The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the four national parks where you can see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat in Africa. However one may ask – How did bwindi national park get its name? – The Word Bwindi comes from the local dialect of the people leaving around the Bwindi national Park, for over 500 years, the locals referred to the dense forest harboring the mountain gorillas as Bwindi and the government of Uganda thereafter took over the same name when the park was gazetted as a national park. 

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Started in 1993, with the Buhoma sector being the first to be opened for gorilla trekking after the gorillas where successfully habituated. The gorillas have been an endangered species for several years, however this begun to change when the gorilla parks where made into protected areas and gorilla tourism introduced.

How did bwindi national park get its name?

Uganda Visa Cost – Anyone entering Uganda is required to present or obtain a Uganda visa before they are allowed to proceed beyond the entry points and borders. You can obtain it on arrival at Entebbe international airport or apply for it at the Uganda embassy or a trusted consulate in your country though this can be very tedious. You can as well apply for it online before departing from your home country by completing the e-Visa application form. The cost of a Uganda visa therefore depends on the method one uses to obtain it. All these methods have different prices, applying online can be convenient but you will still be asked to wait in the queue to get to the immigration office so that you are verified that you have the actual visa and also get your passport stamped.

Acquiring the Uganda visa at Entebbe international airport on arrival is the easiest and convenient because it doesn’t require a lot of hustle as well as much processes like it is when filling online forms.

Requirements for applying for Uganda e-Visa

  • Passport personal details scan
  • Last page of passport (if applicable)
  • Yellow fever vaccination card
  • Invitation letter (if applicable)
  • Applicant photo

Cost of a Uganda visa

When planning for your Uganda visa, get informed that there are two options; the uganda Tourist Visa and the East African Visa which cost different prices.

  • Single entry                                         US$50 per person
  • Multiple entry visa 6-12 months     US$100
  • East African tourist visa                    US$100

The East African visa is a single visa that allows you to access three countries Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. It saves you from processing multiple visas to each country. You are reminded that the country through which you apply for the East African visa limits you to visit it first before you proceed to the other two countries. Therefore, when you apply for your visa through the Uganda authority, then you will visit Uganda then to Rwanda or Kenya.

Applying for a Uganda visa online requires you to pay an extra amountof USD 50 which is paid using a credit card.

Lake Opeta Uganda

Lake Opeta is home to interesting wildlife especially birds because of the extensive wetland system which has favorable conditions for the wildlife. It is located in eastern Uganda in Soroti district. Lake Opeta Uganda is a gazetted site, with its swamps and wetlands where bird enthusiasts get thrilled to watch the rare shoebill stork and Uganda’s endemic, the Fox’s weaver.

Lake Opeta is situated in the south of Pian Upe Wildlife reserve and it serves as a refuge for the wildlife from the reserve and the domestic cattle of the Karamajong and Pokot who are nomadic pastoralists from Northeastern Uganda. The lake gets its water from the rains of Mount Elgon and the lake connects to Lake Bisina still through the wetland and both of them drain into Lake Kyoga. During the rainy season, the area floods with lots of water that access becomes quite difficult.

This site has an amazing population of shoebill stork which may not be encountered elsewhere in Africa. Swamps and wetlands around Lake Opeta are comprise of different types of plants including papyrus which hence offering a conducive place for breeding of the Fox’s weaver. The region also has wooded grasslands which also form good habitat for the bird species. This place is being protected so as to rescue the fox’s weaver from getting extinct since it is already threatened due to habitat loss.

Uganda has thirty three (33) Important Bird Areas and Lake Opeta is one of them. Since 2006, this it has been a Ramsar-listed wetland of International importance.

Apart from the fox’s weaver and shoebill stork, Lake Opeta is also a habitat for the papyrus gonolek which is also near-threatened, rufous-bellied heron and over 150 other bird species. This is one of the sites every birder ought to visit. The best time to visit Lake Opeta Uganda for birding and exploration is at the end of the year which is also the dry season and water levels have reduced. However, as its nature of drainage had earlier been described, remember to carry your strong waterproof shoes to ease movement around the area because some parts are muddy.

The lake has narrow waterways which lead you to through marshes that finally take you to wondrous hideouts of several birds. After finding your way through the marshes, it will all be worth it reaching the point where you can spot the Fox’s weaver. You will also learn about other activities done around this lake, for example fishing.

Road distance form Kampala to Lake Opeta takes about 5 hours and a half. It is situated far away for Uganda’s capital Kampala yet in a remote area. Regardless, the site is a beautiful place that has been appreciated by all people who visit it. The tranquility, cool breeze and the green swamps make the site magnificent.

Lake Opeta has been classified as a bird watching site by the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities. However, it is said that the numbers of the Fox’s weaver are continuously dropping since sighting are low these days. Good news is that Nature Uganda is putting effort in raising its number. It secured a grant from African birding Club to help in inspecting areas around Lake Opeta and learn more about the weaver’s population, density, distribution and threats to save the species.

One of the characteristics of the Fox’s weaver is that it is solitary, and the solitude is seen even in the breeding habits. Its nests exist at less than three nests per square kilometer. The Fox’s weaver commonly breeds from April to September while a few of them breed in November. You can identify it by its size, color and length.

