User Reviews – Queen Elizabeth NP

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Fantastic wildlife experience in an overly complicated park
Overall rating
4/5

Queen Elisabeth National Park is one of the most popular safari destinations in Uganda, but still you can go there and have the feeling you were one of the very few people around. The park offers many activities, from Jeep safaris to bird watching and chimp tracking. I started my day in QE with the latter, but days before actually getting there, I had to go through an overly complicated process of bureaucratic steps, arrangements and phone calls to make my reservations. It was almost as if they just made things as difficult as possible, so that you would just get so frustrated that you'd simply book an all inclusive arrangement at a tourism agency. Which, as a simple budget backpacker, I obviously didn't want.

This continued as I arrived at the chimp tracking site on a motor taxi. As it turned out, my reservation hadn't come through at all. Luckily I was able to take somebody else's place. Then there was the problem of my transport. I didn't have my own car, even though that's usually a requirement for the Chimp tracking safari, since the tour guide has to bring us to a yet to be defined location in the park (and of course the company doesn't have its own transportation). Unfortunately none of the at least six people I spoke to over the phone to try and make a reservation, had the courtesy of telling me this. Again luckily, I was able to drive along with another tourist who did have his own car.

The Chimp tracking safari itself turned out to be amazing. Our tour guide, Stephanie, lead us through a lush piece of rainforest in the beautiful Kyambura gorge, sharing all sorts of information with us about the things we stumbled upon. The site wasn't the ideal place in Uganda to do Chimp tracking (this is most likely Kibale Forest NP), and we were aware of the reasonable possibility of not finding any chimps at all. After a three hour walk uphill, downhill, through bushes and pools of mud in the middle of the jungle, our guide finally spotted several chimps in the distance. Before that, we had already seen a wide range of tropical birds, hippos, baboons, crocodiles, velvet monkeys and an elephant. Even without the chimps it would've been worth the $50. Our guide was an absolute genius and the scenery was beyond beautiful

Almost every other activity happens all the way on the other side of the park, which is about an hour and a half away by car from the chimp tracking site. In the meantime you drive through scenic pieces of savanna, where elephants play games with each other, gazelles graze freely and baboons block the road just to take the piss out of you. Passing the main gate, you arrive at the Mweya peninsula, where you can find a tourist information office, a gas station, a cute restaurant/bar and a wide range of hotels and hostels. I can't judge any of these accommodations as I haven't spent a night in any of them, but the general opinion seems to be that they are remarkably good and well priced for national park standards. The scenery around here is once again brilliant, as you're surrounded by beautiful nature on one side and the stunning lake Edward and the Kazinga channel on the other side.

At the end of the afternoon I went downhill to the shores of the channel, to do the Channel launch trip. This is being done in a standard type touring boat in groups of about 20 people. This was an absolutely amazing experience not many other moments during my time in Uganda can compete with. From the upper deck of the boat I was able to see loads of elephants, hippos, African buffalos, crocodiles, gazelles and monitor lizards on the shore of the channel, living in peace with each other and not caring the slightest bit about us tourists coming so close. Our tour guide was a slightly nervous, but funny man, who enthusiastically provided us with tons of information about literally everything that moved around us. Lastly, seeing the sun setting above the horizon over Lake Edward was a very nice bonus.

Going back wasn't as much a pain in the ass getting there, but only because the staff of the fancy Mweya Safari Lodge were so kind to help me getting a taxi and use their phone to call him, even though I wasn't even a guest of theirs. The taxi brought me to the village of Katunguru, near the main entrance next to the freeway, seperating one side of Queen Elisabeth from the other. From there I was able to take public transport back to civilization.

All in all, Queen Elisabeth National Park provides some of the best tourist attractions in the whole country, for better prices than your average safari in Kenya or Tanzania. It's a major hassle to get there, and dealing with all the complications and the bureaucracy isn't easy if you're on a tight budget, but there's no doubt it's very much worth it.

only reviewed the park from my computer,but i certainly recommend a personal visit if possible.
Overall rating
5/5

I am a 90 year old male. I am no longer able to get around as I did when I was younger. But what I have seen from my computer has convinced me that I would encourage my friends and relatives to visit Queen Elizabeth
National Park if possible.

