Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the second-largest national park located in western Uganda in Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi, and Rukungiri districts. The national park covers a total area of 1,978 square kilometers which is comprised of different vegetation types including savannah grasslands, acacia woodland, swamps, forests among others which act as habitats for over 95 mammal species including the big four mammals out of the big five mammals and more than 600 birds species. Queen Elizabeth national park is famously known for harboring the tree climbing lions which can be viewed lying up in fig tree branches in Ishasha sector, southern part of the park.
Attractions in Queen Elizabeth national park
Wildlife, Queen Elizabeth national park is a home of about 95 mammal species including elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, hippos, Uganda kobs, warthogs, waterbucks, banded mongoose, bushbucks, hyenas, crocodiles among others.
Primates, the national park also harbors different primate species including chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys among others which are found in Kyambura gorge.
Birds, Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the best birding destinations in Uganda in that it harbors more than 600 bird species including grey headed kingfisher, pin tailed whydah, flamingos, slender tailed nightjar, pygmy kingfisher, collared pratincole, pink backed pelican, black crowned Tchagra, black bellied bustard, African wattled plover among others.
Activities is Queen Elizabeth national park
This is one of the major activities done in Queen Elizabeth national park and game drives can either be done early in the morning, afternoon or at night in a comfortable popup safari vehicle with a professional driver guide. During the game drives you will be able to view animals like buffaloes, Uganda kobs, elephants, warthogs, waterbucks, bushbucks among others grazing in open savannah grasslands with due in the morning, predators like lions and leopards looking for a morning hunt and nocturnal animals like civet, genal cats, serval cats, hyenas among others which will be viewed during the night game drive.
Queen Elizabeth national park also offers an amazing boat cruise which is done on the Kazinga channel a 40km long channel that joins Lake Edward and Lake George. During the boat cruise which takes about 2 to 3 hours you will get a chance to spot large herds of hippos and Nile crocodiles in water, elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, warthogs along the shores drinking water, view aquatic bird species like long tailed cormorants, African jacana, pied kingfisher, wattled plover, white faced whistling, squacco heron, pied and malachite kingfisher, black crake, knob billed duck, open billed stork, yellow backed weaver, pink and white backed pelican, fish eagle among others.
Chimpanzee trekking is an adventurous activity which is done in Kyambura gorge also known as the valley of apes. Chimpanzee trekking activity starts early in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters where after you will start trekking in the jungle with a park guide who is well conversant with different trails. During trekking you will be able to view other primates species like black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, baboons, different bird species, colorful butterflies among others and once the chimpanzees are found you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their habitat which gives you a chance to learn about their lifestyle, behaviors, habits, watch them feed, breastfeed, play, fight, mate, rest, take photos and record the incredible moments.
Queen Elizabeth is a home of more than 600 recorded bird species including water birds, migratory birds, endemic and near endemic bird species which makes it one of the top birding destinations in Uganda. There are a wide range of habitats for bird species in Queen Elizabeth national park which range from forests, wetlands, savannah grasslands, woodlands and water bodies where bird lovers will be able to view bird species like African Finfoot, African emerald cuckoo, blue breasted kingfisher, swamp nightjar, Diederik cuckoo, African mourning dove, squire-tailed nightjar, African white backed vulture, lappet faced vulture, brown snake eagle, hooded vulture, ruppells griffon, Helmeted Guineafowl, African crake, black bellied bustard, African crake, grey backed fiscal, white browned robin chat among others.
Nature walk is an exciting activity which gives visitors an opportunity to explore the park on foot with the company of an experienced park guide and armed park ranger to protect you from dangerous animals. There are different nature walk trails in Queen Elizabeth national park for example trails in Maramagambo forest where you will encounter primates like chimpanzees, l’hoest monkeys, vervet monkeys, red tailed monkey, birds like woodpeckers among others. Other nature walks are done on Mweya peninsular where you will be able to view the Kazinga channel and Ishasha River where you will enjoy views of animals like hippos, el`ephants, bird species among others.
Best time to visit Queen Elizabeth national park
This Uganda national park can be visited all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry season there is less rainfall in the park therefore vegetation will be thin which makes wildlife viewing easy and hiking trails will be dry and passable.
Queen Elizabeth national park can also be visited in the wet season during the months of March to May and November because during the wet season tourists are few therefore you will be able to enjoy the park with fewer crowds. The wet season is also the best period for bird watching where bird lovers will be able to view migratory bird species.
Where to stay during your safari in Queen Elizabeth national park
The national park has a wide range of accommodation facilities where visitors can stay during the safari and they range from luxury, mid-range, budget and campsites including Mweya safari lodge, Katara lodge, Kasenyi safari camp, Park view lodge, Enganzi lodge, Elephant hub lodge, Simba safari camp, Queen Elizabeth bush lodge, Ishasha Jungle lodge, Pumba safari cottages, Elephant Plains lodge, Ishasha Wilderness camp, Queen Elizabeth safari camp, Aramaga Rift valley lodge, Kyambura tented camp, Lake Chibwera camp, Kitandara Hippo hill lodge among others.
How to get to Queen Elizabeth national park
The national park is located in western Uganda and can be accessed by both road and air transport means.
Road transport, when using road transport means visitors will drive from Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara and then to the park headquarters which takes about 6 to 7 hours drive.
Air transport, when using air transport means visitors will book scheduled and charter flights from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield to Mweya or Kasese airstrip.