This National park is Uganda’s most famous tourist destination and it has got diverse ecosystems including the shady, humid forests, savannah, the lakes and fertile wetlands that are habitants to the big game, primate species, and chimpanzees as well as over 600 bird species.
The park is also set against the back drop of the Rwenzori Mountains and its beautiful vists include the many craters carved into the rolling green hills, the panoramic views of the Kazinga channel with its banks that are lined with the hippos and the elephants, lions as well as the Ugandan kobs. It has also got very fascinating cultural history and there are many chances of the visitors to meet with the local people and enjoy some storytelling, dance, music and more.
This area was previously a grazing area for the Basongora pastoralists. When the area was visited by Stanley and Lugard , these reported the area to have lots of animals and so the British protectorate was forced to create this area into a national park. In 1906, the area to the north of Lake George was also declared a game reserve so as to protect what the administrators believed in. The National park ordinance was passed on the 31st March 1952 ans then Queen Elizabeth which was then Kazinga National park was gazetted later that year.
This National park is also located within the Albertine Rift valley in the western Uganda just near the Rwenzori Mountains. It also covers an area of 1,978 sqkm of the forests, hills, as well as swamps. It also forms one of the largest protected area systems in eastern Africa with the
greater Virunga land scape. This national park has also got 2 rainy seasons that’s from March to May and from September to November. It receives an amount of 1,250mm of rainfall per year mostly in Kazinga channel and the Maramagambo forest.
This area around Queen Elizabeth has also got two rainy seasons due to its location on the equator as well as the annual migration of the inter tropical convergence zone. The first rains are in February and the second in mid-August. However more rains occur during the second rains than in the first rains.
The park has been chosen a biosphere Reserve for the Humanity under UNESCO auspices. The National park also includes variety of ecosystems just from semi deciduous tropical forest to the green meadows, savannah as well as swamps. The park is also home to the famous tree climbing lions as well as the Uganda kobs, many other antelope species, baboons, buffalos, chimpanzees, baboons, and many bird species. These bird species also include the black bee eater, 11 species of king fisher, the shoebill stork and many falcon species, eagles as well as raptors. Within the crater lakes to the north, the flocks of flamingos can also be found and a boat cruise can be enjoy along the Kazinga channel.
The tourists can visit this park anytime throughout the year. Even though the conditions in the park are harder during the rainy season and it’s also advisable to use a 4×4 vehicle to access the Park. The available tourist accommodation facilities include; Kyambura game lodge, Engazi lodge, Mweya safari lodge, Katara lodge, Bush lodge, samba safari camp, Jacana safari lodge, Ihamba safari lodge, and Mweya hostel.
The main tourist activities carried out in the park include game viewing around the Kasenyi area and game drives in the Ishasha sector in search for the tree climbing lions, Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge, a launch cruise along the Kazinga channel, forest walks in Maramagambo forest as well as community visits to the local people.
Activities at the Park
Uganda is among the most well-known birding destination in the whole of Africa. It has a diversity of bird species a number of which are not easily spotted in any other part of the African continent. There are more than 1010 bird species all of which you certainly enjoy on a Uganda safari. The various National parks within Uganda are actually the biggest habitat for most of the bird species in the country. As you take time to marvel at the spectacular birds, you will certainly come across a diversity of additional wildlife that will turn your bird watching safari into a very memorable encounter. The most ideal time to spot these birds is actually early in the morning as well as late in the evenings.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is among of the most remarkable national parks within Uganda for outstanding Wildlife as well as
Bird-life, it also a perfect place to enjoy chimpanzee tracking / trekking done within the Kyambura Gorge where there are several habituated Chimpanzees. The scenery within this gorge is very spectacular and there are several other mammals plus birds to be seen as you start out in the morning on your chimpanzee trekking voyage. This Chimpanzee Tracking activity within the Kyambura Gorge that gorges for just a small cost can be included to any other Uganda Safari activity within Queen Elizabeth and offers you a holistic adventure of this splendid national park.
This activity involves the visitors to drive through the park while viewing animals. The Park has several spots of well maintained game viewing tracks. This park has got over 200 kms of well maintained game tracks .The best time for game drives is in the morning hours where there are high chances of seeing elephants, buffaloes, lion and a variety of antelopes and other wildlife you can see safari in Uganda.
Attractions in Elizabeth National Park
The peninsula is the heart of sightseeing activities with excellent accommodation in the park. The only way to enjoy your tour in this park is by touring with a ranger guide who helps you explore the park as well as the distant parts of the peninsula. Mweya information center organizes all the activities that tourists may want to get involved in. The most exciting aspect about this peninsular is the fact that its overlooks Katwe bay of Lake Edward. Mores till, it has a souvenir shop full of Uganda safari items that will always remind you of park.
The Kazinga channel is about 40m long adjoining Lake Gorge to Lake Edward with the perfect view of the parks’ major wildlife ventures. The shores of the lake attracts a large concentration of mammals, birds as well as reptiles all year around with animals being viewed well by the Nile cruise or probably at the entrance of Lake Edward. The operation of the cruise run from 15.00 and 17.00, furthermore voyages run 11.00 and 13.00 depending on the demand of the tourists.
The Equator and the Queen’s Pavilion
The Uganda’s Equator provides a beautiful place for photo shooting along with craft shops that can make you buy a souvenir .The Queen’s Pavilion is easily spotted by the northern entrance to the Crater Drive. In 1954 Queen Elizabeth gave a provision shelter for this site until in 1959 when a permanent pavilion was constructed for the visit of Queen Elizabeth. Renovations were made by second visit of Duke of Edinburgh in 2007 with better facilities such as coffee shop and internet facilities.
Ishasha Tree Climbing Lions
Ishasha covers an area of about 100km south of Mweya. The Park’s distant southern segment gives a genuine Africa wilderness experience. Among the inhabitants in this place include Savannah woodland, Ishasha River along with Lake Edward that has a diversity of wildlife such as climbing lions, rare shoebill stork and many others.
Mweya Safari Lodge
The Mweya Safari lodge is a top of the range accommodation facility located at the Mweya peninsular within the park and overlooking the Kazinga channel.
Jacana safari lodge
A luxurious beautiful lodge located on the out skirts of the park between the rolling hills and a tranquil crater lake.
Simba safari lodge
Positioned off the park, the lodge is modest with better facilities and it’s within the heart of Queen Elizabeth National park.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp.
This Ishasha wilderness camp is located in the southern sector of the park. This facility has large twin bedded tents, situated in the wooded area facing the Ntungwe River.