Kazinga channel is a narrow waterway in Queen Elizabeth national park which is 40kilometres long connecting Lake Edward in the west and Lake George in the east. Queen Elizabeth national park is the second largest national park located in Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi and Rukungiri district with the Kazinga channel as the major attraction in the park. Kazinga channel is situated on the Mweya peninsula and is a habit of different wildlife species and is known for harboring the highest number of hippos in the whole world. There are other animal species that are usually seen on the water banks drinking water like the elephants, buffaloes, Uganda kobs, waterbucks, monitor lizards, Nile crocodiles among others.
Kazinga channel is also known as a birding paradise in Queen Elizabeth national park because it harbors over 58 bird species which can be seen during the boat cruise on the lake. Bird species seen include African shoebill, Pink-backed pelican, Yellow-billed stork, Malachite kingfisher, Fish eagle, Pied kingfisher, Papyrus gonolek, African spoonbills, Martial eagle, Long-tailed cormorant, Black bee-eater, Black crake, African skimmer among others.
Boat cruise on Kazinga Channel
Kazinga channel has been in existence since 1952 and offers the best and exciting boat cruise in Uganda. During the boat cruise on Kazinga channel, visitors will be able to explore the water body and cruise near different attractions like birds, animals, plants among others. Kazinga channel offers two cruise options where one is operated by the Mweya safari lodge and another boat cruise operated by Uganda Wildlife Authority. The boat cruise operated by Mweya safari lodge is the best in that it’s comfortable and luxurious compared to the double-decker which is operated by Uganda Wildlife Authority. Boat cruise on Kazinga channel starts at a landing site near Mweya safari lodge and usually organizes two scheduled trips the one in the morning which starts at 9:00am and the afternoon boat cruise which sets off at 2:00 pm with professional guides. In case you want to go at your own time there is an option of hiring a private boat at Mweya safari lodge.
Each scheduled boat trip on Kazinga channel takes about 2 hours and the best boat cruise is the one for the afternoon where will get an opportunity to view different bird and animal species which will be seen along the water banks drinking water. During the afternoon boat cruise on Kazinga channel you will also be able to see the fishing villages on the southern bank of Kazinga channel where the fishermen will be preparing their fishing gears for the night. Fishermen on the Kazinga channel do not fish during the day due to hippos which stay in water during day time and graze in savannah vegetation at night.
Getting to Kazinga Channel
Kazinga channel is situated in Queen Elizabeth national park, therefore, it can either be reached by road or air transport
- Air transport: When going to Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth national park you will book for schedule or chartered domestic flights like Aero-link from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airfield to Kasese Airstrip or Mweya Airstrip which is located inside the park.
- Road transport: When going to Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth national park you will drive from Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, fort portal, Kasese and then Queen Elizabeth national park which takes about 6 to 7 hours’ drive on a tarmac road. You can also use public means of transport where you will board a bus from Kampala via Mubende, Fort Portal, Kasese and from Kasese town you will hire a taxi to the park.
Best time to go for a boat cruise at Kazinga Channel
Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth national park can be visited anytime throughout the year and the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry time the channel becomes an oasis that gathers large numbers of animals that come to bathe feed and drink water. These animals will be seen gathering on the shores of the Kazinga channel and they include elephants, buffaloes, Uganda kobs, waterbucks, hippos, Nile crocodiles, monitor lizards and sometimes if you are lucky you might spot the lions and leopards.
Visitors can also visit during the wet season in the months of March to May and December to February though it is considered to be ideal for bird viewing because it’s the breeding season for the birds and there is always plenty of fruits and food for the birds during the wet season.
Accommodation near Kazinga Channel
There are a number of luxury, mid-range and budget lodges located near the Kazinga channel in queen national park where visitors on a safari in Uganda can sleep including Mweya safari lodge, Kazinga Channel view resort, Tembo safari lodge, Mweya hostel among others. The lodges offer comfortable shelter to visitors, free internet, quality local and international dishes, great views of Kazinga channel hence making the visitors feel at home while on the safari in Uganda.
Apart from the boat cruise on the Kazinga strech, Queen Elizabeth national park offers a wide range of other activities which visitors on a safari in Uganda can engage in including
- Game drives which are best done in the morning in Kasenyi plains where you will be able to view various bird and animal species like the Elephants, Oribi, Uganda kobs, Buffaloes, Bushbucks, Leopards, Lions, Waterbucks among others. Queen Elizabeth also offers night game drives to visitors on a safari in Uganda where you will use spotlight torches so as to have a clear view of the nocturnal animals such as the Lions, Leopards, Hyenas, Genal cats, Civets and many others.
- Bird watching, Queen Elizabeth national park is the best destination for bird watching in that it harbors over 600 bird species which can be found in different areas namely Maramagambo forest, Kyambura Gorge, Ishasha river, Mweya peninsula, Kasenyi plains, Kazinga channel among others
- Chimpanzee trekking, Queen national park also offers chimpanzee trekking activity to visitors which is carried out in Kyambura Gorge and visitors will be able to view other primate species during chimpanzee trekking such as Red tailed monkeys, Baboons, Vervet monkeys, Black and white monkeys among others.
- Lion research tracking, this is a popular activity in Queen Elizabeth national park which gives visitors an opportunity to track lions with tracking devices which gives them a clear view of the lions and also get to learn more about the behavior and habits of the lions in the park.
- Mongoose tracking, this is also an interesting activity that is done at Mweya peninsula where visitors track the banded mongoose and during the process also get an opportunity to learn about them.
- Nature walk, this is a breathtaking activity in Queen Elizabeth national park where visitors get out of the vehicle and move on foot within the park as they experience nature and to refresh their minds. Nature walks in the park are commonly done in Maramagambo forest, Kyambura Gorge among others.
- Crater lakes visit; Queen Elizabeth national park harbors about 10 crater lakes such as Lake Katwe salt lake where local people extract rock salt, Lake Bunyaruguru, Lake Munyanyange which is a great destination for bird watching, Lake Nyamunuka which is believed to have healing water for the sick animals among others. Each Crater Lake in Queen Elizabeth national park has a different story to tell that is worth listening to.
Boat cruise on Kazinga Channel is a breathtaking activity in that you will be able to cruise near animal species and view the animals at a close and clear range and when combined with other unique and fascinating activities in Queen Elizabeth national park you will gain exciting and lifetime experiences on your safari in Uganda.