Experience one of the most outstanding moments while at Queen Elizabeth National Park by participating in the village hill trek. It is a 3-5 hours hill trail overlooking this wildlife-packed savannah of Queen Elizabeth, astride Lake George at the equator. The trek offers one of the best views in the area.

This panoramic view gives it all. Viewing the lakes surrounded by expansive savanna is like a magical dream of the jungle. You will see the land dotted with grazing wild animals. on the earlier part of the trail, you can also be able to take the sight of fishing boats hovering over the waters in the middle of the jungle. With a local guide, the trek starts from the Elephant home, Kikorongo. The tour is offered in an affordable package that includes a packed lunch. Within the price, you will also get a day pack with 1 liter of water.

Taking this tour is probably the first time you will realize that 3 hours of trekking can feel to be too short. The beauty of this trail easily keeps you going without realizing the hustle of climbing the hills. It feels like flying over Queen Elizabeth National Park as you enjoy the views over Lakes; George and Kikorongo, that you won’t find anywhere else in the area.

Anybody can go on this trek with ease. It is suitable for all levels of strength since it has two optional routes. Those who wish to visit the mountain lake by car will be able to use a less scenic route driving to the village near the lake. The advantage of using a walking trail is that it is mainly open with short grasses and shrubs that allow for full-time views of the landscape in the entire region.

As you trek, unique plants, insects, and colorful birds are a common sight, making this trail a birder’s pick. With a bird guidebook, you will be amazed to spot and identify some of the birds such as black-headed Weaver, scaret_chested sunbird, and more. As you take the breaks, spend some time learning from the guide how the local people relate to these birds.

The hill trek gives every guest, an opportunity to live like a local for a moment. During the tour, you will meet and mix with the local people doing their local trades. These meetings can turn up to be all-around participation in the local life, from observing the local mountain architecture, innovative ways of transporting basic and commercial commodities, planting, harvesting, processing, and tending to domestic animals. You will also be amazed to hear the story of how the local culture contributes to the conservation of the natural habitat on these hills. The farmers are taking the effort to innovatively prevent the soil from flowing downhill.

This trek is a world on its own. You will be inspired by this survival economy that runs without any machinery on these hills. All basic needs such as firewood and other domestic luggage are carried manually on the back. The women carry with a string around the head, supported by the neck. They carry this way to have a balance on the mountainsides. As you intermingle with the mountain people, you will learn that this way of carrying is another bizarre adaptation by the tribe over years.

The hills are so fertile that everything put on the ground will germinate. The food grown contributes to the domestic food needs and income when they sell the surplus. The local crops grown on these hillside farms include; cotton, coffee, bananas, beans, and other vegetables. Visit the farms to take some pictures or even participate in the farm activities. The farmers will explain the farming processes of their crops.

After spending time with the farmers, you will continue to the most interesting point of the trail; the mountain lake, parched on the top of the mountain. At the most scenic spot next to the lake, you will take your picnic lunch. The farmer will tell you the story of the local beliefs and practices he knows about this mountain lake and how it formed in his garden. Take a tour around the lake to view it from different angles. The time at the lake is a memorable picture moment. After the tour around the lake is a good time to descend to your lodge at Queen Elizabeth national park. 

It is very easy to arrange this trek if you want to take it. We require you to book at least one day before the trekking day. Contact us today to reserve your date.

Queen Elizabeth is the second oldest park in Uganda. Its size is 1978 square km, making it the second-largest in Uganda.

This park was established in the year 1952 as Kazinga National Park. This name lasted only two years, then it was renamed to its current name to commemorate the visit of the queen of England.

From the traditional tales, the land currently occupied by the park was a hunting ground for the local tribes. These tribes include the Batagwenda and Banyaruguru in the Bunyaruguru highlands and Bakonzo on the Rwenzori Mountains side.