Uganda has a range of sites for bird watching but no other place currently records the Fox’s weaver apart from this region.

Hot Air Balloon Uganda

Hot air balloon tours in Uganda: this is on of the activities which are not done in many areas and is not common in Uganda. it was previously taking place in Murchison falls national park and Queen Elizabeth national park but is now done only in Murchison falls national park. These Balloon safaris in Uganda are handled by dream Balloons limited which introduced the activity to the parks after registering and being fully certified by Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, Uganda Wildlife Authority, National Environment management Authority and Uganda Communications Commission. It is important to be certified by all these organizations to ensure that the activity is safe for tourists and not dangerous to the environment including the animals of the park.

Staffs operating the balloons must be well trained. That’s why the pilots working with Balloon safaris in Murchison are allowed to fly these balloons after going through the Uganda and Egyptian Aviation Authorities. Hot air balloon in Uganda is one of the best ways you can explore Uganda’s beauty in Murchison. It is a thrilling experience flying up in the air to watch lions, elephants, buffalos and antelopes right from above them. It offers beautiful aerial views of the open grasslands of Murchison.

The Hot air balloon in Murchison falls national park carries a maximum of eight (8) people. However, these balloons are capable of carrying more than eight people as long as they have are filled with more air because the more the air filled in the balloon, the more the people it can carry. The minimum age for participation in the activity is six (6) because of the height at which the balloon raises to. Flying up to about 10,000 feet above the sea level in an open space may trouble kids below the age of 6. The Hot air balloon permit in Uganda costs US$380 for adults and US$180 for children. The experience of the hot air balloon in Uganda is offers value for money as it gets you to the best location of viewing wildlife in Uganda’s largest national park which is also well known for its dense population of mammals.

Hot air balloon tour is done in the morning and evening hours, just like the time for game drives when the weather is favorable for animals to wander around the savannah grasslands. It therefore offers an opportunity to spot a lot of animals. The driver guide transfers the tourists to the starting point near Paraa lodge on the Paraa side of Murchison falls national park. You have the chance to see the staffs in charge of this tour do some of the things done to prepare for the experience. For example you could have an opportunity to see how they pump air into the balloon and other things.

Before getting on the balloon, tourists are given a briefing about safety precautions and the rules and regulations. This helps to stay safe on the safari and also keeps the name of the company clean. The hot air balloon makes it easy to spot a number of animals that rarely roam in open areas such as lions. You just have to carefully look around till you spot your favorite spot or sightings.

At the end of the flight, you are served breakfast in the bush. Breakfast is well prepared and set by the restaurant staffs of your lodge. It also includes Champagne and this is one of the most wonderful moments you can have on your Uganda safari. However, the evening hot air balloon is not accompanied with a meal.

You can book for a Hot air balloon safari in Murchison falls national park together with other activities such as boat cruise, hiking to the top of the falls and chimp trekking among others.

Budget Lodges and Camps Queen Elizabeth National Park

Budget Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth National Park –Tourists that visit Queen Elizabeth national park should have nothing to worry about accommodation because there are many lodges all around the park ranging from luxury to budget.  The park covers a total land area of 1978 square kilometers, with varying vegetation which are habitats to a range of wildlife including hippos, elephants, buffaloes, warthogs, waterbucks, Uganda kobs, lions, leopards, hyenas and primates among others.  The park has popular sites where interesting activities such as boat cruises, game drives, searching for tree climbing lions and chimp trekking take place. These attractions and activities are the reasons why queen Elizabeth national is ought not to be missed out on your safari in Uganda.

Regardless of the numbers of tourists to the park there are enough accommodations near close to the different major sites, to offer the best accommodation that fit the travelers’ budgets for the best experience on their Uganda safari. Popular places of Queen Elizabeth national park include Mweya where activities including boat cruise, birding, mangoose tracking and nature walks take place, Kyambura area where visitors do chimp trekking, bird watching, nature walks and scenic viewing, Kasenyi in the north of the park is famous for game drives, Ishasha in the south of the park has the park’s major attraction the tree climbing lions. There are a number of budget accommodations around these areas so that clients will spend their night there and catch their scheduled tour activities on time. Budget accommodations in Queen Elizabeth national park include;

Engiri game lodge

Engiri Game lodge is located in Katunguru withing Queen Elizabeth national park. it is situated about 300 meters off Mbarara-Kasese road, near Kazinga channel which is a home for thousands of hippos. The lodge is near the park’s sites including Mweya, Kasenyi, Kyambura and others and guest can easily connect there and back to the lodge in a short time and have enough time to relax at the lodge. Accommodation at Engiri Game lodge is provided in;

  • Family cottages which are made up of a bedroom with a king bed and twin beds, a living room, kitchen and is self contained with bathrooms and toilets. It accommodates four (4) adults and three (3) children.
  • Basic cottages, they have double or twin beds and bathrooms
  • Basic tents are situated strategically overlooking then gardens of the lodge. The tents do not have beds but mattresses are provided. Each tent accommodates two adults and one child. They have showers.

