Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda Safari Attractions, Activities, Accommodations & How To Getting To Queen Elizabeth Park
Find all the much-needed information about Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda such as- wildlife viewing safaris in Uganda, attractions, activities, Queen Elizabeth Park safari lodges/accommodation/where to stay, how to book a Uganda safari, Uganda safari travel tips/advice, what to wear, when to go/best time to go for Uganda wildlife safaris in Queen Elizabeth Park.
Encompassing an area of 1978km2, scenic Queen Elizabeth National Park is the best-loved Uganda safari park, and with good reason! The Queen Elizabeth Park park was founded in 1952 and named Kazinga National Park but was renamed 2 years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. It is located on the Uganda Equator, on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, in the shadow of the “Mountains of the Moon”.
Boasting over 95 Uganda mammals /animals of Uganda, around 612 species of birds of Uganda, and more hippos than you ever thought existed, this Uganda’s second-largest national park is also its most diverse, with options to discover its wildlife on foot, by boat, and on classic game drives. Yes, it has 4 of the Big 5 strolling across its savannah, but it also has freshwater lakes, crater lakes, dense papyrus swamps, woodland, and a chimpanzee-inhabited underground rainforest.
Most visitors on Uganda wildlife safari tours enter Queen Elizabeth Park from the north, exploring Kasenyi plains a favorite for game drives, and onto the stunning Kyambura Gorge. You can even pose at Mweya Peninsula – Queen Elizabeth NP’s tourism hub to enjoy a relaxing boat cruise down the Kazinga Channel which is home to vast pods of hippo, waterbirds, and toothy crocodiles.
Continuing south through the Ishasha sector, you’ll have a chance to spot the rare tree-climbing lions and Topis. You may even visit nearby communities to interact with friendly local people.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK ∣ WHEN WAS QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK ESTABLISHED
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the oldest National Parks in Uganda. Protected as one of Uganda wildlife reserves in the 1920s, it was gazetted as Kazinga Channel National Park in 1952 by the Protectorate administration but renamed two years later to commemorate the first Uganda visit by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
WHERE IS QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK? ∣ LOCATION OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in southwestern Uganda. The distance from Kampala to Queen Elizabeth Park is about 437km by road and the drive to Queen takes about 6-7 hours.
Because of its proximity to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Kibale National Park, it makes a popular combination with chimpanzee and gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda. It takes roughly 2-3 hours to drive from Kibale Forest to Queen (157km) and about 4-5 hours to drive from Bwindi to Queen (218km). Alternatively, scheduled light aircraft flights link Queens to Entebbe. Depending on the route used, the flight might take anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes.
HOW TO GET TO QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK?
Queen Elizabeth National Park can be accessed easily by road and air from Kampala.
By Road: Two routes run from Kampala City to Mweya, the primary tourism hub in the park, The most scenic route passes through Fort Portal (483km) and offers detours to Kibale National park for chimpanzee trekking, Semuliki National Park for bird and nature walks and Rwenzori Mountains national parks for Uganda mountain hiking and trekking .
The alternative 437km route runs through Masaka, Mbarara, and Bushenyi and passes Lake Mburo National Park. This route takes around 6-7 hours.
By Air: Charter flights can be arranged for airstrips at Kasese, Mweya, and Ishasha from Kampala’s Kajjansi airfield or Entebbe International Airport. Air travel is faster and the journey takes around 1 hour, BUT more costly compared to a road trip and you will miss out on seeing the villages, people and their lifestyle green plus lush countryside.
A GOOGLE MAP SHOWING HOW TO GET TO QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK BY BY ROAD (DRIVING FROM KAMPALA CITY/ENTEBBE) AND BY AIR (FLYING FROM ENTEBBE AIRPORT)
TOP 13 BEST THINGS TO SEE IN QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK ∣ WHAT TO SEE IN QUEEN ELIZABETH PARK?
