Queen Elizabeth National Park named after Her Royal Highness the Queen of England is Uganda’s most visited park. Located in the Western region of Uganda, the park spans over an estimated 1,978 square kilometres. The Park extends from Lake George in the North-eastern direction to Lake Edward in the South-west and also enfolds the Kazinga channel.
The Park is renowned for its wildlife and volcanic features which include volcanic cones, deep craters and crater lakes, among which is the Katwe craters from which salt is extracted. The wildlife in the park includes; hippos, cape buffalos, leopards, elephants, lions, crocodiles and chimpanzees. The Park is also a home to over 500 bird species and 95 mammal species.
The 'gems' of the Royal Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth National Park has a number of unique features that make it outstanding and echo it’s royalty.
A variety of wildlife 'including 4 of Uganda’s big 5 – lions, elephants, leopards & buffalos'
One of the main attractions that draws multitudes of tourists to Queen Elizabeth National Park is its abundant wildlife especially the animals. A game drive with a professional and armed game ranger will allow you to see herds of elephants grazing, buffalos which are very common, lions which are surprisingly easy to spot – most of them are found in the Ishasha sector where they are normally seen in huge fig trees, a variety of antelope species among which is the famous Uganda Kob, the bushbuck and topi, chimpanzees are also spotted occasionally. You also be able to see hippos and crocodiles in the Kazinga channel.
Over 500 species of birds 'Harbouring many of East Africa’s famous species'
Birding is one of the most done activities in Queen Elizabeth and its done in the various areas where the birds abide; the Kasenyi area, Mweya Peninsula, Katwe area, Marabigambo forest, Ishasha sector, Katunguru bridge area and Lake Kikorongo.
The birds to see in Queen Elizabeth include; the African mourning dove, swamp nightjar, swallows, martins, swifts, black-headed Gonolek, grey-headed kingfisher, pygmy kingfisher, little bee-eater, red-chested cuckoo, little grebe, African finfoot , blue-throated roller, Brown snake eagle, martial eagle and the crowned plover.
About 10 primate species 'Including the endangered chimpanzees'
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a home 10 primate species Including the endangered chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are considered to be the closest animals in resemblance to human beings with a population of only 170,000-300,000 left in Africa. The chimps are fascinating to watch because of their striking resemblance to man; their facial appearance and expression, their gestures and body postures, the way they eat, move and communicate with each other. The other primates to see in Queen Elizabeth include; Vervet monkeys, black-and-white Columbus monkeys, baboons and red-tailed monkeys.
The Kazinga channel 'Connecting 2 prominent Lakes – Edward & George'
The Kazinga channel is stretches to about 40 meters, connecting Lake George situated on the eastern side and Lake Edward on the Western side. The two lakes are natural wonders which sustain the existence of the great wildlife and plant life. The Kazinga channel has 2 main recognised sections; the North Kazinga and the Kasenyi plains. The 2 sections are recognised as plains that give tourists a great scenery of the wildlife and natural plant vegetation.
Adventure & Activities
Queen Elizabeth National Park has a numerous number of activities you could engage in for an exciting safari.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the ideal place for an enjoyable game drive experience. The Park has an abundance of wildlife spread in its various regions; herds of elephants, hippos, warthogs, the rare sitatunga antelope species, waterbucks, topis and even the Uganda Kob. The thrilling nocturnal game drives will allow a chance to spot the prowling predators who are normally out in the dark seeking their prey. These predators include the tree climbing lions, leopards, venal cats, serval cats and civet cats.
A thrilling boat cruise along the Kazinga channel will expose you to a massive number of hippos; over 5000 hippos are to be found in Queen Elizabeth. You will also see crocodiles, monitor lizards, and a great many water birds; some floating on the waters and others flying over.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is an unrivalled birding spot. With over 500 bird species, the park is the ideal choice for the birding enthusiast. The Park offers a safe haven to the innumerable bird species; it’s wetlands, Savannahs, thickets, and lowland forests is where the birds abide.
The key bird species to see include; chapin’s flycatcher, white-tailed lark, white-winged warbler, papyrus canary, papyrus Gonolek, African broad bill, black bee eater, bar-tailed godwit, African skimmer, the martial eagle, Shoebill, flamingo and the black-rumpled buttonquail.
Chimpanzee trekking is one of the highlights of Queen Elizabeth. The endangered species are normally found in the Kyambura gorge – ‘the lost valley’ as defined by BBC. Kyambura gorge is a fascinating area, you cross rivers and meander through thick forests while descending the valley in search of one of the world’s most prized species. Wildlife, birds and brilliant plant life and flora will be spotted while on a gorilla trek.
Visiting the Ishasha tree climbing lions
The Ishasha region is somehow remote mainly because of the fewer number of visitors who venture out to this place. Though a bit strenuous, venturing out to Ishasha gives you a chance to spot its most eminent residents – the tree climbing lions. These are normally hanging in branches of huge tree while lustfully observing the herds of grazing antelopes and kobs. The region is also a home to elephants, buffalos and the rare Shoebill.
Maramagambo forest Tour
The ironwood and fruit tree dominated forest is clogged with a great primate population including baboons, chimpanzees, and various monkey species. The forest is also a habitat to several bird species among which is white-napped pigeon, rare forest flycatcher and the Rwenzori turaco. While in Maramagambo forest, you can pay a visit to the cormorant house which is a large tree turned white by the roost there at night.
Hiking and nature walks
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the place to go for a satiating nature walk and hiking experience. You could go to Kyambura gorge – the lost valley, which is part of the Western Rift valley, or you could hike to the Mweya Peninsula, or walk through Maramagambo forest and perhaps hike along the Ishasha river in Ishasha. Whichever place you choose, you will have a great time hiking and walking through Queen Elizabeth National Park.