Other facilities and services at the lodge include;

  • A well stocked bar
  • Restaurant and an English breakfast
  • WiFi in public areas
  • Designated smoking areas
  • Laundry services

Simba safari camp

Simba safari camp is located near the equator crossing area at the border of Queen Elizabeth. It is situated on a hill overlooking the vast savannha of Queen Elizabeth and Lake Kikorongo. Simba safari lodge is near the park’s areas which are famous for their exciting activities; Kasenyi for game drives, Mweya for boat cruise, birding and nature walks, Kyambura for chimp trekking and Kikorongo for a moment at the equator crossing line and birding.

Accommodation is provided in;

  • Family cottages with two bedrooms, king size bed, twin beds, an extra bed, a bathroom, a living room and a wide veranda. It accommodates a maximum of 5 people.
  • En suite rooms, these are double/twin and triple rooms. They have double beds, single beds and twin beds. They are spacious and comfortable with bathroom and toilets and a veranda.
  • Dormitory rooms with comfortable beds on deckers, there are dorms with 3 double deckers, 5 double deckers and 10 double deckers. They have bathrooms with hot and cold running water.
  • Campsite, there is well situated campsite at Simba safari camp where you can saty using your own camping equipment. It offers a lovely night under the bright stars with good security.

Other facilities and services for guests at the lodge include;

  • Delicious meals at the restaurant
  • A well stocked bar
  • A large lounge area
  • WiFi in public areas
  • Security

Pumba safari cottages

Pumba safari lodge is situated in Kyambura area of Queen Elizabeth national park. It consists of self contained cottages with comfortable beds. It offers beautiful views of the park and you can spot some of the animals of the park such as elephants and others.

Facilities and services offered by the lodge include;

  • Tasty food at the restaurant
  • A well stocked bar
  • WiFi in the public areas
  • A coffee shop
  • Laundry services

Tembo safari lodge

Tembo safari lodge is located in Katunguru, Queen Elizabeth national park near Kazinga channel. This is therefore one of the accommodations to stay at if you want to enjoy the spectacular views of Kazinga channel. The lodge offers has basic rooms and cottages. Basic rooms have comfortable beds, private bathrooms and are kept neat by the housekeepers daily. Cottages on the other side has twin rooms that are spacious and self contained.

Other facilities and services at Tembo safari lodge include;

  • Delicious meals at the restaurant
  • Well stocked bar
  • Free internet in public areas
  • Satellite TV

Kazinga channel View resort

Kazinga Channel View resort is located in Katunguru near Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth national park. The lodge offers accommodation in Bandas. There are single and double cottages which are self contained. It also has a camping site where visitors are required to carry their own camping equipments. The lodge is situated in an area which enables guests to easily access other areas for game drives, boat cruise, chimp trekking, forest walks, bird watching and others. The lodge offers spectacular views of the surrounding including Kazinga channel. Facilities and services offered by Kazinga Channel view include;

  • A restaurant
  • A well stocked bar
  • Free internet
  • Laundry services

Mweya hostels and cottages

Mweya hostels and cottages are located on Mweya peninsular in the heart of Queen Elizabeth. They are under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority and have been made affordable for guests who need budget accommodation on their safari to this wonderful park. Both Mweya safari hostels and the cottages are spacious and self contained with bathrooms and flushing toilets. Mweya safari hostels accommodate families of more than 5 members, with a living room, kitchen and a veranda. Facilities and services offer by the accommodations include

  • A restaurant
  • A well stocked bar
  • Free internet
  • Housekeeping services

River Ishasha lodge

River Ishasha lodge in located in the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth known as Ishasha, the area where the tree climbing lions are found. Booking to stay at this lodge offers an opportunity to enjoy wilderness in the park. It is situated near River Ishasha which gives a cool relaxation and offers nice views of River Ntungwe. It comprises of self contained cottages with comfortable beds.

Facilities and services offered by the lodge include;

  • Restaurant
  • A well stocked bar
  • A lounge area
  • Relaxing area and camp fire

Topi lodge

Topi lodge is located in the wilderness of Queen Elizabeth, close to the gate to Ishasha where the tree climbing lions live. Topi loge enables tourist to enjoy wilderness and offers spectacular views around the park. The self contained rooms of the lodge are comfortable and spacious.

Other facilities and services at Topi lodge are;

  • A restaurant
  • A bar
  • WiFi
  • Housekeeping services

Budget accommodation in Queen Elizabeth national park offer good facilities and services for their guests and ensure that they offer value for guests’ money. We book for our clients that wish to use budget accommodations with the best accommodation providers around the park.

muhabura

Climbing & Hiking Mount Muhabura

Mount Muhabura also called Mount Muhavura is an extinct volcano situated at the border of two East African countries, Uganda and Rwanda. It is one of the eight Virunga volcanoes and is the third highest among them, standing at a height of 4,127 meters above the sea level. Part of Mount Muhabura sits in Mgahinga national park in the far southwest of Uganda and the other part in Volcanoes national park in the northeast of Rwanda. The two national parks are gorilla trekking destinations.

The mountain was named Muhabura, a local Rufumbira/Kinyarwanda word which means “the guide” in Rufumbira and “sentinel” in Kinyarwanda. Mount Muhabura is the steepest of the eight volcanoes and it provides a challenging ascent to hikers. Its first resting point is at an elevation of 3,116 meters above the sea level, the second is at 3,855 meters above the sea level and the you then get to the top which is 4,127 meters above the sea level.

