​Overview – Queen Elizabeth NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Uganda.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Uganda.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Uganda.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Uganda.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most popular savannah reserve and has the widest variety of wildlife of any Ugandan park. The variety of habitats includes grassland savannah, forests, wetlands and lakes. This provides the setting for an extensive range of large mammals and primates. Four of the Big Five are present (rhino are absent) and chimp tracking is available.

Best Time To Go January to February and June to July (Dry seasons)
High Season June to September (Peak time for Uganda)
Size 1,978km² / 764mi²
Altitude 884-1,337m / 2,900-4,386ft

Pros & Cons

  • Top wildlife viewing
  • Boat trips on Kazinga Channel available
  • Tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector
  • Chimp trekking available
  • Excellent birding with 600 species recorded
  • The Mweya peninsula area can get busy in high season
  • Main road bisects the park and people live along the boundaries

Queen Elizabeth NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

This is the most reliable park in Uganda for lion, which is particularly common on the grassy Kasenyi Plains, but is more famous for its tree-climbing antics in the Ishasha sector. Huge herds of buffalo and elephant are found in the savannah areas of the park, and an amazing number of hippo inhabit the Kazinga Channel on which daily boat trips are conducted.

Scenery

The park is set against a backdrop of the Rwenzori Mountains. Additional scenic points are Kazinga Channel between Lake Edward and Lake George and at least 10 crater lakes. The most accessible part of the park is open savannah, but large forest areas are open to the public. These include the forested Kyambura Gorge and the extensive Maramagambo forest in the southeast.

Weather & Climate

Queen Elizabeth National Park’s nearness to the equator ensures uniformly warm temperatures throughout the year. Heavy rain that makes some roads impassable is a feature of the region’s two Wet seasons (March to May and August to December). Although there’s no official Dry season, the rainfall decreases somewhat – though rarely entirely – from January to February and June to July.

Best Time To Visit

Brief but drenching rainstorms often characterize the days of the Wet seasons (March to May and August to December), but this is also when the park’s environment is beautifully lush and you can greet migratory birds as they pass through. For chimpanzee trekking, though, visit when the park’s trails are more solid underfoot in the drier months.

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Queen Elizabeth NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Charlotte Beauvoisin  –  
Uganda UG

Charlotte lives in Uganda and is a writer, blogger, volunteer and promoter of birding, conservation and responsible tourism. She writes for Fodor’s, Horizon Guides and Bradt, and runs an award-winning blog.

Queen Elizabeth’s reign continues in Uganda's best safari destination
5/5

If you only visit one National Park in Uganda, visit (what is colloquially known as) Queen. Measuring 1978 km² Queen Elizabeth encompasses crater lakes, savannah, forests, plains, forested gorges, and rivers. Oh yes, and the Equator runs...

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Latest User Review
Karen  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: May 12, 2024
An African adventure I will never forget
5/5

Safari of a lifetime on an affordable budget Accommodation had everything you needed set in stunning waterside location that literally had hypo’s antelope and wart hogs roaming about outside your door Denis is knowledgeable...

Full Review