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Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most popular game reserve for Uganda safaris and certainly one most scenic. It stretches from the crater-dotted foothills of the Rwenzori range in the north, along the shores of Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River in the south, incorporating a wide variety of habitats that range from savanna and wetlands to gallery and lowland forest. This remarkable diversity is reflected in its bird list of over 550 species, the largest of any protected area in Africa.
The Park has a huge variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets and tastes, allowing visitors to pick the perfect spot from which to start early-morning chimp tracking, game drives at dusk, or tranquil boat cruises along the wildlife-filled Kazinga Channel. Communities bordering the Park have a rich culture of music, dance, drama and crafts, and welcome visitors to discover these traditions for themselves.
Size: 1,978 sq km
Tree-climbing lions are found in the Ishasha Plains. Photo Credit: Zahid Alam, GeoLodgesWildlife. Queen Elizabeth National Park has an incredible variety of primates – from habituated chimps and playful baboons to vervet, colobus and red-tailed monkeys. Visitors will also enjoy a classic safari with buffalo, lions, bushbucks, waterbucks, elephants, hippos and the occasional leopard, while smaller creatures such as warthogs and banded mongooses are as abundant. While visitors should never approach the wildlife, animals will often stray into the roads and even the lodge grounds – an incredible experience! Night forest walks provide the opportunity to spot nocturnal mammals such as the wide-eyed galagos (bushbabies) and pottos – and hear the eerie shrieks of tree hyraxes.
Queen Elizabeth National Park’s impressive array of habitats means that over 600 species of birds have been identified here. Many water-associated birds live along the Kazinga channel, on the swampy shores of Lake Edward and in the Kyambura wetlands, including various herons, storks, plovers, jacanas, crakes, flamingoes and even shoebills. Bright yellow weaver birds and their impressive nests are everywhere. Beautiful, tiny sunbirds are also common, as are the immense, scavenging marabou storks. Noisy weaver birds construct elaborate nests on spiny acacia tree branches in order to attract a mate.
Getting Here:Queen Elizabeth National Park is a five to six hour drive from Kampala via Mbarara, and is accessible by public transport. The nearest town is Kasese, to the north.
Climate: This region is hot and dry, though the nights are refreshingly cool – bring warm layers to wrap up in.