There are a variety of amazing things to see in Queen Elizabeth National Park, including four of the Big Five, the rare tree-climbing lions, habituated chimpanzees, over 600 species of birds in Uganda, Hippos, antelopes, and much more. To get you started, here are the top Uganda safari attractions in Queen Elizabeth park you can look for on your Uganda wildlife safari tour:
The Amazing Animals In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen is one of the top Uganda wildlife safari destinations. The park’s diverse habitats offer a perfect home for over 95 species of mammals. It is inhabited by four of the Big Five, over 5000 Hippos, 10,000 Buffalos, 3900 Elephants, about 200 Lions, 300 Chimpanzees, 10 species of monkeys, a variety of antelopes, reptiles, and it is more famous for its tree-climbing lions.
Here Is A List Of Top Animals To Look For On Your Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari:
- The Rare Tree Climbing Lions
- Ground dwelling lions
- African Leopards
- African Bush Elephants
- Cape buffalos
- Black-and-white colobus monkeys
- Olive baboons
- Red-tailed monkey
- Spotted hyenas
- Common Warthogs
- Giant forest hogs
- Nile Crocodiles
- Uganda kobs
- Defassa waterbucks
- Side-striped jackals
- Banded mongoose
Over 600 Species Of Uganda Birds In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a fantastic destination for your Uganda birding safaris & tours.
The park’s astonishing variety of different habitats makes for an incredible bird list of over 600 birds of Uganda species, which is about 15% of Africa’s total bird species and the highest number in any protected area in East Africa. Queen Elizabeth National Park’s lake and wetlands attract a variety of water birds including pelicans, Flamingos, fish eagles, storks, and more.
Raptors of every shape and size scud across the skies, from the vast martial and crowned eagles to palm-nut vultures and the angular outlines of keen-eyed grey kestrels.
Moving from Ishasha to Mweya you will do well keeping an eye out for the elegant Grey crowned cranes, African crake, blue-throated roller, sooty chat, black-headed Gonolek, mustached grass warbler, Red-chested Sunbird, slender-billed weaver, and others.
A List Of Key Bird Species You Can Look For In Queen On Your Birding Tour In Uganda:
- Grey-crowned cranes
- Ayres’s hawk-eagle
- Brown snake eagle
- Martial eagle
- African fish eagle
- Pel’s fishing-owl
- Rüppell’s vultures
- Palm-nut vulture
- Grey Kestrel
- Pin-tailed Whydah
- Senegal Lapwing
- Temminck’s Courser
- African Skimmer
- Saddle-billed Stork
- Great white and Pink-backed pelicans
- Water Thick-knee
- Lesser and Greater Flamingos
- African Jacana
- African Finfoot
- Black bee-eater
- Black-rumped buttonquail
- Broad-billed roller
- Caspian Plover
- Collared pratincole
- Great blue turaco
- Grey-winged robin-chat
- Heuglin’s Gull
- Papyrus Gonolek
- Red-chested sunbird
- Rufous-bellied heron
- Yellow-throated Cuckoo
The Unique Beauty Of Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth Park is one of the most beautiful Uganda safari parks.
Set on the floor of the rift valley against the backdrop of the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s mosaic landscape of unique features makes it a photographer’s dream destination.
It is dotted with explosion craters – magnificent calderas some filled with saltwater lakes and home to many buffalo and flocks of pink flamingos. Adventurers in Uganda are also drawn by Queen’s unique combination of rainforests, rolling savannah grasslands, wetlands, and freshwater lakes.
Mweya Peninsula, The Tourism Hub Of Queen
Covering about 10km2, Mweya Peninsular is Queen Elizabeth National Park’s tourism hub.
The raised arrowhead of bushland protrudes between Lake Edward, George, and Kazinga channel, immediately where the two lakes merge. The peninsular has a spectacular setting, overlooking an archetypal equatorial African riverbank scene, with elephants, and buffaloes milling around the opposite shore, subverted by occasional glimpses of the legendary snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains. Birdlife in Mweya is also prolific.
You will see have a chance to see many Marabou storks, the striking Red-chested sunbird, black-headed Gonolek, and a variety of weavers. Logistically, Mweya peninsular remains a popular base for visitors to explore Queen Elizabeth National Park.
It houses the park’s oldest and one of the most luxurious Uganda safari lodges called Mweya Safari lodge, and several budget-friendly UWA managed guest houses. It lies less than a 45-minute drive from the game-viewing circuit of Kasenyi. It is the lunch point of the park’s most iconic activity; a boat cruise on Kazinga Channel.
