Crater Lakes Queen Elizabeth National Park
The map of Queen Elizabeth is seen with various dots representing the numerous explosion craters in this area. Some of these craters are filled with water to form crater lakes while others remain dry and others have water seasonally during the wet season. There are crater lakes outside the park that have fresh water and are used for fishing and most of those that are in the park do not have fresh water and are therefore used for salt mining that is Lake Katwe and Bunyampaka salt lake. There are much more craters in the park including Nyamununka crater, Bunyaruguru Craters, Ndali-Kasenda crater among others.
Formation of the craters
Geography explains it that the craters in Queen Elizabeth national park were formed about 8,000 years ago as a result of volcanic activities that blew off the top of extinct volcanoes. Molten rock also known as lava under the earth’s crust was forced out through the vent with massive pressure and it blew off the surface of extinct volcanoes, ashes rested on the sides of the volcanoes and basins were left in the middle to form craters. Some of them were later filled with water to form volcanic lakes. There are much more of the craters close to Myeya that are not filled with water and can be visited ant time on an arranged agreement since it requires a ranger guide. These craters are homes to a good number of birds and offer stunning views and background for photography.
Popular craters in Queen Elizabeth national park
Katwe crater lakes
Katwe Explosion Craters are situated in the northern part of Mweya peninsula and offer a breathtaking site for scenic viewing. The activity of viewing the craters of Katwe known as the Explosion Crater drive takes about 2 hours, a 27km drive around these craters from Kabatoro gate through to the Queen’s Pavillion. This is an extraordinary moment of watching these beautiful craters. The drive is done in the morning or evening when you can have clear views of other areas and also when the temperatures are friendly. The major lake is Lake Katwe located near Lake Edward and is famously known for salt mining. A visit to this lake explores you to the initial process of salt mining form the lake and you’ll see how men and women design their slat pans and get into the water to extract the salt.
As you drive through the carters on a ridge that is that rises up to 1,350 metres above sea level, you’ll capture vast views of the craters, Rwenzori Mountains, Kazinga channel that connects Lake Geaorge to Edward, the two lakes and several birds that live at the craters. You may also spot other animals wandering around the area such as elephants, buffaloes. This is one of the areas in queen Elizabeth national park that is recommended for Scenic photography enthusiasts. We do not include this place on the itinerary but can be added on request. A stop over at Lake Kitagata is to see the amazing salty hotspring tha feeds this crater with warm water.
Bunyampaka Salt Lake
Bunyampaka salt lake is found in the north-eastern part of Queen Elizabeth and is also known for salt mining and flamingos that seasonally migrate to the place from Lake Nakuru. This crater also offers stunning scenery and is visited after a game drive in Kasenyi.
Nyamunuka Crater Lake
This is a seasonal lake that normally has water in the wet season and dries up in the dry season. Visitors have a stop over here to see its beauty and animals that often visit it. The reason why animals go to this crater is because its water has Sulphur which helps them to get rid of ticks and cure wounds that they could have got when fighting, escaping from predators.
Also known as Bunyaruguru Crater Fields, they are found in the western part of Queen Elizabeth national park on the Kichwamba escarpment of the western rift valley at the boarder of the park. Some of these lakes have fresh water and have fish while others have saline water. As you drive along Kasese-Mbarara highway to or from the park, you’ll be able to see some of these lakes including Lake Nkugute also locally known as Lake Rutoto which is in the shape of the map of Africa, and you can also visit the twin lakes Nyungu and Rwizongo located near Rugazi post office.
Craters around Queen Elizabeth national park make this area one of the most beautiful destinations in the world and a perfect place for photography with the lakes, vegetation or animals and the backdrops of the Rwenzori ranges.