Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth national park; Queen Elizabeth national park is the second largest protected area in Uganda located in four districts namely Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi and Rukungiri. Queen Elizabeth national park was gazetted in 1952 and it’s known for harboring the famous tree climbing lions in Ishasha sector, buffaloes, elephants, leopards, waterbucks, Uganda kobs, topi, warthogs, giant forest hogs, bushbucks, hippos and primates like chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, red tailed monkeys among others.
Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the best bird watching destinations in Uganda in that it’s a home of over 600 recorded bird species including endemic birds, forest birds, migratory birds, water birds and savannah birds. Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth national park is done in major areas like Maramagambo forest, Ishasha sector, Kasenyi plains, Mweya peninsula, Lake Kikorongo, Kazinga channel, Katwe area, Katunguru bridge area among others. During bird watching in Queen Elizabeth national park, you will be accompanied by an experienced bird guide who will help you to spot different bird species including African Emerald Cuckoo, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Marabou Stork, Pink-backed Pelicans, Long-tailed Cormorants, African Skimmer, African Fish Eagle, Spur-winged Plover, Egyptian Goose, Verreaux’s Eagle, Common Squacco, African Jacana, Papyrus Canary, African Mourning Dove, Sacred Ibis, Malachite Kingfisher, Martial Eagle, Swamp Nightjar, Palm-nut Vulture, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Lappet-faces Vulture, African Crake, Black-bellied Bustard, African Wattle Plover, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Helmeted Guinea fowl, White-browed Robin-chat, Brown Snake Eagle, Senegal Plover, Bateleurs, Long-crated Eagle, Black-headed Gonolek, Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture, Spoon-billed Stork, Little Egret, Water-thick Knee, Red-chested Sunbird, Blue-napped Mouse bird, Pygmy Kingfisher among others.
Best time to go birding in Queen Elizabeth national park
Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth national park can be done all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of May to September because during this period there is less rainfall in the park therefore there will be plenty of food for birds, bird watching trails will be dry and passable and vegetation will be thin which gives you an opportunity to view different bird species and other wildlife species clearly.
Bird watching in Queen Elizabeth national park can also be done in the wet season during the months of April to May and October to November because during this period bird lovers will be able to view colorful and migratory bird species.
How to get to Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth national park is located in western part of Uganda and can be accessed by both road and air transport means.
When using road transport, you will drive from Kampala via Mubende, Fort Portal road or Masaka, Mbarara road to the park headquarters which takes about 7 to 8 hours’ drive.
You can also access Queen Elizabeth national park from Bwindi impenetrable national park which takes about 3 to 4 hours’ drive through Ishasha sector and Kibale forest national park which takes about 2 to 3 hours’ drive.
When using air transport means, you will book scheduled or charter domestic flight with bar aviation or Aerolink Uganda limited from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield to Mweya or Kasese airstrips and then connect to the park headquarters by road.
Other activities in Queen Elizabeth national park
Apart from bird watching, Queen Elizabeth national park offers other interesting activities that tourists can engage in during the safari including,
Game drives in Kasenyi plains, Mweya peninsula and Ishasha sector where you will be to view the tree climbing lions and other animals like buffaloes, elephants, Uganda kobs, leopards, hyenas, waterbucks among others.
Guided nature walks where you will get an opportunity to explore the park on foot accompanied by an experienced park guide and an armed ranger guide. During the guided nature walk, you will follow different trails in Maramagambo forest, Ishasha River, Kyambura Gorge, Mweya peninsula where you will be able to get up-close and personal with different animals.
Boat cruise on Kazinga channel a water channel that joins Lake Edward and Lake George. During the boat ride which takes about 2 to 3 hours you will be able to view large concentrations of hippos and Nile crocodiles in water, view elephants, buffaloes, warthogs drinking water along the shores, view water birds among others.
Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge where you will be able to spend one hour with the chimpanzees in their natural environment which gives you an opportunity to learn about their behaviors, habits, watch them carry out their daily activities, take photos and record videos.
Cultural tours where you will be able to interact with the local people in the neighboring villages, learn about their culture, way of living, tradition among others.
Where to stay in Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth national park has a wide range of accommodation facilities ranging from budget, midrange and luxury where you can stay during your bird watching safari including Simba Safari Lodge, Buffalo Safari Lodge, Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge, Irungu Forest Safari Lodge, Queen Elizabeth Safari Lodge, Marafiki Safari Lodge, Lake Munyanyange Cave Resort, Pumba Safari Lodge, Ishasha Jungle Lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge, Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Enganzi Lodge, Kasenyi Safari Camp, Park View Safari Lodge, Elephant Hab Lodge, Ihamba Safari Lodge, Katara Lodge, Elephant Plains Lodge, Kyambura Gorge Lodge, Kingfisher Lodge Kichwamba, Jacana Safari Lodge, Ishasha Tented Camp, Ishasha Ntungwe River Camp among others.
Bird watching is an incredible activity in Queen Elizabeth national park that can be combined with other activities like gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park, chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park among others to make your safari memorable.