Queen Elizabeth National Park- A guide to gorilla and chimpanzee safaris,hiking and tracking tours, primate safaris and wildlife experiences,hotels, lodges, car hire in Uganda's National Parks of Bwindi National Park, Kibale, Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth, Mt Elgon, Mghahinga.

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Queen Elizabeth National Park   

Queen Elizabeth is the most popular of Uganda’s National parks. The park stretches from foothills of the Rwenzori mountains in the north, shores of lake Lake Edward to Ishasha River in the south.  The park is an important bird area(IBA), a biosphere(UNESCO 1979) and a RAMSAR site.  The best time to visit is December-February

 

Access: Queen Elizabeth  lies 5-6 hours from Kampala on a surfaced road via Mbarara, and can be reached on a dirt road from Bwindi.


Location: 

Queen Elizabeth  is located to the Southwestern portion of Uganda, in the districts of Rukungiri, Bushenyi and Kasese.  The altitude Range from 900 metres (Shores of Lake Edward) to 1845 metres (top of Western Rift Valley escarpments.

 

The Park was gazetted in 1952 and occupies an area of 1978 km sq.  The habitats include, moist semi-deciduous forest, moist thicket, riparian and riverine forests, bush savannah and open woodland, open grassland, swamps and lakes. 

 

Physical Features /Attractions in Queen Elizabeth  Park

  • 10 crater lakes

  • Kyambura Gorge

  • Maramagabo Forest

  • Lake George to the East

  • Lake Edward to the West

  • Kazinga Channel connecting Lakes George and Edward.

  •  Birdlife:- 610  species of birds  have been recorded in Queen Elizabeth.  Among the species to be found are mourning doves, Fly Catchers, Wablers,  Pin tailed Whydahs, Eagles (Matial, Verreaux) Storks (Open-billed, Shoe-bill, Gonoreks (Papyrus and black headed), Pelilcans (Great White and Pink-backed) etc. Flocks of flamingoes are resident in the crater lakes.

  • Mammals: Queen Elizabeth has over 100 species of mammals recorded.  These include, warthogs, buffalo, rare aquatic sitatunga antelope, giant forest hog, Uganda kob, topi, waterbuck, elephant and leopard. Queen Elizabeth boasts of  10 species of primates which the chimpanzees, the black and white colobus monkeys, blue, red tailed, vervet and L'Hoest's monkeys and olive baboons. The Kazinga channel has hippos and crocodiles.

Other Attractions in Queen Elizabeth  include:-

  • Tracking chimpanzees

  • Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha Sector. The lions prefer sycamore figs or Albizia trees.  They are mostly sighted during the heat of the day.

Activities in Queen Elizabeth

In summary the following activities can be undertaken in Queen Elizabeth National Park

  • Tracking Chimpanzees

  • Game drives

  • Launch/Boat Trips in the Kazinga Channel

  • Forest/Nature walks

  • Bird watching

  • Camping

Chimpanzees tracking & hiking safaris

Within the park, one can track Chimpanzees at two places.  The Maramagabo Forest to the south or Kyambura Gorge.

 

Kyambura Gorge/ Kyambura Gorge Game Reserve/Chambura Gorge.

Kyambura Gorge lies to the North East  of Queen Elizabeth. It is 16 Km long and 100 metres deep.  The Kyambura Gorge is as a result of deep erosion by the Kyambura River and  consists of an island of riparian forest in the open savannah.  Kyambura Gorge habours the only family of habituated chimpanzees in Africa.  Chimpanzee tracking safaris depart from Fig Tree Camp each morning at 08:00 Hrs and in the afternoon at 13:00 Hrs.  Only eight permits are available per session.  Thus its important to make prior booking.  Besides Chimpanzees, other animals found in Kyambura (Chambura) Gorge include Red tailed, Vervet, Black and White colobus monkeys, olive baboons and giant forest hog.

South of the Kazinga Channel is the Maramagambo Forest,  home to large numbers of chimpanzees, plus a number of other primate species, including the Lhost monkeys,  bush baby, baboons, vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys.   Maramagambo is the largest forest in Uganda with blue lakes and craters.

Launch Trips:

The Kazinga Channel is a 32 km and connects lake Edward and lake George.  Boat rides or launch trips is a 2-5 hours tour on the Kazinga channel waters.

 

Queen Elizabeth  Park Gates

Remember the rule is that you should enter the park through official gates.  The gates in Queen Elizabeth include; Kabatoro and Katunguru and Ishasha.

 

Lodges/ Accommodation/Campsites and Camping  the  Park

There are a variety of accommodation facilities in Queen Elizabeth varying from the luxury eco-lodges to basic campsites.

  • Mweya Safari Lodge (1954) - 5 star lodge with swimming facilitie.   The lodge is located on a peninsular on lake Edward.  All rooms have balconies overlooking the lake or the Kazinga Channel.  The rooms have DSTV and Satellite TV.

  • Jacana Safari Lodge - built over the banks of a crater lake.

  • Hippo Hill Camp:-The lodge is located at Katwe outside the park overlooking Lake Munyenyange.

  • Equator Lodge: - Located at Equator outside the park overlooking Lakes George and Kikorongo.

  • The Institute of Ecology - basic hostel style accommodation.

  • Camping /Campsites in Queen Elizabeth:– There are several campsites in Queen Elizabeth National Park.  Camping and campsites are available at Mweya, Maramagambo Forest and Ishasha sector of the park. Come with your own camping gear. Budget campsites include:- Channel campsite1, Channel campsite 2, Mweya Campsite, Kookaburra Campsite.

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