Hikers on Mount Muhabura go through different kinds of vegetation starting with the montane forest at the lower slopes where mountain gorillas live. Unlike Mount Sabinyo which can only be climbed from Uganda, Mount Muhabura can be hiked from both Uganda and Rwanda sides. As you ascend on the mountain, you will have spectacular views of the surrounding including other volcanoes and when you arrive at the top, you will be thrilled to see the beautiful Crater Lake. The mountain offers stunning views of Rwanda’s twin lakes Burera and Ruhondo and many other areas around Rwanda. Hiking to the top of mountain Muhabura takes 6-8 hours, meaning that if you start your hike very early, you are able to ascend to the top and descend back. The hiking time will however depend on your fitness.

In Uganda, Mount Muhabura is the highest among the three Virunga volcanoes which the country shares. The other two are mount Gahinga which stands at 3,474 meters above sea level and Mount Sabinyo at 3,645 meters above the sea level. Mount Muhabura is cone-shaped and this hsape can be clearly seen even from a far.

The steep slopes of the mountain are covered with vast vegetation including shrub and thickets. Regardless, they become muddy and slippery during the wet season when rainfall is often received. Hikers are therefore advised to carry strong waterproof hiking boots. Hiking on mount Muhabura offers opportunities of spotting some of that live around this place such as buffaloes, elephants, different birds and others.

Hiking on Mount Muhabura from Uganda

Hiking Mount Muhabura -Most tourists hike Mount Muhabura after trekking for mountain gorillas in Mgahinga national park. You are required to be at the park headquarters at Ntebeko by 7:00am. You will meet the guide here and get a briefing about the hike and the experience. You can hire a porter in case you need one. At exactly 7:00am, you will start the hike with your armed ranger guide leading you through the trails. The armed ranger guides and also protects you from dangerous animals that you may come across.  The guide will give information about each and everything that you will see including identifying other volcanoes that you will be able to see when you arrive at top.

Hiking on Mount Muhabura from Rwanda

Travelers on a gorilla safari in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda can as well go for mountain climbing on Muhabura after other activities such as gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking and hiking to Dian Fossey tomb. Hikers meet their ranger guide at the headquarters located at Kinigi. Before the hike starts, they are briefed about things they should expect on the way.

Getting there

In Uganda, you can get to Kisoro by road transport or by air and then connect to the park by road. From Kampala, it takes about 9-10 hours to reach the park and 3-4 hours by air and connecting to the park by road.

In Rwanda, after arriving at Kigali international airport, the driver guide transfers you to Volcanoes national park by road. It is a 3 hours drive from Kigali to Volcanoes national park.

Queen Elizabeth national park, has got several attractions that has drawn many tourists in to the park, these attractions, are some of the top most features that travellers come to view and enjoy during their safari visit in Queen Elizabeth national park. queen Elizabeth national park, is the second largest park in Uganda after Murchison national park one of the oldest national park in Uganda, the park is situated in western Uganda in the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rukungiri. Queen Elizabeth national park, is one of the most popular and famous for the tree climbing lions of Ishasha sector and the best spot for visitors taking part in wildlife safaris. The park is savoured with savannah vegetation which is a home to a lot of animal species ranging from primates such as the chimpanzees that can be trekked in Kalinzu forest and Kyambura Gorge of queen Elizabeth national park, Wildlife species such as the Big five game and other animals , birds, the famous tree climbing lions of Ishasha sector at the southern part of Queen Elizabeth national park. Queen Elizabeth national park, was gazetted in 1954 for conservation of the wildlife species roaming in different forests in Uganda, the park was first known as the Kazinga national park, but later during the visit of the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth the 11, the park was then named after the Queen of England. The park to date, has become one of the popular tourist destinations for wildlife safaris and many other activities offered in the park including; game drives, boat cruise at the Kazinga channel, lion tracking experience among others.

Attractions in Queen Elizabeth National

During your safari visit in queen Elizabeth national park, you will be able to view a number of attractions and many other activities to do while in the park, the park has a number of unique attractions that will offer you the best of your visit in queen Elizabeth national park. these include among others.

The primates, Queen Elizabeth national park, is among the other national parks best known to be a home to the primate species, the park harbour a number of primates and serves has one of tourist destination for primate safaris, the park harbours large number of chimpanzees, which has enable chimp trekking at the Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu forest of queen Elizabeth . other primates spotted here include, Black and White colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, Vervet monkeys, L’hoest monkeys, Bush baby, Blue monkeys, Pottos among others.

Wildlife species, queen Elizabeth national park is famous for the tree climbing lions of Ishasha sector, besides that, queen Elizabeth is a home to 95 mammal species namely the Big four of five wild game, including the lions, Elephants, Leopard and Buffaloes. There many other animals seen around the park besides the big five wild game such as; Warthogs, Bushbucks, Waterbucks, Oribi, hippos, Uganda kob, Mongoose, Giant forest hog, Crocodiles among others.  The animals in park are best spotted during the game drives in park, around the Kasenyi plains, Mweya peninsular these areas, offer the best spots for wildlife viewing. Visitors enjoying the boat cruise in Kazinga channel, will also spot other animals in the water such, the Kazinga channel is known to be harbouring a higher concentration of hippos, Buffaloes, crocodiles, water birds seen around the shores and some animals feeding or drinking water around the channel.

