Safari Holiday In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth national park is the second-largest and most visited national park in Uganda for a safari holiday; located in the western part of Uganda. The Park is the largest after Murchison falls national park in the western part of the country covering 3,893 sq. km. Queen Elizabeth national park covers a total area of 1978 sq. km and hosts different animals and birds including the Kazinga channel the largest water body in the world. Queen Elizabeth national park was gazette in 1952 to protect the remaining species of animals.
Queen Elizabeth national park is located in the western part of the country in the districts of Kanungu, Kasese, Rubirizi, and Kamwenge. The park is located 410 km away from Kampala by road transport. Queen Elizabeth protects over 95 mammal species among which include lions, elephants, leopards, Uganda kobs, hyenas, topis, buffaloes, etc., and over 600 bird species that can be seen in different birding spots of the park during nature walks or game drives. Queen Elizabeth national park is currently the most visited national park in Uganda.
Kazinga channel is found within Queen Elizabeth national park and joins Lake Edward to Lake George. The Park is composed of mostly savannah type of vegetation that acts as a home to different park animals such as elephants, buffaloes, lions, warthogs, leopards, waterbucks, mongooses, bushbucks, and so many others. There are forest areas in Queen Elizabeth national park and these include Maramagambo where nature walks and birding can be done, the forest is also home to wild chimpanzees, there is Kyambura gorge forest which hosts habituated chimpanzees in Queen Elizabeth national park. There are several hippos and crocodiles in Queen Elizabeth national park and these can be seen on a boat cruise on Kazinga channel.
Safari activities of Queen Elizabeth national park
Activities done in Queen Elizabeth national park for a safari holiday vary and include game drives and nature walks, as well as boat cruises on Kazinga Channel for a unique savannah wildlife experience. You can also embark on chimpanzee trekking, cultural tours and bird watching trips. Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a complete change from the thick forested National Park of Bwindi where most people go to Uganda to track the endangered mountain gorillas.
Explore different birds through Bird watching safari in Queen Elizabeth wildness
With over 600 bird species, Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the best biding spots that any traveler shouldn’t miss out on while on an Uganda safari. Birds in Queen Elizabeth national park can be seen in different park bird spots such as African crowned eagle, grey crowned crane, cisticola, martial eagle, African wattled plover, Africa emerald cuckoo, Pink-backed Pelican, Papyrus Gonolek, African Broadbill, Black-rumped Buttonquail, barbets, croaking cisticola, African Skimmer, jacana, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Black Bee-eater, brown illadopsis, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Canary, Corncrake, Greater Flamingo, greater swamp warbler, Shoebill, African skimmer, Bar-tailed Godwit, African morning dove, White-tailed Lark, pied kingfisher, papyrus gonolek, hooded vulture, black bishop, and lesser swamp warbler among others.
Most of the game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park are carried out in Kasenyi plains and the Ishasha sector where you have opportunities of meeting tree-climbing lions. Game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park are best done in a 4×4 wheel safari comfortable vehicle. The game drives in the park are done in the morning, evening, and night for the nocturnal animals in the park such as leopards, genet, civet, and bush babies among others. Day game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park introduce you to several park animals such as lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes, oribis, Uganda kobs, hyenas, warthogs, topis, bushbucks, hippos, tree-climbing lions, crocodiles, mongoose, and waterbucks among others.
Boat cruise safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The boat cruise on the Kazinga channel is one of the most fascinating activities done in Queen Elizabeth national park. The boat cruise is done twice a day in the morning and evening section starting from Mweya. The boat cruises take 2- 3 hours with great vies of the water animals such as hippos, and crocodiles, different water birds like papyrus gonolek, shoebill, pink-backed pelican, black bee-eater, long-tailed cormorant, marital eagle, black crate, etc, as well as pack animals on the lake, shores most especially in the dry season when they come to drink water.
Seeing the Ishasha Tree climbing lions of Ishasha
One of the things that make queen Elizabeth national park famous are the tree-climbing lions that are found nowhere in the world but the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park. To enjoy the tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha sector you will need to take a game drive through this sector of the park and get an opportunity of seeing these lions resting on big fig trees. Lions in the Ishasha sector are believed to climb trees because of many reasons among which include hiding away from the heat on the ground, having a great view of their prey, avoid wet grass, escape from flies among others. Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park is located near the Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park making it easy for you to cross over for gorilla trekking.
Trekking chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge of Queen Elizabeth National Park
One of eth most exciting activities that tourists do in Queen Elizabeth national park is chimpanzee trekking in the Kyambura gorge that is found inside Queen Elizabeth national park. Kyambura is one of the places in Uganda where chimpanzee trekking can be done. The trekking starts with a briefing at the headquarters after which grouping is done and the ranger guide leads trekkers into the jungle to look for these gentle apes. when chimpanzees are located, trekkers are given a maximum of 1 hour to be around them as they learn about their habits and take pictures. Trekking chimpanzees in the Kyambura gorge requires one to have a chimpanzee trekking permit which can be bought from Uganda Wildlife Authority or through a trusted tour operator. Trekking chimpanzees in the Kyambura gorge costs $50 for both foreign non-residents and foreign residents while UGX30,000 is for East Africans. Travelers can also track Kalinzu chimps or Kibale forest national park
Lodges, camps, and hotels in and around Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth national park has several accommodation facilities where one can have a comfortable stay while on a safari. These accommodation facilities range from luxury to mid-range to luxury options as well as campsites. Some of the accommodation facilities in Queen Elizabeth national park include Mweya safari lodge, Ishasha jungle lodge, park view hotel lodge, Ishasha wilderness camp, buffalo safari lodge, Kazinga channel lodge, Enjojo lodge, Kyambura gorge lodge, topi lodge, GeoLodges Jacana Safari Lodge, Elephant Hab lodge, The river Ishasha lodge, Ishasha Ntungwe river camp, Kasenyi safari lodge, Engari game lodge, and queen Elizabeth bush lodge among others.
How to access Queen Elizabeth national park
Road transport; Getting to Queen Elizabeth national park using road transport takes you about 8 hours using Kampala- Masaka- Mbarara – Kasese road or Kampala – Mityana- Fort Portal and Kasese taking you about 6 hours. Using road transport to queen Elizabeth national park comes with a beautiful view of the countryside, smiling people, and tasting local foods along the way.
Air transport ; One can reach Queen Elizabeth national park using air transport from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip near Kampala to Kasese airstrip, Mweya airstrip, or Ishasha airstrip and from there use ground means to the park.