Queen Elizabeth National Park
PARK AT A GLANCE
Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.
Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magniﬁcent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buﬀalos and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose ﬁg trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kobs.
As well as its outstanding wildlife attractions, Queen Elizabeth National Park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music and more. The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park, and renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II. Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is truly a Medley of Wonders!
Queen Elizabeth National Park can be accessed most easily from Kampala. The tarmac road from Kampala via Mbarara town and Bushenyi leads to the centre of the park, passing just 22 km from Mweya Peninsula, the main tourism hub. En-route to the park, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy short detours to Lake Mburo National Park, Rwenzori Mountains and Kibale National Park, renowned for its chimpanzee tracking. The park can also be accessed from the south via Ishasha from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Charter ﬂights/scheduled flights with Aero link can be arranged to existing airstrips of Kasese, Mweya and Ishasha.
Daytime temperatures average 18-28°C. Nights can be cool so bring layers.
WHEN TO VISIT
All Year Round.
The papyrus swamps of this Ramsar wetland site are home to the semi-aquatic sitatunga antelope. One can spot the elusive Shoebill plus other native birds on the lake.
The 72 huge round basins scattered across the equator are evidence of the Albertine Rift’s bubbling volcanic past, and are a must-see for those with a particular interest in the region’s fascinating geological history. The 27km drive between Kabatoro gate and Queen’s Pavilion takes in views of the enormous craters, circular lakes, the Rift Valley escarpment and the Kazinga channel – all in front of the mighty backdrop of the Rwenzori Mountains.
One of the most famous lookout points in Uganda is in the Katwe Kabatoro community on Katwe Salt Lake where traditional salt mining has been practiced since the 16th century. The neighboring Lake Munyanyange is a bird sanctuary, as well as a migratory location for the lesser ﬂamingo from August to November.
The Katwe explosion craters mark the park’s highest point at 1350 meters above the sea level, while the lowest point is at 910 meters, at Lake Edward. The vast savannah of Kasenyi is the perfect setting for a classic African safari experience. Huge herds of Uganda Kob attract prides of lions; warthogs graze bent down on their knees; guinea fowl scuttle through the grassland; and huge dark elephants stride across the game drive tracks, providing dream photo opportunities for visitors.
Mweya is Queen’s focal point. It is still jam-packed with birds and animals. It’s elevated position commands gorgeous views of the Kazinga Channel and surrounding savanna, and its proximity to Kasenyi and the North Kazinga plains make it an ideal departure point for wildlife-ﬁlled game drives in the morning or evening.
A cruise down the Kazinga channel is the most relaxing way to enjoy a wildlife safari in Queen Elizabeth. The banks are crammed with hippos, buﬀalos and water birds, along with caimans, monitor lizards, marabou storks, weaver birds and elegant pairs of Fish eagles. Elephants stride along the banks – all you need to do is sit back with your camera or binoculars at the ready, and enjoy the incredible spectacle.
The Kyambura River ﬂow through this thick “underground forest”, 100 meters below the Kicwamba escarpment. The gorge is best known for its resident chimpanzees – some of which are habituated and can be tracked through the forest with trained Uganda Wildlife Authority guides. The entrance to the gorge is also a pleasant spot for a picnic.
Kyambura Wildlife Reserve
The beautiful crater lakes of this reserve, located to the east of Kyambura Gorge, oﬀer excellent opportunities to observe many water birds including greater and lesser ﬂamingoes and the great egret.
Buzzing with primates, including chimpanzees, baboons and several monkey species, the forest is also alive with numerous birds including the rare Forest Flycatcher, White-naped Pigeon and the striking Rwenzori Turaco. One can also visit the ‘cormorant house’, a large tree that has been turned white by the birds that roost here at night.
This remote southern region enjoys fewer visitors than the north, but those who venture this far may be rewarded with sightings of Ishasha’s most famous residents – the tree climbing lions – lounging in the branches while keeping a close eye on herds of Uganda Kob. It is also the only area you can ﬁnd many herds of Topi in QENP as well as many teeming herds of buﬀalos and elephants. You can occasionally locate the rare shoebill at Edward ﬂats.
Classiﬁed as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International, Queen’s great variety of habitats mean it is home to over 600 bird species. This is the greatest of any East African National Park, and a phenomenal number for such a small area. The park is at a conﬂuence of the East African savanna and the West African tropical rain forest biomes that allow visitors to spot East as well as Central African species.
