With a name like Cruise Specialists, many of our new guests don’t realize that we also book phenomenal land tours and vacations, including this unforgettable adventure with Abercrombie & Kent!
A few recent guests shared some photos that reminded us
how lucky we are to have such a breadth of planning knowledge on our team. Here’s more about this adventure for those of you looking for something new in 2017.You’ve probably heard of the Serengeti, arguably Africa’s most famous national park. And you’ve probably also heard of Kenya’s Masai Mara.
But have you heard of Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park?
While it might not be as well known as the Serengeti and the Masai Mara, this park in Uganda has earned a reputation for being an excellent place to view many of Africa’s magnificent creatures. It was, in fact, ranked 34th best out of 138 African parks in a 2015 in-depth analysis conducted by a Netherlands-based company.
What Makes this Park Special
Formerly known as Ruwenzori National Park, Queen Elizabeth is a huge, sprawling park that is spread out over 764 square miles. The terrain in this park is surprisingly diverse.
Within its boundaries, you will find rainforests, swamps, hills, volcanic craters, lakes and savanna grasslands. It is also located next to the Congo’s 3,000-square-mile Virunga National Park. Together, these two parks provide a huge swath of protected space for many animal species, including but not limited to:
- Water buffaloes
- Uganda Kob
Queen Elizabeth National Park’s is also home to tree climbing lions. Although domestic cats frequently climb trees, lions don’t typically enjoy this activity. Currently, there are only two known populations of lions that climb trees on a regular basis.
Besides the lions in Queen Elizabeth, there is one other population that lives in Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania. If seeing the tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth is important to you, make sure to include a visit to the Ishasha region of this huge park, where they are most frequently seen.
And with more than 600 species of birds having been recorded here, Queen Elizabeth is also very popular with birders. Some of the species you might see include:
- Kingfisher (11 types)
- Black bee-eater
- Hairy breasted Barbet
There are two ways to explore this park — by motor vehicle on land or on a boat cruise down the Kazinga Channel. If you decide to do the latter, it’s very likely that you will see hippos as the Kazinga Channel is home to the greatest number of these large mammals in all of Africa. Chances are also high that you’ll spy numerous prey animals drawn to the water to quench their thirst. And, of course, there is also the possibility that their presence will attract predators searching for both food and water.
Planning a Trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park
To get the most value for your dollar and the best itinerary possible, consider working with a travel agent familiar with Uganda. An experienced agent can arrange transport to and from Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is approximately six hours from Entebbe International Airport, Uganda’s only international airport. The park is also about five to six hours from Kampala, Uganda’s capital.
An agent can also help you select the right type of accommodations for your budget and travel style. Rooms near Queen Elizabeth National Park range from budget camps with a la carte services to pricey luxury hotels that include game drives and meals into the cost of their rooms.And because Queen Elizabeth National Park is so large, it is important to specify to your agent what you are hoping to get out of your trip. Want to see the lions? Then you’ll want to stay in the Ishasha region for at least a day or two. Or are you really hoping to see chimps? Then make sure to mention that to your agent so they can book a chimp tracking tour of the Kyambura Gorge.
And if you decide that you want to see more of Uganda — for example, a visit to see gorillas in the famous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or chimps in Kibale Forest National Park — a Cruise Specialists agent can create for you a seamless itinerary that includes visits to the other parks as well as transfers between each destination.