Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP)- Medley of Wonders is one of the most famous savanna wildlife safari park in Uganda and Africa’s best spot to visit to watch African lions including the rare tree climbing lions. This makes it the favorite wildlife safari destination for most nature lovers on Uganda safari.


Queen Elizabeth National Park prides itself of diverse habitat each holding a huge profusion of wildlife that are of tourist interest while on Uganda safari. The diverse habitats that make up the park range from extensive savanna grasslands, Lakes, wetlands to forests. These inhabit both small and large mammals, plus reptiles, diversity of birds etc.

Location & access- where is Queen Elizabeth National Park found?

Queen Elizabeth National Park- QENP is strategically located West of Uganda. From Kampala capital city to Queen Elizabeth NP, it is 7 hours’ drive through Masaka-Mbarara-Bushenyi route and about 5-6 hours’ drive via Mityana-Mubende-Fort Portal city route. However, you still reach the park by air- fly from Entebbe Airport to Mweya airstrip/Kasese airstrip.

The park is crossed by the Equator line and there are 4 districts surrounding it including Rubirizi, Rukungiri, Kasese and Kamwenge. Originally, QENP was founded as Kazinga National Park in 1952 and later, its name changed to now Queen Elizabeth National Park in 1954. It takes its name after Queen Elizabeth II of England and this was in commemoration of her visit.

Listed as the second largest National Park in Uganda, the park extends up to 1978sq.kms. It is part of the extensive Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area which also encompasses Kigezi Wildlife Reserve, Maramagambo Forest and Kyambura Wildlife Reserve. The park is set on the elevation range of 884m to 1337m, stretching along the Rift Valley Region.

Sectors of Queen Elizabeth National Park-QENP

A Uganda safari in Queen Elizabeth park Uganda comes with plenty of opportunities for wildlife exploration. While here, there are several sectors to start your expedition and the popular ones include the Mweya Peninsular/Plains, Kasenyi Plains/sector, Kyambura Gorge, Ishasha sector and more.

Other special attractions at QENP include Maramagambo Forest located within Kichwamba Escarpment. This is a dense rain-forest reserve with a huge profusion of primates such as vervet monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, blue monkeys, chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys.

Additionally, the park features spectacular Crater Lakes including the Katwe Explosion Craters located in the highest altitude 1350m and at the lower altitude, there is Lake Edward. Other nearby magical Crater Lakes worth visiting include Bunyarunguru and Ndali-Kasenda.


The park is a celebrated wildlife safari destination in Uganda, East Africa for a significant reason. The 1978sq.kms savanna grassland park boasts of its diverse eco-systems and essentially, a home to over 95 mammal species. The park’s wildlife species include 4 of the big 5 game- bush elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes; antelopes especially Uganda Kobs, reed bucks, duikers, bush bucks and water bucks; hippos.

A total of 10 primate species also resident within the park making it only an important Uganda big game safari destination but also the best place to enjoy primate safaris. The primate species of tourist interest in Queen Elizabeth NP include the red tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, chimpanzees, l’hoest monkeys, colobus monkeys etc.


A total of over 620 bird species all reside in the different habitats of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Birding in this extensive park is all about identifying diversity of bird species such as the grey winged robin chat, shoebill stork, slender tailed nightjars, pink backed pelicans, papyrus gonoleks, scarlet chested sunbird, flamingos, black lored babblers, black crowned tchagra, papyrus canary, hooded vultures, collared pratincole, pel’s fishing owls, yellow throated cuckoo, black bee-eaters, Heuglin’s gull, white backed night herons, black rumped buttonquail, African fish eagle, palm nut vultures and more.

Activities to do

Game drives 

Game drives are the major highlights of Queen Elizabeth National Park safaris. The park is known to reward visitors with unforgettable game viewing experiences whether you engage in the morning or an afternoon/evening game drive.

The park guided game drives are enjoyable in a full time 4×4 rental car. Expected animal sightings include the big game, birds, antelopes, warthogs, hyenas and others. The popular game driving locations in Queen Elizabeth National Park include Kasenyi, Ishasha, Mweya Peninsular, Katwe Fields etc.

Chimpanzee trekking

A Uganda safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park offers more than guided game driving experiences. Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge is one thrilling primate adventure not to be missed on Uganda wildlife safari in the park. The gorge is a home to significant chimpanzee population and other primates that you will also catch an eye including blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys.

Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge is exhilarating and permits are available for booking at USD50. The chimpanzee trek here lasts from 2-4 hours depending on how fast you can walk and nature of habitat.

Birding/bird watching

When it comes to birding safaris in Uganda or Africa, The ark should be a must-visit and you won’t regret. Hosting up to 620 bird species, Queen Elizabeth NP is without doubt a remarkable birding destination and being birder’s paradise, expect to sight birds such as flamingos, African finfoot, blue shouldered robin chat, papyrus gonoleks, pelicans, nightjars, white winged terns, African mustached warblers, white breasted nigro-finch;

Grey winged robin chat, fish eagle, black bee-eaters, red chested sunbird etc. The key birding spots to consider visiting on birding tour in Queen Elizabeth National Park include Kyambura Gorge, Maramagambo Forest, Kasenyi, Lake Katwe, Ishasha and Kazinga Channel.

Launch cruise

Boat cruise is one of the best experiences tourists can perfectly explore and experience what Queen Elizabeth National Park holds. The launch/boat cruise is conducted on Kazinga Channel, an extensive 32kms channel which links the two spackling lakes- Lake Edward and Lake George. On a boat/launch cruise, visitor sightings revolve around hippos, crocodiles, aquatic birds to mention but a few. It is an amazing recreation experience often lasts for 2-3 hours.

Guided nature walks

Guided nature walks in Queen Elizabeth National Park are a great opportunity for enthusiastic nature lovers to immerse themselves into the dense jungles of Maramagambo Forest or take the trails along Mweya Peninsular and Ishasha River. This is a rewarding on-foot walk experience and it comes with amazing encounters ranging from primates, birds and other animal species.

Hot air balloon

In East Africa, there are very few places that offer mesmerizing aerial view of wildlife like hot air balloon safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is an ideal experience for enthusiastic photographers and you set off early morning to capture the early morning risers with sunrise. Note, there are only 2 locations offering hot air balloon safaris in Uganda and besides Queen Elizabeth NP, the other is Murchison Falls National Park.

Wildlife/game research safaris/experiences

Queen Elizabeth National Park also offers the most memorable wildlife research experience including lion trekking, hippo counting/census, mongoose trekking and others. These unique experiences are enjoyable in the morning or afternoon.

Cultural safaris

A combination of wildlife and cultural encounters without doubt leaves you filled with lots of lasting memories. There are many cultural encounter opportunities at the local communities adjacent to the park and they include Busongo Fishing Village, Kasonga Community, Kikorongo Equator cultural group and more.

When to travel for Uganda safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Uganda safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park are offered all year-round. But, to most nature lovers, the dry season is the most favorite and the park experiences the extended and short dry spell- the extended occurs from June to September and short dry months from December to February of every year. These are preferred months if you are visiting the park for guided game drives or chimpanzee trekking.

Where to stay- lodges/hotels/camps at Queen Elizabeth National Park

Budget lodges/accommodation: Kazinga Channel View Resort, Enjojo Lodge, Bush Lodge Tents, Mweya Hostel etc. Mid-range/standard accommodation: Elephant Plains, Kasenyi Safari Camp, Enganzi Game Lodge, Buffalo Safari Lodge; Luxury lodges- Mweya Safari Lodge, Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Jacana Safari Lodge and Katara Lodge.