Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most sounding national park and Uganda’s second-largest national park after Murchison Falls National Park and is located in the southwest region in Kasese district at the base of majestic Rwenzori mountain ranges. The park is adjacent to Lake Edward and Lake George. The park has a prolific game such as the tree-climbing lion, waterbuck, Uganda kobs, warthogs which are often sighted both in and at the entrance of the park and also prepare to sightsee a huge number of hippopotamus, elephants and keep your eyes peeled for a leopard lazing in the sunshine. There is a variety of habitants of open savannah grassland, lakes, wetland, forests which inhabit a large number of mammals, primates, water animals and four of the big five which are present. However, the park was established in 1952 as Kazinga National Park and it was later renamed after two years when Queen Elizabeth II visiting the park. Since it is Uganda’s most famous game reserve with unique physical features which makes it the most visited destination among other tour destinations. The park estimates 1978 square kilometers of its low land and approximately 400kilometres by road in the southwest part of Uganda’s capital city ‘Kampala.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a lion conservation area with “the tree climbing lions” which cannot be found elsewhere in Uganda’s national parks except in here with very many other animal species of over 95 mammals like the elephants, lions, buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, African bush leopard, water animals like hippos, crocodile many more. The park has 600 bird species,-such as swamp flycatchers, palm-nut vutture, pel’s fishing-owl, spotted Redshank, yellow-throated cuckoo, crab-plover, common sand martin, collared pratincole, and many more other species. The park’s main attraction are best viewed in five sectors of its boundary which include, ishasha sector, Mweya peninsula, kazinga channel, maramagambo forest, kyambura gorge which makes the highlights of African adventure.
The park offers a wide number of enjoyable activities of which travelers can be part of when they visit the park and these include, game drives, nature walk, bird watching, mongoose tracking, tree-climbing lions, chimpanzee tracking, Boat cruise, visiting the cave, Visiting katwe Salt Lake among others. All these activities will give you an unforgettable and privileged experience on your tour at Queen Elizabeth national park.
- Game drive: This is the most highlight of activity that can be done in kasenyi plain where you can get an opportunity to view the most beautiful fauna that makes up an African adventure when you come to visit Queen National Park. The game drive is best done in the morning hours when the features are giving you great viewing of wild animals that inhabits the park. You will use a safari vehicle with a professional guide who accompanies you through the movements and will take you in the research of the different wild animals. Through enjoying your game drive it will reward you with amazing spot viewing of elephants featured with ears that look like the map Africa, lions preying on Uganda kobs, leopards, warthogs, number of buffalo herds among others you can meet along your trip on the game drive.
- Lion tracking: Lion tracking looks to be the second interesting activity that is liked by the tourists, which involves tracking the lion with the caller phones in kasenyi plains. This is a really emotional experience being conducted by professional researchers from Uganda carnivore program and it is mainly done in open savanna of Kasenyi plain giving you enough lesion about African lions and also have a chance to look at the king of the jungle with your own eyes, looking on them the way they prey on Uganda kobs for their day meal. Lion tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park is done with a few numbers of people to avoid inconveniences within their nature wilderness so that you can learn more about their behavior and also to have exciting lion tracking experience. Lion tracking costs USD 50 per person.
- Chimpanzee tracking: Chimpanzee tracking has become an amazing activity which makes the park to be popularly known because of these apes. This activity can be conducted in kyambura gorge the largest chasm in East Africa located in the north part of queen Elizabeth national park .kyambura gorge is known as a home to chimpanzees with other small primates like Red tailed monkeys, baboons and as long as you’re tracking you can also be able to sight view beautiful birds. Chimpanzee tracking is the most exciting experience you can be part of. Chimpanzee tracking permits cost 150 per person.
- Bird watching: The park is one of the top destinations for birding safaris which hosts over 600 bird species and this activity can be done in Maramangambo forest, where tourists can be able to sightsee unique birds all day long in the midst of the forest while listening on their sweet melodies and such birds include, palm-nut vutture, spotted red shank, yellow-winged tera, African finfoot, African hobby, African skimmer, Black bee-eater, Caspian plover, Great blue turaco, Great white pelican, Grey-winged robin –cha, yellow-throated cuckoo, common sand martin, collared pratincole all these plus other species of birds can be spotted in here at queen Elizabeth national park.
- Boat cruise: Boat cruise can be enjoyed here along kazinga channel a natural water channel that connects to Lake Edward and Lake George. During the cruise on the water channel, one gets a chance to sightsee water animals such as a large number of hippopotamus taking their dips in the water, Nile crocodiles at banks of the channel while sun warming themselves. All these will be the lifetime experience you can encounter on the cruise.
- Mongoose tracking: This is a fantastic activity that can be done along the hike as you encounter at kazinga channel in the Mweya peninsula. It takes 3 hours with a guide who led you as you set off to the mongoose research area where you can encounter this unique mongoose and also learn about their lifestyle, habits, and behavior.
- Nature walk: Nature walks can be done in maramagambo forest which is a highlight of a variety of primates, and birds. As your walking through the forest you can be able to view tree species which have been existing for years on the park’s ground and also visiting the caves which are located within the forest where you can spot hundreds of bats.
What to carry when on Safari
Fortunately, Uganda has a moderate climate and it might rain at night or in the morning after roll the sun comes out during day time. You can do a self-drive when you wish to visit one of Uganda national parks of which one of them is Queen Elizabeth national park. These are the necessities you should have when you’re packing your personal belongings include warm clothes, sweater, lightening gears, mineral water bottles, hiking boots, huts, waterproof bags, trousers, long sleeved shirts among others.
Best time to visit the Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda has 2 seasons i.e. dry and wet season and the best time to visit the park is within dry seasons when the primates trails are not slippery and also the open savanna grassland is drier for easy movement of the vehicle along the nature habitant of wildlife. During wet seasons you can visit the park most especially to those who love birding safaris. Within this season you can be able to view the hidden haven of birds within their forest inhabits because the forest can be greener with plenty of food to the birds. Dry months are from June to September and December to February and wet seasons are from March to May and September to December.
Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Besides being the most visited park, it has good and comfortable hotels and lodges ranging between midrange, budget, luxury but the price differs on the facility, location, and amenities. Some of the accommodation facilities in Queen Elizabeth National Park include Simba safari camp, Irungu forest safari lodge, Mweya safari lodge, Kasenyi safari camp, Queen Elizabeth park view Tourist lodge, Engiri Game lodge and campsite, Tembo safari lodge, Buffalo safari lodge, Marafiki safari lodge and more.
Accessibility of the park
The easiest way to access the park is by air flying from Kajjasi Airstrip along Entebbe road to nearby Airstrip of the park i.e. Mweya Airstrip which takes 1 hour 20 minutes only. Another option is by road from Kampala the capital city of Uganda to the main destination takes 5 hours 30minutes by road.