The Hippo-Filled Kazinga Channel In Queen Elizabeth National Park
The Kazinga Channel is a 32km long stretch of water that links the 2 great lakes, Edward and George. The channel is an oasis for fascinating Uganda wildlife.
It contains some of the world’s densest concentrations of hippos and a boat cruise from the Mweya Peninsula, along the Channel towards L. Edward is the most popular Uganda safari attraction in Queen Elizabeth Park.
Along the shore of the channel, you’ll spot herds of buffaloes wallowing in mad, snapping Nile crocodiles trying their trick hunt, and many African elephants showering. Waterbucks and Uganda kobs are also seen here daily while giant forest hogs are observed with unexpected frequency.
Kazinga channel also attracts a stunning variety of waterbirds such as:
- African Skimmer
- Pink-backed and Great White Pelicans
- White-breasted Cormorant
- Water Thick-knee
- Grey-hooded Gull
- White-winged and Gull-billed Terns
- African jacana and others
The Scenic Kasenyi Plains In Queen Elizabeth NP
Kasenyi plains are a popular part of the Queen Elizabeth park safari for game drives.
This section, apart from the great wildlife, is also one of the prettiest in the park, especially in the golden light of the morning. It is situated on the western side of Lake Gorge and north of the Kazinga Channel. The plains are an important breeding ground for Uganda Kob (the national animal of Uganda) and are also frequented by big herds buffalo, some bushbucks, and several warthogs, and huge dark elephants.
Lions are also often seen lurking around the ‘new’ Kob breeding grounds. The plains are also frequented by vultures that can be seen circling or perched purposely in a tree, possibly indicating a lion kill. There is an interesting selection of grassland birds including Grey-crowned cranes, Red-throated spurfowl, and Yellow-throated Longclaw.
The Forested Kyambura Gorge & Chimpanzees In Queen Elizabeth National Park
The stunning Kyambura Gorge – also called the ‘Valley of Apes’ – lies in the rift valley east of the Mweya Peninsula in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The gorge was named after Kyambura River which moves through its thick “underground forest”, 100 meters underneath the Kichwamba Escarpment.
The name Kyambura locally translates as ‘it lost’. It was obtained as a result of the river shifting some local members with their belongings and on return, they couldn’t find their colleagues anywhere. It is home to a small, isolated population of around 30 Chimpanzees that have become known as the “Lost Chimpanzees”.
These chimps of Kyambura are isolated from the other populations in the larger forested areas of the park, lone survivors cut off by the historic deforestation of the area. Kyambura gorge is also an important habitat for a variety of birds and more amazing primates including:
- Olive baboons
- Black-and-white colobus
- Vervet monkeys
- Red-tailed monkeys
Ishasha Sector & The Rare Tree Climbing Lions In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Ishasha sector lies in the remote southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Visitors on Uganda safaris & tours often plan their tour of this marvelous area by combining it with a Uganda gorilla trekking safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
The sector is best known for its rare and famous tree-climbing lions. These mysterious creatures are not something that you’ll encounter on your Africa safaris & tours. Even seasoned animal behaviorists agree that lions are not evolutionarily adapted to climb trees and perch atop branches.
And no one knows exactly why the lions in the Ishasha plains prefer to spend their days perched in trees, and not on the ground like other African lions. Many sources say that maybe the love of the cool weather up in the branches compel them to rest up in the trees while others think that the bites of tsetse flies are less in the trees than on the ground that’s why.
Whatever the reason may be, everyone agrees that the sight of the lions resting in the branches of huge trees is unmatched.
Besides tree-climbing lions, Ishasha Sector is also home to other fantastic Uganda wildlife including:
- Huge herds of Buffaloes
- Topis, Uganda kobs & Waterbucks
- Various monkeys and birds
The Ancient Katwe Salt Lake In Queen Elizabeth Park
Lake Katwe is an ancient salt lake formed through a volcanic eruption about 10,000 years ago.
Situated north of the Mweya Peninsula, the lake is where traditional salt mining in Uganda has been taking place for over 600 years, and today some 3000 people still use the same traditional methods. The view from the rim-with a honeycomb of individually worked extraction plots running around the shore-is quite stunning.
However, if you are interested in seeing the salt extraction process up close, nothing is stopping you from driving or walking down the short road that leads out of town to the lakeshore. You will see local salt miners toiling away in the sun.
