queen elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda is a phenomenal place to visit for anyone on a safari in the ‘Pearl of Africa.’ Established as a national park in 1952, Queen Elizabeth national park is the second largest protected area in Uganda and among the oldest national parks in the country. The national park is home to over 600 bird species and more than 95 species of mammals, making it top the list when it comes to wildlife safari destinations in Uganda. Among some of the main highlights of any visit to the Queen Elizabeth include the tree climbing lions in Ishasha, the launch cruise on Kazinga Channel, and tracking chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge.
Queen Elizabeth national park, which was previously known as Kazinga national park, was named after the queen of England to commemorate her visit to the national park in April, 1954. The national park spans over an area of 1,978 square kilometers. The park sits at an altitude of 1,350 meters above sea level which is the highest point of the national park, while the Lake Edward basin marks the lowest point of the park standing at 910 meters above sea level.
Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda is located in Kasese district in the western part of the country. The drive to the national park is filled with lots of splendid views of the hilly landscapes in the countryside, with a stopover at the equator monuments in Kayabwe for those travelling from Kampala.
Things you can do in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda has a lot that it offers to its visitors and some of the common activities that you can do during your visit to the park include;
Guided Game Drives:
Guided game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park offer visitors some of the best wildlife views on a Uganda safari. Game drives in the park are conducted in Kasenyi Plains, Ishasha sector and the Kazinga Plains in the northern part of the national park. All the mentioned areas have a rich concentration of different wildlife species which will make your game drive experience memorable.
There are day and night guided game drives offered by the park; with the day game drives offering visitors view of wildlife such as; buffaloes, lions, antelopes, duikers, elephants, warthogs and baboons amongst so many more. The night game drives on the other hand will give tourists the chance to view nocturnal animals such as; lions, leopards and caracals amongst others. Game drives in this national park cost USD 30 dollars per person for day game drives, and USD 40 dollars per person for night game drives. Tourists will have to pay an extra cost of 25 USD for UWA guide.
Boat Cruise on Kazinga Channel:
The boat cruise on Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth is a must for every tourist visiting the national park. While on a boat cruise in the park, visitors can view lots of wildlife animals like hippos, crocodiles, savannah elephants, buffaloes, zebras and also many species of birds. The launch trips in the national park take place in the early morning at 8am and late afternoon at 2pm. A boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth national park can be enjoyed at a fee of USD 30 per person for both foreign non-residents and foreign residents.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Queen Elizabeth national park is mostly conducted in Kyambura Gorge. The Kyambura Gorge is well known to shelter habituated chimpanzees that reside within the forest. For a price of 100 USD, tourists can track these habituated chimpanzees accompanied by well-trained UWA rangers. The gorge also has the Kyambura River flowing through its thick forest, 100 meters just below the Kicwamba escarpment. The entrance to Kyambura Gorge makes a great spot for picnics with friends and family who you are travelling with.
Visitors in Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda can also do chimpanzee trekking in Kalenzu forest, which is situated an hour away from the national park. Chimpanzee trekking in Kalenzu forest costs USD 30 dollars per person which is much cheaper than trekking chimpanzees in Kyambura gorge.
Lion Tracking Experience:
The Lion tracking experience in Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda is conducted in Ishasha sector, in the southern part of the national park. The lion tracking experience in Queen is the best option in case you are looking to see the famous tree climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth national park. The activity costs USD 50 dollars per person and visitors are accompanied by a park ranger and a small team of wildlife researchers. This activity is not only adventurous but it also offers visitors an opportunity to learn more about lions.
Guided Nature Walks:
Tourists visiting the park can also embark on guided nature walks to explore the park’s landscapes and wildlife. Major locations for guided nature walks in Queen Elizabeth national park include; Maramagambo forest, Mweya Peninsular and the Ishasha River. Here tourists can spot a variety of forest and savanna species; with an opportunity to get really close to hippos.
Community Cultural Tours:
Community cultural tours in Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda are the best alternatives for tourists who wish to mingle with the locals living near the national park. When you embark on a community cultural tour in Queen, you will get to learn more about the different cultures of the communities that live within and outside the national park.
Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda is home to more than 619 bird species which makes the park an ideal destination for bird watching safaris in Uganda. Bird watching activities can also be done in Ishasha sector in the southern part of the national park.
Other activities offered at the national park include; sport fishing, cave expeditions, and wildlife census.
Accommodation in the Park.
There are plenty of accommodation facilities available for tourists visiting the park and these include; Mweya Safari Lodge, Ishasha Bandas, Jumbo and Pelican bungalows which are managed by UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) and Pumba Safari Cottages among others. These accommodation facilities offer budget, mid-range and luxury lodging options depending on one’s budget.
How to Get to the National Park.
Visitors can access Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda by either road or air.
Travelling By Air.
There are charter flights that can be arranged from Entebbe Airport to the existing airstrips in the park like Kasese, Mweya and Ishasha.
Travelling By Road.
Visitors travelling to Queen Elizabeth national park by road can easily access the park from Kampala. The park can be accessed by road via Mbarara town through Bushenyi and leading to the center of the park.
The national park can also be accessed from the south via Mbarara which is 420km to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park can also be accessed from the south via Ishasha from Bwindi National Park.
The northern route to the national park goes through Fort Portal town which is covers a distance of 410km.
In conclusion; Book your ultimate Uganda safari to Queen Elizabeth national park through a trusted tour operator company such as Explore Rwanda Tours and be sure to get the best offers on various tour packages.