QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Queen Elizabeth national park- Uganda is Uganda’s tourism flag barrier and a remarkable national park located in the southwest of Uganda near Kasese, the park is the most popular savannah national park in Uganda famous for large concentration of animals including the rare tree climbing lions. Queen Elizabeth national park covers an area of 1978 square kilometers and comprises of various sectors such as the Mweya Peninsula, Kazinga channel, Kyambura Gorge, Maramagambo Forest, Kasenyi plains, the Katwe Crater Lake, Ishasha sector, Lake George, the Equator and the Queen’s Pavilion.
Queen Elizabeth national park is situated approximately 400 kilometers by road southwest of Kampala the capital of Uganda, the park borders Virunga national park found in Democratic Republic of Congo, Kibale national park, Kyambura Game Reserve and Kigezi game reserve.
Flora and fauna in Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth national park is a habitat to a variety of flora and fauna.
Queen Elizabeth national park encompasses of 5 levels of vegetation including bushy grassland, Acacia woodland, Lake shore or swamp vegetation and forest grassland.
Queen Elizabeth national park is a home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species, among the mammals the park is famous for tree climbing lions found in the Ishasha sector of the park and four of the big five that are African elephants, cape buffaloes, lions and leopards. Other mammals in the Queen Elizabeth national park include hippos, waterbuck, Uganda kob, warthogs, hyena, giant forest hog and various species of antelopes such as duiker, bushbuck and reedbuck. Primates in Queen Elizabeth national park include chimpanzees, white and black colobus monkeys, baboons, red tailed monkeys and giant forest hogs.
Birds in Queen Elizabeth national park are recorded to be over 600 bird species and they include Hooded Vulture, Martial Eagle, Grey Kestrel, African Wattled Plover, Black-bellied Bustard, Black-lored Babbler, White-tailed Lark, Pink-backed Pelican, Black-crowned Tchagra, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Blue-naped Mousebird, Papyrus Canary, Pygmy Kingfisher, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, the lesser and greater Flamingo and many more
Weather and climate in Queen Elizabeth national park
The climate in Queen Elizabeth national park is warm and the temperatures remain stable all year-around and this is because the park is situated near the equator, in the park daytime temperatures rise to about 29°C/84°F and in the night they gradually fall to around 17°C/63°F.
Queen Elizabeth national park experiences two seasons of dry season that is from January to February and June to July, in this season an average daytime temperatures of about 29°C/84°F are received and at night an average 16°C/61°Fis received.
Queen Elizabeth national park also experiences two seasons of wet season that are from March, April to May with heavy rainfall in April and August to December, during the wet seasin temperatures are pleasant with around 29°C/84°F in the later afternoon and cooler temperatures of 17°C/63°F about in the morning.
History of Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth national park was found as a protected area in 1952 as a result of combing the Lake George and Lake Edward game reserve under the name of Kazinga national park, in 1954 the park’s name was changed to Queen Elizabeth national park as a way commemorating the visit of Queen Elizabeth of England to Uganda.
UGANDA SAFARI ACTIVITIES IN QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Game drives is the most rewarding Uganda safari activity offered in Queen Elizabeth national park, the park is a home to enormous population of wildlife including 4 of the big five that are lions, cape buffaloes, African elephants and leopards. Game drives are facilitated by various tracks running through Kasenyi, the north kazinga plains and the Ishasha sector where you get to spot many animals such as tree climbing lions, hippos, waterbuck, Uganda kob, warthogs, hyena, giant forest hog and various species of antelopes such as duiker, bushbuck and reedbuck and many more.
Queen Elizabeth national park offers exceptional birding experiences in Uganda, the park is listed among the important birding areas in the world hosting over 600 bird species. Birds in Queen Elizabeth national park are habiting in various regions of the park such as Kazinga channel, Mweya Peninsula, Ishasha Sector, Maramagambo Forest, Kasenyi Area, Katunguru Bridge Area, Lake Kikorongo and Katwe area.
While Uganda birding safari in Queen Elizabeth national park you will have an opportunity of encountering various species of bird species including Hooded Vulture, Martial Eagle, Grey Kestrel, African Wattled Plover, Black-bellied Bustard, Black-lored Babbler, White-tailed Lark, Pink-backed Pelican, Black-crowned Tchagra, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Blue-naped Mousebird, Papyrus Canary, Pygmy Kingfisher, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, the lesser and greater Flamingo among others.
