Top 5 Activities to Do in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to over 95 mammals and over 600 bird species. The Katwe explosion craters mark the park’s highest point at 1.350m above sea level while the lowest point at 910m at Lake Edward. It is located in western Uganda.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination and one of Uganda’s largest protected areas and home to several iconic species such as elephants and lions. The park’s diverse ecosystems which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests sparkling lakes, and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for the classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees, and over 600 bird species.
Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo, and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.
As well as its outstanding wildlife attractions, Queen Elizabeth National Park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance music, and more. The gazetting of the park has ensured the conservation of its ecosystem which in turn benefits the surrounding communities.
It truly is a medley of wonders, visitors can enjoy walking through grasslands where zebras graze peacefully on their way home from feeding at dusk every day; see chimpanzee families, watch lions dance with each other during mating season; or meet cheetahs who live alongside buffalo herds as they hunt down antelope for dinner
These are our suggested list of the top 5 activities to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The major highlight of a visit to the park is the scenic game drives that give you a chance to view even the most elusive of the park’s fauna. The thrilling drives which are best done during the morning hours feature up-close viewing of the wildlife which inhabits the park in the comfort of a vehicle. Your driver guide knows the different trucks in the park intimately and will take you in search of the different wildlife.
During the game drives, you could spot an elephant, the largest land mammal skillfully using its trunk to feed, a lion preying on an antelope or a hyena patiently waiting to devour the lion’s leftovers from a distance. Different groups of animals like Buffalo herds and Uganda kobs traverse the game park all day long. Warthogs, leopards, and the giant forest hog are among the others you are very likely to meet on your game drive.
The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha
Not every day do you see a lion climbing a tree it was considered a safe bet to climb one if you ever found yourself being chased by one. Not while in the Ishasha sector though, a region comprising a portion of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Here, lions perched up on acacia and fig trees are an enchanting sight to behold.
Whether it is for a better view of their surroundings including potential prey like the Uganda Kob that grazes in the vicinities, seeking the cool breeze in the trees, or escaping the notorious bites from the tsetse flies on the ground below, the reason for the lions choosing residence up the trees remain an intriguing mystery.
The Ishasha sector where these lions are found is accessible on the journey to or from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest as one head or returns from gorilla trekking in the forest. Besides the amazing tree-climbing king of the jungle, the sector is also home to other animals such as herds of buffaloes, large numbers of elephants, warthogs, and antelopes all of which make for a memorable trip to the game park.
The boat trip which takes place on the Kazinga Channel, a long natural water channel linking Lake Edward to Lake George is an exhilarating event for the visitors at the park.
The Kazinga Channel is a 40 km long water channel connecting Lake Edward and Lake George both located in Queen Elizabeth national park. Lake George is found in the eastern part of the park and Lake Edward is on the western side of the park shared between Uganda and DR Congo.
During the cruise, one gets to enjoy the various sights and sounds that the park’s rich aquatic life extravagantly offers. Besides the large hippopotamuses taking their dips in the waters, the fierce Nile crocodiles basking lazily on the channel banks for a feel of the warm sun are some of the life experiences you will encounter on the cruise. Not to miss are the Pied Kingfishers attempting to grab a meal.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s top birding spots. A haven to over 600 bird species, the enthusiastic bird watcher is in for a major delight at the park.
Some of the birds likely to grace your photographic memories include the; Sedge warbles, Papyrus canary, the martial eagle, the ever splendid Pied Kingfisher fishing, Malachite Kingfisher, African skimmer, the Great White and Pink-Backed Pelicans, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, and the Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Great and Long Tailed Cormorants, Open-Billed Stork, Saddle Bill Stork, African Darters, Black Crake, and Jacana, etc. all which inhabit the park’s expansive grasslands, forests and wetlands. Do not miss the flamingos found at the Katwe and Bunyampaba salt lakes.
The Kyambura Gorge, also known as the Valley of Apes found in the Northern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to chimpanzees. The chimpanzees in Kyambura are habituated meaning they have been accustomed to human presence and this does not deter them from going on with their activities.
The underground rainforest in a gorge makes for excellent protection from the sunshine as one enjoys the immense beauty of nature hidden therein. You will experience lush savannah grasslands leading to the gorge, to the flowing rivers and creeks. Red-tailed monkeys, baboons, butterflies, and different bird species are among other inhabitants of this little paradise worth sighting besides Chimpanzees.
Besides the primates, the forest boasts great hiking trails upon which there is a lot to explore. While walking in the forest, look out for soldier ants as they have such a painful sting. Otherwise, you are in for an exciting experience while trekking one of man’s closest primate relatives.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most popular savanna park in Uganda and the best place to see lions including the Tree Climbing lions making it the perfect destination for a Uganda Wildlife Safari. It prides in a great diversity of habitats that include: lakes, savannah grasslands, forests and wetlands that serve as home to the biggest variety of large mammals in the country.