Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the top visited savanna parks in Uganda and a perfect location to find the tree climbing lions. Unlike other safari parks in Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts beautiful biodiversity, clearly spotted roaming freely in its diverse habitats: savanna grassland, lakes, wetlands and forests.
Queen Elizabeth National Park was originally founded as Kazinga National Park in 1952. In 1954, its name changed to the present Queen Elizabeth National Park in remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II visit.
Location and size in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a magical park located in Western Uganda. It is perched right between Lake Gorge and Lake Albert, two scenic lakes linked by the Kazinga Channel. The Park stretches up to 1978sq.kms of land area and it is located on the Western rift valley floor, between altitude of 910m and 1350m.
History of the park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the oldest parks in Uganda and its history dates back to 1952 when it was officially established as a National Park. The present area where Queen Elizabeth NP was used by Basongora pastoralists to graze their livestock.
In 1921, most cattle died due to rinderpest epidemic and sleeping sickness. The outbreak of the pandemic was thought to have been caused by the colonial government under the guise of a livestock campaign. There was increase in wildlife population and this led to the eviction of pastoralists by then the British colonial government. The led to creation of Game Reserve North of Lake George in 1906.
In 1912, the entire Ishasha and Lake George area was declared as restricted areas. On 31st March, 1952, the now Queen Elizabeth National Park was gazetted as Kazinga National Park. The land area of the protected area was expanded encompassing the Eastern Lake Edward and Kazinga Channel.
Tourist Attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the leading wildlife destination, a home to over 95 species of mammals, reptiles and more. Some of the interesting wildlife inhabited in this park include elephants, giant forest hogs, Uganda Kobs, waterbucks, hippos, buffaloes, lions, duikers, reedbucks, warthogs, bushbucks, hyenas, crocodiles, etc.
Tree climbing lions are a few unusual creatures that make Queen Elizabeth National Park a special wildlife safari destination. These exist in the Ishasha sector, the Southern side of the park.
Birds of Queen Elizabeth National Park total up to 620 bird species, these include resident and migratory birds. The birds to see on Queen Elizabeth Park birding tour: palm nut vultures, brown backed scrub robin, flappet lark, pink backed pelicans, pygmy kingfishers, slender tailed nightjars, black lored babblers, hooded vulture, grey backed fiscal, black bellied bustards, sitting cisticola, blue napped mousebird, black crowned tchagra, scarlet chested sunbirds, papyrus canary, rufous bellied heron, Heuglin’s gull;
Other bird sightings to expect at Queen Elizabeth National Park, Western banded snake eagle, papyrus gonoleks, spotted redshanks, collared pratincole, Caspian plovers, white throated cuckoos, martial eagles, flamingo and more.
Safari activities to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park introduces you into the wild to encounter the African big game. 3-4 hours on Queen Elizabeth National Park game drive comes with incredible sightings such as elephants, cape buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, hyenas, giant forest hogs, birds and more.
Game drives in Queen Elizabeth NP are carried out in the Northern game tracks- Kasenyi Plains. You can go enjoy the morning game viewing starting at 6:00am or afternoon game drive.
Plenty of birds await you to spot in Queen Elizabeth National Park. They include among others the martial eagle, grey headed kingfishers, African skimmers, verreaux’s eagle, grey headed kingfishers, shoebill stork, papyrus canary, sedge warblers, long tailed cormorants, papyrus gonoleks, white winged warblers, black bee-eaters, swamp flycatchers, slender billed stork, black rumped buttonquail, Chapin’s flycatchers, African mourning dove, African beautiful black headed gonolek etc.
Launch trip is always arranged at Kazinga Channel. Tourists enjoy 2-3 hours of navigating in a classic boat on Kazinga channel, a natural channel that connects Lake George and Lake Edward.
On a boat trip, the likely sightings include hippos, crocodiles, aquatic birds and more. The aquatic bird life to identify include swamp flycatchers, African fish eagles, squacco heron, papyrus canary, long tailed cormorants and more.
Lion tracking experience
Lion tracking is entirely a research activity. It involves close observation of the lions, their daily behaviors. You track the lions using device such as radiation trackers to keep monitoring their movements.
Chimpanzee tracking Kyambura Gorge
Kyambura Gorge is the best place to track chimpanzees in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda. The gorge is 100m deep, 500m wide featuring a verdant rain-forest where different primates, birds all live including chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons and more. Birds such as martial eagle, squacco heron, verreaux’s eagle owl, etc.
Nature lovers can also have the best of Maramagambo Forest while on a forest walk or nature walk. In Maramagambo Forest, enjoy incredible sights of primates including L’hoest’s monkeys, bush babies, vervet, red-tailed monkeys and others.
Best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is open to visitors at any time of the month or day. The park enjoys favorable weather climatic conditions, though the dry season is more preferable: June to September & December to February.
Places to stay in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
There is a long list of comfortable accommodation choices; budget, midrange and luxury in Queen Elizabeth National Park. They include Elephant Plains Lodge, Twin Lakes Safari Lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge, Elephant Hub, Buffalo Safari Lodge, Katara Lodge, Simba Safari Lodge and more.
How to get there.
Getting to Queen Elizabeth National Park located in Western Uganda is possible by road, about 7-8 hours’ drive from Kampala via Fort Portal or via Mbarara – Bushenyi route.
By flight, take 60 minutes on scheduled / chartered flight from Entebbe Airport to Kasese, Ishasha or Mweya airstrips.