Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda
The park offers traditional savanna safaris along with boat tours, forest hikes, climbing lions and wildlife research activities. Uganda is unrivaled on the continent as a bird watching destination.
Explore the wild Kidepo Valley, spot Queen Elizabeth’s tree-climbing lions, enjoy chimpanzee tracking at Kyambura, and Katwe salt works.
Tourism Activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park – Uganda
Tree climbing lions
The most acceptable reason as to why lions climb trees is to enjoy the cool breeze and may be run away from the tsetse flies. You will find that there are not so many tree climbing lions in the world. In Africa, you find then in Uganda’s Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth and in Tanzania, You will find then in Lake Manyara National Park. The cubs are known to climb trees for fun! Some adults take their catch up to the trees, mine while they feed while enjoying the spectacular view around Ishasha.
Uganda has over 1,000 bird species and quite a population of birds. This park has about 612 species of birds. Therefore the park’s remarkable bird list that to exceed that of the neighboring Virunga National Park. Among these include African skimmer, Chapins flycatcher, Pink-backed pelicans, Papyrus canary, Shoebill stork, martial eagle, black-rumped buttonquail as well as the great flamingos.
Chimpanzee Tracking in Kyambura Gorge
Chimp tracking starts at 8am and 2pm daily. Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, visitors stand a pretty good chance of hearing and seeing our distant cousins as they are habituated. Tours last between one and three hours.
Caves in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Tucked beneath the shady canopy of the Maramagambo Forest is the “Bat Cave”. The cave has a viewing room built through funding from the Center for Disease Control in which visitors can observe the bats as well as the pythons that live alongside them… did you know that these serpents live amongst their prey?! For a more cultural cave experience you may visit the Nyanzi ibiri community where a local guide will explain to you how it was once used for offering sacrifices and cleansing misfortunes… and as a hiding place during Uganda’s rule by Idi Amin.
This is a classic 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 maybe even the odd leopard.
Launch Trips / Fantastic Boat Cruise
Launch trips last two hours and run three or four times a day.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 buffalos while elephants linger on the shoreline.
An average of 60 bird species can be spotted during the trip. Carrying up to 40 passengers, the boats guarantee a seat with a view, while expert ranger guides narrate the creatures’ stories.
Hiking/Nature Walks or community tours
At the southern end of the park, visitors can enjoy an easy stroll along the Ishasha River, where they can spot a variety of forest and savanna bird and mammal species as well as having a unique opportunity on this walk to get extremely close to hippos on foot, while remaining perfectly safe on the raised bank above the river. It is enjoyable though tiresome.
There are four cultural encounters mainly near queen Elizabeth national park.
1. Katwe Tourism Information Centre (KATIC)
2. Kikorongo Women Community
3. Nyanz’ibiri Cave Community
4. Agro-Tour Walk
Katwe Tourism Information Centre (KATIC)
This unusual lake is far too salty to support much wildlife – though since the 16th Century it has ensured the survival of the Katwe villagers, who spend their days under the equatorial sun, walking the network of paths that cross-cross the lake and harvesting salt from its milky waters.
Katwe Salt Lake Tour gives a unique insight into the fascinating yet tough process of salt mining, as well as providing an alternative income for Katwe. See villagers at work on the lake, cross the mud walkways and enter a traditional grass hut. You will also pass the nearby bird sanctuary lake, home to thousands of birds, including flamingoes from October to May. A bird watching boardwalk will be ready in 2012.
During Katwe Village Walk, visitors are welcomed to a traditional homestead. Cooking demonstrations introduce the region’s cuisine, and there is also a trip to the local school.
Kikorongo Women Community
Kikorongo means Too Much Sunshine in the local language of Lukonzo – but the heat of the African plains has not diminished the energy of the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performers! This vibrant performance, which takes place at lodges around the park, is a wonderful glimpse of life in Kikorongo, with dance, drama, music and fire-making. While a local interpreter explains the significance of the performances, you can sit back and watch village life unfold in front of you.
Kikorongo’s African Art Craft Workshops teach guests how to weave baskets and bowls using natural fibers – it´s not as easy as the teachers make it look! They also demonstrate how to recycle magazines into colorful paper beads, which can be made into unique necklaces. If your own craft skills are not up to scratch, beautiful items made by the women´s group, such as baskets, bowls, purses and woven belts, are available to purchase.
