Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda, Wildlife safari tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda wildlife safari game drives,boat cruises, nature walks,chimpanzee trekking when to visit, how to get there & where to sleep in Queen Elizabeth NP.
Queen Elizabeth national park is situated in south western part of Uganda; spanning the districts of Bushenyi, Kasese, Rukungiri and Kamwenge, the park is situated at an estimated distance of 417 kilometers about 7-8 by road from Uganda’s Capital city Kampala driving on the south western direction.
The nearby town of Kasese district is found outside the northeastern corner of the park. The park lies at the estimated Latitude of:-0.2000; Longitude: 30.0000.
Queen Elizabeth is the second largest protected area in Uganda and it covers an estimated area of 1,978 square kilometers (764 sq mi), of the total area occupied by the park, 50% of the park’s land are found in Bushenyi district, an estimated 17% of the park areas are positioned in Kasese and 33% of the protected area land lies in prominent Rukungiri Districts.
The Queen Elizabeth park area stretches from Uganda’s Lake George found in the northeast part of the park to Lake Edward located in the southwest direction, and it also includes the magnificent Kazinga Channel that links the two lakes of Lake George to Lake Edward.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most popular game reserve for Uganda safaris and certainly one most scenic.
It stretches from the crater-dotted foothills of the Rwenzori range in the north, along the shores of Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River in the south, incorporating a wide variety of habitats that range from savanna and wetlands to gallery and lowland forest.
This remarkable diversity is reflected in its bird list of over 600 species, the largest of any protected area in Africa
Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.
Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.
The dramatic scenery is largely due to mountains beyond the park boundary. The park itself lies on the rift valley floor where it rises 480m from 910m at the Kazinga Channel to 1390m in the Explosion Crater field.
The low altitude and its location directly on the equator mean that temperatures can be warm, rising from a mean minimum of 18oC to a mean maximum of 28oC. The park receives up to 1250mm of rain, mostly during March-May and September-November.
The park is known for its volcanic features, comprising volcanic cones and deep craters, many with crater lakes such as Lake Katwe where salt is mined.
The national park has Maramagambo Forest and neighbors with Kigezi and Kyambura Game Reserves, Kibale National Park plus the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kasese lying on its north-western wing.
Safari Attractions in Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth has a rich biodiversity which attracts tourists to come here and enjoy and this biodiversity ranges from 95 mammal species, which includes the rare tree climbing lions species, 3000 elephants, over 10000 buffaloes, leopards, 5000hippos, bush backs, a wide range of antelope family, a variety of monkey species and chimpanzees, 400 bird species and many reptiles like the Nile crocodiles snakes and lizards and a number of volcanic features like volcanic cones and crater lakes like lake Katwe and Kikorongo.
Flora and Fauna As Tourist Attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The Fifty-seven vegetation types that have been identified and summarized as just five vegetation zones of forest; grassland; bushy grassland; Acacia woodland and lakeshore/swamp vegetation act as natural habitat to 95 species of mammals.
The park has the most surprisingly record of protecting 5000 hippos , 2500 elephants and over 10,000 individual buffalos.
These species of wildlife grazers are mushrooming in the park’s grasslands vegetation and shorelines and hence making the park Uganda’s most popular tourist destination that guarantees visitors on Uganda Safaris sights and views of some of Africa’s most popular species of wildlife.
The magical experience one can get from hearing the roaring sound of the elephants surviving around Queen’s crater-filled valleys is big reward for any traveller who books safaris to Uganda.
The cape buffalo is also referred to as the African buffalo and they are a very common sight throughout this park.
It is usually mistaken to be a close relative to domesticated cattle but its rather related to actually other bigger bovines.
Buffaloes have a coarse black coat unlike their close relatives the forest buffaloes which have a reddish coat.
As the male buffaloes grow older, the bases of their horns grows closer and it can even unite forming a feature called a “boss” which is very had to penetrate even with a gun bullet of less 16mm. you can differentiate a male buffalo from a female one by observing the structure of their horns, the male buffalo horns grow while curving outwards while the ones of the female grow while curving inside.
The African buffalo is a big animal with a shoulder height of 1.0-1.7m or 3.3-5.6ft. it has a body length of 1.7-3.4m or 5.6-11.2ft and its tail has a length of 70-110cm or 28-43in.
An adult male African buffalo can weigh as much as between 500-1000kg but the females usually weigh less than this.
Cape buffaloes are usually found in the great plains of African savanna like Murchison falls park. Buffaloes usually stay in large herds that consist anywhere from 5-100 individuals and this is primarily for protection purposes from their predators.
Although buffaloes have a very poor eye sight, this is compensated by possessing an acute sense of smell coupled with a keen sense of hearing, in fact, the buffaloes can stop whatever they are doing and stand still for many minutes or sometimes even hours just to listen even to the tiniest of sounds that may be made by any predator that may be stalking them. when buffaloes are attacked they male buffaloes form defensive wall by being at the flanks of the herd while the females and calves are within the inner part of the herd. the male buffaloes can even sometimes turn and chase the attacking predators They have a gestation period of 11.5 months and a life span of over 25 years in their natural habitats.
