QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s most famous and diverse national parks. Located in the southwestern part of the country, it is known for its stunning landscapes, rich wildlife, and unique ecosystems. Here are some key highlights and information about Queen Elizabeth National Park:
Wildlife: Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, making it one of Uganda’s premier safari destinations. Some of the animals you can see here include elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, hyenas, hippos, crocodiles, and various antelope species.
Birdwatching: The Park is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 600 bird species recorded. It is a key destination for bird enthusiasts, including the African fish eagle, martial eagle, and several species of storks and pelicans.
Kazinga Channel: This 32-kilometer-long natural channel connects Lake George and Lake Edward. It’s a prime spot for boat safaris and offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, including large concentrations of hippos and crocodiles.
Ishasha Sector: This part of the park, located in the remote southern section, is known for its tree-climbing lions. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can see lions perched in fig trees.
Crater Lakes: The park is dotted with volcanic crater lakes, which not only provide a stunning backdrop but also serve as habitats for various bird species and small mammals.
Kyambura Gorge: This dramatic gorge is home to a population of habituated chimpanzees, and you can go on guided chimpanzee trekking expeditions here.
Maramagambo Forest: This large forested area within the park offers opportunities for guided nature walks, birdwatching, and exploring caves, such as the Bat Cave.
Community Tourism: Visitors can engage in community tourism activities, such as cultural visits to local communities to learn about the traditions and way of life of the people living around the park.
Accommodation: Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a range of accommodation options, including lodges, campsites, and luxury safari lodges, catering to different budgets and preferences.
Accessibility: The park is easily accessible by road from major cities like Kampala, and it provides a scenic drive through the countryside.
Conservation: Queen Elizabeth National Park plays a vital role in conserving Uganda’s biodiversity, and it’s part of the larger Greater Virunga Landscape Conservation Area.
Safaris: Game drives, boat safaris, and walking safaris are popular activities within the park, allowing visitors to explore its diverse ecosystems and observe wildlife.
Best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda depends on your preferences for weather, wildlife viewing, and the type of experiences you want to have. The park can be visited year-round, but there are distinct seasons to consider:
Dry Season (June to August and December to February):
- Wildlife Viewing: The dry season is considered the best time for wildlife viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park. During this period, animals tend to congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot. The lush vegetation also recedes, offering better visibility.
- Birdwatching: Birdwatchers will find this season rewarding, with many bird species being active and visible.
- Gorilla Trekking: If you plan to combine your visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park with gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, this is an ideal time, as the dry conditions make trekking easier.
Wet Season (March to May and September to November):
- Birding: The wet season is a paradise for birdwatchers, as many migratory species are present, and the park is lush and green.
- Fewer Tourists: The wet season is considered the low tourist season, which means fewer visitors, more solitude, and potentially lower accommodation rates.
- Scenic Landscapes: The Park’s landscapes are lush and vibrant during the wet season, and waterfalls are at their most impressive.
Shoulder Seasons (September and October, and March and May):
These months mark the transition between the wet and dry seasons. You might experience a mix of weather conditions, but it’s often less crowded than the peak dry season, and the landscapes are still lush.
- Gorilla Trekking:
If gorilla trekking is a significant part of your itinerary, it’s important to note that Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, where gorilla trekking takes place, has different weather patterns. Bwindi is a rainforest, and gorilla trekking conditions are generally favorable year-round.
- Photography: Regardless of the season, Queen Elizabeth National Park offers excellent opportunities for photography. The choice of season may depend on the specific wildlife and landscapes you want to capture.
Number of days to spend in Queen Elizabeth national
The number of days to spend in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda can vary depending on your interests, budget, and the activities you want to experience. However, a typical visit to the park usually ranges from 2 to 4 days. Here’s a general guideline for how many days you might consider spending:
- 2 Days tour: If you have limited time, a two-day visit allows you to experience some of the park’s highlights. You can go on a game drive, enjoy a boat safari on the Kazinga Channel, and have a brief wildlife viewing experience. This is a good option for a quick safari getaway.
- 3 Days tour: A three-day visit provides a more well-rounded experience. You can explore different parts of the park, including the Ishasha Sector to see the tree-climbing lions, take part in additional game drives, go birdwatching, and enjoy a boat safari. This allows for a more comprehensive wildlife encounter.
- 4 Days tour or More: To fully immerse yourself in the park’s diverse ecosystems and wildlife, consider spending four days or more. This allows for a more relaxed pace and the opportunity to explore the park’s various attractions in depth. You can add activities like chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge, visit the Maramagambo Forest, or take part in cultural encounters with local communities.
- Combination with Other Parks: If you plan to visit other national parks in Uganda, such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for gorilla trekking or Kibale Forest National Park for chimpanzee tracking, you may need to allocate more time to your overall itinerary.