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Uganda Wildlife Safaris & Tours to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Welcome to Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. On this portal, you will find up-to-date important reliable, expert, and trustable information about Queen Elizabeth Park.

You will find out where Queen Elizabeth National Park is located, attractions, activities, how to get there, Uganda safari information/advice, accommodation, when to visit Uganda for safaris, and what to wear.

For our readers worldwide, we have put together useful information on how to book a safari to Uganda and choose the best trust-able professional Uganda tour operator/safari company.

Look out for our regular travel updates about this park and Uganda.

A Brief About Queen Elizabeth National Park Facts & History

Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda is one of the leading Uganda wildlife safari destinations. The park was gazetted by the British colonial government in 1952 as Kazinga National Park. In 1920s, Queen Elizabeth Park existed as Lake Edward and Lake George game reserves.

Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda SafarisQueen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda is one of the country’s most visited destinations among several Uganda safari destinations.

Queen Elizabeth Park is the second largest of all Uganda National Parks and protects a wide variety of fabulous habitats. These range from rolling grasslands, tropical rainforest, and moist acacia woodland e.g the extensive Maramagambo Forest in the southeast. They also include the forested Kyambura Gorge along the border with Kyambura Game Reserve.

Nearly every visitor to Queen Elizabeth Park in Uganda takes a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel. This channel contains the world’s largest concentration of hippos in one place. You can watch thousands of them piled on top of each other in the shallows and you get a photo of a Hippo yawning.

All Big Five African wildlife animals are present in this park apart from Rhinos. Game viewing drives are best in the northern region. The legendary tree-climbing lions are only found in the distant southern Ishasha region. You are more likely to see them here than anywhere else in Africa.

One of the unexpected attractions of this park is the habituated chimpanzees living in the tree-stuffed Kyambura Gorge. Sometimes they emerge onto the surrounding savannah and when they do so they may even walk upright. A look back at our earliest ancestors if ever there were one!

How big is Queen Elizabeth National Park Size

It covers an area of 1,978km².  The park stretch from the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains in the north, along the shores of Lake Edward, It stretches further to the remote Ishasha River in the South.

It lying in the shadow of the legendary snow-capped Rwenzori mountains on the floor of the Great East African Rift Valley.

The Park has a variety of wetland habitats including open waters and swampy shores of lakes Edward and George. It also has the 40-kilometer-long Kazinga channel that connects them, and several freshwaters and saline crater Lakes. A minimum of ten (10) crater lakes lie within the park including the highly accessible Katwe cluster in the north of the park.

Queen Elizabeth National Park has ten (10) species of primates, among her animals. These include Common Chimpanzees, Black and White Colobus, L’hoest’s Monkeys, and Olive Baboons. The Park also has 20 species that include the Side Stripped Jackals, Lions, Spotted Hyenas, and Leopards.

Location of the Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in Western Uganda, spanning the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi, and Rukungiri.  It is located southwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital. The distance from Kampala to Queen Elizabeth Park is approximately 400km (250 miles) by road.

The Kasese town is just outside the northeastern edge of the park. Rubirizi town is just outside the park’s southeastern boundaries. The Katwe explosion crater marks the park’s highest point at 1,350m while the lowest point is at 910m, at Lake Edward.

This park is one of the most accessible Uganda safari parks and makes a convenient stopover between Kibale National Park, the home of chimpanzees, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the home of mountain gorillas and Uganda gorilla safaris.

Queen Elizabeth Park in Uganda is easily accessible and has the highest biodiversity ratings of any nature reserve in the world. It is an impression backed up by an incredible checklist of 612 bird species. This makes it a prime birder’s destination in Uganda the second in Africa, and the sixth in the whole world.

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All you need to know about Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda Map

History of Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth Park is one of the oldest National Parks in Uganda. Protected as a wildlife reserve in the 1920s, it was gazetted as Kazinga Channel National Park in 1952 by the Protectorate administration. In 1954 the park was renamed Queen Elizabeth National Park to commemorate the first visit to Uganda by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

In 1979, Queen Elizabeth Park was designated as a Man and Biosphere under UNESCO in recognition of the role it plays in providing an opportunity to explore and demonstrate approaches to sustainable resource utilization through its 11 enclave fishing villages, encompassing a mosaic of Uganda’s major bio-geographic types and having significant biological diversity.

Weather & Climate

Queen Elizabeth Park has a warm climate. The temperatures remain constant throughout the year. Daytime temperatures rise to around 29°C/84°F and slowly fall to around 17°C/63°F at night.

Queen Elizabeth Park doesn’t have a real Dry season, so there is always the potential for rain. Rain happens less during December through January, with June and July having the least rain.

