Over the weekend I travelled to South West Uganda to visit Uganda’s most visited National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, with The Pearl Guide and two close friends of mine that happened to be visiting Uganda for the very first time. My friends’ visit was in perfect time for the Queen Elizabeth National Park excursion and I couldn’t remember the last time I had visited the park myself. I was very excited.
The journey there
Our trip begun at 6am on Saturday morning. Having hardly slept the night before, we were groggy that morning and yet exhilarated at the same time with anticipation for the weekend ahead and spending time together in the wild.
We had an itinerary that was well put together by The Pearl Guide. Two hours after departure from Kampala, we broke the journey at the famous Equator stop along Masaka road – a must stop point for travelers embarking on Ugandan safaris. The photo worthy structure at the Equator breaks the earth into two equal parts with the North Pole and South Pole presenting a point of meet between the two hemispheres. We took lots of pictures and proudly showed off our Khukyenda travel inspired tank tops (sharing is caring and you can get one for yourself here).
Our Equator stop was followed by another short break, four hours later, at Ignongo Cultural Center in Mbarara. A delicious lunch buffet was spread out for us to quickly partake before we continued to Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese district.
Cruising the Kazinga Channel
We arrived in Kasese at about 5pm and headed straight to the park for our first activity – a boat cruise on the Kazinga channel. The Kazinga channel is a long natural channel that links Lake Edward and Lake George and is a prominent feature in Queen Elizabeth National Park. From the boat cruise we were able to observe numerous Elephants, Hippos and Buffaloes along with several bird species as we enjoyed the cool air and the sounds of the water. We concluded the boat cruise just before the sun went down.
After the cruise, we set off to Marafiki lodge, our accommodation for the night. We had to trek for about one kilometer as the path leading up to the lodge was impassable by our tour bus. The trek was good exercise and put our survival skills to the test, especially to those that did not pack appropriate footwear as the road was muddy and very slippery.
On arrival at the lodge, the trek was well worth it as what we were greeted with was absolutely stunning. My friends and I couldn’t get over the beauty and detail put into the décor of our rooms. Our only wish was that we had more than one night there. I particularly loved the stone work and the outside showers!
After a delicious dinner, a campfire party and dancing through the night, our final activity of the weekend was an early morning game drive through the National Park. We were up at 6am for a warm breakfast followed by the game drive – the classic African Safari experience.
Before we set off though, I couldn’t help but marvel at the glorious sunrise over the lodge.
Spotting Game in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The game drive met all my expectations and more. We spotted some more Elephants, Ugandan Kob (Antelopes), Warthogs, Buffaloes as well as Tree Climbing Lions. Queen Elizabeth National Park is the only park in Uganda that hosts Tree Climbing Lions, a rarity in Africa. It was quite a spectacle as we looked out for them and tried to spot them in between the tree branches. After a lot of difficulty, I did get that one Lioness shot!
An unexpected surprise
During the game drive, we stopped for a slight break at a nearby fishing village and while we rested, an Elephant approached our tour busses. The Elephant got pretty close to us and as with the unpredictability of the wild, the Elephant charged towards one of our tour busses, just as we were leaving. Thankfully, we were all inside the bus and managed to leave the Elephant’s territory in time.
Al in all, it was a magnificent two day experience, to say the least!
Have you visited Queen Elizabeth National Park before? What was your experience like? Do share in the comments below. Xx