Queen Elizabeth National park
Queen Elizabeth National park
Queen Elizabeth II is ranked among the world’s most powerful Queens. By the same token, Queen Elizabeth National Park, a wildlife sanctuary named after her, comes across as one of Africa’s most outstanding across all fronts; beauty, diversity, scenery and accommodation options.
The nature and the rivers here are just awe-inspiring. The 1978km2 wide park gets quite crowded but if you’re lucky enough to come in the low peak seasons, you will find only a handful of people. This will allow you enjoy the majesty of the place without pushing and shoving.
Expect to be greeted by spectacular crater lakes that have been repeatedly ranked among the most beautiful on Earth.
The park is split into two hemispheres by the Equator of Uganda that passes through it; the Northern and Southern hemisphere. Largely, the North features untamed experiences that appeal to the hard-core adventurer. Among its most visited attractions is an underground forest called Kyambura gorge. Also known as the valley of apes due to its healthy population of chimpanzees and monkeys, Kyambura offers endearing hiking experiences that leave many in tears of joy.
Then there is open Savannah: a vast network of game tracks that makes it easy to see the king of the jungle as it hunts – the lion. Within easy reach from this side is Ishasha, a zone in the park famed for having tree climbing lions.
That said, if you are the kind of traveller who prefers laid back experiences, the South Wing of the park will rock your holiday. It features astonishing safari lodges offering services that leaves one feeling 7 years younger.
During the boat cruise, you will see over 100 bird species. Boat cruises are done at Kazinga, a wide channel connecting two lakes in the park, Lake George and Lake Edward. It really is magical.
When travelling to this park, using a 4WD car is not an option. It is a must, as most of the roads feeding the park are rough.
The park is one of the two most visited in the country. If you don’t like crowds, you can opt to explore it in the low peak tourism season from February to June.
The best times to see wildlife is early morning and late evening. They tend to shy away around midday to find shade from the heat.
Some stretches of the park, especially river banks, are infested with tse-tse flies. It is advisable to carry insect repellents and long-sleeved clothing for protection.
Trenches measuring five feet deep and seven feet wide have been constructed around the park to stop wild game from invading farms of neighbouring communities. Locals are hired every year to maintain the trenches.
By the same token, the National Agricultural Research Organization has been brought on board so as to research on the invasive weed species that have conquered several parts of the park as a result of global warming. The weeds are wiping out edible shrubs thereby causing wildlife to migrate to inaccessible parts of the park.