Things to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Most visitors think Uganda is famous for its gorillas, but for Ugandans, the national park Queen Elizabeth is the jewel in the wildlife crown. It is finding four of the Big Five, plus chimpanzees, 600 species of birds, and hippos. This is the country’s second-largest park. It is most diverse, with options to discover its wildlife on foot, by boat, and on classic game drives.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a household name, Unlike Kruger, the Serengeti, or the Masai Mara. Yes, it has four Big Five strolling across its green savannah, but it also has crater lakes, flocks of flamingos, and a chimp-inhabited underground forest. The elephants echo around ancient craters and bounce off the steep walls of the Kichwamba Escarpment. Buffalos in huge herds, framed by the dark, knuckle-like silhouette of the Rwenzori Mountains – the ‘Mountains of the Moon.’ you must visit Uganda for gorillas.
Most tours enter the park from the north, taking you through the Kasenyi region, a favorite for game drives. Stay at Mweya Peninsula to watch across the park and beautiful Lake Edward. Continuing south through Ishasha, you’ll seek out the tree-climbing lions and topi. Tours that spend several days in the region may also venture out to visit neighboring Ankole and Toro communities. All lands around this park are lush and populated. And you can meet with craftspeople and salt harvesters, learn how to weave baskets or make recycled paper jewelry, and enjoy colorful cultural performances with lively dancing to the sound of hand-carved wooden xylophones.
Queen Elizabeth National Park Highlights
The Kazinga Channel delivers an exclusive wildlife practice. Flowing from Lake Edward, which borders the Congo west of the park, to little Lake George in the northeast, this slight channel is flawless for lazy boat trips that let you sit back and look at the wildlife passing by. Most are the hippos, which cram themselves in along the shoreline. Top tip: always keep the strap of your camera around your neck. There’s a strong possibility you’ll lose your camera if one slowly moves out of the water while you are trying to capture a photo.
The riverbanks attract many other species, from open-jawed Nile crocodiles to enormous buffalo and grazing herds of elephants. There are plenty of birds too – around 600 classes – with saddle-billed storks, giant kingfishers, weaverbirds, bee-eaters, and fish eagles usually seen.
This remote southern sector is known for one thing: its tree-climbing lions. Climbing trees is an infrequent behavior for these felines. Only another population is known to do this and live miles away in Tanzania. It’s been speculated that Ishasha’s lion lounges in the branches to scan the horizon for prey and take advantage of the breeze; this behavior remains a mystery.
This “underground forest” is a kilometer-wide gap covered with trees that runs east of Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is around 100 meters deep. Although it is a remarkable topographical landmark, the chimps that stay there in the rainforest canopy are the main attraction. Note that sightings here are far less often than in other areas. Some chimpanzees have been acclimated and can be monitored with an Uganda Wildlife Authority guide. A pedestrian safari here is fun even if you don’t spot any chimpanzees; keep an eye out for black and white colobus, vervet, and red monkeys, as well as the rich birdlife, which includes colorful bee-eaters and the watery finfoot.
How to Visit Queen Elizabeth National Park
You’ll head west to track chimps in Kibale, then take game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park before continuing south to seek out the gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Park. Some longer routes also swing further north, taking in Murchison Falls Park.
Thanks to Uganda’s small size, holidays rarely include domestic flights, be prepared for some long and often bumpy drives between the various highlights. Fortunately, the scenery is lovely enough to keep you more than occupied, even on a full day’s journey. Small group tours typically spend two to four days exploring the different sectors of the park, with a mix of walking tours, game drives, and river cruises. A more extended time might also include visits to local villages.
Uganda is not a self-drive destination, so holidays here are either tailor-made with your driver or, more commonly, small group tours with a driver-guide who will transport you in a 4×4. Our guides can spot snoozing lions you would otherwise have missed and share plenty of information about the wildlife you’ll encounter here.
The safari lodges in Queen Elizabeth National Park are particularly charming, and there is an excellent range to suit all budgets. Lower-end safari camps have thatched tents or cottages with en suite bathrooms. Higher-end lodges are luxurious while still keeping you immersed in the bush as warthogs and baboons stroll across the lawns in front of your room. If you can not afford the glorious Mweya Safari hotel, you can still enjoy lunch here, on a tranquil deck above the Kazinga Channel. Meals everywhere are hearty and of high quality – generally more international cuisine than local dishes.