At the creation of the park, this land was never settled due to the infestation of tsetse flies that were in the area. As a result, the people who used to live there had moved to other neighboring landscapes leaving the park to remain as an exclusive wildlife habitat. This land use has lasted until this current day. When it was turned into a National Park, hunting from here was reduced but the tribes kept hunting the stray animals that would go to the human residential areas since these areas were equally forested and sparsely settled.

In the year 1979 hunting wild animals by soldiers were permitted in Uganda National Parks during the rule of President Iddi Amin. This permission was also practiced in Queen Elizabeth, an act that accounts for a considerable loss of Uganda’s wild animals during that time.

However, due to the successive conservation strategies, the Uganda wildlife population has greatly recovered in recent decades, making the country one of the leading wildlife havens in east Africa. Specifically, this has qualified Queen Elizabeth to be the most preferred destination for wildlife activities in Uganda, that no one should miss.

Queen Elizabeth is dissected by a national public highway from Mbarara to Kasese/ fort portal. This road is tarmac and all-weather standard. The road makes a loop from Kampala and back to Kampala on both ends, making it easy to access Queen Elizabeth National Park by public transport. You can easily find buses from Kampala or Matau (shared taxis) in the neighboring towns passing through the park. No one will be allowed to enter beyond the gates on foot. This means if your lodge is inside the park, if you want to do a boat cruise at Mweya or any other activity, you will need to have private transport. If you visited by public transport, the cars can be easily hired from Katunguru, Kasese town, Kyambura, lake Katwe or at the Elephant home

Neighboring National Parks and how to get there after your stay in Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth is located in the center of natural wonders. Its neighborhood makes up other unique nature reserves and National Parks that can be reached in a few hours drive. as the west is entirely dominated by Rwenzori mountains, the East is covered by Kalinzu, Maramagambo, Kyambura and Kigezi wildlife reserves.

In the North, you find Kibale National Park, the home of chimps and other primates.

To the west, you find Rwenzori Mountains National Park forming the wonderful backdrop during the safari. Rwenzori is the scenic park for those who want to do all levels of adventurous mountain climbing.

South of Queen Elizabeth, you will find Bwindi forest almost touching ends. This is the home of the famous mountain gorillas.

From the immediate neighbor parks, you will find other parks such as Semuliki national park to the northwest, Murchison falls national park to the far north and Mugahinga gorilla national park to the far south.

It is possible to travel from Queen Elizabeth to any of these parks within one day. If you haven’t figured how to travel to/ from Queen or you need any other on-ground help, please feel free to contact us now. We will provide support from the smallest to the most complex holiday details, including travel, hotel reservation, and wildlife safaris or booking other destinations around Uganda.

Queen Elizabeth is home to over 95 mammals and more than 500 bird species and a variety of reptiles and small insects. The common animals you may see during your visit include;

Since this park is home to a large variety of bird species, every guest will not miss on birds during a game drive/ safari or the Kazinga channel boat cruise.

Location and access:

Queen Elizabeth is located about 400km, on the equator, west of Kampala. From Kampala, the two routes that can be used to access the park are;

  • Kampala-Mubende Fort portal route.
  • Masaka-Mbarara route.

For road transport, public and private means is easy to arrange from Kampala city, at no extra cost other than the  net price of transportation. contact the Elephant home or your tour operator for current information regarding transportation. 

It is also possible to fly to Queen Elizabeth from Kanjansi (Entebbe Road) to Kasese airstrip. Scheduled flights are available twice a day on most days of the week. Chartered flights can be arranged any day.

Year of establishment: 1952

Size: 1978 square km

Mammals species: over 95 mammals

Primates species: 10

Birds species: Over 500 species

Vegetation and land features: Savannah, Wetlands, Forests, fresh water lakes, salt lakes, rift valley escarpment, equator

The Elephant Home and the community

The elephant home is a complete story. A story of the journey of converting poachers to conservationists. The former hunters and encroachers have been converted to friends and partners of wildlife conservation through generating income, skills, connections and other benefits from tourism.

