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Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is in the west of Uganda, fairly small at 1,878 km² and is mainly open savannah dotted with acacia and euphorbia plants. There are extensive wetlands and a huge tract of tropical forest.

The park supports 612 bird species (only Virunga National Park has more in Africa), including 54 raptors. There are 95 species of mammal including around 2,500 elephants, 20 different predators with 200 lions (40 tree-climbing lions in Ishasha). 10 primate species live here including chimps in Chambura Gorge and Maramagambo Forest. The park is good for viewing Uganda kob, large herds of buffalo, giant forest hog, waterbuck, topi, hyena, and crocodile.  Leopards are seen quite regularly.

Queen Elizabeth NP is part of a much larger conservation area including the Ruwenzoris, Kibale, Virunga National Park and Kigezi/Chambura.

  • The entire park is divided north from south by the Kazinga Channel.  A 40km long channel of water flowing gently from Lake George in the east to Lake Edward in the west. Special boats cruise Kazinga Channel along the shoreline allowing a close-up view of good resident game (particularly hippo, buffalo, elephant) and fairly prolific birdlife including lots of waterfowl.
  • The northern area features the Kasenyi plains (with a good game viewing network), in the east towards Lake George; the "Explosion Craters" are in the west towards Mweya and Lake Edward with a large cluster of 7 crater lakes and dry calderas.
  • The Mweya Peninsula on the northern bank of the Kazinga Channel at the confluence with Lake Edward is the main safari attraction in the north. It is possible to have hood sightings of giant forest hog in this area.
  • To the south, Chambura Wildlife Reserve (usually spelt Kyambura), is in the east on the edge of Lake George, the main attraction is Chambura Gorge. The Kyambura River cuts a 100m chasm for about 16km through the surrounding savannah as it runs towards Kazinga Channel and forms the eastern boundary of QENP.  The gorge protects an isolated patch of riparian forest including a habituated population of chimps. 8 permits are available for the 0800 or 1300 treks which last around 2-3 hours.  Permits should be booked in advance.
  • Maramagambo Forest and Kigezi Wildlife Reserve are in the east of the southern sector. Different guided walks are available from simple nature trails with the opportunity to visit the bat cave (home to several thousand Egyptian fruit bats), to the full day walking trail with a focus on the forest and its birds.
  • The Ishasha plains are in the south bounded by Lake Edward and the Ishasha River on the DRC border. The area boasts a tropical climate with temperatures never rising above 30 or dropping below 16 degrees. The southern circuit is where the main kob breeding grounds are found and is best known for the 40 odd tree climbing lions that frequent clusters of sycamore figs and albizias.  The northern circuit passes through the Lake Edward flats, a good area for general game viewing and a fair chance to see shoebill. 

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