About Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in the fertile equatorial area of Western Uganda and has a breathtaking picturesque scenery with two lakes connected by the Kazinga channel and overlooking a high peninsula. It is Uganda’s most popular and accessible savannah reserve, with a total area of 1978km².
Queen Elizabeth National Park is primarily associated with grassy savannah plains, but this impressive park also includes within its boundaries, leafy rainforests, dense papyrus swamps and natural volcanic crater lakes. As a result it has one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world, including a total of 95 recorded mammal species and more than 610 species of birds.
The Kyambura Gorge is home to habituated chimpanzees and is where memorable treks to visit these fascinating primates take place. Maramagambo Forest has an alluring variety of monkey species and birds and flocks of flamingos are resident on the crater lakes. While the remote plains of Ishasha in the southwest of Queen Elizabeth National Park are blessed with some of the most enticing game-viewing areas in the country, as much for its untouched landscapes as for its varied wildlife. Although the most celebrated inhabitants is the population of tree-climbing lions, one of few present in Africa.
Activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Trekking
Kyambura Gorge is situated on the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park, it spans a distance of about 16km and at its deepest it is 100m deep. The Kyambura River is responsible for creating the magnificent steep Kyambura Gorge. The gorge emerges from between savannah grassland and has a riverine virgin forest that transits to papyrus swamps towards Kazinga Channel. Kyambura Gorge is home to habituated chimpanzees, many other primates and a huge variety of both forest and plains bird species. The best time to trek the chimpanzees is in the morning, trekking is also available in the afternoon but this time slot may be more undesirable due to the likelihood of increased temperatures. Trekking chimpanzees at Kyambura Gorge is considered to be slightly harder than at Kibale Forest National Park. The trails are maintained and once inside the Gorge the inclinations are relatively easy going, however, the climb back out of the Gorge can be extremely difficult if you are not prepared.
- Game Drives
Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park can be split into two areas, the Channel Drive Circuit and the Kasenyi Plains.
The Channel Drive Circuit follows the northern shore of the Kazinga Channel, the roads wind between tangled thickets interspersed with the cactuslike euphorbia trees. The most common large mammals seen here are warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck, elephants, hippos and frequently lions. Leopards are also a common sight in this section of the park and due to them being unusually habituated; they provide a rare opportunity to get up close and personal to these magnificent animals. This is also one of the few places in Africa where the rare giant forest hog is regularly seen during daylight hours.
The Kasenyi Plains stretching towards Lake George is a typical African Savannah. These rolling plains support some of the largest concentrations of game anywhere in Queen Elizabeth National Park and offer a different selection of animals then that seen on the Channel Drive Circuit. According to the guides it is said to be the most reliable place in Uganda to see lions. This section of the park alongside the wonderful variety of game and predator species boosts an interesting selection of grassland birds, including grey-crowned crane, red-throated spur fowl and yellow-throated long claw.
- Launch Trips
The launch trip along the Kazinga Channel is one of the most popular activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It provides an amazing chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the fresh river breeze whilst observing a large selection of animals. Those species commonly seen along the riverbank are elephants, buffalo, waterbuck and Ugandan Kob. Large breeding pods of hippos are also seen on a daily basis. On occasion visitors will also see giant forest hog, leopard and lion. The water birds in the area are plentiful, in particular, water thick knee, yellow-billed stork, various plovers, white pink-backed Pelicans and white-bellied cormorants.
- Maramagambo Forest
Maramagambo Forest is one of the largest forests in Uganda. It is of medium altitude, moist and semi-deciduous, – there are not many forests left of this specification anymore. There are many walks which can be taken through this lush green forest and it is recommended that a UWA ranger guides on. One of the most popular walks is to Maramagambo bat caves where thousands of fruit bats roost every day. The walks are easy and on well-defined paths.
- The salt plains and fishing villages
Katwe Salt Lake is home to Uganda’s oldest industry. Here salt is mined in the traditional manner and the salt ore looks the same as it did in the 14th century. The salt mine has been divided and distributed to various tribes in Uganda according to traditional cultural expectations. Visit one of the local fishing villages and learn what is involved in the day to day life within Ugandan fishing community.
Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Kyambura Gorge Lodge
Kyambura Gorge Lodge is set overlooking the lush Kyambura Gorge and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Eight unique guest bandas reflect the local building style with artisan touches, mosquito nets and private balconies. En-suite bathrooms rooms offer flushing toilet, double vanity, shower with hot and cold running water. A personal butler service is offered with each banda.
In the main lodge Wi-Fi is available, as well as ample areas to relax, enjoy a house beverage or socialize. Massage services are available and a swimming pool is the ideal spot to cool off on a hot Queen Elizabeth afternoon. The lodge provides convenient access to the Kyambura Gorge hike, game drives in QENP and boat launches on the Kazinga Channel. Guests can experience the coffee co-op or hike to a waterfall.
- Elephant Plains Lodge
Elephant Plains is a luxury lodge located on the most spectacular viewpoint in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Perched high upon the western escarpment of the Albertine Rift, the lodge offers stunning views stretching for miles over the huge open grasslands to Lake George.
Accommodation is in 6 spacious double/twin en-suite cottages with large private verandas and huge glass windows to take advantage of the incredible views. 2 family cottages offer accommodation in 2 separate en-suite bedrooms with space for up to 5 people. All the cottages have large bathtubs as well as showers, and are spaced out along the hilltop offering privacy. Rooms overlook Lake Kikorongo with views of elephants and buffaloes coming to drink.
The main area has a large lounge with comfortable couches and intimate seating areas. The bar has a wine cellar and bistro-style seating, while the spacious restaurant has an outside dining deck with 270 degree views. The lodge also has a large eco-friendly swimming pool for guests to cool off at the end of the day. The lodge uses solar powered electricity in order to minimize the impact on the environment and is constructed with local materials.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp
Ishasha Wilderness Camp is located in a magical setting on the edge of the Ntungwe river in the middle of the wilderness. The camp is composed of East Africa meru-styled tents. Each tent has its own private en suite bathroom and dressing area providing hot water ‘bush’ showers and an eco-friendly toilet. A central dining area, also under canvas, provides a comfortable environment for meals, while an outdoor lounge area beside the river and evening ‘fireplace’ venue for guests completes this unique bush experience.
- Kikorongo Safari Lodge
Kikorongo Safari Lodge is located in Kasese, Mpondwe road and is comprised of 3 unique accommodation options; luxury tented cottages, luxury edge intimate cottages and the luxury rift-valley camp tents.
Our location is uniquely positioned between Queen Elizabeth National Park overlooking Lake Kikorongo and Lake George. Our guests will enjoy the vast green park, beautiful escarpments, mountain landscape and the surrounding crater lakes.
- Mweya Safari Lodge
Mweya Lodge enjoys stunning views from its location on a peninsula within the heart of the spectacular Queen Elizabeth National Park. The 49 rooms are arranged in smaller single-story blocks, spreading out in both directions from the central building which overlooks the Kazinga Channel and Lake Edward.
All rooms are en suite and have a ceiling fan, 24 hr electricity and private veranda. Lodge amenities include a swimming pool, the Kazinga Restaurant (serving international cuisine), the Tembo Safari Bar and a souvenir shop.