Visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda. One of my favorite travel experiences has been going on safari. I have been fortunate to go on safari in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, and now most recently in Uganda. There is simply no equivalent of being able to witness these magnificent animals in nature. Safari in Uganda was no exception.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in western Uganda and covers over 700 square miles. Lake George, on the east, and Lake Edward on the west partially surround the park, with the Kazinga Channel, a 20-mile waterway, connecting the lakes. The drive to the park is approximately seven hours from Uganda’s capital, Kampala. The park was originally named the Kazinga National Park but was renamed in honor of Queen Elizabeth during her visit in 1954.
Check out my tour and agenda with G Adventures. I was invited by G Adventures to attend this tour. And I will earn a fee if you book a trip with G.
I am a G Wanderer, part of a team of content creators who work with G Adventures. I was invited to join the 8-day Culture & Wildlife of Uganda and Rwanda and share my experiences and impressions traveling with G.
I traveled in Uganda for a week with G Adventures. The seven guests were spread over two vans, driven by our guides. The G vans were a model of convenience, since the roofs popped up providing a great view of the wildlife.
Safari drives are typically divided between either a morning or evening drive. This is when the animals are most active, often sleeping away the hotter parts of the day. And it is also suggested the best time to go on safari is during the dry season. Dry season means less water, forcing the animals to congregate around fewer waterholes.
After a leisurely lunch we departed the hotel and arrived at the entrance of the nearby park. We popped the roof of the van, and within moments, our afternoon drive across the expansive savannah began. I immediately spotted a sounder (yup, that is what you call the group) of warthogs. The sounder is led by a single male, who protects the group and mates with the females.
Then we were met by dozens of Ugandan Kobs who were grazing and relaxing in the warm sun. The Ugandan Kob is part of the antelope family and even appears on the Ugandan Coat of Arms.
Every time I go on safari, I hope for that one magical moment. Our driver diverted off the dirt path and headed toward a group of trees. I don’t know how he did it, but there was a lone leopard lounging and napping in its branches. After watching for some time, his eyes eased open and seemed to lock eyes with us. Leopards are the second biggest cat after the lion. Leopards will often take their prey up into a tree and feast on it for a couple of days, away from nosy scavengers.
As we exited the park, we spied a crash (and yes, that is what you call a group of them) of hippopotamus, which translates into river horse. The hippos tip the scales at around 3,000 pounds and can sprint up to 20 mph. These hippos were lounging in a small mud pond, keeping themselves cool. And these guys love to graze, eating over 85 pounds of grass a day. These lazy looking creatures are considered one of the most dangerous animals, responsible for more human deaths than any other big animal in Africa.
As a side note, often when traveling you might have the option to interact up and close with animals. Sometimes, these interactions are not beneficial for the animals. G Adventures has adopted some helpful guidelines in its Animal Welfare Policy that you can employ when meeting animals on the road.
The next morning, we arrived at the park in near darkness to see the sun peak over the savannah.
Scores of kobs meandered across the horizon. And a handful of them spent time, butting antlers in the golden hour sunlight.
Next up was a large herd of elephants, grazing and walking.
Lunch was held at the Mweya Safari Lodge, sitting high on a hill of a peninsula, overlooking the Kazinga Channel. I dined on Indian curry and rich chocolate cake while I gazed at elephants slurping water on the shore.
Typically, a safari takes place in some sort of semi-open vehicle, but other times it is on foot or even a hot air balloon. And sometimes even on a boat. After lunch we headed down to the shore and boarded a boat for our afternoon boat safari.
A pretty good way to relax after lunch, taking in the wildlife. Over the next couple of hours, I spied a plethora of elephants, hippos (including a cute baby), buffalos, and bird life.