African bush elephants
African elephants are the largest land mammals in the world with a male elephant weighing in at 4,700-6,048kg or 10,362-13,334Ib and a shoulder height of 3.2-4.0m or 10.5-13.1ft while their female counterparts weigh in at 2,160-3,232kg or 4,762-7,125Ib and a shoulder height of 2.2-2.6m or 7.2-8.5ft. these land giants have 24 teeth in their mouths and usually lose their teeth 4-6 times in their life time which lies between 60-70 years.
What sets these land giants apart from the rest of crowd is their elongated tusks which are in fact their second set of incisors.
This means that the tusks are very strong as they are used to up root trees and also as weapons they use while fighting.
The tusks weigh between 23-45 kg or 55-99Ib with a length of 1.5-2.4m or 5-8 ft. elephants usually live in groups called families which comprise of 10 or more closely related females with their calves and each of these families is led by an older female called a matriarch.
Elephants have the ability to distinguish and communicate with each other using low frequency infrasonic calls.
With a body mass that is compared to nothing else on land, African elephants have to feed on an average of 450 kg or 992Ib of foliage to sustain their huge bodies and also drink to over 50 liters of water per day.
In fact, these elephants have the ability to smell water to up to 20 km or 12miles away. Elephants have an exposed skin so in order to control over heating of their body, they flap their big ears so as to carry away the heat or bathe in water ponds.
It is believed that when an elephant flaps its ears, it can lose about 10oF of heat hence always staying cool even in the hottest temperatures.
They also employ their elongated trunk to carry water and pour it over their ears to try and cool themselves.
These land giants have very thin hairs around body parts such as eyes and noses and these are mainly for ensuring that germs and other bacteria don’t find it easy to enter the elephants body through these parts.
The elephant trunk is a master piece of creation as it is equipped with 40000 muscles which is way more than an entire human body has at only 639 muscles.
This makes the trunks a very strong and agile part of the elephant that can do many things. The elephant trunk is also used for breathing, snorkeling and also as an extended arm for holding, lifting or pushing anything they want to carry.
A female elephant reaches sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 years and can reproduce after every 3-6 years throughout its lifetime.
All elephants have a very poor metabolism and that’s why they eat a lot of food but ¾ of it will come out of the elephants undigested as dung.
Due to the poor metabolic system, elephant calves have been recorded doing something bizarre and that is eating dung that has been passed out by their mothers but this is all because elephant calves can’t process raw grass hence have they have to resort to eating pre-processed food that has been passed out as dung. They have a gestation period of up to 22 months being the longest in all land mammals.
Just like humans and apes, elephants are also highly intelligent species with a brain that weighs about 5kg or 11Ib which about 4 times heavier than that of human making it the heaviest brain of any land mammal.
With such a brain, these land giants are believed to exhibit character traits like grief, learning, sense of humor, compassion, self-awareness, a very strong and vivid memory, play and use of tools and possibly a language.
In queen Elizabeth national park, hippos are mostly found in the Kazinga channel and on the shores of lake Edward and George.
Hippos are large animals only behind the African elephant that can weigh anywhere between 1300-1500kg or 2870-3310ib for both sexes.
The hippos are semi aquatic as they both live on land and in water. Hippos are herbivores animals can come on land in the evening to graze, they can be easily identified basing on barrel shaped body, short legs and long muzzles or mouths, their body is hairless with a purplish gray to blue black color which is also thick about 2in or 6cm. due to lack of body hairs, hippos secret an element that is reddish orange to brown to act as a protective layer both from the scotching sun and bacterial infection.
This phenomenon is referred to as “blood sweating” hippos have a very powerful jaw which can open as wide as 180o and its filled with monstrous teeth with their incisors growing up to 40cm or 1ft4in and canines growing up to 50cm or 1ft8in. despite their short legs and big sizes hippos can burst to 30km/hr in short distances. Hippos are highly territorial while in water but not on land, they have a gestation period of 243days and can live up to 40-50 years.
The Park has range of Big Cats such as lion described as a large -solitary cat dotted with black spots, the Leopards, Serval, Civet, and Genal Cats.
Lions are distributed in all the parts of the park; however the most well-known and unique are the tree-climbing lions in the southern part of the Ishasha sector, these rare lions are only two populations in the whole of Africa and they prefer staying in the branches of the fig trees.
The species of the Solitary leopards found in this protected area are only active at night and hence can be easily watched during the night hour game drives.
The other smaller members of the cat family are also nocturnal species and hence night game drives are recommendable for any visitor interested in the views of these stunning wildlife species.
Leopards are some of the big cat family predators that roam the plains of queen Elizabeth national park and they are at the top of the food chain together.
Leopards are usually taken to be the same with cheetahs but they are completely different as cheetahs have tear marks on their faces small round spots while leopards have no this distinctive mark on their faces and have larger rosettes on their body.
The skin color of leopards ranges from pale yellow to golden or yellowish brown with rosettes and this enables these super predators to camouflage so that they can stalk their prey without ever being noticed.
