Queen Elizabeth National Park is the second largest and most popular national park in Uganda. The park is located in the western part of Uganda measuring up to 1,978 km in size. It was established in 1952 and was named after the reigning Queen of England honoring her visit to the park in 1954.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Kampala by road, it’s approximately 420 km which is about 6-7 hours depending on the traffic, driver or weather conditions via the Mbarara – Kasese road. It’s a rather smooth ride to the park with nearly 95% of the road paved, panoramic views. Along the way there will be some areas that need repairs and only the last few kilometers towards the park entrance are not paved. As you go further into the park, you will experience a rather different road terrain as the roads in the park are dusty and bumpy.
There are also scheduled aircraft flights to the nearby airfields such as Kasese, Kihihi and Mweya to save you from the long drive. Flights are offered by Aero Link Uganda https://www.aerolinkuganda.com Fly Uganda https://flyuganda.com
Queen Elizabeth National Park boosts of a wide range of biodiversity, that is to say its ecosystems and landscapes. With an option of different landscapes such as open grasslands, savannah plains among others, this park therefore becomes a safe haven or home to over 95 mammal species, 10 primate species and over 600 bird species.
The natural terrain of the park with different landscapes gives the visitors opportunities to indulge in a number of activities like game drives, lion tracking, boat trips, nature walks, and community walks among others.
ATTRACTIONS IN QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
- Mweya Peninsular: it is located on the northern bank of the Kazinga channel overlooking the Katwe bay of Lake Edward and offers spectacular views and game drives.
- Kyambura Gorge. It’s situated in the eastern part of the park and known as the valley of apes. It is a habitat for chimpanzees and is the only place within Queen Elizabeth National Park you will find them. The Kyambura gorge is 100 meters deep and was formed by the disorderly waters of the River Kyambura and it also gives stunning views of the rain forest. The valley of apes is also home to a number of wildlife and birds.
- Ishasha Sector: Found in the southern part of Queen Elizabeth national park, it’s about 130 km taking you about 2:30 min/hours from Mweya to the katooke gate. This sector gives you great views of the tree climbing lions lying up in the acacia fig tree branches as they look at the antelopes graze in the open savannah plains. The tree climbing lions can only be found in the Ishasha sector and Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania thus making it the climax of a visit to this part of the park
BEST WAY TO ENJOY YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE PARK
Game viewing is best done in the late evenings between 4 pm- 6 pm and early mornings between 6 am-10 am when the weather is cooler thus making the animals more active.
- Kasenyi Drive: This extensive track network gives you a great opportunity to explore the wild as it is a breeding ground for the kobs. You will also have a chance to see a number of other wildlife like elephants, buffalos among others and birds
- Crater Drive: The drive begins from the Kabatooro gate all the way to the queen’s pavilion which is 27 km. This drives offers stunning views of the Rwenzori Mountains, Lake George, Lake Edward, Kazinga channel and the western rift valley. You not only have the panoramic scenic views but you also get to sight animals like elephants, buffalos, baboons, different bird species among others.
- Lion tracking: During this activity the visitors are guided by the team of Uganda wildlife authority who are on the research and conservative team. The team monitors and does research on animals like the lions, leopards and hyenas. During this activity you will be able to learn about the social behaviour, feeding among others of the predators which take about 3 hours for a sighting.
- Launch trip: The launch trip is done on the Kazinga channel and offers visitors spectacular epic views of hippos, elephants, crocodiles, buffalos, water birds among others. The 36km Kazinga channel connects Lake George to Lake Edward and has the highest concentration of hippos in eastern Africa. There are scheduled launch trips both in the morning and evening, however the best trips are in the afternoon at 2 pm or 3pm and sailing takes 2hours.
- Guided Nature walks: This activity is done in the Maragambo rainforest and offers a great opportunity for one to view the beautiful landscapes, Mweya peninsula, Kyambura gorge, birds, and primates like olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys among others.
- • Community walks: This activity gives you a chance to see how the locals around the national park live their lives as they co-exist with the wildlife around them. You will get to see their day to day lives; the communities include Katwe Salt village, Kikorongo women’s community, and Kasoga community.
- Chimpanzee tracking: This activity takes place in the Kyambura Gorge also known as the valley of apes and starts by a short briefing at the park headquarters and then after you are allocated an armed ranger who will guide you during the trek in search of the chimpanzees. The trekking takes about 2-4 hours depending on the movement of the chimpanzees. Once the primates have been found, you are given 1 hour to see their social behaviour, feeding among others in close proximity.
- Bird watching: The Park is a birders paradise for the bird lovers as it is home to over 600 bird species which can be found all throughout the park. One can sight birds along the Kazinga channel, Maramagambo forest, Mweya Peninsular among others which include; African Jacana, Knob billed duck, Open billed Stork, Collared Pratincole, Swamp flycatcher, palm nut vulture among others.
WHAT SORT OF TRAVELLER WOULD ENJOY QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Anyone looking for a great safari experience at any age would enjoy a trip to Queen Elizabeth National park. From children to retired adults.
WHERE TO STAY
Queen Elizabeth national park has a variety of accommodation options one could pick from budget to luxury within the park. There are also accommodation options outside the park.
Accommodation options within the park;
North of the Park
- Bush Lodge Camp
- Buffalo Safari Lodge
- Mweya Safari Lodge
- Mweya Hostels and Cottages
- Hippo Hill Lodge
- Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge
South of the Park
- Ishasha Wilderness Camp
- Ishasha Jungle Lodge
- Ishasha Ntungwe river camp
- Enjojo Lodge
- Katara Lodge
- Park View Safari Lodge
- The Baboon Safari Resort
- Kyambura Gorge Lodge
- Simba Safari Camp
- Kingfisher Lodge Kichwamba
WHEN YOU SHOULD GO
The park is open all year long for visitors.
Roads are impassable during the wet season between November and April; however, bird watching is favorable during this time.
The tree-climbing lions of QENP are concentrated in the southern region of Ishasha. They partake in this relaxed behaviour during the heat of the day.
- Wear light clothing’s
- Carry insect repellants
At an affordable price, you can book a safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park with Signature Tours and Travel Limited and have a lifetime experience.