Nyanz’ibiri Cave Community
Stretch your legs after long game drives with scenic walks around a slice of Ugandan paradise, at this community site known as The Cave. Admire panoramic views of volcanic crater lakes to a soundtrack of crested cranes and eagles. Paddle a canoe, hike to the Transparent Lake, spot eight species of forest primates, or just stop and smell the local flowers – this is the place to come to truly get away from it all!
Local attractions include a historic cave and Cultural Museum – a perfectly preserved Banyaruguru hut, filled with valued local artifacts that were once the tools of everyday life.
This community run establishment also offers three, fully furnished private bandas and a campsite. All visitors are invited to use our restaurant and bar, and enjoy our evening traditional dance performances. A generous portion of your activity and accommodation fees go directly to community development, conservation and educational projects.
The sweeping Kichwamba Escarpment makes up the eastern wall of the Western Rift Valley. This 2-3 hour trail begins in rural Kataara Village with a hike through the farms of the escarpment in the cool morning or early evening. Your expert local guide will point out beautiful bird species, exotic and medicinal plants and sites of cultural importance, as well as explaining local farming methods.
Visitors will also learn about the enduring challenge of human-animal conflicts in the area, and will tour the beehives that are used to divert destructive elephants away from community crops on the park border. Interested clients will even have the chance to try their hand at honey harvesting.
After enjoying the peace of the endless savannah and the shade of the trees, visitors hike back up the escarpment and can return to their lodges.
The park has luxury accommodation that will favor all visitors. It also caters for the budget travelers. Mweya safari lodge and Jacana lodge have excellent services and Ishasha wilderness camp with lavishness accommodation. Budget accommodation includes Mweya hotels and Ishasha bandas with average standards that will make your stay memorable. The park also has camping sites such as Maramagambo, Ishasha and Mweya alternatively. One may take on the Hippo Hill Camp adjacent to Katwe along with Kingfisher camp on a beautiful Kichwamba escarpment. Kyambura wildlife is also establishing a luxury lodge that will surely meet your needs
At Mweya there is an up market lodge, a campsite and budget hostel. Another up market lodge fringes a Crater Lake in Maramagambo Forest. A low-key camp is found in the Ishasha Sector.
Mweya safari lodge
The Mweya Safari lodge is a top of the range accommodation facility located at the Mweya peninsular within the park and overlooking the Kazinga channel. It is the perfect base for your safari.
Mweya Safari Lodge is surrounded by the magical Rwenzori Mountains aptly described as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’. Mweya Safari Lodge also has a swimming pool, a poolside bar, a souvenir shop and the Kazinga Restaurant which serves delicious global cuisine daily.
Jacana safari lodge
Jacana safari lodge is a luxurious beautiful lodge located on the out skirts of the park between the rolling hills and a tranquil crater lake. This lodge has got a number of visitor facilities which include: a swimming pool, sauna, and public areas (including various decks, a well stocked restaurant and bar, a floating pontoon where visitors can have a meal in the middle of the Crater Lake.
The lodge has well designed accommodation with about 10 lavish chalets along with a family cottage. The lodge provides a favorable atmosphere to all visitors with facilities such as ensuits,Verandah along with big windows that give a magnificent view of lake Nyamusingire.This view will enable you enjoy a good morning breakfast served by a waiter.
The evenings are usually occupied with camp fire that gives a memorable experience to all visitors. The lodge is well known for its standard accommodation with better facilities.
Simba safari lodge / camp
This comfortable budget safari accommodation is located right on the border of Queen Elizabeth National Park and just two kilometres from the Equator. Set on a hill, Simba Safari Camp offers spectacular views of Lake George, the Kazinga Channel and the savannah plains stretching across to the far horizon.
Here you will find a variety of comfortable and affordable guest rooms, dormitory rooms and a well established camp site. To the south west, you can often see the volcanic peaks of the Virungas, straddling the border with Rwanda.
In the heart of Queen Elizabeth National Park and conveniently situated for wildlife viewing and Kyambura Chimp tracking, The Bush Lodge forms an excellent base for your safari. The small scale set up built along ecological principals and the unique setting where animals room in and out the camp, offers a unique opportunity to experience a safari as it once was in East Africa
The Bush lodge is often visited by Elephants and Hippo’s. Sitting at your own veranda and listening to the sounds of nature, see the animals coming and going to the water of the Kazinga Channel. Here you can forget the hectic life and come to rest at nature hands