Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination with diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.
Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include 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, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.
As well as its outstanding wildlife attractions, Queen Elizabeth National Park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music and more. The gazetting of the park has ensured the conservation of its ecosystems, which in turn benefits the surrounding communities.
- Bird watching
- Chimpanzee trekking
- Game drives
- Boat cruise
Stretching from the crater foothills of the Rwenzori Range, down to the remote Ishasha in the south, wildlife changes as you travel. A birder’s paradise, there are hundreds and hundreds (over 600) bird species, some rare, others endemic and many odd, including the pouting shoebill which stands at a huge 4ft tall. In Kyamburu Gorge you will find, among the hanging vines and dense treetops, social chimpanzees and in Ishasha, the famous tree-climbing lions, sultry leopards and migratory elephants which cross over from the DRC. Flamingos loiter round the crater lakes in the north, and you will find what is said to be the largest concentration of hippos lounging in the Kazinga channel. Other wildlife you may encounter includes warthog, giant forest hog, rare aquatic sitatunga and waterbuck.
Uganda is among the most well-known birding destination in the whole of Africa. It has a diversity of bird species a number of which are not easily spotted in any other part of the African continent. There are more than 1010 bird species all of which you certainly enjoy on a Uganda safari. The various National parks within Uganda are actually the biggest habitat for most of the bird species in the country. As you take time to marvel at the spectacular birds, you will certainly come across a diversity of additional wildlife that will turn your bird watching safari into a very memorable encounter. The most ideal time to spot these birds is actually early in the morning as well as late in the evenings.
Chimpanzee trekking in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is among of the most remarkable national parks within Uganda for outstanding Wildlife as well as Bird-life, it also a perfect place to enjoy chimpanzee tracking / trekking done within the Kyambura Gorge where there are several habituated Chimpanzees. The scenery within this gorge is very spectacular and there are several other mammals plus birds to be seen as you start out in the morning on your chimpanzee trekking voyage. This Chimpanzee Tracking activity within the Kyambura Gorge that gorges for just a small cost can be included to any other Uganda Safari activity within Queen Elizabeth and offers you a holistic adventure of this splendid national park.
This activity involves the visitors to drive through the park while viewing animals. The Park has several spots of well maintained game viewing tracks. This park has got over 200 kms of well maintained game tracks .The best time for game drives is in the morning hours where there are high chances of seeing elephants, buffaloes, lion and a variety of antelopes and other wildlife you can see safari in Uganda.
Launch Cruise or boat trip
The boat trip within Queen Elizabeth National Park is done on the impressive Kazinga Channel a 40 kilometer water long natural channel that links Lake Edward plus Lake George which sets off every day at either 09.00 am or 2:00 pm local time in the afternoon. This launch cruise may take anything from 2 – 5 hours to well explore the water and the wildlife along the shores of the Kazinga Channel. There are professional guides right on the boat who will give you all the necessary information pertaining this safari or tour as well as answer any questions that may arise about the wildlife or anything else which you may have failed to notice.
Taking a cruise on the Kazinga Channel is among the highlights of Uganda safaris within Queen Elizabeth National Park. The launch cruise offers great chances to take pictures since the boat drifts slowly just by the shores of the channel. The Kazinga Channel supports the biggest number of Hippos in the whole of Africa
Cultural tours within Queen Elizabeth National Park
Not very far from Queen Elizabeth National Park is the Igongo Cultural Center which is an ideal stopover for guests en- route to or from a safari within the park in Western Uganda as you head back to the capital Kampala there you will enjoy a scrumptious lunch within a very beautiful setting that is way beyond just a simple restaurant, however a cultural experience that brings to life the ways traditions and norms of the people living in the western as well as the Southern parts of Uganda safari.
Attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The park has a variety of Flora and Fauna and it’s acknowledged to be a habitat for over 95 mammal species with about 612 species of birds. The various species in this park, has made it a unique park most liked by tourists. Geographers will say that the park has around 57 vegetation but in actual sense, it has five levels of vegetation. Namely bushy grassland, Acacia woodland, Lakeshore or swamp vegetation along with forest grassland.
Therefore the park’s remarkable bird list that to exceed that of the neighboring Virunga National Park. Among these include African skimmer, Chapins flycatcher, Pink-backed pelicans, Papyrus canary, Shoebill stork, martial eagle, black-rumped buttonquail as well as the great flamingos.
Around the park
Mweya Peninsula – queen elizabeth national park Safari The peninsula is the heart of sightseeing activities with excellent accommodation in the park. The only way to enjoy your tour in this park is by touring with a ranger guide who helps you explore the park as well as the distant parts of the peninsula. Mweya information center organizes all the activities that tourists may want to get involved in. The most exciting aspect about this peninsular is the fact that its overlooks Katwe bay of Lake Edward. Mores till, it has a souvenir shop full of Uganda safari items that will always remind you of park.
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 with animals being viewed well by the Nile cruise or probably at the entrance of Lake Edward. The operation of the cruise run from 15.00 and 17.00, furthermore voyages run 11.00 and 13.00 depending on the demand of the tourists.
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 .The Queen’s Pavilion is easily spotted by the northern entrance to the Crater Drive. In 1954 Queen Elizabeth gave a provision shelter for this site until in 1959 when a permanent pavilion was constructed for the visit of Queen Elizabeth. Renovations were made by second visit of Duke of Edinburgh in 2007 with better facilities such as coffee shop and internet facilities.
Ishasha Tree Climbing Lions
Ishasha covers an area of about 100 km south of Mweya. The Park’s distant southern segment gives a genuine Africa wilderness experience. Among the inhabitants in this place include Savannah woodland, Ishasha River along with Lake Edward that has a diversity of wildlife such as climbing lions, rare shoebill stork and many others.
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Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The park has luxury accommodation that will favor all visitors. It also caters for the budget travelers.Mweya safari lodge and Jacana lodge have excellent. services and Ishasha wilderness camp with lavishness accommodation.Budget accommodation includes Mweya hotels and Ishasha bandas with average standards that will make your stay memorable. The park also has camping sites such as Maramagambo,Ishasha and Mweya alternatively, one may take on the Hippo Hill Camp adjacent to Katwe along with Kingfisher camp on a beautiful Kichwamba escarpment. Kyambura Uganda safari wildlife is also establishing a luxury lodge that will surely meet your needs. At Mweya there is an up market lodge, a campsite and budget hostel. Another up market lodge fringes a Crater Lake in Maramagambo Forest. A low-key camp is found in the Ishasha Sector.
Mweya Safari Lodge
The Mweya Safari lodge is a top of the range accommodation facility located at the Mweya peninsular within the park and overlooking the Kazinga channel.
Jacana safari lodge
A luxurious beautiful lodge located on the outskirts of the park between the rolling hills and a tranquil crater lake.
Simba safari lodge
positioned off the park, the lodge is modest with better facilities and it’s within the heart of Queen Elizabeth National park.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp.
This Ishasha wilderness camp is located in the southern sector of the park. This facility has large twin bedded tents, situated in the wooded area facing the Ntungwe River.
Quick Queen Elizabeth Facts
Size: 1,978 square kilometres (764 sq mi)
Location: Kasese, Western Uganda.
Desc: The Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) is Uganda’s most visited national park
Areas of interest: Lake George, Explosion Crators, Katwe, Kasenyi Plains, Mweya Peninsula, Kazinga Channel, Kyambura Gorge, Kyambural Wildlife Reserve, Maramagambo Forest, Ishasha Sector
When to Visit: The prime time to visit Queen Elizabeth NP is during the Dry season (September to March) although it can be visited throughout the year.