Boasts for its scenic and biodiversity, Queen Elizabeth National Park is worth exploring while you are on Uganda safari. This expansive savanna grassland park boasts of its diverse ecosystems that dwell within its sprawling savanna, humid forests, shady and fertile wetlands. This parkis a home to 4 of the big 5 game and 10 primate species including chimpanzees and on the other hand, over 620 bird species also thrive here and most of them can easily be spotted while you are safari. This 1978 square kilometer protected area was established in 1952 and features as among a few most explored park in Uganda.
This park is situated in western Uganda and bordered by districts of Kasese, Bushenyi and Budibugyo. It is approximately 389 kilometers off Kampala capital city about 5 to 6 hours’ drive. It is can be reached via Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara route or via Fort portal to Kasese.
This park experiences two incredible seasons-the dry and wet season with a wet or rainy season which kick startsfrom March to May and then September to November. Its highest rainfall amount goes up to 1250 mm each yearespecially around Maramagambo forest and 750 mm in the Kazinga channel. It is located within the equator lineand the annual migration of inter tropical convergence zoneand this explains why it experiences two wet seasons. The dry season begins from June to August and December to February.
The attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The notable wildlife species to view in this park include over 5000 hippos, 3000 African elephants and over 10000 Buffaloes, several water bucks, Uganda Kobs, topis, warthogs and over 620 bird species. The primate species that thrive here include chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, baboons and many more.
What to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Game viewing is one famous activity that attracts several visitors to this park. It is conducted both in the morning and evening. While on game viewing, you have opportunity to see African elephants, buffaloes, lions plus the tree climbing lions, leopards, Uganda Kobs and not to forget many birds.
Launch trip is one most exciting and rewarding water sport Queen Elizabeth National Park has in offer. It takes you along the Kazinga channel several hippo, crocodiles, water birds and others. This water sport may take you about 2 hours.
Queen Elizabeth national is undoubtedly one of the birders’ paradises in Uganda. With over 620 bird species all confined in the park, visitors on birding safari are rewarded with variety to sight at. They include among others the black bee-eaters, martial eagle, African skimmer, white winged warbler, papyrus gonolek, and papyrus canary, and corncrake, flocks of flamingos, pink backed pelicans, African broadbill, and shoebill storks.
Nature walks and hikes
Without necessarily spending much time in the car, while you are in the park you will discover the surrounding maramagambo forest, Kyambura Gorge, the Mweya peninsular and hike via the Ishasha River. Queen Elizabeth national park therefore offers an ideal area for the avid hikers and nature lovers.
Queen Elizabeth national park also offers you one of the amazing chimpanzee adventures along the Kyambura gorge famously known as the lost valley. This area is the valley for primates that you can find in the gash savannah. There are over 10 primate species in Queen Elizabeth national park and along your trek in the gorge, you will meet a variety of wildlife species and birds as you enjoy your exciting moments in your life.
Hot air balloon safaris in the Queen Elizabeth national park
This is one of the new tourism activities in the park that offers you high chances to view the Rwenzori Mountains of the moon, great western rift valley, explosion of craters, lakes such as Lake George and Edward, elephant’s herbs, buffaloes all kinds of antelopes. While you are here, there are two balloons and well trained pilots are available to take you through your activity. This balloon activity is certified by the Uganda Civil Authority (UCA).
The Maramagambo forest
This is one of the amazing places that provide more fruits for several primates within the forest especially the chimpanzees, baboons and various ape species. While you are in the jungle, it is more than just chimpanzee trekking but also an ideal birding area for uncommon forest flycatchers, white napped pigeon and the Rwenzori Turacco as well as the hiking a venue along the bat cave trail for python viewing.
The Kyambura wildlife reserve
The reserve forms part of Queen Elizabeth Conservation area which is rich with magnificent crater lakes that boosts the tourism sector in the park. The reserve lies on the East of Kyambura and it is an excellent area for visitors to view the water birds such as the flamingos and the great egret. Kyambura wildlife reserve offers several activities and these include among them, the wildlife safaris and the nature guided walks as well as the crater lakes exploration. One important thing to note is that the available flamingos are the migratory birds and you will only view them at the time of northern winter season in Uganda
Furthermore, after your wildlife safaris, one interesting thing you should not miss also is visiting the Kikorongo women community, for you to enjoy the sound dances and musical performance around the park. While you are here, your guide will always interpret for you every aspect of local performances to make you understand more on the culture as you relax watching them dance. However, you can also engage in art and craft within the community and learn more on weaving baskets and bowls using the natural fibres. Visiting this area offers more than just cross cultural interactions but it is also an area for you to explore new skills.
As you plan for your wildlife safari in Queen Elizabeth national park, there are several resting places available for you to choose from, these include the Mweya safari lodge, Kyambura gorge lodge, Kyambura game lodge, jacana safari lodge, Ihamba safari lodge, Enganzi lodge and the samba safari camp as well as Mweya hostel for the budget visitors.
How to get to Queen Elizabeth National Park
You can get to this park by road or air. Take a drive via Kampala through Masaka-Mbarara route or take a flight from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi and land in Kasese airstrip.
In summary, for unique wildlife encounters, consider Queen Elizabeth National Park a must to visit and you will have a chance to discover its hidden treasures