Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in the Western region of Uganda and occupies about 1,978 square kilometers. The park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Uganda mainly because it is home to a variety of animal and bird species including the fascinating tree climbing lions of Ishasha.
While on a typical Uganda safari through Queen Elizabeth National Park, visitors are likely to encounter large numbers of elephants, Uganda Kobs, lions, waterbucks, chimpanzees in Kyambura gorge, hippos, leopard, hyena, buffaloes, warthogs among so many others. There are over 600 bird species which makes the park one of the best spots for birdwatching safaris in Uganda. Bird species include Pink-backed pelicans, martial eagle, African skimmer, Chapins, Papyrus canary, Shoebill stork among others.
The Kazinga channel is a 40 kilometers long channel that connects lake Edward and lake George and is popular for boat rides. Boat rides give visitors great views of the park and animals especially those that lurk round the banks like elephants, hippos, crocodiles among many others. Boat rides along the Kazinga channel are also great for bird watchers because of the vast species of birds.
Ishasha Tree Climbing Lions
Tree Climbing Lions can be found in Ishasha, which is over 120Km south of Mweya. They are usually spotted perching on savannah fig trees as they look out for Uganda kobs and buffaloes to pounce on. The Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park has got abundant bird species and visitors looking for the tree climbing lions usually get a chance of encountering these birds as well.
Crater Lakes in Queen Elizabeth National Park are a major tourist attraction and these include Lake Katwe which is known for salt mining. Tourists to Lake Katwe often meet salt miners who are both men and women each with an individual mining area.
A few kilometers from Lake Katwe is Lake Munyanyage which is another crater lake and this one is home to large numbers of flamingos and other bird species.
The Uganda Equator is where the northern hemisphere meets the southern hemisphere and is a great place for taking photos. There are also craft shops from where tourists love to buy souvenirs.
Game Drives through Queen Elizabeth National Park are usually done early morning or evening hours. Driving in the open savannah grasslands, tourists can spot a variety of animals including buffalos, elephants, Uganda kobs, warthogs, bushbucks, impalas, lions, leopards, topis, sitatungas among others. Travelling with a guide comes in handy while on game drives because the guides are usually quick at spotting these animals.
The Mweya Peninsular has got great accommodation facilities and is great for sightseeing, with great views of the park. Visiting with a guide is the best way to explore this as the guide will give you all the information you need as you go. The Mweya Information Center also provides all the necessary information about the park as well as the Mweya Peninsular.
Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura gorge is one of the most popular tourist activities for tourists to Queen Elizabeth national Park. Tracking permits are a requirement for all trackers before tracking the chimpanzees. All trackers are first briefed about the tracking experience before they embark on tracking chimpanzees in the 16 kilometer long Kyambura gorge.
Where to stay
Queen Elizabeth National Park has great accommodation facilities suitable for all kinds of tourists from budget tourists to high end luxury tourists.
Luxury safari lodges include Mweya Safari Lodge, Jacana safari Lodge and Ishasha Wilderness Camp and Kyambura Gorge Lodge. Budget accommodation facilities include Simba Safari Camp, Ishasha bandas among others. There are also a number of camping sites in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
How to get there
From Kampala, Queen Elizabeth National Park can be accessed through Mbarara or Fort Portal. The park is approximately 410km from Kampala and it takes about 6 hours to get there from Kampala by road. Visitors tracking gorillas in Bwindi can easily access Queen Elizabeth National Park through the Ishasha sector.