Why Is Queen Elizabeth Park In Uganda Special?

The park is an amalgamation of a range of wonders including the 45km Kazinga Channel which connects lakes Edward and George, the deep gorge of Kyambura which has got lush tropical forest below sea level supporting populations of chimpanzees, the mature tropical rain forest of Maramagambo, the tree-climbing lions that dwell in the savanna landscapes of Ishasha, salty lake like Katwe among others.


Queen Elizabeth Park is the most popular tourist destination in Uganda with a large variety of animals, birds, and reptiles due to its varied habitats, such as the sprawling savannahs, shady tropical forests, clean water, salt lakes, plus rich wetlands as the major Queen Elizabeth National Park attractions.

Set against the backdrop of the rugged Rwenzori Range, the park’s breathtaking views feature hundreds of huge craters sculpted beautifully into rolling green.


Queen Elizabeth Park had 95 mammal species comprising Carnivores, Primates, Herbivores, Reptiles, and Birds.

The Major Queen Elizabeth National Park animals include:- African Elephant, African Buffalo, Ugandan Kob, Hippopotamus, Topi, Waterbuck, Warthog, Giant Forest Hog, Nile Crocodile, Mongoose, Oribi Bushbuck, Sitatunga, Chimpanzee, Vervet monkeys, Blue monkey, Red Tailed Monkeys, Black & White Colobus Monkeys, Lions, Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Jackal, Vivet, Genal & Serval Cats

Bird Species

Queen Elizabeth Park has 600 bird species and the major ones are listed below.

Grey-Crowned Cranes (Uganda National Bird), White-Faced Whistling Duck, Knob-Billed Ducks, Open-Billed Stork, African Jacanas, African Fish Eagles, Martial Eagle, Flamingoes (Seasonal), African Finfoot, African Hobby, African Skimmer, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, Black Bee-Eater, Black-Rumped Buttonquail, Broad-Billed Roller, Caspian Plover, Collared Pratincole, Common Sand Martin, Crab-Plover, Great Blue Turaco, Great White Pelican, Grey-Winged Robin-Chat, Heuglin’s Gull, Palm-Nut Vulture, Papyrus Gonolek, Pel’s Fishing-Owl, Pink-Backed Pelican, Red-Chested Sunbird, Rufous-Bellied Heron, Shoebill Stork, Spotted Redshank, Western Banded Snake Eagle, White-Backed Night Heron, White-Winged Tern, Yellow-Bellied Wattle-Eye, Yellow-Throated Cuckoo etc.


The Queen Elizabeth Park has large Lion prides and these are the biggest and most imposing African carnivores and the most sought-after member of the Africa Big Five animals.

It is also the most sociable of all large cats, living in loosely structured prides made up of usually 5 to 20 animals. Meeting this undisputed king of the savanna jungle is one of the best experiences of your African safari in Uganda.

The Ishasha Tree Climbing Lions

As you plan your wildlife safari in Uganda, the tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha sector in the far south of Queen Elizabeth National Game Park should be on your must-see list.

Tree-Climbing Lions are not something that you will only encounter on every Queen Elizabeth safari Uganda tour except in Ishasha plains, one of the best places to witness these majestic Lions in their natural habitat.

Kazinga Channel

As you tour Uganda, you will realize that the Kazinga Channel is one of the top tourist attractions in Uganda. This channel is a 40km wide stretch of water linking Lake George in the east and Lake Edward in the west.

Kazinga channel is a beauty spot of Queen Elizabeth National Park and is described as magical by the visitors based on the guest reviews on Trip advisor. The channel is home to one of the highest concentrations of hippos in the world.

The main tourist attraction at Kazinga Channel especially during wildlife in the dry season include spot herds of buffaloes wallowing in mad, snapping crocodiles trying their trick hunt, many elephants showering, beautiful Uganda birds, bloats of Hippos, and beautiful scenery

Lake Katwe (A Uganda Crater Lake)

Katwe Salt Lake known for salt mining is located north of the Mweya peninsular. The lake lies Southeast of the snow-capped Rwenzori mountains and on the western side of the Kazinga Channel.

Separated from the northern shores of Lake Edward by its 400 meter-wide rim, the 2.5 square kilometer hyper-saline Lake Katwe occupies the base of a volcanic caldera that last erupted about 10,000 years ago.

Several extinct volcanoes of a specifically violent type called the ‘explosion craters’ dot the landscape of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Geography explains that the craters in Queen Elizabeth were formed about 8,000 years ago as a result of extremely violent volcanic eruptions that blew off the top of volcanoes.

