Visit Lake Katwe in Queen Elizabeth national park
Visit Lake Katwe in Queen Elizabeth national park: Lake Katwe is located in a small run down town of Katwe north of Mweya peninsular in Kasese district. This crater lake is located on the outskirts of Queen Elizabeth national park one of the most visited national parks in the country. The lake is located in one of the communities around the park therefore tourists can always take a community tour or nature walk.
Lake Katwe has no aquatic wildlife because of the high concentration of salt. The animals can be seen moving around the lake and there is surrounding vegetation that is home to so many bird species. Lake Katwe is salty because it has a lot of streams that drain into it but has no outlet which means that the intense evaporation during the dry season makes the water become salty.
Lake Katwe is among the oldest sources of coarse salt in Uganda and salt mining is the main activity done here. The lake is full of honeycombs which are extraction plots owned by individuals. Travelers that want to see how salt is extracted out of Lake Katwe can always take a drive to the area. Tourists will find local men and women extracting the salt using their hands.
Katwe community tourism information center is there to help tourists have a once in a lifetime experience of salting mining tour around Lake Katwe. Tourists can always visit their offices at any time of the day and they will give you a guide at a very affordable price. The guide takes you to Lake Katwe where you visit different points, and watch the locals extract salt.
You will interact with these people and get to know how they live their day to day life. The problems or challenges they face, and you will learn from them how salt is formed here get to watching the whole salt mining process. Travelers that want to visit Lake Katwe should know that there is no entrance fee required even though it’s found within Queen Elizabeth national park.
How was Lake Katwe formed?
Lake Katwe and other crater lakes in Queen Elizabeth national park are said to have been formed as a result of several extinct volcanic eruptions that blew off the top of the volcanoes. Ashes went on the sides of the volcanoes and basins were left in the middle to form craters. These craters were filled up with water which led to the formation of volcanic lakes.
Other lakes in the Katwe crater area include Lake Munyanyange which is located not so far from Lake Katwe. This lake is hidden from the view by the enclosing caldera. The lake is a habitat of so many bird species among which include migratory ones. The second lake is Lake Bunyampaka and there is salt mining here but not as much as it is on Lake Katwe. This lake is too saline but thirsty animals like elephants, and buffaloes always visit the area to drink water.
Apart from Katwe crater lakes, Queen Elizabeth national park has got a lot to offer to tourists. The national park has large water bodies like Lake Edward, Lake George, and Kazinga channel which connects these two lakes. These water bodies are home to crocodiles and hippos, and the vegetation around them is home to birds and park animals.
Queen Elizabeth national park is home to 95 mammals and these can be seen during game drive activities. Tourists that are visiting Lake Katwe crater areas can combine the visit with a game drive within Queen Elizabeth national park. Nearby areas are Kasenyi plains and Mweya peninsula however tourists that want to see tree-climbing lions have to visit Ishasha sector.
The wildlife viewing activities within Queen Elizabeth national park will give you a chance to see lions, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, sitatungas, Uganda kobs, spotted hyenas, leopards, elephants, side stripped jackals, olive baboons, monkeys, waterbucks, and bushbucks among others.
Tourists visiting Lake Katwe can also have birding activities within Queen Elizabeth national park home to over 612 bird species. Katwe area is a good birding destination but as well as pther regions like Mweya, Kasenyi, Ishasha, Katunguru, and much more. Bird watching is always a guided activity where armed ranger guides take you to the best spots.
Bird lovers in Queen Elizabeth national park will see bird species such as crested guinea fowl, crested francolin, blue quill, great crested grebe, mourning collared dove, African green pigeon, little swift, African emerald cuckoo, grey crowned crane, African jacana, shoebill stork, eastern plantain eater, grey heron, hadada ibis, water thick-knee, rock pratincole, pacific golden plover, brown snake eagle, and African fish eagle among others.
Chimpanzees are other attractions that Queen Elizabeth has got to offer other than crater lakes. The chimpanzees are found within Kyambura gorge which is on the western side of the park. One chimpanzee group has been habituated here and trekkers are able to visit it and be around it for 1 hour. The trekking activity is organized for those that have chimpanzee trekking permits and they are led in the jungle by armed range guides.
Best time to visit Lake Katwe
Tourists that are interested in crater lakes can visit Lake Katwe at any time of the year however the dry season is the best time to visit lake Katwe. The dry season has little or no rainfall and this means that the roads leading to the lake are in good condition, walking trails to the lake are dry and passable and the water levers here are low. Travelers coming in the rainy season can still take a visit to Lake Katwe in the rainy season because the activities done around there are carried out the whole year.