Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in Western Uganda, approximately 376 kilometres (234 mi), by road, southwest of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city. It is 1,978 km2 and it takes approximately 5 hours to drive there from Kampala The park area extends from Lake George in the northeast to Lake Edward in the southwest, and includes the Kazinga Channel that connects the two lakes. The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park. It was renamed two years later to commemorate a visit from Queen Elizabeth II.
The park is known for its wildlife, including hippo, elephants, African leopards, Congo lions, and chimpanzees. It is home to 95 species of mammal and over 500 species of birds. The area around Ishasha in Rukungiri District is famous for its tree-climbing lions, whose males sport black manes. The park is also famous for its volcanic features, including volcanic cones and deep craters, many with crater lakes, such as the Katwe craters, from which salt is extracted.
Activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park can be split into two areas, the Channel Drive Circuit and the Kasenyi Plains. The Channel Drive Circuit follows the northern shore of the Kazinga Channel, the roads wind between tangled thickets interspersed with the cactus like euphorbia trees. The most common large mammals seen here are warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck, elephants, hippos and frequently lions. The Kasenyi Plains stretching towards Lake George is a typical African Savannah. These rolling plains support some of the largest concentrations of game anywhere in Queen Elizabeth National Park and offer a different selection of animals then that seen on the Channel Drive Circuit. This is one of the most reliable places in Uganda to see lions.
Boat Launch trip:
The boat launch trip along the Kazinga Channel is one of the most popular activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It provides an amazing chance for relaxation while enjoying the fresh river breeze observing a large selection of animals. The species commonly seen along the riverbank are elephants, buffalo, waterbuck and Ugandan Kob. Large breeding pods of hippos are also seen on a daily basis. On occasion visitors will also see giant forest hog, leopard and lion. The water birds in the area are plentiful; in particular, water thick-knee, yellow-billed stork, various plovers, white pink-backed Pelicans and white-bellied cormorants.
Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Trekking: Kyambura Gorge, created by the Kyambura River, is situated on the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park. It about 16km long and up to 100m deep. Kyambura Gorge is home to chimpanzees, many other primates and a huge variety of both forest and plains bird species. The best time to trek the chimpanzees is in the morning though trekking is also available in the afternoon
Visit to the Crater Lakes: Katwe Crater Lakes are a cluster of ten crater lakes formed from extinct volcanoes. The lakes are situated north of Mweya Safari Lodge and can be explored down the winding 27km Crater Drive. These lakes offer stunning scenery and breath-taking views across Queen Elizabeth National Park and also on a clear day the neighbouring mountains of Congo. Some of the lakes are filled with water and provide ample opportunity to observe animals coming down to the water’s edge to drink.
Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Bush lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge, Kyambura Game Lodge, Jungle Lodge, Simba lodge, Kantunguru Bush Lodge, Kataara Lodge, Engazi Lodge, Jacana Safari Lodge, Ishasha Wilderness Camp among others.