Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the 10 national parks in Uganda and also one of the most visited, the park is named after Her Majesty the late Queen Elizabeth II of England following her visit to Uganda in 1954.

queen elizabeth national park

Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the prime tourist destination in Uganda for big game watching and bird watching safari in Uganda, this beautiful park is located in Western Uganda near the border of Uganda with the Democratic Republic of Congo and lies within the Albertine Rift Valley. From Kampala the capital city of Uganda, Queen Lizabeth National Park is situated about 6-7 hours of drive.

Queen Elizabeth National Park covers an area of 1978 square kilometers supporting plenty of wildlife and a variety of ecosystems including crater lakes, grassy hills, open savannah, woodlands and lush forest jungles. Queen Elizabeth national park includes the Maramagambo Forest and Kigezi game reserve’s borders, Kyambura game reserve, Kibale National Park in Uganda and Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is formerly known as the Kazinga National Park was established as a national park in 1953 and was later renamed “Queen Elizabeth National Park” in 1954.

Queen Elizabeth National Park comprises of sectors include The Equator and the Queen’s Pavilion, Lake George, The Ishasha sector, Katwe crater lake, Kasenyi plains, Maramagambo, Kyambura Gorge, Kazinga Channel and the Mweya Peninsula.

Queen Elizabeth National Park Wildlife

Queen Elizabeth National Park’s grasslands, swamps and forests harbor impressive wildlife such as chimpanzees, leopards, lions, elephants, hippopotamuses, water buffaloes, waterbuck, Uganda kob, warthog, hyena, giant forest hog, and several types of antelopes, such as duiker, bushbuck, and reedbuck.

The Ishasha sector – the southern part of the park hosts the tree climbing lions and can be seen lounging on fig tree branches.  Other best places to see wildlife in Queen Elizabeth national park include the Kazinga Channel which is infested with Nile crocodiles and hippos in its waters, elephants and buffaloes along its banks  and Maramagambo forest hosting primates such as chimpanzees, olive baboon, black and white colobus monkeys among others.

Africa, Uganda, Fort Portal, Elizabeth National Park, lions lying on a tree

 Birdlife in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is a home to more than 600 bird species which is why the park is one of the important birding areas in Uganda, these birds include Open-billed Stork, African Jacana, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, African Skimmer, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Grey-capped Warbler, African beautiful Black-headed Gonolek, Swamp Fly-catcher, Pin-tailed Whyda Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Common Squaco Heron, Shoebill Stork, African Fish Eagle, African White-tailed Lark, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Collard Pranticles, Gabon and Slender-tailed Mourning Dove, The Nightjars, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Black Bee-eater, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Great white and Pink-backed Pelicans, Papyrus Canary, White-winged Terns.

Things to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Safari Game Drives

Wildlife game drives in Queen Elizabeth National park are a highlight activity to do on a Uganda safari visit, this activity is very exciting and very rewarding offering tourists an opportunity to encounter and see many wildlife species and birds. Game drives are best done in the early morning and late afternoon hours when the weather is calm and the animals are out of hiding.

Game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park are done using several tracks running through mating grounds and you will be able to see many animals such as lions, elephants, antelopes, warthogs, bushbucks among others.

game drive in queen elizabeth park

Launch Cruise along the Kazinga Channel

Launch cruise along the Kazinga Channel is an exciting safari to do in Queen Elizabeth National park, the Kazinga channel connects Lake Edward to Lake George and hosts the biggest population of hippos in East Africa. As you sail on the channel, you will be see big herds of elephants , buffaloes drinking water along the channel banks, hippos and crocodiles in the waters of the channel and many water birds including herons, cormorants, crested crane among others.


Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best birding destination in Uganda and Africa as well, the park is a home to over 600 bird species which you will see during your visit to the park. Some for the birds you will be able to spot during bird watching safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park include Hooded Vulture, Martial Eagle, Grey Kestrel, African Wattled Plover, Black-bellied Bustard, Black-lored Babbler, White-tailed Lark, Pink-backed Pelican, Black-crowned Tchagra, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Blue-naped Mousebird, Papyrus Canary, Pygmy Kingfisher, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, the lesser and greater Flamingo and many more.

Chimpanzee tracking

Chimpanzee tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park is done in the Kyambura Gorge which hosts several habituated chimps of troops of about 3-0 -80 members. During the trek through the gorge you will spot other primates including olive baboons, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and when you find the chimpanzees, you will spend one hour in their presence and observe how they go on with their daily lifestyle, take pictures and videos.

Nature Walks

Queen Elizabeth National Park is a great destination for nature walks, this activity done on foot under the supervision of an armed guide and ranger for protection purposes. The walk will expose you to the diversity in the wild such as pythons in the ostracism of the bat caves floor with their prey – the bats. Other trails lead you to the heart of the beautiful crater lakes and forests where you will spot birds and primates such as chimpanzees, olive baboons among others.

A visit to Katwe Salt Mines

The Katwe Salt Mines are great site to visit, Lake Katwe is a salt lake and salt has been mined in this lake since the 14th century using traditional methods to date. During the visit you will understand how the salt mines have been sub-divided and distributed to various tribes in Uganda. You will learn the interesting cultural strings attached to the salt mines.

Where to stay in Queen Elizabeth National Park

There is a wide range of accommodation facilities in Queen Elizabeth National Park ranging from luxury, midrange and budget, these accommodations include Ihamba Safari Lodge, Buffalo Safari Resort, Bush Lodge and Simba Safari camp, Wild Track Safari Lodge, Jacana Safari Lodge, Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Mweya Safari lodge, Mazike Lodge, Katara Lodge among others.

Getting to Queen Elizabeth National park

Queen Elizabeth National park is found in the western Uganda and can be accessed by road and by air.

By road : it is a drive of about 5-6 hours from Kampala on Kampala via Mbarara – Kasese road or Via Fort Portal highway leading to Mweya, the main tourism hub of the park. Routes used to get to Queen Elizabeth National park make a circuit with short detour visit to Lake Mburo National park, Semuliki and Kibale National Parks.

Queen Elizabeth national park can also be accessed from Bwindi impenetrable national park and the South of Rwanda.

By Air: there are daily scheduled flights from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Airstrips in Mweya, Kasese or Ishasha. These flights are offered by several charter companies including AeroLink and Bar Aviation.

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