Queen Elizabeth National Park


Queen Elizabeth National Park  in Uganda was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park but was renamed in 1954 to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s visit. It is located on the bottom of Africa’s Western Rift Valley and covers 1,978 square kilometers at an elevation of 884-1,337m/2,900-4,386ft.

This magnificent park offers a comprehensive experience with varied ecosystems such as grassland, savannah, woodlands, wetlands, and lakes. The experience includes a wide variety of huge creatures, primates, birds, and butterflies.

The park’s vegetation is diverse in terms of flora and fauna, although it is dominated by tiny tree main thickets such as acacias and evergreens. The park, on the other hand, contains five vegetation levels: bushy grassland, Acacia woodland, lakeshore or marsh vegetation, and forest grassland.

The park is home to over 95 animal species and over 600 bird species. Queen Elizabeth is home to four of the big five animals. The rhino isn’t there.


Chimpanzees, leopards, lions, elephants, hippopotamuses, water buffaloes, waterbuck, Uganda kob, warthog, hyena, giant forest hog, and numerous varieties of antelopes like as duiker, bushbuck, and reedbuck may be found in the park’s grasslands.

Topis and tree climbing lions may be seen in abundance in the Ishasha region. The Kyambura Gorge and the Maramagambo woodland are excellent places to see primates. The Kazinga Channel boat launch excursion leads you to Nile crocodile-infested banks, where you’re likely to view superb big game. Aside from the rhino, there are no giraffes or zebras.

Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Birdlife

More than 600 bird species may be seen in the park. Notable species include the Hooded Vulture, the Martial Eagle, the Grey Kestrel, the African Wattled Plover, the Black-bellied Bustard, the Black-lored Babbler, the White-tailed Lark, the Pink-backed Pelican, the Black-crowned Tchagra, the Slender-tailed Nightjar, the Blue-naped Mousebird, the Papyrus Canary, the Pygmy Kingfisher, the Scarlet-ches

Chimpanzee trekking

In Queen Elizabeth National Park, the Kyambura Gorge provides beautiful landscape for chimp tracking. This valley is home to a number of chimpanzees. Chimps live in groups (called troops) of 30 to 80 people. Chimps typically chew on leaves and use them as sponges, dipping them in water and sucking out the moisture. They also eat nuts, fruits, seeds, and flowers and utilize twigs to pick inside termite tunnels. Their vegetarian diet is often supplemented with meat, such as juvenile antelopes or goats.

Observers have seen chimps murdering smaller primates such as baby baboons, blue monkeys, and Colombus monkeys and feasting on their carcasses. There is no specific breeding season, and females give birth every four to five years. They are quadrupedal, meaning they walk quickly on all fours. They are quick climbers who build their nests high in the trees.

There are numerous more primates found in Queen Elizabeth National Park, including:

Black and white Colombus Monkey

Blue monkeys

Olive baboons

Vervet monkeys

Red-tailed monkeys

Chimpanzees are far more violent by nature, but conservationists have acclimated the populations you are permitted to visit. Human aggression in such situation is exceedingly unusual, so you must use caution while approaching chimps. These are some of the safety considerations to take when monitoring chimps in QENP’s Kyambura canyon.

Keep your distance from primates – Do not visit chimps if you are sick or have an infectious ailment.

Avoid using flash photography.

If the animal approaches you, carefully back away.

The route or track in the forest is not yours. Never get in the way of an animal.

Sectors in Queen Elizabeth National Park

The Mweya Peninsula

The peninsula is situated on the northern side of the magnificent Kazinga Channel, at its confluence with Lake Edward. Since it overlooks Lake Edward’s Katwe Bay, the peninsula is the epicenter of sightseeing activities. A well paths on the Mweya peninsular include the Channel Track down to Katunguru gate and then over to Kabatoro gate. Kabatoro gate has a thick ground cover with dense vegetation dominated by candelabra thorns, making game viewing difficult.

Kazinga’s channel

The Kazinga canal is a 32-kilometer-long natural channel that connects two lakes: Lake Gorge (to the east) and Lake Edward (west). Lake George is located on the eastern side of the Kazinga Channel and has an area of 250 square kilometers. Streams pouring from the magnificent Rwenzori Mountains feed into the lake, creating a vast quantity of water. The overflow from Lake Gorge runs through this Kazinga Channel and drains west into the neighboring Lake Edward (one of Uganda’s principal freshwater lakes), which encompasses an area of 2,000 square kilometers.

Throughout the year, the channel’s beaches attract a great number of wild species, including birds and reptiles. The Kazinga waterway has the most hippos and the most Nile crocodiles.

The boat ride is enjoyable because it allows you to see wildlife that comes to the channel’s banks for water. The UWA-operated boat launch safari departs at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. The launch commences on the Mweya peninsula, 20 kilometers west of the major Kasese-Mbarara route through Katunguru. Taxis for hire are available in the Katunguru trade hub for roughly Ush30,000 or $10 to Mweya.

The waterway is divided into two sections: North Kazinga and Kasenyi. All year, the lake’s beaches attract a great number of animals, birds, and reptiles. The creatures may be seen clearly from the Nile cruise or, more likely, near the entrance to Lake Edward. The eastern side of the Kasenyi plains is the most convenient and desirable location to see the lions. They prey on a big number of Uganda Kobs that live in that region.

