The Kazinga Channel is an oasis for many of the fascinating species that inhabit the park, and taking a boat tour along it gives visitors the chance to cruise just meters from hundreds of enormous hippos and buffalos while elephants linger on the shoreline.

Classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International, Queen’s great variety of habitats mean it is home to over 600 species. This is the greatest of any East African national park and a phenomenal number for such a small area. The park’s confluence of savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of the DR Congo allow visitors to spot East as well as Central African species.

For a classic African safari experience, the tracks through Kasenyi, the North Kazinga Plains and the Ishasha Sector offer virtually guaranteed buffalo, antelope and elephant sightings, along with warthogs and baboons. Taking an experienced guide in the early morning or at dusk is the most successful way to track down a pride of lions, and maybe even the odd leopard

The Kyambura Gorge experience is more than discovering chimpanzees in their natural environment: it teaches visitors about the ecosystems of Kyambura Gorge’s atmospheric “underground” rainforest, including vegetation types; bird identification and behavior; and chimp and monkey ecology.

See the energetic dances of the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performers; workers harvesting salt on Katwe Salt Lake; a traditional Banyaraguru hut; or an agricultural village - all guided by those who know them best - local community members.

For visitors who yearn to get up close to wild African fauna, a research trip is a rewarding adventure. This new and unique experience allows visitors to actively participate in monitoring some of the exotic birds and mammals that fill the park, using locator devices and learn habituation calls, as well as monitoring weather, surroundings and behavior.

Tucked beneath the shady canopy of the Maramagambo Forest is the “Bat Cave”. The cave has a viewing room from which visitors can observe the resident bats and pythons. For a more cultural cave experience, how about a trip to the historic cave at Nyanz’ibiri community?

Nature treks are one of the more active ways to explore the landscapes and wildlife of Queen Elizabeth. Locations include the shady Maramagambo forest; Mweya Peninsula with its scenic views; and Ishasha River, where you may spot a variety of forest and savanna species as well as having a unique opportunity to get extremely close to hippos - on foot!

Our closest cousin, the chimpanzee, shares at least 94% of its DNA with humans. Sociable, communicative and intelligent, one of the chimp’s most astonishing traits is its ability to use tools such as rocks for smashing nuts, empty pods for scooping water and sticks for drawing termites from their nests. As these skills are passed from generation to generation, it has been observed that different troops are specialists in different tasks, depending on their habitat and diet.

Chimpanzees live in communities containing 10 to 100 members. They hold hands, kiss, groom each other and babysit for each other’s offspring - young chimps do not become independent until around the age of four. But they can also be aggressive and unfriendly, particularly towards unrelated individuals.

Though they spend a lot of time on the ground, chimpanzees usually eat and sleep in trees. Their varied diet includes leaves, fruit, flowers and seeds.

Information sourced from African Wildlife Foundation http://www.awf.org/

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