Extraction of the salt from Lake Katwe is done by hand by both men and women and involves standing waist or chest-deep in water for hours at a time. Lake Katwe is unable to support any animal or plant life due to its unbelievably high salt concentration. Nearby is the bird sanctuary of Lake Munyanyange, where flamingos can be sighted from August to November.
The reason why Katwe is salty is that the lake has several streams that drain into it, but it has no outlet, so intense evaporation during the dry seasons leads to the water becoming extremely salty.
Maramagambo Forest In Queen Elizabeth Park
Situated in the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Maramagambo Forest is a vast medium-altitude rainforest.
Its vastness is alluded to in its name which is derived from a local phrase meaning “the end of words” and refers to a legend about a group of young people who got lost within this forest many years ago, and it took them several days to trace their path back to the local village from which they had come from. On returning to the village these young people couldn’t speak for long since they were extremely worn out, hence the word “Maramagambo” for ‘the end of words’.
The forest is famous for its ‘Bat Cave’ with a specially constructed viewing room from which visitors can observe the millions of bats as well as the rock pythons that live alongside them. Maramagambo also supports a rich selection of forest birds and primates such as
- Black-and-white colobus monkeys
- Red-tailed monkey
- Vervet monkey
- Olive baboon
- Blue monkey
Lake George Ramsar Site In Queen Elizabeth Park
Lake Gorge is about 251km2 in size. The first white man to visit Lake Gorge was a British explorer Henry. M. Stanely in 1875. Stanely named this lake gorge after a British royal family member who was known as Prince Gorge who later became King Gorge V.
The lake and its papyrus swamps were designated as a Ramsar Site in 1988. The site has the highest diversity of bird species of any wetland in Uganda. It harbors more than 491 Uganda birds species, including 167 wetland specialists and 9 listed as globally threatened.
The swamp harbors a substantial population of Shoebills and papyrus endemics such as:
- White-winged warbler
- Papyrus Gonolek
- Papyrus canary
- Papyrus yellow warbler
Kalinzu Forest Near Queen Elizabeth National Park
Situated alongside the Kasese-Ishaka Road 35 kilometers south of Katunguru, Kalinzu Forest now ranks among the most reliable sites to trek and see chimpanzees in Uganda.
The forest covers an area of 137km2 and it is an extension of Maramagambo Forest. It comprises more than 400 tree species and at least 300 chimpanzees, including a 40-strong community habituated for tourists and a slightly larger one reserved for research.
Besides chimps, you can also encounter a variety of birds and other diurnal primate species in Kalinzu, including;
- Olive baboons
- Black and white colobus
- Red-tailed monkeys
- Blue monkeys
- L’Hoest’s monkeys
People & Culture, Queen Elizabeth National Park
Local people around Queen Elizabeth National Park in Banyabindi, Bakonzo, and Basongora. The park has several communities and cultural sites where Uganda cultural tours-safaris can be planned to showcase amazing cultures in Uganda and these including;
Katwe Village: Local people here have spent their days under the equatorial sun, walking the network of paths that criss-cross the Katwe Salt Lake and harvesting salt from its milky waters. The village also contains a traditional homestead. There are cooking demonstrations that introduce visitors to the region’s cuisine, and there is also a trip to the local school.
Nyanzibiri Cave Community: Attractions here include a historic cave and Cultural Museum; a perfectly preserved Bunyaruguru hut, filled with valued local artifacts that were once the tools of everyday life.
Kikorongo Women Community: Kikorongo is a local Lukonzo word that means ‘too much sunshine. The community offers lively dance and musical show, which takes place in lodges across the park. They also have a Craft Workshop that teaches visitors how to weave baskets and bowls using natural fibers. They even teach you how to recycle magazines into colorful paper beads that can be turned into unique necklaces.
TOP 7 AMAZING THINGS TO DO IN QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK ∣ ACTIVITIES IN QUEEN ELIZABETH PARK
Wondering what to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park? There are a variety of amazing Uganda safari activities/things to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park ranging from classic safari game drives, boat cruises, chimpanzee trekking, nature walks, birding, and more.
