Queen Elizabeth National Park
A Medley Of Wonders
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the only one in Uganda crossed by the equator. To its north and south, the Ruwenzori and Virunga mountain ranges form a stunning backdrop. In the centre of the park is the Kazinga Channel connecting two Great Lakes, Edward and George, and the northern section of the park is dotted with serene crater lakes and bubbling hot springs that are carved into rolling green hills.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is divided into 3 sectors: Mweya Peninsula the hub for tourist activity, Kyambura Gorge to the east of Mweya and Ishasha in the remote southwest. The Ishasha plains to the south-west, are famous for the tree-climbing lions and in the breathtaking Kyambura Gorge, habituated chimpanzees steal the show. The Mweya peninsula and the Kasenyi plains provide, visitors with the most chance of seeing game
Named in honour of the coronation of the reigning Queen Elizabeth of England in 1964, the park was initially gazetted as a reserve called Kazinga National Park. It is also a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – a conservation area that is considered typical of the balanced relationship between people and nature.
Game Drives - Kasenyi Sector
The Kasenyi Plains are a popular part of Queen Elizabeth National Park for game drives. They are situated on the western side of Lake George and north of the Kazinga Chanel. The plains offer good sightings of Buffalo, Elephant, Topi, Uganda Kob, Antelope, Baboon, Hyena and Warthog. Lion and occasionally Leopard are also common, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
Game Drives - Ishasha Sector
The 100km Ishasha sector of the park along the border with DRC gives a genuine African wilderness experience and is best known as the home of the tree-climbing lions. No one really knows why the lions in the Ishasha plains prefer to spend their days perched in trees, and not on the ground like other lions in Uganda, or why they prefer the fig trees that conveniently line the roads in this sector. But everyone agrees that the sight of the lions resting in the branches of huge trees is unmatched. Indeed for many visitors to Queen
The Kazinga Channel
The 32km long Kazinga Channel is located in Queen Elizabeth National Park and links Lake Edward with Lake George. It is an oasis for the fascinating wildlife and boat ride from the Mweya Peninsula, along the Kazinga Channel towards Lake Edward is the park’s most popular attractions. The boat ride enables you to see several animals including elephants, crocodiles, buffaloes and hippos and it is also home to various birds species like pelicans, saddle bill storks, African fish eagles and kingfishers. The boat ride lasts around 2 hours long.
Many of the National Parks in Uganda have water bodies where you can do boat cruises and see the wildlife from a different perspective
With a variety of habitats on the park from vast savannah woodlands and wetlands to lowland forests and the shores of Lakes Edward and George, Queen Elizabeth National Park is a great place for Birdwatching. The Maramagambo Forest in the south of the park is a favourite with birders. The park is classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International. Home to over 600 species of birds, the park has over a quarter of all African bird species and it also has the highest number in any protected area in Africa. The park is the best place to see wintering Palaearctic species like the flamingos as it is in the North-South flyway for passing migrant species.
Uganda has over 50% of all the birds species in African making Birdwatching in Uganda an incredible activity.
The 100m deep Kyambura Gorge that lies in the rift valley east of Mweya Peninsula is the only place in Queen Elizabeth National Park where habituated chimpanzees reside. The gorge that was created by tectonic plate movements is covered by dense tropical forest that is completely cut off from other forested areas of the park, Chimpanzee Trekking in the Gorge can take a long time so be prepared.
Chimpanzee Trekking Kalinzu Forest
Kalinzu Forest situated in the south-east of Queen Elizabeth National Park is well known for Chimpanzee Trekking. There are around 300 Chimpanzees of which 40 were habituated by Japanese researchers which makes the chances of viewing the Chimpanzees high. Kalinzu Forest is run by the National Forestry Agency and not the Uganda Wildlife Authority, but this doesn't detract from the experience, in fact, some people prefer to trek in Kalinzu Forest as it is not as popular as some other Chimpanzee Trekking sites. As well as the Chimpanzees, Blue Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys and Black and White Colobus Monkeys also live in the forest.
Uganda Carnivore Project
The Uganda Carnivore Program (UCP) is an organisation based in Queen Elizabeth National Park that is dedicated to research and conservation of Uganda’s large carnivores, particularly lions, hyenas and leopards. Using radio-telemetry, UCP wardens are able to track and observe the predators and their movements into conflict “hot zones,” where they face the danger of meeting up with people and their livestock.
Today, working with Uganda Wildlife Authority, UCP offers guided lion-tracking and nocturnal tours for select tour groups who have the unique opportunity to help in monitoring, tracking and researching the ‘King of the Beasts’ in Queen Elizabeth Park. Lion Tracking permits can be reserved at the visitor information centre in Mweya at least a day in advance. Permits cost US$150 per head for foreigners and UGX 150,000 per head for East African Community citizens.