Queen Elizabeth National Park
This is the most popular tourist destination in Uganda covering about 1,978km². The equator is a very important aspect in this park as its marked by monuments on either side of the road at the exact place where it crosses latitude 00. The parks highest point is at 1,350m above sea level; the Katwe explosion craters, while the lowest point is at 910m, at Lake Edward.
With a view of the Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s splendid panoramas cover dozens of breathtaking craters imprinted theatrically into rolling green hills, beautiful views of the Kazinga Channel whose banks are lined with school of hippos, elephants and herds of buffalo. And never ending Ishasha plains, whose fig trees shade predators that are always ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting graceful Uganda kob.
Apart from its outstanding main attraction; the big five, Queen Elizabeth is a park with an interesting historical cultural. This culture is showcased through traditional performances from the local communities around the park who visit the accommodations where visitors are staying. This also contributes to the local community development as a percentage of the park fees goes to the local community sustainability projects.
This Medley of Wonders; comprises of the below,
- Kazinga channel; This is a connection of Lake Edward to Lake George. The main activity on the channel is the Launch trip where privately and scheduled boats are organized to provide a view of the wildlife with most commonly; school of hippos, crocodiles, Elephants, herds of Buffalos and the pelicans. As the shores of the lake attracts a large concentration game and different bird species.
- Ishasha sector; This sector is famously known as a haven for the tree climbing lions and its located in the Southern part of the park. This beautiful part of Queen Elizabeth National park harbors a lot of game including; elephants, Buffalos, Antelopes, Leopards, cheaters and different herds of Uganda kob. In this part of the park, Lions can be seen either on tree figs or relaxing under a tree shade.
- Kyambura Gorge; This is the forestry part of the park and famously known as home to the species of primates more commonly the; chimpanzee. The chimps are referred to as man’s closest relative with a difference of 1.3% of their DNA makeup from Humans. Chimps trekking and a nature walk are the main activities.
- Kyambura Wildlife Reserve; This birders paradise is located in the East of Kyambura Gorge. Different bird species including water birds can be spotted in this part of the park. While visiting this part, be on the lookout for the greater and lesser flamingoes and the great egret.
- Kasenyi sector; This sector harbors a variety of game and its located in the Northern part of the park. Its magnificent for game drives and one should be on the lookout for; Antelopes, Leopards, cheaters elephants, Buffalos, and land lions. Either morning or afternoon, one will be rewarded with magnificent photographs.
- Maramagambo Forest; This is an extension of the park with different tree species that go back hundreds of years. Maramagambo forest is home to different primate species including baboons, several monkey species and different bird species. A nature walk in the forest is very rewarding!
- Lake Katwe; This lake is also known as the smelling lake and the only Salt Lake in Uganda. While at the Lake enjoy the traditional methods used to mine salt that have been practiced since the 16th century. This lake is found right in the heart of the local community and the park.
Activities at the park;
Game drive; This is the most common activity and a must do for all visitors, with an experienced guide/ driver and Uganda Wildlife Rangers in the vehicle, you will be able to spot as many wildlife as possible. Apart from spotting the game also enjoy informative and educative stories about the park and its habitants. Game drives are common in the mornings and the evening but they can also be done in the afternoon; though it tends to be hot around this time of the day.
Launch cruise; Either with a private or scheduled boat on Kazinga Channel, enjoy a cruise just meters away from hundreds of huge hippos and herds of buffalos, while elephants, buffaloes, warthogs fool around the shoreline. It trip takes about 2 ½ – 3 hours.
Chimp Tracking; This activity is a half day and starts either at 8AM – Morning chimps trekking and 2PM – Afternoon chimps trekking. Before entering Kyambura gorge, one goes through a briefing about the Dos and Don’ts while in the forest. This activity takes about 3 – 4 hours but one is not guaranteed of sighting the chimps.
Bird watching; At 8AM enjoy birding in Maramagambo forest with an experienced birder guide. Be on the look out for the different bird species including some of the famously known birds of East Africa. With over 600 bird species recording in this part, you will enjoy the hours spent in the forest.
Visiting Community Projects; The locals around the park have embraced tourism and have formed different projects to develop the local community around the park. These projects include; craft making, women weaving groups who sell their products to Visitors
Forest walks; With an experienced and informative guide, enjoy a 3 – 4 hours nature walk in the forest, home to indigenous and different tree species in both Kyambura gorge and Maramagambo forest. Marked trails have been formed to support the nature walks.
Wildlife Research Tours; This activity is only for people yearning to get up close with the wildlife in the park. It’s a unique experience where visitors actively participate in monitoring the game by using tracking devices, learning habituation calls, surroundings and game behavior.