Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda is a prime destination for wildlife enthusiasts, with a diverse array of animals including elephants, lions, leopards, and hippos. The park also offers stunning scenery, with savannahs, forests, and lakes, and is home to numerous bird species, making it a must-visit for nature lovers.
Protected as a wildlife reserve in the 1920s, Queen Elizabeth National Park was gazetted under the name Kazinga National Park in 1952 but renamed two years later to commemorate the first visit to Uganda by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s second largest and most popular safari destination set on the floor of the rift valley where it crosses the Equator line south of Mount Rwenzori and north of the Kigezi Highlands. With a coverage of 1,980 square kilometres of open grassland and savannah, Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to over 95 mammal species and more than 612 different birds. On the checklist, carnivores include lion, leopard and hyena, there are also ten primates including chimpanzees, L’Hoest monkey, vervet, blue, red tailed, colobus monkey and olive baboon.
The park protects diverse landscape of tropical habitats; rain forest, wetland, open water, and lakes Edward and George that are interconnected by the Kazinga channel. The Kazinga channel contains the highest concentration of hippo in Africa and is one of the very few non-forested areas in Africa where the giant forest hog is regularly seen. Other common animals include elephant, buffalo, sitatunga antelope, topi, waterbuck and the Uganda Kob.
Traditional game drives offer a wonderful opportunity to spot lots of different birds and animals and to get a feel for the topography of the park, the greatest density of game is usually found in The Kasenyi Plains in the northern sector of the park. If you are lucky you will see elephant, buffalo, tree climbing lion, leopard and the Uganda kob.
Nature walks around Mweya Peninsula
Although much of the wildlife viewing along the Mweya Peninsula is done from boat cruises along the Kazinga Chanel it is possible to take a walking safari for an even closer look at the flora and fauna. The peninsula has several good spots from which to enjoy a sundowner while watching the sunset behind the mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Boat cruise on Kazinga Channel
A boat cruise on the Kazinga channel is a highlight of any trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park. On the boat you will float within meters of hundreds of animals congregating along the shoreline to quench their thirst. You will also see crocodiles that have recently reappeared having disappeared for 8,000 years after Lake Edward was poisoned by toxic ash from local volcanoes.
Lion & leopard tracking
The carnivore program project overseen by Dr Ludwig Siefert is a community-run socio-economic development initiative which supports cultural and wildlife conservation through ecotourism.
The banded Mongoose of Mweya number around 400 individuals split between a dozen groups and are possibly the most habituated group anywhere in the world. Tracking these intelligent, social and playful small carnivores with a knowledgable guide and field assistant from the mongoose project is a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging experience. The excursion takes around three hours.
Birds dominate the landscape in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park is host to over 612 bird species, ranked the 6th highest of any park worldwide and second in Africa.
Kyambura Gorge chimpanzee tracking
Located in the eastern region of the park, the Kyambura Gorge is home to several chimpanzee groups, treks to find them generally take between two to four hours and include an hour with the habituated chimpanzee group once you find them, there is also a raised platform over the gorge for viewing the savannah grassland and chimpanzees in the tree tops below.