Introduction to the Kazinga Channel
The Kazinga Channel is a wide, 32 kilometre (20 mile) long freshwater channel that links Lake Edward to its smaller neighbour, Lake George. The lakes are named after Queen Victoria’s son, King Edward VII, and his own successor, King George V. The channel is a key feature of the Queen Elizabeth National Park and a popular area for wildlife tourism.
The channel is home to a wide range of animals and birds, including one of the world’s largest concentrations of hippos (around 2,000) and countless Nile crocodiles. You can also expect to see elephants, buffaloes, and over 100 species of water bird, including the African Skimmer.
Lake George is fed by streams from the Rwenzori mountains and its outflow drains into Lake Edward, via the Kazinga Channel. Although Lake Edward is the smallest of the African Great Lakes (2325km²), Lake George is considerably smaller, and its average depth is just 2.4m. The channel itself has a maximum depth of 8m.
Climb aboard and explore the wonders of the Kazinga Channel from a panoramic view. Soak up the sights of energetic elephants and bathing buffaloes as an expert ranger guides you through the beautiful flora and fauna.
There are two independent boat ride operators, the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Mweya Safari Lodge. Both trips cost around $30 per person and last around 2 hours. Mweya Lodge gives tourists a choice between its comfortable ten-seater boat, The Sunbird, and its stylish twelve-seater boat, the Kingfisher. Both vessels have experienced guides and crew, but the Kingfisher allows you to travel in luxury through providing refreshments and canopies.
As well as seeing mesmerising mammals, you will get a glimpse of one of the eleven fishing villages that are located within the Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The journey from Kampala is 408km via the A109, and it takes around 7-8 hours. Many tour operators offer trips from Kampala to the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Whilst it is theoretically possible to rent a car and drive yourself, allowing us to handle your transport will make your long journey far more convenient.
It is also possible to reduce the journey time by flying. Daily flights operate from Entebbe (EBB) to Kasese (KSE) (1 hour 35 minutes). The final leg of the journey is a 40.6-mile drive from Kasese to Kazinga Falls which takes around an hour and a half.
Places to Stay
Mweya Safari Lodge
Located on the Mweya Peninsula within the heart of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mweya Safari Lodge is the perfect base for your adventures in the Kazinga Channel. The lodge was formerly a government building prior to being 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 Lake George and Edward are wonderful.
There is a broad range of accommodation at Mweya Safari Lodge. The budget option is one of the 32 standard rooms, each with an en-suite 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 have a relaxing atmosphere. For bigger groups, private cottages are available with two and three bedrooms, living areas and spacious verandas.
Visitors can choose between an indoor and outdoor dining experience. Whether you choose to eat in the lodge’s formal dining room or outside on the veranda, you will be served with a range of local and international dishes which are prepared by experienced chefs. As an added treat on Saturday evenings, the lodge hosts special barbecues with performances by traditional dancers.
Situated next to the Kyambura Gorge in the eastern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura Lodge is one of the best accommodation options in the Park. As well as being a brilliant base for boat cruises, guests can also enjoy chimp trekking and game drives.
Formerly a coffee plantation store, the building has been converted into the main lodge. 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 a spa which was launched in July 2019.
8 luxury bandas surround the main lodge, and 4 of them are extra-special deluxe bandas. The relaxed style of the buildings, made primarily with wood, stone and thatched roofs, produces an air of tranquillity.
All 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 but still retains the distinctive character of a classic safari lodge. Every guest can also enjoy a personal butler service.
Ishasha Tented Camp
The Ishasha Tented Camp is our favourite budget accommodation. The Ishasha Wilderness Camp offers an authentic 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. The central area of the camp contains a comfortable lounge, bar, dining area, spacious veranda, and even a quiet library for avid readers.
Each of the 10 private canvas tents are deliberately positioned to take advantage of their stunning surroundings. Each tent offers a fantastic view of the local hippos and herds of elephants from its veranda. 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. This eco-friendly accommodation is perfect for environmentally conscious travellers.
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