Here Are The Best Uganda Safari Activities/Things To Do In Queen Elizabeth National Park:
- Classic Game Drives In Queen Elizabeth National Park
While on a Uganda wildlife safari in Queen, a game drive is one exciting experience you should not miss out on.
Queen is one magical Uganda safari park offering the best game viewing experiences to most visitors on tour in Uganda. Using a 4×4 Safari Land Cruiser or Safari Van with an open rooftop, expect an excellent game viewing experience.
Typically, game drives in Queen are undertaken in the early morning and evening. Early morning game drive begins at around 6:30 am and is generally the best time to view the wildlife, as the temperature is cool and the animals are still very active, including the lions, which will be returning from a night of hunting.
The tracks that go through Kasenyi plains, the North Kazinga channel, and the Ishasha Sector offer virtually guaranteed game sightings.
Game Drives In Kasenyi Plains
The Kasenyi savannah plains are a popular part of Queen Elizabeth National Park for game drives. The scenic plains are located on the western side of Lake George and north of the Kazinga Chanel.
They offer good sightings of Elephants, Buffalos, Uganda kobs, Bushbucks, Waterbucks, Spotted hyenas, Hippos, Giant forest hogs, and Warthogs. Lion and occasionally Leopard are also common, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
Game Drives In Ishasha Sector
Ishasha sector is along the border with DR Congo. It gives you a genuine African wilderness experience and is best known for its legendary tree-climbing lions. This is also the only area in the park to see the Topi antelopes.
Game Drive Fees In Queen Elizabeth National Park
- USD 30 Per person per trek for foreign non-resident visitors
- USD 30 Per person per trek for foreign resident visitors (with work permits)
- UGX 30,000 for East African Citizens
- Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise In Queen Elizabeth Park
If there is one most memorable recreational Uganda safari activity you shouldn’t miss then it is the Kazinga Channel boat cruise. This recreational safari experience usually begins at 2 pm at the Mweya Jetty. It gives the chance to cruise just meters from hundreds of Hippos, Buffalo, Elephants, and Nile Crocodiles.
You can also expect over 100 species of a water bird, including African Skimmer, Pink-backed and Great White Pelican, African Openbill, Saddle-billed Stork, Glossy Ibis, African Wattled Lapwing, Water Thick-knee, Grey-hooded Gull, and White-winged and Gull-billed Tern.
Boat Cruise Operators in Queen
There are 2 independent boat cruise operators; the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Mweya Safari Lodge. Both trips cost around $30 per person and take 2 hours.
Mweya Safari Lodge gives you a choice between its comfortable 10-seater boat, The Sunbird, and its stylish 12-seater boat, the Kingfisher. Both vessels have experienced guides and crew, but the Kingfisher allows you to travel in luxury, with refreshments and shade canopies to keep you cool.
Birding In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda Bird watching safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park is an incredible treat and if you’re into birding in Uganda, you definitely need this place on your wish list.
The park’s amazing variety of habitats hosts over 600 Uganda bird species which is about 15% of Africa’s total bird species and reputedly the most of any protected area in East Africa.
Key species include the Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Skimmer, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Pink-backed Pelican, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Black Bee-eater, White-tailed Lark, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Corncrake, Lesser, and Greater Flamingo, Shoebill, and Bar-tailed Godwit.
Here Are The Top Birding Spots In Queen Elizabeth Park:
- Kasenyi Plains
- Kazinga Channel
- Katunguru Bridge Area
- Maramagambo Forest
- Katwe Area
- Ishasha Sector
- Mweya Peninsular
Kyambura Gorge Chimp Trekking In Queen
Your Uganda tour to Queen Elizabeth National Park can also include Uganda Chimpanzee trekking in stunning Kyambura Gorge.
Kyambura Gorge is home to around 30 chimps is considered the 4th best place for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda safari after Kibale National Park, Kalinzu Forest, and Budongo Forest.
Despite the lower odds of seeing the chimpanzees, the Chimpanzee trek here is well worth it. The view is incredibly impressive with a deep sunken gorge covered in lush tropical vegetation. You will see other primates such as Red-tailed monkeys, Black-and-white colobus, Olive baboons, and Vervet monkeys. You will also see your fair share of colorful bird species.
Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura departs two times a day. Trackers leave in 2 groups of up to 4 visitors each at 8:00 or 13:00.
