Queen Elizabeth National Park is the second-largest national park located in the western part of Uganda in the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi and Rukungiri. Queen Elizabeth National Park was founded in 1995 and harbors over 95 animal species including 4 of the big 5 African animals such as elephants, buffaloes, climbing lions and leopards, home of over 600 bird species hence a great destination for bird watching.
How to get to Queen Elizabeth national park
This park can be reached by both air and road transport.
By air transport means, you can use chartered or scheduled flights from Entebbe Airport to Kasese or Mweya airfield or you can fly from Entebbe Airport to Kihihi airstrip and then connect by road through Ishasha sector in the southern part of Queen Elizabeth national park which takes about 2 hours’ drive.
By road transport, you can use public means like bus or private vehicles such as Uganda safari vehicles where you will drive from Kampala via Mubende and Fort Portal. This route can be combined with a safari in Kibale national park. You can also drive from Kampala via Mbarara and then Kasese when you use this route you can combine your safari with Lake Mburo national park in Mbarara. The journey takes about 5 to 6 hours’ drive Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth is a national park with various attractions that entice visitors and give them wonderful experiences during their safari in Uganda. The attractions include:
- Wildlife, Queen Elizabeth national park is a home of over 95 animal species, 600 bird species, butterflies, reptiles, savannah vegetation among others.
- Tree climbing lions, Queen Elizabeth national park is known for its tree-climbing lions which are found in the Ishasha sector southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
- Kazinga channel, this is a water body in the park that adjoins lake gorge and Lake Edward. Kazinga channel harbors many wildlife species which can be seen during the launch cruise.
- Kyambura escarpment, The Kyambura Escarpment is a landscape that is found in the eastern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The gorge gives you great moments in that it is blessed with biodiversity such as chimpanzee primates, birds, animals, rain forest, savannah, woodland vegetation among others.
- Equator, Queen Elizabeth national park is crossed by the equator and at this point, the visitors on a safari stop by to take photos. The Equator is such an amazing site for travelers.
- Lake Katwe salt mine, Lake Katwe is a crater lake located north of the Mweya peninsula in the northern part of Queen Elizabeth national park. Katwe is a salty lake with inlets and with no outlets, during the dry season water forms salt pans at the bottom and crystal salt on the surface of the lake due to high concentration.
- Crater lakes, Queen Elizabeth has three main crater lakes including Bunyaruguru craters which are located in the southern part, lake Katwe and the Ndali-Kasenda craters near Kibale national park.
Activities done in the Park
Queen Elizabeth national park offers visitors an opportunity to participate in different activities while on a safari in Uganda which include:
Day game drives, this is an interesting activity where visitors drive within the park in a pop-up roof vehicle so as to view different animals and vegetation. Game drives in the park are carried out either in the morning or evening and the visitors will get a chance of viewing various animals such as Elephants, Buffaloes, Uganda kobs, Warthogs, Giant forest hogs, Waterbucks, Bushbucks, Lions, Leopards, bird species among others hence giving you a wonderful experience.
Night game drives, this is a unique activity that is carried out at night in the Mweya peninsula with game rangers and spotlights for clear viewing of the nocturnal animals. Night game drives in Queen start like at around 8 pm after the visitors have had dinner at their lodges. Visitors on a night game drive will be able to view some of the animals which they missed to see during the day game drive and nocturnal animals such as Leopards, Lions, Civet cats, Genal, Serval cats, Hyenas among others which gives great experiences to visitors on a safari in Uganda.
Lion tracking, Lion tracking activity can be done during the day or evening game drives where Uganda Wildlife Authority guides will track the lions with tracking device in the park for visitors to view since the lions are hard to see on a normal day. During lion tracking vehicles are allowed to go off tracks regardless of where the lions are visitors will be able to see lions at a close range and other animal species like the buffaloes, elephants, warthogs, bushbucks, waterbucks, Uganda kobs among others. Lion tracking experience takes about 1 to 3 hours and is limited to a few numbers of visitors for the protection of the lions. Queen Elizabeth national park is famous for climbing lions which are found in Ishasha sector southern part of the park which are usually seen hanging on the fig trees due to hot temperatures on the ground, to get a better view of the prey among others.
Bird watching, Queen Elizabeth national park is a great destination for bird lovers in that it harbours over 600 bird species hence referred to as a birders paradise. Bird watching in the park is done on the shores of Kazinga channel during the boat cruise, in Mweya peninsula, Maramagambo forest, Kyambura gorge, glass lands, around crater lakes like Lake Kawe where you will see migratory birds among others. Visitors on birding safari in Queen Elizabeth national park will be able to view different birds such as flamingos on Lake Katwe, African skimmer, Chapin’s flycatcher, African broadbill, Papyrus Gonolek, Pink backed pelican, Martial eagle, Papyrus canary, Yellow throated cuckoo, Sedge warbles among others.
Boat cruise, Boat cruise is done on Kazinga channel which connects Lake George and Lake Edward. Boat cruise is a must do activity for the visitors on a safari in Queen Elizabeth in that they will be able to view wildlife such as large herds of hippos on the water banks Nile crocodiles getting warmth from the sun, buffaloes, elephants, monitor lizards, waterbucks, bush backs, duiker, mongoose among others, aquatic bird species such as king fishers, fish eagle, spur winged plover, African jacana, white faced whistling, white backed pelican among others, view local fishing communities around the park at a close range in a boat which lasts 2 hour but provides you with fascinating and magical experiences.
Nature walks/ hiking, this is an activity where visitors walk on foot with the armed rangers within the park to have great experiences, better views, and relaxation of the mind. Nature walks or hiking in the park normally starts early in the morning and is carried out in Maramagambo forest where you will see the bat caves different bird species, Mweya peninsula where you will view the banded mongoose, wildlife species and birds, Kyambura gorge where you will view primates like chimpanzees, Ishasha sector where you will see climbing lions in the fig trees, crater lakes like Katwe where you will see salt mines, Kalinzu forest where you will view primates and bird species among others.
Chimpanzee trekking, this is an exciting activity that is carried out in Kyambura gorge or Kalinzu forest in Queen Elizabeth national park. Kyambura gorge is a home of 10 habituated chimpanzee families which are available for trekking on a daily basis and visitors will be able to learn their behaviours, feeding habits among others and Kalinzu is a home of 6 primate species. During chimpanzee trekking in Queen Elizabeth park you will be able to view other primates such as Baboons, Red tailed monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Blue monkeys, Black and white colobus monkeys, Butterflies, Moth, Reptiles, Bird species, Flowers among others.
Cultural encounters, this is an activity where visitors have an encounter or interaction with the local communities living around Queen Elizabeth national park such as interaction with Businga fishing village along Kazinga channel where you will learn how they carry out fishing and also engage in sport fishing, boat racing activities. Visit the Kikorogo women community group where you will get entertainment through performances in form of dance, drama, music, visit their art and craft shops where they make and sell baskets, hats, sandals, beads from papers and magazines, learn about local peoples cultures and traditions, taste traditional dishes among others hence giving you interesting experiences on your safari in Uganda.
Queen Elizabeth national park is the best destination for great views of the landscape & wildlife such as the climbing lions which provide you with interesting and unforgettable memories on your safari in Uganda.