mweya peninsula, Maramagambo forest, Kyambura gorge, glass lands, around crater lakes like Lake Kawe where you will see migratory birds among others. Visitors on birding safari in the park will be able to view different birds such as flamingos on Lake Katwe, African skimmer, Chapin’s flycatcher, African broadbill, Papyrus Gonolek, Pink backed pelican, Martial eagle, Papyrus canary, Yellow throated cuckoo, Sedge warbles among others.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Boat cruise: Boat cruise safaris in Queen Elizabeth national park are mainly conducted on Kazinga channel which connects Lake George and Lake Edward. Boat cruise is a must do activity for visitors on a safari in Queen. While on a boat cruise tour in Queen Elizabeth national park, you will be able to view wildlife such as large herds of hippos on the water banks Nile crocodiles getting warmth from the sun, buffaloes, elephants, monitor lizards, waterbucks, bush backs, duiker, and mongoose among others. You can also be able to see aquatic bird species such as king fishers, fish eagle, spur winged plover, African jacana, white faced whistling, white backed pelican among others, view local fishing communities around the park at a close range in a boat which lasts 2 hour but provides you with fascinating and magical experiences.

Nature walks/ hiking: Nature walks in Queen Elizabeth national park offer tourists a unique opportunity to explore the national park on foot. Nature walks or hiking trips in the national park normally start early in the morning and is carried out in Maramagambo forest where you will see the bat caves different bird species, Mweya peninsula where you will view the banded mongoose, wildlife species and birds. Other nature walks or hiking expeditions in the park take place within Kyambura gorge where you will view primates like chimpanzees and monkeys. Nature walks in the Ishasha sector will give you the opportunity to see climbing lions hiding in the fig trees, and explore crater lakes like Katwe where you will see salt mines. Visitors in Queen Elizabeth national park can also take nature walks in Kalinzu forest where you will view primates and bird species among others. 

Cultural encounters: Cultural encounters in Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda give tourists an opportunity to encounter or interact with the local communities living around the national park such as interaction with Businga fishing village along Kazinga channel where you will learn how they carry out fishing and also engage in sport fishing, boat racing activities. Visit the Kikorogo women community group where you will get entertainment through performances in form of dance, drama, music, visit their art and craft shops where they make and sell baskets, hats, sandals, beads from papers and magazines, learn about local peoples cultures and traditions, taste traditional dishes among others hence giving you interesting experiences on your safari in Uganda

Queen Elizabeth National Park
Crater lakes in Queen Elizabeth National Park

How to get to Queen Elizabeth national park.

Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda can be accessed by both air and road transport. 

Travelling to the Park by air.

Visitors travelling to the national park by air can use chartered or scheduled flights from Entebbe International Airport to Kasese or Mweya airfields which are located within the park. Alternatively, you can fly from Entebbe Airport to Kihihi airstrip and then connect by road through Ishasha sector in the southern part of the park, which takes about a 2 hours’ drive. 

Travelling to the Park by road.

By road transport you can use public means like bus or private vehicles such as safari vehicles where you will drive from Kampala via Mubende and Fort Portal, this route can be combined with a safari in Kibale national park. You can also drive from Kampala via Mbarara and then Kasese when you use this route you can combine your safari with Lake Mburo national park in Mbarara. The journey takes about 5 to 6 hours’ drive to get to Queen Elizabeth national park.  

All in all, Queen Elizabeth national park is the perfect safari destination in Uganda for tourists looking to explore the beautiful and vast landscape, and wildlife such as the climbing lions which provide you with interesting and unforgettable memories on your safari in Uganda.

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