Queen Elizabeth National Park
Fort Portal-Mpondwe Road, Kasese, Uganda
Queen Elizabeth National Park Kasese Reviews
Queen Elizabeth National Park Sep 29, 2014
Queen Elizabeth National Park is probably the most famous of the national parks in Uganda. Located on the equator, it has a very diverse range of habitats, from forests where chimpanzees live to crater lakes where you can see flamingos in the right season, open savannah and some wetlands.
The park itself is very large, and you would probably need several days and a change of base to explore it fully. The two main areas are the Mweya peninsula area to the north of the park, and the Ishasha plain to the south. The Ishasha plain is famous for its tree climbing lions, but these can also be seen in the Mweya area.
The park roads are in good condition, and the UWA guides are very knowledgable and helpful. The landscape is lovely. The area was once the most active part of the Albertine rift valley. As well as Lake Albert and Lake Edward, and the Kyambura channel between them, the park is studded with crater lakes from old volcanos. These are good places to see flamingoes in the wet season, when they leave Kenya, and are used as salt licks by the animals.
It is also a biosphere reserve, which means that people live in the national park, in contrast to Murchison or Kidepo. There are salt pans in some of the crater lakes, and some limited fishing and farming on the park boundaries. If you take the UWA or Mweya lodge boat cruises out into the lake, you can see fishermen setting off in canoes, some with outboards and others still paddled by hand. Many of the fishermen now have bright orange life jackets, which look slightly strange in a hand paddled dugout canoe but which save lives. The struggle to balance the needs of the community and the park is illustrated keenly by the incident in the late 1990s when a lioness ate 13 villagers and had to be shot.
The park has a lot of game. Large families of elephants live in the savannah but come down to the channel and swim, there are tree climbing lions to spot, lots of giraffe, cob and buffalo herds, and large colonies of slender banded mongooses, as well as crocodiles, schools of hippos and beautiful kingfishers, storks and lapwings in the channel.
There is also quite a wide range of accommodation on offer. Mweya lodge is inside the park boundaries, as are some of the cheaper campsites, and there is a wide range of lodges outside the park but close by.
The only slight problem with the park is the spectacularly complicated, half implemented entrance system. The other parks in Uganda let you pay with USD, pounds, Euros or shillings at every gate. In QENP, you have to buy a card in one of two gates (neither of which are the main gate), get it logged by the next checkpoint (as and when their machine is working), checked as you leave, and then you still end up having to present a receipt for your car when you pass the checkpoint as vehicles aren’t on the card system yet. The UWA staff were deeply confused by the whole thing when we were there, as it was new, and consistently gave us the wrong receipt. The next checkpoint then had to phone their friends at the last gate to just confirm that some crazy mzungus driving their own vehicle had just passed - there was never any attempt to charge us extra, just about 10 minutes of fuss every time. Apparently the goal of all this is to prevent corruption, and I hope they have it sorted by the time you visit.
Part of the Uganda 2014 travel blog
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On the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley Dec 29, 2010
Queen Elizabeth Park is one of the two most popular National parks in Uganda. The other being Murchison Falls National Park. Located on the floor of the great African Rift Valley, it attracts thousands of tourists annually. It is bout 1000 miles from the sea and contains a great number of vegetation like the Savannah, Acacia, Forrest, swamps, and craters. It is also one of the oldest National Parks in Uganda.
As a visitor to Queen Elizabeth one can enjoy varied experiences including, but not limited to game drives, forest walks, river launch trip on the Kazinga Channel, bird watching or swimming at Mweya Safari Lodge swimming pool overlooking the channel. Definitely recommended for a safari expereince. Safari options start from 3 days upto 2 weeks for those who have more time to explore the western region of Uganda.
PS: Why leave for tomorrow, what you can do today?
Part of the Uganda Travels! travel blog
Part of the list Uganda's National Parks
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy