Why Visit Queen Elizabeth National Park In Uganda

Why Visit Queen Elizabeth National Park In Uganda

March 28, 2022
News Journeys Uganda

Why visit Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda? This national park was a reserve once known as the Kazinga National Park is the second largest National Park in Uganda after Murchison falls National Park, occupying up to 1978 square kilometers, minus the two wildlife reserves – Kigezi and Kymabura is the most famous and highly visited savannah park in Uganda, probably because of its name. It was named so in 1954 in honor of the Queen of England who had visited the area.

Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) is found in South Western Uganda, close to Kasese district, and surrounded by Lake Edward and River Ishasha to the West and was in 1979 declared a bio-sphere reserve, implying that it is a learning place for sustainable development.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is mainly composed of open grass and wooded savannahs in a number of areas though it is also decorated with a thick cover of umbrella acacia tress (a favorite of the tree climbing lions) plus Euphorbia trees. It as well has large areas of dense swamps close to Lake George, the wide-ranging Maramagambo Forest in the south-east, as well as the forested Kyambura Gorge on the border with Kyambura Game Reserve.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is endowed with at least ten crater lakes within its confines, 95 species of mammals including 4 of the big 5 African animals, making it the park with the highest number of mammals, ten primate species including Chimpanzees, Black-and-white Columbus, Varvet and Tantalus Monkeys, Olive Baboons, twenty different predators, Lions, Hyenas, Serval Cut, Leopards, Genet Cuts, Antelopes like the Uganda Kob, Water and Bushbuck, Topi, the reddish Buffaloes (they are red due to interbreeding with the forest redder buffaloes from Congo), plenty of bird species numbering to over 600. These and many more are what the park has to offer to the visitors making it Uganda’s number one wildlife safari destination.

Below is a semi detailed description of the fauna that the park has to offer;

Over 2500 African elephants (named so because their ears are shaped like the map of Africa), whose population keeps growing, thanks to the restrictions in the park preventing poachers who always are in dire need of the tusks.

A minimum of 100 easily seen tree climbing lions (yes, you read that right)- a very rare adaptation of these lions that can climb trees and are only in two places in Africa namely; Queen Elizabeth National Park and a game reserve in Tanzania. If you are reading this and have not yet visited the park, it is almost too late.

At least 610 bird species, 54 of which are raptors inclusive of several water birds, woodland and forest birds (mainly restricted to the Immaramagambo forest) and examples of the species of the birds at the park include; Harlequin and Black-rumped Buttonquail,  Saddle-billed Stork, Goliath Heron, Lesser-black Backed and Grey-headed Gull, Shoebill Stork, Malachite & Pied Kingfishers, African Fish Eagle, African Skimmer, African White-tailed Lark, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Grey-capped Warbler, Papyrus and Black-headed Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, Carruther’s Cisticola among others, making it a perfect destination of birders.

Also, the ethnic groups linked to this region are; the Bakonjo, Banyankole, Banyaruguru and the Bakiga. Whose various traditions and ways of life are exciting to learn and experience like their dressing code, dances and music, languages spoken, as well as present day economic activities carried out by them particularly salt mining, crop cultivation and animal farming. With this kind of blend of attractions I am able to strongly claim that Queen Elizabeth National Park is the best tourist destination that will positively stain your memory about any safari to Africa.

The park is encircled by Lake Edward and River Ishasha to the west on the border with DR Congo, Kasese as well as the Rwenzori foothills to the North, the Kyambura gorge and Lake George to the east and Kigezi Wildlife Reserve in the south.

Tourist Activities And Attractions In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Game Drives: This is a thrilling activity where the tourists are taken around the park on well-maintained circuits and track, at Journeys Uganda, each tourist in our game drive vehicles is guaranteed of enough legroom and access to a window seat so that they can view and do photography of the different flora and fauna in the parks and reserves. There are two game drives daily in the park, one in the morning and the other in the evening. The tracks go through the fascinating Uganda Kob leks in the Ishasha southern sector and the Kasenyi plains of the park, the channel track provides chances of seeing the exceptional large and shy Giant Forest Hog with scores of Elephants as they move down to drink water especially on hot days when the watering halls are few in other parts of the park, the hungry lions dominate the different Kasenyi sections of the new and old mating grounds searching for prey as the shy Bushbuck plus Cape Buffaloes out of their breeding cycles are  seen along the channel track.

