QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK – UGANDA
Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) is in the Western Region of Uganda, spanning the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi, and Rukungiri. The park is approximately 400 kilometres (250 mi) by road south-west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city. The city of Kasese lies to the northeast of the park, while the town of Rubirizi is to the southeast. The park adjoins Kyambura Game Reserve to the east, which itself adjoins the Kigezi Game Reserve (including the Maramagambo Forest) and thus the Kibale National Park to the northeast. The Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo lies across the border to the west. Together, these protected places completely encircle Lake Edward. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda lies not far to the northwest.
Confusingly, during the 1970s and 1980s, Western conservationists usually referred to the park as Rwenzori National Park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park, located in western Uganda, is one of the most popular and diverse national parks in the country.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is renowned for its diverse wildlife, making it a prime destination for safaris. Visitors have the opportunity to spot a wide range of animals, including elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, hyenas, antelopes, and Uganda kob. The park is also home to unique species like the tree-climbing lions of Ishasha, which can be observed during game drives.
Boat Safaris on the Kazinga Channel:
The Kazinga Channel, which connects Lake Edward and Lake George, is a major highlight of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Taking a boat safari along the channel allows you to witness large concentrations of hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of waterbirds. It’s a fantastic way to get up close to the wildlife and enjoy the scenic beauty of the park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, with over 600 bird species recorded. The park’s diverse habitats, including savannah, wetlands, and forests, support a rich avian population. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, including the African fish eagle, shoebill stork, martial eagle, and various water birds, raptors, and forest-dwelling birds.
The Kyambura Gorge, also known as the “Valley of the Apes,” is a unique attraction within Queen Elizabeth National Park. The gorge is home to a population of habituated chimpanzees, offering visitors the opportunity to go on chimpanzee trekking adventures. Trekking through the forested gorge allows you to observe these primates in their natural habitat and learn about their behavior and conservation.
The Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park is famous for its tree-climbing lions. Here, you can see lions resting on fig tree branches, a behavior not commonly seen in other parts of Africa. Exploring the Ishasha sector during game drives offers a chance to spot these unique lions as well as other wildlife, including elephants, buffaloes, and various antelope species.
The park is dotted with numerous crater lakes that offer scenic beauty and a tranquil atmosphere. The explosion craters formed by volcanic activity create a picturesque landscape. Visitors can enjoy the views, take nature walks around the lakes, and even engage in activities like fishing and canoeing.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is surrounded by local communities with rich cultural heritage. Visitors can engage in cultural encounters, such as community visits and performances, to learn about the traditions, lifestyles, and crafts of the local people. It’s an opportunity to interact with the communities, gain insights into their way of life, and support sustainable tourism initiatives.
Accommodation and Facilities:
Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a range of accommodation options, including lodges, campsites, and safari lodges that cater to different budgets and preferences. These accommodations provide comfortable amenities and serve as a base for exploring the park and its attractions.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a captivating destination that combines diverse wildlife, stunning landscapes, and cultural experiences. Whether it’s wildlife safaris, boat cruises, bird watching, or chimpanzee trekking, the park offers a memorable and immersive safari experience in Uganda