Queen Elizabeth National Park spans the equator line; monuments on either side of the road marking the exact spot where it crosses latitude 00. The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park and renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II of England. The park is home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species.
The Katwe explosion craters mark the park’s highest point at 1,350m above sea level, while the lowest point is at 910m, at Lake Edward. Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes, and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for a classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees, and over 600 species of birds.
Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo, and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.
As well as its outstanding wildlife attractions, Queen Elizabeth National Park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music, and more. The gazetting of the park has ensured the conservation of its ecosystems, which in turn benefits the surrounding communities.
Most of Queen Elizabeth comprises open grassland and savannah which tends to be moist and woody in the west than the eastern part, Thorny Acacia dominates this savannah habitant with the high concentration of candelabra shrub a cactus that grows along the kazinga channel and on the kasenyi plains.
Queen Elizabeth supports at least 95 species of mammals,it boasts of 20 carnivores like the Lion,Leopards, side stripped jackal and spotted hyena among others.
Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is truly a Medley of Wonders!
Murchison Falls became one of Uganda’s first national parks in 1952 At Murchison Falls, the Nile squeezes through an 8m wide gorge and plunges with a thunderous roar into the “Devil’s Cauldron”, creating a trademark rainbow The northern section of the park contains savanna and Borassus palms, acacia trees, and riverine woodland. The south is dominated by woodland and forest patches. Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into vast, palm-dotted savanna. First gazetted as a game reserve in 1926, it is Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area.
The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last of the river’s energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes, and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles, and aquatic birds are permanent residents.
Murchison Falls is notably blessed with over 144 mammals,556 bird species,51 reptiles, and 51 Amphibians. With a great number of African elephants, Murchison falls is impressive all year round. The aerial survey noted over 900 individuals and 1,330 and is at an increase. Historically Giraffes exclusively inhabit the northern sector of the park. Buffalo populations have spiked to over 10,000 while Uganda kobs have leaped to more than 35,000.
The mubara gorilla group was the first to become available for tourism in Uganda in April 1993. Nine groups are now habituated for tourism, and one group for research.
Spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys, Bwindi is the source of five major rivers, which flow into Lake Edward.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rain forests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 459 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked.
This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.
Bwindi is a home to atleast 200 butterfly species including the eight albertine rift endemics.Also a home to many reptiles.
The neighboring towns of Buhoma and Nkuringo both have an impressive array of luxury lodges, rustic bandas, and budget campsites, as well as restaurants, craft stalls, and guiding services. Opportunities abound to discover the local Bakiga and Batwa Pygmy cultures through performances, workshops, and village walks.
Lake Mburo National Park is a compact gem, located conveniently close to the highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda. It is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It’s a home to 350 bird species as well as zebras, impalas, elands, buffalos, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck.
Together with 13 other lakes in the area, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp. Five of these lakes lie within the park’s borders. Once covered by open savanna, this supports the healthy population of Buffalos, Wathhog ,bushpig and hippopotamus. Lake Mburo National Park now contains much woodland as there are no elephants to tame the vegetation. In the western part of the park, the savanna is interspersed with rocky ridges and forested gorges while patches of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of lush riparian woodland line many lakes.
Lake Mburo is notably blessed with over 315 bird species and probably the best place to view acacia-associated birds, Rwonyo is a good zone to see the mosque swallow, blackbellied bustard,bare-faced-go away bird and Ruppell’s starling. A handful of birds is recorded essentially the southern ground hornbill and black throated barbet.