Queen Elizabeth National Park together with Kyambura and Kigezi Wildlife Reserves form one of the most diverse ecosystems in Africa. The melting glacier waters of the Rwenzori Mountains create a vast wetland system comprising of two main lakes, George and Edward, as well as the connecting Kazinga Channel. Thousands of hippos populate these lake shorelines. Open savannah dotted with Acacia and Euphorbia trees provide habitat for elephants, lions, leopards, Uganda kobs and big herds of buffaloes. Ten primate species including chimpanzees are present. Among the many animals frequently seen are giant forest hog, water bucks, topi, hyenas and crocodiles. The park boasts of more bird species than any other park in Africa.
Queen Elizabeth National Park was designated as a Biosphere Reserve with the ultimate goal of integrating human activities with the conservation and protection of wildlife, wetlands and natural resources. There are eleven fishing village enclaves within the Protected Area.
Queen Elizabeth National Park can be accessed from Kampala either via Masaka and Mbarara or via Fort Portal. The distance to the park is approximately 467 km. The Ishasha sector of the park may also be reached from Kabale. There are three airfields serving the park: at Kasese, Ishasha and Mweya Peninsula.
Located in western Uganda, shared by districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo and Bushenyi, Queen Elizabeth park is 1978km2 in size. The park lies 5-6 hours from
Kampala on a surfaced road via Mbarara, and can be reached on a dirt road
Queen Elizabeth has a variety of many and good lodges like Mweya safari lodge for luxury, Mweya hostel for budget, king fisher lodge for midrange and others
ATTRACTIONS IN QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK UGANDA
The park has a variety of Flora and Fauna and it’s acknowledged to be a habitat for over 95 mammal species with about 612 species of birds. The various species in this park, has made it a unique park most liked by tourists. Geographers will say that the park has around 57 vegetation but in actual sense, it has five levels of vegetation. Namely bushy grassland, Acacia woodland, Lakeshore or swamp vegetation along with forest grassland.
The grasslands of the park settles wildlife such as Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, waterbuck, warthog, lion, leopard, hyena, giant forest hog as well as elephants.Topis can only be discovered in Ishasha and forest primate found in Kyambura gorge in addition to Maramagambo forest.
Africa has some protected areas. Therefore the park’s remarkable bird list that to exceed that of the neighboring Virunga National Park. Among these include African skimmer, Chapins flycatcher, Pink-backed pelicans, Papyrus canary, Shoebill stork, martial eagle, black-rumped buttonquail as well as the great flamingos.
The peninsula is the heart of sightseeing activities with excellent accommodation in the park. The only way to enjoy your tour in this park is by touring with a ranger guide. This person helps you explore the park as well as the distant parts of the peninsula. Mweya information center organizes all the activities that tourists may want to get involved in. The most exciting aspect about this peninsular is the fact that its overlooks Katwe bay of Lake Edward.Morestill, it has a souvenir shop full of African safari items that will always remind you of park
The Kazinga channel is about 40m long adjoining Lake Gorge to Lake Edward. It has the perfect view of the parks’ major wildlife ventures. The shores of the lake attract a large concentration of mammals, birds as well as reptiles all year around. The animals can be viewed well by the Nile cruise or probably at the entrance of Lake Edward. The operation of the cruise run from 15.00 and 17.00 furthermore voyages run 11.00 and 13.00 depending on the demand of the tourists.
Kazinga channel has parts for instance North Kazinga as well as Kasenyi.Its acknowledged that the plains of channel are focal points for game viewing. Tracking is the only way that will enable you see all the wildlife in its nature setting for example buffalo, elephants and other animals that dwell in the grassland thickets of the Northern Kazinga close to Mweya. The most accessible spot for lions is in the eastern part of Kasenyi plains and the Kasese road where they quarry on the big inhabitants of Uganda Kobs. The most favorable time for game drives is during morning and late afternoon hours. The work of the range guide is to help you get enough information about the park and still get the most memorable experience in Africa.
The Equator and the Queen’s Pavilion
The Uganda’s Equator provides a beautiful place for photo shooting along with craft shops that can make you buy a souvenir .The Queen’s Pavilion is easily spotted by the northern entrance to the Crater Drive. In 1954 Queen Elizabeth gave a provision shelter for this site until in 1959 when a permanent pavilion was constructed for the visit of Queen Elizabeth. Renovations were made by second visit of Duke of Edinburgh in 2007 with better facilities such as coffee shop and internet facilities.
Ishasha Tree Climbing Lions
Ishasha covers an area of about 100km south of Mweya. The Park’s distant southern segment gives a genuine Africa wilderness experience. Among the inhabitants in this place include savannah woodland, Ishasha River along with Lake Edward that has a diversity of wildlife such as climbing lions, rare shoebill stork and many others.
ACTIVITIES IN QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Game Drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park
This entails driving through the park for the purpose of viewing animals. Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park are best done in the early morning and late afternoon hours. The park has over 200 km of well-maintained game driving tracks that give visitors access to the park’s game. Some of the tracks pass through areas with large herds of Uganda kob. Lions can often be seen searching for prey and the legendary giant forest hog is often spotted roaming the bush. When it is hot, large herds of elephant make their way down to the water. Buffalos and bushbucks can be found on the Channel track and adjacent circuits. The drive is a spectacular experience!
Launch Trips to the Kazinga Channel
This involves a boat trip along the hippo crowded banks of Kazinga Channel that gives visitors an exclusive wildlife experience. Visitors get real experience of yawning hippos surrounded by a huge numbers of migrant and resident water birds; the boat puts one right in the heart of nature. Many buffaloes rest in the water while the big herds of elephant enjoy themselves drinking and playing along the Channel banks. Crocodiles have become a common sight and occasionally leopards may be seen.
Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts of 606 bird species. The park offers visitors a good chance of spotting Uganda’s most sought after bird, the prehistoric looking Shoebill stork. Other key species they can be spotted include: the African fish eagle, martial eagle, papyrus gonolek, African skimmer and many more.
many surprises await you in the extensive Maramagambo rain forest. A variety of short medium and long guided nature walks are offered. Pythons are often observed in the crevices of the Bats Cave floor using the bats as a source of food. The cave is near the picturesque Blue Lake and Hunters Cave. Other trails lead into the heart of the forest surrounding tranquil crater lakes and are home to wild chimps, other primates and many forest birds.
Ishasha is a true pearl in the southern part of the park. Idyllic campsites frequently visited by colobus and other monkeys are situated along the winding Ishasha River. The famous tree-climbing lions can be spotted on large fig trees in this part of the park. Topi, Uganda kobs and buffalos graze in the acacia studded savannah.
Traditional Salt Works
Visit one of the oldest industries in Uganda at the enclave of Lake Katwe town. Since the 14th century, salt has been mined by traditional methods and still in use today. Salt production peaks during the dry season.
Kyambura Wildlife Reserve
This is found in the eastern part of the Protected Area and supports similar mammals to the rest of the park. It has three saline crater lakes, which attract large numbers of flamingos – not found anywhere else in Uganda. The steep Kyambura Gorge, formed by the turbulent waters of the roaring Kyambura River, provides a lush riverine forest, home to chimpanzees, black and white colobus and red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons and other primates as well as plenty of forest birds. A guided nature walk takes visitors into the gorge and offers a great chance to track habituated chimps in their natural habitat.