The best time To visit Queen Elizabeth National Park
Sitting squarely on the equator, Queen Elizabeth has slight temperature variation throughout the year. The rainiest months are March to May, with gentler rains in October to November, although this should not hinder wildlife viewing. The animals here are not migratory, so that they can be seen all year round; there is no optimal time to visit Queen Elizabeth Park. If you continue south to track gorillas, you may wish to avoid the rainy seasons. However, tracking permits are sometimes discounted at this time (typically April, May, and November, but do check with your holiday company).
Temptations of Queen Elizabeth National Park
Perhaps Queen Elizabeth National Park’s prominence on the global stage is due to its charms. The western Ugandan region of Kasese, home to the fabled Mount Rwenzori or Mount of the Moon, is where Queen Elizabeth National Park is situated. Queen Elizabeth National Park’s flora, fauna, and landscapes, which together make up its allure, constitute a significant factor in why it is sometimes referred to as a “medley of nature” by authors and writers.
The best-prepared location in Uganda has calm, rich wildlife, and that is Queen Elizabeth National Park. In terms of size, it is also second only to Murchison Falls National Park, and these two national parks were published in the same issue of the gazette in 1952. As a result, the local and wildlife rangers’ data about Queen Elizabeth National Park may also be of interest to tourists.
The equatorial passes within Queen Elizabeth Nature Reserve at zero degrees; a monument in the shape of a circle marks this significant latitude. Many tourists stop at the tropics to take pictures, and occasionally they are accompanied by local kids who add joy to the occasion with their big smiles. As a result, the equator has become Queen Elizabeth National Park’s top draw for tourists.
In addition to the fauna, Queen Elizabeth National Park also offers the Queen’s pavilion. The pavilion was built in 1952 for Queen Elizabeth the Second of England, who visited Uganda at the time. In 1954, it underwent renovation in preparation for the royal visitors from England. The best photos of Queen Elizabeth National Park can be taken at the Queen’s pavilion. After your game drive, it would be fantastic if you could ask your guide to take you past the Queen’s pavilion to take in the national park’s breathtaking perspective. From there, you can see the majority of the park’s area.
Katwe Salt works
North of the Mweya Peninsular, in the northwest corner of Queen Elizabeth National Park, is where Lake Katwe is situated. Katwe Salt Crater Lake crest the crater area and is well-known for its magnificent crater drive. The crater lake of Katwe is salty because it has inlets but no outflows, making it so. Salt pans on the bottom and volatilized salt on the top form during the summer when water is concentrated.
Visit the old German salt plant at Lake Katwe to learn why it was closed so long ago. You can enjoy learning about the sal mining procedure and the story that the salt miners tell. However, the tale of salt mining narrated by the female miners in Katwe Salt Lake may be highly poignant.
The Queen Elizabeth National Park landscape is breathtakingly stunning and incredible, providing a glimpse of Uganda’s absolute pearly splendor. Sloping hills may be found at Queen Elizabeth National Park, creating breathtaking views. When the sun is out, the Rwenzori hills can be seen as hitting the clouds, which is why they are known as moon peaks. Queen Elizabeth National Park is situated on the slopes of the Rwenzori hills, giving it a stunning view of those mountains. Then, when you get up in the early morning, you may unwind your thoughts by picturing the plains covered in vegetation typical of the golden-brown savannah.
The kyambura gorge is a unique structure connected to many intriguing aspects of Kyambura. A narrow rainforest section runs through the vast plains of savanna grasslands in Kyambura Gorge. According to local mythology, the Kyambura River carved up the gorge. Several safari lodging options in Queen Elizabeth National Park are on the stunning strip kyambura hillside. Additionally, there is a breathtaking sight of Queen Elizabeth National Park and the vast Savannah plains, which are scattered with acacia trees and other Savannah forest tree types.
The Crater Lakes
Queen Elizabeth National Park is situated in the western schism area of Africa and accounts for the area’s many volcanic craters, including the roughly ten crater lakes the park contains. Numerous crater lakes can be seen during the 27 km crater ride, and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) rangers have a fascinating tale to tell about how they were formed. The crater lakes are also connected to stunning landscapes ideal for trekking and photography.
Wildlife in Queen Elizabeth
You may satisfy your hunger for game viewing by visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park. Ninety-five animal species, almost 600 bird varieties, bats, reptiles, and numerous bug species are all naturally available in Queen Elizabeth Nature Reserve. East Africa’s largest concentration of hippos—more than 3000—can be found in Queen Elizabeth National Park, a protected area. What a tremendous deal of wildness it can be! It also boasts about 4,000 elephants and roughly 2000 buffaloes.