Tucked beneath the shady canopy of the Maramagambo Forest is the “Bat Cave”. The cave has a viewing room from which visitors can observe the resident bats and pythons.
The Kyambura Gorge experience is more than discovering chimpanzees in their natural environment: it teaches visitors about the ecosystems of Kyambura Gorge’s atmospheric “underground” rainforest, including vegetation types; bird identiﬁcation and behavior; and chimp and monkey ecology.
For a classic African safari experience, the tracks through Kasenyi, the North Kazinga Plains and the Ishasha Sector oﬀer virtually guaranteed buﬀalo, antelope and elephant sightings, along with warthogs and baboons. Taking an experienced guide in the early morning or at dusk is the most successful way to track down a pride of lions, and maybe even the odd leopard.
Nature treks are one of the more active ways to explore the landscapes and wildlife of Queen Elizabeth. Locations include the shady Maramagambo forest; Mweya Peninsula with its scenic views; and Ishasha River, where you may spot a variety of forest and savanna species as well as having a unique opportunity to get extremely close to hippos – on foot!
The Kazinga Channel is an oasis for many of the fascinating species that inhabit the park, and taking a boat tour along it gives visitors the chance to cruise just meters from hundreds of enormous hippos and buﬀalos while elephants linger on the shoreline.
Cultural heritage and Nature Trail
See the energetic dances of the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performers; workers harvesting salt on Katwe Salt Lake; a traditional Bunyaruguru hut; or an agricultural village – all guided by those who know them best – local community members.
Experiential Tourism/Wildlife Research
Tour For visitors who yearn to get up close to wild African fauna, a research trip is a rewarding adventure. This unique experience allows visitors to actively participate in monitoring some of the exotic birds and mammals that ﬁll the park, using locator devices and learn habituation calls, as well as monitoring weather, surroundings and behavior.
A range of accommodation facilities catering for both up-markets, medium range and budget visitors are available. It is advisable to book well in advance. We recommend some accommodation units here in.
MWEYA SAFARI LODGE
Located on a peninsula within the heart of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mweya Safari Lodge is surrounded by the magical Rwenzori Mountains and nearer to the boarding point of the Launch cruise on Kazinga Channel. The views from the Lodge are breathtaking.
Mweya Safari Lodge is equipped with 32 Standard Rooms, 12 Deluxe Rooms with Air-conditioning and 2 Suites. The Presidential Cottage, The Queens Cottage, 2 Family Cottages, 2 Luxury Tents, 2 Standard Tents.
All rooms have Balcony doors, Electrical safes, Fans, Telephone, En-suite bathroom, Wooden Floors
AC Units; Twin/double deluxe rooms have King-size beds, large windows showing panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel
SIMBA SAFARI LODGE
Simba Safari Camp is nestled atop a hill overlooking Lake Kikorongo on the edge of Uganda’s most popular Queen Elizabeth National Park (QE). It is currently the closest accommodation to QE’s Kasenyi plains on the edge of Lake George, the famed mating grounds for the Uganda Kobs and thus the most preferred area for game viewing drives.
Guest accommodation comprises 09 Twin/Double Rooms and 02 Triple Rooms all en-suite, 02 Family Cottages each with two bedrooms (one King and one Twin), a common living room, one extra bed and a shared bathroom for all as well as 03 Dormitory rooms with 3, 5 and 10 double-decker beds all with shared/common bathroom facilities and a private camp site (guests please bring own camping equipment). Rooms also have wall fans for warmer days, lounge seat, a verandah with two ‘directors’ canvas chairs’ and clothing rack, all beds fitted with a mosquito net as well as consistent hot and cold showers. Other amenities include, an extensive lounge, a well-stocked bar, restaurant serving excellent continental dishes and free Wi-Fi in the public areas.
ELEPHANT PLAINS LODGE
Guest accommodation at Elephant Plains is currently in 6 spacious double/twin en-suite cottages with large private verandas and huge glass windows to take advantage of the incredible views. An additional 2 family cottages offer accommodation in 2 separate en-suite bedrooms with plenty of space for up to 5 people. All the cottages have large bath tubs as well as showers and are spaced out along the hill top offering privacy and tranquility.
The main area provides an extensive lounge with comfortable couches, the Bar is well stocked, with a wine cellar and has bistro style seating for a more informal experience. The spacious restaurant has an outside dining deck with 270 degree views. The lodge also has a large eco friendly swimming pool, and uses solar powered electricity.
