The 5 Regions of Queens
Within Queen Elizabeth National Park there are 5 main areas: the Northeast Escarpment, Kyambura Gorge, Ishasha, Mweya Peninsula, and the Rift Valley Escarpment. Whilst each of these areas have a variety of different accommodation choices available, here at Brilliant we have selected the very best options to use in our tours to ensure visitors have a fantastic experience, time and time again.
Northeast Escarpment: The Escarpment to the north east of the park provides panoramic views of the grassland across to Lake George and easy access to the Kasenyi Plains; it is home to Elephant Plains Lodge, one of the newest properties in the Park.
Mweya Peninsula: The Mweya Peninsula juts into the Kazinga Channel. The views from here are epic as the distant grasslands seem to merge into the lakes stretching beyond. Mweya Safari Lodge occupies prime position here. A large hotel, it is a heritage property that began life as a government property over 30 years ago. A stay here is not as intimate as at other smaller properties, but you can’t beat the central location. Perfect for access to Kazinga Channel boat trips.
Rift Valley Escarpment: The Rift Valley Escarpment extends to the south east of the park. There, on a ridge rising dramatically above the plains, 16km from the Katunguru Gate of the Park, you will find a number of other small lodges all situated to take advantage of the views and the wonderful sunsets. Katara Lodge is one of our favourites here.
Kyambura Gorge: The ridge leads round to Kyambura Gorge, a natural rent in the otherwise flat plains, cut by water and thickly forested. The elegant Kyambura Gorge Lodge is the closest property to the Gorge and so is perfectly located to provide a luxurious base for chimp trekking, plus game drives and boat safaris in the heart of the Park.
Ishasha Sector: Finally, in the south west of the Park, the Ishasha sector is the place for those who value the wilderness experience. Although new lodges are being constructed, it is still the quietest area where the human footprint is slight. The established favourite here is Ishasha Wilderness Camp, a superbly comfortable, subtly developed, camp on the banks of the Ishasha River, the natural border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Best Places to Stay in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Elephant Plains Lodge
Found in the Northeast Escarpment, the Elephant Plains Lodge is one of the newest properties in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It sits high up on the escarpment, offering views that stretch for miles and miles. Right next to the lodge is Lake Kikorongo, frequently visited by herds of elephants (hence the name!).
The lodge is made up of a collection of private cottages set around the main compound. It boasts a bar and lounge set above a pool, showing off the panoramic scenery around the escarpment. This area of the park is particularly stunning, with views of the grasslands stretching to Lake George and the easily accessible Kasenyi Plains where you will often see wildlife wandering through.
Guests can choose to stay in one of six double/twin cottages, or a family cottage which offers two separate bedrooms with enough space for five people. All the cottages have en-suite bathrooms with bathtubs as well as showers, expansive windows, and large private verandas with perfect views of the surroundings. The roofs of the cottages are constructed using local brown savannah grass, which helps the lodge blend seamlessly into the surroundings and acts as an effective cooling system.
In addition, the lodge boasts a spacious lounge with comfortable seating areas, a well-stocked bar with bistro seating, and a wonderful restaurant serving an international menu inspired by local flavours. Guests can also enjoy Elephant Plains Lodge’s large swimming pool, the perfect opportunity to cool off at the end of a day of exploring Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Kyambura Gorge Lodge
This lodge, found right next to the Kyambura Gorge in the eastern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, is quickly becoming one of the best accommodation options in Uganda. Due to its location, it is the perfect base for chimp trekking, game drives and boat safaris.
The building was formerly a coffee plantation store, which has now been converted into the main lodge around which eight luxury rooms have been built. The relaxed style of the buildings, made primarily with wood, stone and thatched roofs, creates an intimate feel for guests here.
All of the rooms have a large four poster bed, private veranda, en suite bathroom and seating area full of simple and unique furniture pieces. The style is contemporary yet still providing that classic safari lodge feel. Every guest can also benefit from a personal butler service.
