The Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park is a wide, 32-kilometer long natural channel that links Lake George and Lake Edward and a dominant feature of this National Park. Kazinga Channel attracts a varied range of wild animals and bird species, with one of the world’s largest concentrations of hippos and Nile Crocodiles. Lake George is a small lake with an average depth of only 2.4 meters and is fed by streams from the Rwenzori Mountains. Its outflow is through the Kazinga Channel which drains into Lake Edward, water levels fluctuating very little.
In 2005, large numbers of hippos were killed in the channel as a result of an anthrax outbreak, which occurs when animals eat remnants of vegetation in the driest months, absorbing bacterial spores that can live for decades in dry soil. The channel is described as a popular wildlife tourism area.
The Kazinga Channel in Uganda is one of the most impressive features found in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The water in the Kazinga Channel is brought about by streams originating from the Rwenzori Mountains. Most of the major mammals in Queen Elizabeth National Park congregate on the shores of the channel to bathe, drink and feed making it a great place for animal viewing.
The hippo population (1,600) in Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Kazinga Channel is one of the three largest in the world. Regardless of how many you have seen elsewhere, you will be deeply surprised by the sheer numbers here. Apart from hippos, Nile crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants, monitor lizards and many species of antelopes can easily be seen near the shores of the Channel. The Kazinga Channel attracts almost every kind of animal you would think about during an Africa safari to Uganda. If one is lucky, they might even spot lions and leopards drinking by the shores of the channel.
The Kazinga Channel is one of the best bird-watching spots in Uganda with over 58 species like the African skimmers, Black bee-eaters, Black Crake, Crested Crane, Darters, Great and Long-Tailed Cormorants, Great White and Pink-Backed Pelicans, Jacana, Marabou Stork, Open-Billed Stork, Pink-backed pelicans, Saddle Bill Stork and Yellow-Billed Stork. The great variety of animals and bird species found in the Kazinga Channel has made a boat cruise along the channel one of the top activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It has also helped Queen Elizabeth National Park become the most visited in Uganda.
A boat safari along the Kazinga Channel is one of those great wildlife experiences while on a safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park and allows you fully explore all the best things that the channel has to offer. Since 1952, the slow boat cruise has been organized to spot several large mammals that come to drink, feed and bathe around the shores.
The boat cruise cost between USD50 to USD30 and is done in shifts between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Each cruise lasts for two hours and starts from the Mweya jetty. There are two boat options available for visitors – One can use the smaller but more expensive boat or the double-decker boat. read more about entry fees to Queen Elizabeth national park
The boats are more comfortable and suitable for those who wish to have a more private cruise. One of the interesting things about the slow boat cruise apart from the animals is the opportunity to pass by the local fishing villages. In the late afternoon, the fishermen can be seen preparing their fishing gear as they get ready to head for the waters in the night.
There are no fishermen in the waters in the early afternoon because of the dangerous hippos. However, during the night, the hippos go to graze on land allowing fishermen to catch fish without fear. Read more about the boat experience in Queen Elizabeth
The best time to visit the Kazinga Channel is during the dry season. During this time the channel becomes an oasis that gathers even more park and domestic animals – all relying on the water to drink, cool off, and feed. It is important to go for the boat cruise with a good camera to take good photos of the animals and water. The best time to take photos is in the late afternoon.
Great Adventure Safaris usually organizes a 3 days Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari that combines a boat trip along the Kazinga Channel with game safaris to the other sectors of the National Park. We highly recommend that you go for both the boat cruise and morning/afternoon game safaris along the Kasenyi plains and Ishasha sectors of the National Park.
The Kasenyi plains offer amazing opportunities to spot wild animals in picturesque natural plains and landscapes. Among the large animals include buffaloes and elephants and Kasenyi plains Eastern section offers the best chance to spot the ordinary African lion as they prey on the Uganda kobs that roams the area. The Ishasha sector is more famous for the tree-climbing lions. Take a 4 days Queen Elizabeth National Park and get enough time to explore Queen Elizabeth National Park and do a lion tracking experience in the Kasenyi plains.