The Kyambura Gorge

The Kyambura Gorge, commonly known as the “Valley of Apes,” is located in the extreme eastern portion of Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is 1 kilometer long and around 100 meters deep. The gorge is home to a diverse wildlife bio-diversity that includes monkeys, wild animals, and birds. The spectacular canyon will wow you with its green, rich tropical rainforest near to the Equator, spanning with tree canopy offering shelter and cover from the intense sunlight. The gorge is home to a diverse range of plant species.


The Maramagambo forest extends from the Kichwamba escarpment to Lake Edward. Hiking, nature walks, primate trekking, and birdwatching are all popular activities in the forest canopy shade. The trek might take 2 hours or perhaps half a day, depending on how long you want to spend exploring the magnificent crater lakes. Chimpanzees, Black and White Colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, baboons, Red Tailed monkeys for Blue monkeys, and Vervet monkeys are among the primates found here. The woodland is home to nocturnal creatures such as Pottos and bushbabies.

Plains of Kasenyi

Kasenyi is 48 kilometers south-east of Kasese and is located in the north-eastern portion of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The vast savannah plains lie on the nearby magnificent Lake George’s western beaches, close to where the Kazinga Channel joins the lake.

The wide savannah region has the largest concentration of game animals of any Ugandan location. Lions congregate on the plains to hunt easy prey, making Queen Elizabeth National Park one of the greatest places to view lions in action. There are various bird species in the Kasenyi plains area, including the yellow-throated long crow, red-throated spurfowls, and grey-crown cranes.

Lake Katwe (Katwe Crater)

Though many explosion craters are no longer active, a handful still emit sulfurous odors. Katwe Explosion Craters in QENP, Bunyaraguru Crater Field on the Kichwamba escarpment, and Ndali-Kasenda Crater Field in Kibale National Park are the three largest concentrations.

The Katwe explosion craters are located to the north of the magnificent Mweya Peninsula. The massive Kyemengo Crater is the most enticing of the Katwe Explosion Craters. In the past, craters turned Lake Edward into a deadly sludge. Explosion Craters, unlike volcanoes, do not accumulate cones. They just blast ash and stones to great distances.


The Ishasha sector, located on the southwest boundary of QENP, is notable for its resident Tree climbing lions, who may be seen hanging from the branches of massive fig trees. In contrast, the Uganda Kob (the lions’ principal meal) graze on the plains. The Mweya Peninsula is about two hours away from this portion.

Ishasha is an unforgettable place, with magnificent views of the King of the Jungle perched high on one of the gigantic fig trees’ branches, peacefully napping away the day. There are also buffalo herds, antelopes, elephants, and hippos can be found. This is not always guaranteed, as it is heavily dependent on the day you visit this section.

Lake George

Lake George is a tiny and shallow lake in the western Rift Valley of East Africa. Lake George gets its water from many inflows from the Rwenzori mountain ranges, including Dura, Mpanga, Nsonge, Rumi, and Mubuku.

Its discharge is into the Kazinga Channel, which flows into Lake Edward. At 914m height, the lake has two rainy seasons, with rainfall peaks in May and October. Kankuranga, Iranqara, and Akika are the names of the islands in this lake. The coastlines are dominated by papyrus reeds and wetlands, where you may see the endangered Sitatunga antelope and various birds.

The Queen’s Pavilion and the Equator

The Equator of Uganda is a stunning location for photography. The Queen’s Pavilion may be seen from the northern entrance of Crater Drive. The pavilion, which was built in 1954, was refurbished with greater amenities for the Duke of Edinburgh’s second visit in 2007.

Climate and Weather

Queen Elizabeth National Park has a pleasant climate. The scenery is lovely and lush. Because it is near the equator, temperatures are consistent all year. Temperatures during the day reach approximately 29°C/84°F and gradually decrease to around 17°C/63°F at night.

Although Queen Elizabeth National Park is accessible all year, animal viewing is greatest from January to February and June to July (the dry seasons), however rain is always possible. This gorgeous park, however, is most magnificent during the wet seasons of March to May and August to December. Rain falls less often from December through January, with the wettest months being June and July. The rainy season lasts from March to May and from August to December.

Seasons of aridity/dry season: January through February and June through July

January and February – Expect rain at any time of year, but this is often a dry season. June and July have a minor chance of rain, despite being the driest months. The average daytime temperature is 29°C/84°F, while the average overnight temperature is 16°C/61°F. As the forest thins and animals congregate near water sources, it becomes easier to detect wildlife. Because the trails are dry, monkey hiking is made simpler. Birding is excellent from late May through September.

Seasons of rain From March to May, and from August to December

March, April, and May – In April, there will be more rain. Temperatures in the late afternoon are nice (about 29°C/84°F) and colder (17°C/63°F) in the morning. Roads can become inaccessible, and pathways for monkey trekking can turn icy.

August, September, October, and November- The weather is similar to March through May, with the most rain falling in November. There is lots of wildlife and migrating birds to witness. However, highways may become impassable after heavy rains, and woodland routes may turn slick. Thunderstorms and precipitation are possible throughout the afternoon.

How to Get There

Road travel from Kampala

Buses may be found in Kampala at the Baganda bus park and near the Nakivubo stadium.

Bushenyi is 420 kilometers away from Kampala and takes 6 hours to go through Mbarara.

The distance between Kampala and Kasese is 410 kilometers and takes 6 hours to go through Fort Portal.

By Air

– Duration: 60 minutes Charter flights from Entebbe International Airport to Mweya, Kasese, or Ishasha airstrips.