Wilderness Adventure Camp
Overall rating
5/5

On the Western border of Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the largest parks in Uganda, and is home to a myriad of wildlife and geographical features. My personal experience at Queen Elizabeth National Park was at an outdoor wilderness camp near the city of Ishasha.
The lodge we stayed at was called Wilderness Adventure Camp. The lodge was a beautiful large dining hall, open to the wild on three sides. It also is on the shore of the Ngtungwe River, which as the guide says has an old resident hippo (and you will probably hear it grunting throughout the night).
One of the most unique features was the sleeping arrangements... Tents. I was very excited to go camping on the savannah (although in reality you are in more of a jungle than a plain). To my delight, the tents were incredibly clean, relatively bug free and had a porta-potty within. They were actually cleaner than many of the upper end resorts I stayed at.
The game drive started out quite well, one of the first sights you see is the natural destruction caused by elephants. If you think teenage vandals are bad, you should see what a bored herd of elephant can get up to!
All the normal animals you'd expect to see are there: oribies, antelope, buffalo, waterbuck, warthogs, monkeys, baboons. The big draws are the elephants and lions. Oh wait, did I say lions, I meant tree lions!
That was definitely the highlight of the park for me. I never thought I would get to see lions hanging out in a tree. Hell, lions sleeping on the ground are pretty cool in my book. To up the ante even more, our guide had tea and coffee for us so we sat in our vehicle under a lion having tea and cookies.
The drive ended with us returning to the lodge at dusk with a storm raging behind us over the Blue Mountains in the Congo. It was one of the most beautiful and memorable experiences of my life.

Dont waste yr Time and MONEY
Overall rating
1/5

I still recovering from the disappointment. QUEEN ELIZABETH PARK has almost no wildlife at the moment. One pays a lot to see nothing around even if one drives for hours. Even antelopes, which are normally abundant, are rarely seen therefore spotting the lions is almost impossible. The guides and the company rep, only after your first hours of game drive, start telling that it s been years not much animals are seen in the park n the government needs to open new tracks. My guide even lied to us about the number is lions in the parks. There are many villages within the area of Queen Elizabeth hence wild animals are destroying people crops and livestock n sometimes kill people and in revenge lions have been killed decreasing the numbers in the park. I would say don't fall into the trap unless you want to waste your money and time driving around an almost wildlife less park.
The park is huge and the number of animals are insignificant comparing to the massive area of the park. Won't recommend it to anyone.

Speechless!
Overall rating
5/5

This was my first time in Uganda, and I arrived at Queen Elizabeth within days of entering the country. I felt like my brain stopped forming coherent thoughts except thinking "sensory overload" over and over. As my first ever safari experience, I found Queen Elizabeth expansive, especially from the view at Kingfisher Lodge where I stayed. My guide, Herbert, was booked through Moses Tours, and he was so hospitable about showing me all that we could see within a day (that's all the time I had). But, by the end of my one-day safari, I had over 2000 photos of all kinds of wildlife (incl. almost 70 bird species). The only times when I saw a lot of other tourists was when Herbert took me to view a young lion pride and when I boarded a ferry to tour the Kazinga Channel. I had a great time, and my boss told me that any future safaris are going disappoint me after this incredible first experience.

Rift valley, Lions, Plains, Lakes, good night sleep, Nile Special, Good Food.
Overall rating
5/5

Mission Safari

One week from UK into the sunshine.

Party

David = 60 = Experienced
Chris = 30+ David Son = Second Safari to Uganda
Katie = First Trip to Africa = Safari
Moses = David’s regular guide & fixit +256774078821

Plan

Relax, not try to do too much, hobby is photos & generally seeing what comes.

