Things to Do
Kasenyi Plains Game Drives
The game drive is the quintessential savannah safari experience. Travelling in four wheel drive vehicles adapted to provide great visibility through hatch roofs and sliding windows, you will patrol the grasslands with your guide for about 3 hours in the early morning or late afternoon when the animals are at their most active.
Each species has its own ecological niche, or home, and behaviour patterns. When the guide understands these, s/he can introduce you to the story of the savannah getting you close to the wonderful animals found there. The bull elephant dosing in the shade of an acacia; the grumpy buffalo, mud encrusted, wallowing in puddles; the lethal lion heading out to hunt as the shadows lengthen.
Treat each game drive as you first, because every drive has the capacity to surprise and delight, however many safaris you have experienced.
Kazinga Channel Boat Safaris
There is something very special about watching wildlife from the water. It is peaceful. The sunlight reflecting from the broken surface of the water; the changing expression of the animals as they watch you and consider how to react. With the wind in the right direction, you can often get far closer to larger groups than you can in a vehicle on land. Boat safaris take place twice a day on the Kazinga Channel, which links Lakes Edward and George. Different sized boats are available, but all safaris drift along the shore to Pelican Point. You can expect to see elephant, hippo, buffalo, antelope and a wonderful range of aquatic bird life.
Kyambura Gorge Chimp tracking
Over the centuries, the Kyambura River has cut a deep gorge into the Kichwamba Escarpment. With sides too steep for large herbivores to exploit, dense forest clads the gorge sides providing the perfect habitat for large primates, particularly chimpanzees. Habituated to human contact, one of Queens’ greatest attractions is spending a few hours tracking our closest relatives through the forest led by a Ugandan Wildlife Authority guide. It really feels like you have entered another world. This is not a ‘zoo experience’: the chances of seeing the chimps are about 60%. It is a real forest quest and a sighting is all the more special because of that.
Marambagambo Forest Walks
For birders and those who love walking far from the normal trails, the Maramagambo Forest is the perfect place to spend half or even a full day. Sheltered from the hot sun by the dense canopy, you can explore the shadows, discovering species not seen on the open plains, stumble across hidden crater lakes and marvel at the sheer mass of life found within a bat cave. Don’t go too close: snakes wait in the rocks of the cave floor to catch the bats that fall from their perches, dislodged by stronger, more frantic, neighbours.
Ishasha Plains Game Drives
Human history is fascinating, but wilderness is compelling, pulling at something deep within us. If you feel that pull, then stay in the Ishasha sector. But don’t climb the fig trees: you may be jostling with a lion or two for the best branches. Ishasha is an area of open woodland in the south west of the Park on the way to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. It is explored by game drives and, even though a couple of lodges have recently opened in the sector, it receives relatively few visitors. This makes for delightfully private game drives and sundowners to remember.
Crater Lakes Drives
There are 72 craters of different sizes scattered throughout the park, evidence of the areas tumultuous volcanic history. Many of these are clustered in the north of the Park making for a fascinating half day drive when the view and geologic record is the focus rather than the wildlife.
Katwe Salt Pans Visit
To understand the human history of the Park, visit the salt pans at Katwe. You will marvel at the fortitude of the people who work in this most astringent of environments. They practice a trade with deep historical roots that once formed the wealth of a powerful kingdom. Wander around the pans, observing the traditional techniques applied in the shadow of an abandoned processing plant that proved unable to handle the high levels of salinity found at Katwe. It is hot here. The sun’s glare is harsh. You won’t stay long, but it is well worth the visit.
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