Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park About Queen Elizabeth NP – Location – Getting There – Attractions & Activities – Accommodation

Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is described as “Uganda’s Great Rift Valley” by Andrew Roberts, is the second largest and it is almost 1,978 sq. km. This largely savanna national park is located in the south western part of Uganda and it’s ranked among world’s most bio-diversified parks housing incredible species of wildlife. It is bordered in the West by Lake Edward and in the North by the Rwenzori Mountains, and is divided in two sectors, the North and South. This fertile equatorial area has a very nice scenery comprised of Tropical Rain Forests and two lakes connected by a channel over looked by a high peninsula. The beauty is simply staggering with sprawling cacti, savannah, forests, rivers and lakes.


The Queen Elizabeth National Park is a world bio-sphere reserve (UNESCO, 1979), includes a RAMSAR wetland site and is a classified Important Bird Area (IBA) by Bird life International. The park has over 568 of Uganda’s 1017 species of birds (over a quarter of Africa’s bird species), more than any other park in Africa.

In the Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP), you may see Crater Lakes filled with huge flocks of Flamingos. You will spot Eagles soaring and Vultures perching.

The park is known for its Fauna, although many animals were filled in the Uganda-Tanzanian war. Many species have recovered, including hippopotamuses, elephants, leopards, chimps and lions. It is now home to 95 species of mammals.

Explore Queen Elizabeth National Park

Getting There

The town of Kasese lies on the Northwestern edge of the park. The park is verily one of the very few remaining pristine wildlife Sanctuaries in the world.

Things to See

The park is rich in wild game including the big five mammals except the rhinos which are only hosted in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary along the way to Murchison Falls National Park. Other interesting game in the park include various species of antelopes, warthogs, hyena among many others. Reaching the park, it’s just a drive of about 5-6 from Kampala to the park.

Things to Do

Many safari activities are arranged at the park including wildlife viewing and primate watching, the park is a home to over 6 species of primates the most common is the chimpanzee the closest relative to human. Queen Elizabeth National Park also houses the rare tree climbing lions in the Ishasha sector of the park. However, taking a visit to the Kazinga channel is ranked among the must do activities while at the park.

The National Park includes the Maramagambo Forest and boarders the Kigezi and Kyambura Game Reserves. The parks nearby neighbors include Kibale National Park in Uganda and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tourist Activities in Queen Elizabeth Park

Maramagambo Forest walks
There are three guided walks. The trail is a round the Forested shore of Lake Kyasanduka, then the second trail leads to a huge bat cave and python and the third one is around the back of Lake Nyamusingiri, which will give you an opportunity to se snowy-headed robin-chat, Scaly-breasted illadopsis and Chestnut wattle-eye. You will have an opportunity to see monkeys like red-tailed and vervet, black and white Colobus, L’Hoest’s monkey, leopard if lucky, Forest birds and the amazing chimps.

Launch Cruise on Kazinga Channel
In Queen Elizabeth, the launch trip takes place on the Kazinga Channel. The boat usually leaves daily at 09:00hr and 14:00 and takes 2-5 hours tour on the waters. While on the Launch Cruise, the professional guides will be able to give you useful information and answer your queries. With his help, you will have a great opportunity to view the wonderful scenery and variety of animals and birds. One should come with cameras and binoculars.

Game Driving
The game viewing circuit lies on the north side of the Kazinga Channel. With the help of the professional guide, you will have a wonderful opportunity to see Lions, Crocodiles, Hyena, Buffalos, Antelopes, Hippopotamuses, Leopard, Giant Forest hog, Elephant, Cape buffalo, Defassa, Waterbuck, Uganda Kob, Bushbuck and Topi – in their natural habitat.

Chimpanzee Tracking in Kyambura Gorge
With the help of the professional guide, you will be taken for Chimpanzee Trekking in Kyambura Gorge. The Gorge creates the boarder between the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve and Queen Elizabeth National Park. This Gorge is where you can get a large community of chimps. They can be tracked within the confines of a forested river gorge carved into the surrounding flat savannah. The scientific name of the chimpanzee is
Pan troglodytes. The wild chimpanzee rarely lives past the age of 40, while those in captivity live up to the age of 60 years.

Bird watching
If you are a bird watcher, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the most interesting destinations. You can see more than 610 bird species while on the Kazinga Channel Launch and on the Game drives. The park is teeming with a variety of birds like yellow-billed stork, plovers, pink-backed pelicans, white-bellied pelicans, white-bellied Cormorants, black-headed Gonolek Inter-alia.

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most scenic national parks in Uganda.Situated within north-western Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park is one of the top tourist destinations within the Pearl of Africa due to its diverse ecosystems-inform of savannah and forests, wildlife and bird species in addition to the powerful and breathtaking Murchison Falls from which it derives its name. Established in 1952 and extending for 3840 square kilometers, this Park is obviously the oldest and largest Conservation Area in the country.

Murchison Falls NP – Location – Getting There – Attractions – Activities

Guide to Adventure in Murchison Falls National Park

Getting There
This park is located in the northwestern part of Uganda, sprawling inland from the shore of Lake Albert around the Victoria Nile. It derives its name from the Murchison Falls, a beautiful water fall formed at a point where the mighty River Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and flows down to become a placid river whose banks are patronized by hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks, and buffaloes. The vegetation is mainly savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Wildlife includes; Lions, Leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees and many bird species including the rare shoebill.

