Queen Elizabeth National Park – The Medley of wonders!
Today is the third edition of our series Uganda safari destinations to visit in 2020-2021. In our previous article, we made a Uganda safari expedition to Kibale National Park. Follow me as I lead on a magical safari Uganda exploration to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Where is Queen Elizabeth National Park Located?/Where is Queen Elizabeth Found?
Located in the western district of Kasese, Kamwenge, and Rukungiri, Queen Elizabeth National Park lies on 417 km West of Kampala the capital of Uganda. Queen Elizabeth has always captured the attention of Uganda safari adventurers who are looking for an incredible Uganda wildlife safari. This park is situated in the basin of the rift valley and it covers an expanse of land of about 1978 sq. kilometers making it Uganda’s second-biggest conservation area. This park also covers the water complex of Lake George, Edward and the Kazinga channel which offer the lifeline support to the park’s rich biodiversity. It extends to cover the Kyambura gorge and the tropical lowland forests of Kalinzu which are home to a wide variety of primates. The southern end of Queen Elizabeth extends to connect with the northern end of Congo’s Virunga National Park hence making it these 2 places share some of their wildlife animals.
What is the weather in Queen Elizabeth National Park?
Queen Elizabeth experiences savanna climate which is characterized by low amounts of rainfall- this is evidenced by short summer wet seasons where the area receives between 15-25 inches of rain per month and very long dry or winter seasons with less 5inches of rain per month, scattered umbrella trees, open savanna grasslands with short grass and relatively high temperatures which can rise to between 25-32oC
What are the attractions to see in Queen Elizabeth National Park?
Famously known as The Medley Of Wonders, Queen Elizabeth Park is a hub to a diverse range of wildlife which includes 95 mammal species, like savanna wildlife mammals such as 4 out the big five African game Lions, Leopards, Cape buffaloes, Elephants. Other animals you will encounter while in Queen Elizabeth include Topis, Bush backs and a wide range of other antelope species primates such as chimpanzees, grey checked colobus monkeys and baboons are common sight when you make a Uganda wildlife safari to Queen Elizabeth especially in the Kyambura gorge forest and Kalinzu forest. Perhaps what makes a visit to Queen Elizabeth is the possibility of encountering the tree climbing lions which are found in the Ishasha sector. The reason behind this behavior is that on the ground, the lions are bitten by small bugs and this makes their stay on the ground a bit unpalatable hence they opt to escape this ordeal by climbing the trees here. Besides an encounter with wild animals, Queen Elizabeth Park is a spectacular stunning birding destination as this park is home to over 600 bird species hence being Uganda’s biggest birding destination and the bird species here range from migratory, water, savanna, and forest bird species. Some of the bird species you might encounter while in Uganda birding safari in Queen Elizabeth include Temminck’s Courser, Rupell’s Griffon, Martial Eagle, White Headed, Lappet Faced Vultures, Blue Quail, Harlequin Quail, Small (Common) Buttonquail, African Crake, African Skimmer, Black Headed Gonolek, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Amur Falcon, Lowland Akalat, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Greater and Lesser Flamingo. A visit to the Kazinga channel can also lead to an encounter with Hippos & reptiles like the Nile crocodiles. Volcanic features like volcanic cones and crater lakes like Lake Katwe and Kikorongo are also present in this park.
How to get to Queen Elizabeth National Park?
Getting to Queen Elizabeth National Park can be done by both road and airport transport, If you opt to fly, You can book a chartered flight to Queen Elizabeth from either Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip as there are many chartered companies that offer flying services to Queen Elizabeth and these include Aerolink Uganda and Kampala Executive Aviation. However, for a typical Uganda tour experience, I recommend that you do a road trip especially if you have the time to do it. After having your breakfast at the hotel, you get into the car and embark on a thrilling 6-7 hours’ drive covering 417km to get to Queen Elizabeth. Along the way, you will enjoy exciting road stops at Mpambire drum center and have an encounter with local artists as they manufacture a wide variety of local musical instruments such as the drums, African chairs. Another stop is done at the Equator where you get to have an equator experience on how to differentiate the Northern from the Southern hemispheres and also have a photo moment. Enjoy a locally inspired lunch buffet at Igongo before embarking on the final leg your journey to Queen Elizabeth.
What are the activities to do while in Queen Elizabeth National Park?