Advice

Your guide is key, I have been with Moses many times, he is the fixer, arranger, driver, knows the people & hence can get the location from James the Ranger of where the cats are etc. Sit back.
Note that Uganda Tours are a bit like a spider web, everything comes to the centre ( Kampala )
Travel along the Radius, the spiral threads may be difficult
Lake Mburo & QE is good
Or ZIWA Rhino Reserve & Murchison Falls is good
Avoid Kampala traffic jams
Chris has been in both directions and chose the route.
Lake Mburo National Park has a family of Giraffe which is a big bonus, must make it the best park for location. We did hear a lion that is reputed to take up residence.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a wonderful reliable park, Uganda is looking after wildlife well, the Elephants are tusked and in peak condition and on my last two visits have seen Lions close up and Leopard.


AIMS

None set – no time schedule – allow the good things to come

Equipment

Insect Repellent 50% DEET Pump Spray
Fuji XS1 Camera ( tried & trusted )
Fuji X PRO 1 & XC 50 to 230mm lens ( First Safari )
Fuji XA1 & XF 28mm Lens for Landscapes
Monopods

Medicine

Mefloquine weekly tablets

Transport

Emrates Newcastle, Dubai, Entebbe
Uganda ground transport Toyota HiAce Manual 4 Wheel Drive
Fuel : Moses took 800,000 shillings

Security

Met at Entebbe Airport by Moses & accompanied until back to EBB

Finance

50% Sent via Moses to various camps, car rental etc.
Rest cash on arrival & as spent.
Most fees are US dollars ( Hotel Nights / Uganda Wildlife Fees )
Uganda Shillings for Vehicle, Guide ( Daily Rate ) , Meals, Roadside Expenses, Beverages

Itinerary

Day 1 Newcastle Dubai
Day 2 Dubai Entebbe
Stay Entebbe Lakeside 2 Friends / Andrieta
Note $100 Visa on arrival may change to electronic internet fee
Day 3 Entebbe to Mabamba Wetlands 1 hour
Mabamba Wetlands Boat Trip 2½ hours
Guide Ismail = Despite the hard work of Ismail and the boat man poling the boat over beds infested by water lily roots we failed to see the elusive Shoebill Crane. Otherwise a good boating trip.
Mabamba Wetlands to Lake Mburo National Park via Equator 5½ hours
Lunch at Equator & Photos
Stay at Eagles Nest
Eagles Nest is tented accommodation at a hill top with a central restaurant serving good food & cold beverages.
Recently refurbished you get a good night sleep, it is now fitted with solar hot water and flushing toilets.
We had a dark night and stars, so dark, stars so bright, Venus almost cast a shadow before dawn.
Till you see a night like this you do not realise there is no space between the stars.
Note the track to the hill top requires a strong vehicle with 4 wheel as it is very steep, a well found two wheel may make it. Our Hiace would not entertain two wheel to get up.

Day 4 Lake Mburo Safari & Boat Ride
Bushback, Croc, Zebra, Hippo, Impala, Giraffe, Buffalo, Waterbuck
Stay at Eagles Nest
Day 5 Lake Mburo National Park to Queen Elizabeth National Park 5 hours max
Katunguru Community Boat Ride along banks of Kazinga Channel
( note no park fee ) as the community is outside park $15/person 2 hours
Guide very good = boat old but presently sound
Hippo = Crocs, Elephant, Cape Buffalo – Kingfishers, Gulls, Cormorants, Herons, Eagles, etc.
Buy Park Tickets for Two Following Days at Queen Elizabeth Pavilion
Note – important to get this right, a card system operates – communication link with Kampala can be a problem & one does not want to waste Safari Time on paperwork – we had time for a coffee whilst this was completed.
Stay at Engiri Game Lodge – Lion Roars in the night
Taking my younger family members to QE Park to see the Lions I set my Guide Moses Wabwire
( +256774078821 ) to find a more pocket friendly stay than Kingfisher at the top of the escarpment. He came up with this wood & nails camp where the accommodation is in self contained cottages ( a cabin on stilts ). Each cottage has 2 twin beds ( 4 persons would be tight but ideal for a young family ) we were in two which was comfortable. Service was out of this world, greeted with hot tiles every time we appeared, the almost set menu very well cooked. Power was Solar/Generator - Running Water was not heated - hot water delivered to the cabin in plastic jerry cans if you needed it, Jan Temps we had no need. Cold beers, sodas etc. available. Bedding clean, towels, little imperial leather soaps, Sure you get the idea, note the property is bush and those travelling with children take care with the nails! not a biggie - but better have the warning. The rating considers the full board price paid. Location, short drive to national park gates but outside regulated area. Liked the sound of elephants trumpeting at night. Its a wildlife area and the security escort you to the room after dinner. I think the hippo cuts the lawn as I heard him chomping in the night
Day 6
Safari
Brilliant Morning
Hyena – before we entered the park
Lions – cubs, laid down posing for photos. Male nearby.
On way back for lunch we turned about – late lunch – mobile call received and we are off to see a female leopard – the while is snow white against the cactus tree.
Lunch – Rest
Afternoon Game Drive
Elephants – lots and lots of elephants – we watched for over an hour as they cavorted, fed, and crossed the track.
Stay at Engiri Game Lodge – Elephants Trumpet

