Queen Elizabeth National Park | Uganda Travel Tips & Reviews | Africa Point
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Queen Elizabeth National Park
Hippos, Ishasha River, Queen Elizabeth N.P.
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Queen Elizabeth National Park

Snapshot

Experience Equatorial Uganda at its best!  Let your senses become tuned to the unique sounds and sights of this breathtaking African wilderness.  Wake up to the sound of the dawn chorus of birds, and set off into the forest to track some Chimpanzees, or go on a game-drive to spot the famous tree-climbing Lions. All set against the backdrop of mighty Mount Rwenzori! Welcome to Queen Elizabeth National Park!

 

Best Time to Visit:

Come during the drier months, December to February and June to August.
 

How to Get There:

By charter flight from Kampala direct to your wilderness Lodge.
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Wildlife Wonderland

This is Equatorial Africa at its pristine best; a place where you can get truly up close and personal with a large diversity of wildlife and unique flora.  This Park has something to offer for everyone, from geological wonders to Chimpanzee Trekking, and even tree-climbing Lions!  The impressive Rwenzori Mountains, with peaks reaching 5,108m above sea level form the dramatic backdrop to this impressive National Park which boasts volcanoes, crater lakes, grasslands, forests and wetlands. Come and share in the excitement of a safari in the QE National Park.

 

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The Chimpanzees, the Tree-Climbing Lions and Other Highlights

The Chimpanzees

The Kyambura Gorge is a fantastic place to go Chimpanzee tracking!  The Kyambura River runs through the base of this deep, almost “underground” gorge which drops over 100m below the escarpment and is covered in dense jungle, which is home to a large group of Chimpanzees.  Some of these Chimps have been habituated to humans and can be tracked on foot with a guide.  En-route you will also have a chance to spot several of the other 10 species of Primates that live here, including Vervet Monkeys and Black and White Colobus. The Maramagambo Forest is another part of the Park that is home to Chimps and other primates as well as many bird species.

 

The Lions of Ishasha

Lions and other Big Cats (Leopard, Civet, Genal and Serval) can be found all over the Park, but the most famous of these are the remarkable tree-climbing Lions of the southern Ishasha region.  There are a lot of theories about why these particular Lions have decided to climb up into the huge Wild Fig trees, as this is not normal behaviour associated with adult Lions.  Some speculate that the Lions climb up to escape the onslaught of biting flies at ground level, while others believe that they elevate themselves to cool down in the breezes that filter through the canopy of trees.  (It can be stiflingly hot and humid here on the Equator.)  Perhaps they have just become really clever and worked out that it is easier to pounce on an un-suspecting antelope from this lofty perch, rather than waste energy on a chase at ground level!  Either way, they are a unique sight and you have a good chance of spotting them in the Ishasha area of the Park.

 

The Hippos

The Park is also home to one of the densest populations of Hippo to be found in any National Park. If you visit in February, you could volunteer to help with the bi-annual Hippo Census, which is a great adventure!

 

The Birdlife 

This little part of Uganda is simply one of the best places in the world for bird watching!  The diverse habitats, which range from savannah to forest to wetland, provide the perfect home for over 600 species of birds, several of which are unique to this region.  There are several birding hotspots dotted all around the Park, including the Kazinga Channel, the Kasenyi Area, Mweya Peninsula and the Maramagambo Forest.

 

The Geology

In addition to the rich diversity of Flora and Fauna, there are also some incredible geological gems to be viewed.  There are no less than 72 huge round crater lakes dotted across the Equator, which bear witness to the regions turbulent volcanic history.  There is a 27km drive from the Kabatoro Gate to Queen’s Pavilion which takes in many of the most exciting geological features – you can ask your Tour operator to include this drive in your itinerary.

 

  

Safaris in the Queen Elizabeth National Park

You need several days in this National Park to explore the varied habitats and enjoy all the activities.  Ideally, you should spend a couple of days in at least two different parts of the Park to get the most out of your trip.  The Mweya Peninsula is the tourist hub of the Park and a good place to start your visit as it is ideally situated for both water and land-based game viewing. No visit would be complete without including a launch trip on the Kazinga Channel.  It is also possible to put together a custom Safari which will include all your particular interests.  There are dedicated Birding Safaris, Primate Safaris (you could combine your visit to QE Park with Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Chimp Tracking in Kibale National Park, for instance) and many other options.

 

 

Other Activities in and around Queen Elizabeth National Park

The Bat Caves

The Bat Caves are tucked away deep in the Maramagambo Forest and there is a special viewing room where you can watch these interesting nocturnal creatures.  Enjoy the bird and primate watching on your way there.

 

Cultural Experiences

There are several Cultural Excursions to see local villages, the salt flats and craft workshops.  These are all led by local villagers and directly support many of the local people.  Most of the Lodges also showcase African dancing and crafts.

 

Launch Trips on the Kazinga Channel

This activity is a highlight of any visit and will give you the opportunity to see very large numbers of Hippo and Crocodiles in the water, and Elephant, Buffalo and many other animals along the banks of the channel.  It is also a favourite activity for bird watchers.

 

 

Accommodation in Q.E. National Park

There is quite a good selection of accommodation inside the Park and your Tour Operator will be able to suggest the best options to suit your individual interests and budget.  There are luxury eco-Lodges hidden deep in the forests and lovely tented Lodges with views over the extensive plains.  

 

 

How to Get There

The best way to get to the Park is by charter flights from Entebbe Airport in Kampala to the airstrips at Kasese, Mweya and Ishasha.  

 

 

Best Time to Visit  

Game Viewing and Chimp Trekking are at their best during the drier months from December to February and June to August.  It can get quite cool at night even though the Park is on the Equator, so bring some warmer layers.

 


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