Primates aside, Uganda’s most spectacular game viewing experience is Queen Elizabeth National Park. Unlike Bwindi and Kibale — which are both densely forested — QENP features a typical East African savannah landscape and the creatures that relish that mix of grasslands and forest.
Among the park’s hundred plus mammal species are elephant, buffalo, hyena, the elusive giant forest hog, a rare antelope called the Uganda kob, and several variety of big cats including leopards and tree-dwelling lions. More than 600 different types of bird also call the park home.
Located about six hours by road southwest of Kampala, the park sprawls across a huge area between lakes George and Edward. The lakes are connected by the Kazinga Channel, which nurtures large numbers of crocodiles, hippos and water birds. The channel is best explored by boat and the rest of the park in traditional 4×4 safari vehicles.
Queen Elizabeth is also renowned for its volcanic features — cinder volcanic cones, deep craters and crater lakes like Lake Katwe — which speak to the earth forces that shaped East Africa’s Lake District and Great Rift Valley. Other activities include chimpanzee tracking in the park’s Kyambura Gorge and guided hikes in the Maramagambo Forest.
Around two-thirds the size of America’s Yosemite National Park, Queen Elizabeth was established in 1954 and named after the monarch who assumed the British throne two years earlier.