Queen Elizabeth National park is one of the oldest parks in Uganda. It was initially named the Kazinga channel before it was named to remember the visit of Queen Elizabeth II of Great British in 1954. The park is characterized by volcanic craters, grassy plains and tropical forest.
The Katwe explosion craters mark the park’s highest point at 1350m above sea level and the lowest point is at 910m at Lake Edward. Queen Elizabeth national park’s diverse ecosystems include sprawling savanna, fertile wetlands and sparkling lakes making it the ideal habitat for classic big games and the ten primate species.
The most common activities in Queen Elizabeth national park include game drives in the park, chimp trekking at Kyambura gorge and Kalinzu forest reserve, birding safaris at the park, launch cruise at Kazinga channel, site seeing, forest walks, river tails and view of the craters. Therefore the park should be on the must-visit list of every visitor to Bwindi Impenetrable national park since it is only a short drive from the northern Buhoma sector. One can discover the Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha.
Hike through the Maramagambo forest where birding trails are, all in the shadows of the Rwenzori mountains in the north and the Mitumbe mountains of the congo in the East.
In the Queen Elizabeth national park, visitors not only see the wildlife and scenic wonders but also experience Ugandan culture through interactive meetings with various communities around the park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park contains above 95 species of mammals more than any other park and it hosts over 619 bird species making it the second highest in Uganda and the 6th highest park worldwide.
Wildlife and birds in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The park is endowed with 5 of the Big Fives including over Hippos, 2500 elephants, numerous lions , leopards and over 10,000 buffaloes living around the shore lines. Other common herbivores include warthogs, waterbuck, topi, antelopes and Uganda kob.
There are ten species of primates in the park, the most popular of which is the chimpanzees, vervet and black and white colobus monkeys. Be sure to keep all your car windows locked to avoid unnecessary disturbance from the primates.
Crocodiles have recently been seen in the Kazinga channel after disappearing for 8000 years due to the toxic ash from the local volcanoes of Lake Edward that eliminated them.
Birds species are over 619 including the African Mourning Dove, Swamp Fly-catcher, the Beautiful Black-headed Gonolek, Pin-tailed Whyda MartaiLEagle, Collard Pranticles, White-winged Terns, Papyrus Gonolek, Black Bee eater, White-tailed Lark, African Open-billed Stork, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants and African Skimmer among others.
Birding is mostly favorable at the main camp in Mweya which is well positioned and with perfect position for viewing the Rwenzori mountains where many bird species can be spotted. The kazinga channel is well known for water birds such as Great- white and pink-backed Pelicans, African Jacana, Water Thick-Knee, Spur-Winged and African Wattled Plovers, Malachites and Pied Kingfishers as well as Swamp fly catchers and Yellow backed Weavers among others. Various species migrate in February and March and are included with hundreds of thousands of White- Winged Terns hovering over the water.
Queen Elizabeth National park is also well known for its attraction of the Big Cats including Leopards , civet, Genal and Serval Cats. Lions are found throughout the park and in the Ishasha plains. Most of the cats are nocturnal and are best seen during nocturnal game drives.
You can be driven on a boat cruise to the Kazinga channel from where you can spot the hippos, crocodiles, monitor lizards, buffaloes, elephant herds, antelopes and different species of water birds.
How to get here.
The main camp and park headquarter at Mweya is a perfect place for exploring sites in the northern part of the park while the road network running from Ishasha Camp and Ranger post,82km to the south, provides access to the Ishasha area.
It takes around 5-6 hours drive from Kampala/ Entebbe to the park through Mbarara or Fort portal via Kasese district.