Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park: Wildlife, Biodiversity, Travel

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Queen Elizabeth National Park is a national park in Uganda. The park is roughly 400 kilometers (250 mi) by highway southwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city. 

Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park is within the Western Region of Uganda, spanning the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi, and Rukungiri.

The city of Kasese is simply outside the northeastern fringe of the park, whereas the city of Rubirizi is to the southeast. The park adjoins the Maramagambo Forest to the south and borders the Kigezi Game Reserve and the Kyambura Game Reserve.

The Virunga National Park within the Democratic Republic of the Congo lies throughout the border to the west. Together, these protected locations fully encircle Lake Edward. The Kibale National Park in Uganda lies to the northeast, Rwenzori Mountains National Park to the northwest.

Confusingly, throughout the Seventies and Nineteen Eighties, Western conservationists normally referred to the park as Rwenzori National Park.

Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park History

The park was based in 1952 as Kazinga National Park. It was renamed two years later to commemorate a go-to by Queen Elizabeth II.


A lioness in Ishasha Sector.

Hippopotamuses within the Kazinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth National Park

Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park occupies an estimated 1,978 sq. kilometers (764 sq mi).

Queen Elizabeth National Park is understood for its wildlife, together with African buffalo, Ugandan kob, hippopotamus, large forest hog, warthog, Nile crocodile, African bush elephant, African leopard, lion, and chimpanzee. It is home to 95 mammal species and over 500 bird species.

The Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park area around Ishasha in Rukungiri District is legendary for its tree-climbing lions, whose males sport black manes. Poachers killed six elephants within the park in 2015, triggering anger and frustration throughout the Ugandan conservation community.

Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park along with the adjoining Virunga National Park is a Lion Conservation Unit. The area is taken into account as a possible lion stronghold in Central Africa if poaching is curbed and prey species get better.

The park can be well-known for its volcanic options, together with volcanic cones and deep craters, many with crater lakes, such because of the Katwe craters, from which salt is extracted.

Services within the park embody a telecenter run by Conservation Through Public Health and the Uganda Wildlife Authority, neighboring the Queen’s Pavilion, park lodges, game, and scenic drives, and boat launches.

No, going to Uganda is full without a go-to Queen Elizabeth National Park. If you need to see wildlife, and also you solely have time for one park, make it this one. Trust me, you won’t remorse it. You can thank me later.

It’s for this excellent motive that Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most popular vacationer vacation spot. Covering almost 2,000 sq. kilometers, the park is home to almost 100 totally different mammal species together with lions, leopards, elephants, hippos, and chimpanzees, and over 600 kinds of birds.

Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park QENP


And before you even get to the animals, the park additionally boasts among the most jaw-dropping landscapes anyplace within the nation.

Situated on Uganda’s western border, right on the equator, Queen Elizabeth National Park sits on the sting of East Africa’s Rift Valley – which you’ll learn more about in my earlier post right here. The Rift Valley was shaped by the pulling aside of two tectonic plates, and this actually earth-shattering motion millennia ago precipitated the formation of some actually magnificent vistas.

As you drive by way of the park, you’ll see not solely the deep flat plain of the valley itself, with the jagged Rwenzori Mountains within the background, but additionally rolling green hills, dozens of monumental craters belonging to long-extinct volcanoes, glowing lakes, and the wildlife-filled Kazinga Channel

Crater Drive

We got here by car from Kibale, the place yesterday we’d had an unimaginable experience monitoring chimpanzees within the forest. The journey from Kibale to Queen Elizabeth by highway took simply three hours, so we have been capable of having a lazy morning and nonetheless be there in loads of time for lunch – very civilized!

In the afternoon Hassan took us for our first take a look at the park. I used to be anticipating animals, after all, however, what I wasn’t ready for have been these gorgeous landscapes.

This area is known as the Katwe craters or Katwe-Kikorongo explosion craters. It’s a volcanic area of around 81 sq. miles, pocked with ancient craters just like the floor of the moon – besides greener. And my God the place is green! I assumed I’d seen the color green before, however, I used to be wrong. There have been so many totally different shades, I actually had to bother adjusting my eyes to the brightness of all of them!

Green panorama

Each crater was shaped individually by violent volcanic explosions during the last 1 million years. There’s no ancient lava move right here, which implies the explosions have been simply violent bursts of sizzling fuel and steam that erupted out of the ground like a bomb going off, leaving this ravaged floor.

Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park QENP

Volcanic crater

The size of the individual craters varies, however, the largest could be almost two miles throughout and as much as 100 meters deep.

