1 Game Drives
2 Launch Trip
3 Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Trekking
4 Maramagambo Forest
5 Visit to the Crater Lakes
6 Visit to the Salt Plains and Fishing Villages
About Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park resides in a fertile, equatorial area and has beautiful scenery with two lakes connected by a channel over-looking a high peninsula. It is Uganda’s most popular and accessible Savannah reserve, with a total area of 1978km².
Queen Elizabeth National Park is primarily associated with grassy Savannah plains, but this impressive park also includes within its boundaries, leafy rain forests, dense papyrus swamps and natural volcanic crater lakes. As a result it has one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world, including a total of 95 recorded mammal species and more then 610 species of birds.
The Kyambura Gorge is home to habituated chimpanzees and is where memorable treks to visit these fascinating primates take place. Maramagambo Forest harbors an alluring variety of monkey species and birds and flocks of flamingos are resident on the crater lakes. While the remote plains of Ishasha in the southwest of Queen Elizabeth National Park are blessed with some of the most enticing game-viewing areas in the country, as much for its untouched landscapes as for its varied wildlife. Although the most celebrated inhabitants is the population of tree-climbing lions, one of few present in Africa.
Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park can be split into two areas, the Channel Drive Circuit and the Kasenyi Plains.
The Channel Drive Circuit follows the northern shore of the Kazinga Channel, the roads wind between tangled thickets interspersed with the cactus like euphorbia trees. The most common large mammals seen here are warthog, bush buck, water buck, elephants, hippos and frequently lions. Leopards are also a common sight in this section of the park and due to them being unusually habituated; they provide a rare opportunity to get up close and personal to these magnificent animals. This is also one of the few places in Africa where the rare giant forest hog is regularly seen during daylight hours.
The Kasenyi Plains stretching towards Lake George is a typical African Savannah. These rolling plains support some of the largest concentrations of game anywhere in Queen Elizabeth National Park and offer a different selection of animals then that seen on the Channel Drive Circuit. According to the guides it is said to be the most reliable place in Uganda to see lions. This section of the park alongside the wonderful variety of game and predator species boosts an interesting selection of grassland birds, including grey-crowned crane, red-throated spurfowl and yellow-throated long claw.
The launch trip along the Kazinga Channel is one of the most popular activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It provides an amazing chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the fresh river breeze whilst observing a large selection of animals. Those species commonly seen along the riverbank are elephants, buffalo, waterbuck and Ugandan Kob. Large breeding pods of hippos are also seen on a daily basis. On occasion visitors will also see giant forest hog, leopard and lion. The waterbirds in the area are plentiful, in particular, water thickknee, yellow-billed stork, various plovers, white pink-backed Pelicans and white-bellied cormorants.
Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Trekking
Kyambura Gorge is situated on the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park, it spans a distance of about 16km and at its deepest it is 100m deep. The Kyambura River is responsible for creating the magnificent steep Kyambura Gorge. The gorge emerges from between savannah grassland and has a riverine virgin forest that transits to papyrus swamps towards Kazinga Channel. Kyambura Gorge is home to habituated chimpanzees, many other primates and a huge variety of both forest and plains bird species. The best time to trek the chimpanzees is in the morning, trekking is also available in the afternoon but this time slot may be more undesirable due to the likelihood of increased temperatures. Trekking chimpanzees at Kyambura Gorge is considered to be slightly harder then at Kibale Forest National Park. The trails are maintained and once inside the Gorge the inclinations are relatively easy going, however, the climb back out of the Gorge can be extremely difficult if you are not prepared.
Maramagambo Forest is on of the largest forests in Uganda. It is of medium altitude, moist and semi-deciduous, – there are not many forests left of this specification anymore. There are many walks which can be taken through this lush green forest and it is recommended that a Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger guides on. One of the most popular walks is to the Maramagambo bat caves where thousands of fruit bats roost every day. The walks are easy and on well defined paths.
Visit to the Crater Lakes
Katwe Crater Lakes are a cluster of ten crater lakes formed from extinct volcanoes. The lakes are situated north of Mweya Safari Lodge and can be explored down the winding 27km Crater Drive. These lakes offer stunning scenery and breathtaking views across Queen Elizabeth National Park and also on a clear day the neighboring mountains of Congo. Some of the lakes are filled with water and provide ample opportunity to observe animals coming down to the water’s edge to drink.
Visit to the Salt Plains and Fishing Villages
Katwe Salt Lake is home to Uganda’s oldest industry. Here salt is mined in the traditional manner and the salt ore looks the same as it did in the 14th century. The salt mine has been divided and distributed to various tribes in Uganda according to traditional cultural expectations. Visit one of the local fishing villages and learn what is involved in the day to day life within Ugandan fishing community.