User Reviews – Queen Elizabeth NP

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Overall rating
3/5

Very dry, quite flat not so exciting National Park. Unfortunately very limited wildlife sightings.

Overall rating
3/5

Had a major highway running along the park. Not a large variety of wildlife in our area. Was underwhelming again.

Overall rating
3/5

They started a burn the day we got there so it was smokey and there weren't a lot of animals around.

Overall rating
3/5

Maybe was the season, i don't know, but we couldn't see the tree lions. It's very difficult. Also you can see hipos and elephant. Not giraffe here

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.

Overall rating
3/5

I would return to the southern Ishasha sector even though we didn't see any tree climbing lions as it felt like there was more wildlife in this area. The northern part was less spectacular with the exception of the volcanic lakes.

Elephants and hippos galore!
Overall rating
3/5

Recently we went to Queen Elizabeth (QE) for the second time in eight years. It's one of Uganda's classic parks and a staple of wildlife tourism. Although my experience of the park is highly suggestive, I can give a perspective. I've been to Murchison, Mburo, and Kidepo several times, and each park has its strengths and weaknesses.

We approached QE from the south where you get a breathtaking view of the park from atop the escarpment. From there on, though, the road deteriorates severely. The tarmac main road through the park toward Kasese is liked a bombed-out runway, really disappointing for Uganda in general. My thought was that those responsible should be ashamed at how they've let the place go downhill. Another example of that is the tourist center inside the park. It's old. It's outdated. It's kind of pitiful. It looks like the park authorities haven't invested a dime in the place since it was built decades ago. Meanwhile they have made millions of dollars off it. That doesn't bode well for the management of the park. This makes me really sad. President Museveni boasts about making Uganda the 'Switzerland of Africa' but his government can't manage to maintain one of its greatest natural resources.

We did one game drive, in the morning. When we got to the gate, there was no one there. I honked, yelled, and looked around to no avail. So we opened the gate ourselves and started our game drive (we later paid at the tourist center but could have easily done our drive and left without paying!). In terms of animals, we didn't see much variety: hippos, elephants, warthogs, and waterbuck. That was about it in the wooded area that we were in. But we did see some cool things like three hippos running across the road in broad daylight, and later a hippo soaking in a mudhole, also in broad daylight. Almost every loop we turned down, we came across elephants. It seemed like they were everywhere. This made me a little jittery as I've been charged a few too many times.

Mid-morning we went to Mweya peninsula where we paid our dues and took tea at Mweya Lodge, which by all appearances is a very lovely place (too bad we can't afford it!). Even as someone who just goes in and out of amateur birdmanship, I could tell that the place was teeming with bird diversity.

Our lodging was the The Bush Lodge, a very pleasant luxury tented camp on the south side of Kazinga Channel. We were pleased with almost every aspect of the place. Lots of birds around. We saw a giant forest hog among the tents on the first evening and heard hippos around the clock. The food and accommodations were very much worth what we paid. One downside was that the local town was just up the channel, and its sound carried down to the camp for much of the day and night. So our experience of hippos and hyenas was mixed with discos, Muslim calls-to-prayer, and the incessant noise of heavy trucks crossing the bridge.

Later in the day we took a boat ride from The Bush Lodge, using local boatsmen instead of the companies. I really like injecting money in their pockets instead of the wealthy tour companies. The flipside is that the boat itself was a bit of a clunker, emitting noxious fumes for two hours that gave me a terrific headache! But our guide was knowledgeable without being annoying, and even the driver was a pleasant chap who also knew his birds. We saw hippos and hippos and more hippos, around every bend in the river. We also saw buffalo, elephant, bushbuck, warthogs, and several dozens species of birds.

So all in all it was a mixed-bag type of safari. Some animals we saw lots of, others none. The park has no zebra or giraffe, which is kind of a bummer. Lions were around but we didn't see them, nor leopards (much to my chagrin as the leopard is my 'holy grail' of wildlife). It was disappointing to see how neglected the park seems to be, from the condition of the main road to that of the park facilities to the fact that no ranger could be found at a main gate. It's like they are taking the park and what is provides for granted. That cannot be sustainable. Still,it's a lovely place, and any time one gets the chance to see those great animals and the teeming birdlife in the wild, it's a privilege and one I'd never want to complain about (apart from minor human-related quibbles).

Overall rating
3/5

I visited Queen Elizabeth only briefly and likely didn't get the full experience. Unfortunately, we didn't have much luck seeing wildlife. We did, however have a nice camping and dining experience.

Picturesque views, great camping and a perfect layover between seeing chimps and gorillas
Overall rating
3/5

As far as traditional, savannah type game parks, QENP is one of Uganda's few options. The park's beauty and open landscape is a nice change from the more typical forests in the south west of the country, however, in many respects - e.g. wildlife and vastness - QENP lags far behind parks in neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania. But if you were looking for the standard safari experience you probably wouldn't be looking at Uganda in the first place!

QENP is definitely worth a visit and it's location between Kibale and Bwindi/Mgahinga make it an ideal place to spend a night between seeing the more impressive chimps and gorillas of the other parks. Because the wildlife is rather sparse in the park, grab a guide from the front gate if you must see the leopards and lions, otherwise do what we did and take a relaxing drive through the many tracks along the craters to enjoy the scenery while searching for the herds of elephants, buffalo and other animals.

As for accommodation, I highly recommend camping inside the park if you have the gear - great views, inexpensive and a nice way to experience the park. Don't worry about breakfast as there is a restaurant about 5 minutes from the campsite with an amazing view over the lake.

Considering this isn't Uganda's forte, the park offers some surprising moments and picturesque views. As long as you're not expecting the Maasai Mara, it will add to your experience of the country.

Overall rating
3/5

A enourmas park, but less animals.

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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