Day 7
Disaster!
Queens Pavilion onto the Crater Trail for sight seeing.
Trail was rough – as we climbed through the bush land the vehicle was set upon by Tsetse Fly. We cannot outrun them, popup is brought down, no-where to turn around. Hammer Horror swotting the flies that made it inside. Constant guard for the rest of the circuit.
Unable to get out to take photos
Results
Katie will shake off English Fly Attacks, The floor of the van was a tsetse graveyard. You know the hydraulic action machines at fairgrounds – now you can deem them tame. Life experience!
Proceed to Mweya Safari Lodge for cold coke, coffee & check email, internet connection.
Serious Advice

Do not follow Crater Trail until conditions have been assessed!
Lunch
Evening game drive
Endless plains! Monitor Lizard – Leopard Cub
Stay at Engiri Game Lodge – A quiet night

Day 8
Queen Elizabeth National Park to Entebbe
All Day Drive
Evening – Relax – Drinks
2 Friends / Andrieta
Day 9 Morning
Relax
Noon to Airport for EBB DXB
Day 10
DXB to EBB

Overall rating
5/5

We had a fantastic time in the park, they've really kept it so natural.

No scenery and I saw barely any wildlife. Dissapointing
Overall rating
1/5

Not very good, expected more from the reviews. Only saw hippos from a 7 day trip

driving through to hippo hill we didn't see much wildlife only a young bull elephant checking us out
Overall rating
3/5

We stayed at Hippo Hill campsite, it was very rustic could do with an upgrade on washing facilities. The views from camp were beautiful up close to hippo's in the evening , flamingos on the salt lake in the day. We also went on an amazing boat trip that was organised through one of the parks lodges, it was great for birds with elephants on the banks of the river.

Chimps, boating and the savannah all in one
Overall rating
5/5

I visited Uganda with Lake Kitandara Tours for just over two weeks. We had a private vehicle and our driver/guide, Matia, was fantastic!

We stayed at Hippo Hill Camp and Ishasha Wilderness Camp during our time in Queen Elizabeth NP. We also got chance to visit Mweya Safari Lodge and Katara Lodge. Personally I prefer the likes of Ishasha Wilderness Camp, for it's laid back bush camp atmosphere (with luxury little touches) but seeing other camps I understand Uganda offers a range to suit many safari goers from honeymooners to families.

Food was always good and plentiful, all western fare. Cheaper accommodations produced simpler food but still tasty.

The highlight of our time in Queen Elizabeth was seeing tree climbing lions in Ishasha (after a long time searching!); meeting chimpanzees in the Kyambura Gorge - and having a face off with one of the males!; listening to hippos around our tent as we slept and having an amazing birding experience on the Kazinga Channel.

Average User Rating

  • 4.2/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star 40
  • 4 star 41
  • 3 star 10
  • 2 star 2
  • 1 star 2
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