Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth national park: Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the famously known national park in Uganda the pearl of Africa. Queen Elizabeth park is such a beautiful savanna national park that was gazette in 1952 under the management of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The park is situated close to kasese town covering an area of 1,978km2 in the south western part of Uganda where it is shared amongst Kasese district in the North, Rubirizi district in the south, Kamwenge district and Rukungiri district. The has a thrilling biodiversity of fauna and flora species that make up its eco system even more beautiful. Queen Elizabeth park has the best flora (vegetation cover) that comprises of both the savannah grassland and savanna woodland filled with tropical rain forests, bamboo forests, acacia trees and papyrus swamps that all provide a better place for the reproduction of different fauna species.
The park is known for harboring several fauna species ranging from primates, mammals, Birds, Butterflies, reptiles etc. The northern part of Queen Elizabeth park comprises of a beautiful gorge known as Kyambura gorge, “the valley of apes” where the habituated chimpanzees live and are available for trekking. The gorge is not only a home to habituated chimpanzees but also a home to other wildlife species including other primates, mammals, birds, butterflies etc. the southern part of Queen Elizabeth national park comprises of the Ishasha sector which harbors tree climbing lions. The remaining part of Queen Elizabeth national park comprises of the Kasenyi plains, Mweya peninsula and the kazinga channel.
Attractions in Queen Elizabeth national park
Mammals in Queen Elizabeth national park: mammals are the major attractions in Queen Elizabeth and the park boasts with over 95 mammal species with in different sectors of the park including over 2500 African elephants, 5000 hippos , over 10000 buffaloes and many other mammals such as Lions, Uganda kob, Leopards etc. The best way to view different mammals in Queen Elizabeth national park is by taking a game drive to different parts of the park. For instance a game drive in kasenyi plains of Queen Elizabeth park allows tourists to view a huge population of mammals as they graze in the savanna grassland such as Elephants, antelopes, Uganda kob, and a good number of carnivores such as lions while a game drive in the Ishasha sector reward tourists with a clear view of the Pride of lion sleeping in the tree branches overlooking the grazing Uganda kob. More mammals are also seen during the boat cruise along the kazinga channel where a huge population of hippos is found and other mammals that visit the kazinga channel in search of during water in the afternoon hours.
Birds in Queen Elizabeth national park: The park is a home to over 600 bird species including the Forest birds, Raptor birds, Water birds, and the species endemic to Albertine rift that attract several tourists to visit the park. Queen Elizabeth national park is termed as the Important Birding Area and most of birding spots include the Ishasha sector, the kasenyi plains, maramagambo forest, along the kazinga channel, in Kyambura gorge and many more destinations and the commonly spotted bird species include; warbles birds, Papyrus canary, Yellow throated Cuckoo, African Skimmer, White-winged Warbler, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Shoebill, Papyrus Gonolek, Martial Eagle and many more.
Primates in Queen Elizabeth national park: The park is a home to a good number of primate species but Chimpanzees are major primates that attract tourists to visit Queen Elizabeth and these chimpanzees are trekked with in Kyambura gorge. Other primate species encountered in Queen Elizabeth include; Black and white Colobus monkeys, baboons that always welcome visitors to hijack their cars in search of food, Vervet monkeys which are easily seen during the chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge, forest walk in Maramagambo forest, during the guided nature walk and sometimes during the game drive.
The Kazinga channel: The Kazinga channel is yet another interesting tourist attraction in the park that attracts tourists to engage in a breath taking boat cruise. Kazinga channel connects the two lakes of Lake Edward and Lake George.
Bat caves in Maramagambo forest: the bat caves inside maramagambo forest in Queen Elizabeth were formed as a result of volcanic activities that crated tunnels where the bats finally settled. A Forest walk in Maramagambo Forest is such a rewarding experience taking tourists to the bat caves situated inside the forest. These bat caves used to be frequently visited by travelers and people were allowed to enter into the caves and view the bats living with snakes directly but due to the Marburg virus outbreak that led to death of one tourist, the direct contact with the bats inside the cave was banned and the only way to explore these bat caves and view the reptiles is by walking on a raised platform that was constructed to prevent the direct contact and possible spread of the virus from bats to humans.
Crater lakes of Kyasanduka and Nyamasingiri: These two beautiful lakes are also great tourist attractions in Queen Elizabeth national park and they are compared to the twin lakes of Burela and Ruhondo in Volcanoes national park that were also formed as a result of volcanic forces. A nature walk to these Crater lakes of Kyasanduka and Nyamasingiri offer a stunning view of the vegetation cover along the shores and a view of Maramagambo forest situated just close to these lakes.
Planning a Uganda safari to Queen, get to know that there are two ways used by tourists to access the park and these include by road and by air. By road, it’s about 6-7 hours road drive from Kampala the capital city of Uganda though it can also be accessed from other national parks such as Bwindi impenetrable national park, Kibale forest national park among others.
By air, there are domestic and charter flights from Either Entebbe international airport or from Kajansi air to Mweya airstrip in mweya peninsular.
Where to stay in Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth has a variety of accommodation facilities ranging from Budget, midrange and luxury with beautiful amenities well distributed in different sectors of the park. Some of the accommodations to reside in while on a Uganda safari to Queen Elizabeth include; Jacana safari lodge, Park view hotel, mweya safari lodge, Mazike valley lodge, Kyambura gorge lodge, Ishasha wilderness camp, Mweya hostels, Simba safari camp and many more with in different sectors of Queen Elizabeth national park.
Conclusion: A safari Uganda safari to Queen Elizabeth is a rewarding experience and give a wide range of tourist activities to engage in such as game drive safaris, birding tours, Boat cruise safaris, hiking safari, chimpanzee trekking tours, forest walks, exploration of cave and many more.