- In western Uganda covering 770 miles ² (1995 km²).
- Stretches from the crater-dotted foothills of the Rwenzori range in the north, along the shores of Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River in the south.
- Spans the equator line with monuments on either side of the road to mark the exact spot where it crosses latitude 00.
- Founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park, and renamed in 1954 to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.
- Has over 95 mammal and over 600 bird species respectively.
- The Katwe explosion craters mark the park’s highest point at 1,350m above sea level, while the lowest point is at 910m, at Lake Edward.
- Visitors have the opportunity to enjoy short detours to Lake Mburo National Park Rwenzori Mountains and Kibale National Park.
- The Park can also be accessed from the south from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
- Air travel: Charter flights can be arranged to existing airstrips of Kasese, Mweya and Ishasha.
To do list: Game drives, Boat cruise to bottom of the falls, Bird watching, Nature walks.
Queen Elizabeth in western Uganda is the country’s flagship national park gifted with diverse ecosystems. These include savanna, forests and sparkling lakes. The park is home to a variety of game, primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.
The park’s main attractions are: craters carved into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, the Ishasha plains home to tree climbing lions. The diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and wetlands that make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, primates and birds.
The park was first declared a game reserve in 1906, in order to prevent unregulated hunting and was later gazetted as a national park in 1952.
Nowhere in the country can one find a park dotted with numerous craters than this park. And then, there is the Kazinga Channel whose banks are lined with hippos, buffalo, elephants and water birds. In the south, lies the endless Ishasha plains, renowned for tree climbing lions. If we go for numbers, Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to about 2500 elephants, 5000 hippos and over 10,000 buffaloes. Other common herbivores include warthogs, waterbuck, Uganda kob and topi, as well as the swamp loving but elusive sitatunga.
Expected residents that can be seen include: buffalo, elephant, antelope, waterbuck, occasional leopard and a variety of birds. The dry season of June to September is the best season to do a game drive when most animals remain near water points. For big cats, lions are found throughout the park though the most renowned live in the southern sector of Ishasha, where they are usually seen lazily resting in fig trees. Once in a while, solitary leopards can be sighted. The smaller cats like servals which like leopards are nocturnal and are best spotted during night game drives. The most favorable time for game drives is during morning and evening. Night game drives can also be arranged on demand.
Boat Cruise on Kazinga Channel
The channel joins Lake George to Lake Edward. Wild life can be viewed while on a scheduled or hired boat cruise. The Kazinga Channel is an oasis for many of the fascinating species that inhabit the park. A boat cruise gives you a chance to watch hundreds of enormous hippos, buffalo’s elephants along the shoreline.
With over 600 bird species, the park has the biggest number of birds of any protected area in East Africa Kazinga Channel is a haven for water birds that are easily seen during a boat cruise. Some of them are: Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Common Squaco Heron, White-faced Whistling and Knob-billed Ducks, African Fish Eagle, Great-white and Pink-backed Pelicans, African open-billed Stork, Water Thick-knee, Malachite and Pied kingfishers, Swamp flycatchers and Yellow backed Weavers, Black Crake, African Jacana, Spur-winged and African Wattled Plovers. Hundreds of African Skimmers may be seen roosting on sandbars near the entry to Lake Edward but are migrants from southern tropics and typically present only from December to May.
Other birds to watch out for in the park are: Grey-headed Kingfisher, African Mourning Dove, Red-chested sunbird, Swamp Fly-catcher, Grey-capped Warbler, Slender-billed, Yellow-backed and Lesser Masked Weavers, Pin-tailed Whydah, Brimstone Canary, Gabon and Slender-tailed Nightjars
Nature walks and Chimpanzee Tracking
Kyambura Gorge is a section of QENP in the eastern part of the park where tracking habituated Chimpanzees takes place. In addition to tracking, visitors are educated about the ecosystems of Kyambura Gorge’s atmospheric “underground” rainforest, including vegetation types; bird identification and behavior in addition to chimpanzee and monkey ecology.
Apart from chimpanzee tracking, nature treks are one of the more active ways to explore the landscapes and wildlife of Queen Elizabeth. Locations include the shady Maramagambo forest, Mweya Peninsula with its scenic views; and Ishasha River, where you may spot a variety of forest and savanna species as well as having a unique opportunity to get extremely close to hippos while on foot!
The Maramagambo Forest stretches up the eastern escarpment and provides cool respite from the equatorial sun. It offers a different sort of wildlife including wild chimpanzees and colonies of cave-dwelling fruit bats. It is in this forest that the most rewarding nature walks take place.
Rift Valley Scenery
While driving to QENP from Kampala Via Bushenyi, you will be rewarded with the breathtaking sights of tea plantations that climax with sights and sounds of the Western Rift Valley and its sceneries which include Lake George, Rwenzori Mountains of the moon, Lake Edward and Kazinga Channel.
People and Culture
The most famous Salt crater is Lake Katwe. From time immemorial, residents have been collecting salt from the lake. Today, to be called a man culturally, you must own at least one plot in the salt lake. A visit to the lake gives you the experience of meeting the local people as they go about their centuries old trade- salt mining. One nearby Crater Lake called Munyanyange (Cattle egret in the local language) attracts huge flamingo flocks not seen elsewhere in Uganda.
Kampala via Bushenyi 420km
Kampala via Fort Portal: 410 km.