Regarded as the most Bio-diverse national game reserve in Uganda and the most visited park in Uganda, offers a spending mixture of luxury and wildlife experience. Named after the queen of England when she first visited in 1956 and renamed from the Rwenzori National Park to the current Queen Elizabeth National park.
Located in the western Rift valley edges of Rwenzori Mountains on a 1,978 sq.kms and bisected by a connection of two great lakes of George and Edward, the park provides the most accurate and meaningful description of wildlife safari with a great concentration of wildlife and great water bodies with large schools of hippos.
From Kampala through fort portal takes you to the lush green vegetation of tea plantations and the once colonial town of western Uganda. Along with the views of the Rwenzori mountain ranges give a calm drive through the western countryside of Uganda. The optional route is the southern countryside through the exciting villages and towns of masaka. This will definitely take you through the famous equator line in Nabusanke just next to masaka about 55kms away from kampala and the lush green vegetation and forests of mpanga. There is an experiment at the equator showcasing the movement of wind between the northern and southern hemispheres. These are water funnels planted 5m either sides of the equator and each of them when water is left to flow out, it does in clockwise and anti clockwise directions. The equator point also provides a good stop or break and a strategic place for a coffee break.
The next distance should be able to take you through mbarara town and is an optional place for a lunch break. The rest of the journey will take you through the stunning views and sceneries of the lush green tea plantations and spectacular landscapes. Exciting markets and villages are not exceptional whether on a self drive car rental or guided trip to Uganda towards the queen Elizabeth National Park.
A wide range of accommodations are here to choose from as you approach the park from Kyambura. Ranging from budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation. The first day can be dedicated to enjoying the best that the drive has to offer and only retire at the lodge for another days activities. However it’s so advised to acquire your wild life card after your payment at either the Queens pavilion or the ishasha junction head offices. The Uganda wild life Authority is responsible for issuing the entrance permits and optional boat cruises and ranger guides for those on a self drive safari. This card only starts counting just when you get it swapped at any entrance into the park.
On the next day, you can always opt for a morning game drive in the Kasenyi sector up north of Queen Elizabeth. The kasenyi is a vast plain of cactus dotted landscape stretching to the shores of lake George and counts as the main grounds for wild game safaris.
If you haven’t opted for a ranger guide, you can always follow up other safari vehicles being driven by Ugandan guides and yes, they usually have ideas where on where to search for the best sightings in the park. However if you are alone and not with a guide ranger, lookout for the Kaguta and research tracks which harbor the kings of the jungles and chances for the leopard sightings. So much wildlife is concentrated on this side of the park due to the existence of Lake George and the salt craters. Later windup the game drives with a visit to the Kasenyi salt Crater Lake with breathtaking views and through the Janet track you can exit the gates again for another activity.
Another option for that morning can be the Kyambura Chimpanzee trekking done on the northern side of the park in gorge escarpment with a swamp river in-between. This can be done in the morning and afternoon sessions. These are $50 per person but also require you to have paid the park entrance fees which can double as the entrance to the other park valid for 24hrs.
A boat cruise on the Kazinga channel that connects Lake George and Lake Edward is another must do activity that can keep you welcomed and doubles as the most exciting activity done in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The ishasha sector, south and extreme to lake Edward is another prime and destination to visit however this is recommended to visit at later hours of the day when the sun is up and here are chances for the famous and elusive tree climbing lions of Ishasha. A wide variety of wildlife occupies this part of the park and yes, the rare leopard and hyenas are common sightings.
The Queen Elizabeth National park can be combined with a tour to other destinations in the country. You may opt to combine this exciting self drive trip with the Bwindi Forest National park for the Mountain gorilla tracking on the south or opt for the chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest National Park on the north. All possibilities leave you with nothing but unforgettable memories.
Is It possible to explore the park on a self drive safari in Uganda? It is very possible to organize a self drive in Uganda. You just need to contact one of the car rental agencies in Kampala for a car. There are several cars to choose from and the most popular are Toyota Rav4, a mini van recommended for family rental as well as Toyota Land cruisers of various categories.