Luxury safaris to Queen Elizabeth national park
Luxury safaris to Queen Elizabeth national park: It is in the western part of Uganda is the country’s most visited protected area. The national park was gazetted in 1952 to protect a wide range of wildlife species on an area covering 1978sq.km. The national park is a habitat for 95 mammals, 10 primate species, and 600 bird species seen in the savannah type of vegetation.
Queen Elizabeth national park is a perfect location for luxury wildlife safaris in Uganda. It’s a place where tourists can have luxury activities such as game viewing in Ishasha sector, Kasenyi plains, and Mweya peninsular, boat cruise on Kazinga channel, chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge, and bird watching in most of the park areas.
A luxury trip to Queen Elizabeth national park begins with a chattered flight to Mweya airstrip or Kasese airstrip where a good safari vehicle with a driver picks you up and takes you to your booked accommodation facility. The luxury trip also includes luxury activities and at some point, they can even be private.
Activities to do on a luxury safari in Queen Elizabeth national park
Game drives: This is the most done activity on luxury safaris in Queen Elizabeth national park. The park is home to over 95 mammals, 10 primates, and 600 bird species most of which can be seen during game drives. The game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park are done in Mweya peninsular, Kasenyi plains, and Ishasha sector which is famous for being home to tree-climbing lions.
The game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park are done to enable tourists to see as many park animals as they can and by going through different oats of the park, they will be able to see buffaloes, Sitatungas, elephants, topis, lions, defassa waterbucks, buffaloes, bushbucks, spotted hyenas, aardvarks, olive baboons, Nile crocodiles, hippos, giant forest hogs, bush babies, Uganda kobs, banded mongoose, side-stripped jackals and monkeys among others.
Boat cruise: This is an amazing activity you don’t have to miss out on while on a luxury safari in Queen Elizabeth national park. The activity takes place on the Kazinga channel which is the world’s largest water channel linking lake gorge to lake Edward. The boat cruise is a 2-3 hour activity done in the morning and afternoon hours to enable tourists enjoy the cool breeze as well as explore the (ark)
The boat cruise on Kazinga channel helps tourists to see the high number of hippos in the world, crocodiles, water birds such as shoebill stork, papyrus gonoleck, long-tailed cormorants, yellow-billed stork, and African skimmer among others. Tourists will be able to see lake George in the northeast of the park and lake Edward in the southwest of the park.
Bird watching: Queen Elizabeth national park is home to over 600 bid species making it be on the list of the best birding areas. While on a luxury safari to the park, don’t leave minus being part of the birding activities which are done in form of nature walks in areas such as Kazinga channel, Katunguru bridge, Lake Katwe, Lake Kikorongo, Maramagambo forest, Ishasha sector and Mweya peninsular among others.
Birders on a luxury safari in Queen Elizabeth national park will see birds such as African fish eagle, martial eagle, yellow-billed stork, grey-crowned crane, pied kingfisher, brown snake eagle, long-crested eagle, goliath heron, saddle-billed stork, white-browed coucal, three-banded plover, water thick-knee, Egyptian rousette, red-necked francolin, water thick-knee, grey-backed fiscal, common greenshank, and wattled lapwing.
Other notable bird species in Queen Elizabeth national park include African harrier hawk, bateleur, pinked-backed pelican, rufous-napped lark, marabou stork, African jacana, laughing dove, yellow-throated longclaw, woodland kingfisher, black-bellied bustard, white-backed vulture, swamp flycatcher, malachite kingfisher, black crake, slender-billed weaver, pin-tailed whydah, marsh sandpiper, northern grey-headed sparrow, black-headed gonolek, speckled mousebird, black-winged stilt, helmeted guineafowl, ruppell’s starling, and lesser black-headed gull, etc.
The boat cruise also comes with opportunities of seeing some of the park animals in the vegetation around the channel. These animals include buffaloes, waterbucks, Uganda kob, black and white colobus monkeys, sitatungas, vervet monkeys, and many more. They come near the Kazinga channel especially in the dry season because it is where fresh vegetation and water are.
Chimpanzee trekking: Luxury travelers to Queen Elizabeth park can spend some time with the chimpanzees that are found in Kyambura gorge. A few chimpanzees are living in Kyambura gorge and most of these have been habituated to enable tourists to spend 1 hour with them.
To trek Kyambura gorge chimpanzees, you need to get a permit from the park offices or Uganda Wildlife Authority. You will move with this permit to the starting point where the briefing is done. Armed ranger guides lead a group not exceeding 8 people on every shift into the jungle.
The search for endangered chimpanzees takes 1-4 hours and tourists are able to meet different park mammals, primates, and birds. When the primates are found, trekkers are given 1 hour to be around them, learn about their habits, take photos and watch them do daily activities such as hunting, nesting, coupling, and breastfeeding among others.
Best time for luxury safaris in Queen Elizabeth national park
Tourists can have luxury safaris in Queen Elizabeth national park at any time of the year however there are months better than the rest. The dry season from June to September and December to February is when luxury tourists can visit the park because there is little or no rainfall, the game trucks, and roads are in good condition, water levels on Kazinga channel are normal, and the vegetation is tall with good views of different attractions.
Luxury travelers can also have a safari in Queen Elizabeth national park in the rainy season from March to May and October to November since the park is open. Those that visit the park do get huge discounts on accommodation facilities because owners reduce prices to attract a few that are visiting. The season has a lot of rainfall, the roads and game trucks are muddy and the vegetation is tall with unclear views of the wildlife.\
Accessing Queen Elizabeth national park for a luxury safari
Most luxury travelers to Queen Elizabeth national park access it using air transport because it’s comfortable and quick. There are airline companies like Bar Aviation Uganda and Aerolink Uganda which organize flights to the park every day. To fly with these airline companies, you must have booked your seat in advance and this can be done by you or your tour operator.
Flights to Queen Elizabeth national park start at Kajjansi airstrip o Entebbe international airport and land at Mweya airstrip which is inside the park or Kasese airstrip which is outside the park. From the airstrip, there are safari vehicles always ready to transport you to your booked accommodation facilities and these can be from the lodge owners or even your driver guide.
Luxury travelers that are okay with traveling long distances or those that love to explore Uganda can access Queen Elizabeth park using road transport. Uganda has well constructed roads that reach most of the national parks including Queen Elizabeth in western Uganda. The park is located about 380km from the main capital city which is a 7-8 hours’ drive.
From Kampala, tourists can drive through Masaka, Mbarara, Bushenyi to Kasese or drive through Mubende, Kyenjojo, Fort Portal, and Kasese where the park is found. From the surrounding parks like Bwindi, Kibale, and Rwenzori, tourists can get to the park very faster with the different roads.
Accommodation on a luxury safari to Queen Elizabeth national park
Most of the lodges in Uganda including Queen Elizabeth park have luxury accommodation facilities or those that give the best quality services to clients. These include Mweya Safari Lodge, Jacana Safari Lodge, Elephant Plain Lodge, Kitandara Hippo Safari Lodge, Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge, Mazike Valley Lodge, and Ishasha Wilderness Camo among others.