Tree Climbing Lions/ Cactus Climbing Lions
Lions that climb trees are unlike other lions you may see on tv, in The Lion King series, or other regions of the world. I am always compelled to discuss the tree-climbing lions independently of other animals. East Africa is the only place where the tree-climbing lions, a kind of lion, can be found. They can be found in Tanzania’s Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Manyara. Still, your chances of seeing some are higher in the ishasha sector, south of Queen Elizabeth National Park, than in Tanzania.
They exhibit the majesty of the African forest monarch. While eating grass in the fields, Kobs often seem to start climbing in the broad twigs of the trees to escape the bothersome tsetse flies from the surface. They occasionally take naps from up in the tree branches. They hang out in the candelabra trees during the warm temperatures to cool off, but they also jump to the trees to spot their upcoming prey. The lions that can climb trees are the highlight of any safari in Africa, and they are what draw most tourists to the southern region of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
According to tourist ratings on “travel advisor,” this is Queen Elizabeth National Park’s most beautiful location, and others have characterized it as outstanding. During the dry season, the busiest tourist season, Kazinga Channel is home to the majority of the dangerous creatures in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is the location where the renowned launch cruise is run. Numerous herds of buffalo are wallowing in the mud, snapping crocodiles are engaging in trick hunting, and a variety of schools of hippos can be seen cooling off in the water along the beaches of the Kazinga Channel. With a launch cruise, you can see a pride of lions near the shore of the Kazinga Channel chasing after birds.
East Africa’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is a fantastic location for neighborhood tours and cultural exchanges. Your group walk can be organized in one of the towns in Queen Elizabeth Nature Reserve, such as the fishing village of Busoga on the farther shore of Lake George. Sport fishing, sailboat racing, and sampling freshly made local seafood are just a few activities available in the neighborhood. The locals also share fascinating tales about Queen Elizabeth National Park, so include this in your schedule when visiting the park.
Omani Coffee Plantation
For coffee enthusiasts and female tourists, there is another thrilling draw. A women’s organization called the Omwani is committed to producing only organic coffee for domestic production and trade. To achieve the strength of the biological approach they want, they cultivate coffee using only natural methods and no artificial input. The Omani Women’s Cooperative participants were compelled by their basic requirements to work hard toward a shared objective that enables them to provide for their children and some husbands. You may enhance your Ugandan coffee tour and speed up your safari experience by taking a stroll around a coffee plantation and learning about the regional coffee-making process.
vacation accommodation in Queen Elizabeth National Park
This park has numerous safari lodging options, from the most luxurious to those that would perfectly fit into your Ugandan economy tour. Like other protected areas, Queen Elizabeth National Park’s lodging options are expertly constructed to mimic the natural environment. The lovely native homes, some of which are made from regional reeds and other woods, follow the African heritage of the building. They are covered with grass. Most of the lodges in Queen Elizabeth Nature Reserve offer lovely views of the park, the savannah plains, and the fabled Peaks of the Moon Rwenzori, enhancing your sense of the wild.
Here you may take in a lot, from the diverse wildlife, including unusual species like tree-climbing lions, to the tiny but fascinating marsupials. If your safari is offered by the top tour operator firm and is in Queen Elizabeth National Park, it is always a genuine package.
Launch Trips in Queen Elizabeth National Park
A boat excursion down the Kazinga Channel allows tourists to cruise only meters from hundreds of gigantic hippos and buffalos as elephants rest on the shores. The Kazinga Channel is a hideaway for several intriguing animals inhabiting the region.
On average, 60 different bird species can be seen during the excursion. The boats, which can accommodate up to 40 people, ensure a seat while knowledgeable guard guides tell the species’ tales. There are three or four launch trips per day that last two hours.
Birding in Queen Elizabeth
With such a wide array of ecosystems, Queen is host to more than 600 bird species, earning it the Important Birding Area (IBA) designation by Birding International. This is the highest number of any national park in East Africa for such a small area. Visitors can see species from East and Central Africa at the park’s intersection of savanna and forest, which connects to the vast forests of DR Congo.
With such a wide array of habitats, Queen is home to over 600 species of birds, earning it the designation of Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International. This is the highest number of any national park in East Africa for such a small area. Visitors can see species from East and Central Africa at the park’s intersection of savanna and woodland, which connects to the dense forests of DR Congo.
This park is home to many migratory species and 54 raptors, including Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Skimmer, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Pink-backed Pelican, African Broadbill, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Black Bee-eater, White-tailed Lark, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Corncrake, Lesser and Greater Flamingo, Shoebill, Bar-tailed Godwit, and others are essential species.
