Spanning three districts including Kamwenge, Rubirizi, Kasese and Rukungiri, Queen Elizabeth National Park occupies a total area of 1978 square kilometers.
It was founded in 1952 as Kazinga Channel National Park. Later renamed to Queen Elizabeth National Park to honor the visit of Queen Elizabeth 11. Queen is one of the parks in Uganda with rich Wildlife that tempts tourists around the globe.
Nestled in western Uganda, this protected area is bordered by Ishasha River and Lake Edward in the West along the border of DR Congo.
To the east by Lake George, Kyambura gorge and Kalinzu Forest Reserve. To the south by Kigezi Wildlife Reserve and then to the north by Kasese and Ruwenzori foothills. Its home to over ten crater lakes including a cluster that is north of the main road to Mweya lodge.
It consists of large swampy areas around Lake George, forested Kyambura gorge and in the south eastern part of Maramagambo forest.
How to get there
From Kampala – The usual route is Kampala- Masaka –Mbarara highway including stop over at the equator for some brief explanation about it, coffee and some snacks.
Another stopover is in Mbarara for lunch. After continue via main Mbarara – Kabale road to turn off at Ntungamo and follow the 45km tarmac road to Rukungiri.
Beyond Rukungiri you drive 70km along murram roads to Ishasha via Kihihi. A right turn about 4km out of Rukungiri awards a shorter route passing through the grasslands of Kigezi Wildlife Reserves joining the Katunguru Ishasha road.
From Kabale via Kihihi – Queen, it can be reached en route from Kabale or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Driving directly from Kabale, take the road towards Bwindi. But instead of turning left at Kanyantorogo continue straight to Kihihi.
Driving from Bwindi, it’s about 30km to Kanyantorogo then turn left towards kihihi. Kihihi town is about 10-15km north of Kanyantorogo. It a gas station, the only fuel source within this region. Arriving at the T-junction, turn right towards the Ishasha camp. It’s just 15km to the Park entrance gate.
What to do in the Park
Chimpanzee tracking usually involves meeting with the chimpanzee primates in the Jungles. Since primates are found in the Jungles, it requires the trekkers to move from the Park headquarters or starting point following the well-established trails until they discover the presence of these primates.
It’s usually done in a group and in sessions, you either choose for the morning session, afternoon or evening.
While in the Jungle you are not only limited to Chimpanzees but exposed to a lot of species inhabited. While in Queen you can only go for this activity in Kyambura gorge.
Second chance to sight some of the Wild animals and other species you may have missed on a game drive.
The cruise is usually beyond the several sights of animals like Elephants along the shorelines to amazeballs views of aquatic life like Hippopotamus, crocodiles to different water bird species.
This cruise trip usually starts off from the staging site beneath Mweya Peninsula and runs for about two hours. Operators usually offer two sessions including morning and afternoon cruise.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is undoubtedly packed with different Wildlife species to awe. Several options of immersing these species thrive but game driving is exceptional.
It usually involves embarking a Safari vehicle with a pop roof with your guide and drive through the permanently established tracks while the awe-inspiring views of animals, landscapes, plant species and sunset/sun rise.
With your camera you are free to take a lot of photos, you may be only limited by the storage space of your camera, otherwise move with extra memory cards.
During the drive, the speed is low such that clients are able to behold whatever they want, take photos and as well wonder at the uniquely gifted sceneries.
Game driving in Queen is usually done in three different regions including the Mweya Peninsula, Ishasha sector popularly known for Tree climbing lions and the Kasenyi Peninsula.
If you are not well versed with the tracks, it’s better you hire a Park ranger guide to lead you through because off tracking results into a penalty of $150 USD per incident.