Queen Elizabeth National Park
Set majestically in the shadow of the Rwenzori, flanking Lakes Edward and George, the lush savannah of Queen Elizabeth National Park offers prime grazing to buffalo, elephant and various antelope. A checklist of 600-plus bird species testifies to the extraordinary ecological diversity of this park. Mammalian specialities include the (elsewhere elusive) giant forest hog, and the legendary tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha Sector.
From open savannah to rainforest, from dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward, it is little wonder that QENP boasts one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world.
Almost 100 mammal species and a remarkable 606 bird species makes this superb safari territory, with elephant, a profusion of hippos, the elusive giant forest hog and handsome Uganda kob all regularly sighted around the tourist village on the Mweya Peninsula - which also boasts a marvelous waterfront setting in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains.
Elsewhere, the remote Ishasha Sector is famed for its tree-climbing lions, the Kyambura Gorge harbours habituated chimps, the Maramagambo Forest is home to an alluring selection of forest monkeys and birds, and flocks of flamingo are resident on the crater lakes.
1,978 sq km
Southwest, near Kasese.
The park lies 5-6 hours from Kampala on a surfaced road via Mbarara, and can be reached on a dirt road from Bwindi. Accessible by public transport.
What to do
Launch trips on the Kazinga Channel offer great game viewing, as do game drives around Mweya. Also available are chimp tracking in Kyambura Gorge and guided walks in Maramagambo Forest.
When to visit
Any time of year.
Where to stay
At Mweya there is an upmarket lodge, a campsite and budget hostel. Another upmarket lodge fringes a crater lake in Maramagambo Forest. A low key camp is found in the Ishasha Sector. Accommodation is also available in Kasese.