QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Queen Elizabeth national park is located in southwestern Uganda. It occupies an area of 764 square miles (1,978 square km) in a region of rolling plains east of Lake Edward and foothills south of the Ruwenzori Mountains. The park is located within the Western Rift Valley, and its landscape is dotted with volcanic craters of the Pleistocene Epoch (i.e., about 2,600,000 to 11,700 years ago).
The park spans the equator line; monuments on either side of the road mark the exact spot where it crosses latitude 00.
The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park, and renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II. The park is home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species.
The Katwe explosion craters mark the park’s highest point at 1,350m above sea level, while the lowest point is at 910m, at Lake Edward.
It is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.
Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.
As well as its outstanding wildlife attractions, the Park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music and more. The gazetting of the park has ensured the conservation of its ecosystems, which in turn benefits the surrounding communities.
The park can be accessed from Kasese town along the Kasese-Ishaka road or from Kanungu in Ishasha or Kyambura in Rubirizi.
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