Queen Elizabeth National Park: 6 Good Reasons to Visit Uganda

 

Summary: Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most biodiverse park, featuring a stunning combination of woods, grasslands, and waterscapes. It is Uganda’s most popular safari destination, and it pairs beautifully with a gorilla or chimp trek.

 

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Queen Elizabeth National Park: 6 Good Reasons to Visit Uganda
Queen Elizabeth National Park: 6 Good Reasons to Visit Uganda.

 

 

The most visited national park in Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park, is frequently combined with gorilla trekking in Bwindi and/or chimp trekking in Kibale Forest.

The park’s big cats, like the tree-climbing lions and leopards, are well-known. Elephants, buffalos, antelopes, and warthogs are among the park’s big game, which can be seen during game drives.

The Kazinga Channel, which connects Lakes; Edward and George, is crossed by boat safaris. Buffalo and elephants can be seen descending to the shore, pelicans rafting together in the sun, and plenty of hippos.

There are almost 600 species of birds documented in QENP, and you may combine a game drive or boat safari with monkey trekking in Kyambura Gorge’s mysterious woodlands.

 

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Why is Queen Elizabeth National Park worth a visit?

Why is Queen Elizabeth National Park worth a visit?
Why is Queen Elizabeth National Park worth a visit?

 

 

Over the years, Queen Elizabeth National Park has been recognized as one of the best parks in Africa. It is a major tourist attraction in Uganda and recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

Despite its popularity, this article will help you understand why this park is worth the visit.

The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park by combining the Lake George and Lake Edward Game Reserves.

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It was renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II, and the Songora herders’ last communal grazing rights were revoked, causing thousands more to migrate across the border with their herds into the Virunga National Park, with most only returning after 1964 due to the strife caused by the Mulele rebellion.

The Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) was founded in 1952 and spans 4,451 square kilometers. It is one of the most visited parks, home to a variety of creatures including buffalo, leopards, elephants, and giraffes. With mountains and hills, the park has a diverse landscape.

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The area of QENP is estimated to be 1,978 square kilometers (764 sq mi). African elephants, African buffalo, Ugandan Kob, hippopotamus, topi, waterbuck, warthog, giant forest hog, Nile crocodile, leopard, spotted hyena, and lion are among the park’s many animals.

The park is home to approximately 600 bird species and 95 animal species. The tree-climbing lions of Rukungiri District’s Ishasha region are well-known, with males sporting black manes. Uganda Wildlife Authority executive director Samuel John Mwandha indicated in 2020 that the number of animals in the park had increased over the last five years.

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In 2006, the IUCN recognized QENP and the nearby Virunga National Park as a ‘lion conservation unit.’ If poaching is reduced and prey species are allowed to rebound, the area could become a possible lion stronghold in Central Africa.

The Uganda Carnivore Program and the Uganda Wildlife Authority deploy radio collars and other conservation activities to actively monitor the resident lion population (which includes hyenas and leopards).

The Katwe craters, for example, are famed for their volcanic features, which include volcanic cones and deep craters, many of which have crater lakes from which salt is harvested.

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A telecenter run by Conservation through Public Health and the Uganda Wildlife Authority, located near the Park’s Pavilion, park lodges, game and scenic drives, and boat launches are among the park’s amenities.

The Uganda Carnivore Program also offers a lion encounter, with proceeds benefiting carnivore conservation.

African elephants, African buffalo, Ugandan kob, hippopotamus, topi, waterbuck, warthog, giant forest hog, Nile crocodile, leopard, spotted hyena, and lion are among the park’s many animals. The park is home to approximately 600 bird species and 95 animal species.

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 How much does it cost to visit Queen Elizabeth national park?

 

When you enter Queen Elizabeth National Park, you must pay a nominal conservation charge. The money goes toward the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s conservation efforts.

The charge varies depending on the organization, so be sure to bring identification. Passports must be presented, and foreign-born Ugandans must present a one-year work permit. Ugandan nationals must present national identification cards.

The cost for travelers is US$40 at the time of writing. Foreign-born Ugandans are required to pay a fee of $30 USD. Ugandans are assessed a fee of UGX 20,000.

Foreign non-resident children pay $20; foreign resident children pay $10, East African children UGX 5,000, Ugandan pupils or students UGX 3,000, and higher institutions pay UGX 5,000.

If you book with us, we will take care of everything.

 

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Top 6 reasons why you should visit Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park: 6 Good Reasons to Visit Uganda
Queen Elizabeth National Park: 6 Good Reasons to Visit Uganda.

 

 

Kazinga Channel

 

Lake Edward and its smaller neighbor, Lake George, are connected by the Kazinga Canal, a 32-kilometer-long freshwater channel. King Edward VII, Queen Victoria’s son, and his successor, King George V, are the names of the lakes.

The wide channel is a famous wildlife tourism destination and a prominent feature of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The channel is home to a diverse array of animals and birds, including one of the world’s greatest concentrations of hippos (about 2,000) and several Nile crocodiles.

