Queen Elizabeth National Park Big 5

Queen elizabeth national park big 5

Queen elizabeth national park big 5

Queen elizabeth national park big 5 : Queen Elizabeth National Park formerly known as The Kazinga National Park is one of the Big Five destinations/ National Parks in Uganda, the park was established in 1952 and it was renamed in 1954 to commemorate the Queen Elizabeth II’s visit.

Queen Elizabeth National Park covers an area of 1,978 square kilometers at an altitude of 884 – 1,337 meters in the Africa’s Western Rift Valley floor.

Queen Elizabeth National park is a habitat for over 96 mammal species including four of the Big Five.

African Big Five are the reason to why most tourists come to Uganda and Queen Elizabeth National Park as well, there are 4 of Africa Big Five found in Queen Elizabeth National Park and these include Elephants, buffaloes, leopards and lions.

The Term Africa Big 5 animals is a term coined in the 1800s by trophy hunters referring to what they considered most challenging and dangerous animals to hunt on foot.

The only missing member of the Big 5 in Queen Elizabeth National park is rhinos and these can only be found in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in the wild in Uganda.

The Big 5 in Queen Elizabeth National Park are as explained below

AFRICAN LION (panthera leo)

African lion are the largest and most imposing African carnivore and the most dangerous of the African Big Animals in Uganda, the African lion is the most sociable of the large cats living in loosely structured groups known as prides comprising of up to 15 animals.

Lions are reputed as “King of the jungle” and are popular symbols of royalty, strength and bravery.

In Queen Elizabeth National park there are tree climbing lions which are rare species of lions and they are found in the Ishasha sector found in the Southern sector the park.

AFRICAN ELEPHANT (loxodonta africana)

African Elephant is the largest of the Africa big Five found in Uganda and largest of all land animals, African elephants are the most enduring symbol of nature’s grace and fragility.

Elephants are one of the most intelligent and entertaining animals to watch while on an African safari fame drive, a male African elephant can weigh 6,300 kilograms and the smallest adult male weigh below 4000 kilograms which is way more than twice the weight of an average SUV.

Female Africa elephants weight over half the weight of the male.

African elephants are very intelligent, have intense emotions and are great at solving problems, they display social bonds all the time and they are believed to have the biggest memory among other animals.

African elephants are one of the most loved African animals and they are two types of them in Uganda that is Savannah African elephant and African forest elephants. The savannah African elephants are the common elephants sighted in Queen Elizabeth National Park and they are easily seen in Kasenyi plains, Mweya Peninsular and along the banks of Kazinga Channel.


The Africa cape buffalo are the only wild African buffalo ox species in Africa that has an adaptable and widespread creature living in large herds on the savanna and smaller herds in forested areas.

African buffaloes are one of the most dangerous animals to come across of all African game species most especially if wounded or solitary. African buffalo are large, even – toed ungulates, characterized by their stocky build and heavy horns which are present in both sexes and they are not ridged.

Buffaloes are easily distinguished from other animals because of its dark black color and characteristic horns, smaller and lighter, curving outward, backward and upwards. Their ears are large, fringed with hair and hang below massive horns.

Buffaloes almost have no predators apart from the real brave and hungry lions and sometimes Nile crocodile.


In Queen Elizabeth National Park African Buffaloes are easily seen in the savannah grasslands in the Kasenyi plains, Mweya Peninsula and along the banks of Kasenyi plains.

LEOPARD (Pantera Pardus)

Leopards are the most elusive and smallest of the Africa big 5 family, they are sneaky and harder to spot as they are naturally shy and exclusively nocturnal in nature. Leopards spend most of the daylight hours hiding from view, these big solitary cats haul large kills such as antelopes and zebras into a tree to eat alone in peace.

Leopards can be mistaken for cheetahs by can be distinguished by their rosette – shaped spots and more powerful build, also by their preference for wooded or rocky habitats.

In Queen Elizabeth national park, Leopards can easily be spotted in Kasenyi plains which hosts huge numbers of antelopes which attracts them for a hunt.

Best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park to spot The Big Five

The best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park for a big Five safari is during the dry season experienced in January to February and June to July. These are the driest months in the park and the wildlife is easier to spot as animals gather around water point and the vegetation is thin.

Where to stay in Queen Elizabeth National Park during Big Five Safari

There is a variety of accommodations to stay at in Queen Elizabeth National Park during your Uganda Big Five Safari, these accommodations range from luxury, midrange and budget and they include

  • Twin lakes Safari Lodge
  • Topi Lodge
  • Bush Camp
  • Queen Elizabeth safari Lodge
  • Irunu forest safari lodge
  • Savannah resort hotel
  • Lake Munyanyange Cave Resort
  • Ishasha Jungle Lodge
  • Aramaga Rift Valley Lodge among others.
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