Queen Elizabeth National Park

Coordinates: 00°08′14″S 30°02′28″E / 0.13722°S 30.04111°E / -0.13722; 30.04111
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Queen Elizabeth National Park
Crater Lake
Map showing the location of Queen Elizabeth National Park
Map showing the location of Queen Elizabeth National Park
Location of Queen Elizabeth National Park
Location Uganda
Nearest cityKasese
Coordinates00°08′14″S 30°02′28″E / 0.13722°S 30.04111°E / -0.13722; 30.04111
Area1,978 km2 (764 sq mi)
Governing bodyUgandan Wildlife Authority

Queen Elizabeth National Park is a national park in Uganda.[1]


Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) is in the Western Region of Uganda, spanning the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi, and Rukungiri. The park is approximately 400 kilometres (250 mi) by road south-west of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city.[2] The city of Kasese lies to the northeast of the park, while the town of Rubirizi is to the southeast.[citation needed] The park adjoins Kyambura Game Reserve to the east, which itself adjoins the Kigezi Game Reserve (including the Maramagambo Forest) and thus the Kibale National Park to the northeast. The Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo lies across the border to the west. Together, these protected places completely encircle Lake Edward. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda lies not far to the northwest.[3]

Confusingly, during the 1970s and 1980s, Western conservationists usually referred to the park as Rwenzori National Park.[4][5][6]


In 1921, a rinderpest epidemic and sleeping sickness among the indigenous inhabitants of the region, the pastoralist Basongora, caused great death and emigration from the region. The epidemic was believed to be caused by the colonial government under the guise of a livestock vaccination campaign. The game increased, and the British colonial government decided to evict the remaining people from perhaps 90% of their lands to create game reserves. Their homes were torched and their livestock slaughtered, causing them to flee across the border and seek refuge in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[7][8][9]

The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park by combining the Lake George and Lake Edward Game Reserves.[7] It was renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II,[10] and the last remaining communal grazing rights of the Songora herders were rescinded, causing thousands more to move across the border with their herds into the Virunga National Park, most only beginning to return after 1964 due to the strife caused by the Mulele rebellion there.[9]

In 2006 the Basongora were forced to flee across the border from the DRC, settling in the park to the north of Lake Edward with their livestock. Attacks by predators on their property, and lack of compensation when their animals are killed, caused them to leave out carcasses laced with poison out to solve the problem, killing off eleven lions in 2018, among numerous incidents. This caused those in the international tourism and conservation industry to refer to the situation as "national disaster".[8][11][12] Previously, poachers killed six elephants in the park in 2015, triggering both anger and frustration within the Ugandan conservation community.[13]


A lioness in Ishasha Sector
Hippopotamuses in the Kazinga Channel of Queen Elizabeth National Park
Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park

QENP occupies an estimated 1,978 square kilometres (764 sq mi).[14] The park is known for its abundant wildlife, including African elephant, African buffalo, Ugandan kob, hippopotamus, topi, waterbuck, warthog,[7] giant forest hog, Nile crocodile, leopard, spotted hyena, chimpanzee and lion. Overall, the park is home to 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species.[15] The area around Ishasha in Rukungiri District is famous for its tree-climbing lions, whose males often sport black manes.[16] In 2020, Uganda Wildlife Authority executive director Samuel John Mwandha stated that the wildlife in park has been increasing in the last five years.[17]

QENP, together with the adjacent Virunga National Park, was designated as a 'lion conservation unit' by the IUCN in 2006.[18] The area is also considered a potential lion stronghold in Central Africa, if poaching is curbed and prey species are allowed to recover.[19] The resident lion population (including hyenas and leopards) are actively monitored by the Uganda Carnivore Program and the Uganda Wildlife Authority through the use of radio collars and other conservation initiatives.[20]

The park is also famous for its volcanic features, including volcanic cones and deep craters, many with crater lakes, such as the Katwe craters, from which salt is extracted.[21][22]

Uganda Kob in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda Kob in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Services in the park include a telecenter run by Conservation Through Public Health.[23]


Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s most popular tourist destinations, annually receiving one of the highest number of visitors of any of the country's national parks.[24] Popular activities include chimp tracking in Kyambura Gorge, boat cruises, guided game drives including to view tree climbing lions in the Ishasha sector, night drives and nature walks.[25] Visitors can also go on a lion experience with the Uganda Carnivore Program, with proceeds going toward carnivore conservation.[26] Tourists visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park make a 7 hours 30 minutes drive from Kampala to reach the park.[27] The park is also connected by daily domestic flights from Entebbe International Airport, which land at Mweya Airstrip, Kihihi Airstrip and Kasese Airstrip.[28] Tourist accommodations at the park include a range of lodges and tented camps.[25]


