Uganda Top Destinations

Queen Elizabeth National Park, named after Queen Elizabeth II, is Uganda's big game safari capital and the title is well-deserved. It is located in the south western part of the country and encompasses a number of significant wildlife reserves, river channels, volcanic mountains and crater lakes. It enjoys the beautiful backdrop of the Rwenzori Mountain Range and houses diverse ecosystems, which include rolling savannah, tree-filled forests, glistening lakes and fertile wetlands.

Background Information

Protected Area Type: National Park     When to go: All year round
Park Size:1,978 sq km

Queen Elizabeth National Park is renowned for its wildlife, which, after being badly destroyed by poaching, has been revived to thriving numbers and is now well-protected. Hippos, elephants, leopards, lions and chimpanzees are among the highlights, but by no means are they the only species found in this park. Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species, which makes it a top birding and game destination. Beautiful volcanic features of peaks and craters fill the landscape, while their crater lakes are economically extracted for salt.

 

This park was initially established in 1952 after animals and people were being separated due to a sleeping sickness that took over the country. At this time, this park combined with Lake George and Lake Edward Game Reserves and gazetted as Kazinga NP.

 

In 1954, Queen Elizabeth II visited the country and the Kazinga was renamed in her honour, becoming the QENP we know. However, during the notorious reign of Idi Amin, it was again renamed Ruwenzori National Park, but this didn't last long and the park once again took on the name of the Queen.

 

Among its wildlife fame, QENP hosts superb chimpanzee trekking excursions. The Kyumbura gorge, which is 16km long and 100m deep, is home to the only habituated troop of chimps in Uganda.

 

The Rwenzori Mountains are also known as the Mountains of the Moon due to their almighty peaks that reach over 5000m. The highest peaks are snow-capped all year round.

 

Game Viewing + Activities

The major tourist activities in the Queen Elizabeth National park include game viewing typically around the kasenyi area and game drives in the Ishasha sector in search of the tree climbing lions, chimpanzee tracking in the Kyambura Gorge and the nearby Kalinzu forest reserve, Launch cruise along the Kazinga channel rewards you with sights of a diversity of bird species as well as wildlife, there are also forest walks in the Maramagambo forest which has a bat cave. Queen Elizabeth national Park is surrounded by communities where cultural interactions are possible.