Named after Queen Elizabeth II and established in 1952, Queen Elizabeth National Park spans an estimated 1,987 km² (764 miles²). Located in western Uganda, the park covers the districts of Kases, Kamwenge, Bushenyi and Rukungiri, stretching from the crater foothills of the Rwenzori peaks in the North and along Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River in the south. The park has the highest bio-diversity rating of any national park in the world, and it is arguably one of Uganda’s most picturesque and popular parks.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is an idyllic habitat location for various species of wildlife, offering diverse ecosystems, including savannah, humid forests and sparkling lakes. Similar to most areas in Uganda, wildlife in the park decreased significantly during the civil war. However, over the years, the numbers have been replenished and continue to rise. The park is currently home to over 95 species of mammal including buffalo, elephants, lions, leopards and ten primate species including the chimpanzee. And, for those who wish to see all their hippos in one, tidy place, the parks boasts one of the highest concentrations of hippos in the entire world! It is also worth visiting for the birding alone. With over 600 species of birds, the largest in any protected area in East Africa, it is sure to offer an unforgettable experience to bird watchers. Not only is Queen Elizabeth National Park known for sightings of some of Africa’s most iconic bird species and chimp tracking, it also provides scenery ideal for hiking and cruises along the Kazinga channel of the Nile, which flows from its headwaters in Lake Victoria and joins the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt.
The easiest route to the park is from Kampala, through Mbarara, and is about a five to six hour drive. Charter flights can also be arranged to the surrounding areas of Kasese, Mweya and Ishasha.
Due to Uganda’s location along the equator, temperatures tend to fluctuate minimally. In general, daytime temperatures range from 18 C (64 F) to 28 C (82 F). It can get cooler at night, so it is recommended that travelers bring layers of clothing. The driest months tend to be January and February, but there is always a chance of rainfall.