Queen Elizabeth National Park – Animals, Activities, Lodges, Safaris

queen elizabeth national park

Named after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of most popular game parks for safari trips in Uganda.  It is one of the prime tourist destinations for big game viewing and birdwatching safaris in Uganda.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in western Uganda near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It lies within the Albertine Rift Valley, spanning a variety of eco systems. Crater lakes, grassy hills, open savannah, woodland and lush forest jungles, support plenty of wildlife in an area of 1978 square kilometers.

The park is easily accessible for travelers, taking only about 7 hours drive from Kampala on a good paved road. One can also take a one hour flight from Entebbe Airport to an airstrip just outside the park.

Wildlife of Queen Elizabeth National Park

The diverse eco systems support a wildlife variety and volume of wildlife. Up to 95 mammals have been recorded.

Animals in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Animals sighted during the safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park include most of the usual plains species. Lions, Leopard, and Hyena are the most common predators. Others include Warthog, Buffalo, Elephant, Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Oribi, Topi, and Giant Forest Hog. The Kazinga Channel, lakes Edward and George and other water bodies in the park support a big population of Hippos and Crocodiles.

Birds of Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth is one of Uganda’s Important Bird Areas (IBA), a birdwatchers haven to say the least! The diverse habitats of the park support a remarkable over 600 species, which is more than half of the Uganda’s total bird checklist. The Kazinga Channel during the migrants’ season is said to support more birds than the whole of North America.

Tree Climbing Lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park

tree climbing lions ishasha uganda

The southern area of Queen Elizabeth National Park called Ishasha is popular for the unusual Tree Climbing Lions. These are not a distinct species of lions but lions in this area have adapted to climbing the tree figs especially after the morning hunt to spend the hot afternoon chilling up and catch the cool breeze, and also escape the tsetse flies and other nasty bags on ground.

Key areas and Activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Game viewing in the Kasenyi Plains

The Kasenyi savanna plains are located in the north of Queen Elizabeth National Park. They support plenty of animals and are the main animal viewing grounds during the safari. The Kasenyi plains are also the breeding ground of herds of Uganda Kob. The predators like the Lions and Hyena can be spotted hunting from among plenty of Antelopes including Orib, Kob. Large herds of Elephants and Buffaloes can be seen roaming the open plains and congregating around the lakes.

Boat safaris on the Kazinga Channel

Kazinga Channel is a natural stream of water 32km long that connects Lakes Edward and George. The channel harbors plenty of wildlife. An afternoon boat ride on the Kazinga Channel is a highlight of the safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park that rewards with wonderful sightings of Hippos, Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards, Elephants, Buffaloes and Antelopes.

kazinga channel


The channel is a birdwatcher’s paradise! Hundreds of water species congregate along the banks of the Kazinga Channel. It is the best place to catch the African Fish Eagle in action, and the African Skimmer doing the skimming on the water for fish.

Lake Katwe Salt Mines

The salt mines of Lake Katwe have provided salt to the region for centuries. As has been for ages, the salt is extracted manually with hands. One of the activities on the safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park is taking a tour of the salt mines and interact with the mining community.

Watching Tree Climbing Lions in Ishasha

Ishasha is located in the remote southwestern tip of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Tree Climbing Lions and Topi are unique game found only in this area of the park, in addition to other common game such as Elephants, Buffaloes, Hyena and Antelope.

Chimpanzee trekking / Nature walk in Kyambura Gorge

The stunning Kyambura Gorge lies in the western part of the park. It is about 100 meters deep and supports a lush forest and streams of waters. The Kyambura Gorge forest also referred the “underground forest” harbors a small population of about 20 Chimpanzees which has been habituated for one of the Chimp trekking tours in Uganda. Other primates such as Baboons, and Black-and-white Colobus, and many forest birds can be observed in the forest.


Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge, Katara Lodge, Kyambura Gorge Lodge, Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Mid-range: Kingfisher Lodge, Ihamba Lodge, Kasenyi Safari Camp, Marafiki Safari Lodge

Budget: The Bush Lodge, Simba Safari Camp, Pumba Safari Cottages – Kyambura

Safari trips to Queen Elizabeth National Park

3 Days trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park

4 days Queen Elizabeth National Park tour with tree climbing lions safari

4 days chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest and Wildlife safari Queen Elizabeth National Park

4 days Queen Elizabeth National Park safari and Rwenzori waterfalls hike

5 days safari in Queen Elizabeth National park and gorilla trekking in Bwindi

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