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Uganda’s most well-known and often visited wildlife conservation area is Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park is located in the districts of Kamwenge, Rukungiri, Rubirizi, and Kasese in western Uganda. At the moment, Queen Elizabeth National Park covers an area of roughly 764 square miles. The park is an extension of Congo’s Virunga National Park and borders Uganda’s Kibale National Park. Included in the park are the Kyambura Gorge, Maramagambo Forest, Kazinga Channel, and portions of Lake George and Edward.

Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda National Parks

The park was formerly known as Kazinga National Park when it was created in 1952. The government of the United Kingdom was so delighted by the visit of Queen Elizabeth II in the early 1950s that they dedicated a park in her honour. Because Queen Elizabeth National Park is situated in the rain shadow of the Rwenzori mountain ranges, it never endures protracted droughts like those found in the Maasai Maraa or Serengeti. Because of this, the majority of the year is spent in lush scenery. Visitors would be astounded by the park’s overwhelming natural splendour, which includes magnificent woods, woodlands, meadows, lakes, rivers, gorges, and other volcanic characteristics, even in the absence of any wildlife.

The Banyankore, Bakiga, and Bakonjyo are the principal indigenous groups residing close to the park’s boundaries. The Banyankore are known to be pastoralists, whereas the Bakiga and Bakonjo rely on subsistence farming. A common economic activity among the Bakiga who live close to the park is salt mining. In addition to working with numerous organisations dedicated to wildlife conservation and groups of both local and foreign researchers, the Uganda Wildlife Authority oversees the park. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Kibale Forest National Park, and Mgahinga National Park are all adjacent to Queen Elizabeth National Park. This suggests that tourists can combine a gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Forest with a comprehensive wildlife safari.

Things to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Game Drives

Observing ninety-five percent of the creatures seen in the Serengeti, together with greater beauty and topography featuring woodlands, savanna grasslands, marsh regions, acacia woods, crater lakes, gorges, and the adjacent Rwenzori Mountains, makes this the most popular activity. The three sectors are the Kasenyi plains (near Kazinga Channel), Ishasha sector (tree climbing lions), or the Katwe crater fields. The three to four hour game drives begin early in the morning. Large craters and salt lakes that date back thousands of years can be found in the stunning crater lakes region. During the dry season, flamingos, elephant flamingos, and other animals are drawn to the crater floors as a water supply. The Kasenyi plains in the northern part of the park are arguably the most scenic and best places to spot wildlife in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Bird Watching

Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is a popular spot for birdwatching. The Bird Observatory in Mweya has an exhaustive inventory of all the park’s bird species. When visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park, birdwatchers will be awestruck by the variety of birds that call the plains, craters, and gorges of Kyambura, Budongo Forest, Kazinga Channel, and plains home. Millions of migratory birds visit the park during specific times of the year to avoid the severe winters in Europe, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. Watch out for the following bird species: Wood sandpipers, Winding and Carruther’s Cisticolas, White-winged Warbler, White-winged Terns, White-tailed Lark, White-faced Whistling, Whalberg’s Eagle, Yellow-backed, Yellow wagtails, Yellow throated Cuckoo, Yellow backed Weavers, and Water Thick-knee.

Boat Cruise

One of the greatest locations in Africa to see animals is the Kazinga Channel, where this boat trip is scheduled to take place. The majority of the park’s animals congregate in this canal, which joins Lake George and Lake Edward, to drink, hunt, and bathe. There are more bird species found here than in North America during the bird migration season. Even people who have been on multiple safaris abroad will be impressed by the sheer density and variety of wildlife at the Kazinga Channel. While elephants, antelopes, and predators like leopards sip water in the shallow parts of the channel, hippos, crocodiles, and water fowl govern the waters. The Mweya Visitor Information Centre is where tickets for this activity are available.

Throughout the day, the activity is scheduled in shifts, and participants can choose to use the more costly private boats operated by Mweya Safari Lodge or the less expensive public boats.

Ishasha Tree Climbing Lions

The Ishash area of Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to the endangered tree-climbing lions. They are not a subspecies and are not distinct from the lions found in Uganda’s other national parks or the Kasenyi area. Lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park Climbing TreesThe lions in this area have, incidentally, adapted to a life centred around climbing the many fig trees following morning or afternoon hunts. Although the reason behind these lions’ tree-climbing behaviour remains a mystery to scientists, some ideas suggest that it is due to parasites and insects (such as Tsetse flies) that are present on the ground. The major goal of organised game drives to the Ishasha region is to see the lions perched on trees.

Chimpanzee Trekking in Kyambura Gorge

Among the world’s most fascinating primates are chimpanzees. Compared to even the larger gorillas, they are incredibly intelligent. At Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Kyambura Gorge, chimpanzees can be tracked. The powerful flows of the Kyambura River carved out the valley/depression known as the Kyambura Gorge in the park’s western region. The Gorge spans 16 km in length, 100 m in depth, and 500 m in width. Streams of water and dense trees now encircle the gorge. Numerous monkey species, including red-tailed monkeys, black-and-white Colobus, and baboons, can be found in this underground forest. Many of the animals can be seen by visitors from the observation platform above the gorge, which is located in the large valley’s tree tops. Not only may one view primates at the gorge, but they can also spot birds, snakes, butterflies, and other aquatic life.

Nature Walks at Maramagambo Forest

Travelling to Maramagambo Forest is highly favoured, particularly by ornithologists. In addition to learning about forest protection, nature walks in this sizable forest make use of well-established routes to allow visitors to observe small crater lakes, birds, primates, and other forest critters. Speaking of monkeys, the Maramagambo Forest is home to roughly nine different species, including baboons, vervet monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, bush babies, red-tailed monkeys, and chimpanzees. Thousands of bats call a collection of caves that are accessible via one of the paths home. Large rock pythons are drawn to these bats and like feeding on them. From a secure vantage point, one can see both the pythons and the bats. Even though they have not yet reached complete habituated status, the chimpanzees in Maramagambo can still be seen on extended journeys through the heart of the forest.

Visiting the Lake Katwe Salt Mines

One of the few salt lakes in East Africa is Lake Katwe. Because of the high saline of the lake, there is no wildlife. Despite this, the vicinity of the lake is a flurry of activity, particularly in the dry season when the communities get together to scrub the milky waters of salt. In Katwe, salt mining has persisted for centuries. It was formerly quite profitable until alternative mining sources and techniques were found. Lake Katwe provides most of the salt used in Ugandan households. Despite the risks posed by the deadly saline waters, salt is nevertheless routinely mined by hand. Tourists can engage with the local mining population and get knowledge about the salt mining industry by visiting the mines. The miners take home the remaining salt, with the majority being sold to manufacturers.

Cultural Tours

A vacation to Africa, and specifically Uganda, would not be complete without a visit to a native tribe. You can plan to visit the Kikorongo Equator Cultural group during a safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park to witness and take part in traditional dances, plays, and fire-making. It is possible to learn how to create indigenous art and crafts, such as weaving baskets out of natural fibres, while visiting with the Kikorongo Equator Cultural group. A good number of these artefacts can be purchased at fair prices. Following their visit to the group, the leaders can take guests to see how the people live, how they cook, take care of their gardens, create everyday products, and construct thatched huts made of grass.

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