Birding in Queen Elizabeth national park can be done all year round but the best time to do this amazing experience is from December to February and when visiting the park this experience don’t forget to bring birding equipments such as binoculars.
Chimpanzee tracking in Queen Elizabeth national park is done in the Kyambura gorge “the primate haven”, Kyambura gorge is a valley of 1 kilometers width and over 100 meters depth situated in the eastern corner of the park. Kyambura gorge is rich with tropic rainforest which is a home to various species of primates including chimpanzees, chimpanzees tracked on chimpanzee tracking safari in Queen Elizabeth national park underwent through a 2 years habituation process thus making them less rebellious to human presence.
Chimpanzee tracking in Queen Elizabeth national park begins as early as 08:00 am or 2pm with briefing at the park’s headquarters then hiking amidst the tropical forests, when you encounter the chimpanzee you will enjoy watching the playing on tree branches and picking fruits on the 1 hour period you are to be in the presence of the chimpanzees.
Launch cruise in Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the best activities offering excellent game viewing experiences in the park, this activity is done on the popular Kazinga channel and offered in two sessions that is 09:00 am or 02:00 pm on a daily basis.
While sailing in the cool waters of the Kazinga channel you get to enjoy watching any animals such as elephants, cape buffaloes, hippos and many birds such as Black-bellied Bustard, Black-lored Babbler, White-tailed Lark, Pink-backed Pelican, shoe bill, Black-crowned Tchagra, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Blue-naped Mousebird on the shoreline of the channel.
Agro- Tour walk
Agro-Tour walks in Queen Elizabeth national park take on a tour in the Kichwamba Escarpment forming the eastern wall of the western rift valley, this activity is done on a 2-3 hour trail beginning from the Kataara village through various farms in the escarpment. Agro-Tour walks are done either in the morning or evening and while on your walk you will enjoy watching the locals carrying on with their cultivating activities and harvesting.
Nature walks and caves tour
Nature walks and caves tour in Queen Elizabeth national park are every entertaining activities getting you close to nature and wilderness found in the park, nature walks are done in the Mweya peninsular situated in the southern end of the park. During this walk tourists get to enjoy awalk along the Ishasha River through the thick forest where you will spot various species of birds and mammals of Queen Elizabeth national park.
Cave tours in Queen Elizabeth national park offer you a thrilling exploring experience in the Bat Cave found under the thick canopy of Maramagambo forest, while touring the cave you will enjoying watching bats and pythons
Cultural encounters in Queen Elizabeth national park offer an encounter with the local community living around Queen Elizabeth national park and their amazing cultures and traditions, communities around the park include the Leopard village, Kikorongo Women community, Katwe Tourism Information center and Nyanzibiri Cave Community.
Visiting these communities will give you a deeper understanding about the local community and get to participate in activities such as local fire making, be entertained by local dance, music and drama, craft making among others by the local women among others.
Best time to visit Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth national park is open for tourists visiting for Uganda safaris all throughout the year, the best time to visit this amazing park is dictated by the activity you wish to do in the park and the climate. Queen Elizabeth national park is generally a warm destination this is because it is situated close to the equator, this park experiences dry seasons from January to February and June to July and wet seasons from March to May and August to December.
The best time to visit Queen Elizabeth national park is during the dry season when the grass cover is very thin making wildlife viewing easier and animals are spotted gathering around water points to drink water. Also the trails are very dry which makes activities like chimpanzee tracking easier.
GETTING TO QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Most Uganda safaris to Queen Elizabeth national park start from Kampala the capital city of Uganda, to get to the park both road and air means of transport are used
From Kampala, Queen Elizabeth national park is situated in a 6 hours drive of 420 kilometers through Mbarara and Bushenyi and 6 hours drive of 410 kilometers through Fort Portal to Kasese.
Chartered flights to Queen Elizabeth national park are offered from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip to airstrips serving the park that are Mweya, Kasese or Ishasha airstrips. From Kampala to Queen Elizabeth national park it is a flight of approximately 60 minutes.
ACCOMMODATION IN QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth national park is offered in a number of beautifully built safari lodges, safari hotels and camps, these accommodations ranges from luxury, midrange and budget and they include Mweya safari lodge, Jacana safari lodge, Ihamba lodge, Parkview safari lodge, Kyambura Gorge lodge, Simba safari camp, Ishasha jungle lodge, Aramaga Rift Valley Lodge, White house hotel, Kasenyi Safari camp among others.