Tourist Safari Activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Situated in the Western part of Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s second-largest, most diverse and popular conservation area first gazetted in 1952 as Kazinga National Park and two years later, renamed Queen Elizabeth National Park to commemorate the first visit by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
With over 95 mammal species, Queen Elizabeth National Park is also home to over 600 bird species and prides in varied ecosystems including savannah grasslands, leafy forests, lakes and wetlands which attract the biggest variety of mammals in the country.
With an area coverage of over 1,978 square kilometres, Queen Elizabeth National Park straddles the equator, with two constructed monuments on both sides of the road where it crosses latitude 00. The park also offers a background view of the ragged snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel whose banks are coated with large schools of hippos, herds of buffaloes and elephants and spectacular scenery of multiple craters set into the undulating lush hills. The boundless plains in the Southern sector of the park harbour the tree climbing lions lazily hanging out in the fig trees as they monitor the movement of their unsuspecting prey.
In addition to its exceptional wildlife, Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts a charming cultural history where visitors can indulge in a variety of cultural activities including storytelling, dance, music and much more.
Boat cruises in Queen Elizabeth National Park are taken on the Kazinga Channel; a 40km stretch of water situated on the Mweya Peninsula and connecting Lake Edward in the West and Lake George in the East. The cruise on the channel presents opportunities for both bird and game viewing known for hosting the highest concentration of hippos in the whole world. Other species seen on the banks during the cruise include buffalos, elephants, waterbucks, Nile crocodiles and monitor lizards.
Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park are so rewarding and usually taken through the Kasenyi plains, the Ishasha sector and the North Kazinga plains offering sightings of big game including elephants, buffaloes, lions, hippos, leopards and smaller species including the Uganda kobs, and other smaller antelopes.
Chimpanzee tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park is done both inside park in the Kyambura gorge and outside the park in Kalinzu forest.
Kyambura Gorge Chimp tracking
The Kyambura Gorge is situated in the Eastern part of the park in the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve. You will take a walk through the forest in groups of four and you will easily locate the chimps by their sounds before you see them. Once you locate them, you closely approach them and watch them groom and play. While in the forest, you may also come across other primates like Black & White colobus, Vervet monkeys, olive baboons and others. The activity starts at 08:00 AM or 13:00 PM and it takes about 3 hours depending on the speed of the group and location of the chimpanzees.
Kalinzu Forest chimp tracking
Kalinzu forest is located on the Kasese – Ishaka road supporting a wide range of forest wildlife like black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons and L’hoest’s monkeys. The quality of chimp sightings in Kalinzu is good and the trek takes about 4 hours moving through the forest.
Cost of Chimpanzee Permit.
The chimpanzee permit is affordable to all primates because the Uganda wildlife authority has given a discount from Dec 2020 up to June 2021, East African permit from 150.000-100000shs, a foreign resident from 150- 100USD, foreign resident 200-150USD and the traveller is advised to book and make the payment 2 months before the tracking date.
Please note the children 15 years and below are not allowed to participate in any chimpanzee experience. The traveller is advised to carry a hiking shoe, a camera, a water bottle, rain jacket, binoculars.
With over 600 bird species, Queen Elizabeth National Park was classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International and the greatest of all East African parks. The park’s location is the meeting point of savannah and forest, connecting to the vast forest of D.R. Congo means visitors have the opportunity to see both species of East and Central Africa. The swamps in the Ishasha sector are a good spot to look for the elusive shoe-bill stork. Notable bird species include Martial Eagle, Papyrus Gonolek, Palm-nut Vulture, Swamp flycatcher and the Collared Pratincole.
Nature Walk and birding
Nature walks in Queen Elizabeth National Park can be taken in the Mweya peninsular in the company of an armed game ranger with views of the Kazinga channel and the savannah grasslands in the park. You may also choose to take a forest walk in the Maramagambo forest and encounter wildlife species like vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, white and black colobus and also spot some bird species.
- Mpanga forest
- Lutembe bay wetland
- Mabamba bay wetland
- Kibale national park
- Budogo forest.
The bird lovers are advised to carry their binoculars to clearly explore the birds closer.
Here you will go through different footpaths of Queen Elizabeth national park as you’re led by the local guides of the area. The walk-in Queen Elizabeth surely gives you a unique experience due to the clear observation of nature, wildlife, physical feature. You will closely see the wildlife grazing in the tall savannah grassland, for example, warthogs, elephants, kobs, waterbuck, Interact with different local community people have the view of the Rwenzori mountain which is commonly known as the mountains of the moon and the African tea leaves. As well you can have a walk at the Ishasha river spot different species of birds and mammals on foot.
Cultural experiences in Queen Elizabeth National Park bring visitors to a better understanding of the way of life of the local people. During this visit, visitors meet and interact with the locals as they learn about their traditional way of life. These experiences can be witnessed in Leopard village; a 3 acres village with a community-run development project that encourages cultural and wildlife conservation through ecotourism, Kikorongo Women Community Centre where the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Dancers perform cultural dances in lodges around the park. The African Craft Workshop presents opportunities for visitors to learn how to weave baskets and bowls using materials from nature. Visiting Katwe Tourism Information Centre presents opportunities to visit Lake Katwe to watch the salt mining process by the villagers. A short scenic walk to the Nyanz’ibiri Cave Community takes visitors to explore the caves and the museum to learn about its cultural attachments alongside spectacular views of the crater lakes and beautiful sounds of birds singing. Worth participating in during the cultural visit is the Agro-Tour Walk where visitors take a walk through Katara village passing through the farms of the escarpment.
Lake Katwe is a crater lake divided into small salt portions demarcated by soil heaping and it is a source of coarse salt in Uganda. Those with interest in the salt mining extraction process can interact with the salt miners as you watch the whole process up-close.