When you decide to stay with us. We ensure that every coin you spend at the Elephant home goes a long way to the local family to put food on their table buy scholastic materials provide medical care and or buy cloth for that least known household in the villages next to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Hosting guest at the Elephant home brings to the community, a feeling of appreciation when they get the opportunity to share with you their story of wildlife.

Rooms and facilities

Our accommodation facilities have been designed to ensure that your visit to queen Elizabeth National Park is the most memorable one. Each of our guest rooms are fully furnished with private bathrooms, beds with mosquito netting, furniture and a private balcony. We also have private camping and ample packing space where guests can pack or sleep in their car rooftop tents. We now have tools that will be used to charge the guest gadgets as well as supply WiFi in our restaurant. The delicious meals served in our restaurant have made every client wish they are able to stay longer.

The natural jungle:

We are located in the heart of the jungle. Whether you want to take a walk, sit and listen to nature’s sounds, explore the rich plant life or take the views of Queen Elizabeth National Park, our secure neighborhood has you catered. The Elephant home is a bird sanctuary. You will listen to the birds 14 hours of the day from crack of dawn to late evening. In our self guided walk, you will have the liberty to walk in the animals’ tracks as you look for the spoors from different mammals that graze on the property. From the top of the self guided trail, relax as you view he lakes and game grazing in the park.

Local guides and activities:

Immerse yourself in the local nature and culture as you watch wildlife and culture on the community trails. The elephant home is a perfect base to explore Queen Elizabeth national park and her neighborhoods. At the lodge, you will find experienced guides and allot of trails to do in and outside the park, whether you want to trek the Rwenzori foothills or the savannah plains.

You will have he opportunity to join the cultural demonstrations and workshops, village guided walks, traditional dances, traditional salt mining tours, Boda Boda safaris, chimp tracking, looking for tree climbing lions in Ishasha, the crater lakes tours game drives in Kasenyi, Kazinga channel boat cruise, lion tracking and many others.

By staying with us at the Elephant Home, you help us as we continue to contribute to conserve and develop the community neighboring the park.

We are pleased to hear that Entebbe airport will be open for commercial passenger flights, starting 1st October 2020. This gives us a new hope for an increase in business, considering that tourists will now be allowed to fly into Uganda.  

During this time of post covid-19 pandemic lockdown, hygiene is of highest priority than ever before. In the past, the Elephant Home has always ranged highest on hygiene and cleanliness in the area around Queen Elizabeth. We re-affirm that we have only gotten better by integrating the national and global COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs)

Beautiful savannah flowers

We are prepared to welcome and show you around Queen Elizabeth National Park. We hereby share what we have been doing to safely welcome and host you during your post lockdown safari in the new normal.

Onsite Giftshop

At this moment, our communities need the tourism income more than ever. this will help us to secure the local livelihoods and natural habitat both of which are already in bad shape. environment related has more than doubled in the national park and our village. your visitation will help the people and wildlife be able to see tomorrow.

We happy to announce the we have started accepting bookings as we look forward to welcome you soon.

A simple project that started in 2015 is on the journey of improving livelihoods in the local community. The project runs tourism activities targeting tourists who visit Queen Elizabeth National Park. This project is called The Elephant Home. The ultimate goal of this lodge is not just to sale tourism goods and services. The lodge is aiming at something bigger through, facilitating positive change in the environment and local households around Queen Elizabeth national park at Kikorongo community.

So far, The elephant home has mobilized the youth, women and men using part of the income generated from tourism. The project has facilitated the formation of a local youth group directly implementing community empowerment works. Under this initiative, the community is now running the following projects;

waste collection
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Boda-boda safari
About the elephant home

At the moment, support to the elephant home comes from individual travelers and volunteers when they stay or provide voluntary services with the projects. This is how the lodge has managed to reach an estimate of 300 community members directly seeing the benefits of tourism. These and many more are slowly being encouraged to move from habitat destruction to sustainable livelihoods. In future, this project sees Kikorongo people able to meet their all basic needs sustainably while coexisting with wildlife.

