Queen Elizabeth National Park, for many years, has been ranked among the best-protected areas on the African continent. This national park is such a remarkable protected area with a wide variety of biodiversity which attracts a lot of visitors year after year to come to Uganda. This is the second-largest protected area after Murchison falls national park in northern Uganda, the park is also the most visited national park in Uganda.
Queen Elizabeth national park is found in the western region of Uganda, it covers a number of the districts including Rubirizi, kasese, kamwenge and Rukungiri districts. The national park covers an area of 1978 square kilometers in the west. The nearest big town to the park is a Fort Portal town, also called the tourist town of Uganda with also of history backing it up. Queen Elizabeth is, by road, located in a 370km southwest of Kampala the capital city of Uganda.
It is easily accessed by the travelers from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and also kibale national park. This is so because the National Park is adjacent to the best national parks in the western region of Uganda. This national park forms a wildlife corridor with Kibale national park. This Park is such a blessed host of uniquely selected wildlife species, an amazing landscape and a view of the magnificent mountains of the moon, commonly known as mountain Rwenzori, all these combined, makes it, a medley of nature.
It is one of the oldest national parks in Uganda, it was gazetted together with Murchison falls national park; the largest protected area in Uganda. The National Park was formerly not called by its current name. The famously renowned national park in western Uganda was originally known as Kazinga national park. It got its current name after the visit of the queen of England, Queen Elizabeth – the second to Uganda in 1952. The park was later named after the queen of England, Elizabeth the second, possibly, it is the reason for the current fame that this national park upholds throughout the whole universe.
Wildlife in queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth is renowned for its large population of wild creatures, such as birds, mammals, vegetation primates and the breathtaking landscape. Queen Elizabeth is the best destination for game drives; this is much attributed to the high population of wild animals that inhabit in the park.
Big grazers: The park harbors the largest number of wild animals among all the national parks in Uganda and other destinations in East Africa. The has over 5000 hippos found along shorelines of kazinga channel and lake George. The national park has the highest population of buffaloes over 10000 and over 2000 elephants who graze in the open savannah grasslands of the park. This national park has all the African big five except the rhinos which got extinct but can be found in B. Other grazers in this park include, warthogs, waterbucks, topis, sitatungas and a lot of Uganda kops dominate the southern part of the national park.
Big cats: The felines are the most and highly elusive inhabitants of the national park. the big cats of this national park include the lions, tree-climbing lions. They are unique from the other animals in the world because they love gazing from up in the cactus tree branches, thus, tree-climbing lions. The other cats include leopards; mainly seen in the night game drives, civets, genal and serval cats. The night game drives in the national park provide the best time to view a number of cats like lions and the camouflaging leopards which makes them predominately nocturnal together with the civets and serval cats.
Primates: The uniqueness of this National Park is exhibited in its versatility when it comes to wildlife. Queen Elizabeth national park has over ten species of primates that roam in the tropical rain forest strip of kyambura gorge. Despite the fact that Queen Elizabeth national park is dominated by a vast area of savannah grass and woodland, there is a strip of a rain forest kept in the pockets of kyambura gorge. The chimpanzees are the dominant primates in kyambura gorge; most of them are habituated to give you the best chimpanzee trekking experience. Other primates include monkeys such as the vervet monkeys, black and white colobus; they are common in kyambura gorge and maramagambo forest, olive baboons and others.
Birds: This national park is a renowned destination for birding safaris in Uganda. It is home to over 600 birds. The birding safaris done in queen Elizabeth national park are incredibly done due to the wide variety of birds some of which birders sought after birds such as, the pelicans, different types of kingfishers, African fish eagles among others. Birding in this national park is best done along the kazinga channel. The Kazinga boat cruise is a lifetime opportunity for you to spot a lot of water birds and migratory birds along the shoreline of kazinga channel and lake George. You can also enjoy bird watching during the forest walk in maramagambo forest and the community walk in Busonga forest among others.