Male leopards are muscular with short limbs and a broad head, the males have an average shoulder height of 60-70cm or 24-28in and weigh in at 37-90kg while the females have an average shoulder height of57-64cm or 22-25in and weigh in between26-60kg. the cheetah has a very long tail that’s white tipped with a length of 60-100cm or 24-39in and this enables the leopards make quick sharp turns at high speed while on a chase.
Leopards can sometimes have black color and this is caused by melanism which is a recessive gene in these animals and when a leopard is having this phenomena, it turns from being called a leopard to a black panther.
Leopards are usually solitary animals, they have a gestation period of 90-105 days and can live in their natural habitat for 12-17 years.
Queen Elizabeth is famous as the only place in Uganda with tree climbing lions at Ishasha.
Lions are part of the big cate family and are muscular, deep chested with rounded heads.
Most of the African lion males can distinguished from their females by the presence of a mane around the necks and heads of male African lions which is clearly absent in females but there quite many cases in Africa where the males also don’t have a mane or have a very short and thin one.
The male lions are usually bigger than the females but their sizes vary according to location. In east Africa, adult female lions have a body length of 160-184cm or 63-72in weighing in at 119.5kg or 263Ib on average while the adult males have a body length of184-208cm or 72-82in weighing in at 174.9kg or 386Ib on average.
Lions are social animals who live in groups called prides. A pride is always led by a dominant male and their highly territorial animals controlling vast expanses that are strategic with a lot of prey and water.
Male dominant lions are responsible for protecting the pride and they will fight off other male invaders, in case the dominant male is defeated by the invading lions, the victor lions will kill off all the cubs that are off springs to the defeated dominant male as a way of ending its blood lineage.
Lions are carnivores and are at the top of the food chain feeding on almost all browsers and grazers within their domain due to their ability to hunt as a pride and carry out well coordinated and planned attacks which enables them to take down prey that can even be between 2-4 times bigger than them such as zebras, elephants and buffaloes.
Lions usually hunt at night because of their well-developed sense of sight especially at night where their vision is almost 6 times better than that of humans due to the presence of white patches around their eyes which enable them to absorb even the smallest amount of light available during the cover of darkness.
Hunting among lions is an affair carried out by female lions mostly and juvenile males and when a kill has been made by the lionesses in a pride, it’s always the dominant male lion who will eat first up to his fill then the rest of the pride will feed on what has remained after the he has finished eating. They have a gestation period of 97 days and a life span of about 10-14 years.
Primates in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The varied habitats of Queen Elizabeth support the survival of estimated ten individual species of primates including the chimpanzees.
The other interesting primate species include Vervet monkeys, decorated species of the white and-black colobus monkeys which can be easily spotted and sighted in the trees.
The oldest primate species in the park is the stubborn baboons which tend to grab tourist’s food from the vehicles if the car widows.
Chimpanzees: These are close relatives of humans alongside gorillas and orangutans, there are two species of chimpanzees, Common chimpanzee species and the Bonobo species, Queen Elizabeth National Park has the Common chimpanzees’ species.
An adult Common chimpanzee can weigh between 40-60 kg with a height of 1.6 meters or 5ft3inches while an adult female can weigh between 32-47kg with a height of 1.3 meters or 4feet3inches.
Common chimpanzees have coarse black hair except on their toes, face, fingers, palms of hand and the soles of their feet.
The chimpanzees have a firm grip because their thumbs and big toes are opposite to each other. These chimpanzees reach puberty stage between 8-10 years and they have a life span of up to 40 years in their natural habitat, this can increase to up to 50 years of age in captivity.
The chimps have a gestation period of 8 months. These chimps live in groups called communities ranging between 15- 150 members and each community is led by a dominant male called an Alpha male.
Black and white colobus monkeys: These monkeys have a black color with a strip of white color on the side of their body, limbs and around their face, these monkeys live in groups of 5-15 members led by a male, their weight ranges between 4-14 kg, they have a body length of up to 75 cm or 30 inches.
The black and white colobus are herbivores primates and they have a gestation period of 4-6 months,
Red tail monkeys: These monkeys are known as the Schmidt guenon.
This monkey species is usually red, black or orange in color with a red coloring at its tail. This species has a body length of between 1-2 feet excluding the tail, the males weigh between 7-10 pounds by adulthood age while adult females weigh between 6-8 pounds.
The red tailed monkeys are frictivoruous feeding mostly on a fruit diet. These monkeys can live in groups ranging between 7-30 individuals led by a dominant male. The red tailed monkeys are very active during early morning and late evening hours
Birds in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The popular Queen Elizabeth is one of the best national parks in Uganda with various bird species .
The various habitats that include the savanna vegetation to wetlands as well as lowland forests vegetation favor the survival of distinct bird species.
The park now boasts of over 612 different bird species making it the only park with the largest number of recorded bird list than any other protected areas of the whole region of East Africa.
The highest number of the birds species recorded in this prominent birding area is considered as famous and popular unique birds of East Africa region and hence making them must watch for all birdwatchers spending their birding safaris in Africa.
In African protected areas, the park’s impressive bird list is exceeded only by the neighboring Virunga National Park.
To name but a few key species: martial eagle, black-rumped buttonquail, African skimmer, Chapin’s flycatcher, pink-backed pelicans, white-winged warbler, papyrus gonolek, papyrus canary, corncrake, lesser and greater flamingo, and shoebill stork.
