Queen Elizabeth National Park is found in the western region of Uganda bordering the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi and Rukungiri. It occupies an estimated 1978sqkm and extends from Lake George in the north-east to Lake Edward in the south-west including the Kazinga channel that connects the two lakes. The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park but was renamed two years later in 1954 to commemorate a visit by the Queen of England-Queen Elizabeth 2nd.
This park includes the Maramagambo forest, the Kyambura gorge, the Ishasha sector, the Kazinga channel and borders with Kigezi game reserve, the Kyambura game reserve, Kibale forest national park as well as the Virunga National park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Special features of Queen Elizabeth National Park therefore include the following;
The park hosts a variety of big game animals which include about 5000 hippos, 2500 elephants and over 10,000 buffaloes thriving in its grasslands and shorelines.Queen Elizabeth National park guarantees sightings of some of Africa’s most iconic species. Hearing the elephants’ calls echoing around Queen’s crater-filled valleys is a magical experience.
Other common herbivores include Warthogs, Waterbucks, Uganda kobs and Topis as well as the Sitatunga antelopes.
Ten species of primates enjoy the park’s diverse habitats and the most popular of which is undoubtedly the chimpanzee. Vervet and black-and-white colobus monkeys are easily spotted in the trees but the boldest of all are the baboons.
Queen Elizabeth National Park has a variety of bird species. Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park is an incredible treat as it contains a variety of habitats that range from savanna to wetlands to lowland forests. This diversity is reflected in the list of over 600 bird species, the biggest of any protected area in East Africa. A majority of the birds found in this area are regarded as famous birds of East Africa and are a must see for birdwatchers in Africa.Among the birds found in the park include; Hooded Vulture, Grey Kestrel, African Wattled Plover, Black-bellied Bustard, Black-lored Babbler, White-tailed Lark, Black-crowned Tchagra, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Blue-naped Mousebird, Pygmy Kingfisher, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Black-headed Gonolek, Slender-billed Weaver.
The park’s most elusive inhabitants are its felines; lions, leopards, civet and serval cats.
Lions are found throughout the park but the most renowned live in the southern sector of Ishasha, where they rest on the limbs of fig trees. Solitary leopards are nocturnal and fiendishly well camouflaged. The smaller cats are also predominantly nocturnal and best spotted on night game drives.
Besides the remarkable wildlife attraction, Queen Elizabeth national park boasts of attractive heritage/ culture history. There are numerous opportunities for travelers and tourists to visit the local population who are entertaining in terms of local music and cultural dances.
The Kazinga Channel is a wide 32-kilometre long natural channel that links Lake Edward and Lake George and it’s a dominant feature of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The channel attracts a varied range of animals and birds with one of the world’s largest concentrations of hippos and numerous Nile crocodiles.
While in this park, visitors enjoy a breath taking boat cruise which exposes them to magnificent and amazing views of a variety of both animals and bird species.
Lions are found in grassy plains and woodlands and live in prides of 5-15. Lionesses live with the pride for life while lions leave the pride of birth at ages between 2-4 years. Passing lions of the same pride greet each other by rubbing their cheeks together.
Lions are carnivores and can hunt at any time of the day though they generally hunt at either dusk or dawn. They feed on both big mammals weighing between 50-300 kg as well as small mammals. Small mammals are eaten by individual lions while heavier ones are eaten by groups.
Lions live up to 12-16 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity