Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park, Birding Africa Trips
Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most popular game reserve and certainly one of the most scenic. It stretches from the crater-dotted foothills of the Rwenzori ranges in the north, along with the shores of Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River in the south, incorporating a wide variety of habitats that range from open savannah to rainforest, dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward. These make it a little wonder that it is the highest biodiversity conservation game reserve in the world.
This remarkable diversity is reflected in its bird list of 606 species, the largest of any protected area in Africa. Eleven species of global conservation concern have been recorded, and there are old records of three other such species The notable of the 606 bird species in the park include Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, White-winged Terns, Swamp Fly-catcher, Grey-capped Warbler, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Collard Pranticole, African Jacana, Pin-tailed Whydah, Martial Eagle, Gabon and Slender-tailed Nightjars, the lovely Black-headed Gonolek, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Common Squacco Heron, African Skimmer, African Fish Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Sedge Warbler, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, African Mourning Dove, African Open-billed Stork, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Yellow-billed, open-billed and Marabou Storks, Egyptian Goose, a number of Gull species, endless list.
In the crater lakes, spectacular flocks of flamingos gather, creating the image of a moving pink carpet. The launch trip along the Kazinga Channel between Lakes George and Edward is a memorable way to view the abundant game in Queen Elizabeth and to see an astounding number of bird species. Queen Elizabeth National park has over 95 mammalian species. This ranks it among the best safari destination in Africa with big herds of elephants, a profusion of hippos, the elusive giant forest hog and handsome Uganda kob which are all regularly sighted around the tourist village on the Mweya Peninsula.
A Launch Cruise along the Kazinga channel is another activity on the park. On the cruise, different animals and birds can be seen on the 34km tranquil Kazinga Channel shore. These include large Schools of Hippos and solitary Buffaloes, elephants, reptiles like The Nile Crocodiles and Lizards, water birds like Pelicans, Egyptian goose, Saddle-billed Stork, African Fish Eagles, African Jacana and Kingfishers among others.
A guided forest walk taken from the nearby Imaramagambo Forest, a tropical forest covered with relatively low trees and gentle slopes. The important features worthy to see from this forest include the Blue Lake, the Hunters Cave, the Bat Cave where thousands of Egyptian Fruit Bats stay, and different tree species which include medicinal species.
Queen Elizabeth National park is 6-8 hours from Kampala via Mbarara – Kasese-Fort Portal, and can be reached on a dirt road from Bwindi. For travelers interested in traveling to the park by air, a private charter flight from Entebbe international airport to Kasese airstrip can also be arranged.