Elizabeth National park

Queen Elizabeth National Park The best Uganda wildlife safari destination tour in Uganda

Queen Elizabeth is one of the oldest national parks to be gazetted in 1952. Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP ) in 19 79 was designated as a Biosphere Reserve with the ultimate goal of integrating human activities with conservation and protection of wildlife. Wildlife safaris thrive here most in the wetlands, savannah grasslands, water bodies all are found within Queen Elizabeth Park.

More information about Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National park together is composed of Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Kalinzu forest, Maramagambo Forest, and Kigezi Wildlife Reserve( popularly known as Ishasha sector famous for climbing lions form one of the most diverse ecosystems on the African continent. The Vast melting ice on top of Mount Rwenzori forms many glaciers that end up forming many rivers that feed Queen Elizabeth wetlands. The park wetlands come along the vast lakes of Lake Edward and Lake George that are connected together with the channel of water called Kazinga Channel. This channel provides life to all wildlife on land and in water for all animals. These lakes and the channel provide a big shoreline for thousands of hippos and crocodiles and fishing villages to thrive.  The park has lots of open Savannah dotted with acacia and Euphobia trees, that provide habitat for a herd of elephants, lions, leopards,  herds of buffalos, Uganda Kobs, herds of antelopes and much other wildlife including giant forest hog, hyenas, waterbucks, and topi are found here.

The park is also famous for the habitat of primates . over 10 primate species can be located in this park. Kyambura is famous for chimpanzees and chimpanzee tracking safari takes place here.  Also, the park boasts of over 600 bird species scattered at different habitats of lakeshore, swamps, grasslands, and many forests that provide habitat for indigenous and migratory birds the best sanctuaries. Notable among these bird species are Martial Eagle. Shoebill, Papyrus Gonolek, Lesser, and Greater Flamingo, White tailored Lark and Verreaux’s Eagle Owl and Forest species that come from Congo.  Birding safaris will yield a lot of birds in a single day. Many more birds are found here like White-tailed Lark White-winged Warbler Papyrus Canary Papyrus Gonolek Black Bee-eater Corncrake Lesser and Greater Flamingo Bar-tailed Godwit. Palm-nut Vulture Hooded Vulture African White-backed Vulture Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture Lappet-faced Vulture Brown Snake Eagle Wahlberg’s Eagle Bateleur Long-created Eagle Martial Eagle Grey Kestrel African Crake Black-bellied Bustard Temminck’s Courser African Wattled Plover Crowned all are found here. Birding tours take place here all year round and the best months of birding are from September up to April.

Game Drives for Wildlife safaris

Queen Elizabeth National park is the floor base of the Great Western arm of Rift Valley with lots of wildlife making it one of the treasures of this continent Africa. Game drives are done morning, evening, and night game drives are done.  Travel Hemispheres safaris provide pop up roof safari vehicles that offer 360 degrees all sides.  Early morning game drives are the most rewarding. Will wake up at least 5.30 am get served on snack and head for the game drive. On the Northern bank of Kazinga channel plains will find herds of Elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard, waterbuck, bushbuck, and many warthogs.  Another prize animal could enter here on this track is forest Giant Hog call it African pig was usually seen in dense forest and thick bush shrubs.

The Kasenyi sector East of Kasese town is other rich plains with vast grasslands attract lots of lions targeting to pre on the large population of Uganda Kob, buffaloes and bushbucks. Kasenyi form mating grounds for Uganda Kobs and morning and evening game drives off fantastic wildlife safaris in this park. Lots of elephants, buffalo, lion leopard,

Chimpanzee tracking: Kyambura Wildlife  and Kalinzu Forest,

Chimpanzee tracking safaris take place at dramatic Kyambura Gorge. Here chimpanzees were habituated for human interaction. The gorge is also home to many other primates including baboons, Colobus Red-tailed, and Vervet monkeys. The gorge is like 100 m deep varved out of Kyambura River as it floes along the rift valley floor toward the Kazinga channel. Guided walks take place here looking for chimpanzees. Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is on the eastern side of the park and supports many wildlife animals and has got saline crater lakes which attract large numbers of flamingos that are not found anywhere else in Uganda.

The Kazinga Channel Launch Cruise

Lake Edward and Lake George inside Queen Elizabeth National park are connected with a water channel called Kazinga channel. The channel is 40 km long and alongside its shoreline provides a prime area for wildlife concentration. A boat trip along this channel will give you sight of schools of hippos all along the channel. Visitors will enjoy lots of wildlife looking for prey and others accessing the channel to drink water. Lots of Birds also concentrate here and for bird watching is a paradise lot of bird species are seen here in the large number of concentrations.

Will take launch cruise at  scheduled time. Different times have been fixed from 11.00 am until 6.00 pm. The boat cruises are run by the park authorities. However other private boat cruises have been introduced like that of Mweya safari lodge and of Recent Mv Kazinga was also introduced.

The channel attracts a varied range of animals and birds, with one of the world’s largest concentration of hippos and numerous Nile crocodiles.  These boats continue to promote  Ugandan tourism. These boats are safe, convenient, and equipped with modern and latest technology amenities such as an air conditioner, radar, sonar, bells,  life jackets, and whistles. The cruise boats are also safe with up to many seating capacities and lifesaving jackets that give passengers the comfort and ability to enjoy tourism on the water channel.