Many of them have now developed into saltwater lakes like this one, which can look inviting, however, be warned – the water is very acidic and stinks of sulfur. You undoubtedly don’t need to take a dip, regardless of how sizzling you are perhaps!

Crater Lake

Obviously, in a shocking panorama like this, you merely HAVE to cease to pose for photographs, even when you’re the form of one who appears to be much less like an Instagram model and more like the main school trainer on a category outing.

As we left the crater area, driving up and over the crest of a hill, Hassan spotted two elephants by the side of the highway and slammed on the brakes. And at exactly the same time, I noticed one other 4 on the opposite side and squealed with pleasure.

And they have been so bloody near the car that I used to be capable of getting amazingly detailed photographs like this one.

Being so near such unimaginable wild animals is a tremendous experience. Hassan shut off the engine, and all we might hear was the puffing of their respiratory, the crackle of twigs and grasses under their feet, and the munching noises they made as they ate.

But we have been additionally reminded how harmful they doubtlessly could be, when the most important one, an enormous male, determined to cross the highway instantly behind our car.

Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park QENP

Halfway, he turned and checked out us, and it was fairly clear that he wasn’t comfortable about our presence in any respect.

He stopped lifeless in the midst of the highway, and started puffing and blowing and flapping his ears: it wasn’t totally clear if he was confused, indignant, or upset, however, he definitely wasn’t snug with us being there.

We all sat very nonetheless, nervously ready to see what would occur, and questioning if we have been about to return back with a slightly more thrilling travel story than we’d anticipated.

Happily, although, our new friend finally determined we didn’t risk and went on his method. Hassan instructed us afterward he’d had his foot on the accelerator and his hand on the ignition the whole time, simply in case we all of a sudden wanted to make a slightly pressing getaway.

Slightly additional on we noticed one other herd of elephants, this time with a number of infants.

And later we noticed even more. Each time they have been right by the side of the highway so we might park near them, watch them intimately, and take more photographs than anybody might ever probably need!

Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park QENP


We will need to have seen around three dozen elephants in total. And in all that point, we by no means noticed a single vehicle. We had our part of Queen Elizabeth National Park totally to ourselves. You don’t get that within the Maasai Mara, that’s for sure!

An Unexpected Treat

As the day drew to detail it was time to head to our lodge for the night. But there was only one more factor to see. From chatting with park rangers and different drivers Hassan, the guide had heard {that a} leopard had been spotted in a big cactus tree, so he determined to see if he might discover it for us. I believe leopards are most likely essentially the most stunning of all wild cats, so I used to be fairly excited.

He solely had a sketchy idea of the place this explicit tree was, however, he adopted the directions as finest he might, and we peered intently at each tree we handed, on the lookout for these tell-tale spots, and finally, we noticed a very large one with a number of different vehicles parked by it and knew we have been within the right place.


The feminine leopard was sitting poised, relaxed but alert, on a branch about midway up the tree, just a bit above my eye level as I stood up in the back of the car with the top popped up.

She couldn’t have been more completely positioned if I’d been capable of choreographing the scene myself: we have been capable of park the car instantly in front of her, and admire her from a distance of no more than just a few meters.

If she’d wished to, I’m fairly sure she might have jumped off the branch and pounced right onto the car.

She was so shut I used to be even capable of taking this video, simply with my telephone!

I’ve by no means seen a leopard that closes before or been capable of sitting and watching one for therefore long. I did see this magnificence within the Serengeti in Tanzania a few years ago, however, Uganda’s providing was next level.

The next day we noticed masses more wildlife, and I had run-ins with a hippo and a warthog. To learn this, take a look at the photographs, and if you wish to know the place we stayed, click on Right here to go to Close Encounters in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park QENP

Wildlife in Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park

The park is home to 618 bird species which is the sixth-highest variety on this planet and the very best in Africa making it an ideal vacation spot for Uganda Birding Safaris, along with 10 primate species like chimpanzees and 95 mammals together with large game.

Attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Tree Climbing Lions: with simply two populations of those distinctive lions within the whole world, explore the southern Ishasha sector to trace these lions generally seen up within the fig and acacia timber.

The Kazinga Channel: this natural water channel connects Lakes Albert and Gorge and is home to numerous hippos, Nile Crocodiles, elephants, and hippos which might simply be seen on the thrilling Kazinga Boat Ride

Kasenyi Plains: these plains are popularly visited by vacationers on an Uganda Wildlife Safari as they’re home to a really giant variety of antelopes, the Uganda Kobs, lions, and a number of other giant predators

Kalinzu Forest: this gives very rewarding chimpanzee monitoring experiences and it’s situated on the southeastern nook of the park

The Kyambura Gorge: this verdant forested 100-meter-deep valley with peculiar is home to numerous primates and is popular for Chimpanzee monitoring excursions in Uganda.