The Launch Cruise on Kazinga Channel: This boat cruise that is along the magnificent natural Kazinga channel connecting Lake George to Edward has abundant aquatic flora and fauna with the avian life so pronounced with both resident and migrating species. The yawning Hippos, the mouth opened crocodiles avoiding overheating and the large herds of African Elephants that come down to the shore are all to be looked forward to, during the cruise. There are two launch cruises, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

Nature Walks in Immaramagambo Forest: Immaramagambo forest is the only and safest destination in Queen Elizabeth National Park for short and long guided nature walks exposing you to a number of wildlife species, many special forest birds, best place to see the African Rock Python in the bat caves which primarily feasts on the bats. The trails along the forests lead one to the middle of the neighboring craters which are habitats of most forest water birds and primates.

A Nature Walk to the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve: Kyambura Wildlife reserve is situated in the eastern section of Queen Elizabeth National Park and is home to similar animals as other parts of the   park. It has 3 saline crater lakes that attract numerous flamingos whose numbers cannot be traced in any other part of Uganda hence making it a wonderful bird watching safari destination in Uganda. The steep Kyambura gorge, formed by the violent waters of River Kyambura, offers a luxurious Riverine forest inhabited by game such as the Hippo, lions, Chimpanzees, the Black and white colobus monkeys together with the olive baboons along with other primates species, snakes and several forest birds all living in this forest. Visiting this gorge offers you a chance to track chimpanzees within their all-natural habitat.

The Ishasha Visit to See the Tree Climbing Lions: Ishasha is well known for its tree climbing lion population which is unusual elsewhere in Africa, the tree climbing behavior at Ishasha might be observed throughout the year but is most frequently encountered during the rainy seasons. The explanation for this localized behavior is open to conjecture. This track leading to the southern area of the park offers you an opportunity to marvel at cats resting in the huge fig trees and acacias, the Topi, Waterbuck, Bushbuck and Uganda Kob are among the easily seen antelopes as well as Buffaloes peacefully grazing in the savannah dotted with acacia tree all punctuated with huge Elephants that cross over between the two borders.

How to Get to Queen Elizabeth National Park

From Kampala, the capital city of Uganda or Entebbe, take taxi or bus early in the morning using the Mbarara-Kabale highroad, turn off at Ntungamo and take the brand-new road for 45km to Rukingiri. From Rukungiri, drive 70km along a murram road leading to ishasha through Kihihi. You can also use your personal vehicle for the journey if well serviced and if you are well versed with the routes.

Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth Park

There is a sea of accommodation services to suit your budget, tastes and preferences ranging from luxury to budget accommodation like, Elephant Plains, Ihamba lodge, Mweya safari lodge, Parkview Safari lodge, Marafiki Safari Lodge, Kasenyi Game Lodge, Pumba Safari Lodge, Kyambura Game Lodge, Kingfisher Kichwamba Lodge, Enganzi Lodge, Katara Lodge, Camp sites found at Mweya, Ishasha Toilets or pit latrine, Bandas found within the Ishasha sector, park hostel at Mweya with 48 bedrooms, shower / bathing shelters are offered in the Park. The Ishasha sector has the Luxury Ishasha Wilderness Camp and midrange lodges including Ishasha Jungle Lodge, Enjojo River Lodge, Ntungwe Lodge and the nearby Savannah Resort

These and more within and around the park, mail Journeys Uganda to ensure that your stay is made easy and as comfortable as away from home.

PARK GUIDELINES

-Carry your permit with you as it is needed when entering this park.
-Driving is only permissible from 7:00am to 7:00pm which is ample time for you to arrive to whatever destination you are going to unless you pay for a night drive which will be in company of a Uganda Wildlife Authority armed ranger guide.
-Don’t drive over 45km/hour.
-Don’t carry pet animals when entering the park.
-Don’t carry firearms or any ammunition when entering the park.
-Always offer the animals a right-of-way and don’t scare wildlife.
-Always keep in your safari car unless when at specified places which are safe upon the advice of your safari guide.
-Don’t sound the horn of your vehicle while in the park.
-Don’t pick or even cut plants or kill any living creature.
-Don’t LITTER, instead un litter
-Don’t start any fires or drop cigarette ends in the park.

-Observe a maximum driving speed of not more than 40 km per hour