Queen Elizabeth National Park is situated about 400 km from Kampala, Uganda’s capital. Established in 1952 as Kazinga National Park, Queen Elizabeth is undeniably Uganda’s most famed National Park. The Park, occupying about 1 978 km2 , spans the districts of Rukungiri, Kasese, Rubirizi and Kamwenge with the town of Kasese lying just outside the northeastern edge of the Park while that of Rubirizi lying just outside the southeastern boundaries of the Park. It borders the Kyambura Game Reserve, the Kigezi Game Reserve, the Kibale National Park as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park.
Located near the Rwenzori Mountain, Queen Elizabeth National Park’s topography includes undulating hills where lakes meander through, widespread savanna, natural woodlands, lush swamps as well as the famous volcanic features including the volcanic cones and cavernous craters, most holding crater lakes from which salt is extracted.
Remarkable features include the Kyambura Gorge, found roughly 30 km from the Park’s Headquarters, the longest chasm in East Africa, watered by stream Kyambura, the Kalinzu Forest, a natural forest set around the confines of the Park, famous for Chimpanzee trekking, the Maramagambo Forest set from the edge of Kichwamba all through to the Lake Edward, the Ishasha sector globally famous for the tree-climbing lions, the Mweya Peninsula, situated on the northern bank of the Kazinga Channel where it merges with Lake Edward and the Kazinga Channel, approximated at a 40 m length, joining lakes Edward and George sitting on the western and eastern side respectively.
Queen Elizabeth National Park together with the adjoining Virunga National Park, form a Lion Conservation Unit. The Park also plays host to animals that include the African Bush Elephant, the African Buffalo, the African Leopard, the Ugandan Kob, the Lion, the Hippopotamus, the Chimpanzee, the Giant Forest Hog, Nile crocodile and the Warthog. It is also home to over 500 species of birds.
Queen Elizabeth National Park can be reached from Kampala by road on the tarred road via Mbarara then on a dirt road from Bwindi. It can also be reached via the Ishasha sector, which lies south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
There are various accommodation options available for visitors to the Queen Elizabeth National Park. There is the Mweya Safari Lodge, located at the Mweya Peninsular, overlooking the Kazinga channel. The lodge has on offer a diversity of rooms including self-contained ones with standard ceilings fan and verandas affording visitors stunning views of the Kazinga Channel. Also on offer is the Kazinga restaurant, serving continental and international food, a souvenir shop, a swimming pool and a pool side bar.
There is also the Jacana Safari Lodge, a beautiful and comfortable lodge situated on the fringes of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, between the beautiful undulating hills and a crater lake. On offer are beautiful well appointed rooms, bar and restaurant services, a swimming pool, a sauna as well as a floating pontoon for visitors who wish to enjoy relaxed meals in middle of the Crater Lake.
Another option is the Ishasha Wilderness Camp, an upmarket establishment set along the Ntungwe River, in the Ishasha division, in the southern part of the Park. The Camp has on offer ten open canvas rooms furnished with huge beds, private en suite lavatories and dressing areas.
Best Time to visit
Queen Elizabeth National Park is open to visitors all year round. However, the best times to visit the Park for game viewing are during the dry season of June to September when vegetation is thinner and grass is shorter to guarantee better game spotting chances..
Weather and climate
Queen Elizabeth National Park experiences hot days and cool nights with standard temperatures ranging from a maximum of about 29 °C during the day and a minimum of 17°C during the night to morning.
Other safety considerations
While malaria is present in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, preventative medicine as well as other precautionary measure guarantee the safety of visitors and their families. These measures include sleeping under treated nets, covering bare skin at dusk as well as using insect repellent sprays. To avoid sunburn and heat stroke, visitor are reminded to carry with them sunscreen , wide brimmed hats, good pairs of sun glasses as well as to always stay hydrated under the African sun.