Do not skip these birding hotspots for the best birdwatching in Queen Elizabeth National Park: Kazinga Channel, Kasenyi Area, Asha Sector, Mweya Peninsula, Maramagambo Forest, Lake Kikorongo, Katunguru Bridge area, and Katwe.
Queen Elizabeth’s Cultural Connections
View the energetic dances of the Kikorongo Equator Traditional Performances, salt harvesters on Katwe Salt Lake, a classic Banyaraguru cottage, or a rustic village—all led by local society individuals who are the most knowledgeable about them.
Leopard Villages use ecotourism to encourage culture, traditions, and wildlife preservation. It is a society, socio-economic development effort. Leopard Village, which is close to the community of Muhokya, is situated on 3 acres that border the Queen Elizabeth National Park’s northern section.
The Banyabindi, Bakonzo, and Basongora ethnic groups’ traditional huts are recreated, and tourists can tour them, witness native music and dancing events, and buy goods produced by the neighborhood.
Extended trips could include chatting with locals about the difficulties and opportunities of living next to the park, visiting nearby schools, and conversing about conventional village life and ways to resolve conflicts between people and wildlife. To develop a specialized program, we can collaborate with tour groups.
With assistance from zoos in the US and Germany, Leopard Village is a collaboration among the neighboring areas of Muhokya, Kahendero, Hamukungu, and the Uganda Predator Program. All payments and contributions are given to the artists and community empowerment, preservation, and educational projects. You can help preserve the native animals and promote responsible development in the nearby villages by supporting the tourism and recreational festivals in Leopard Village.
Kikorongo Women Community
The name Kikorongo, which translated to Too Much Sunshine in the native Lukonzo tongue, belies the intensity of the Kikorongo Equator Traditional Performers. They are despite the warmth of the African plains! With dance, drama, singing, and fire-making, this energetic performance at lodgings across the park—offers a beautiful window into Kikorongo life. You can relax and see village life go by as a local translator discusses the performances’ significance to you.
It’s not as simple as the instructors make it seem when guests participate in Kikorongo’s African Art Craft Workshops to learn how to weave baskets and bowls out of natural fibers. Additionally, they show viewers how to turn old magazines into vibrant paper beads that may be used to create one-of-a-kind necklaces.
. If your crafting abilities are lacking, you can buy lovely products manufactured by the women’s club, including baskets, bowls, bags, and woven belts.
Katwe Tourism Information Centre (KATIC)
This peculiar lake has supported the Katwe hamlet since the 16th century. They pass their days in the tropical sun traveling on the highways that traverse the lake and collecting salt from its milky waters. This lake is far too saline to support much fauna.
The Katwe Salt Lake Tour offers a singular perspective on the exciting yet strenuous process of salt mining and gives Katwe a source of additional money. Cross the mud paths, observe the inhabitants at work on the lake, and then enter a typical grass home. Many birds, including flamingos from October to May, call the neighboring bird sanctuary lake home. In 2012, a boardwalk for bird observation will be available.
Tourists are greeted at a traditional farmhouse during Katwe Village Walk, culinary demos showcase the local cuisine, and there is also a visit to the neighborhood school.
Community of Nyanz’ibiri Cave
Extend your legs after long game drives with strolls around this neighborhood park, The Cave. Enjoy sweeping vistas of volcanic crater lakes while listening to eagles and crested cranes sounds. This is the spot to go if you want to get away from it all:
- Paddle a canoe.
- Climb to Transparent Lake.
- See eight kinds of forest monkeys.
- Stop and feel the flowers.
A historical cave and Cultural Museum, a beautifully preserved Banyaruguru hut containing priceless regional relics that were used initially as everyday objects, are two of the local attractions. All guests are welcome to use our restaurants and take in our evening classical dance presentations. Your activity and lodging costs are generously donated to community improvement, environmental preservation, and educational initiatives.
The towering Kichwamba Escarpment forms the Western Rift Valley’s eastern boundary. This two to three-hour trek starts in the isolated Katara Village with a hike across the escarpment’s farmland in the morning or chilly evenings. Your knowledgeable travel expert will describe traditional farming practices and point out rare pharmaceutical plants, magnificent bird species, and culturally significant locations.
Visitors can tour the beehives designed to keep disruptive elephants away from communal fields on the park’s edge and learn more about the area’s ongoing problem with human-animal disputes. Interested clients might even participate in a honey gathering demonstration. Visitors can trek back up the escarpment and return to their lodges after relaxing in the shade of the trees and the tranquility of the endless savannah.
