Queen Elizabeth Park

Lake Edward, the Kazinga channel, the Ishasha River and a series of crater lakes provide a rich habitat for both mammals and birds.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Jun to Sept

Overview

Queen Elizabeth National Park is a protected area that also encompasses Kyambura Wildlife Reserve and Kigezi Wildlife Reserve. It runs from the foothills of the northern Rwenzori Mountains to Ishasha border gate in the south. So the park is just over 2,500 km².

Here, the grasslands of Uganda meet the eastern rainforest. Thus magical scenery combines with abundant wildlife, both predators and primates. This includes a vast concentration of hippo and the famous tree-climbing lion. Plus it is easy to combine with Bwindi National Park to the south and Kibale National Park to the north. And Kampala is not that far away.

The Kazinga Channel joins Lake George and Lake Edward. Take a boat cruise and watch for elephant, buffalo and Ugandan Kob on the shoreline as you glide along. Hippo, crocodile and water birds also frequent the banks. Plus bird-watching specials include malachites, pied kingfishers, great white and pink-backed pelicans and the open-billed stork.

In the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve (pronounced Chambura) in the east of the park, large numbers of flamingos are attracted to a series of three saline crater lakes. Here guided walking safaris through the Kyambura gorge may result in sightings of wild chimpanzees. These are habituated to small numbers of visitors. And there are also caves where you can see thousands of bats, python and monitor lizard.

In the more isolated Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can find tree-climbing lions regularly, if improbably, perched on the boughs of ancient fig trees. The meandering Ishasha River runs through this area, with riparian forest on its river banks. This is also the only place in the park to see Topi.

Then to the southeast of Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can explore the Maramagambo forest on cool forest trails. This forest is a valuable sample of East African medium altitude semi-deciduous forest. Unfortunately, this is increasingly scarce. It’s also a good habitat for chimpanzees, enormous pythons and colonies of cave-dwelling fruit bats.

staff image

Madelyn Nieuwoudt

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.

Features

Why you may love it

  • Uganda’s premier wildlife reserve
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park offers wildlife, spectacular scenery and landscapes
  • Uganda’s finest birding destination with over 560 species of birds
  • Kazinga Channel is a prime spot for birding & wildlife safaris
  • See flamingos in the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve
  • Scan the woodlands for the famous tree-climbing lion in the Ishasha sector

Explore the Queen Elizabeth Park map

When to visit Queen Elizabeth Park

December to mid-March

Dry time of year

This park is open year-round. The summer months are a relatively dry time of year, so a good time for a safari. Game-viewing is easier as vegetation thins out and animals tend to congregate at the water sources. Chimp trekking is also easier because the trails are drier.
AVG RAINFALL 56mm
MAX TEMP 31 ℃ / 88 ℉
MIN TEMP 18 ℃ / 64 ℉

Mid-March to May

Long Rains

This is the time of the ''long rains'' so it is not an ideal time to visit as the safari roads become difficult to navigate and the wildlife is harder to spot. But the park is at its most beautiful and green during the two rainy seasons.
AVG RAINFALL 144mm
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

June to mid September

Dry season

This is considered the best time to visit, being dry-ish and a very pleasant temperature. Chimp trekking is easier because the trails are drier. However, this is also the busiest time to visit. (Though Uganda is never busy as Kenya or Tanzania.) This is also the best birding time (May to September)
AVG RAINFALL 41mm
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 16 ℃ / 61 ℉

Mid-September to November

Short rains

This is the time of the ‘short rains’. Again not an ideal time to visit due to the roads and rainfall. It starts drying up during November so that could be a good “out of season” time to visit.
AVG RAINFALL 117mm
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

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Loved the tree climbing lions

"I did not expect much from the chimpanzee trecking in the Chamburu Gorge, but it was the best of the whole trip. We got really close to the chimps and it was an amazing experience. It was a much more private trip (only 8 people) than later in Kibale, where we did not get that close. I also loved the tree climbing lions, which we saw three times near Ishasha Wilderness camp in QE, and once again near Mweya Lodge. What I should have done differently is, I should have gone for two gorilla trekking permits, as the first day it rained and although we saw the gorillas, they just sat there trying to get as less wet as possible. All the other members of my group had two permits, so went again the next day and had a much better viewing. The Bwindi bird walk was pretty bad, but mostly because the guide was not interested and we did not see much. The Shoebill tour was good, but I would recommend the morning one at 9:30am, as they saw two Shoebills in the morning. As soon as I arrived in the afternoon the guides said, it will be hard to spot one, and it was as we did not see it." Mrs Monika Maintz
 
Did you know
  • EstablishedFounded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park
  • Size1,978km²