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Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the magical destinations you should consider a must-visit on Uganda safari. It is Uganda’s second-biggest park, nestled in Kasese, the Western side of the country. This magnificent Uganda safari park is also surrounded by other districts like Rukungiri, Rubirizi, Kamwenge. It was originally named Kazinga National Park in 1952 before it renamed Queen Elizabeth National Park in 1954 in remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth National Park occupies an area of 1978sq.km making it the second biggest park after Murchison Falls. It lies astride Equator crossing and features beautiful lakes especially L. George that is on the North-Easter and L. Edward to the South-west. These 2 magnificent water bodies are joined together by the Kazinga Channel which is famous for thrilling launch or boat cruise experiences.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is famous for its bio-network. These are sheltered in diverse habitats ranging from Savanna grassland, rain-forest, Lakes, swamps among others. This beautiful Uganda safari features interesting tourist sites worth exploring especially the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Kyambura Gorge, Ishasha sector to the south, Kasenyi Plains, Mweya Peninsula, Maramagambo Forest, Kalinzu Forest, Katwe.

Species of wildlife in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda

Queen Elizabeth National Park is composed of a huge network of wildlife making it one of the best Uganda safari parks. It protects over 2500 elephants, 5000 hippos, 10,000 buffaloes, lions, and interestingly, home to the rare tree-climbing lions; warthogs, crocodiles, civet cats, leopards, antelopes (including sitatunga, waterbucks, topis, Uganda Kobs). There exist also 10 species of primates including among others the olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, vervet monkeys.

Species of birds in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda

Queen Elizabeth National Park is a birder’s haven! It protects over 620 species of birds which can be spotted in various habitats making it one of the best birding safari destinations. The birds to expect to identify here include Chapin’s flycatcher, papyrus gonoleks, African fish eagles, sedge warblers, pink backed pelicans, grey-headed kingfishers, papyrus canary, Squacco heron, long-tailed cormorants, white-winged warblers, African skimmers, black bee-eaters, shoebill stork, corncrake.

Activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Game drives

The game drive is one main reason visitors undertake Uganda safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is an amazing activity offering you a chance to explore the park’s diverse wildlife. Game drives in this protected area are best done along Kasenyi Plains, Ishasha area, and most significantly, you require a 4×4 vehicle.

Launch or boat cruise

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best parks in Uganda and East Africa where tourists visit to engage in a boat cruise. You will have sight of aquatic birds including shoebills, pelicans, flamingos, bee-eaters. Also, spot crocodiles, submerged hippos and others while on a boat cruise on Kazinga Channel.

Chimpanzee tracking

Chimp treks in Queen Elizabeth National Park are offered in Kyambura Gorge and the nearby Kalinzu Forest. Kyambura comprises about 20 habituated chimpanzees and while on a trek not only chimpanzees can be spotted but also other primates, birds.

Bird watching

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the top destinations attracting birders to explore Uganda’s diverse birdlife. It boasts of birds like shoebill stork, flamingos, grey-headed kingfishers, pelicans, Chapin’s flycatcher, papyrus gonoleks, African fish eagles, sedge warblers to mention but a few.

Hot air balloon experience

Queen Elizabeth National Park stands out as one of the 2 parks in Uganda where hot air balloon tours can only be done after Murchison Falls. It is an exciting experience offering an opportunity for you to view the park’s wildlife on air rather than a 4×4 Land Cruiser or Safari Van.

Other activities to expect to undertake on a Uganda tour in this park include lion tracking experience, hippo census, nature walks.

When to go to Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda

Queen Elizabeth National Park is an open Uganda safari destination throughout the year. But the best time for tourists to enjoy their holiday here is during the dry season which is recorded in June, July, August, September and December, January, February. Very low or no rain is recorded during these dry months of the year and the game tracks are easier to navigate through while you enjoy your game drive.

There is also the possibility to visit this protected area during the wet or rainy season. This is experienced in March, April, May, and October, November. But these are months when heavy rains are recorded in Queen Elizabeth National Park and they are considered the low season.

Accommodation in and around Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one outstanding safari destination with many accommodation options. Every visitor has somewhere to spend a night whether you are interested in budget, mid-range/moderate, or luxury/up-market lodges. Some of the best lodges to stay on Uganda tour in Queen Elizabeth National Park include Pumba Safari Cottages, Mweya Hostel, Kazinga Channel View Resort (Basic); Marafiki Safari Lodge, Bush Lodge (Mid-range/Moderate); Ishasha Wilderness Camp. Mweya Safari Lodge, Jacana Safari Lodge, Kyambura Game Lodge (Luxury).

How to access Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is positioned in Western Uganda and it is accessible by road or by air. By road; there are many routes to take and usually, visitors on Uganda safari take the Kampala-Masaka-Ishaka route via Katunguru. This route covers 420kms and it is the longest; about 6-7 hours’ drive.

Or take the shortest route from Kampala via Mityana-Mubende to Fort Portal then connect to Kasese 410kms, about 5-6 hours’ drive. From Bwindi, dive via Kabale/Kihihi to the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park that is Ishasha, approximately 3 to 4 hours; from Kibale Forest National Park, you can reach Queen Elizabeth National Park through Fort Portal Tourism City within 3 hours’ drive.

By air; take a flight from Entebbe Airport/Kajjansi airfield then you land at Mweya Airstrip, Ishasha Airstrip, Kasese Airstrip.

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