WIT AGENT NANCY continues her escapades in Uganda this week with Africa Wild Explorations.
Last week, it was all about chimpanzee-tracking in Kibale Forest National Park and the ecological initiatives around the Bigodi Community.
Next up, it’s a drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. She’ll stop en route at the Equator, before checking in at the Elephant Plains Lodge. In the afternoon, a peaceful cruise on the Kazinga Channel.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
QENP is one of Uganda’s most popular national parks, and with good reason! You have the high Rwenzori mountains to the north and the remote area of Ishasha to the south. The long waterways of Kazinga Channel run west to east, bookmarked on either end by Lake Edward and Lake George respectively.
This area is a haven for natural beauty: savannah plains with acacia and euphorbia trees, sunken crater lakes, swamps teeming with life. All in all the park is home to more than 90 types of mammals and the highest range of bird species in Africa! Wildlife includes elephants, leopards, hyenas, forest hogs, warthogs, waterbucks, topis, Uganda kobs (a type of antelope) and lions!
Over 600 species of birds flock to the area, drawn to the channel like a magnet: White and Abdim’s Storks, Saddle-billed Storks, Lesser Masked Weavers, Grey-headed Kingfishers, African Mourning Doves, Black-headed Gonoleks, Red-chested Sunbirds, Brown Snake Eagle, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Bateleur, African Harrier Hawk, Grey Kestrel, Great White and Pink-backed Pelican, Great Cormorant, African Open-billed Stork, Knob-billed Duck, African Jacana, African Fish Eagle, African Skimmer and Grey-headed Gull.
- Elevation: 900-1845 m (2953-6053 ft)
- Size: 1978 sq km
- Habitat: Medium altitude moist semi-deciduous forest, moist thicket, riparian forest, riverine bushland, open woodland, open grassland, seasonal and permanent swamps, lakes and rivers.
- Best time to travel: All year round. Thanks to the location on the equator, Uganda has a tropical climate. Rainfall occurs regularly, with a peak in the months of April-May and November.
You can imagine, the Equator is a popular photo op in the park. This memorable line that divides north and south hemispheres is marked by a large circle. Don’t forget your camera to snap a shot!
The river runs 32 km through Queen Elizabeth National Park, linking Lake Edward and Lake George. The vibrant water attracts a varied range of animals, elephants to buffalos, baboons to waterbucks, Nile crocodiles and one of the world’s largest concentration of hippos. It’s also teeming with birds, such as pelicans, fish eagles, kingfishers, cormorants, and saddle-billed stork. It’s a fantastic afternoon seeing these creatures live, breathe and move in their natural habitat, as you’re led by a knowledgeable guide.
Elephant Plains Lodge
The luxury lodge is a brand-new hotel perched at 941 meters high on the western escarpment of the Albertine rift in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Lodgers are rewarded with panoramic views of 80 acres of grassland, and the beautiful lake Kikorongo, a favorite waterhole for elephants.
From the lodge, guests can enjoy loads of wilderness activities, such as game drives in the Kasenyi Plains, wildlife viewing at Mweya Peninsula and Nyamunuka Crater Lake, chimp tracking in Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Forest Walks in Maramagambo Forest, and tracking tree climbing lions in Ishasha.