Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Local People, Drives & Kazinga Channel
- Forest, Bird Watching
- Facts, Accommodation
Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) together with Kyambura and Kigezi Wildlife Reserves form one of the most diverse ecosystems in Africa.
The melting glacier waters of the Rwenzori Mountains create a vast wetland system comprising of two main lakes, George and Edward, as well as the connecting Kazinga Channel.
Thousands of Hippos populate these lake shorelines. Open savannah doted with Acacia and Euphorbia trees provide habitat for elephants, lions, leopards, Uganda Kobs and big herds of buffaloes. Ten primate species including chimpanzees are present. Among the many other animals seen frequently are giant forest hog, waterbucks, topi, hyenas and crocodiles. The park boasts of more bird species than any other park in Africa.
In 1979, Queen Elizabeth National Park was designated as a Biosphere Reserve with the ultimate goal of integrating human activities with the conservation and protection of wildlife, wetlands and natural resources. There are eleven fishing village enclaves within the Protected Area.
Several ethnic groups that are closely related both linguistically and culturally inhabit this part of the country: the Banyankore, Bakiga, and Bakonjo.
Traditional Salt Works
Visit one of the oldest industries in Uganda at the enclave of Lake Katwe town. Since the 14th Century, salt has been mined by traditional methods and is still in use today. Salt production peaks during the dry season.
This is best done in the early morning and late afternoon hours. Over 200kms of well – maintained tracks give visitors access to the park’s game. Some of the tracks pass through large mating grounds of great herds of Uganda Kob. The slower you drive the more you will see.
Hungry lions can often be seen searching for prey. The legendary giant forest hog is visible roaming the bush. When it is hot, large herds of elephant make their way down to the water. Buffalo and bushbucks can be found on the Channel track and adjacent circuits. The warthog is a hallmark sight on the Mweya Peninsula. The outstanding scenery along the Crater track brings visitors to volcanic craters at the foothills of the misty Mountains of the Moon (Mt. Rwenzori). The drive is a breathtaking experience. Our friendly staff will assist in planning for a game drive.
Launch trip on the Kazinga Channel
A boat trip along the hippo crowded banks of Kazinga Channel gives visitors a unique unequalled wildlife experience. Eye to eye with yawning hippos and surrounded by vast numbers of migrant and resident water birds, the boat puts one right in the heart of nature. Many buffalo rest in the water while the big herds of elephant enjoy themselves drinking and playing along the Channel banks. Crocodiles have become a common sight and occasionally leopards may be seen.
Many surprise await you in the extensive Maramagambo rain forest. A variety of short, medium and long guided nature walks are offered. Pythons are often observed in the crevices of the Bats Cave floor using the bats as a source of food. The cave is near the picturesque Blue Lake and Hunters Cave. Other trails lead into the heart of the forest surrounding tranquil crater lakes and are home to wild chimps, other primates and many forest birds.
The National Park boasts of 606 bird species. Our experienced guides know the most interesting bird spots around swamps, lakes and other interesting habitats. Queen Elizabeth National Park offers you a good chance of spotting Uganda’s most sought after bird, the prehistoric looking Shoebill stork. Other key species include: the African fish eagle, martial eagle, papyrus gonolek, African skimmer and many more. A trip plan for a minimum of 2-3 days gives one the best chance to see these beautiful birds.
Ishasha is a true pearl in the southern part of the park. Idyllic campsites frequently visited by colobus and other monkeys are situated along the winding Ishasha River. The famous tree-climbing lions can be spotted on large fig trees in this part of the park. Topi, Uganda Kobs, and buffaloes graze in the acacia studded savannah.
Kyambula Wildlife Reserve
This is found in the eastern part of the Protected Area and supports similar mammals to the rest of the park. It has three saline crater lakes, which attract large numbers of flamingos – not found anywhere in Uganda.
The steep Kyambura Gorge, formed by the turbulent waters of the roaring Kyambura River, provides a lush riverine forest, home to chimpanzees, black and white Colobus and red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons and other primates as well as plenty of forest birds. A guided nature walk takes visitors into the gorge and offers a great chance to track habituated chimps in their natural habitat.
Facts about The National Park
Mean temperature: mean maximum 28°C, mean minimum 18°C.
Wet season: March-May, September-November (750mm up to 1250mm of rain).
Altitude: 910m at Lake Edward to 1,390m in the crater area.
Queen Elizabeth National Park: 2,056sq.km2
Kyambura Wildlife Reserve: 154sq.km.
Kigezi Wildlife Reserve: 265sq.km.
95 mammal species
606 bird species
From Kampala either via Masaka and Mbarara or via Fort Portal, the distance to the park is approximately 467kms. The Ishasha sector of the park may also be reached from Kabale. There are three airfields serving the park: At Kasese, Ishasha and Mweya Peninsula.
Distance (Km) from Mweya Lodge to: -
Fort Portal 129
Kabale (via Katunguru and Bugangari) 229
Ishasha (via Katunguru) 124
Kabale (via Katunguru and Kihihi) 216
Campsites are available at Mweya, Maramagambo Forest and Ishasha. Toilets or pit latrines, shower or bathing shelters are provided at these sites. Other accommodation facilities include: -the Park Hostel at Mweya, Mweya Safari Lodge, Jacana Safari Lodge at Maramagambo forest and bandas located in Ishasha sector. The park operates a students’ centre with a capacity of 48 beds.
Do’s and don’ts while in the Park
- Get your permit before entering the park
- Allow plenty of time to reach your destination
- Do not drive more than 45km per hour
- Give animal’s right of way and do not disturb wildlife
- Do not sound your horn
- Do not litter
- Do not start fire or throw cigarette ends
- Stay in your vehicles except at designated areas
- Stay overnight only at designated areas
- Do not bring pet animals into the park
- Do not pick or cut any plants or animals
- Do not bring firearms or ammunition into the park