Mweya Peninsular: it is a stretch of land that protrudes into Lake Edwards and is usually visited throughout game drives because it gives good game views while exploring the varied game tracks.

Lake Katwe Salt Works: throughout the alkaline Lake Katwe, salt mining works have been ongoing for a number of years since that’s the principal economic exercise within the area. Consequently, numerous vacationers go to right here to learn and observe the standard technique of salt mining
Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park QENP
The Katwe Explosion Crater Lakes: these lakes discovered within the northern half are discovered on the very best elevation of the park. from right here vacationers take pleasure in sweeping views of the Rwenzori Mountain ranges, the western rift valley escarpments, and lakes George and Edward.

How to get to Queen Elizabeth National Park

the park is situated about 389 km from the capital Kampala and could be accessed both by the highway on a 6h 30 min drive by way of Masaka Road or by a constitutional flight.

Where to remain | Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park Accommodation

With all kinds of lodges, campsites, inns, and tented Camps, Queen Elizabeth National Park gives lodging for everybody just like the Ishasha Wilderness Camp Queen Elizabeth National Park regardless of your budget, and these range from luxurious, mid-range to budget amenities. checkout our most beneficial Accommodations in Queen Elizabeth National Park for more information on every facility

Best time to go to Queen Elizabeth National Park

The Dry season which runs from January to February and from June to September is taken into account as one of the best times to go with the height safari time in Uganda being from June to September, whereas Migratory species arrive in August to December, and March to May gives one of the best birding time.

Africa has some protected areas. Therefore the park’s outstanding bird record that exceeds that of the neighboring Virunga National Park. Among these embody the African skimmer, Chapin’s flycatcher, Pink-backed pelicans, Papyrus canary, Shoebill stork, martial eagle, and black-rumped buttonquail in addition to the great flamingos.

Around the park

Mweya Peninsula

The peninsula is the heart of sightseeing activities with glorious lodging within the park. The sole approach to take pleasure in your tour of this park is by touring with a ranger guide.

This particular person helps you explore the park in addition to the distant components of the peninsula. Mweya information center organizes all of the activities that vacationers might need to get entangled in.

The most enjoyable facet about this peninsular is the truth that its overlooks Katwe Bay of Lake EdwardExtra nonetheless, it has a memento store stuffed with Uganda safari objects that can at all times remind you of the park

Kazinga Channel

The Kazinga channel is about 40m long adjoining Lake Gorge to Lake Edward. It has the proper view of the parks’ main wildlife ventures. The shores of the lake entice a big focus of mammals, birds in addition to reptiles all year around.

The animals could be considered properly by the Nile cruise or most likely at the entrance of Lake Edward. The operation of the cruise runs from 15.00 and 17.00, moreover, voyages run from 11.00 and 13.00 relying on the demand of the vacationers.

Kazinga channel has components for example North Kazinga in addition to Kasenyi. It acknowledged that the plains of the channel are focal factors for game viewing.

Tracking is the one method that can allow you to see all of the wildlife in its natural setting, for instance, buffalo, elephants, and different animals that dwell within the grassland thickets of the Northern Kazinga near Mweya.

The most accessible spot for lions is within the eastern part of Kasenyi plains and the Kasese highway the place they quarry on the massive inhabitants of Uganda Kobs. The most favorable time for Uganda safaris game drives is throughout the morning and late afternoon hours.

The work of the range guide is that can assist you to get sufficient information in regards to the park and nonetheless get essentially the most memorable experience in Africa.

The Equator and the Queen’s Pavilion

Uganda’s Equator gives an exquisite place for photograph taking pictures together with craft outlets that may make you purchase a memento. The Queen’s Pavilion is well-spotted by the northern entrance to Crater Drive.

In 1954 Queen Elizabeth gave a provision shelter for this site till 1959 when an everlasting pavilion was constructed for the go-to of Queen Elizabeth. Renovations have been made by the second go-to of the Duke of Edinburgh in 2007 with higher amenities corresponding to coffee outlets and internet amenities.

Ishasha Tree Climbing Lions

Ishasha covers an area of about 100km south of Mweya. The Park’s distant southern section provides a real African wilderness experience.

Among the inhabitants of this place embody savannah woodland, Ishasha River together with Lake Edward which has a variety of wildlife corresponding to climbing lions, uncommon shoebill stork, and many others.

Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park QENP

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