The elephant home is a member of the Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA). This is the basis for the high level of services and facilities being offered. The accommodation facilities of the elephant home are standard offering a great deal of hospitality. The lodge offers self contained twin and double rooms, camping facilities and a restaurant serving all meals on order. 98% of the guest to the elephant home has had something good to say about the lodge. Quoting their words, the lodge is hailed for the delicious meals, hospitable staff, great location close to the park gate, location in the jungle, large and very clean rooms, linkages to the community and many others. For the few guests who have had negative experiences, the community running the lodge has worked hard to address the challenges and turning them into positive experience for the next guests. 

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Guest room
How you can support the elephant home through your trip:

The most important and easy way of support is choosing to stay at the elephant home during your trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park. During the stay, you can also choose to do any of the community tourism activities. This one already takes the project miles ahead. At other levels of support, we request volunteers to help on the attitude change and skilling journey. These are two biggest strides that will move the project to another level.

If you want to arrange your stay, volunteer position or make any linkage in this respect. Please contact us today.

The Elephant home is a community lodge located next to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Being located near one of the most visited parks in Uganda, the lodge offers a spectrum of holiday activities to travelers who choose this park for their holiday.

Queen Elizabeth National park is a prime holiday destination for both local and foreign visitors traveling around Uganda. It is located in western Uganda, next to other important parks and biological sanctuaries of Uganda, including; the Rwenzori Mountains to the west, Kibale National Park to the north, and Bwindi Impenetrable forest to the south. Other wildlife reserves include the Kyambura gorge, Kalinzu forest, maramagambo forest, Kasyoha kitomi and the crater lakes area to the east of the park

Many guests coming to western Uganda always find it convenient to add Queen Elizabeth and other neighboring nature reserves on their list. Indeed the list of activities one can do at this area is very long and very few guests will have enough time and budget to do all activities on one trip. At the elephant home lodge, we make activity choices and arrangements easier for visitors by putting them in a number of packages. The lodge provides a list of up to six categories of holiday packages that everyone can choose from. Each package is designed to appeal to a certain varied or specific traveler interest. If you look in the following packages, you will realize that we have one or more choices that suit your holiday interests too.

All-inclusive package

It is a two nights three days package covering accommodation, meals, It is a two nights three days package covering accommodation, meals, wildlife safari and a boat cruise on the Kazinga channel. This package suites guest who have limited fixed time and or wants to arrange everything at once to be able to concentrate on exploring from the time of arrival. Most guests love it because they don’t have to manage their bills and choices all through their trip. They clear everything in advance so they don’t travel with redundant cash.

Accommodation only package

The components of this package are meals and accommodation. It is charged per night stayed. In this package, you decide the activities on arrival. It works well for people who want to travel flexibly and be able to decide what to do on a day to day basis. Depending on guest interest, we can charge accommodation on bed and breakfast (BB), half board (HB) or full board (FB) basis. The staff will offer all the required time to tell guests what they can do during their stay. We can also organise guides and cars for the activities in and outside the park. If you choose this package, please mention the accommodation price structure you want.

Shared package

This includes joining an existing prior arranged wildlife activity. The activities that are in this category include; wildlife safari and boat cruise. It has a component of sharing the overhead costs such as the car/ driver and fuel, the guide, the initial costs of a boat cruise and others of the kind. After sharing the overheads, each guest pays their individual personal costs such as entrance fees meals, accommodation etc. All these other costs such as meals and refreshments on this package are normally optional. This package is suited for guests who 1). Want to travel on a budget, by sharing the overhead costs with other travelers or 2). Those guests who want to meet new people during travel 3). Those who want to join large groups to enhance their enjoyment of the activity. At the elephant home we know this may be your choice of package. Please share with us your plans.

Community encounters

This is a two days package. It entails a series of community experiences around the national park showcasing the local life of the people who live with wildlife all their lifetime, generation after generation. The package is suited for guests who want to add community experience to their wildlife safari. Within the two days or more, the package can be enriched with intervals of integrating wildlife safaris and boat cruise at an additional cost for these wildlife activities. Please let us know if this suite your travel interest and plans.

