climbing lions Queen Elizabeth national park (1)
Tree-climbing lions may be found in the Ishasha section of Queen Elizabeth national park, which is home to the acacia tree-climbers. FILE PHOTO

Queen Elizabeth national park is known for its famous tree-climbing lions, which live in the Ishasha section, where acacia tree climbers are found.

One of the most popular Uganda safari sites is Queen Elizabeth National Park, which was named after Queen Elizabeth II of England following her 1952 visit. 

It is situated on the Equator’s axis, with monuments on either side of the road forming latitude 00, in southern Uganda. 

Along with Kyambura and Kigezi Wildlife Reserves, the Albertine region brings together one of Africa’s most diversified ecosystems. 

It covers an area of 1978 square kilometres that is home to a wide variety of habitats, from crater lakes to acacia woodlands to savannahs to acacia forests. 

This is Uganda’s most frequented park, maybe in part because of the park’s name, but it is also conveniently located for those using public transportation.

Queen Elizabeth’s many crater lakes provide breathtaking views. Nyamununka crater lake, commonly known as the “hospital for animals,” is a popular destination for both injured and elderly animals because of its Sulphur-rich waters. 

Take a journey to Lake Katwe or Lake Bunyampaka, the salt mining craters. Watch the sun go down over Lake Edward, with the Rwenzoris Mountains in the distance. 

The famous tree-climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth national park may be found in the Ishasha section of the park, which is home to the acacia tree-climbers. 

The trees also shield them from the sun’s sweltering heat, allowing them to rise above the ground and feel the wind.

The Animals in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Uganda Kobs (1)
Uganda Kobs are abundant in the area, so the location has become a popular hunting ground for big cats. FILE PHOTO

There are over 95 kinds of animal species in the park, and they’re the main reason why people come here. Four of the “Big Five” animals live there, including the Elephant, Leopard, Lion, and Buffalo. 

Lake George and Lake Edward are connected by the Kazinga Channel – a waterway famed for its big herd of hippos – which is home to thousands of hippos. 

Leopards, elephants, lions, and Uganda kobs, Topis, and Hyenas are all found in the open Savannah, which is also home to big herds of buffalo, banded mongooses, warthogs, and waterbucks.

Primate species including chimpanzees and gorillas can be found in the Kyambura Gorge and the “underground forest” next to the area. Colobus monkeys, red-tail monkeys, olive baboons, and other primates can all be found in the area.

Bird species in Queen Elizabeth National Park

A birdwatcher’s paradise, Queen Elizabeth national park is home to more than 600 species of birds, making it an IBA (International Birding Area). It is home to East Africa’s largest concentration of bird species of any protected region.

Several crater lakes, woods, and woodlands provide a variety of habitats for birds from the Savannah Flyway. 

While birding in the Kasenyi area there are several distinct areas to visit, such as the Mweya peninsula, Imaramagambo Island, and the Kazinga Channel. 

The birds to watch for include the African mourning dove, Swamp flycatcher, Grey-headed kingfisher, Pin-tailed whydah, slender-tailed nightjar, and collared pratincole. The salt lakes of Katwe and Bunyampaka are great places to see flamingos.

Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Safaris and Other Recreation

  • Game park drives

Early morning or evening is the greatest time to see wildlife because the sun is less intense and big cats like to hunt at these times of the day because they are cooler.

Kasenyi, the largest Kob mating ground in Queen Elizabeth national park, is where most game drives take place. Because of the abundance of Uganda Kobs in the area, the location has become a popular hunting ground for the big cats. 

As you go across the Savannah, keep an eye out for buffalo and elephant herds. Each safari truck has a window seat and an open roof so that everyone can see the animals.

  • Chimpanzee tracking at Kyambura Gorge

The Kyambura canyon, a subterranean forest, lies beneath the Kichwaba cliff in the park. 

For one, it is home to 10 primate species like the well-known chimpanzee, olive baboon, colobus monkey, etc. 

To go chimpanzee tracking, you must make a reservation at the park’s main office in advance. It’s unlikely that you’ll see the chimpanzees, but the experience of trekking through the forest is still wonderful because you’ll see a variety of other lovely birds and primates.

  • Boat safaris on Kazinga Channel

Located between Lake Edward and Lake George, the Kazinga channel is a great place to see wildlife and birds. There are sightings of elephants and hippos as they drink water and protect their territory. 

Boat safaris depart from the jetty every morning and afternoon for a duration of 2 to 3 hours. It’s possible to rent a private boat for yourself and a group of friends or family.

Monitor lizards, crocodiles, waterbucks, buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, and other wildlife are common sights. Many different types of birds can be found in abundance here. 

To maximize your chances of seeing birds, we recommend taking an early boat tour rather than an afternoon one.

  • Bird watching

More than 600 bird species may be found in the park, making it an excellent location for birdwatching in Uganda. During August through November, the nearby Lake Munyanyange serves as a bird refuge and a stopover point for migrating lesser flamingos.

You may also go birdwatching at Kasenyi plains, Kazinga channel launch cruises, the Kyambura gorge, the Mweya peninsula, Maramagambo woodland, and the Katunguru bridge, as well as other parks’ lakes. 

Nearly every nook and cranny of the park is a fantastic spot for spotting birds. As you tour the park and its surroundings, you may expect to see a wide variety of birds.

  • Forest walks

Ranger guides are required for these activities for safety reasons. Among the best views of the channel and Lake Edward is found on the Mweya peninsula, which is accessible by boat from Lake Edward and the Kazinga canal. 

To get up close and personal with hippos, you can take a stroll along the Ishasha River with a ranger guide in Ishasha National Park in Zambia. 

The Maramagambo woodland is yet another location featuring a well-known bat cave and a variety of bird species.

How visitors can get to Queen Elizabeth National Park

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Entebbe International Airport is the nearest airport to Mweya Airstrip inside Queen Elizabeth National Park. FILE PHOTO

Scheduled and charter flights land at Mweya Airstrip inside Queen Elizabeth National Park from Entebbe International Airport. Alternatively, you can travel to the park from Kampala through Mbarara or Fort Portal.

Visit Queen Elizabeth National Park today to explore and see some of Africa’s big five, along with over 600 bird species to watch on your next safari.