With all the attractions that we have just seen above a visit to Queen Elizabeth can include several activities such as;-
1. A Game drive in Kasenyi and Ishasha sector
2. A boat cruise along the Kazinga channel
3. Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu of Kyambura Gorge Forests
4. Birding and Nature walks
5. Hot Air Ballooning Experience
All these are possible activities to be carried out, however, you may not have all the time you need to exhaustively engage yourself in all these activities especially if you visit this park as part of a larger Uganda wildlife tour but you may choose to engage in a morning game drive experience as you explore of more the Kasenyi sector of this park and an afternoon boat cruise. A game drive in Kasenyi sector exposes you to a wide variety of animals such as 4 out of the 5 big five mammals which include lions, leopards, cape buffaloes, large herds of African bush elephants which are present in this park, and many other antelope species. You can also choose to embark on an optional Chimpanzee trekking expedition in Kalinzu Forest Reserve exploring the sights of magical lush mature tropical forest supporting counts of chimpanzees. The eventual encounter with the chimpanzees as they munch fruits, make pant hooting calls, socialize, patrol, copulate and roll themselves in tree branches derive an exciting memory that will last for a lifetime. After engaging in any of the above activities, you can settle for lunch after which you transfer to Mweya jetty for an afternoon Kazinga Channel boat cruise departing at 2 pm.
How long is the Kazinga channel?
The Kazinga channel a 40 km long channel that connects Lake George to Lake Edward. A boat cruise on this channel offers you an opportunity to see at close range the highest concentration of water submerged Hippos, surrounded by over 550 species of migrant and resident birds plus crocodiles drinking and resting at water edges. The cruise offers an excellent platform for photography, bird watching and game viewing. You retreat from the boat cruise and do an evening game drive along the Channel track to explore more wild game in their evening moments.
What lodges or accommodations are Found Queen Elizabeth National Park?
Queen Elizabeth National Park has got a wide range of safari lodges that are located within or on the fringes of this incredible conservation area. These lodges ranges from luxury to midrange and budget types.
Some of the luxury safari lodges in Queen include Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Mweya Safari Lodge and Elephant Plains Safari Lodge.
Midrange lodges here include Maziike Valley lodge, Parkview Safari Lodge, Enganzi Game lodge, Ihamba Lakeside Lodge, Enjojo Safari Lodge, Marafiki Safari Lodge and Kingfisher lodge kichwamba.
Budget safari Lodges in Queen include Pumba Safari Lodge, Ishasha jungle lodge, Simba Safari Camp, the Observatory, UWA hostels, bandas and tented camps
What are the entrance fees to Queen Elizabeth National Park?
The entrance fees to Queen Elizabeth park are charged according to age and nationality status of person wishing to access the park. Adult Foreign Nonresidents to Queen are charged 40$ per person, Adult Foreign residents are charged 30$ per person. Under the children category foreign nonresidents pay 20$ while foreign residents pay 10$, East African citizens adults and children pay 20000ugx and 5000ugx respectively.
Stay tuned because next time, we will be visiting Bwindi Impenetrable National Park the true home of the majestic gorillas.
At Wild Gorilla Safaris, we strive to meet all your Africa safari needs as we have got virtually the safari packages that will give you a memorable Africa safari experience. For anyone interested in Uganda wildlife safaris packages we have got you covered with wide range of packages that are tailored basing on the number of days you have and the destination you would like to visit on your Uganda safari tour. If you’ve got only a few days, then choose from our short Uganda wildlife safaris which run from 2 days to 5 days such as 2 days Uganda wildlife safari to Murchison falls or 5 days Uganda wildlife safari with chimpanzees and many more. For those that have got more than 5 days, then I suggest pick from our compressive long Uganda wildlife safaris that run from 6 days to as many as 21 days such as
On top of an epic Uganda safari adventure to many of these savanna parks, you have an opportunity to encounter mountain gorillas. Yes, a Uganda gorilla tour experience is very possible when you visit gorilla trekking Uganda destinations Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. A Uganda gorilla safari to any of these parks gives you an opportunity to meet any of the 19 gorilla families that have been habituated to give you nothing but the ultimate Uganda gorilla tours experience, you can ever think of.
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Congo as well is another gorilla destination and we have numerous Congo gorilla safari packages that will take you on a Congo gorilla tour adventure to either Virunga National Park for an encounter with mountain gorillas or Kahuzi Beiga National Park where you will encounter Eastern lowland gorillas. Besides gorilla safaris and wildlife encounters in Uganda, you can still explore Uganda’s diversity using any of our wide range of day trips that visit other sites that are near the capital city Kampala or Entebbe international airport such as a Mabamba birding day trip to Mabamba island Kampala city tour day tour Jinja day tour and 1 day Ngamba island chimpanzee safari. Check out our great east Africa safari to such as Kenya safari tours and Tanzania safari tour that take you on an Africa wildlife safari adventure to Kenya and Tanzania respectively.
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