The national park is located in western Uganda, spanning the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Bushenyi and Rukungiri. Its location is approximately 376 kilometres (234 mi), by road, southwest of Kampala,and lies on an estimated 1,978 sq km.The town of Kasese lies just outside the northeastern edge of the park, while the town of Bushenyi, is situated just outside the park’s southeastern boundaries. The coordinates of the park are:00 12S, 30 00E (Latitude:0.2000; Longitude:30.0000). The area of the park extends from Lake George in the northeast to Lake Edward in the southwest, and includes the Kazinga Channel that connects the two lakes.
The park is named after Queen Elizabeth II and was established in 1954. QENP is famous for its variety of wildlife, although some animals were killed during the war between Uganda and the Republic of Tanzania. A wide variety of animal species found here including African elephant, Leopards, Hippos along the Kazinga Channel, Lions, warthogs and chimpanzees and other primates in Kyambura Gorge as well as several antelope species. In summery, the park has 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species recorded. In the southern part of the park (Ishasha sector), we find tree-climbing lions along side other animals.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is also known for its volcanic features such as volcanic cones and deep craters lakes some of which produce mineral such as Lake Katwe for salt.
The national park includes the Maramagambo Forest and borders Kigezi Game Reserve, Kyambura Game Reserve and Kibale National Park in Uganda, and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Kyambura Gorge
The Kyambura gorge also found in this park harbours habituated chimpanzees and nature guided walks can be conducted to search for them.
The Maramagambo Forest, a tropical rain forest and one of Uganda’s largest tracts in this park is a home to an alluring selection of forest monkeys, forest elephant, birds, and flocks of flamingos that are resident and periodically congregate here on the crater lakes. The bat cave (with a resident ,bat-hungry python), and the blue lake are other guaranteed worthy memorable events found in this forest.
HOW TO GET THERE?
From Kampala the park can be accessed through the southern route via Mbarara(429km) or the north passing Fortportal(410km).
Charter flights can also be arranged on choice of airstrips at Kasese ,Mweya and Ishasha
With a ranger guide there are different trails in the park where game drives can be made including north kazinga and kasenyi where a network of tracks enables you to see African Elephants, Herds of Buffaloes, Lions, Hyenas, Waterbucks, Leopards, Warthogs and Antelopes such as Uganda Kobs among others. Game drives are conducted in the morning and before predators get back to their hideouts and in the late afternoon. However lions are mostly sighted on the open Kasenyi plain.
Queen Elizabeth National park boosts of over 612 species. Bird watching therefore here becomes one of the favourite tourist activities in the park. The Kazinga channel on its shoreline attracts a large number of water birds which include African open-billed Stork, Knob-billed Ducks, White-faced Whistling. the Common Squacco Heron, Great-white and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, African Jacana, African Fish Eagle, Water Thick-knee, Spur-winged and African Wattled Plovers, Swamp flycatchers, Malachite and Pied kingfishers, Black Crake and Yellow backed Weavers among others.
This is an inevitable experience taken along the Kazinga channel famous for many animals and birds seen along the shores. Hundreds of Hipps, Elephants, Buffaloes and reptiles like Crocodiles and Lizards seen basking along the shores, as well as water birds like Pelicans, African Fish Eagles, African Jacana, King Fishers and Saddle-billed Stork among others.
Guided Forest Walks
These can be taken on Maramagambo Forest, a tropical forest with one of Uganda’s largest tracts. The important features worthy to see from this forest include the Blue Lake, the Hunters Cave, the Bat Cave(wiyh a resident ,bat-hungry python), and different tree specie which include medicinal species. And such walks can help explore even around Lake Nyamusingire.
Chimpanzee tracking is done from a nearby gorge found in the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve in the eastern part of the park with a start at Kyambura’s fig tree camp. From Kyambura, there are a number of other primates such as Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Red-tailed Monkeys, Olive Baboons, as well forest birds.
The Equator and the Queen’s Pavilion;
A popular photo shot and a memorable site for the Queen of England’s visit in 1954.
A game drive will help explore this remote area and view the famous tree climbing lions, and the rare shoe bill stork including the diverse habitats, including the Ishasha river, Savannah woodland and the marshy Lake Edward flats.
There is both upmarket, mid range and budget accommodation which includes;
Mweya safari lodge
Jacana Safari Lodge
Ishasha Wilderness Camp
Ishasha-Ntungwe River Camp
Hippo Hill Camp
Kingfisher Lodge Kichwamba
Simba Safari Camp
Mweya Institute of Ecology
Guided or Self Drive Tour
The choice is yours to choose between a guided tour or self drive Uganda safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Guided tours can be booked through Travel Agents in Kampala at good prices, while a self drive safari is where you hire a 4×4 vehicle and drive your own adventure through Queen Elizabeth National Park and other tourist destinations in Uganda.