The main lodge has a lounge, dining area and bar which are spacious and feature a mix of wooden and tiled floors, large windows, and artwork hung on the walls. The food served in the dining area is of a high standard, served by friendly and attentive staff. There is also a swimming pool and recently opened spa for guests to enjoy.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp
The Ishasha sector in the south west is one of the quietest areas of the park. Here, the Ishasha Wilderness Camp offers a true tented camp experience without compromising on comfort or style. Based on the banks of the Ishasha River, right at the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the camp blends well into the natural surroundings.
Overlooking the Ntungwe River, Ishasha Wilderness Camp is built using canvas, wood, and thatched roofs to blend seamlessly into the surrounding woodlands. There is a central area of the camp with a comfortable lounge, bar, dining area, spacious veranda, and even a quiet library. Guests can choose to enjoy their meals inside the dining area, outside on the veranda, or in their own tents. The quality of food is exceptionally high, with both traditional Ugandan and European-style dishes available made with local ingredients wherever possible. In addition, there is a free Wi-Fi service in the lounge where you can relax on the comfortable armchairs and admire the wonderful local artifacts decorating the space.
Each of the 10 private canvas tents are deliberately positioned to offer a fantastic view of the local hippos and herds of elephants from their verandas. They are designed in the East African Meru style, and are comfortable and spacious. Each has an en-suite bathroom with eco-friendly toilets and showers to minimise the camp’s environmental impact, as well as solar panels to provide power to the tents.
Mweya Safari Lodge
The Mweya Peninsula extends out into the Kazinga Channel, a long natural waterway linking Lake Edward and Lake George. Here you will find the Mweya Safari Lodge, a government property built over 30 years ago which has been converted into a large hotel. The central location is ideal for hopping on Kazinga Channel boat trips, and the views of the distant grasslands merging into the lakes are wonderful.
There is a wide range of room choices for guests at Mweya Safari Lodge. The simplest option is one of the 32 standard rooms, each with an ensuite bathroom and private balcony. For the added benefit of air-conditioning, 12 deluxe rooms are available. The Honeymoon Suite is found in a private corner of the grounds with a romantic four-poster bed, and there are also luxury tents on offer which provide a relaxing, romantic atmosphere. For bigger groups, private cottages are available with two and three bedrooms, living areas and spacious verandas.
The lodge offers a bar with large windows and an inviting veranda, gift shop stocked with local crafts, Uganda Wildlife Authority Informational Centre where visitors can learn more about the national park, and business centre. There is also an infinity swimming pool overlooking the Kazinga Channel, with panoramic views, comfortable sun loungers and a pool bar to enjoy.
Visitors can choose to sit either inside in the lodge’s formal dining room or outside on the veranda whilst enjoying local and international dishes prepared by experienced chefs. As an added treat, every Saturday evening the lodge hosts special barbecues with performances by traditional dancers.
The Rift Valley Escarpment is found in the south east of the park, rising above the sweeping savannah. Perched on the edge of this impressive escarpment is Katara Lodge. Here, the bamboo-based furnishings, thatched roofs, and wooden beams create a natural, relaxed atmosphere that perfectly blends into the surrounding environments.
The lodge is made up of eight individual thatched bungalows with canvas sides and wooden floors, furnished with a large double bed (or twin beds) and en-suite bathroom with bathtub and shower. If preferred, the staff are happy to set up your bed on your bungalow’s spacious balcony so that you can sleep under the stars. As there are only eight bungalows available, the service at Katara Lodge is attentive and personal.
The main part of the lodge, where you will find a comfortable lounge and restaurant, is set higher up on the hill and is completely open to the west to provide outstanding views of the plains and the Rwenzori Mountains in the distance. There is also a library, where you can pick up a novel to enjoy outside whilst relaxing in a hammock.
Environmental sustainability is a big focus for Katara Lodge. They have a rainwater harvesting system to provide water for the lodge, solar water heaters and lighting to minimise energy use, and eco-friendly toilets. There is also a saltwater pool, which minimises the use of chemicals.
Ready to explore Queens?
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