Queen Elizabeth national park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling Savannah, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.
Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous of craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffaloes and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda Kobs.
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 park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga national park, and renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Elizabeth national park can be accessed most easily from Kampala. The tarmac road from Kampala via Mbarara town and Bushenyi leads to the centre of the park, passing just 22km from Mweya peninsula, the main tourism hub. Approaching the park from the south via Mbarara covers a distance of 420km while the north through fort portal covers a total of 410km. en- route to the park, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy short detours to lake Mburo national park, Rwenzori mountains and Kibale national park, renowned for its chimpanzee tracking. The park can also be accessed from the south from Bwindi impenetrable national park.
Charter flights can be arranged to existing airstrips of Kasese, Mweya and Ishasha.
Classified as an important birding area (IBA) by birding international, queen’s great variety of habitats mean it is home to over 600 species. This is the greatest of any east African national park, and a phenomenal number for such a small area. The park’s confluence of Savannah and forest, linking to the expansive forests of the DRC allow visitors to spot east as well central Africa species.
Tucked beneath the shady canopy of the Maramagambo forest is the “Bat Cave”. The cave has a viewing room from which visitors can observe the resident bats and pythons.
The Kyambura gorge experience is more than discovering chimpanzees in their natural environment; it teaches visitors about the ecosystems of Kyambura gorge’s atmospheric “underground” rain forest, including vegetation types, bird identification and behaviour, and chimp and monkey ecology.
For classic African safari experience, the tracks through Kasenyi the north Kazinga plains and the Ishasha sector offer virtually guaranteed buffalo, antelope and elephant sightings, along with warthogs and baboons. Taking an experienced guide in the early morning or at dusk is the most successful way to track down a pride of lions, and may be even the odd leopard.
Hiking or nature walks
Nature treks are one of the more active ways to explore then landscapes and wildlife of Queen Elizabeth. Locations include the shady Maramagambo forest. Mweya peninsula with its scenic views, and Ishasha River, where you may spot a variety of forest and Savannah species as well as having a unique opportunity to get extremely close to hippos- on foot!
The Kazinga channel is an oasis for many of the fascinating species that inhabit the park and taking a boat tour along it gives visitors the chance to cruise just meters from hundreds of enormous hippos and buffaloes while elephants linger on the shoreline.
Cultural heritage and natural trail
See the energetic dances of the Kikorongo equator cultural performers; workers harvesting salt lake; a traditional Banyaragura; or an agricultural village all guided by those who know them best local community members.
Wildlife research tour
For visitors who yearn to get up close to wild African fauna, a research trip is a rewarding adventure. This new and unique experience allows visitors to actively participate in monitoring some of the exotic birds and mammals that fill the park, as well as monitoring weather, surrounding and behaviour.
Accommodation & Camps