Martial eagle: The martial eagle is one of the largest living eagle species with a body length of 78-96cm or 31-38in, their wingspan measures up to 188-260cm or 6ft2in-8ft6in. unlike many bird species with sexual dimorphism, where the males are larger than females, the martial eagles have reversed sexual dimorphism with females being larger than males in both linear dimension and body mass.
African broad bill: This is a boldly streaked, largely brown, stocky fly catcher like bird, the males have a black crown while the females have a grey crown, their body length ranges between 12-14 cm. this bird produces a loud sound during flight that vibrates “prrrrup” which can be compared to an old fashioned car horn and this is followed by softer “tui-tui-tui” calls.
White tailed lark: The white tailed lark has a body length of 13cm on average and a body mass of 20-25g. this species of larks is short, compact with a shortish and stout bill.
The white tailed larks have prominent pale lores and supercilium that contrasts with brownish ear coverts. Male white tailed larks make a voice call along rambling series of chirps and whistles.
White winged warbler: The white winged warblers have an average body length of 13-14.5and a body mass of 12g on average. This species of birds has a distinctive grey head and upper mantle with blackish lores.
Their eye crescents are narrow white and they also have whitish supraloral stripe. The white winged warbler has a voice call with short series of high pitched squeaky notes that can accelerate sometimes at the end.
The peninsula is the hub for tourism activity and accommodation in the central section of the park. A nature walk with a ranger guide enables you to explore remoter parts of the peninsula.
This and other activities can be arranged from Mweya Information Centre. The facility overlooks the scenic Katwe Bay of Lake Edward and contains a souvenir shop and exhibits that describe the national park and its rift valley.
This peninsula was created as a result of a mass of land projecting into water and for this case the peninsula is projecting into lake Edward on its north eastern shores.
This peninsula serves as the best vintage point to view the open grassland of this magnificent park, sighting a lot of wild game roaming in the vast plains and also see Kazinga channel running from lake Edward to lake George. It also has the best accommodation facility in the park in Mweya safari lodge.
The plain situated north of the Kazinga Channel is the primary game viewing area. The areas is connected by network of tracks which make it easy to find unique wildlife species like elephants, buffalo and other animals in the mosaic of grassland thickets that cover the North Kazinga area near Mweya.
However lion are most reliably sighted on the open Kasenyi plain east of the Kasese road where they prey on a large population of Uganda kob. Game drives are most rewarding in early morning and late afternoon. A ranger guide is recommended to help you make the most of your experience.
The Katwe Salt Lake is home to Uganda’s oldest industry where traditional salt mining has been practiced since the 16th century.
The neighboring Lake Munyanyange is a bird sanctuary, as well as a migratory location for the lesser flamingo from August to November.
Katwe Exploration Crater
The cluster of extinct volcanoes north of Mweya Safari Lodge can be explored by the winding 27km Crater Drive between the Main and Equator Gates.
This provides superb views into numerous craters, some filled by lovely lakes, as well as towards the Rwenzori and across the rift valley floor.
The Equator and the Queen’s Pavilion
The point where the equator crosses the Kasese road is marked by two concrete circles which provide a popular photo stop.
The Queen’s Pavilion stands nearby at the northern entrance to the Crater Drive. A temporary shelter at this site hosted H.M. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1954; a permanent pavilion was built in 1959 for a visit by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
This was restored for a second visit by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2007. A new information Centre on the site include internet facilities and a coffee shop.
Kyambura Wildlife Reserve
Located to the East of Kyambura Gorge, the reserve protects the south-eastern banks of the Kazinga Channel and consists of four crater lakes, where thousands greater and lesser flamingoes ,water bird species like the great egret can be easily observed.
The 40km-long channel that connects Lake George to Lake Edward provides the park’s prime wildlife spectacle. Its shoreline attracts large numbers of birds, mammals and reptiles year round.
These can be seen from two covered launches, Topi and Simba that cruise between Mweya Jetty and the channel’s entrance into Lake Edward. The launches run at 15.00 and 17.00. Additional voyages run at 11.00 and 13.00 subject to demand.
Buzzing with primates, including chimpanzees, baboons and several monkey species, the forest is one of Uganda’s largest tracts of tropical forest. Maramagambo is notable for its primate and bird populations like the rare Forest Flycatcher, White-naped Pigeon and the striking Rwenzori Turaco. One can also visit the ‘cormorant house’, a large tree that has been turned white by the birds that roost here at night.
The shady forest also conceals crater lakes and a “Bat Cave” with a specially constructed viewing room.. Trails explore the forest around Lake Nyamusingire.
Wildlife sightings vary from day to day, but guaranteed events include the Bat Cave (with a resident, bat-hungry python), and the copper-rich Blue Lake.
This remote southern region enjoys fewer visitors than the north, but those who venture this far may be rewarded with sightings of Ishasha’s most famous residents – the tree climbing lions – lounging in the branches while keeping a close eye on herds of Uganda kob. It is also home to many buffalo and elephants as well as the rare shoebill.
Ishasha is also a convenient region to pass through on the way to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
The gorge is best known for its resident chimpanzees – some of which are habituated and can be tracked through the forest with trained UWA guides.
