Queen Elizabeth national park is a well-known park blessed with a diverse ecosystem lying between Lake George and Albert in the western part of the Pearl of Africa. The park is a renowned tree-climbing lion destination in the world. Tree climbing cactus is an amazing adventure seen only in two places which are Uganda and Lake Manyara national park in Tanzania in the whole world. Because of the fresh greenery comprising a savannah reserve, the park is ranked for possessing a great number of wildlife than the sister parks.
Back then the park was called Kazinga national park but was renamed Queen Elizabeth national park to commemorate Queen Elizabeth 11 in 1954. This oldest national park occupies a vast area of 1978km2 equivalent to 764 square miles. A trip to this assortment of wonder will reward you with the most stunning sight of God’s true natural beauty in its natural setting.
Queen Elizabeth is a magical world of nature ranging from the different vegetation of the diverse savannah, wetlands and moist forests, to a variety of wildlife seen roaming around the park marking Queen the best game viewing destination in the Mweya peninsula, Kasenyi mating grounds and the Ishasha sector. Numerous attractions await for tourists to come to appreciate nature such as the spectacular view of aquatic life and other wild beasts at the shores, well-shaped crater lakes, beautiful greenery and the rich cultural background.
What to see (attractions)
Queen Elizabeth national park has got you covered with a variety of attractions waiting to be discovered by travellers for memorable natural experiences. The captivating wilderness defines the beauty of the park with the roaming wildlife creatures grazing while others rest in their herds. Expect the following on your visit to this most popular savannah park in Uganda
Tree climbing lions
You can only find the tree climbing lions in two tourist destinations in East Africa and the whole world at large. In Uganda, large populations of tree-climbing lions are found in Queen Elizabeth national park in the Ishasha sector and Lake Manyara national park in Tanzania. This one fierce big five creature can be tracked in the far most southwestern rim of the park with huge fig trees which act as a spotting view of the surrounding for lions after a great hunt. It’s preferable to the most liked park for travellers who want to do lion tracking.
Wildlife species are the magical flowers that roam at every corner of the park. Queen Elizabeth is blessed with numerous wildlife species that can be spotted some during the day and others at night hours (nocturnal species). They can be best seen during a game drive and expect to see the big five mammals such as elephants, lions, buffaloes, and leopards except for the rhinos. Other animals you can spot include Uganda kob, oribis, warthogs, hartebeest and duikers among others.
Katwe salt exploration
Lake Katwe is Uganda’s salty lake and the only famous lake where salt is extracted and salt production occurs. This Crater Lake is found north of Mweya peninsular and was formed as a result of a violent volcanic explosion. Katwe crater has many streams (inlets) that bring in water with no outlets hence turning saline. The salt is formed mostly in the dry season where evaporation occurs concentrating the saline water and condensing the hyper solution that forms salt. Dug-out pits are demarcated, minerals are separated with wooded blocks and salt is extracted by both men and women. It affects the health of women and during the process of extraction the women apply flour to their private parts and men wear protective gear like polythene bags. Salt is separated into crystalline salt which is used in food preparation and dirty black muddy salt sold to cattle grazers.
This magnificent Kyambura gorge is located in the northern part of Queen Elizabeth national park. It is within the Kyambura game reserve and the gorge comprises of a sunken forest harbouring innumerable wildlife species. The gorge is best known for chimpanzee tracking for visitors in Queen Elizabeth. Its main creation was to protect the park’s biodiversity and mostly primate species like chimpanzees. The gorge is a paradise filled with greenery tall trees and bushes, and running water from cool streams enabling the growth of fruits for primate survivors.
Mweya peninsular is positioned at the northern banks of Kazinga channel a point connecting to Lake Edward and George. This area offers the best sighting water view position for wildlife and stretches to the pre-eminent snowcapped mountain Rwenzori. The peninsular is the most visited place in Queen Elizabeth national park providing a number of tracks for those on a game drive. It comprises bulky grass and dense vegetation dominated by thorny bushes. This is a lucky spot to see leopards but it’s advisable to walk with a guide to avoid losing track on your way back to the lodge.
What to do (activities)
This activity offers the best spotting and sighting of wild games in their natural setting. It’s enticing to see these wildlife creatures at close range. The park has numerous game viewing tracks including the Ishasha sector and the northern Kazinga plains the famous bleeding area in the park. The savannah landscape inhabits a variety of wildlife including the big four mammals like the tree-climbing lions, leopards, elephants and African buffaloes. Other game spotted include antelopes, Uganda kob, Defassa, giraffes, spotted hyenas, topi, giant forest hog, waterbuck, chimpanzee, Olive baboons, monkeys, birds, aquatic life like Nile crocodiles and Hippopotamus. This activity is best done during the early morning hours to catch up with the morning risers and late evening hours to catch sight of nocturnal creatures.
Meeting with different people tends to get scary but after the warm hospitability and a few hours of interaction, you will appreciate their kindness and love to stay longer. There are numerous cultural groups within Queen Elizabeth national park that will expose travellers to lots of fun such as listening to folk tales, participating in their traditional dance and drama as well taste and engaging in the preparation of their local cuisine. Cultural groups close to the park include the Kikorongo women’s community, Leopard village, Nyanzi’ibiri cave community, Katwe tourism information Centre and Agro-Tour walk, these communities have gifted hands that can model, embroidered and craft accessories which they sell to tourists as souvenirs.
This stress and fatigue-reliving activity are carried out along Kazinga channel connecting Lake Edward and Lake George in Queen Elizabeth national park. Launch cruise offers a great chance for a sea breeze experience. Kazinga channel is best known for its large population of Aquatic creatures such as hippos and Nile crocodiles which are a must-see while on a boat cruise. You can as well take a glimpse of other games like elephants at the shores quenching their thirst. Birders on a launch cruise are also sorted out because a variety of bird species are sighted along the channel.
The open savannah of the park grants birders an opportunity to spot a variety of impressive bird species. The park is a birders’ paradise and is recognized worldwide as one of the pre-eminent birding destinations for travellers on a birding adventure. The birds at this destination are endemic and migrant species which include the Martial Eagle, Papyrus gonolek, white-winged warbler, African skimmer, African broadbill, Chapin flycatcher, pink-backed pelican, hooded vulture, brown snake Eagle, Grey Kestrel, Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture and many others.
Nature walks in Queen Elizabeth national park are done in the Mweya peninsular offering tourists a chance to sight wildlife species and impressive bird species. Along the Ishasha River, tourists can spot aquatic beasts like hippopotamus in their natural homes. Other nature walk tracks include the Maramagambo rain forest exposing clients to primate species such as black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys and other species like rare tree species, bird species, insect butterflies and leopards.
The activities at Queen Elizabeth are innumerable and it will depend on one’s travel interest to choose what to engage in. Chimpanzee tracking is also carried out in the park’s famous Maramagambo forest in Kyambura gorge. The forests are thick and harbors man’s second close cousin the chimpanzee. Queen Elizabeth national park offers the best adventure opportunities to travellers.