History of the Park

It is comprised of Murchison Falls National Park, Bugungu Refuge and Karuma Wildlife Refuge. This park is believed to be the oldest protected area in Uganda. The park has received many tourists including nobles and celebrities who have taken Uganda safari trips to see this amazing place! It covers a total area of 3,893km2, with Bugungu Wildlife Refuge, Karuma Wildlife Refuge and Budongo Forest Reserve covering 510Km2, 678Km2, and 591Km2 respectively. While the National Park and the two wildlife reserves are under the auspices of the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Murchison Falls Conservation Area, Budongo Forest Reserve is managed by the National Forest Association. Sleeping sickness decimated the inhabitants of an area of approximately 13,000Km2 during the period of 1907 and 1912.

This paved way for the establishment of the Bunyoro Game Reserve in 1910, which is now part of the National Park in Masindi District. With time, the boundaries were extended into Gulu district, north of the river, and the resulting protected area became known as the Bunyoro-Gulu Game Reserve in 1928.

Established in 1932, Budongo Forest Reserve became the first commercial logging concession in Uganda and is one of the most intensively studied “working” Forest in the world to date.

The frontiers of this forest continued to expand over the next thirty years until their reached the current size of 825Km2. As the locals continued to lose hand, a lot of animosity was created as people never quite knew where the boundaries ended due to the frequent changes. Because of the reduction of hunting in the Bunyoro-Gulu Game Reserve, the animal population increased, which justified upgrading the reserve to Murchison Falls National Park. In 1952, the British administration established the National Parks Act of Uganda. By the mid 1960’s, Murchison Falls had become the prime safari destination in all of East Africa, with well over 60,000 visitors annually.

When the sleeping sickness outbreak was put into check, people began to populate the areas around the new park. It was deemed prudent to establish a buffer zone of controlled-use lands around the park, to mitigate encroachment and poaching pressures. In 1963, the Karuma and Bugungu Controlled Hunting Areas, which were later upgraded to game Reserves, were established. Karuma was upgraded in 1964 while Bugungu in 1968. The establishment if the National parks Act led to the forced eviction of come of the villages and new moratoriums on hunting.

From the late 1970s to the mid 1980s, the increasing number of mammals came to an abrupt end as Amin and later Milton Obote’s armies started shooting animals either for target practice or for food. A combination of political mayhem and decreasing numbers of animals in the 1970’s and 80s, led to a sharp decline in the number of visitors. But the numbers are now steadily increasing due to political stability.

Murchison falls is a park, which is surrounded by lands that are not suitable for farming, which has availed less chances of converting the protected area to farmland except in the Karuma Wild Reserve. This gives it a unique position. Since the population around here is still low, a pro-active and inclusive approach can be devised to involve the locals in wildlife management.

Things to See in the Park

It is popular for offering shelter to over 75 species of mammals including four of the big five animals (lions, leopards, elephants and buffaloes), Rothschild giraffes, warthogs, Antelopes such as Uganda kobs, Oribis, topis, waterbucks, Jackson’s heart beasts, bushbucks and elands, primates (vervet monkeys and olive baboons), hippos and many others in addition to reptiles such as Nile Crocodiles as well as over 450 species of birds including the aquatic birds like the elusive shoebill storks and others like the great blue turaco, white-thighed hornbills, dwarf kingfisher, Goliath herons and many others.

The park is a viable breeding population of many rare mammals and bird species which will continue to draw tourists and yet the populations are still well below the carrying capacity of the land. There has been a period of over 20 years of very low impact by animals on the ecosystem due to political mayhem. This means that the park will grow and at the same time create an excellent laboratory to study the resilience of faunal species after a rapid decline, as well as vegetation succession patterns. This is necessary because almost no ecological research is being done in the conservation area currently.

Interesting Points of the Park

There are some specific phenomenal places within Murchison Falls National Park that will always capture the attention of tourists. The most interesting points include;

The Nile    

River Nile is the World’s second longest River (extending for 6853 kilometers) and is a home to some of the World most adventurous activities such as whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, sport fishing, boat rides and river surfing among others, and interestingly, the Murchison Falls National Park offers much more than you can ever expect in a destination.

Top of the waterfalls

In most cases, majority of the activities within Murchison Falls National Park begin with the visit to the top of the Murchison Falls where tourists get the once in a lifetime chance of feeling and seeing the World’s most powerful waterfalls as the water of the River forcefully passes through a 7-meters wide gorge before plunging about 14 meters into the Nile as it proceeds its journey north. Visit this Park and enjoy the wonderful feeling of the thundering waterfalls as its waters gush on your skin and you take pictures with your colleagues or family members.

Kaniyo-Pabidi Forest

This Ecotourism site is specifically found within Budongo Forest Reserve (also within Murchison Falls National Park) and most tourists who visit this Park explore this site due to the fact that it offers shelter to chimpanzees as well as other primate species (such as olive baboons, vervet monkeys and black and white colobus monkeys among others) thus making it an ideal spot for primate tracking during Uganda safaris. Not only that, you will be able to encounter other animals that visit the Forest such as elephants, buffaloes and leopards among others.

Buligi Game Tracks

Anyone who has visited Murchison Falls National Park will agree that Buligi Game Tracks offer the best chance of spotting some of the Park’s Wildlife Species such as herds of buffaloes, elephants, Rothschild giraffes, warthogs, lions, antelopes especially Uganda Kobs, Oribis and Topis in addition to several bird species.

Mubako Village

Are you interested in unforgettable cultural encounters during the Uganda safari? Then don’t miss visiting the Mubako Village because while here, you will get immersed in the Luo culture as you enjoy the sound of Adungu local string instrument in the evenings during Campfires as well as folk songs. Not only that, you will interact with the locals and learn about some of the traditional norms, way of life and history of the Luo people.

Murchison Falls National Park is a phenomenal tourist destination due to the beautiful Places such as Buligi Game Tracks, Mubako Village, Kaniyo-Pabidi Forest, Top of the Murchison Falls and the Nile River among others.