Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.
Set against the backdrop of the rugged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.
The area around Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) has two pronounced rainy seasons, due to its location on the equator and the annual migration of the Inter tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The onset of the first rains is typically around late February for all four stations. The onset of the second rains is typically around mid-August. There is no significant difference in the duration of the two rainy seasons at any station. There is equally no significant difference in the amount of rainfall received during the two rainy seasons at any station, except for at Kitwe, where more rainfall occurs during the second rains than during the first rains.
Activities In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Launch Trips in Queen Elizabeth
Game Drives in Queen Elizabeth
For a classic African safari experience, the tracks through Kasenyi, the North Kazinga Plains and the Ishasha Sector offer virtually guaranteed buffalo, antelope and elephant sightings, along with warthogs and baboons. Taking an experienced guide in the early morning or at dusk is the most successful way to track down a pride of lions, and maybe even the odd leopard.
Chimp Tracking in Queen Elizabeth
The Kyambura Gorge experience is more than discovering chimpanzees in their natural environment: it teaches visitors about the ecosystems of Kyambura Gorge’s atmospheric “underground” rainforest, including vegetation types; bird identification and behavior; and chimp and monkey ecology.
Birding in Queen Elizabeth
Classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International, Queen’s great variety of habitats mean it is home to over 600 species. This is the greatest of any East African national park, and a phenomenal number for such a small area. The park’s confluence of savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of the DR Congo allow visitors to spot East as well as Central African species.
Cultural Encounters in Queen Elizabeth
Wildlife Research Tours in Queen Elizabeth
Caves in Queen Elizabeth
Hiking/Nature Walks in Queen Elizabeth
Attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The papyrus swamps of this Ramsar wetland site are home to the semi-aquatic sitatunga antelope. One can spot the elusive Shoebill plus other native birds on the lake.
The 72 huge round basins scattered across the equator are evidence of the Albertine Rift’s bubbling volcanic past, and are a must-see for those with a particular interest in the region’s fascinating geological history.
The 27km drive between Kabatoro gate and Queen’s Pavilion takes in views of the enormous craters, circular lakes, the Rift Valley escarpment and the Kazinga channel – all in front of the mighty backdrop of the Rwenzori Mountains.
One of the most famous lookout points in Uganda is in the Katwe-Kabatoro community on Katwe Salt Lake where traditional salt mining has been practiced since the 16th century. The neighboring Lake Munyanyange is a bird sanctuary, as well as a migratory location for the lesser flamingo from August to November.
The vast savannah of Kasenyi is the perfect setting for a classic African safari experience.
Huge herds of Uganda kob attract prides of lions; warthogs graze bent down on their knees; guinea fowl scuttle through the grassland; and huge dark elephants stride across the game drive tracks, providing dream photo opportunities for visitors.
Mweya is Queen’s focal point. It contains the Visitors Centre, a luxury lodge and restaurant, hostel, campsite, budget food options and the departure point for the Kazinga Channel launch trip – and is still jam-packed with birds and animals.
Its elevated position commands gorgeous views of the Kazinga Channel and surrounding savanna, and its proximity to Kasenyi and the North Kazinga plains make it an ideal departure point for wildlife-filled game drives in the morning or evening.
A cruise down the Kazinga channel is the most relaxing way to enjoy a wildlife safari in Queen. The banks are crammed with hippos, buffalos and water birds, along with caimans, monitor lizards, marabou storks, weaver birds and elegant pairs of fish eagles. Elephants stride along the banks – all you need to do is sit back with your camera or binoculars at the ready, and enjoy the incredible spectacle.
The Kyambura River flows through this thick “underground forest”, 100 meters below the Kichwamba escarpment.
The gorge is best known for its resident chimpanzees – some of which are habituated and can be tracked through the forest with trained UWA guides. While walking through the gorge, you may spot other primates and some of the many birds found in the forest. The entrance to the gorge is also a pleasant spot for a picnic.
Kyambura Wildlife Reserve
The beautiful crater lakes of this reserve, located to the east of Kyambura Gorge, offer excellent opportunities to observe many water birds including greater and lesser flamingoes and the great egret.
Buzzing with primates, including chimpanzees, baboons and several monkey species, the forest is also alive with numerous birds including the rare Forest Flycatcher, White-naped Pigeon and the striking Rwenzori Turaco. One can also visit the ‘cormorant house’, a large tree that has been turned white by the birds that roost here at night.
The shady forest also conceals crater lakes and a “Bat Cave” with a specially constructed viewing room.
This remote southern region enjoys fewer visitors than the north, but those who venture this far may be rewarded with sightings of Ishasha’s most famous residents – the tree climbing lions – lounging in the branches while keeping a close eye on herds of Uganda kob. It is also home to many buffalo and elephants as well as the rare shoebill.
Ishasha is also a convenient region to pass through on the way to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Those having private vehicles as well as equipment will certainly enjoy the seclusion of Ishasha the home of the tree climbing lions.
Chances are that you will be just by yourself leaving alone the park’s staff. The route from Katunguru may be unreliable.
However the direct road to the border post of the Ishasha is normally full of mud through the rain season. It is better described as a seasonal route and requires a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle.
The road is repeatedly being maintained however it takes just some little rain to actually destroy its surface such that a truck getting stuck delay your tracks or even necessitate a detour via Kihihi, Isaka and Rukingiri.
This actually is a more dependable route. If coming from Mweya you are recommended to request for a radio message from the park’s office found in Mweya to the Ishasa Katookye gate asking for information if trucks are moving from the course of Katunguru. This will help you know if the road is accessible.
Safari Lodges in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The park has luxury accommodation that will favor all visitors. It also caters for the budget travelers.
Mweya safari lodge and Jacana lodge have excellent services and Ishasha wilderness camp with lavishness accommodation.Budget accommodation includes Mweya hotels and Ishasha bandas with average standards that will make your stay memorable.
The park also has camping sites such as Maramagambo,Ishasha and Mweya alternatively, one may take on the Hippo Hill Camp adjacent to Katwe along with Kingfisher camp on a beautiful Kichwamba escarpment. Kyambura Uganda safari wildlife is also establishing a luxury lodge that will surely meet your needs
At Mweya there is an up market lodge, a campsite and budget hostel. Another up market lodge fringes a Crater Lake in Maramagambo Forest. A low-key camp is found in the Ishasha Sector.
How much does a Gorilla permit cost?
The prices of Gorilla permits in Uganda are fixed at 600 USD for both the high and low season. In the past the price would be lowered in the off peak seasons of February, March and April to 450 USD but due to increased demand for the permits it’s no longer the case.
The increase in demand for the Uganda Gorilla permits is primarily due to the fact that the Gorilla permit in Rwanda was increased from 750 USD to 1500 USD per permit effective 6th May 2017. That’s a 100 percent increment in the price of the permit.