Elephants, buffaloes, and over 100 kinds of water birds, including the African Skimmer, can also be seen.

 

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Kazinga Channel boat cruise

Kazinga Channel boat cruise
Kazinga Channel boat cruise.

 

 

Boat trips are a popular way to explore the Kazinga Channel, which is home to a diverse diversity of animals and birds.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority and Mweya Safari Lodge are the two companies that offer boat rides. Both cruises take about 2 hours and cost roughly $30 per person.

The Sunbird, a comfortable ten-seater boat, and the Kingfisher, a sleek twelve-seater boat, are available from Mweya Safari Lodge.

Both vessels have experienced guides and crews, but the Kingfisher allows you to travel in style, with refreshments and shade canopies to keep you cool.

 

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Kyambura Gorge

 

Kyambura Gorge, in the far east of Queen Elizabeth National Park, is known as the “Valley of the Apes.”

The deep forest that covers the gorge’s sides is a prime habitat for chimps, having been eroded by the Kyambura River for generations.

The dense jungle, swampy swamps, and vast crater lakes are surrounded by towering 100 m high rock walls, giving the impression of entering another universe.

 

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Chimpanzee trekking at Kyambura Gorge

Chimpanzee trekking at Kyambura Gorge
Chimpanzee trekking at Kyambura Gorge.

 

 

Chimpanzee trekking is a popular Ugandan wildlife adventure that allows you to enter the world of the chimps.

The hikes run about three hours and involve up to an hour with the chimps in their natural environment. At a safe distance of 8-10 meters, you should be able to see them.

The gorge is home to only 17 chimps, with a 60 percent probability of spotting them. The sights and sounds of the forest add suspense to a sighting and make it much more enjoyable.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority can arrange you tracking permits (if you book with us all of this is taken care of for you).

 

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Mweya Peninsula

 

Mweya Peninsula is the most visited attraction inside Queen Elizabeth National Park; it is located in the Rwenzururu sub-region of Kasese District.

The Mweya Peninsula, located on the northern bank of the Kazinga Channel, allows access to the Kazinga Channel and Lake Edward.

The Mweya Peninsula’s attractiveness stems from a mix of factors including its proximity to Mweya Airport, the availability of high-quality lodging, and its diverse ecology.

 

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Game drives at the Mweya Peninsula

Game drives at the Mweya Peninsula
Game drives at the Mweya Peninsula.

 

 

The game drive is the archetypal savannah safari experience, and there are various wildlife paths on the Mweya Peninsula.

You will patrol the grasslands with your guide for roughly 3 hours in the early morning or late afternoon, when the animals are most active, in four-wheel drive vehicles with hatch roofs and sliding windows that allow excellent view.

Due to the deep forest that covers the Mweya Peninsula, game drives might be tough, but booking with us ensures that you get a professional guide who knows the finest tracks.

Elephants, buffaloes, and warthogs are among the creatures found in the Mweya Peninsula. The potential to view nocturnal animals such as leopards and hyenas is intriguing on nocturnal game drives.

 

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Ishasha sector

 

The Ishasha sector, located in the southern section of Queen Elizabeth National Park, is known for its tree-climbing lions.

The Ishasha region, along with Southern Tanzania, is one of only two areas in Africa where tree-climbing lions can be seen.

The lions may have evolved this unique habit to avoid tsetse insects and the heat of the lower land, according to scientists.

When the lions are hunting, being perched on a tree branch provides a useful vantage position.

 

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Game drives in the Ishasha sector

Game drives in the Ishasha sector
Game drives in the Ishasha sector.

 

 

Other magnificent mammals found in Ishasha are Ugandan kobs, buffaloes, elephants, and zebras.

Because it is a less visited area of the park, the Ishasha sector is ideal for game drives. Without the distant drone of other safari engines, you can enjoy the views and sounds of the environment.

The ant-crawl of vehicles will not detract from your panoramic view of the plains. Because there is no traffic, you can spend more time with the lions.

(If booking with us, this will be arranged for you).

 

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Equator at Queen Elizabeth National Park

Equator at Queen Elizabeth National Park
Equator at Queen Elizabeth National Park.

 

 

The equator monument at Kikorongoro is one of the highlights of Queen Elizabeth National Park. You can take a number of images at this location that will serve as a constant reminder of Africa’s jewel when you return home.

The equator crosses the park’s northern sector near Kasenyi and is marked by a circular monument on either side of the road, which is often popular with tourists pausing for a photo.

 

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Crater Lakes Drives

Crater Lakes Drives
Crater Lakes Drives.

 

 

The park contains 72 craters of various sizes, all of which bear witness to the area’s turbulent volcanic history.

Many of these are concentrated in the park’s northern reaches, making for an interesting half-day journey where the scenery and geologic history, rather than the wildlife, are the main attractions.

It’s humbling to consider how these craters came to be, thousands of impressions on the Earth’s crust that became engulfed by vegetation and wildlife over millions of years.

