Wondering how a self drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park would be like. In this article, we have detailed what you need to look forward while driving to this part of the country
Situated in the western part of Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park is the easiest to visit on a self drive and also happens to be the most visited National park of all Uganda’s national parks which is attributed to a diverse wild life population, the beautiful scenic views that surround the park that include the Rwenzori mountains, Lakes and Rivers and more.
How to get to Queen Elizabeth National Park
The journey from Kampala the capital city of Uganda to Queen Elizabeth National Park takes about 6-7 hours depending on the route used and the traffic. The easiest and popular route from Kampala to the park is Masaka-Mbarara-Ishaka-Katungulu. From Kampala, you head to the south through Masaka City and continue on the Mbarara-kasese road until you reach Katunguru, the main gate of the park.
Self driving in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park has various routes and trails that lead visitors to different parts of the park. This allows the visitors to discover the park’s diverse landscapes and wildlife. During a self drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park, expect to encounter different wildlife experiences.
Entrance fees and permits
Entrance fees in Queen Elizabeth National Park vary according to the residence status of the tourists. Foreigners to the country pay $40 on entrance, foreign residents pay only $30 per person on entrance and East African citizens pay UGX 20,000. Note that you have to move with your valid identification documents.
In order for you to enter Queen Elizabeth National Park, you have to purchase the needed permits such as the game driving permit, chimpanzee trekking permits and boat safaris.
Where to sleep/ Accommodation in Queen Elizabeth National Park
There are various accommodation options within and outside the park that suit different budgets of the visitors i.e. Budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation options.
For the budget visitors, you can choose to have a stay at Siimba Safari Camp, Enjojo Lodge in the Ishasha sector, Pumba Safari Cottages, Mweya hostels and cottages and River Ishasha camp. All these options have comfortable suits but affordable and worth the costs.
In case you want a mid-range accommodation, still there are quite a number off choices for you to choose from such as Marafiki safari lodge, Enganzi game lodge, Queen Elizabeth bush lodge, Park view safari lodge, Buffalo safari lodge among others.
Queen Elizabeth National Park has also got accommodation options for the VIP visitors and that is the luxurious accommodation. These are quite expensive but still worth for a stay as they give you a lot of comfort and joyful nights due to the views they give and refreshments.
Luxurious accommodations options in Queen Elizabeth are; Elephant HAB Lodge, Elephant Plains Lodge, Trackers Safari Lodge, Presidential cottage and many more.
Wild life and activities
With a population of 600 bird species spotted in Queen Elizabeth National Park, It is rated as the best National Park for bird watching in Uganda. This makes the park a paradise for bird watchers and researchers.
Apart from bird watching, Queen Elizabeth has other fascinating activities that one wouldn’t have too miss or else you self drive safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park will remain incomplete. Among other activities to do in Queen Elizabeth National Park are;
Kazinga boat cruising which is done along Kazinga channel. During this activity, the visitors have an opportunity of viewing all most all the present wild life in the park. A two hour boat cruising at Kazinga channel will not leave you the same. You will learn a lot about most of the African wild life such as elephants, buffaloes, crocodiles, hippos among others.
Game driving through the park to spot different wildlife species. You can either go for game drives on a self drive or even with a tour guide. During Game Drives you can spot animals like elephants, Uganda kobs, buffaloes, tree climbing lions, warthogs, and bush bucks among others. The best season to do game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park is during the dry season and those are the months of June to September. However, regardless of the time, the experience remains rewarding.
Chimpanzee tracking which is done in Kyambura George of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Chimpanzee tracking is only done when you have paid for chimpanzee permits. Payments for these permits are always done before the time of tracking only to secure you trip. Chimpanzee tracking is always done during early mornings.
Tree climbing lion tracking which is normally done in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park inn the kasenyi plains. The park is blessed with a unique species of lions which are known for climbing the trees. Visitors will have an opportunity of having a close look to the king of the jungle and to learn its behavior. The activity is done by a limited number of people not to stress the animals.
Hiking and nature walks throughout the park’s trails. Queen Elizabeth National Park has a lot of trails such as in Kyambura George where you can spot various species of wildlife such as black and white colobus monkeys, mammals, colorful butterflies, bats and different tree species. Other trails for hoking and nature walks in Queen Elizabeth National Park include; Mweya Peninsula, Maramagambo Forest, along the Ishasha River.
Tips for self drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Ensure that you have packed everything you will use during a Uganda self drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Things to pack such as sun glasses, camera, sun screen, binoculars, hats to protect you from sun shine, enough drinking water, some snacks and many more.
While on a self drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park, you will need to add enough fuel to your car that will enable you complete all the possible game drives to be done.
Mind to hire a guide especially when you are going for nature walks. This guide will be equipped with an armed gun to protect you from attacks from any dangerous animals.
When you are on a self drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park, you are reminded to drive slowly due to the fact that there are always groups of animals crossing.
You are advised not to get out of your car especially when you are in the wilderness of the park.
In case you hired a guide to take you through, you are free to ask everything want regarding on what you see.
Best cars to hire on a self drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Land Cruiser GX- $80 PER DAY
Toyota RAV4 – $40 PER DAY
Land Cruiser TX/TZ – $60 PER DAY
Land Cruiser V8 – $80 PER DAY
When you rent any of these for a self drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park and other areas within Uganda for more than a month, you qualify for a discount. Talk to us today to book your preffered vehicle in Uganda. Kindly fill in our request form with your details and we will get back to you as soon as possible to process your booking.