These craters are home to a good number of birds and offer stunning views and backgrounds for photography.

Other famous craters to see during your Queen Elizabeth park safari.

  • Lake Munyanyange
  • Bunyampaka Crater Lake
  • Lake Kmweru

Lake George Ramsar Site

Lake Gorge covers an area of approximately 251 square kilometers. The first white man to visit Lake Gorge was a British explorer Henry. M. Stanely in 1875. Stanely named this lake gorge after a British royal family member who was known as Prince Gorge who later became King Gorge V.

Lake George and its papyrus swamps were designated as a Ramsar site in 1988. The papyrus in the northwest of the lake occupies an area of 150 square kilometers, in the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The Lake George Ramsar site has the highest diversity of bird species of any wetland in Uganda. It harbors more than 491 bird species, including 167 wetland specialists and 9 listed as globally threatened.

The Equator In Uganda near Queen

The equator crosses the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth Park near Kasenyi and is marked with a circular monument on either side of the road, predictably popular with passers-by stopping for that quintessential Uganda holiday snap.

The equator is one of the most recognizable landmarks on the map of Uganda. Having a foot on each side of the Earth is perhaps one of the best selfie opportunities you will ever get while on your safari tour in Uganda. It is indeed a great experience to be on different sides of the earth at the same time.

Mweya Peninsula

The 10 square kilometer-Mweya peninsular is Queen Elizabeth National Park’s focal point. This raised arrowhead of bushland protrudes between Lake Edward, George, and Kazinga Channel, immediately where the two waters merge.

The peninsular has a spectacular setting, overlooking an archetypal equatorial African riverbank scene, with elephants and buffaloes milling around the opposite shore, subverted by occasional glimpses of the snowy Rwenzori peaks.

It is the lunch point of the park’s most iconic activity; a boat cruise on Kazinga Channel. It also contains the Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Visitors Centre.

There is plenty of wildlife that can be seen on or from the Mweya peninsular and there are no restrictions on walking around the developed area between Mweya safari lodge, the airstrip, and the campsite though you should be cautious of any wildlife and hippos in particular.

The Kasenyi Plains

The vast savannah of Kasenyi is Queen Elizabeth National Park’s most famous game drive circuit, traverses the bushy plains running east from the Kasese-Ishaka Road to Kasenyi fishing village on the western shore of Lake George.

This section of the park is dominated by moist short-grass savannah dotted with solitary euphorbia trees and low clumps of the bushy thicket. Kasenyi is an important breeding ground for Uganda kob.

Thousands of Kobs congregate here at times and are also frequented by big herds of buffalo, some bushbucks, and several warthogs. Huge dark elephants can also be seen here striding across the game drive tracks, providing dream photo opportunities for visitors on Uganda wildlife safaris.

The Ishasha Sector

The remote southern Ishasha sector is bounded by Lake Edward to the north, the Ishasha River (also the border of DR Congo to the west, and River Ntungwe to the East.

It is one of the most captivating game-viewing areas in Uganda; famed for its uncommon tree-climbing lions, which can regularly be found lounging in branches of shady fig trees while keeping a close eye on herds of Uganda kobs.

Besides the mysterious tree-climbing lions, the acacia woodland and savannah also harbor huge herds of Buffaloes, Topis, and Uganda kobs. Elephants are seasonally common. There are also small family groups of Waterbucks, Warthogs, and various monkeys.

Kyambura Gorge

Characterized by wooded savannah, Kyambura Game Reserve is a contiguous extension of Queen Elizabeth Park, bordered by Kyambura gorge in the west and Kazinga Channel in the north.

It supports similar selections of wildlife to Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Kasenyi plains. The main point of interest is a cluster of 7 scenic crater lakes, 3 of which are accessible from a public road that connects the Kyambura trading center to Kashaka, a fishing village sited at the confluence of the Kazinga channel and Lake Gorge.

Maramagambo Forest

The Maramagambo Forest in the southern sector of Queen National Park is one of the best sites to explore during a wildlife tour in Uganda. This medium-altitude rainforest runs west from Katunguru−Ishaka road, nearly as far as Lake Edward. The largest part of the forest is inaccessible to visitors, the only exception being the northern tip around the crater lakes−Lake Kyasanduka and Lake Nyamasingiri.

Attractions & sites near Queen Elizabeth National Park

  • Kalinzu Forest Reserve
  • Kyambura Wildlife Reserve
  • Kitagata Hot Springs

Activities/What to do

They are a variety of things to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park and these include;

1. Game Drives

A game drive in Queen Elizabeth Park is an unmissable Uganda safaris experience for any visitor in the park. You will be wowed by the park’s natural shimmering beauty with a myriad of crater lakes scattered around along with areas of open savanna and the tropical rain forest with a variety of primates and birds.