THE BUSH LODGE
Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge consists of 12 self contained units, spaciously placed between the indigenous bush. The rooms are built on a raised wooden platform and made from a fine combination of canvas and local materials. Huge mosquito netted windows allow a 180 degree view and ensures a close to nature experience. Each room has a private terrace overlooking the seasonal Kamera river. The rooms contain an eco toilet and an outside shower where 2 showerheads allow couples to take their starlit shower together.
The bush lodge also offers budget friendly accommodation in the form of 10 non-selfcontained tents, two self contained tents for those who need privacy (set away from the lodge). The non self contained rooms are furnished with comfortable beds, all linen, a bedside table and a power outlet for charging your electrical equipment. All tents are placed under a grass thatched roof and share a communal ablution block with showers and flushing toilets.
Enganzi Lodge is suited on the north Eastern escarpment of the Great Rift Valley with stunning views over looking Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The huts at the Lodge are set on the hill side and well equipped with big beds, shower, bathtubs and flush toilets. The rooms have both cold and hot water and electrical outlets to charge your batteries. Each private cottage is huge with lots of windows for the captivating views.
Buffalo Safari Lodge is located at Queen Elizabeth Park, Katunguru Bridge, near the magical Kazinga channel, 1km off Kasese-Mbarara road, Western Uganda. The lodge has both standard and deluxe cottages, making a total of 17 rooms currently. This is ideal for large groups of 20 guests or more. Buffalo Lodge has a fully stocked bar and restaurant, with a lounge that gives guests and visitors a spectacular view of Queen Elizabeth park nearby, and Lakes Edward and George.
Katara Lodge is situated on the Great Rift Valley escarpment with uninterrupted views of the savannah, Lake Edward and Rwenzori mountain ranges beyond. The Lodge has 7 regular cottages and one family cottage. The regular cottages have one large open sleeping and sitting area, with a double bed and ensuite bathrooms.
The family cottage has two separate bedrooms with a shared sitting area and bathroom. It has a double bed in one bedroom, and two beds (one is 3x6ft and the second 4x6ft) in the other bedroom which can accommodate up to three small children. In addition, the family cottage comes with a small private outside sitting area with a swing couch and two hammocks.
IHAMBA LAKESIDE SAFARI LODGE
Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge has 10 double/twin cottages and a family cottage all built in African styled suites with extensive living areas overlooking the magnificent Lake George. Each cottage has private decks and an indoor shower. The bathrooms boast of large glass windows, offering a unique game viewing of breathtaking Lake George.
Other Facilities at the lodge include swimming pool, housekeeping, Laundry services, the main lodge with restaurant, ample and secure parking.
PARK VIEW LODGE
The lush en suite cottages are nicely placed in a natural ecosystem setting crafted using natural materials and fitted with canvas that blends with their surroundings. Equipped with both hot and cold running water, the bath tubs and showers overlook the wilderness while the private wooden decks offer uninterrupted views of the park Savannah when lit by electricity.
Parkview safari lodge has a fully equipped conference hall, restaurant with an extensive menu providing both local and international cuisines, library and reading area, Sauna and steam bath, Massage parlour, gift shop, swimming pool, laundry services, internet and a well stocked bar.
THE OBSERVATORY LODGE
Perched on Kichwamba escarpment with views of Lake Nyamusingingire, Lake Edward and Lake George, the observatory lodge room amenities include Tv, Free parking at premises, Kitchen, private entrance, swimming pool, sauna. The facility is a self catering facility and can sleep 6 guests in 3 bedrooms, with 1 queen bed, 2 single beds and 2 single bunk beds.
KYAMBURA GAME LODGE
The lodge is located on the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park with sweeping views of the rolling savanna, the distant mountains of the moon – the Rwenzoris, and the sunken Kyambura Gorge.
The stylish 4 Deluxe Bandas have a contemporary theme with the accent on local artifacts re-imagined in a new context. Each Banda offers a unique view either across the savanna or the gorge. The swimming pool has been redesigned and upgraded and a new spa is being built.
Found at the Edge of Queen Elizabeth National park’s southern Ishasha sector, Topi Lodge has 3(three) double/twin cottages decorated with local crafts. All cottages are en suite with warm water for shower.
ISHASHA WILDERNESS CAMP
Situated within the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Ishasha Wilderness Camp set near the Ntungwe River is an ideal spot for people who enjoy wilderness.