Habituated chimpanzees live in the 100m deep gorge carved by the Kyambura River as it flows across the rift valley floor towards the Kazinga Channel.
Guided walks to search for them start at Kyambura’s Fig Tree Camp at 08.00 and 14.00. The 3km road to the gorge is clearly signposted to help direct the visitors’ right from the highway to the George.
Caves in Queen Elizabeth
Tucked beneath the shady canopy of the Maramagambo Forest are the “Bat Cave”. The cave has a viewing room built through funding from the Center for Disease Control in which visitors can observe the bats as well as the pythons that live alongside them… did you know that these serpents live amongst their prey?!
For a more cultural cave experience, how about a trip to the historic cave at Nyanz’ibiri community, where a local guide will explain to you how it was once used for offering sacrifices and cleansing misfortunes… and as a hiding place during Uganda’s rule by Idi Amin.
Other Tourist attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Visit to the Crater Lakes
Katwe Crater Lakes are a cluster of ten crater lakes formed from extinct volcanoes. The lakes are situated north of Mweya Safari Lodge and can be explored down the winding 27km Crater Drive.
These lakes offer stunning scenery and breathtaking views across Queen Elizabeth National Park and also on a clear day the neighbouring mountains of Congo.
Some of the lakes are filled with water and provide ample opportunity to observe animals coming down to the water’s edge to drink.
Visit To The Salt Plains and Fishing Villages
Katwe Salt Lake is home to Uganda’s oldest industry. Here salt is mined in the traditional manner and the salt ore looks the same as it did in the 14th century.
The salt mine has been portioned and distributed to different tribes in Uganda according to their traditional cultural expectations.
Visit one of the local fishing villages and learn what is involved in the day to day life within Ugandan fishing community.
Cultural Encounters In Queen Elizabeth
Leopard Village-Leopard Village is a community-run, socio-economic development initiative that promotes cultural and wildlife conservation through ecotourism.
Located near the village of Muhokya, Leopard Village sits on 3 acres bordering the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Visitors can tour replicas of the traditional huts of the Banyabindi, Bakonzo, and Basongora ethnic groups, watch traditional song and dance performances, and purchase handicrafts made by local communities.
Longer visits can include conversations with community members about the challenges and opportunities they face living next to the park, visits to local schools, and discussions about traditional village life and solutions for human-wildlife conflict. We can work with tour groups to create a customized program.
Leopard Village is a partnership between the local communities of Muhokya, Kahendero and Hamukungu, and the Uganda Carnivore Program, with support from zoos in the United States and Germany.
All fees and donations go directly to community development, conservation and education projects, and to the individual artists.
By supporting Leopard Village tourist and cultural activities, you will be assisting in the conservation of the area’s wildlife and supporting sustainable development in the local communities.
Kikorongo Women Community
Culturalenconter-2Kikorongo means Too Much Sunshine in the local language of Lukonzo – but the heat of the African plains has not diminished the energy of the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performers!
This vibrant performance, which takes place at lodges around the park, is a wonderful glimpse of life in Kikorongo, with dance, drama, music and fire-making.
While a local interpreter explains the significance of the performances, you can sit back and watch village life unfold in front of you.
Kikorongo’s African ArtCraft Workshops teach guests how to weave baskets and bowls using natural fibers – it´s not as easy as the teachers make it look!
They also demonstrate how to recycle magazines into colorful paper beads, which can be made into unique necklaces.
If your own craft skills are not up to scratch, beautiful items made by the women´s group, such as baskets, bowls, purses and woven belts, are available to purchase.
Katwe Tourism Information Centre (KATIC)
This unusual lake is far too salty to support much wildlife – though since the 16th Century it has ensured the survival of the Katwe villagers, who spend their days under the equatorial sun, walking the network of paths that cross-cross the lake and harvesting salt from its milky waters.
Katwe Salt Lake Tour gives a unique insight into the fascinating yet tough process of salt mining, as well as providing an alternative income for Katwe.
See villagers at work on the lake, cross the mud walkways and enter a traditional grass hut. You will also pass the nearby bird sanctuary lake, home to thousands of birds, including flamingoes from October to May. A bird watching boardwalk will be ready in 2012.
During Katwe Village Walk, visitors are welcomed to a traditional homestead. Cooking demonstrations introduce the region’s cuisine, and there is also a trip to the local school.
Nyanz’ibiri Cave Community
Stretch your legs after long game drives with scenic walks around a slice of Ugandan paradise, at this community site known as The Cave.
Admire panoramic views of volcanic crater lakes to a soundtrack of crested cranes and eagles. Paddle a canoe, hike to the Transparent Lake, spot eight species of forest primates, or just stop and smell the local flowers – this is the place to come to truly get away from it all!
Local attractions include a historic cave and Cultural Museum – a perfectly preserved Banyaruguru hut, filled with valued local artifacts that were once the tools of everyday life.
This community run establishment also offers three, fully furnished private bandas and a campsite. All visitors are invited to use our restaurant and bar, and enjoy our evening traditional dance performances.
A generous portion of your activity and accommodation fees go directly to community development, conservation and educational projects.
The sweeping Kichwamba Escarpment makes up the eastern wall of the Western Rift Valley. This 2-3 hour trail begins in rural Kataara Village with a hike through the farms of the escarpment in the cool morning or early evening.
Your expert local guide will point out beautiful bird species, exotic and medicinal plants and sites of cultural importance, as well as explaining local farming methods.
Visitors will also learn about the enduring challenge of human-animal conflicts in the area, and will tour the beehives that are used to divert destructive elephants away from community crops on the park border. Interested clients will even have the chance to try their hand at honey harvesting.
After enjoying the peace of the endless savannah and the shade of the trees, visitors hike back up the escarpment and can return to their lodges.
Hiking/Nature Walks in Queen Elizabeth
Nature walks can be done in the savannah and woodland vegetation’s found in the Mweya Peninsular. At the southern end of the park, visitors can enjoy an easy stroll along the Ishasha River, where they can spot a variety of forest and savanna bird and mammal species as well as having a unique opportunity on this walk to get extremely close to hippos on foot, while remaining perfectly safe on the raised bank above the river.
Wildlife Research Tours in Queen Elizabeth
Experimental tours inside-For visitors who yearn to get up close to wild African fauna, a research trip is a rewarding adventure.
This new and unique experience allows visitors to actively participate in monitoring some of the exotic birds and mammals that fill the park, using locator devices and learn habituation calls, as well as monitoring weather, surroundings and behavior.
The results are added to researchers’ databases, contributing valuable information to the overall understanding of wildlife ecology – and helping to conserve this wonderful ecosystem.
The experiential tourism activities currently available are Mongoose Tracking, Lion Tracking, Hippo Census, and Bird Counts.
The number of people on each outing is limited in order to reduce stress on the animals and to increase the quality of the experience for visitors.
Experiential tours lasts between one and three hours. They usually take place in the early morning or evening, or occasionally at night.
All activities must be booked through the Visitor Information Centre in Mweya at least 24 hours in advance.
Safari Activities in Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a variety of activities to anyone who pays homage to it but for any of these activities to be carried out by a tourist in queen Elizabeth National Park, a park entry fee has to be paid first at the park offices and these fees are 40$ foreign nonresidents adults while children 20$, 30$ foreign residents adults while children 10$, 20000ugx east African citizens adults while children 5000ugx, 5000 local university students and high school students and 3000ugx for local primary pupils.
Bird Watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Bird watching activities are some of the highly rewarding activities enjoyed by visitors on Uganda safaris to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The park’s great variety of habitats supports the survival of over 600 bird species which cannot be found anywhere in East African national parks.
The park’s confluence of savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of the DR Congo allow visitors to spot East and Central African bird species.
The main camp at Mweya is attractively positioned with fine views of the Rwenzori Mountains number of widespread bush species may be seen in the vicinity of the airstrip watch for African Mourning Dove, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Swamp Fly-catcher, Grey-capped Warbler, The Beautiful Black-headed Gonolek, Red-chested sunbird, Slender-billed, Yellow-backed and Lesser Masked Weavers, Pin-tailed Whydah,and brimstone Canary, Gabon and Slender-tailed Nightjars, are fairly common along the airstrip.
The Kazinga channel is a magnet for water birds a launch cruise reveals species such as; Great-white and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Common Squaco Heron, African open-billed Strok, White-faced Whistling and Knob-billed Ducks, African Fish Eagle, Black Crake, African Jacana, Water Thick-knee, Spur-winged and African Wattled Plovers, Malachite and Pied kingfishers, Swamp flycatchers and Yellow backed Weavers are all common and conspicious.
Numbers of migrants peak in Febuary and March and are nothing short of spectacular with hundreds of thousands of White-winged Terns hovering over the water, millions of common sand Martins and Yellow -wagtails roosting in reed-beds and lesser numbers of palaeartic waders such as the Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh, common and Wood sandpipers, Spotted Redshank and common Greenshank feeding along the marshy fringes.
A number of national rarities have been recorded from the hippo wallows along the channel including Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Northern Pochard, Mongolian Plover and Jack Snipe.
Hundreds of African Skimmers may be seen roosting on sandbars near the entrance to Lake Edward but are migrants from southern tropics and usually present only from December to May.
The Kazinga channel may also be viewed from the Katunguru Bridge on the main Mbarara-Kasese road where Pelicans, Terns, Greater Swamp and winged Warblers, Winding and Carruther’s Cisticolas and Papyrus Gonolek may be seen.
Described as Uganda’s safari destination, Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park are most rewarding.
These can be done in the two areas i.e. the Channel Drive Circuit and the Kasenyi Plains.
The Kasenyi Plains are the most famous game driving area in Queen Elizabeth national park.
The plains which extend towards Lake George offer a typical African Savannah type of vegetation. These rolling plains support large number of wildlife grazers which cannot be sighted anywhere else in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
A game drive in this particular area offers a unique selection of wild animals. According to the guides, it is said to be the most reliable place in Uganda to see lions.
This section of the park alongside the wonderful variety of game and predator species boosts an interesting selection of grassland birds, including grey-crowned crane, red-throated spurfowl and yellow-throated long claw.