The excursion typically takes about 3 hours, but this greatly depends on where you locate the chimps and how quickly.
Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Trekking Fees
- USD 50 Per person per trek for foreign non-resident visitors
- USD 50 Per person per trek for foreign resident visitors (with work permits)
- UGX 30,000 for East African Citizens
Lion Tracking In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Lion tracking is one of the astonishing Uganda safari tour experiences offered to visitors in Queen.
The activity is operated by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Uganda Carnivore Program (UCP). UCP is an organization based in Queen that is dedicated to research and conservation of Uganda’s large carnivores, particularly lions, hyenas, and leopards.
Using radio telemetry, UCP wardens can track and observe the predators and their movements into conflict “hot zones,” where they face the danger of meeting up with people and their livestock.
Today, working with Uganda Wildlife Authority, UCP offers guided lion-tracking and nocturnal tours for select tour groups who have the unique opportunity to help in monitoring, tracking, and researching the ‘King of the Jungle’ in Queen Elizabeth Park.
Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Trekking Fees
- USD 100 Per person per trek for foreign non-resident visitors
- USD 100 Per person per trek for foreign resident visitors (with work permits)
- UGX 100,000 for East African Citizens
Maramagambo Forest Walks In Queen Elizabeth Park
If you enjoy watching the primates and birds of Uganda, you must go on a nature walk in Maramagambo Forest.
This diverse rainforest is home to various species of primates and birds. The most commonly seen monkeys are black-and-white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and vervet monkeys. But the forest also harbors L’Hoest’s monkeys and around 300 unhabituated chimpanzees.
Different guided walks can be undertaken from the visitor’s center. The most straightforward trail circuit is around the forested shores of Lake Kyasanduka, and should not take much longer than 1 hour, depending on how interested you are in the prolific birdlife.
For dedicated bird watchers, the most rewarding walk is likely to be the half-day around the back of Lake Nyamasingiri, which comprises 5 craters and extends over 4km. The forest around Lake Nyamasingiri is home to unique bird species including Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Snowy-headed robin-chart, and Chest-nut wattle eye, while the lake its self is a good site for African Finfoot.
More popular than either of the above is a 2-3 km Nyamasingiri Trail, which leads from the eponymous lake to a bat cave and the so-called Blue Lake or Lake Kamilanjovu.
The cave is a rubble-strewn lava funnel whose interior hosts a massive colony of bats, as well as a few rock pythons that feed on them. The cave is viewed from a platform 15 meters away.
Maramagambo Forest Nature Walk Fees
- USD 15 Per person per trek for foreign non-resident visitors
- USD 15 Per person per trek for foreign resident visitors (with work permits)
- UGX 10,000 for East African Citizens
Community & Cultural Tours, Queen Elizabeth Park
During your cultural safari tour in Queen Elizabeth National Park, you’ll have the opportunity to spend time with the local communities and tribes that live in and on the outskirts of the reserve.
You will learn about their traditional lifestyles and experience their arts, crafts, and dance, and music forms, all deeply integrated with nature.
Close to the Ishasha sector is a community headed by a village elder who is adept at explaining the local crafts, understands the use of herbs for making medicines, and practices subsistence farming using organic farming methods. He will also talk to you about the strategies used to keep bush pigs, elephants, and baboons out of his crops.
If you would like to watch the process of extracting salt from lake water and packaging it for sale, be sure to include a visit to the Katwe Salt Lake Village in your Queen Elizabeth safari itinerary. Yet another highlight of the park is the Nyanzibiri Cave Community, the local term for twin lakes in the Bunyaruguru crater region. Visit the cultural museum here, which houses old tools and was built using ancestral architectural styles.
Chimpanzee Tracking In Kalinzu Forest
Kalinzu Forest situated in the southeast of Queen Elizabeth National Park offers the best Chimpanzee Trekking safari in Uganda after Kibale National Park.
It is inhabited by about 300 chimps including a 40-strong chimpanzee community habituated for tourism. A chimp trek here is at USD 50 per person per trek and now comes with about a 90% success rate.