Flora: Queen Elizabeth is an array of different vegetation types and how they succeed each other with the change in altitude and other factors. This national park is mainly dominated with savannah grasslands dotted with tree species of the savannah woold land such as the cactus trees, acacia trees, candelabra trees among others. the savannah grasslands, in the wet season, are verdantly grees which makes the park beautiful. In the dry season, the grass dries out to golden brown; it is the best season for animal tracking activities, the lions love to camouflage in the tall dry grass in the savanna grassland of the park. To note, the savannah grasslands are mainly found in the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth national park, called ishasha.
It is truly magical with a unique strip a tropical rain forest cutting through a vast savannah grassland area. The eastern part of Queen Elizabeth national park is dominated by a big tropical rainforest of maramagambo, also the magical kyambura gorge supplements the forest cover in Queen Elizabeth national park. The tropical rainforest in Queen Elizabeth national park harbor a lot of birds, primates, bats in maramagambo forest, reptiles and butterflies among others.
Other vegetation types include swamp vegetation along the shorelines of water bodies like kazinga channel and Lake George among others. The park is occupied by bushy grasslands, acacia woodlands, forest grasslands, thickets of small trees cover up patches of Queen Elizabeth national park. The different vegetation types are also biodiverse ecosystems that harbor unique wildlife ranging from the largest mammals to the smallest crawlies in Queen Elizabeth national park.
Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth national park
Accommodation services in Queen Elizabeth national park are at best, this is because the park is supplied with a number of lodging facilities to cater for all your safari accommodation needs. Queen Elizabeth national park stays luck for having the best tourist lodges, tented camps, hotels and camping sites to make your stay a memorable one. The accommodation options range from luxury and lavish to budget and standard accommodation facilities.
Luxury accommodation: Luxury accommodation in this park offers a lavish stay in the African wilderness, such as a swimming pool full of tranquility, where you can relax and sunbath in the afternoon, spacious rooms, comfortable lounges, and frequent room services excellently organized to give you the best value for every dollar. The luxury lodges in Queen Elizabeth national park include jacana safari lodge, Kyambura game lodge, Kyambura gorge lodge, Hippo safari lodge, and Ishasha wilderness lodge among others.
Midrange Accommodation: The midrange accommodation options in Queen Elizabeth national park offer nice standard lodging services at a lesser price such as view of the park and the relaxation in a tranquil environment accelerates your safari experience. the midrange accommodation facilities in queen Elizabeth national park include; Enganzi lodge, bush lodge, Engiri safari lodge in Rubirizi, kingfisher in Kichwamba, Ihamba Safari, buffalo lodge among others.
Budget accommodation: The accommodation facilities in the national park which fall under the budget category offer standard lodging services at a low cost; they help you to save a few dollars for your budget African safari experience. budget accommodation facilities in Queen Elizabeth national park include Pumba Safari Camp, kazinga channel resort, mweya hostel, samba safari camp, and at the river ishasha safari camp et cetera.
The national park is located in kasese district about 410km away from Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. There are different routes that can make you access Queen Elizabeth national park such as, by plane, car, self-drive car or bus. You should be reminded that the distance, fares and the duration of travel, greatly depend on the transport means of your choice from Entebbe international airport to the national park in the far west of Uganda.
You can choose to fly from Entebbe international airport by plane to Kihihi Airport in Ishasha then use car hire to Kasese and it takes about 2hrs to reach the park. Alternatively, you can book your flight from Kajjansi Airfield to Either Kasese airport or Mweya Airfield in Queen.
By car, it can either be self-drive or pick up by a travel company car from the airport and drive to this national park that will take about 5hours and 30minutes to the park. alternatively, you can board a bus from Kampala bus terminal to Kasese through Mubende, fort portal and then Kasese to queen Elizabeth main entrance in Katunguru, for about 7 (seven) hours and about 10 minutes to the national park
Feel free to book your queen Elizabeth park safari any time of the year, but its best to book during the dry season; it is the peak tourism season in Uganda. However, you can travel in any other season of the year like festive seasons like Easter and Christmas seasons, this park is open all year round.