For variety of Uganda’s Wildlife, there is better place to go than Queen Elizabeth National Park. This Park is located in the south western part of Uganda, covers a total area of 1978 square kilometers and appreciated mostly for its diverse ecosystems.
The ecosystems that consists of shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes, fertile wetlands, and sprawling savannah provides good habitats to ten primates including Chimpanzees, 600 bird species and large numbers of the big game.
With a backdrop of the dramatic Ruwenzori Mountains, Queen’s spectacular sights include the scenic views of Kazinga Channel that attracts a number of elephants, buffalos, hippos and water bird species.
More to marvel are the enormous craters that are carved into the rolling green hills along with the Ishasha plains home to the rare tree climbing lions that rest in the fig tree branches.
Queen Elizabeth National Park’s location near the equator and the annual migration of the inter tropical Convergence zone is the reason why it experiences two rainy seasons per year.
The season is typically around late February, then the second rainy season is experienced around mid-August.
Top Spots in the Park
This is one of the most prominent lakes in Uganda, its surrounding papyrus swamps are home to the semi-aquatic sitatunga antelopes. You can as well spot the uncommon shoebill storks along with other water bird species.
For those after some unique fascinating spots with in the Park suburbs, these round basins scattered across the equator are a must-see.
You can easily take in the scenic views of these craters, circular lakes, Rift valley escarpments and Kazinga channel while on a 27 km drive between Kabatoro gate and the Queen’s pavilion. Views are backed by a backdrop of the Rwenzori peaks.
Katwe Salt Mines
Katwe-Kabatoro community is one of the most famous spots in Uganda. This locality is near Queen Elizabeth National Park and it’s where traditional salt mining has been practiced since the 16th century.
It’s near Lake Munyanyange, a bird sanctuary known for the flamingos that visit from August to November
Vast Savannah of Kasenyi exhibits a setting perfect for an African Safari experience of a life time.
While on game drive or nature walks around this region, you will sight large herds of kobs, lions busy targeting for their prey, warthogs, buffalos, elephants not to mention the guinea fowl that scuttle through the grasslands.
With a Visitors Centre, luxury lodge, restaurant, hostels, camping sites, budget food options and gateway to Kazinga Channel boat cruise, Mweya Peninsula is termed as the focal point of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
While at its highest points, you can’t stop admiring the gorgeous views of the Kazinga Channel and surrounding natural sceneries.
From this area, you can set off for the morning or evening game drives in the nearby Kasenyi or North Kazinga plains.
If you hunger for the most relaxed way to enjoy the wildlife in Queen, you should look no further than a boat cruise along the Kazinga channel.
This option exposes to large numbers of buffalos, elephants and other animals that line the banks. You can as well see the aquatic species like hippos, crocodiles, monitor lizards and numerous water bird species.
At 100 meters below the Kichwamba escarpment lies this underground forest. Besides its River that flows through it, this area is mainly known as a habitat to the Chimpanzee primates.
Some of these species are habituated and can be tracked. While wandering through this gorge, you may spot other primates like colobus monkeys and other species of birds.
To the east of this gorge, there is a beautiful crater lake that attracts plenty of flamingo birds and the great egrets.
Along with Primates including baboons, chimpanzees and various species of monkeys, this forest is inhabited by numerous bird species including the White-naped Pigeon, Rwenzori Turaco and the unusual Forest flycatchers. Other off the beaten path spots in the forest are crater lakes and the Bat Cave.
When compared with the northern part of Queen, this southern part of Queen is less visited and perfect for those who fancy crowd-free adventures.
Visitor to this area are always fascinated by sights of the most famous tree climbing lions. Tourists mostly to see them when they are lounging up in the fig tree branches. More than that, Ishasha is home to buffalos and Elephants.
Visitors to Queen, usually reach there by road transport means or air transport means. It’s about 420 km from Kampala up to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
By road, it takes about 7-8 hours for the drive from Kampala up to the Park suburbs via Kampala- Masaka – Mbarara highway. It includes a stopover at the equator and in Mbarara for lunch.
If not road, you can go by air transport means and private charters are arrange from Kajjansi airstrip up to Mweya airstrip in Queen.
You can as well access Queen Elizabeth National Park from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park after your Gorilla trek.
This is possible when connecting from Buhoma sector via a route that winds through the Southern Ishasha sector. This option grants chances to sight the famed tree climbing lions.
Top Activities in the Park
Launch Trips in Queen Elizabeth
Kazinga Channel is home to multiple aquatic species including crocodiles, hippos, and water bird species in addition to a number of attracted animals (elephants, buffaloes, warthogs and more) that line its banks.
Nothing can expose you to all these natural wonders than a launch trip cruise, there are offered daily in sessions (afternoon and evening). Mweya Safari lodge boat cruise is recommended.
Game Drives in Queen Elizabeth
Game driving is an excursion that includes driving around the Park suburbs following the permanently established tracks to sight different Wildlife species like Wild animals, bird species and reptiles.
While in Queen, you can do the driving through Kasenyi, North Kazinga plains or Ishasha sector tracks. Expect to sight plenty of wild animals like elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, kobs, bush bucks and more.
Chimp Tracking in Queen Elizabeth
Most travelers prefer doing Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale but Queen Elizabeth National Park is an ideal alternative.
The tracking usually reward grand opportunities to meet with these primates in the Jungles. While in Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can do the tracking sessions in Kyambura gorge at a cost of $50 USD per person.
Birding in Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth National Park provides good habitats to a wide range of bird species totaling to about 600 species. With this total, it can’t miss among the top birding areas in Uganda.
For better sights of different bird species, birders are advised to arrange for the excursion either early in the morning or evening.
Hiking/Nature Walks in Queen Elizabeth
Nature walks are one of the best options to explore the vast landscapes and rich wildlife in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
You can do these adventures in Maramagambo forest, Mweya Peninsula for scenic views and along the Ishasha River where you can sight variety of forest and savannah bird species.