The craters’ horrific and fiery past contrasts sharply with the verdant, forested oasis of life that today lives there.

 

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When to go to Queen Elizabeth National Park

 

The concept of a “best time to visit” isn’t really applicable to Uganda. Because the country is equatorial, it receives rain for the most of the year.

Furthermore, weather patterns appear to be changing, rendering inflexible seasonality obsolete. So bring a waterproof jacket and be prepared for anything.

However, it is often drier from June to early October and then again from December to early March. Rainfall is often higher in October and November, as well as from March to the end of May.

The wettest month is April, with May traditionally being wet as well, but this has been unusually dry in recent years.

 

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Getting to Queen Elizabeth National Park

 

The park is easily accessible as a stand-alone attraction or as part of a larger itinerary.

Because of its proximity to Bwindi and Kibale, the park is a popular choice for gorilla and chimp trekking. If you’re traveling for a longer period of time, you will almost surely stop by Queens because it has the best lion sightings in Uganda.

Although Uganda’s roads are rapidly improving, the travel from Entebbe to Queens still takes the better part of a day.

It takes roughly 3 hours to go from Kibale Forest to the Fort Portal area. It takes roughly 4 hours to drive from the Mweya Peninsula to Buhoma, in northern Bwindi.

Queens is connected to Entebbe and other Ugandan destinations via scheduled light aircraft flights.

The flight takes between 60 and 120 minutes depending on the routing used.

 

 

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Where to stay in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Where to stay in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Where to stay in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

 

 

Queen Elizabeth National Park is divided into five sections:

 

  • The Escarpment of the Northeast
  • Kyambura Gorge (Kyambura Gorge)
  • The sector of Ishasha
  • Peninsula Mweya
  • Escarpment of the Rift Valley.

 

There are a variety of lodging alternatives accessible in each location. Because of Queens’ varied geography, there is a wide choice of properties to choose from, and you will have no trouble finding privacy or a spectacular view.

 

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The Northeast Escarpment

 

Elephant Plains Lodge, one of the park’s newest facilities, is located on the escarpment to the northeast of the park, which offers panoramic views of the grassland across Lake George and easy access to the Mweya Peninsula.

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In Kyambura Gorge

 

The ridge winds its way around to Kyambura Gorge, a natural gorge in the generally flat, water-cut lowlands that are densely wooded. The beautiful Kyambura Gorge Lodge is the closest resort to the gorge, making it an ideal base for chimp trekking, as well as wildlife drives and boat safaris in the park’s center.

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In the Ishasha Sector

 

The Ishasha sector, located in the park’s south-west corner, is ideal for visitors seeking a true wilderness experience. Despite the construction of new lodges, it remains the quietest location with the smallest human footprint.

Ishasha Wilderness Camp, a brilliantly comfortable, tastefully created camp on the banks of the Ishasha River, the natural boundary between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the established favorite here.

 

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In the Mweya Peninsula

 

The peninsula of Mweya juts out into the Kazinga Channel. The views from here are spectacular, with vast grasslands merging into the lakes beyond. Mweya Safari Lodge is located in a superb location.

 

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In the Rift Valley Escarpment

 

To the south-east of the park, the Rift Valley Escarpment runs. There are a number of additional tiny lodges atop a ridge rising sharply above the plains, 16 kilometres from the park’s Katunguru Gate, all of which are positioned to take advantage of the vistas and the spectacular sunsets.

One of our favorite places to stay is Katara Lodge. With bamboo structures and wooden beams supporting thatched roofs under which you may gaze endlessly at the broad savannah in front of you, the lodge feels borne of the environment it resides in.

 

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Recommended Itineraries and Tours to Queen Elizabeth National Park

 

  1. Queen Elizabeth National Park: 2-Day Safari with Boat Cruise: On this private 2-day trip to Queen Elizabeth National Game Park, you will learn about Uganda’s diverse wildlife.
  2. Queen Elizabeth National Park 2-Day Chimpanzee Trekking Tour: Spend two days with a professional driver/guide touring the Queen Elizabeth National Park. On the first day, go on an exhilarating wildlife drive, and on the second day, go on a chimpanzee trek via Kyambura Gorge to spend time with these fascinating creatures.
  3. Kampala: Queen Elizabeth National Game Park 2-Day Safari: Visit Queen Elizabeth National Park for two wonderful days and view native wildlife such as leopards, lions, elephants, and more. Enjoy a game drive and a boat trip as part of the adventure, and spend the night at a lovely safari lodge.

 

To wrap things up

3 Days/2 Nights Queen Elizabeth National Park Getaway
3 Days/2 Nights Queen Elizabeth National Park Getaway.

 

Conclusion: If you are looking for an adventure, then Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best places to visit in Uganda. We hope this article has given you some ideas about what to do and see while visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Should you ever need to take a QENP trip, please reach out to us on email; info@travelwithenockandjaqi.com or Whatsapp text us on +256-772-987-442

 

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Queen Elizabeth National Park: 6 Good Reasons to Visit Uganda.

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