Bird species, Queen Elizabeth national park best bird spotting destinations include, Maramagambo forest, Kyambura forest, Mweya peninsular, Kasenyi plains and long the Kazinga channel spotted during the boat cruise in the channel. The park harbours over 600 bird species some of which are endemics and others are migratory birds, Queen Elizabeth is birding paradise for travellers who are in love with birds, this park is the best place to be for bird watching activities, some of the birds spotted here include among others; African Jacana, African green pigeon, Black-headed batis, Long- tailed Cormorant, yellow warbler, Black bee-eater, African Emerald Cuckoo, Purple headed starling, Speckled tinker bird, Yellow- backed weaver, Pied kingfisher, Wattled plover, open billed stork among others.

The Big cats. The big cats ae one of the best attractions of queen Elizabeth national park, the big cats include, leopards, and the tree climbing lions of Ishasha sector in the southern part of queen Elizabeth national park. these lions are mostly found lying on top of the trees as they watch below waiting to catch the pry feeding around the savannah vegetation such as the antelopes among others. Other big cats seen around these areas include; Genal and Civet cats among others seen mostly during the nocturnal game drives along the Mweya Peninsular.

Numerous crater lakes in Queen Elizabeth gives incredible scenery. Having visits at the Nyamununka crater lake, also known as the animal hospital, others frequent the lake to treat their wounds or the aged animals since their waters contain Sulphur. Take a trip to the salt mining craters, Lake Katwe or Lake Bunyampaka. Enjoy the sun set over Lake Edward and Rwenzori’s in the backdrop. Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park is home to the famous tree-climbing lions that choose the branches of acacia trees after the night/early morning hunt they hung on top of the trees looking down on the grazing antelopes. The trees also provide the needed shed from the scotching sun.

The park has a range of habitat for Savannah birds, several crater lakes, wetlands and woods. There are numerous parts in which you go birding, i.e. Region of Kasenyi, peninsula of Mweya, Maramagambo forest and Kazinga.  African mourning dove, Forest flycatcher, Gray headed kingfisher, pin-tailed whydah, slender-tailed nightjar, and collared pratincole are among the bird species to watch out for, also Search for the flamingos in Katwe and Bunyampaka’s salt lakes.

Queen Elizabeth National Park activities- what to do during your visit in Queen Elizabeth national park

Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Game drives in Queen Elizabeth national park, takes place in twice a day that is the Early morning or evenings and these are the best times to go game viewing mainly because the sun is not as hot as it can be during the day and the cats prefer to hunt for pry during these times of the day. During the game drives, you will explore mainly the Kasenyi area, which has the largest concentration of animals seen around these areas like the Kobs, warthogs, Topis, Buffalos, Waterbucks, Leopards, Giant Forest hogs, Elephants as they graze through the Savannah among others. These areas are also famous for big cats because of the high population of Uganda Kobs which they prey on. Game drive to Ishasha sector of queen Elizabeth national park, will expose you to the lions, the tree climbing lions lying on top of the trees looking down on the antelopes grazing through the Savannah grass land. The game drives also enable you to view different bird species around the Savannah and the woodlands. The birds seen here include among others, brown-backed, Scrub robin, long-crested eagle, red throat spurfowl, grey crowned crane, White-backed Vulture, grey-backed fiscal and many more. The game drives are in custom-made vehicles for safari where each occupant has access to a window seat and open roof to enable you have clear views of the animals and all the attractions found in the park.

The nocturnal/ Night game drives, Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the best national parks that offer Night game drives, during the night game drives, the visitors move in Vehicle alongside an armed ranger guide and spotlight to help in clear views of the animals, the nocturnal game drives normally happens around the Mweya peninsular and this is the perfect time to view nocturnal animals like the Genal, Lions, Leopards, Hyenas, Civet, and also a great opportunity to view other animals that you could have missed during the morning game drive.

Boat safaris on Kazinga Channel / Launch trips

The boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth National park takes place in the Kazinga channel, this is water body connecting Lake Edward and Lake George. Kazinga Channel, provides a fantastic game and bird viewing experience, you will have an opportunity to view animal species including, Elephants, Buffalos, Waterbucks, Crocodiles, Bushbucks, monitor lizards seen along the water banks. This are is known for the highest concentration of Hippos as they guard their territories. The Kazinga channel boat cruise, lasts for about 2 hours and starts near the Mweya peninsular. The boats are offered in two shifts that is the morning shift and the afternoon shift. The afternoon boat cruise is the best time for game viewing in Queen Elizabeth national park, during the boat, you will be able to view large number of animals both in the water such as hippos, buffaloes, crocodiles among others and on the banks of the lake including, Uganda Kob, Elephants, Bushbucks, waterbucks among others. The bird life is excellent with numerous bird species including, African jacana, Yellow-backed weaver, Black bee-eater, Papyrus gonolek, Fish eagle, Martial eagle, Pink-backed pelican, Yellow bellied stork, Long tailed Cormorant, Pied Kingfisher among others. Also, along the banks of the lake, you will spot fishermen preparing their nets for night fishing activity.

Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge

Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda, is one of the famous activities in Kyambura Gorge and other site like the kalinzu forest, Kibale forest national park, Budongo forest. Chimpanzee trekking has become one the most popular activity after Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park, chimpanzee trekking involves trekking in the forest in search for the habituated chimpanzee families, habituated meaning that they are used to the sight of humans and will not run away in hiding when you have an encounter with them. Kyambura chimpanzee trekking, takes place in twice in a day that is the morning and the afternoon shift at Kyambura Gorge, also known as the valley of Apes, during chimp trekking, you will be allowed one hour with the chimps in their natural habitat.

 The park is home to the Kyambura gorge, an’ underground’ forest 100 meters below the Kichwaba escarpment that harbours ten primate species, including chimpanzees, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, etc. Tracking chimpanzees must be booked in advance. The odds of seeing the chimpanzees aren’t good, but the experience of walking through the forest is great as you have a lot of things to do and see during the chimpanzee trek.

Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park

The park is a perfect birding attraction in Uganda as it houses 600 species of birds. Lake Munyanyange next to the park is both a wildlife refuge and a migratory location from August to November for the lesser flamingo. There also other bird watching places that include the Kasenyi plateau, the Kazinga Canal Release Cruise, the Kyambura Gorge Mweya Peninsula, the Maramagambo Wilderness, the Katunguru Bridge and numerous lakes in the reserve. Each corner of the park is generally a great place for bird watching. The birds are pretty easy to spot, and as you explore the park and its environment, you should expect great picture photos.

Nature and forest walks

Nature walks id so exciting as you explorer the beauty of the forest with all that lives in it on foot, during the nature walk, you will be guided by the ranger guide for the purpose of safety reasons. The nature walks in queen Elizabeth national park, is done in the Mweya peninsular where you have a great birding and views across Kazinga channel and Lake Edward and some animal species like the Elephants, Mongoose, antelopes, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, among others. with the help of the ranger guide, you have an opportunity to walk along Ishasha River where you have an opportunity to get close to the Hippos, Maramagambo forest, is another famous site where you will be able to spot different bird species, primates, bat cave and some animals like antelopes, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, elephants among others.

C Besides the incredible wildlife, Queen Elizabeth has a rich cultural history with many fishing villages adjacent to the park. Visitors can engage with local communities and enjoy the stories, music and dance. Visitors will interact in local people’s daily activities such as harvesting and cooking a quick meal of vegetables and creating crafts. Community walks and Cultural experiences.

The community initiatives include; Kikongo Women’s Community – for cultural performances of dance, drama, music and fire-making, basket weaving, paper beads.

Nyanzi’ibiri Cave Community – view of scenery around the cave. Historical cave and museum, paddle a canoe, hike to the transparent lake, spot primates and birds among others.

The best time of the year to visit Queen Elizabeth national park

Queen Elizabeth national park is open to visitors through out the year, but the park is best visited during the dry seasons of the year that is from the month of June, July, August, December , January to February, these months receive little or no rainfall at all which has influenced a number of activities to take place including chimpanzee trekking, birding experience, nature walks, boat cruise and others, during this time, the trails are dry and the ground is less slippery  enabling easy access through the  trails and also enables animal viewing since they gather around the water points in the park during the dry season these animal’s, are best spotted during the boat cruise on the Kazinga channel.

Queen Elizabeth National Park can also be visited during the wet season from the month of March, May and September to November since the park is open and all the activities take place regardless of the rain. During the rain season, the park is green with plenty of food and fruits which attracts Many birds and by this time, there will be a lot of Migratory birds.

How to get to Queen Elizabeth National park

The park can be reached either by road transport or air transport.

Road transport, using road transport, the drive you can either take public means, private means or through the tour companies who will organise the transport for you to and from the park. The drive time lasts for about 6-7 hours on road via Masaka, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Kasese and then you will proceed to the park, the other alternative is from Kampala city to Mubende, fort portal, Kasese route, for the travellers opting to use public means, there are buses that offer transport from Kampala via Mubende, Fort portal to Kasese and then you will hire private car that will drive you up to the park headquarters.

Air transport, for travellers who do not want to spend much time on the road, may also opt for air transport, there domesticated chartered flights that offer transport to the travellers visiting the park, the flight offer services on a daily basis from Entebbe air port or Kajjansi airstrip to Kasese or Mweya airstrip situated in queen Elizabeth national park. the flight takes bout 2 hours to get to the park.

For any traveller planning or having interest in visiting queen Elizabeth national park, you can contact us at adventure in the wild safaris and we will help you with all the information you need and also plan and organise the safari for you. You can also take time and look in to some of our tour packages like 2 days queen Elizabeth national park safari, 3 days Queen Elizabeth national park, 4 days Queen Elizabeth national park, among others these safaris, will help you explore queen Elizabeth with all the attractions and the top activities offered for the visitors visiting the park.

