By Titus Kakembo
Queen Elizabeth National Park hit international headlines for negative reasons when 11 lions were poisoned by poachers in 2018. This prompted the Uganda Tourism Authority (UWA) to swing into action.
“Uganda Tourism Authority tightened security by observing the neighbourhood 24/7,” said the tourism manager, Steven Nyadru. “Fortunately, the vacuum left by the victims has already been filled up. That is what happens with nature when disaster strikes.”
“The number of rangers has increased besides equipping them with modern equipment and merging with the Judiciary to render the punishments given to culprits preventive.”
A game drive in the park treats the tourist to crater lakes and some of Africa’s iconic Big Five. Lions bask in the sun at 9:00am. Among the 95 species of birds are elephants seen breaking huge trees and guzzling water. In the swamps of Lake George are crocodiles visibly docile with jaws agape to enable birds to dine on meat stuck between their teeth.
Predators there include hyenas, jackals and cheetahs.
“You will be super surprised that a migrant has different behaviour compared with the resident species,” says seasoned birder Herbert Byaruhanga. “Unlike the birds here that avoid close encounters with human beings, I have seen doves at Trafalgar Square in London feed from palms of bird lovers!”
A safari drive in the north of Kazinga Channel will treat one to tree-climbing lions, plus irritating smells in a place called Bunyampako (pass wind). There are stopovers for breakfast that includes a piping hot cup of coffee with a rolex at pocket-friendly prices. Crafts shops have in stock clothes, footwear, jewellery and visual art.
A boat ride in Queen Elizabeth National Park is the climax of the tour. One can photograph birds, mammals, reptiles, the landscape and the setting sun. At night, one can stargaze and listen to nocturnal life, such as bats, tree hyrax and owls as the rest of the world goes to bed.
The park is located 410 km from Kampala City. One can get there via Fort Portal by spending eight hours on the road. It can also be accessed by air, in an hour, from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip.