Queen Elizabeth National Park short Uganda tour safari, Uganda wildlife safari, Uganda wildlife tour
Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds. The bird species include the black bee-eater, 11 types of king fisher, Shoebill storks and several species of falcons, eagles and other raptors.
Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.
The park is known for its volcanic features, comprising volcanic cones and deep craters, many with crater lakes such as Lake Katwe where salt is mined. The national park has Maramagambo Forest and neighbors with Kigezi and Kyambura Game Reserves, Kibale National Park plus the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kasese lying on its north-western wing.
Tourists’ activities at Queen Elizabeth national park
Game Drives in Queen Elizabeth national park
Described as Uganda’s safari destination, Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park are most rewarding. These can be done in the two areas i.e. the Channel Drive Circuit and the Kasenyi Plains. These rolling plains support large number of wildlife grazers which cannot be sighted anywhere else in Queen Elizabeth National Park. A game drive in this particular area offers a unique selection of wild animals such as an astonishing 5000 hippos, 2500 elephants and over 10,000 buffalo thriving in its grasslands and shoreline. The Channel Drive Circuit follows the northern shore of the Kazinga Channel, the roads wind between tangled thickets interspersed with the cactus like euphorbia trees. The most regular wildlife species which can be easily encountered in this area are the warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck, elephants, hippos and frequently lions.
Bird Watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Bird watching activities are some of the highly rewarding activities enjoyed by visitors on Uganda safaris to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park’s great variety of habitats supports the survival of over 600 bird species which cannot be found anywhere in East African national parks. The park’s confluence of savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of the DR Congo allow visitors to spot East and Central African bird species.
The main camp at Mweya is attractively positioned with fine views of the Rwenzori Mountains number of widespread bush species may be seen in the vicinity of the airstrip watch for African Mourning Dove, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Swamp Fly-catcher, Grey-capped Warbler, The Beautiful Black-headed Gonolek, Red-chested sunbird, Slender-billed, Yellow-backed and Lesser Masked Weavers, Pin-tailed Whydah,and brimstone Canary, Gabon and Slender-tailed Nightjars, are fairly common along the airstrip.
The Kazinga channel is a magnet for water birds and hence a launch cruise reveals species such as; Great-white and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Common Squaco Heron, African open-billed Strok, White-faced Whistling and Knob-billed Ducks,
Launch Trip in Queen Elizabeth national park
It is one of the most famous tourism activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It offers an interesting opportunity for visitors on safari tour to Queen to sit back, relax and enjoy the fresh river breeze whilst having account of large selection of wildlife. The ranges of wildlife species which can be easily seen on launch trip include the elephants, buffalo, waterbuck and Ugandan Kob. Large breeding pods of hippos are also seen on a daily basis. On occasion tourists will also encounter the giant forest hog, leopard and lion. The water birds in the area are plentiful, in particular, water thickknee, yellow-billed stork, various plovers, white pink-backed Pelicans and white-bellied cormorants.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Kyambura Gorge
Kyambura Gorge is situated on the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park, it straddles a distance of about 16km and at its deepest it is 100m deep. The Kyambura River is responsible for creating the magnificent steep Kyambura Gorge. The gorge emerges from between savannah grassland and has a riverine virgin forest that transits to papyrus swamps towards Kazinga Channel. Kyambura Gorge is home to habituated chimpanzees, many other primates and a huge variety of both forest and plains bird species. The best time to trek the chimpanzees is in the morning, trekking is also available in the afternoon but this time slot may be more undesirable due to the likelihood of increased temperatures. Trekking chimpanzees at Kyambura Gorge is considered to be slightly harder than at Kibale Forest National Park. The trails are maintained and once inside the Gorge the inclinations are relatively easy going, however, the climb back out of the Gorge can be extremely difficult if you are not prepared.
Chimp tracking trekking experience at Kyambura Gorge is more than discovering chimpanzees in their natural environment: it teaches visitors about the ecosystems of Kyambura Gorge’s atmospheric “underground” rainforest, including vegetation types; bird identification and behavior; and chimp and monkey ecology.
Maramagambo Forest walk in Queen Elizabeth national park
Maramagambo Forest is one of the largest forests in Uganda. It is of medium altitude, moist and semi-deciduous, – there are not many forests left of this specification anymore. There are many walks which can be taken through this lush green forest and it is recommended that a UWA ranger guides on. One of the most popular walks is to Maramagambo bat caves where thousands of fruit bats roost every day. The walks are easy and on well-defined paths.
Visit to the Crater Lakes
Katwe Crater Lakes are a cluster of ten crater lakes formed from extinct volcanoes. The lakes are situated north of Mweya Safari Lodge and can be explored down the winding 27km Crater Drive. These lakes offer stunning scenery and breathtaking views across Queen Elizabeth National Park and also on a clear day the neighbouring mountains of Congo. Some of the lakes are filled with water and provide ample opportunity to observe animals coming down to the water’s edge to drink.
Visit to the Salt Plains and Fishing Villages
Katwe Salt Lake is home to Uganda’s oldest industry. Here salt is mined in the traditional manner and the salt ore looks the same as it did in the 14th century. The salt mine has been portioned and distributed to different tribes in Uganda according to their traditional cultural expectations. Visit one of the local fishing villages and learn what is involved in the day to day life within Ugandan fishing community.
Hiking/Nature Walks in Queen Elizabeth
Nature walks can be done in the savannah and woodland vegetation’s found in the Mweya Peninsular. At the southern end of the park, visitors can enjoy an easy stroll along the Ishasha River, where they can spot a variety of forest and savanna bird and mammal species as well as having a unique opportunity on this walk to get extremely close to hippos on foot, while remaining perfectly safe on the raised bank above the river.
How to access Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth National Park can be accessed most easily from Kampala. The tarmac road from Kampala via Mbarara town and Bushenyi leads to the center of the park, passing just 22 km from Mweya Peninsula, the main tourism hub. Approaching the park from the south via Mbarara covers a distance of 420km while the north through Fort Portal covers a total of 410 km.
En-route to the park, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy short detours to Lake Mburo National Park, Rwenzori Mountains and Kibale National Park, renowned for its chimpanzee tracking. The park can also be accessed from the south from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
By Air travel-Charter flights can be arranged to existing airstrips of Kasese, Mweya and Ishasha.
MAP SHOWING HOW TO GET TO QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK UGANDA
OFFICIAL LOCATION OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK UGNADA
Queen Elizabeth national park has variety of lodges ranging from luxury, Mid-range to Budget. Luxury lodges include Mweya Safari Lodge, Kyambura Game Lodge, Mid-range lodges include Katara Lodge, Bush Lodge, Marafiki Safari Lodge and Budget lodges involve Pumba Safari Cottages, Kazinga Channel View Resort among others.