Queen Elizabeth National Park is not only the most popular national park but is also one of the outstanding treasures of Uganda. Spanning almost 2000 square kilometres it is bounded by Lake George and Lake Edward and both lakes are linked by the Kazinga Channel.
This park has been designated a Biosphere Reserve for humanity by UNESCO due to the vast biodiversity the park enshrines, ranging from savannahs to lush forest, swampy wetlands and lakes. Sitting at the western edge of the Great Rift Valley, numerous crater lakes are to be found in the park as well as some salt lakes, the most famous of theses being at Katwe.
Over 96 mammal species are to be found in the park and include lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, hippo, hyena, chimpanzee in addition to a host of antelope and primates. Queen Elizabeth National Park can rightly be called a Mecca for bird watchers as it has recorded over 600 species of birds including the elusive shoe bill stork, several different species of king fishers, falcons, eagles, raptors and flamingos at some of the crater lakes.
The Mweya peninsula is at the heart of the park and lies on the northern side of the Kazinga Channel. A launch trip along the Kazinga Channel is a must for all visitors to the park as it offers some outstanding opportunities for ‘close encounters’ with hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffalos and whatever other animal may have come down for a drink of water in addition to a large variety of birds and amphibians.
In the far southern corner of the park is Ishasha, which though often overlooked by tour groups, offers some excellent game-viewing areas to observe a variety of wildlife. Famous for its tree climbing lions, it is one of the few places in Africa where lions climb and rest on the branches of Sycamore fig and Albezia trees. Watching tree climbing lions is not only a unique and fulfilling experience it is also a rarity and often not possible in other parts of Africa.
Another popular attraction within the park is Kyambura Gorge which lies at the south eastern part of the park. A habituated group of chimpanzees reside within the gorge and can be tracked on foot in the company of wildlife rangers.
From Kampala by road – there are two options
- Via Masaka and Mbarara – Good quality tarmac road
- Via Fort Portal and Kasese- Good tarmac road
Air Charter service from Kampala is also possible.
What to do:
- Game Drives
- Launch trip on Kazinga Channel
- Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge
- See tree lions of Ishasha
Best time to go:
All year round