There are also 5 other diurnal primate species you can encounter during your Kalinzu Forest chimpanzee trekking tour including Olive baboons, Black and white colobus, Red-tailed monkeys, Blue monkeys, and L’Hoest’s monkeys. For birders and butterfly enthusiasts, Kalinzu is home to over 378 Uganda birds (species) and 262 species of butterflies.
TOP ACCOMMODATION IN QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK ∣ WHERE TO STAY IN QUEEN ELIZABETH PARK?
Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda safari lodges/accommodations ranges from luxury, midrange to budget tented camps, cottages, bandas, and Uganda safari lodges. Here is the best Uganda safari accommodation in Queen Elizabeth Park:
Popular Luxury Camps & Lodges In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Mazike Valley Lodge
Mazike Valley Lodge is situated near the stunning Kyambura Gorge. The lodge’s 8 cottages are spacious with King or Twin beds, bathtubs, showers, flush toilets, and washbasins with hot water throughout the day.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp
Ishasha Wilderness Camp has a wonderful location on the banks of the Ntungwe River, within Queen Elizabeth National Park’s southern Ishasha sector – the home of tree-climbing lions.
The property is owned and operated by Exclusive Camps and Lodges and is described as taking glamping to the next level.
It is perfect for travelers hoping for an authentic luxury Africa safari experience.
The guest accommodation here consists of 10 tented rooms, all with views of the Ntungwe from a private veranda set with a table and a couple of chairs. It is not uncommon for guests to spot wildlife wandering through camp.
Mweya Safari Lodge
Mweya Safari Lodge is located on the Mweya peninsula above the Kazinga Channel and is surrounded by the Rwenzori Mountains.
This wood and thatch safari-style lodge offers magnificent views from all its rooms and cottages.
From here, you can enjoy game drives in search of buffalos, elephants, hippos, lions, leopards, and more. You’ll see many animals and birds as you cruise on the Kazinga Channel, a real highlight of the area.
Katara Lodge is an excellent option for travelers hoping to explore the queen from a very comfortable base. The lodge is situated just 16km from the Katunguru gate of the park, within farmland upon the Great Rift Valley escarpment.
Guest accommodation consists of 8 chalets, all positioned farther down the hillside.
They are made out of local materials in addition to canvas that can be rolled back to reveal the superb scenery. Seven are regular chalets and the eighth is for families.
Popular Midrange Safari Lodge In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Enganzi Game Lodge
Enganzi game lodge offers the sprawling and breathtaking view of Queen as viewed from its cottages patched on the rift valley.
The lodge has a swimming pool and several room types including double, single, twin, and triple rooms to suit all out guest requirements.
Bush Lodge is built along with ecological principles. Its bandas are designed and spaced in such a way as to maximize privacy and enhance the safari aspect of the lodge.
It is situated near the Kazinga channel and has a truly unique setting. Animals literary roam in and out of the camp and sounds of hippos and hyenas are often heard at night. It offers a safari camp that is affordable and authentic.
The lodge has 12 self-contained bandas, spaciously placed between the indigenous bush.
All bandas have an ensuite bathroom, a flushing toilet, and an outside shower with 24/24 hours of hot water. The also has 2 self-contained tents for those who want to have some privacy and a real in the Bush experience.
Kasenyi Safari Camp
Kasenyi Safari Camp is strategically located on the rim of Lake Bunyampaka in the Kasenyi plains. The camp has 8 tents that are constructed on platforms with a thatched canopy roof.
All tents en-suite bathrooms, spacious living areas, and private decks. Many animals frequent the camp during the day and at night.
Park View Safari Lodge
Park View Safari Lodge is situated on the outskirts of Queen, just a 20-minute drive from the Kasenyi game drive sector. The lodge has 5 eco-friendly ensuite cottages with distinctive architecture, natural materials, and a chic design that is well integrated with forested surroundings.
They are comforts with separate living rooms, one indoor. The master bedroom of each unit is furnished with a large king bed size, making it ideal for honeymooners.
Each cottage is fully-fledged with its own private bathroom. The setting of each bedroom can be adjusted to accommodate two queen beds for clients interested in a twin room experience.
Enjojo Safari Lodge
Enjojo Lodge is located on the border of Queen Elizabeth National Park about 5km from Ishasha Park entrance gate. The lodge offers a relaxing retreat in the middle of an acacia forest, scattered grassland, and lush vegetation with palm trees.