Murchison falls national park, is the biggest national park in Uganda. The park is situated in the northern region of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda.  Murchison falls is among Uganda’s best national park to visit. The park harbors abundant wildlife species, different vegetation types, 76 mammal species and also, the park is a home the big five wild game including, the lion, the elephant, buffaloes, leopard and the Rhinos currently gazetted at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary a home for the only reaming Rhinos after they were in extinction due to poaching. Murchison fall has more than just the big five , there are variety of animals spotted around the park besides the big five game that is the giraffe, water-bucks, warthogs, Jacksons, hartebeest, Oribi among others, birding spots with over 451 bird species which include; Albertine rift endemic birds, water birds, and savannah birds. Viewing birds in the scenic landscape and amazing wildlife of Murchison is among the most interesting experiences while on a Ugandan safari. Primates include; chimpanzee in Budongo forest, others include; olive baboon, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys among others. The park is located in the North-western part of the country and covers about 305 km from Kampala hence approximately 5-6 hours’ drive on a good road.

There are several bird species seen around the park, some of which rare, common, and occasional such as the Grey crowned crane (Uganda’s National bird), Giant Kingfisher, Giant Heron, Shoebill stork, Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Nightjars, Marabou stork, Black headed lapwing, Back-bellied Bustard among others.

Birding in Murchison falls national park Uganda

The easiest way to spot birds in Murchison is on a game drive, nature walks through the savannah grasslands, and a boat cruise along the Nile and Albert Delta River. Birds such as the blue napped mouse birds, silver birds, weavers and others can be seen through the dry thorn-shrubs between Paraa and Red chilli. It is possible to see nocturnal birds such as the nightjars along the Paraa road and during the boat on the Nile, while on the boat, you will an opportunity to spot very many birds such as the shoebill, grey crowned cranes, Goliath herons, black headed lapwings among others can be spotted. The birds can be spotted during any of the following activities,

Boat cruise, Murchison falls national park, visitors taking part in the boat cruise will have an opportunity to sight a number of birds. The park offers two boat trips one is the boat trip downstream to the Victoria Nile delta and the boat upstream to the bottom of the falls. The boat trip, will offer you clear views of bird species along the shores of the lake and in the vegetation including, shoebill stork, lapwing, great blue turaco, African jacana, African skimmer, malachite kingfisher, saddle billed stork, fish eagle, Blue headed Coucal among others.

Game drive, game drives in Murchison falls are done either in the morning or evening around the park through the savannah woodland following different tracks. Such as the albert track, Buligi game track and queen’s track where you will be able to view bird species like, Abyssinian ground hornbill, black bellied bustard, marabou stork, weaver birds among others.

Guided nature walks, the guided nature walk involves walking in the forest on foot, during nature walk, you will get off the car and walk through the forest as you view the beautiful scenic features, vegetation, where you will be able to spot different bird types around the forest. The nature in Murchison falls, is done following the trails such as the swamp trails, Budongo forest, top of the falls, Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forest. During the nature walk, you will be able to view the birds at a close range. birds spotted here include; Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Black-billed Barbet, Long-tailed Nightjar bird, Weaver Birds, Yellow-billed Stork, Martial Eagle, Silver bird among others.

Best time for birding

Bird watching is conducted all through the year although the best time is in January-March months during the dry season, this time in Uganda is a low tourist season, but birding is still plentiful. The rains commence from December-February and birding is still possible There are heavy rains from April-May and from August-October, which makes it difficult for bird watching as the hiking trails are muddy and the park’s roads are impassable. The shoebill is the most outstanding attraction of the park, though uncommon, but it can be seen during the dry season from January to M arch. Around November and May, migratory birds can be seen a round the park, best time for bird watching activities.

List of some of the birds found in Murchison falls

Shoe bill

African Darter

Giant Kingfisher

Osprey

Long-toed Plover

Grey-headed Kingfisher

Veracious Dove

Black-headed Lapwing

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

Rock Pratincole

Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird

Black-billed Barbet

Long-tailed Nightjar bird

Weaver Birds

Yellow-billed Stork

Martial Eagle

Silver bird

Gray crowned crested crane

Sandpipers

Pied Kingfishers

Standard-winged Nightjar

Malachite Kingfishers

Blue-headed Coucal

Denham’s Bustard

Birding Swamp Flycatcher

Giant Heron

African Jacana

Secretary Bird

Read-throated Bee eater

Saddle-billed stork

Senegal Thick-Knee

Red winged Grey Warbler

What to carry

What to carry on your Murchison falls national park birding safari

  • Backpack, this is very essential as it helps you carry all the necessary equipment you will need for your birding safari in Uganda.
  • Binoculars, this will help you to view the distant birds
  • Camera and extra batteries, the camera is useful as it helps you take photos of birds for memories during your birding safari in Uganda’s Murchison falls national park.
  • A bird guide book, the guide book, will help you to identify different bird species and the actual destination in the park where the birds can be spotted. The guide book can be purchased at the park while you are going for the bird watching activity.
  • Light clothes and shoes, mostly during the dry season to enable you move you freely and comfortably during the trek in the forest, but also remember to carry a warm jacket since the rains are un predictable.
  • Hat and sunglasses, these will protect you from the sun’s rays
  • Energy giving snacks and enough drinking water to boost the energy and to keep you hydrated.
  • Also remember to carry items like insect repellent, malaria drugs so as to help you in case you get ill during the safari.