Game viewing in Queen Elizabeth Park is best done in the early morning when animals are most active. Game drives include Ishasha game drives, Circuits Kasenyi game drives, Chanel drive circuit, Crater drive circuit.

2. Boat/Launch Trips

The most popular Uganda safari activity at Mweya is the 2-hour boat trip from a jetty below Mweya safari lodge to the mouth of the Kazinga Channel. The Kazinga Channel boat cruise is indeed one of the best activities to do while on your vacation safari in Uganda.

During the cruise, one gets to enjoy the various sights and sounds that the park’s rich aquatic life extravagantly offers. Elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, Uganda kobs, and large hippo pods are seen daily and giant forest hogs, leopards, and lions are observed with unexpected frequency.

3. Bird Watching

Visitors on a Uganda bird watching tour to Queen Elizabeth National Park are rewarded with an impressive checklist of 612 bird species.

Queen Elizabeth is classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International. The park’s confluence of savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of DR Congo allows visitors on bird-watching safaris in Uganda to spot East as well as Central African species.

4. Chimpanzee Tracking

Kyambura Gorge Chimpanzee Tracking In Queen Elizabeth National Park

In the northeastern region of Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can go chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and see Chimpanzees in Uganda in the Kyambura Gorge which runs for 16 kilometers on the park’s eastern boundary with Kyambura Wildlife Reserve.

Chimpanzee Trekking in Kalinzu Forest

Kalinzu Forest situated in the southeast of Queen Elizabeth National Park offers the best Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda after Kibale National Park. It’s inhabited by about 300 chimps including a 40-strong chimpanzee community habituated for tourism. A chimp trek here comes with about a 90% success rate. There are also 5 other diurnal primate species in the forest. For birders and butterfly enthusiasts, Kalinzu is home to over 378 bird species and 262 species of butterflies.

5. Lion Tracking

For visitors who yearn to see the African lion; the fiercest and most magnanimous of the four-footed beasts, undertake a Lion Tracking Research Experience in Queen Elizabeth Park.

Lion tracking experience in Queen Elizabeth National Park is a terrific way to observe lions in their habitat and learn from an experienced researcher. This activity gives you an up-close and personal insight into the unique behaviors of these amazing cats.

6. Mongoose Tracking

Mongoose Tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park is the subject of the ongoing behavior research project, the banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) of Mweya –around 400 individuals split between a dozen groups and possibly the most habituated anywhere in the world.

Tracking these intelligent, social, and playful small carnivores with a knowledgeable guide and field assistant from the mongoose project is a thoroughly delightful and engaging experience.

7. Hiking & Nature Walks

Uganda hiking safaris are also very exciting in Queen Elizabeth National Park. A hike in Queen Elizabeth is a unique way to explore the scenic wilderness. It allows you the time to study the smaller ecosystems of the park. Your guide will explain the ecological significance of plants, insects, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and much more.

8. People And Community Visits

For visitors on cultural tours in Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the places where you can get a superb Uganda cultural adventure. The local people here include Banyabindi, Bakonzo, and Basongora. The park has several communities and cultural sites where cultural tours can be planned including;

Leopard Village (Muhokya Village)

The Leopard Village is a community-based socio-economic development project that encourages wildlife and cultural conservation through ecotourism.

The Leopard Village aims to assist in the protection of the wildlife in the area and to help the villagers regain their traditional custodianship of local wildlife and other natural resources.

Kikorongo Women Community: ‘Kikorongo’ is a local Lukonzo word that means ‘too much sunshine’– but the heat of the African plains has not diminished the energy of the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performers!

This lively dance and musical show, which takes place in lodges across the park, is a beautiful snapshot of life in Kikorongo, with dance, drama, music, and fire-making.

Nyanzibiri Cave Community: Nyanzibiri Cave Community is a perfect place for travelers on Uganda tours in Queen Elizabeth Game Park to stretch their legs after long game drives with scenic walks that offers panoramic views of volcanic crater lakes.

Best Lodges/Hotels

Visitors to Queen Elizabeth Park are guaranteed a variety of Uganda safari lodges that can be chosen based on their budget and preferences.