Nature Walks in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Maramagambo Forest forms part of Queen Elizabeth Nation Park. The word “maramagambo” is Runyankole word meaning getting short of words. So people used to walk through this forest to lake Katwe to look for salt. But because of the size of the forest by time people would finish walking through nobody would be talking to one another. So still many natural walks continue to take place here in this forest. Short and  long guided  natural walks take place here . Pythons and other reptiles are often seen in crevices of Bat Caves preying on bats. Other trials will take you into the heart of the forest and may view some crater lakes, caves, and primates including chimpanzees and forest bird species.

Ishasha Sector Famous for Climbing Lions Game Drives.

Ishasha is the pearl of Queen Elizabeth National Park, located at the southern tip of the park bordering with Congo, this sector ha vast savannah flat grasslands.  Here the famous climbing lions safaris can be spotted on large fig tree basking in the sun. Here will enjoy true wilderness experiences. It has diverse habitats of Ishasha River, savannah woodland and marsh swamps extending into Lake Edward.  This is area is famous for game drives looking for climbing lions. Also lots of other wildlife and easily seen like elephants, buffalo antelopes bushbucks. Ishasha is located on the way to Bwindi Impenetrable forest National park and in most cases some will spend the night to get good views of morning game drives before proceeding to Bwindi for gorilla trekking adventure safari. 

The Katwe Explosion Craters: sightseeing and Scenery viewing

Here its where  God rested for some time to design a cluster of volcanoes that are now extinct. Some of these craters are empty while others are now filled with water. They form beautiful scenery of this park. The is located 27 km from the Equator Gate. They provide superb views into numerous craters some filled by lovely lakes and feature reflection of mountain Rwenzori at distance.

People and Wildlife at Queen Elizabeth national park.

Lake Katwe situated inside the park used to be known from far as northern Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Vast of  Congo. 100 years ago all communities from mentioned regions converged here at this lake Katwe to mine salt.  During that period salt was a medium of exchange – money and whoever had lots of it would be called Richman but fetching it from lake Katwe was not easy. Hence saying in Runyankole: “ Ebirungi butura hare nko mwonyo gwa Katwe”  Katwe here refers to lake Katwe. So Kawe  Town now run-down used to the hub commercial center of all the region because of salt that was produced here. Today still communities come here and mine salt. This unprocessed salt is given mainly today to animals – cattle, goats,  pigs, etc and is still a potential industrial point to be developed. The economic importance has since not so much but salt is still produced using the traditional evaporation process and the lake accepts guided tours. Today when COVID 19 virus has put many countries at isolation, self-sustaining, Lake Katwe salt mining and processing should be revived as it was done by President Amin during the 1970s

Queen Elizabeth NP is located about 410km/255mi north of Kampala. The direct drive takes at least seven to eight hours. It is also possible to fly to any of the nearby airstrips of Kasese, Mweya or Kihihi (for Ishasha) by scheduled or chartered aircraft from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airfield near Kampala.

Traveling to Queen Elizabeth NP by Road

Queen Elizabeth National Park can be accessed most easily from Kampala. The tarmac road from Kampala via Mbarara town and Bushenyi leads to the center of the park, passing just 22 km from Mweya Peninsula, the main tourism hub. Approaching the park from the south via Mbarara covers a distance of 420km while the north through Fort Portal covers a total of 410 km. 
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. The following airlines run scheduled flights to airstrips near Queen Elizabeth NP:

  • Fly Uganda (‘seat rates’ are available from Kajjansi to Kasese, Mweya and Ishasha)
  • Aerolink (flies from Entebbe to Kasese and Mweya)

Uganda Safari itineraries that cover Queen Elizabeth national park, where you can enjoy various activities that include; Birding, Caves, Chimpanzee Tracking, Cultural Encounters, Game Drives, Hiking, Launch Trips.

3 days Queen Elizabeth National park wildlife tour
4 Days Uganda Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris to Queen Elizabeth
6  Days Uganda Primate Watch safari to Kibale Bwindi and Queen Elizabeth National Parks    
The Apes Circuit 6 days Chimpanzee Gorilla Safaris
7 Days Murchison Falls, Kibale and Queen Elizabeth National Parks Uganda Wildlife Safari
7 Days Bwindi Gorillas and birding and Wildlife safari at Queen Elizabeth Park
7 Days Game Viewing and Wildlife Safari Tour
7 Days Uganda Primate Safari Tour
8 Days Uganda Chimpanzee, Gorilla, Wildlife safari
8 Days Uganda Safari Holiday Tour
8 Days Uganda Wildlife Safari Holiday
10 Days Uganda Holiday Tour
10 Days Uganda and Tanzania Flying Safari
10 Days Best of Uganda Safari Tour
12 Days Uganda Birding Safari Tour
12 Days Uganda Wildlife Safari Tour
14 Days Gorilla Chimpanzee Trekking Rwanda, Wildlife Safari in Uganda
15 Days: The Uganda Mountain Rwenzori Trekking, Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi Gorilla Tracking Circuit
15 Days Best of Uganda Wildlife Safari Trip
16 Days Adventure Uganda Vacation Safari Tour
18 Days Uganda Holiday Safari
Uganda Wildlife Safari Tour 18 Days
20 Days: Rwenzori Mountaineering Safari: Bukurungu Trail ( camping) to Margherita Peak with Uganda wildlife safari
Uganda Rwanda Relax Safari 22 Days