Volunteer placements

For you who likes to travel differently. This package gives interns, experienced travelers or passionate explores an opportunity to learn, share and or discover intensively in a new exotic environment. This is for people who don’t like to be traditional tourists. It is an opportunity to share by contributing part of oneself to the local cause that changes lives or conserves the local environment. We salute the volunteers and dedicate this to them. In this arrangement, we have put up a set of opportunities for our guests to reach, leave and participate in our conservation and community development work. We provide a package that includes discounted accommodation/meals and the available work to be done on a day to day basis. Volunteers are placed in the local schools and education programs, water and sanitation projects, crafts and waste management projects, child development projects, women empowerment programs. During the volunteer work, guests may choose to participate in wildlife and other holiday activities at intervals.

Safaris and trips

As we concentrate on helping our guests explore Queen Elizabeth national park and surrounding areas, we have strong connections with other community and none community attractions around the country. This package is suited to empower our guests during travel by helping them travel comfortably and confidently around Uganda. On request, we link our guests to agencies and groups that organize safaris and trips around Uganda, near and far. Being a member of the Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA) we network with other members around the country or link you to the national community tourism coordinators that will provide reliable information about traveling around Uganda. Through this package, we have managed to give our guests an opportunity to have high value local on-ground safari managers and destinations that give them a complete Uganda experience at very minimal costs.

Conservation trips

working with community conservation projects and tour companies, we organize tree planting events on our property, in our community or other communities around Queen Elizabeth or other conservation areas. This package is for a passionate conservation traveler who wants to offset the carbon footprint of travel and other human activities by contributing to re-greening the globe.  Guests who choose this package are required to sponsor tree planting alongside their holiday activities of choice. The sponsorship goes to a chosen number of trees and their management for one year to enable the planted trees to suppress the bushes creating a forest. Through the year of the trees growing, we keep in touch sharing the progress and our guests are able to see their effort turning the bare lands into forests. this is for you if you want to do one of the most motivating selfless action during your travel time.

We may not guarantee that all our packages will suit everyone but we are sure every traveler to queen Elizabeth National park will find one package to remember all their life. Besides the packages, we also tailor holidays for guests who may not find a suitable package.

These products have been designed to make it easy for visitors to explore the Queen Elizabeth National Park. We prefer that any guests who want to choose a package books before arrival. Please contact us today and let us work together to make your dream holiday that will definitely turn to be a life-time experience.

Covering a part of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Maramagambo forest ranges from the Kichwamba escarpment to Lake Edward. The forest landscape is ideal for nature walks, hiking, and bird watching. There are immense opportunities to catch scenic views of verdant tree canopies covering the forest.

Image credit: naturesfrontline.org

Attractions To Discover In Maramagambo Forest

Bat Cave

The most significant attraction in Maramagambo Forest is the bat cave. This cave gained popularity from a bad experience. A Dutch woman contracted Marburg fever from these caves in 2008. The ministry of health sealed off the caves before re-opening them with safety precautions in place with assistance from the American Center for Disease Control.

There is safe viewing outside the cave to view thousands of bats and gorging pythons. This is quite a sight. Luckily, there is no fear of contracting the deadly Marburg fever. The safe viewing area allows watching the big serpents come out from the cave to get some heat from the sun.

Culture Encounters

The locals here offer immense opportunities from a cultural perspective. The name of this forest comes from a local legend where young people wandered off into this forest. These young people returned after a few days. They were worn out and unable to speak making the locals name the forest Maramagambo meaning loss of words in the local dialect.

The cave, at Nyanziibiri community, presents another cultural encounter. This brings the famous cave to life. This cave is located on the edge of lake Kamweru, one twin lake with lake Kyema. The river flowing out of this cave was used for cleansing people from misfortunes while they would make sacrifices inside the cave. The local elders say that this place was a hideout for various people during the period of tyranny in the country during past regimes. At Nyanziibiri campsite, located just above the cave, there is Banyaruguru hut museum with valued local artifacts once precious tools for everyday life.

