Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the popular parks in Uganda. Its among the few parks in the world crossed by the zero degrees imaginary line that is the Equator. The park covers around 1,978 square kilometers making it the third largest national park in Uganda. The park was gazetted in 1952 as Kazinga national park. Later after the visit of Queen Elizabeth II of England to the park, the park was renamed as Queen Elizabeth national park to honour the visit of the Queen to the park. The park is a home of over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species. Todate, Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s popular tourist destination. The diversified ecosystem at the park which includes the sprawling savannah dotted with some thickets and trees. The swampy vegetation as well as the forests on the Northern sector. The diverse habitats have attracted a wide range of inhabitants. The park’s diverse ecosystems include humid forests, sprawling savannah, wetlands, lakes and others.
Location of Queen Elizabeth National Park
The park is set in the backdrop of the jagged famous Mountains of the moon that is Mt Rwenzori. Located in the Western part of Uganda in between Lake Albert and Lake Gorge. The connecting Kazinga channel connects both lakes and passes through the park. The park is 360 kilometer away from the capital Kampala. It can be easily reached by road taking 5 to 6 hours drive. The scenic drive takes you through Masaka, Mbarara Bushenyi and to Kasese that is the heart of the park. Queen Elizabeth National Park is among the few parks which can be accessed using public means with the highway passing through the middle of the park.
Like any other savannah grassland national parks in Africa, game viewing is the primary factor of visiting the park. Queen Elizabeth national park is among the popular national parks in Uganda. It hosts a large number of habitants especially the big game like Hippos, Buffaloes, Elephants, Lions, Leopards and many others. Game viewing at the park are done any time of the year with a recommendation of 4×4 wheel drive safari cars. Game drives are done booth in the Northern sector in Kasenyi commonly known as “the kob mating ground”. And also in the Southern side in Ishasha area well known for the tree climbing lions. There are also a good number of Hyenas in the Ishasha sector with other games like Baboons, Antelopes, Topi, Leopards and many others.
Boat cruise in Kazinga Channel
Kazinga Channel boat cruise is one of the unique and experiential activities done in Queen Elizabeth National park. The boat boat cruise is done along the 40 kilometer channel that connects lake Edward and Lake Gorge. The channel is famous of the large schools of hippos, water birds and other animals that come at the water bank to cool themselves and quench their thirst. The boat cruise is done twice a day and some times during peak season three times a day. The boat cruise takes 2 hours sightseeing tour with the first route starting at 8am till 10am, second route from 11am to 1pm and lastly from 3pm to 5pm. You need to book the lauch cruise in advance through Uganda wildlife Authority or Mweya safari Lodge.
Queen Elizabeth national park is the best park for birding safaris in Uganda. The park hosts over 619 bird species. Its from that large number of bird species that Queen Elizabeth national park was recognized by the International birding Association (IBA). The park hosts 54 raptors and various migratory birds. The adaptability of the wide species of birds at the park is contributed by the different habitats found at the park. The habitats range from Savannah woodland, swaps to the forests. Some of the bird lists include: Comorants, Kingfishers, bee eaters, Fly catchers, Fish eagle, Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Skimmer, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Pink-backed Pelican, African Broadbill, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Black Bee-eater, White-tailed Lark, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Corncrake, Lesser and Greater Flamingo, Shoebill, Bar-tailed Godwit mention but a few
Nature treks are one of the most successful ways to discover Queen Elizabeth’s habitats and wildlife. Locations include the shady forest of Maramagambo; the Mweya Peninsula with its panoramic views; and the Ishasha River, where a number of forest and savanna species can be spotted and a rare opportunity to get extremely close to hippos on foot!
Visitors can enjoy an easy walk along the Ishasha River at the southern end of the park, where they can spot a number of forest and savanna birds and mammal species and have a rare opportunity on this walk to get really close to hippos on foot, while staying perfectly protected on the elevated bank above the river.
Local community visit
See the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performers’ energetic dances; salt extraction staff on Katwe Salt Lake; a traditional Banyaraguru hut; or an agricultural village – all led by those who know them best – members of the local community. Leopard Village is a community-run, socio-economic development project that encourages ecotourism to support cultural and wildlife conservation. Leopard Village, located near the village of Muhokya, sits on 3 acres bordering Queen Elizabeth National Park’s northern area. Visitors will visit replicas of the traditional huts of the ethnic groups of Banyabindi, Bakonzo, and Basongora, watch traditional song and dance performances, and buy local community-made handicrafts.
Wildlife Research Tours (Lion Tracking, Mongoose Tracking, Hippo census and Bird census)
A study trip is a rewarding adventure for tourists who yearn to get close to wild African fauna. Visitors will actively engage in tracking some of the exotic birds and mammals that fill the park, using locator devices and studying habituation calls, as well as weather, climate and behavior monitoring through this fresh and unique experience. The findings are applied to the databases of researchers, adding useful knowledge to the general understanding of the ecology of wildlife – and helping to protect this wonderful environment.
Mongoose Monitoring, Lion Tracking, Hippo Census, and Bird Counts are the experimental tourism activities currently operational. The tours last between one and three hours. Usually, they take place early morning or evening, or sometimes in the evening. All activities must be booked at least 24 hours in advance through the Visitor Information Centre in Mweya.
Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura gorge t
The experience of Kyambura Gorge is more than discovering chimpanzees in their natural environment: it teaches tourists about the habitats of the atmospheric “underground” rainforest of Kyambura Gorge, including plant types; identification and behavior of birds; and ecology of chimps and monkeys. While chimp sightings are not assured, there is a reasonably good chance for visitors to hear and see our distant cousins as they are used to. Tours last from one to three hours and start daily at 8am and 2pm.