Chimp Tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park
At a minimum, 94 percent of the DNA in the chimp, our nearest relative, is from humans. One of the chimpanzee’s most striking characteristics is their capacity to use equipment, such as boulders for crushing nuts, vacant pods for retrieving water, and bamboo for luring bugs from their homes. The chimpanzee is social, conversational, and clever. It has been noted that different armies are experts in other jobs based on their environment and food since these abilities are passed down from year to year.
Chimpanzees dwell in groups of 10 to 100 individuals. Young chimps don’t become independent until they are four years old, so they hold hands, kiss, groom, and watch over one other’s children. However, they can be hostile and aggressive, especially when dealing with strangers. Chimpanzees typically dine and nap in trees despite spending most of their time on the ground. Their diverse diet includes leaves, fruit, flowers, and seeds.
The Kyambura Gorge adventure teaches tourists about the biodiversity of the earth’s atmosphere “underground” rainforest of Kyambura Gorge, covering flora kinds, bird identification, and chimpanzee and monkey ecosystems. This also allows guests to see chimps in their natural habitat. Visitors have a decent possibility of listening and seeing our distant relatives because they are habituated, even though chimpanzee sightings are not assured.
Game Viewing on the Kazinga Channel
The paths via Kasenyi, the North Kazinga Lands, and the Ishasha Section ensure views of buffalos, antelopes, and elephants as well as warthogs and baboons for a traditional African safaris adventure. The best times to find lions, and even an occasional leopard, are early morning or dusk with an expert guide.
Due to the Uganda kob populations and the lions that hunt them, Kasenyi’s vast grasslands serve as the QENP’s central place for observing wildlife. The knowledgeable ranger’s assistants in the park can frequently spot lions, but booking a trip with the Mweya-based Uganda Predators Project, which tracks the movement of radio-collared lions, leopards, and hyaenas, is the only way to be sure of seeing a predator.
The southern area of Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a traditional game viewing opportunity beneath huge rift meadow skies. Expect to witness elephants, hippos, buffaloes, and more. Lion sightings are especially likely in Ishasha because the regional identity gladly spends their days relaxing in the limbs of shade fig trees.
Wildlife Research Tours in Queen Elizabeth
A study trip is a worthwhile experience for those who wish to get closer to the continent’s untamed animals. Through locating gadgets, habituation calls, weather tracking, and behavior observation, visitors can actively monitor a few of the exotic birds and creatures that inhabit the park. Visitors can directly engage in managing some of the exotic birds and mammals that populate the park through this novel and unforgettable encounter, using locating devices and learning habituation sounds, as well as observing weather, circumstances, and behavior. The findings are contributed to archives for scholars, adding essential data to the general comprehension of wildlife dynamics and assisting in preserving this unique habitat.
Mongoose monitoring, lion monitoring, hippo censuses, and bird counts are among the experience tourist activities being offered. The number of persons on each expedition is restricted to lessen pressure on the animals and improve the richness of the encounter for visitors. The length of experiential trips ranges from one to three hours. They frequently occur in the early morning, late afternoon, or late at night. All activities must be booked at least 24 hours before the Mweya visitor area.
Caves in Queen Elizabeth
How about a visit to the old cave in the Nyanz’ibiri tribe for a more traditional cave encounter?
The “Bat Cave” is hidden away in the shaded Maramagambo Forests. The cave contains an observing area where visitors may witness the local bats and anacondas. Do you believe that these snakes live between their prey? Consider visiting the historical cave in the Nyanz’ibiri tribe for a more traditional cave encounter. A local ranger will describe how it has been formerly used for giving tributes, purging tragedies, and as a hideout during Idi Amin’s rule of Uganda.
Hiking in Queen Elizabeth
One of the most adventurous ways to discover the scenery and fauna of Queen Elizabeth is through nature excursions. The Ishasha River is one of the areas where you may see a range of woodland and savanna animals and have a remarkable chance to get up close and personal with hippos on foot. Other locations also include shaded Maramagambo forests and Mweya Peninsula with its picturesque views.
The Mweya Peninsula features grasslands, woods, stunning vistas, and fearless warthogs. Tourists can take a leisurely walk all along Ishasha River at the park’s southern end, where you can see a wide range of wilderness, savanna birds, and mammal genera. On this walk, they also have the rare chance to get up close and personal with hippos while remaining completely safe on the elevated bank.
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