Luxury/Upmarket Lodges

  1. Kyambura game lodge
  2. Mweya safari lodge
  3. Hippo safari lodge
  4. Ishasha wilderness camp
  5. Jacana safari lodge
  6. Katara safari lodge.
  7. Mazike Valley Lodge.
  8. Elephant plains Lodge.
  9. Kasenyi Safari Camp

Mid-range Lodges

  1. Mbogo Lodge
  2. Buffalo Safari Lodge
  3. Enganzi Safari Camp
  4. Marafiki Safari Lodge
  5. Bush Lodge
  6. Parkview Safari Lodge
  7. Kikorongo Safari Lodge
  8. Ishasha Jungle Lodge
  9. Enjonjo Game Lodge

Budget Lodges

  1. Simba Safari Camp
  2. Pumba Safari Cottages
  3. Kazinga Channel View Resort
  4. Tembo Safari Lodge
  5. Topi Lodge
  6. Elephant Home
  7. Queen Elizabeth Safari Camp
  8. Irungu Forest Safari Lodge And Campsite
  9. Lake Munyanyange Caves Lodge

Why Visit Queen Elizabeth National Park?

Excellent bird watching with more than 600 species recorded

Top wildlife viewing with over 95 mammal species including 4 of the Big 5

Boat trips on Kazinga Channel which has some of the world's densest concentrations of hippo, crocodile, and a plethora of waterbirds.

The rare Tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector

On-foot Chimpanzee tracking in the stunning Kyambura Gorge & Kalinzu Forest

of scenery and safari experiences Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park combines easily gorilla trekking in Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest.

There's a wide variety of accommodation, from budget, midrange, luxury family-friendly lodges to secluded tented camps.

Park Rules & Regulations

Queen Elizabeth NP is under the jurisdiction of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). It is well regulated Uganda safari park and the rules are strictly enforced. Here are the rules and rules to follow on your Queen Elizabeth safari in Uganda:

  • You should not camp or make campfires except at designated sites
  • Do not drive off the tracks during your safari game drives
  • Do not disturb wildlife or animals by sounding motor horns.
  • No driving in the park between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am.
  • Dogs or other pets are not allowed in the park.
  • You must not litter in the park.
  • You are not allowed to bring firearms or ammunition into the park.
  • No picking flowers or destroying any vegetation.
  • You should not exceed the speed limit of 40km per hour (25mph)
  • Retain all official receipts for inspection.
  • Sitting on top of vehicles during game drives is not allowed for your safety.

Safety Information

Queen Elizabeth National Park is very safe to visit as long as you follow the rules and guidelines set out by park staff and your guide. Incidents with wildlife are extremely rare on Uganda wildlife tours, especially when everyone is there to respectfully view animals in their natural habitats.

However, the question of how safe is Queen Elizabeth National Park comes up time and time again in the light of the kidnapping that made headlines all over the world of Kimberly Sue Endicott and her driver (set free 5-days later) in the southern Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park on April 2, 2019, while they were on a late afternoon game drive.

Since then, the security level in Queen Elizabeth National Park has been reinforced beyond what visitors see as they are on a Game Drive in Ishasha or the Kasenyi Plains, on a Boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel, or hiking down into the Kyambura Gorge or in Maramagambo Forest.

It is that behind-the-scenes level of security beyond what Rangers offer visitors, such as patrols by the Ugandan Military and the added level of Security at the Border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

When To Visit Uganda

The best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park for wildlife viewing is from January to February and June to September (the Dry seasons). However, the park is open all year and it's most beautiful in the wet seasons from March to May and August to December.

April, May, October, and November are very wet months and during that time, the rain might interfere with your safari.

Packing List for your Uganda Safari

You can take the following items from the safari packing list with you for the best Queen Elizabeth National Park safari experience.

Sunscreen, A sun hat, Sunglasses, Insect Repellents, Head Torch, Day backpack, Hand sanitizer & face mask, A lightweight long-sleeved shirt or two, Comfortable closed shoes, Open shoes - lightweight, slip-on shoes for around camp, Long pants and/or shorts, A lightweight, rainproof jacket, Take natural and light-colored clothing, Binoculars, Digital camera, Charging devices, Toiletries and Swimwear.

Facts About Queen Elizabeth National Park

  • Queen Elizabeth Nation Park is located in southwestern Uganda
  • It is one of Uganda's oldest game parks first gazetted as Kazinga National Park in 1952
  • QENP was named in honor of a visit from Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in 1954.
  • It is also the second largest national park in Uganda after Murchison Falls National Park.
  • The park covers an area of about 1978 km2
  • It is crossed by the Uganda Equator line
  • It lies on the floor of Africa's Great Rift Valley
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to one of the largest concentrations of hippos in the world, with a population of over 5000 individuals.
  • The park boasts more than 600 bird species, which are about 15% of Africa's total bird species
  • Queen Elizabeth Park is home to 95 species of mammals - more than any other Uganda game park.
  • The park is home to rare tree-climbing lions

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