Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park, situated astride the Equator in the Western Rift Valley of South West Uganda, together with Kyambura and Kigezi wildlife reserves form one of the most diverse ecosystems in Africa. In 1979, Queen Elizabeth National Park was designated a Biosphere Reserve for humanity under UNESCO, with the goal of integrating human activities with the conservation of wildlife. There are 11 fishing village enclaves within the park.
Several ethnic groups closely related inhabit this part of the country.

Queen Elizabeth National Park has been protected since the late '20s as Lake George and Lake Edward game reserve. It was renamed in 1954 to commemorate a visit by the British monarch. The park covers 2056 sq. km and includes a variety of eco-systems from semi deciduous tropical forest to green meadows, savannah and swamps. Queen Elizabeth National Park is the home of the famous tree climbing lion and the Uganda Kob plus other antelope species, elephant, buffalo, hippos, baboons and chimpanzees.

A total of 95 mammal’s species with 10 primate’s species has been recorded. The park boasts of 606 recorded bird species making it the ideal destination for bird watchers. In the Katwe Crater Lakes, spectacular flocks of flamingo congregate seasonally, creating a vast pink carpet like impression.

Wildlife Elephants are plentiful especially along the Channel Track, when they come to water during the dry season. Large breeding herds are commonly seen. The Kasenyi sector is regarded as the best place to observe lions. Uganda Kob is plentiful here on the grass plains. The rare Giant Forest Hog can also be seen during the day close to the old airstrip. Leopard sightings are not uncommon. Wart Hog, Hippo and Defassa Waterbuck are easy to see.

Great herds of buffalo are common in Ishasha. The star attraction is a pride of tree climbing Lions that are regularly seen. Lake Edward hosts the largest hippo population in the world.

Birdlife : Queen Elizabeth National Park has the largest recorded number (more than 600) of bird species of all Uganda's national parks. Every water bird resident in Uganda can be seen here together with a variety of woodland and forest birds. Queen Elizabeth National Park is an important wintering and stopover site for a great number of European migrant species whose numbers can exceed millions at pre-migration build-up times. Key species present are: Shoebill stork, African fish eagle, martial eagle, papyrus gonoleck, African skimmer, broad billed roller, Cassin's grey flycatcher and rarities like the scaly breasted illadopsis, snowy headed robin chat and chestnut wattle eye.

Activities
Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park there are more than 200 km of well maintained tracks too many to be mentioned here.

  • The channel drive circuit gives one a chance to see, like anywhere in Africa, massive giant forest hog, regularly seen in the daylight hours.
  • Kasenyi plains and Lake George offer the largest concentrations of game in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is also the most reliable place to see lions.
  • Katwe Crater Lakes is an experience not to be missed with its spectacular birdlife. Moreover it is very important due to the traditional salt works that since 14th century has been mined by traditional methods and is still in use today.

Boat trips One of the most popular activities is the 2 hours launch trip on the Kazinga channel, a memorable experience in itself. Visitors will see elephants, buffalos, water bucks, Uganda kobs, large hippos, crocodiles, leopards and lions. Water birds are plentiful like water thickknee, yellow billed stork, various plovers, pink backed pelicans and white bellied cormorants.

Guided walks

  • Chimpanzee tracking at Kyambura Gorge. The 16 km long and 100 meters deep Kyambura river gorge protects a chimpanzee community in a restricted territory. This means that it is very easy to locate chimps. Moreover, black and white colobus, vervet monkeys and olive baboons are present.
  • Maramagambo forest walks include an unguided 1km long path through lush primary forest and 3 other loops. Following the longest one serious birdwatchers have the chance to find bird rarities like scaly breasted illadopsis, chestnut wattle eye and the snowy headed robin chat. The other 2 lead to the forested shore of Lake Kyasanduka or to a large cave with a high percentage of bats.

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