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Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park – more bird species than any other African national park!

Queen Elizabeth National Park straddles the Equator and is dominated by lakes and waterways. Set on the floor of the Rift Valley, the park is surrounded on distant sides by mountains and volcanic peaks. Queen Elizabeth boasts stunning scenery and incredible biodiversity. No wonder it is Uganda’s most popular National Park. Safari game drives, tree-climbing lions, herds of elephants, packs of hyena, chimpanzees, curious warthogs, giant forest hog, lions, leopard, buffalo and big pods of hippos are just some of the animal attractions. Banded mongoose, Olive baboons, black and white Colobus monkeys, waterbuck, bushbuck and Uganda kob are a few of the commonly seen mammals.
And remember – every safari is different! You never know what you will see.
Uganda Conservation Foundation's map of Uganda

Uganda Conservation Foundation’s map of Uganda, created to celebrate their tenth anniversary. 10% of sales of these maps is donated to UCF

Queen Elizabeth is the park that the Muzungu knows best, thanks to my volunteering with the Uganda Conservation Foundation.

Queen Elizabeth is a popular park in its own right. It often features on longer itineraries too, that include gorilla trekking in Bwindi or Mgahinga (to the south), a Safari in Murchison Falls (to the north) or chimp tracking in Kibale Forest.
African Fish Eagles Kazinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth National Park

African Fish Eagles on the Kazinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park has the highest recorded number of birds of any of Uganda’s national parks: a whopping 666 species. That is the highest for any national park in Africa!

taking notes UCF UWA Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area

A very serious muzungu taking notes on my first field trip with UCF and UWA Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area

Queen Elizabeth is an excellent place to see hippos, elephants and lions. You’ll have to look very carefully to spot the leopard!

leopard in cactus Queen Elizabeth

One of my favourite activities is the boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel. Read Bird watching on the Kazinga Channel – a 21st century Safari! Look out for the big Nile crocodiles basking in the sun at the water’s edge!

You can also trek chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge on the edge of the escarpment, at Kichwamba, just outside the National Park.

The southern sector of Queen Elizabeth is known as Ishasha, most famous for its tree-climbing lions. Ishasha’s wide plains give you a wilderness experience. Many people experience Ishasha while driving en route from game drives in Mweya and central Queen Elizabeth down to see the gorillas in Bwindi.

Queen Elizabeth has a fantastic panoramic viewing point – and café – on the Equator, managed by Conservation Through Public Health. The Queen’s Pavillion and Information Centre is also the site of a Uganda Wildlife Authority office. Do drop by if you’re passing!

In and outside the park are a number of crater lakes. Katwe’s crater lakes are famous for seasonal migrations of flamingos.

Harvesting salt in Lake Katwe

Harvesting salt from beneath the water of Lake Katwe – not a pleasant job to be knee-deep in salty water all day!

On the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park are some fantastic community tourism projects. The best established ones have been developed with the support of Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust, UCOTA and Ishasha Community Uplift Group.

Cultural activities include village walks, traditional dancing and traditional musical instruments, basket weaving, beekeeping and candlemaking, hands-on demonstrations of how to produce local food, farm visits and medicinal uses of herbs.

There’s a lot more to Uganda than wildlife, and visiting a community tourism project is a quick and easy way to contribute to local communities. Get out of your comfort zone and meet the rural Ugandans!

Did you know… you can see the Rwenzori Mountains and the Blue Moountains of the Congo from Queen Elizabeth National Park?


 

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