Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in western Uganda. The 1,978 km² protected area is rich in biodiversity and home for over 95 species of mammals, more than any other park in Uganda. The park also boasts a prolific number of bird species, 612 in total. Queen Elizabeth lies on the floor of Africa’s Western Rift Valley and stretches from the base of the towering Rwenzori Mountains in the north to the Ishasha River in the south and is bordered on the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Virunga Mountains. The proximity of Queen Elizabeth National Park to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Kibale National Park makes it an ideal stopover in between trekking Uganda’s primates. Queen Elizabeth National Park is also a convenient weekend away spot from Kampala and Kigali. Queen Elizabeth National Park is truly unrivaled in beauty and has so much to offer its visitors.
Safari drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The most popular activity for people visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park is safari drives to sight game. There is a network of roads around the Mweya peninsula as well as in the Kasenyi plains. Queen Elizabeth National Park supports over 95 different species of mammals, more than any other park in Uganda. The most common mammals that you can expect to see on your safari are Waterbuck, Buffalo, Uganda Kob, Hippopotamus, Elephant and Warthog. The most sought after species are the big cats (lion and leopard) are generally a little more difficult to find, however, they are seen regularly. You can drive yourself in your own vehicle in the park or experience Queen Elizabeth National Park in an open top safari vehicle. We offer morning safari trips, afternoon safari trips and full-day trips.
Boat trip on the Kazinga Channel
The Kazinga Channel is a wide, slow-flowing 32-kilometre long natural body of water that connects Lake George to Lake Edward. The channel is home to the largest hippo population on the planet supporting over 5000 hippos. Throughout the year, it attracts various species of animals to its shores for water as well as birds and reptiles. A two hour guided boat trip is a great opportunity to get close to Nile crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes, elephants as well as many species of birds.
Ask us about boat safari options. We can give you information on different trips and arrange your booking. Prices start from $25 per person (does not include transport to and from the boat launch).
Explosion crater drive
The explosion crater drive is a scenic 27-kilometre route that winds through the extinct explosion craters between the Kabatoro Gate and the Queen’s Pavilion. These craters were formed from volcanic activity which was so violent that instead of creating vent cones, the debris was spread far and wide, leaving massive deep depressions in the earth. The drive is renowned for its scenery and offers varied landscapes in the craters ranging from sprawling grasslands, woodland forests and sulfuric lakes. It’s a good place to take your time, stop and enjoy the breathtaking views and it’s not uncommon to see elephants inside the craters during the rainy season. Although the entire drive is stunning, there are a few highlights. The massive Kyemengo Crater at Baboon Cliffs is by far the largest crater and standing atop the rim is slightly dizzying. It’s really difficult to gauge how far above the crater floor you are and is an amazing sight to behold. Kitagata is a smaller crater with a dark inky blue lake which on a sunny day, you can see the reflection of the sky and fluffy white clouds in the lake. The Crater Drive is one of the gems of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Uganda is a very attractive destination for birders with an astounding diversity of 1008 species. Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s more popular birding sites as not many places in the country can boast a species list this long. With over 600 species, it is the largest of any protected area in East Africa. Enthusiastic birders come from all over the world for their chance to see the elusive Shoebill stork that lives in wetlands across the country along with the prolific variety of birds in Queen Elizabeth National Park. A boat safari on the Kazinga Channel is not to be missed for its vast array of waterbird species.
Lion tracking with Uganda Carnivore Program
The Uganda Carnivore Program (UCP) is heavily involved in the conservation of carnivores primarily around Queen Elizabeth National Park. Working in conjunction with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, their research consists of monitoring carnivore ecology and health and tracking their movements near “conflict zones” where there is the potential for the carnivores to come into contact with people and livestock resulting in human/wildlife conflict. The best way to learn more about the work of UCP is to participate in the lion tracking experience. An early morning spent with the UCP will get you up close to lions while learning about their ongoing conservation work.
Cross the equator line
Uganda is one of only 13 countries in the world in which the equator passes through. Little Elephant Camp is 10 kilometres north of the equator line. On your way to the national park gates for safari, you will cross the equator on the main Kasese road which runs between the Kasenyi plains and the explosion crater area. Stand with one foot in the southern hemisphere and one foot in the northern hemisphere. The equator line makes for a popular photo opportunity.
Chimpanzee trekking can be done in two locations near Queen Elizabeth National Park, in the Kyambura Gorge or the Kalinzu Forest Reserve. Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives, sharing more than 98 percent of our genetic makeup. Guided treks take you through the forest looking for signs of chimpanzee activity and once they have been successfully tracked, you have the opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat which can be on the ground or in the trees.
Trekking in the Rwenzori National Park
The nearby Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage that comprises the main part of the Rwenzori mountain chain which includes Africa’s third highest mountain peak Mount Margherita 5,109 m. The scenery in the mountains is spectacular and includes many waterfalls, lakes, glaciers and beautiful views. A range of walks and hikes ranging from one day to seven days is available. Spend a day exploring the foothills of the mountains or for the experienced climbers, the summit of Margherita peak is a popular choice.
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