Murchison falls national park birding safaris, offer you great memories and enjoyable trip, you can also combine your birding safari with some out stunning activities like , hot air balloons game drives where you will view many animals in the park such as elephants, buffaloes, water bucks, warthogs, lions, leopards, Uganda kob, giraffe, among others, also chimpanzee trekking , in Budongo forest, boat cruse where you will spot water animals like the hippos, crocodiles, and some animals along the water banks feeding and drinking water.

 Ishasha sector is situated in queen Elizabeth national park, and its one of the top visited destinations in queen Elizabeth national park, queen Elizabeth national park, is the second largest national park in Uganda after Murchison falls national park, the park is situated in western Uganda and its one the most visited area because of its unique attractions such as the Ishasha sector is famous for the tree climbing lions as well as Savannah grassland with acacia and fig tree species, the riverine forest, with magnificent landscape that will offer you clear views of the wildlife roaming around the Savannah grasslands, which makes Ishasha one of the unique destinations compared to other regions in Uganda. The Ishasha sector of queen Elizabeth national park, is famous due to the following attractions.

The tree climbing lions of Ishasha sector

Queen Elizabeth’s tree-climbing lions are one of the main sights and are the star of all the safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The lions are often seen sitting on the acacia and the fig trees, looking down on the antelopes feeding on the savannah grasslands. The presence of these animals such as the kobs, have attracted the lions and the leopards in to the area as away of looking for food.

The other main reason as to why the lions of the Ishasha sector in queen Elizabeth national park, climb and stay up on the trees is that, during the dry season, the ground gets hotter which is reason enough why the lions climb on trees trying to escape the heat on the ground. They also climb trees as away of relaxation after the days hunt. They also hang on trees as they look down on the antelopes roaming around the forest, the big trees have since been used as a spying area for lions waiting to catch the animals for food.

Other animals

Besides the tree climbing lions, the Ishasha sector of queen Elizabeth national park, also harbours other animal species like the forest elephants, buffalos, Topi, Uganda Kob, Warthogs, Waterbucks, Hippos mainly sighted during the game drives along the Ishasha sector of queen Elizabeth national park.

Birds. Ishasha sector, offers one of the best bird watching destination in queen Elizabeth national park, the park harbours different bird species that can be spotted along Lake Edward among other, tourist on bird watching activities, will be able to sight bird species such as; African Darter, Giant Kingfisher, Osprey, Long-toed Plover, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Veracious Dove, Black-headed Lapwing, Abyssinian Ground, Hornbill, Rock Pratincole, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Black-billed Barbet, Long-tailed Nightjar bird, wood pecker, Vulture, African green pigeon, white headed barbet, Grey-backed, fiscal among others. Visit the Ishasha sector of queen Elizabeth, and you will absolutely love the birding safaris in Uganda.

When to visit Ishasha sector

The park is open to travellers through out the year, and the activities in the park do not stop ,its done at any time of the year, although the best time for bird watching is during the dry season from the month of June, July, September, August , December and February ,these month are recorded to be having low or rainfall received at all. These allows clear viewing of the birds in the open Savannah vegetation, during the dry season, the vegetation is short, enabling you to view the birds. Also, it’s the best time for game drives around the park where you will be spot several animals roaming in the park. During the dry season, the trails are dry and less muddy making the park easily passable.

Accommodation in Ishasha sector of queen Elizabeth national park

The park offers comfortable accommodation, ranging from luxury, midrange, and budget accommodation for the clients, the lodges include; Marafiki safari lodge, Enganzi Game lodge, Mweya safari lodge, Engazi lodge, queen Elizabeth bush lodge among others. The lodges offer quality accommodation and specious rooms for the guests who come to the lodge, they offer quality services ranging from bar and restaurants serving both local and international dishes, fire place , internet services, craft shops in case you will need to purchase some craft items among others.to give you the best of your stay during your safari visit at the Ishasha sector of queen Elizabeth national park.

How to get to Ishasha sector

The Ishasha sector can be reached by either the means of road transport or air transport, if you decide to use road transport, the drive time will take approximately 8-9 hours on a good road, from Kampala the capital city of Uganda, via Mubende, fort portal to queen Elizabeth national park then you will connect to Ishasha sector .from lake Mburo national park, the drive time takes about 6 hours, form Bwindi impenetrable forest national park to Ishasha sector, the drive time takes about 2 hours, you can also reach Ishasha sector, through Mweya peninsula in queen Elizabeth national park and drive time takes about 2 hours to reach the Ishasha sector of queen Elizabeth national park.

By air, there are domesticated chartered flights offering flights to queen Elizabeth national park, you can book a scheduled flight from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Mweya airstrip in queen Elizabeth national airport then you will transfer to the Ishasha sector.

Ishasha sector of queen Elizabeth national park, is the best place to be that you don’t want to miss during your safari visit in Uganda. During your visit in Ishasha sector, you can as well combine your safari with other exciting activities offered at Queen Elizabeth national park, such as lion trekking at Kasenyi plains, boat cruise on Kazinga channel, game drives, nature walks, community visits, and mongoose trekking at Mweya peninsular among others. These all will make your safari more interesting and fuller of fun which will give an exciting experience and unforgettable safari visit in Ishasha sector of queen Elizabeth national park.