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Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth

The 1978km2 Queen Elizabeth National Park enjoys a stunning location on the rift valley floor between Lakes Edward and George where a mosaic of habitats supports 95 mammal species and a remarkable 612 species of birds. Forty years ago, Douglas Willocks described the diverse features that led to its creation in 1952. There still exists no better introduction or a more enticing invitation to visit the park.

‘Scenically the area had everything. Thirty miles to the north, in the blue Rwenzori explored from the plain, a composite jagged mass of mountains, sixty miles long and forty wide and looking in certain light as if you could reach out and touch them. Across Lake Edward to the west, the Mitumbe hills stood sentinel on the Congo, blue too in the long sight but in the closer green, wooded, precipitous, unfriendly and epitomizing darkest Africa. The eastern boundary of this possible park was marked by the calm green escarpment of the western rift valley. And between all the hill, mountains and lakes was endless savanna, its constantly repeated motif the branched cactus arms of the candelabra euphorbia trees.’

The park forms part of an extensive system of contiguous protected areas, namely the Kigezi (256km2) and Kyambura (154km2) Wildlife reserve, Kalinzu Forest reserve, and neighboring DRC, the 200km2 Virunga National Park. Rwenzori National Park lies a few kilometers north.Accommodation

Variety of accommodation caters for all budgets. Mweya safari lodge, Jacana safari lodge and the Ishasha wilderness Camp offer up market accommodation while the Mweya hostel at Mweya and Ishasha bandas provide budget accommodation.

Camping is Possible at mweya, Maramaganbo and Ishasha Convenient options just outside the park include Hippo Hill Camp close to Katwe and kingfisher Camp on the lovely Kichwamba escarpment. A new lodge is under construction in the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve.

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Flora and Fauna

The park is home to 95 mammal species while the bird list is 612 species long. This diversity is the result of an impressive range of habitats. Fifty-seven vegetation types have been identified though these can be summarized as just five: forest, grassland, bushy grassland, and Acacia woodland and lakeshore/swamp vegetation.

Residents of the park’s grasslands include elephants, cape buffalo, Uganda kob, waterbuck, warthog, giant forest hog, lion, leopard and hyena. Topi are found in Ishasha, while forest primates are found in Kyambura gorge and maramagambo forest.

In Africa protected areas, the park’s impressive birdlist is exceeded only by the neighbouring (and far lager) Virunga National Park. To name but a few species: martial eagle, black-rumped buttonquail, African skimmer, chapins flycatcher, pink-backed pelicans, white-winged warbler, papyrus canary, corncrake, lesser and greater Flamingo, and shoebill stork Around the park

Mweya Peninsula
The peninsula is the hub for tourism activity and accomodation in the central section of the park. A nature walk with a ranger guide enables you to explore remote parts of the peninsula. This and other activities can be arranged from the mweya imformation center. This facility overlooks the scenic katwe bay of lake Edward and contains a souvenir shop and exibits tha describe the naonal park rift valley setting

Kazinga Channel.

The 40m-long channel that connects lake george to lake Edward provides the park’s prime wildlife spectacles. Its shoreline attracts large numbers of birds, mammals and reptiles year round. These can be seen from two covered launches, topi and simba, tah cruise between mweya jetty and the channel’s entrance into lake Edward. The launches run at 15.00 and 17.00. Additional voyages run 11.00 and 13.00 subject to demand.

North Kazinga and Kasenyi.
The plain north of the Kazinga Channel is the primary game viewing area. A network of tracks enables you to find elephants, buffalo and other animals in the mosiac of grassland thickets that covers the North Kazinga area near Mweya. However lions are morst reliably sighted on the open Kasenyi plain east of the Kasese road where they prey on a large population of Uganda Kobs. Game drives are most rewarding in early morning and late afternoon. A ranger guide is recommended to help you make the most of your experience.

The Katwe Salt Lake is home to Uganda's oldest industry. Salt has been extracted from the lake using evaporation beds and the process is continued today.

The Equator and the Queen's Pavilion
The spot where the equator crosses the Kasese road is marked by two concrete circles which provides a popular photostop. The Queen's Pavilion stands nearby the norhtern entrance to the Crater Drive. Atemporary shelter at this site hosted H.M Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1954; a permanent pavilion was built in 1959 for a visit by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. This was restored for a second visit by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2007. A new information Centre on the site includes internet facilities and a coffee shop.

100Km south of Mweya, the park's remote southern sector provides a true wilderness experience. Diverse habitats, including the Ishasha River, savana woodland, and the marshy Lake Edward flats support a variety of wildlife including Ishasa's famous tree climbing lions and rare Shoebill stork.
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+256.392.897.704, +44.790.863.9450
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