Queen Elizabeth national park is one of Uganda’s vibrant parks and enjoys a bigger percentage of tourists who come to Uganda planning a visit to this splendid park. The park has a rich history behind it and a brighter future; established in 1952 as Kazinga national park after consolidating Lake Edward and George game reserves. It was eventually christened Queen Elizabeth national park to honor the visit of Queen Elizabeth I to Uganda a few year later.
The park is found in the western region of this lush country with an approximate area of 764 square miles stretching over the Kasese, Rubirizi, Kamwenge and Rukungiri districts. It connects with the Kyambura game reserve, Kigezi forest reserve, Rwenzori Mountains and Virunga national park close to the northwest and west respectively. The park was further set apart as a lion conservation unit in 2006 by the IUCN. The lion population here is keenly supervised by Uganda Carnivore Program and Uganda wildlife Authority.
An interesting fact is that the park is linked with the Queen Elizabeth country park back in England in a project that sees it receiving support, cultural exchange and its chief purpose is to sustain conservation by empowering and working with the local communities. This partially explains why the park thrived faster than other national parks in the country.
The park’s strategic location in vivacious animal corridors and great conservation efforts by the Uganda wildlife authority has enabled the park to accumulate profuse wildlife in terms of animals and preserve its unique vegetation from destruction through encroachment and poaching by humans. This gift has enabled a lot of enthralling activities to be carried out in Queen Elizabeth national park. These include;
Queen Elizabeth national park is famous for its epic game drives that take visitors on an adventure packed safari through its scenic savannah plains where you encounter even the most elusive of Uganda’s fauna including the leopards and lions. The thrilling quest of watching as much game as you can provide a chance for you to encounter species like king of the jungle (lion), African elephant, Ugandan Kobs, spotted hyena, buffalo, giant forest hog, topi, hippos, waterbucks and several species of antelopes.
A drive to the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth will leave most guests dumbfounded as you will be met with a rare sight of several lions gazing at you from the treetops above. Previously debated as one of the solutions to escape a lion was to probably climb a tree but this might not work with this group of lions. These kinds of climbing lions is only recorded in two places on earth the other one being Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania.
Adaptation for these lions to climb is still not well understood but some think it's attributed to them looking for an advantageous position to scout their prey like Kobs, escaping the heat on ground by resting in the boughs of fig trees or still to evade the pesky tsetse flies. The sector is also a haven to animals like buffaloes, big groups of antelopes, elephants and warthogs that complement your game drive to this sector.
Exhilarating chimp trekking can easily be carried out in the "Valley of Apes" commonly known as the Kyambura gorge. Hidden in the Northern section of the park, this gorge is a refuge to several chimpanzees. The trekking experience will introduce you to other primates like Red-tailed monkeys and baboons, different bird and butterfly species among other wildlife that calls this hidden gem paradise.
The trekking trails are also ideal for birding as you proceed on your expedition to encounter man's closest relative in the chimpanzee as they share 98.7% of our DNA.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is arguably among Uganda’s best birding destinations. The park is home to more than 600 bird species that will leave any ardent birder springing with excitement. Species you are likely to encounter include species like Yellow-Throated Cuckoo, Sedge warbles, martial eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Pink-backed Pelican, Papyrus canary and many others that reside over Queen Elizabeth's expansive forests, savanna and wetlands.
A trip to Queen Elizabeth national park lets guests relish all these and other interesting activities in this wonderful natural gem.