The Channel Drive Circuit follows the northern shore of the Kazinga Channel, the roads wind between tangled thickets interspersed with the cactus like euphorbia trees.
The most regular wildlife species which can be easily encountered in this area are the warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck, elephants, hippos and frequently lions.
Leopards are also a common sight in this section of the park and due to them being unusually habituated; they provide a rare opportunity to get up close and personal to these magnificent animals.
This is also one of the few places in Africa where the rare giant forest hog is regularly seen during daylight hours.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Kyambura Gorge
Kyambura Gorge is situated on the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park, it straddles a distance of about 16km and at its deepest it is 100m deep.
The Kyambura River is responsible for creating the magnificent steep Kyambura Gorge. The gorge emerges from between savannah grassland and has a riverine virgin forest that transits to papyrus swamps towards Kazinga Channel.
Kyambura Gorge is home to habituated chimpanzees, many other primates and a huge variety of both forest and plains bird species.
The best time to trek the chimpanzees is in the morning, trekking is also available in the afternoon but this time slot may be more undesirable due to the likelihood of increased temperatures.
Trekking chimpanzees at Kyambura Gorge is considered to be slightly harder than at Kibale Forest National Park.
The trails are maintained and once inside the Gorge the inclinations are relatively easy going, however, the climb back out of the Gorge can be extremely difficult if you are not prepared.
Chimp tracking trekking experience at Kyambura Gorge is more than discovering chimpanzees in their natural environment: it teaches visitors about the ecosystems of Kyambura Gorge’s atmospheric “underground” rainforest, including vegetation types; bird identification and behavior; and chimp and monkey ecology.
The launch trip along the Kazinga Channel is one of the most famous tourism activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
It offers an interesting opportunity for visitors on safari tour to Queen to sit back, relax and enjoy the fresh river breeze whilst having account of large selection of wildlife.
The ranges of wildlife species which can be easily seen on launch trip include the elephants, buffalo, waterbuck and Ugandan Kob.
Large breeding pods of hippos are also seen on a daily basis. On occasion tourists will also encounter the giant forest hog, leopard and lion.
The water birds in the area are plentiful, in particular, water thickknee, yellow-billed stork, various plovers, white pink-backed Pelicans and white-bellied cormorants.
Getting to Queen Elizabeth national Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park can be accessed most easily from Kampala. The tarmac road from Kampala via Mbarara town and Bushenyi leads to the center of the park, passing just 22 km from Mweya Peninsula, the main tourism hub.
Approaching the park from the south via Mbarara covers a distance of 420km while the north through Fort Portal covers a total of 410 km.
En-route to the park, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy short detours to Lake Mburo National Park, Rwenzori Mountains and Kibale National Park, renowned for its chimpanzee tracking.
The park can also be accessed from the south from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
By Air travel-Charter flights can be arranged to existing airstrips of Kasese, Mweya and Ishasha.
Accommodations in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Mweya Safari Lodge-Luxury
The Lodge is located on a peninsula within the heart of the Queen Elizabeth National Park and surrounded by the magical Rwenzori Mountains dubbed the ‘Mountains of the Moon,
Mweya Safari Lodge offers visitors a spectacular experience of luxury in the wilderness areas of Queen Elizabeth National park.
At Mweya Safari Lodge, accommodations are offered in the 32 Standard Rooms and 12 Deluxe Rooms with Air-conditioning as well as in the 2 Suites.
For visitors interested in staying in the cottages, they are given chance to choose from the luxurious Presidential Cottages, Queens cottages to two family cottages and Luxury tents, two standard tents.
The facilities in the lodge range from Swimming Pool, Restaurant & Cuisine, and The Business Centre to the Gift Shop which sells gifts, handcraft, and other local products, Conference Facilities among others facilities
Each room at Mweya Safari Lodge has a breathtaking view of the Kazinga channel. One can watch the forest hogs grazing on the grassland vegetation of Queen Elizabeth National park, as well as the odd curious hippo.
The cuisine served in the safari lodge is of the highest quality, presents a range of exquisite Continental, Indian and International cuisine.
The Mweya Health Club and spa offers treatments to revitalize you after a long day out in the game park. With an abundance of game, and some of the best bird watching in Africa, Mweya Safari Lodge is the perfect place to start your journey of discovery.
The Lodge offers a range of tourist’s activities to tourists who spend their Uganda holiday safari while staying at the lodge.
The range of activities includes the game drives, Adventurous launch trip on the Kazinga Channel and chimpanzees trekking in the famous Kyambura gorge.
|Room Type||Bed &Breakfast||Full Board|
|Deluxe per room||$333||$374|
|Double per room||$369||$410|
|Suite per room||$369||$410|
Kyambura Gorge Lodge – Luxury Lodge in Queen Elizabeth Park
Kyambura safari Lodge is an eco-lodge situated on the eastern edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park, in the western part of the great East African Rift valley. The place has spectacular views over the national park and the Rwenzori Mountains.
Accommodation in the Lodge is provided in seven spacious and tastefully designed self-contained grass-thatched cottages, with bath tabs/showers, running hot and cold water, with 220v electricity and a private wooden balcony perched over Queen Elizabeth wildlife Park.
