Game Drives In Queen Elizabeth National Park

Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park : Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the most visited wildlife destinations in Uganda and one of the most popular national parks around the world well known for its widest variety of wildlife.

The park is well known for its wildlife including 4 of the Big Five (lions, leopards cape buffaloes and elephants), the park hosts over 95 mammal species and 500 bird species. Some of the animals hosted in Queen Elizabeth National Park include antelopes like sitatungas, warthogs, Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Oribi, Topi, Giant Forest Hog and 10 primate species including chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and olive baboons.

Game drives is the major safari activity done in Queen Elizabeth National Park  offering visitors a chance to explore the park and spot a variety of wildlife.

Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park are offered as morning game drives, afternoon game drives and evening/night game drives.

Morning game drives – they occur from 06:30 am to 10:30 am when the animals are very active, visitors will enjoy watching the sunrise.

Afternoon game drives – are done from 03:00 pm to 06:00 pm, after game drives are very rewarding as you get a chance to see wild animals which at their most active.

Night game drives – occur from 06:00 pm to 09:00 pm allowing you to view nocturnal animals, with a use of Red (UV) light and an armed Uganda Wildlife Authority. During

Categories of Game Drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park are offered as guided game drives and self-game drives.

Guided game drives

Guided game drives are the common game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park and this type of game drives, you are offered certified guided (either drivers or rangers) from Uganda Wildlife Authority. These rangers lead tourists in their excursions and they are knowledgeable about the history and wildlife in the park.

Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park can be done either with the Uganda Wildlife Authority Vehicles and a private vehicle.

Guided game drive is more rewarding as visitors have access to boundless information about the animals in the park, its history and the local culture. The guides also know the behaviors of the animals and spots where you can find them with their tracking radio calls.

Self-game drives

Self – game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park are perfect for visitors who wish to experience the adventure on their free wild to feed their free wielded spirits.

On this type of game drives, you get a vehicle by yourself and decided which course to take. You can rent a car for your experience.  Self-game drives are more liberating as you can do what you like by yourself without worrying about what others want.

Self-game drives are favorable for photographers and they are cheaper than guided game drives.

Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park are done through different circuits

Kasenyi Game Drive Circuit

This is the most famous game drive circuit in Queen Elizabeth National park primarily because of the many resident herds of Uganda kobs which attract predators like lions, leopards and Africa wild dogs.

Frim Mweya, it is a drive of half an hour to Kasenyi plains. Along the drive you cross the bushy plains running east from the Kasenyi – Ishaka Road to the local fishing village of Kasenyi on the western shore of Lake Gorge.

queen elizabeth park safari

Kasenyi plains are one of the best sites in Queen Elizabeth National Park to see African lions, the plains harbors 3 lion prides and they are best spotted shortly after sunrise. Since sightings of the lions is not guaranteed, you can sign up for Lion Tracking Experience on which you can track lions using tracking devices in their neck. This experienced is offered by the Mweya based Uganda Predator Project who track and monitor the movement of lions, leopards and hyenas with radio collars and tracking devices fitted on their necks.

Kasenyi plains is home to large herds of elephants, hippos and water birds.

Ishasha Game Drive Circuits

 Ishasha Southern Sector is the remote southern region of Queen Elizabeth National Park, the sector is well known for the tree-climbing lions which can be seen lazily resting on the fig tree branches.

There are two main game drive circuits running through the Ishasha sectors both of them are roughly 20 kilometers, these circuits are The Southern Circuit and The Northern Circuit.

The Southern Circuit

The Southern Circuit offers a more rewarding game viewing experience, this circuit is an open country side with boundless horizons, the runs through the main kob breeding area. The Kobs attract a number of lions which can be seen trying to ambush the lions.

game drive in ishasha

The Northern Circuit

The Northern Circuit is best wildlife viewing circuit in Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Ishasha Sector, the trail is 4 kilometers from the main road to Katunguru overlooking the floodplain of the Ntungwe River.

On the pools along this circuit, you will see red buffaloes wallowing in the muddy water, the loop develops into a full blown wetland where you can spend many birds such as black coucas, compact weavers and other wanding birds.

From a boundary of stones in this area, an 8 kilometers distance rins to the North towards Lake Edward flats, this papyrus bordered area is a perfect spot for bird watching for birds like herons, shoebill storks and plovers. There are also many elephants, buffaloes, kobs, topis and waterbucks among others.

Other circuits running through the Ishasha Southern Sector include The Edward flats and Ishasha River Campsite circuit.

Channel Drive Circuit

The channel drive circuit runs in a parallel direction from Kazinga Channel’s Northern Shores, the drive serves majorly as a route between Katunguru Bridge and the Mweya Peninsula.

The circuit runs from the main road runs through thick vegetation of Euphorbia trees protruding above the tangled scrubby thickets providing excellent views of animals, some of the animals to look out for include warthogs, bushbucks, waterbucks, elephants among others.

Channel Drive Circuit can be explored by visitors from Channel Campsite in about 2 hours, this is because it is near Mweya and has many interconnecting tracks.

Crater Drive Circuit

The area North of Mweya is dotted with dozens of Volcanic craters which are a remnant of the violent tectonic history of the Albertine Rift, a game drive in this region is approximately 27 kilometers between Kabatoro gate and the Crater gate. The circuit follows an awe-inspiring route around the edges of extinct craters filled with lakes, forests and grasslands.

At crater Gate on the Eastern rim of the crater area, there is a small information center and a coffee shop on the site. On the other hand, there is equator landmark straddling the adjacent Kasese highway providing beautiful pictures for the visitors.

On this circuit you will see large herds of elephants and buffloes mot especially in the dry season, the thick woodland in this areas are one of the best places in the park to see woodland bird species.

The explosion crater game drive track is rough and rocky which is why it is best to use a 4X4 vehicle for game drives.

Cost for game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Category Foreign Resident (USD) Foreign Non Resident (USD) East African Citizen (UGX)
Day Game drives per person (UWA Vehicles) 25 30 30,000
Night Game Drives per person (UWA) vehicles 35 40 40,000
Day – guided game drives per vehicle (private vehicle) 15 20 20,000
Day Self –Game drive per vehicle 10 10 10,000
Night Game Driver per person (private) 20 30 50,000

Best time of game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park can be done all year round, however the best time is during the dry season that is from June to September which is the long dry season and mid- December – January and February which is a short dry season.

The best time of the day to do game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park is early in the morning or late evening hours of the day.

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