Queen Elizabeth National Park is located along the equator in the south western Uganda. It’s the second largest national park in Uganda covering an area of 1,978 square kilometers. Queen Elizabeth Park was gazetted in 1952 as Kazinga national park and in 1954 renamed, Queen Elizabeth national park. It includes parts of Lakes Edward and George which are linked by Kazinga channel. The park is a world Bio – sphere reserve (UNESCO 1979). It includes a RAMSAR wetland site and is classified as an important bird area (IBA) by Bird life international.
The park is located in western Uganda and is surrounded by a number of districts like Kasese, Bushenyi and Bundibugyo. The Park can be accessed by air, with daily flights to Kasese and Mweya airstrips respectively. Charter flights are available on request.
By road drive time is about 7 hours from Kampala on a surfaced road via Mbarara (420kms), or Fort Portal via Kasese (410 kms). The Park can also be reached on a dirt road from Bwindi via the Ishasha sector famously known as the Tree Climbing Lion area which is south of Bwindi Impenetrable. A 4X4 Wheel Drive Vehicle is highly recommended for game viewing in the park.
The park has a variety of Flora and Fauna and it’s acknowledged to be a habitat for over 95 mammal species with about 606 species of birds, various species of fish insects and reptiles. The park has around 57 types of animal life and five levels of vegetation. They include: bushy grassland, Acacia woodland, Lakeshore or swamp vegetation along with forest grassland. The wildlife includes: Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, waterbuck, warthog, lion, leopard, hyena, giant forest hog as well as elephants. Topics can only be discovered in Ishasha and forest primate found in Kyambura gorge in addition to Maramagambo forest.
The park’s remarkable bird list which exceeds that of the neighboring Virunga National Park includes the African skimmer, Chapins flycatcher, Pink-backed pelicans, Papyrus canary, Shoebill stork, martial eagle, black-rumped buttonquail as well as the great flamingos.
The high light activity at Queen Elizabeth Park is the boat cruise on the Kazinga channel: The Kazinga channel is about 40m long adjoining Lake Gorge to Lake Edward. It has the perfect view of the parks’ major wildlife ventures. The shores of the channel attract a large concentration of mammals, birds as well as reptiles all year around. The animals can be viewed well by the boat cruise and at the entrance of Lake Edward. The operation of the cruise run from 1500hrs and 1700hrs furthermore voyages run 1100 and 1300hrs depending on the demand of the tourists.
Game drives will enable you see buffalo, elephants and other animals that dwell in the grassland thickets of the Northern Kazinga close to Mweya. The most accessible spot for lions is in the eastern part of Kasenyi plains and the Kasese road where they quarry on the big inhabitants of Uganda Kobs. The most favorable time for game drives is early morning and late afternoon hours. A range guide will help you get enough information about the park and still get the most memorable experience in Africa.
Part of the park is dominated by huge volcanic craters, some containing salt lakes. These unique ecosystems attract herds of buffalo, elephant and on occasion many thousands of flamingos a sight to behold.
Chimpanzees too are found in Maramagambo forest as well as Kyambura gorge, a 16 kilometer long scar in the earth which is home to a group of habituated chimpanzees, baboons, monkeys and birds. The gorge is about 100m deep to where organized chimpanzee trekking can be conducted; bird watching, nature walks and sightseeing can be undertaken from the visitors Centre.