The facilities and services offered at Kyambura game lodge include services in the Restaurant and Bar where both Local and International cuisine are served to the guest,
The restaurant and the lounge/bar/fireplace are opened towards a sundowner deck overlooking the park for relaxation in the evenings while winding up the day’s activities.
The kitchen features international and local cuisine, several-course meals are mainly prepared with organic vegetables from our own garden and served by our friendly and professionally trained staff.
Swimming pool where visitors can experience swimming activities at any time they fell like. Privates’ balcony is available in each and every room and hence visitors can enjoy the views of the wonderful surrounding of the lodge. Hot and cold running water are connected each and every room of the lodge.
The major Tour activities visitors can enjoy while at Kyambura Game Lodge include the exclusive Game drives through well-organized tracks in Queen Elizabeth wildlife Park, Fantastic Launch cruise on the Kazinga Channel ,Wild Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge, Walks in the world famous Kyambura Gorge, Forest walks into Maramagambo Forest and Excellent bird watching, Community, village and crater walks.
|Room Type||Low season||High season|
|Single||$100(B/B)||$133 (FB)||$144(B/B)||$177 (FB)|
Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge-Mid-Range
The lodge is conveniently located close to the chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge as to the prime game viewing areas in the park and it forms an excellent base for visitor’s exploration
In the heart of Queen Elizabeth National Park and overlooking Kazinga Channel, The Bush Lodge offers a unique safari experience.
The coming and going of game witnessed from the terrace of visitor’s room, hippos lingering in the shallow waters of Kazinga channel, or a lion’s roar while seated at the campfire.
The lodge currently consists of 6 self-contained units which are spaciously placed between the indigenous bushes. Built along ecological principals the accommodation blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape
The rooms are stilted buildings on wooden platforms and are made from a fine combination of canvas and local materials. Huge windows allow visitors to fully absorb the environment and to feel one with nature.
Each and Every room in the lodge is comfortably equipped and has its own private ensuite bathroom with an eco-toilet and an outside shower where 2 showerheads allow couples to take their starlit shower together.
Dining is given great importance at The Bush Lodge and our excellent cuisine is matched by an impeccable service. The restaurant is a safari inspired concept of an open tent which lit with romantic light transforms it into a charming setting to end a perfect day.
Jacana Eco Lodge-Mid-Range
Jacana Eco lodge is located in the heart of Queen Elizabeth National Park. It’s nestled a Jacana Safari Lodge in the periphery of Uganda’s biggest Crater Lake with a 3 house lodge.
Jacana Eco Lodge Accommodation is offered in the lodge’s seven luxury chalets with unique theme of their own running showers and flushing toilets, furnished rooms, enclosed veranda with large panoramic windows which visitors to view the park while in the lodge.
Jacana Eco Lodge facilities include huge fireplace located in the lounge area dining room and the main bar. The others Bars include Tembo Bar, Fish Eagle Bar and a jetty Jacana Lodge Queen Elizabeth and hence it’s up to tourists spending night at the lodge to select which bar they can enjoy drink.
The Restaurant serves both international and local foods and the food served is prepared by experienced chef. The lodge also has lodge identified as the great Virunga Lounge.
Simba Safari Camp-Budget
Simba Safari Camp is a budget safari accommodation situated on the border of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Here you will find a variety of comfortable and affordable guest rooms, dormitory rooms and a well-established campsite with safari tents or space to pitch your own.
Perched on a hill, the camp offers spectacular views of Lake George, Lake Kikorongo and the classic African savannah plains stretching to the distant horizon.
It is the closest accommodation for game drives in the Kasenyi plains, and elephants and buffalo can even be viewed from the camp.
Delicious meals are served at lodge’s open air restaurant, to give you a taste of real African cuisine. Guests can also choose a wake-up call with fresh tea or coffee served on their verandas.
Whether you wish to go on a game drive, join a boat safari on the Kazinga Channel or go in search of the chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge, Simba Safari Camp is the perfect base for your adventure!
Lodge Amenities include; Restaurant and bar, Lounge with DSTV, Solar power, On-site wildlife view in, the camp has 4WD safari vehicle which can be hired for game drives or transfers to the Park
Simba Safari Camp offers eight twin rooms and one triple room. All have ensuite bathrooms with flushing toilets and solar heated water.
Private verandas are ideal spots to relax. The family cottage sleeps up to five, with two bedrooms and an additional bed in the lounge.
The four dormitory rooms each have five or six bunk beds with mosquito nets and shared showers and toilet blocks.
Activities at the Lodge, Cultural performances by Kikorongo Women’s Group, Day trips to Katwe Salt Lake and village, Game drives in the Kasenyi Plains and Mweya Peninsula, Kazinga Channel boat safari, Chimp tracking at Kyambura Wildlife Reserve and Exploration of the crater lakes.
Responsible Travel Most staff is from local communities, and much of our fresh fruits and vegetables are purchased from their gardens.
We host cultural performances and craft workshops at the Camp by Kikorongo Women’s Community. We have solar-powered lighting and solar hot water.
The rates charged by the camp site are showed below.