QENP and the Queen Elizabeth Country Park in England are twinned in a project of "cultural exchange, mutual support and has its main emphasis on supporting Conservation through working closely with and empowering local communities".[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ QENP (29 October 2016). "Queen Elizabeth National Park: Ishasha Sector". Mweya: Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP). Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  2. ^ Globefeed.com (29 October 2016). "Distance between Kampala Road, Kampala, Uganda and Mweya, Western Region, Uganda". Globefeed.com. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  3. ^ Uganda Wildlife Authority: Planning Unit (26 July 2012). Buhanga, Edgar; Namara, Justine (eds.). Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Kigezi Wildlife Reserve-General Management Plan (2011 - 2021) (Report). Uganda Wildlife Authority. pp. 2, 11. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  4. ^ Yoaciel, S. M.; van Orsdol, K. G. (March 1981). "The influence of environmental changes on an isolated topi (Damaliscus lunatus jimela Matschie) population in the Ishasha Sector of Rwenzori National Park, Uganda". African Journal of Ecology. 19 (1‐2): 167–174. Bibcode:1981AfJEc..19..167Y. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.1981.tb00660.x. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  5. ^ Malpas, Robert (May 1981). "Elephant Losses in Uganda – and Some Gains". Oryx. 16 (1): 41–44. doi:10.1017/S0030605300016720.
  6. ^ Eltringham, S. K.; Din, Naila (1977). "Estimates of population size of some ungulate species in the Rwenzori National Park, Uganda". East African Wildlife Journal. 15 (4): 305–316. Bibcode:1977AfJEc..15..305E. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.1977.tb00412.x.
  7. ^ a b c Wanyama F, Balole E, Elkan P, Mendiguetti S, Ayebare S, Kisame F, Shamavu P, Kato R, Okiring D, Loware S, Wathaut J, Tumonakiese B, Mashagiro D, Barendse T, Plumptre AJ (October 2014). Aerial surveys of the Greater Virunga Landscape - Technical Report 2014 (Report). Wildlife Conservation Society. pp. 5, 11. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  8. ^ a b Losh, Jack (2 April 2021). "When Nature Conservation Goes Wrong". Foreign Policy Magazine. Kyambura, Uganda. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  9. ^ a b "The Details of the Basongoro of Rwenzori and their Culture in Uganda". Go Visit Kenya. 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  10. ^ UWA (2016). "Queen Elizabeth National Park: History". Kampala: Uganda Wildlife Authority. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  11. ^ Musoke, Ronald (2 May 2018). "Tears over dead lions". The Independent (Uganda). Kampala, Uganda. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  12. ^ Plumptre A, Kujirakwinja D, Moyer D, Driciru M, Rwetsiba A (August 2010). Greater Virunga Landscape Large Mammal Surveys, 2010 (Report). Wildlife Conservation Society. p. 7. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  13. ^ Musoke, Ronald (11 January 2016). "Uganda: Queen Elizabeth Park Elephant Deaths". The Independent (Uganda) via AllAfrica.com. Kampala. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  14. ^ UWA (2016). "Queen Elizabeth National Park: Geography and Climate". Kampala: Uganda Wildlife Authority. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  15. ^ "Queen Elizabeth National Park - Wildlife and birding". www.ugandawildlife.org. Retrieved 2021-10-23.
  16. ^ QENP (2016). "The tree climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda". Mweya: Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda (QENP). Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Queen Elizabeth National park records an increase in wildlife". The Independent (Uganda). Kampala, Uganda. 4 July 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  18. ^ IUCN Cat Specialist Group (2006). Conservation Strategy for the Lion Panthera leo in Eastern and Southern Africa. Pretoria, South Africa: IUCN.
  19. ^ Treves A, Plumptre AJ, Hunter LT, Ziwa J (2009). "Identifying a potential lion Panthera leo stronghold in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, and Parc National Des Virunga, Democratic Republic of Congo". Oryx. 43 (1): 60–66. doi:10.1017/s003060530700124x.
  20. ^ "SUCCESS STORY: JACOB-THE LION SURVIVES POACHER'S TRAP". uganda.wcs.org. Retrieved 2021-10-23.
  21. ^ MSL (2016). "Mweya Safari Lodge: Katwe Explosion Crater". Mweya: Mweya Safari Lodge (MSL). Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  22. ^ QENP (2016). "Queen Elizabeth National Park: Lake Kwatwe Explosion Crater". Queen Elizabeth National Park. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  23. ^ CTPH (2016). "Welcome to CTPH: CTPH achieves biodiversity conservation by enabling people, wildlife and livestock to coexist through improving their quality of life in and around Africa's protected areas". Conservation Through Public Health. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  24. ^ "Visitation to National Parks". Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities. Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  25. ^ a b "Queen Elizabeth National Park – Uganda Wildlife Authority". 6 May 2022. Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  26. ^ "Experiential Tourism". Uganda Carnivore Program. Retrieved 2021-10-23.
  27. ^ "Distance between Kampala, Uganda UG and Queen Elizabeth National Park". distancecalculator.globefeed.com. Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  28. ^ "Flight Schedule to Queen Elizabeth National Park". Savannah Wings. Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  29. ^ QECPUK (29 October 2016). "Welcome to The Queen Elizabeth Parks Twinning Project". Queen Elizabeth Country Park United Kingdom (QECPUK). Retrieved 29 October 2016.

External links[edit]