The famous Bat cave
Rare Primates

A hike through Maramagambo Forest is short of catching glimpses of various primates. This forest is bordered by Kyadanduka and Nyamasingiri crater lakes making it a good spot for primate species including:

Rare Animal Species

Apart from catching glimpses of chimpanzees in Maramagambo Forest, there is an opportunity to spot various rare animals. You will get a chance to snap away and to learn their behavior. A hike along the Kyasanduke Crater Lake offers a lot to discover more about this region.

Apart from discovering various tree species, there is a chance to track endangered species including pygmy antelopes, bushbabies, and pottos.

Forest birds

Maramagambo Forest offers various opportunities to watch various bird species making it a birders’ paradise. This location is home to various rare bird species to thrill any bird watcher including:

Soldier ants

There is also a rare opportunity to find long columns of solder ants in Maramagambo Forest to thrill you. These might make a column about 100 meters long and over 6 meters sideways. Ensure to avoid getting into contact with these ants. A bite from a soldier ant comes with a sting with a long-term effect and of course pain.

Nature trail
Nature Walks

Another attraction in Maramamgambo Forest is the nature walks. This unique experience requires walking through the canopy shaded trail lasting for more than an hour to half a day. The options for nature walks to consider in Maramagambo Forest include:

Forest Trail

This hike will give you a chance to encounter various exciting things on the trail. However, maneuvering through this dense forest requires good fitness. This will come in handy when climbing through the various hills.

Valley Trail

The valley trail is a 3 ½ km walk over the valley. It offers various interesting experiences including walking along the ridge. There is an opportunity to discover various interesting forest species including the Viagra tree.

River Trail

You should consider taking a 2 ½ km walk along River Kajojo for an hour. The river was named Kajojo a local name for a young elephant. This river was famous for elephants bathing in the water stream. On this trail, there is a chance to catch glimpses of species like parinari and various primates.

Palm trail

This 5 km walk lasts for 1 ½ hour to 2 hours over flat terrain suitable for everyone. It offers a chance to see breathtaking features including tree species and learning their local use from the guide. The frame tree is used here to arouse sexual desire in women. Raphia Palm trees are sources of raw materials for making mats.

Waterfall Trail

Finally, you can take the 11km waterfall walk for 4 to 5 hours through dense vegetation to the hilly sections of Maramagambo  Forest after maneuvering wet terrain. The trail leads to the Kiryantama Falls meaning sheep eater in the local dialect. You can’t miss seeing backcloth figs used as occasional attire by local men. This is used to make other commodities including table covers, curtains, and bags.

How to arrange your visit to Maramagambo forest

When considering a safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park, a visit to Maramagambo Forest should be top on your to-do list. There is a lot to indulge in here to give everyone a wonderful experience. You can book your visit to this wonderful landscape by yourself.

The forest can be accessed from two directions; from Kasese through Queen Elizabeth national park or from Mbarara- Ishaka-Bushenyi, heading to Kasese.

Traveling from Kampala is very easy by bus. You catch a bus from Kisenyi bus terminal-Kampala downtown. This bus drops you in Mbarara town. From here take a taxi heading to Kasese via Bushenyi, to stop you at the forest or your lodge near near the forest. The distance is an estimate of 305km from Kampala to Maramagambo and will take an estimate of 5-6 hours traveling by car.

Everyone willing to visit Maramagambo forest can easily find a place to stay on the night before and after this forest experience. You will also find a range of accommodation options to select from in Bunyaruguru and Bushenyi district. The forest can be accessed from most lodges in and around Queen Elizabeth national park.

For those not familiar with this area, contacting any tour operator or lodges around Queen Elizabeth national park is ideal. Contact us today for more information about how to find accommodation in this area.