Queen Elizabeth II NP

Uganda Queen Elizabeth II Big ElephantsUganda Queen Elizabeth II Hiding BuffaloQueen Elizabeth II National Park (QENP), named after Britain’s second longest serving monarch, is Uganda’s most visited park. In the end and bizarrely, technically, we did not manage to visit it. The local entry for a car is $11 and for a foreign car it is $150. Before we arrived, we thought as a member of the EAC we were local but it turned out that we were foreign and on the hook for $150, amongst other charges. So a wheeze was concocted…

Uganda Queen Elizabeth II Marabou StorkThe first view of the QENP was impressive. As we approached from the south on a ridge, the national park stretched out before us as far as the eye can see. Once down on the plain and from the road we saw an elephant, lots of baboons, families of warthog and lots of antelopey things. Before we knew it, we were on the equator. This was the first time for the ILPH (aka the wife) and second time for me (Ecuador was the other time). Photos were taken on the equator and we went on to the Queens Pavillion and Information Center, who informed us about the racist pricing previously mentioned. So official entry to the park was off but we noticed there were many towns in and around the park that could visited for free while going on through the park itself…

Uganda Queen Elizabeth II Hiding HipposUganda Queen Elizabeth II Babbon and BabySo first village to be visited was Kasenyi village. We nodded to at the park ranger post and continued on our way. Travelling slowly along the park road we saw lots of antelopey things, buffalo, many birds and the commercial salt pan. Once at Kasenyi village we parked up and saw many Ugandans, marabou storks, ibis, and hippos. Next village was Katwe, where we planned to stay the night. On the way back we waved at the rangers again and continued onto Katwe. We saw more buffalo and to our surprise a heard of six elephants. The elephants were crossing the road form a visit to the lake. We stopped to take a look. Most of them passed right in front of us however there were two that we interested in or, the ILPH would say, annoyed by us. Moments passed. Finally one of them began to charge! Luckily he stopped after about four or five steps but we took the hint and continued to Katwe. As we entered Katwe a chill went down both our spines. We slowly crept through the town trying not to draw attention to ourselves. Katwe had the end of the world feel of a two bit frontier town but there was no turning back as the sun was setting. We found the intended guesthouse, braced ourselves and checked in. We walked round of what there was of a town and literally half of everyone we met was boss eyed. “Were we in the league of gentlemen?” we asked each other. A plan was hastily made of going to bed and leaving asap in the morning.

Uganda Queen Elizabeth II KidsThe next morning we were up at 6am and on our way. The longest leg of our free safari was ahead of us; from Katwe to Ishashsa gate. We went back across the Kazinga channel and turned right. Almost immediately we saw more elephant, a bushbuck and several eagles. After a while we approached the Ishashsha area. We hoped to see some tree lions. Well when the safari is free you cannot have everything…

Queen Elizebath II National Park, where the safaris are free 🙂

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