Ultimate Safari Destination
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is undoubtedly the most famous National Park in Uganda. Situated close to Mountain Rwenzori, the park has various scenery including beautiful crates lakes that wind through the rolling hills, the panoramic display of the Kazinga channel with an awesome view of the hippos, buffaloes, elephants and several bird species lined up at the shores.
Queen Elizabeth National Park presents diverse ecosystems like the sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, chimpanzees with a continuation towards ishasha sector plains, another surprise of tree climbing lions resting on trees waiting to pounce on their preys.
The park consists of two sectors that is the Mweya where you get to enjoy the views of the Mweya Peninsula and enjoy a boat safari on the Kanziga Channel where Lake George and Lake Edward meet and the multitude of Elephants, Birds, Hippos, wildlife along the Kazinga Channel. Ishasha sector where you enjoy views of the tree climbing lions up in the fig trees waiting to pounce on its prey, the chimpanzees of the Kyambura Gorge.
Queen Elizabeth National Park lies between Lake Edward and Lake George with the Katwe explosion craters marking the park’s highest point at 1,350m above sea level and Lake Edward marking the lowest point is at 910m and spanning the equator with monuments on either side of the road marking the exact spot where it crosses latitude 0 degrees.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to over 95 mammal species more than any other park in Uganda and over 619 bird species and the second highest of any park in Africa and the 6th highest of any park world-wide.
The animal residents of the park include; the Uganda kob, warthog, elephant, waterbuck, giant forest hog, leopards, lions and hyenas, the rare semi-aquatic Sitatunga Antelopes that have webbed toes, topi antelopes and the famous tree climbing lions found in Ishasha sector, various primates in Maramagambo forest and the Kyambura Gorge.
The amazing numbers of feline cats that you can often spot on game drives, such as lions, leopards, civet cats, genal, and serval cats. Most of these can be spotted on an exciting adventure of the nocturnal game drive where you view the predators as they are out on the prowl.
Queen Elizabeth National Park boosts over 619 bird species including many water birds, woodland and forest dwellers in the Maramagambo Forest, 54 raptors and various migratory species. Key species include the Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Skimmer, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Pink-backed Pelican, African Broadbill, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Black Bee-eater, White-tailed Lark, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Corncrake, Lesser and Greater Flamingo, Shoebill, Bar-tailed Godwit and many more.
Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, Queen Elizabeth National Park’s magnificent views include enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills with panoramic views of the Kanziga Channel with its banks lined a lot of wildlife
Activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Compared to other tourist destinations in Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park has a variety of activities that visitors can enjoy on their visit to Uganda that will keep them coming back including;
- Game Drives: This is the most rewarding activity, as you view elephants, buffaloes, warthogs, waterbucks, Uganda Kob, Topi Antelopes and even the rare semi-aquatic Sitatunga Antelopes that have webbed toes, lions, leopards, civet cats.
- Nocturnal Game Drives: The most exciting adventure is a nocturnal game drive with spotlights, this is the time that the predators are out on the prowl such as lions, leopards, civet cats, genal cats and serval cats.
- Tree Climbing Lions in Ishasha: The few that venture this far may be rewarded with sightings of the tree climbing lions as they are Ishasha’s most famous residents, the lions are seen lounging in the branches keeping a close eye on the herds of Uganda Kob which is their favourite meal
- Boat Cruise on the Kazinga Channel: The Kazinga Boat ride is one of the highlights of the safari to Queen Elizabeth Park with 5000 hippo, crocodiles, monitor lizards, elephant herds, buffaloes, antelopes and many different kinds of water birds busking in the sun.
- Birding Safari: Birding in this park is very rewarding where you will enjoy views of many birds has the park has 619 bird species including the Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Skimmer, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Pink-backed Pelican, African Broadbill, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Black Bee-eater and many more
- Nature walks and Hiking: They are plenty of Nature Walks and Hiking opportunities as you explore areas such as Maramagambo Forest, Kyambura Gorge which is part of the Western Rift Valley, the Mweya Peninsula and the Ishasha River
- Chimpanzee Tracking in Kyambura Gorge: Queen Elizabeth National Park has 10 primate species and the most popular one being the chimpanzee which is found in the Savannah of the Kyambura Gorge as one of the fascinating activities
- Maramagambo Forest: This is a perfect destination for birders,birds like the rare Forest Flycatcher, White-naped Pigeon and the striking Rwenzori Turaco with primates, including chimpanzees, baboons, and several monkey species.
- Explosion Craters: The craters are a must visit in Queen Elizabeth National Park for those with a particular interest in the region’s fascinating geological history
- A Visit to the Ancient Lake Katwe Salt Works
- Chimpanzees Tracking in Kalinzu Forest-
Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Kyambura Gorge Lodge: Is a luxury establishment located on the eastern extension on the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park overlooking the views of the rolling savannah of the park
- Mweya Safari Lodge: Is a luxury lodge within the heart of Queen Elizabeth National Park located on the Mweya Peninsular to the south west of Uganda
- Ishasha Wilderness Camp: Is situated within the Southern Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park on the Ntungwe River, an idyllic retreat for people who truly enjoy the wilderness.
- Kasenyi Safari Camp: Is strategically located on the rim of Lake Bunyampaka in the Kasenyi savannah of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
- Ishasha Jungle Lodge: Located along River Ntungwe, it is the perfect location for your photographic safaris in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park
- @ The river Ishasha: Is a rustic yet tranquil lodge in the heart of Ishasha overlooking the lush forest of Kigezi Wildlife Reserve.
- Tembo Safari Lodge: Is a budget establishment located within Queen Elizabeth national, overseeing the Kazinga channel
- Mazike Valley Lodge: This lodge is situated in Kyambura Gorge and sits on the Eastern side of the park offering breathtaking views of the vast park, the Maramagambo Forest and the Kazinga Channel
- Simba Safari Camp: Is a budget establishment in the park’s Kasenyi plains on the edge of Lake George nestled atop a hill overlooking Lake Kikorongo .
- Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge: This is a budget establishment surrounded by the National Park and bordering the Kazinga channel, the lodge has a truly unique setting.
How to Get to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in western Uganda and it can be accessed through;
- Mbarara which is at a distance of 420 kms or through Fort Portal via Kasese which is at a distance of 410kms. The park is 5-6 hours on the tarmac road from Kampala via Mbarara town and Bushenyi which leads directly to the center of the park, just 22 km from Mweya Peninsula.
- The park can be acccesed from the north part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is 4 hours’ drive.
Queen Elizabeth National Park can be accessed by air through charter flights that can be arranged to existing airstrips of Kasese, Mweya and Ishasha with Fly Uganda or Aerolink with scheduled flights from Entebbe to Kasese and Mweya
Climate and best time to Visit
In Queen Elizabeth National Park you can enjoy game viewing and wildlife adventures all year round, though some times of the year are better to visit compared to others. The dry season runs from June to September is the best time to view wild life and track chimpanzees in Queen Elizabeth National Park though the wet season has the best scenery in and around the park that is extremely beautiful.
Located: Kasese District – Western Uganda
Best Time to Go:
January to February and June to July (Dry seasons)
June to September (Peak time for Uganda)
Size: 1,978km² / 764mi²
Altitude: 884-1,337m / 2,900-4,386ft