Queen Elizabeth National Park is famous for its tree climbing lions!
Queen Elisabeth National Park is situated southwest in Uganda near the border to Congo. They say this park has more species then any other park in Uganda. The majestic Rwenzori Mountains is nearby and you get a stunning view of them in clear weather. They are more than 5000 m above sea level and covered with snow and ice. In The Rwenzori you find the biggest glacier in Africa, just underneath equator.
Rwenzori was appointed World Heritage Site in 1994 and is also a separate national park. Queen Elisabeth National Park covers an area of almost 2000 km2 and includes grassland plains and many lakes. The two biggest lakes, Lake George in north and Lake Edward in south are connected with the Kazinga Channel. The channel is full of animal life and a diversity of bird life. The border to Congo runs in the middle of Lake Edward.
This is also a volcano area with many explosion craters, but Queen Elisabeth National Park is maybe most famous for its tree climbing lions and male lions with a black mane.
We spent several days in Queen Elisabeth and stayed at Hippo Hill, a tented camp on a beautiful hill above Lake Edward and within walking distance down to the lake. Even though Hippo Hill is quit spartan, it was cozy and clean and the wildlife rangers were very accomplished and did a great job. During night the hippos visited the camp and grazed between the tents. We could hear heavy steps outside the tent. But the tents are placed on a wooden floor above the ground so its no danger! But do not walk around on your own during night!
We had some fabulous trips in the Park with our own driver. He was an expert in finding the big animals and points them out for us. And he never gave up – we had to see the big five and of course the tree climbing lions. And we did see them all – even the leopard showed up on an evening game drive and decided to join us – walking beside the car for nearly half an hour.
A boat trip on the Kazinga Channel is a must! It takes about two hours. The diversity of the bird life is incredible hard to describe and its big herds of hippos and buffalos along the shores. Elephants, lions and other big animals often come to the channel and it’s a big chance to spot these animals as well.
Small fishing villages is located by the lakes and we took a walk down to the nearest, Katwe. The village children encircled us from the beginning we entered the village and followed us the whole time. Fishing is good in the lakes, but still the village was very poor. With a lot of alcoholism and prostitution and poor schools for the kids. The men fish during night and drink during day. Of course – this is generalization, but the situation in the village where obvious hard and tough. Hard to understand why. With such a good fishing and also grants from the parks profit, you would think life should be easier. The wildlife rangers at Hippo Hill said it was hopeless to help the adults. The important issue was to concentrate on the children to prevent them to get into the same negative spiral with fishing – drinking – fishing – drinking . . . If you go to the link above about Katwe I think it looks more idyllic than is really is!