Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. It’s a diverse ecosystem, which includes sprawling savanna, shady, humid forest, sparkling lakes, and fertile wetlands, making it the ideal habitat for the classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.
The park includes dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalos, and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda Kobs.
The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga national park and renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.
Accessibility to Queen Elizabeth national park can be by road from Kampala via Mbarara and Bushenyi towns leading to the center of the park, passing 22 km from Mweya peninsula, the main tourism hub. Approaching the park southwards via Mbarara will cover a distance of 420km while the northwards through Fort Portal will cover a total of 410km.
Charter flights can be arranged to existing airstrips of Kasese, Mweya, and Ishasha.
Birding: The Park is habitat to over 600 species and this is the greatest of any East African national park for such a small area.
Bat Cave: This is tucked beneath the shady canopy of the Maramagambo forest. The cave has a viewing room from which visitors can observe the resident bats and pythons.
Chimp tracking: The Kyambura Gorge experience is more than discovering chimpanzees in their natural environment but also reveals the gorge’s atmospheric underground rainforest including vegetation types and birds.
Games drive through Kasenyi, the North Kazinga plains and Ishasha Sector offer virtually guaranteed buffalo, antelope, and elephant sightings along with warthogs and baboons. And also taking an experienced guide in the morning may give you an opportunity to track down lions and maybe even the odd leopards.
Hiking and nature walks are one of the more active ways to tour landscapes and wildlife of queen Elizabeth locations and they include the shady Maramagambo forest, Mweya peninsula with its scenic views and Ishasha river where you may spot a variety of forest and savanna species as well as having a unique opportunity to get extremely close to hippos on foot.
A launch cruise on the Kazinga channel which is an oasis of many fascinating species within the park gives you the chance to cruise just meters from hundreds of enormous hippos and buffalos while elephants linger on the shorelines.
Cultural heritage: The energetic dances of the Kikorongo equator cultural performers, workers harvesting salt from Lake Katwe, the traditional huts and agricultural villages will make you wish you were native. All are guided by those who know them best –local community members.