Boat cruise is one of the must-enjoy activities when you visit Queen Elizabeth National Park, and a safari to this destination without enjoying this exhilarating activity is incomplete and meaningless.
If you engage in this activity, you will agree that it is one of the best cruises you can ever enjoy during your Uganda safaris. Kazinga Channel is the narrow waterway of about 45 kilometers connecting Lake Edward in the West and Lake George in the East, within Queen Elizabeth National Park. This Park covers an area of 1978 square kilometers, making it the second largest Park in the country after Murchison Falls National Park that covers around 3893 square kilometers.
This strip of water offers unmatched opportunities for enjoying breathtaking views of abundant animal and plant species as well as the spectacular scenery of this Savannah National Park for tourists on Uganda tours. The banks of this Channel are a haven to herds of Hippos and highest concentration of Nile Crocodiles Uganda ever offered during a safari holiday. A Boat cruise here also offers views of the remarkable Mweya Peninsula with unbeaten opportunities of spotting more than 60 species of birds such as the shoebill storks, African skimmers, Pink-backed Pelicans, Jacana, Flamingos, Darters, great cormorants, Saddle billed storks, African fish eagles, African spoonbills, yellow billed storks, Black crakes, Kingfishers, great white pelicans, Open-billed storks, African skimmers as well as Grey crowned cranes relishing the aquatic environment of the Kazinga Channel, hence the reason it is always on the top of the list of must-visit destinations during Uganda wildlife and birding safaris.
See Incredible Wildlife from the Comfort of Your Boat
All living creatures need water, and as a result the Kazinga Channel is an oasis for the many fascinating species that inhabit the park. A boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel provides tourists with the chance to get a closer encounter with the other wildlife species that visit the River banks without fear for their lives and Safety such the Cape Buffaloes, African elephants, Monitor lizards, Uganda Kobs, Defassa waterbucks, common elands and Topis among others.
Taking this boat tour from Mweya to the mouth of Lake George gives visitors the chance to stand just a few meters from the hundreds of enormous hippos and buffaloes that spend their days cooling off in the water, while elephant families drink and bathe on the shoreline.
Lots of Birds Await You
Visitors can hope to see an average of 60 bird species during the trip, from the saddle-billed storks with their colorful beaks to vivid malachite kingfishers and pairs of elegant fish eagles. Carrying a maximum of 40 passengers, the boats guarantee a seat with a view for everyone, while expert ranger guides narrate the creatures’ stories during the relaxing ride down the channel.
Launch trips leave at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm daily, and last two hours. The exhilarating boat cruise is scheduled and conducted in the morning and afternoon sessions with the former including at 9am and 11am while with the latter, it is conducted at 2pm and finally at 5pm lasting for 2-3 hours. The two operators of this adventurous and mind-blowing activity are Marasa Africa (also owns Mweya Safari Lodge) and the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Other places to enjoy a boat cruise during Uganda tours include Lake Victoria, Lake Mburo, along the Nile River in Murchison Falls National Park.
If you are not on an organised safari, bookings for the boat can be made through the Visitor Information Centre in Mweya (+256 782 387805) or the UWA headquarters in Kampala (+256 414 355000).
Besides the Kazinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts of other interesting places that offer sightings of exceptional wildlife species and birds. These sites include the Kasenyi Plains with several wildlife species such as Uganda Kobs and Lions, Mweya Peninsula, the Kyambura gorge to sight the only population of Chimpanzees in the Park, Ishasha sector with the extraordinary tree climbing lions, Lake George, Lake Kyoga to spot several migratory species, Lake Edward and Maramagambo Forest with its magnificent attractions such as red-tailed monkeys, the Bates pygmy antelopes, the two crater Lakes and Caves that offer shelter to large Bat colonies and snakes especially the pythons.