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Queen Elizabeth national park is truly amazing and spectacular! It’s a popular tourist attraction located in the western region of Uganda. Being designated as a National park, allows the local official to control the area and set the rules. You can expect to see a large variety of native wildlife species including birds, reptiles and mammals. At Queens Elizabeth national park, provisions have been made for camp sites and lodging accommodations for visitors.

During a trip around Uganda, always be sure of only glorious scenery and escapades. Hop into the safari van and spend hours keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife. It’s all out there; you just have to pay attention. These animals are made to blend in with their surroundings and if you blink, you may miss an amazing opportunity.

This national park is endowed with every kind of wildlife you can think of especially wild game like four of the big five (lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards) hippos, buffaloes, warthogs, bush pigs, a variety of antelopes etc . The park has over 606 different bird species as well as plants that are rare.

Getting There

The park can be accessed easily from Kampala via tarmac road from Kampala via Mbarara town and Bushenyi. This route leads you to the center of the park, passing just 22 km from Mwenya peninsula.

While approaching the national park near south via Mbarara covers the distance of 420km while the north through Fort Portal covers a total of 410km. The travelers can still access quick travel using flights from Entebbe to Kasese, Mweya and Ishasha air strip.

Highlights of the Park

There are about 606 species of birds in this park and you can take a boat ride or a launch trip, which is a two to five hour tour, on the water and see the vast variety of birds and animals.

This park also boasts of a rich variety of animals with elephants, hippos, forest hogs and the Uganda Kob. You can go through guided walks in these areas to sight these animals and go for game driver, which are especially designed for watching such wild animals.

Things to See in the Park

Apart from usual traditional safaris, chimpanzee tracking can also be done at one of the gorges in this park.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in South Western Uganda bordering Democratic Republic of Congo. It was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park. Due to the visit of Queen Elizabeth II, the park was renamed into her names in 1954 and is the most popular national park in Uganda.

The park has  variety of habitats including  grassland, Acacia woodland, forest, wetland, panoramic views of the Kazinga channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffaloes, elephants and endless Ishasha plains whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.

The national park also has cultural history where visitors get the opportunities to meet the cultural communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music and learn more from the museum. The other activities are chimpanzee tracking in the Kyambura Gorge. You can also go for cave exploration in Maramagambo Forest which has the viewing room for visitors to observe  the resident bats and pythons.

Birds:

There are over 600 species of birds that have been recorded in the Queen Elizabeth National Park. You can enjoy game drives for a classic  African safari experience. The tracks through Kasenyi and the north Kazinga plains and the Ishasha  sector.  Visitors to the park have guaranteed views of buffaloes, antelopes and elephants along with warthogs and baboons.

Adventure Activities in the Park

There are lots of things to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

You can go hiking within the park. During the walk, visitors get an opportunity to get extremely close to wildlife that include hippos, elephants, crocodiles, leopard, zebra and Uganda kobs etc. Travellers are able to spot variety of habitats including the Maramagambo Forest. Travelers are excited and happily enjoying their trip thus making the trip memorable.

A boat cruise is one of the must adventures that you cannot miss. Enjoy a boat cruise along the Kazinga channel, a natural water body which takes through Lake Edward to Lake George. During the safari, travelers are able to view beautiful sceneries like forests, aquatic life like crocodiles at the river banks sun bathing, hippopotamus etc.

Chimpanzee trekking is also one of the interesting safari experiences that cannot be forgotten. For visitors to experience chimpanzee tracking in the park, they have to trek through savanna grassland which leads to Kyambura Gorge also known as the valley of apes. Apart from chimpanzees, there are other primates that include red tailed monkeys, baboons etc.

Game drives are made enjoyable with the help of knowledgeable safari guides who know the park. Travelers enjoy game drives through the north Kazinga plains and the Ishasha sector where they are able to view the king of the jungles climbing trees. On a wildlife safari you will see herds of buffaloes, elephants, warthogs, antelopes and many other big game.

Cultural Heritage makes your Uganda safari remembered by travelers through watching energetic dancers from Kikorongo Educator Cultural performers. You will see people harvesting salt from Lake Katwe. Travelers are guided by the members of the local community who are well conversant with the culture.

Birding

Birding is also one of the major activities in the queen Elizabeth national park and its recorded that there are over 600 species of birds like sedge warbles, papyrus canary, the martial eagle, pink backed pelican, yellow throated cuckoo and the verreauxs eagle owl where these birds inhabit in grasslands, forests and wetlands without forgetting the flamingos at katwe and Bunyampaba salt lakes making travellers unforgettable trip in queen Elizabeth national park.

Visiting Queen Elizabeth Game Park

Queen Elizabeth national park has strict rules not to go off the path, so vehicles can’t get too close to the animals. With your Nikon DX Lens 18 -300 mm, be prepared to capture some pretty amazing shots of those awesome animals.

  • Just like any other national park, while visiting Queen Elizabeth national park, there are some things that you should remember and put into consideration for a successful travel expedition;
  • Do not leave footprints. In other words leave this national park in its natural condition. You should not try to take any of the plants or animals that you see during your visit.
  • Keep very still and quiet as you tour the reserve.
  • Enjoy the natural sounds of the park and the animals that live there.
  • Never try to interact with the animals. It’s dangerous.
  • Feeding of animals is forbidden.
  • If you have chosen to drive instead of hiring a guide you must follow all of the rules. This means that you should never try to get too close to the animals for any reason.
  • The speed limit ranges from 30-50 km/h on all of the trails.
  • Do not leave the designated trails in search of some new adventure. You could frighten or harm the animals and you will destroy native vegetation.
  • There is no traveling on the national park from sunset to sunrise.
  • You should always remember that you are an invited guest to this area and you should respect the rules as well as the rights of the wildlife that lives there.

A 4-hour unpaved drive from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park put you into Uganda’s flagship nature reserve, Queen Elizabeth National Park. 95 mammal species and more, an astounding over 614 species of birds including migratory ones from Europe have made their homes in its 760 square miles that consist of savannah, woodlands and wetlands. The park sits in the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains (meaning rainmaker), and is decorated with crater lakes, so it’s no wonder the plains are so verdant. Yet Queen Elizabeth National Park retains a serene and modest air.

Our opening exciting night was spent at Jacana Safari Lodge, an intimate lodge that blends sympathetically with its environment on the shores of Lake Nyamusingire, within the tropical Maramagambo rain Forest. An early-morning game drive through the northern Kasenyi Plains revealed herds of buffalo and Uganda kob, the national animal, dotting the landscape like freckles.

A faction of more than 100 topi unique to the south of the park were grazed peacefully, their metallic-effect coats in shades of purple-brown sparkling in the sun. Warthogs and bushbucks ran away from us while baboons rushed up trees, and a vervet monkey with his weird blue genitals looked on guiltily, holding a guinea fowl egg in his hand.

The Kazinga Channel that bisects the park is a 24-mile narrow stretch of water which connects Lakes George and Edward, is a birders’ heaven. In the early hour of our boat trip that started from Mweya area, we saw over 30 different species that ranged from giant goliath herons to tiny yet vivid malachite kingfishers. African Fish eagles perched high on acacia treetops sporting for food while jacanas, known as Jesus birds, seemed to walk on water looking for their lunch. There’s high concentration of mammal life along the channel waterside, too – an elephant aggressively kicked up dirt as our boat passed and a baby hippo belly-flopped gracelessly from a reed-bed, joining the adults bubbling underwater. A hairly waterbuck with twins watched us nervously and buffalo wallowed in the muddy grasses while cow egrets gobbled up the insects like ticks they disturbed.

Despite this diverse and enormous wildlife, this park is best-known for the amazing tree-climbing lions that are regular in its southern Ishasha Plains. Having started our game drive in the warm late morning for a better chance to see them cooling in the shade, Kenny, our guide, spotted three silhouettes from a distance in an old but leafy fig tree.

But when we got closer, we discovered not three but rather four lions, one a tiny cub probably two months old, lying in its boughs. They were mesmerising sleepy nonchalantly in the shadows, occasionally stirring to yawn or stretch, now and then peeping down on us. We stayed with them for an hour, watching and taking good pictures in complete silence, not wanting to spoil the moment.

If you come here with high expectations to see lions’ paws and tails dripping from every fig tree, you may be disappointed when you fail completely. We were lucky. Returning to the beautifully peaceful Ishasha Wilderness Camp on the banks of Ntungwe River, we learnt that no one had seen lions in the previous two days.

“This isn’t a zoo,” Kenny said. “People seem to forget that they’re wild animals.” As with the gorillas, we were seeing them on their terms, not ours as there are many factors that may lead to their absence such as weather, time of the day among others.

Another uniqueness of the park is the Crater Lake experience; if you follow the crater truck you will find quite a number including the dry up ones during dry seasons while others are salt lakes. Salt lakes are breading grounds for the rare flamingos that migrate from Lake Nakuru in Kenya during breading seasons. There is also salt mining along salt lakes

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