Queen Elizabeth Nat'l Park

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A lionness' head scans for danger as she is backlit by the son in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda view larger image

Uganda’s most popular national park is arguably its most scenic. Stretching from the crater-dotted foothills of the Ruwenzori Mountains along Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River, its mosaic of habitats includes savanna, wetlands, gallery and lowland forest. The park offers prime grazing for buffalo, elephant and myriad antelope, and boasts 600 bird species. Game drives, forest walks, chimp tracking and boat trips on the hippo-filled Kazinga Channel are popular activities.

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Safari guests get up close and personal with African elephants on a safari boat along the coast of a river in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda view image gallery

The Safari Experience

A diverse range of activities and experiences are available in Queen Elizabeth National Park's 764 square miles of forest, grassland, swamp and lakeshore. The snow-capped Ruwenzori Mountains tower to heights of nearly 17,000 feet in the distance. Beyond traditional wildlife drives and bush walks, other activities available include boat cruises on the hippo-filled Kazinga Channel, forest walks in Maramagambo with its famous bat caves, brilliant bird watching (with the possibility to see about 60 percent of Uganda's endemic species), and intriguing cultural visits to local communities. Enjoy kayak trips on the park's largest crater lake, Lake Nyamusingire. More intrepid travelers may enjoy challenging hikes into Kyambura Gorge likely to reveal a number of primate species, including chimpanzees.

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A famed tree climbing lion spreads out on the bough of a tree into a relaxed position with her tail hanging down in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda view image gallery


With such a diversity of habitats, it’s not surprising that Queen Elizabeth Park is home to a wide range of animals. Visitors may see up to 95 mammal species, including some unique antelope varieties, and more than 600 species of birds. Among the park’s prolific wildlife are plenty of lion, leopard, hyena, elephant, buffalo and large concentrations of hippo in the Kazinga Channel. The rare sitatunga is found here, as well as topi, bushbuck and kob antelope. The Ishasha area in the southern sector of the park is famed for its tree-climbing lions; the males typically showcase beautiful black manes. Down into the Kyambura Gorge, hardy hikers will find chimpanzees, red-tailed and vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and baboons. And on Lake Edward, lucky guests may see the rare shoebill stork.

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A content hippopotamus half submerged among the water plants closes its eyes into the blaring son surrounded by a few other hippopotumas, Uganda view image gallery

How to Include Queen Elizabeth National Park in Your Safari Itinerary

Recommended Number of Nights

Nature Travelers: 3 nights
Photographers: 3 nights
Families: 3 nights
Active Travelers: 3 nights

Other Regions to Include

Beginning in Kampala, Uganda's famous parks form an informal circuit that commences with Murchison Falls in the far north along the Victoria Nile. Its location is unique, as it is bisected by 71 miles of the Victoria Nile River. Kibale Forest is a natural next stop to view chimpanzees, followed by Queen Elizabeth National Park for its unique lion behavior and birdlife. Perhaps the peak highlight of Uganda is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park farther south, one of the only natural habitats of the critically endangered mountain gorilla. For further gorilla viewing in a similar yet different ecosystem, traveling beyond Bwindi into Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is an option.

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