Queen Elizabeth National Park Budget Travel Guide

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Queen Elizabeth National Park - Uganda’s Top Wildlife Haven

This scenic wilderness area is incredibly biodiverse, protecting a menagerie of habitats - swathes of grassland savannah, rolling foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, shores of Lake Edward, scatterings of volcanic cones and craters, lush lowland forests, marshy wetlands and the meandering Ishasha River.

Over 95 mammal species and 600 bird species in 1978 km² of diverse ecosystems!

It's easy to see why Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda's most popular game viewing destination.

Queen Elizabeth Park Highlights

  • Breathtaking vistas over the Great Rift Valley, Lake Edward, Lake George and Kazinga Channel.
  • Spectacular scenery of Mount Rwenzori, the savannah plains and rugged mountain range.
  • Diverse habitats and abundant wildlife.
  • Tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha sector.
  • Home to the endemic Ugandan Kob.
  • Chimpanzees in Kyambura (Chambura) Gorge.
  • Game viewing and bird watching boat rides on the Kasinga Channel.
  • Volcanic cones, craters and crater lakes like Lake Katwe.
  • Cultural interactions in local villages and rich history.
  • Remarkable birdlife with rare and unusual species.

Wildlife of Queen Elizabeth National Park

The savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park support a rich variety of wild animals including four of the Big Five - buffaloes, elephants, leopards and lions. The lions are particularly well-known for their habit of climbing trees, unusual behaviour for these on-the-ground hunters.

The 10 primate species inhabiting the park are mostly found in the Kyambura Gorge and Maramagambo Forest and include chimpanzees, blue monkeys and olive baboons. The national park hosts various antelopes, including the endemic Ugandan Kob, featured with the crested crane on Uganda's coat of arms. Rare sitatunga, topi, kob, waterbuck, bushbuck and other antelopes are also found in the game park. Crocodiles have recently been spotted in the Kazinga Channel and other inhabitants include giant forest hog, warthogs and thousands of hippos.

Including the lions and leopards the park is home to around 20 kinds of predators, such as side-striped jackal, serval cat and spotted hyena.

Birdlife of Queen Elizabeth National Park

The park is a bird watching haven, with Kazinga Channel attracting a rich array of birds and the Lake George area designated as a Ramsar Wetland Site. Birding International has named the park an Important Birding Area (IBA). Given the diverse habitats of Queen Elizabeth Park and it's location, an excellent variety of birds can be seen, both east and central African. The species list includes some rare and unusual birds sought-after by bird watching enthusiasts, such as the strange pouting shoebill (or whale-headed) stork.

The to-spot list includes African skimmer, black-rumped buttonquail, chapins and swamp flycatcher, pink-backed and great white pelican, papyrus canary and greater flamingo. Raptors such as African fish eagles, pin-tailed whydah martial eagles and great and long-tailed cormorants also grace the skies here.

Other birds include African jacanas, Verreaux’s eagle-owls, open-billed and rare shoebill storks, gabon and slender-tailed nightjars, herons, grey-capped and white-winged warblers and papyrus and beautiful black-headed gonoleks. African mourning doves, collard pranticles, kingfishers (grey-headed, malachite and pied), black bee-eaters, white-winged terns and white-tailed larks are also found in the park. 

Queen Elizabeth Park Quick Facts

  • The park covers an area of about 1978 km2 (764 sq mi) around the Kasinga Channel connecting Lake Edward and Lake George
  • One of Uganda's oldest game parks, established as Kazinga National Park, along with Murchison Falls National Park, back in 1952
  • Renamed Queen Elizabeth National Park in 1954 in honour of a visit from Queen Elizabeth II of England 
  • Called the Ruwenzori National Park for several years, then changed back to Queen Elizabeth National Park recently
  • Home to one of the largest concentrations of hippos in the world.

Top Things to Do in & around Queen Elizabeth Park

  • Morning and sunset game drives in Kasenyi, North Kazinga Plains and Ishasha.
  • Boat cruises along the Kazinga Channel for superb bird watching and game viewing.
  • Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge and neighbouring Kibale National Park.
  • Guided walks to Mweya Peninsula, Maramagambo Forest with Bat Cave and Ishasha River.
  • Hiking in the nearby Rwenzori Mountains, north of the park.
  • Visiting local villages to meet the people and experience Ugandan culture through storytelling, dance, music and more.

Where is Queen Elizabeth National Park?

Queen Elizabeth National Park is split between the Kasese, Kamwenge, Bushenyi and Rukungiri districts in southwestern Uganda. The park falls within the Western Rift Valley of Africa, which runs north-to-south from Uganda through to neighbouring Malawi. 

It lies about 376 km's (234 mi) drive, southwest of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city. To the north, the crater-studded slopes of the Rwenzori Mountain Range. In the south, the less-visited Ishasha River sector and further on the famous Bwindi National Park inhabited by mountain gorillas. In the west Lake George, flanked by Kibale National Park to the north. Including the eastern shores of Lake Edward with Mitumbe Hill (the 'Center of Darkness in Africa') lying beyond, as well as nearby Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Tours Focused on Queen Elizabeth National Park

10 Day Uganda to Rwanda Gorillas & Wildlife Tour

Duration 10 Days, Travel Style Lodge Safaris
Priced from pps R69860 $4838 £3717 €4306 A$6867 C$6491 NZ$7110 Full pricing info
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Rwanda gorilla group This 10 Day Uganda & Rwanda Gorilla Trekking & Wildlife Tour takes you gorilla trekking twice - first in Bwindi Forest and then Volcanoes National Park. Plus, you go chimpanzee trekking in Kibale and game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Trip Style Queen Elizabeth National Park Budget Safari Packages

Gorilla Trek to Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi National Park

Duration 08 Days, Travel Style Lodge Safaris
Priced from pps R60128 $4164 £3199 €3706 A$5910 C$5587 NZ$6119 Full pricing info
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Bwindi gorilla The 10-Day Uganda Safari Adventure includes gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale National Park chimpanzee tracking and a boat cruise at Murchison Falls.

Trip Style Queen Elizabeth National Park Budget Safari Packages

Uganda Fly-in Gorilla Trekking & Wildlife Safari

Duration 06 Days, Travel Style Lodge Safaris
Priced from pps R37905 $2625 £2017 €2337 A$3726 C$3522 NZ$3858 Full pricing info
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Uganda Gorilla Trek This Uganda Fly-in Gorilla Trekking Safari offers two opportunities to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park, and includes game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park, as well as domestic flights from and to Entebbe.

Trip Style Queen Elizabeth National Park Budget Safari Packages