A medley of Wonders
Queen Elizabeth National park is Uganda’s most visited NP 400km South west of Kampala with a number of attractions including vast lands donned with Savanna vegetation, humid tropical forests, wide variety of mammal species including the famous savannah animals and chimpanzees. It was founded in 1952 as Kazinga NP and changed its name 2 years later when Queen Elizabeth II came to visit. It is an estimated 1978 square kms with highlights including lake George, Edward and Kazinga channel, sparkling salt lakes, home to over 95 mammal species and 600 bird species.
The park has a breathtaking background of the Rwenzori Mountains, also known as the mountains of the moon, dozens of crater lakes carefully tailored into the rolling green hills. The Kazinga channel being the Jewel of the crown has crocodiles, Hippos and elephants along the banks which can be viewed during a boat ride. There are the vast Ishasha plains with fig trees which hide the tree climbing lions as they set out to pounce on their unsuspecting prey, with the male lions spotting a black mane.
Its attractions are limited to wildlife, but as well as a rich cultural history in Kasese which offers endless opportunities for visitors to interact with the local community. The gazetting of the park has ensured the conservation of its ecosystems, which in turn benefits the surrounding communities.
Activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Game drives can be done in the morning, evening and in the night with the night aiming to view nocturnal animals, the lions and leopards going about their nightly duties. This is the best time to see this kind. The morning and evening game drive gives you an opportunity to enjoy the vegetation, mountainous views as well as Uganda’s best birding opportunities.
Boat ride on the Kazinga channel
The Kazinga channel offers a great opportunity for a boat ride while viewing aquatic, semi aquatic and terrestrial animals and birds at the banks as they converge to drink water. This is a good time to see the animals upclose and even better unbelievable bird views.
Queen Elizabeth has over 400 bird species which can be viewed along the Kazinga channel, Kyambura gorge, Maramagambo forest and on your game drive including the Brown snake eagle, African white backed vulture, martial Eagle, African wattled plover among others. There are also a number of Albertine endemics plus migratory birds.
Tree climbing lions
The Ishasha sector is well known for Uganda’s only tree climbing lions. These big cats have adapted to this habit for various reasons including the biting insects which make the ground very comfortable. The grass in the area is tall and this pushes the lions to climb the trees to be able to spot their prey.
Chimpanzee tracking is possible in queen Elizabeth National park, thanks to their presence in the beautiful Kyambura gorge adjacent to the rift valley escarpments. The tracking exercise takes place on a daily however it is recommended that one books their tracking permit well in advance as they are limited for each day.
The park can be accessed by road through Masaka Mbarara with stop overs at the Equator, Mpambire African drum makers and Igongo cultural centre. That is 450 km form Kampala. There is another route by road via Mubende, Fort Portal and then finally to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
It can also be accessed by air where tickets can be pre-booked at Entebbe International airport or Kajjansi airstrip.
There various camps, hotels, lodges where one can find accommodation. The rates range from Luxury, midrange to budget as seen below.
Luxury: Mweya safari lodge
Enganzi game lodge
Elephant plains lodge
Midrange: The baboon safari lodge
Irungu forest Safari lodge
Budget: Queen Elizabeth bush lodge
Kyambura tented camp
KAzinga wilderness camp