Each of the camp’s 10(ten) spacious canvas tented rooms has a private verandah overlooking the river. Comfortably furnished with large mosquito-netted beds, all rooms are en suite with hot ‘bush’ showers, running water for hand-basins and a flushing ‘eco-friendly’ toilet.
The thatched central lounge and dining area provide a comfortable setting for meals and relaxation, although the lodge often serve meals ‘al fresco’ next to the river. In the evening, the outdoor fireplace is the perfect place for guests to relax with sundowners and share their day’s experiences.
ISHASHA JUNGLE LODGE
Ishasha Jungle Lodge is an Eco-lodge: few cottages, typical local materials and traditional knowledge (wooden decks, stones, grass thatched roof, canvas),
The cottages can serve as Double, Twin, single and triple room setup. All rooms are En-suite with a private porch where privacy is guaranteed.
Enjoy your special healthy food in the spacious restaurant. The food is based on local and fresh ingredients, from organic farming and jungle lodge garden, mostly home prepared receipts, from international or Ugandan cuisine.
ISHASHA NTUNGWE TREE LION SAFARI LODGE
Bandas and Chalet at Tree Lion Safari Lodge are set apart complete with private viewing decks that offer private sanctuary to relax and absorb the sights and sounds after a safari. There are also camping facilities if you’d like to bring your own tent, the special area provides communal toilet and bathing facilities.
The main area of camp consists of a comfortable restaurant and bar area complete with fire place with en-suite bathrooms, solar lighting and solar heated running water.
Nestled at the shoulders of the famous Kyambura Gorge, Elephant Hab consists of medium and high-end expansive cottages that offer privacy and tranquility. They are grass-thatched and expertly built right at the edge of the Kyambura gorge with stunning views. The cottages are self contained with twin-beds.
TWIN LAKES LODGE
Twin Lakes lodge is perched on the edge of the escarpment adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth National Park and can accommodate up to twenty guests in eight spacious grass-thatched cottages. The cottages have been designed with en-suite bathroom with flush toilet and a hot shower and spacious tub.
Each cottage has a private shaded veranda with spectacular views of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kazinga Channel, Lakes George and Edward and the Rwenzori Mountain Ranges. The rooms are set in Double/twin room beds, single room beds, Two Luxurious honeymoon suites and a family room (one double room ensuite and two single rooms).
King fisher Kichwamba Lodge is set adjacent to Queen Elizabeth National Park and has accommodation ranging from 2 family units, 3 double rooms, 2 triple rooms and 1 en suit.
The lodge has the capacity to accommodate 36 visitors at ago. Facilities at the Lodge include Restaurant with both international and local cuisines, conference hall that accommodates about 30 people, Beautiful gardens, En suite facilities with campsites, fully stocked bar and a swimming pool.
PUMBA SAFARI COTTAGES
Located in Kyambura overlooking Queen Elizabeth National Park, Pumba Safari Lodge offers accommodation to cater for different budget ranges. The lodge has five cottages with a nice veranda and cozy interior. Each cottage has comfortable beds and a bathroom with a shower running with warm water.
IRUNGU FOREST SAFARI LODGE AND CAMPSITE
Irungu Forest Safari Lodge borders the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Lodge has 5 double/Single safari cottages, a family cottage that accommodates a max of 6 people. It has two separate rooms with two bathrooms and hot shower.
KABATORO GUEST HOUSE
Situated in Kabatoro within Queen Elizabeth National Park. The property is 200 meters away from the Kabatoro Main Park Gate office. Available facilities for guests are in 12 Selfcontained guest rooms, Bar and Restaurant and local cuisine, 2 Executive suites, Lounge with secretarial services & Internet. Campsite and ample parking space, clean dormitory with 20 beds, Gift shop, Tents and indoor games.
MWEYA ECOLOGY INSTITUTE HOSTEL
The Mweya institute of Ecology often referred to as the Mweya hostel offers low range accommodation. It is located not very far from the Mweya Safari lodge.
The hostel has both single and double rooms with communal bathroom facilities and a self contained & self catering guest house capable of accommodating 4-6 people. The Hostel also has a canteen and restaurant close to the visitor rooms where visitors can order for their meals.
HIPPO HILL CAMP
HIPPO HILL CAMP is found in Queen Elizabeth National Park and accommodation is tented with 10 Meru safari tents under thatched roofs. Room interiors are basic but comfortable and all are ensuite. The camp also has a bar and dining area with open views where you may sight flamingos and Hippos. This includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Juice, Tea/Coffee.