Huge herds of Elephants, Buffalos, and Antelopes regularly visit the lodge. Olive baboons, Vervet, and Black-and-white colobus monkeys have become residents.
It has 7 thatched cottages, a safari house that accommodates up to 7 people, self-contained safari tents, non-self-contained safari tents, bamboo huts, and a campsite.
Popular Budget Accommodation In Queen Elizabeth National Park
Pumba Safari Cottages
Pumba Safari Cottages is located in Kyambura overlooking Queen Elizabeth National Park. Pumba has five cozy cottages which offer you lovely accommodation.
Each cottage has comfortable beds that can be set up as a twin, double or single room as well as a triple bed option for four of the cottages. Attached to each bed is a mosquito net. All cottages are self-contained having a bathroom with a shower with warm water. There is electricity in all rooms.
Topi Lodge is located in the Ishasha sector. It offers spacious cottages each cottage with comfortable beds and is decorated with local crafts.
The lodge has big verandas set up with a sofa where you have every chance to relax and enjoy the peaceful setting with nice views.
All cottages are en-suite with warm water for the shower.
Enjojo Lodge – Bamboo Hut & Non-Self-Contained Tents
Enjojo lodge also offers budget accommodation to visitors on Uganda wildlife safaris to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
This includes Bamboo huts and Non-Self-contained tents that are set away from the main lodge in an African bush setting.
Although not self-contained, the huts and tents are solar-powered, comfortable, and equipped with beds, bed linen, and towels. The tents share outdoor showers facilities made of rocks clean toilets.
Bush Lodge – Non-Self Contained Tents
Bush Lodge offers budget accommodation in Queen Elizabeth National Park with its 11 non-self-contained tents. These are placed under a grass thatched roof which creates your private terrace.
All tents are equipped with comfortable beds and a bedside table. There is a power outlet for charging your electrical equipment. Tents share a communal ablution block with showers and flushing toilets
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
What Is Queen Elizabeth National Park Known For?
Queen Elizabeth National Park is known for its abundant wildlife, including rare tree-climbing lions, African elephants, African buffalo, Ugandan Kob, many hippos, and over 600 bird species.
When Was Queen Elizabeth National Park Established?
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the oldest National Parks in Uganda. Protected as a wildlife reserve in the 1920s, it was gazetted as Kazinga Channel National Park in 1952 by the Protectorate administration but renamed two years later to commemorate the first visit to Uganda by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
How Did Queen Elizabeth National Park Get Its Name?
Queen Elizabeth National Park is named after Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain after her visit to the park in 1954.
Where Is Queen Elizabeth National Park?
Queen Elizabeth Park is found in Western Uganda, spanning the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi, and Rukungiri. The distance from Kampala to Queen is approximately 437km / 6-7 hours’ drive.
How Big Is Queen Elizabeth National Park?
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the second largest of the 10 national parks in Uganda. It covers an area of 1,978km². The park stretch from the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains in the north, along the shores of Lake Edward, to the remote Ishasha River in the South.
What Animals Are In Queen Elizabeth National Park?
Animals in Queen Elizabeth National Park include tree-climbing lions, African elephants, African Buffalo, Ugandan Kob, Hippos, Topi, Waterbuck, Giant Forest Hog, Nile crocodiles, Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Bushbucks, Warthogs, Spotted Hyenas, Side Striped Jackals, and more.
How Many Elephants Are In Queen Elizabeth National Park?
In the 2018 wildlife census, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) registered 3,953 elephants in the park up from 2,913 elephants in 2015. Today, this number has grown to over 4,000 elephants
What Can You Do In Queen Elizabeth National Park?
Activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park include savannah game drives, Kazinga channel boat cruise, searching for the rare tree-climbing lions, chimpanzee trekking, birding, nature walks, and cultural tours.
When Can You Visit Queen Elizabeth National Park?
Sitting squarely on the equator, Queen Elizabeth has little temperature variation throughout the year. The rainiest months are March to May, with gentler rains in October to November, although this should not hinder wildlife viewing at all.
The Uganda animals here are not migratory so can be seen all year round; there really is no best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park. Do bear in mind, though, that if you are continuing south to track gorillas, you may wish to avoid the rainy months of April, May, and November.