The Kazinga Channel is a dominant feature and popular part of Queen Elizabeth National park. It is a favorite wildlife experience are at the park. The channel banks attract groups of different wildlife species converging from Buffaloes, crocodiles, hippos, and birds. This makes an absolute highlight for any trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The Kazinga channel connects Lakes George and Edward. It is a 40km channel and is 8m at the deepest point. Boat cruises on the Kazinga Channel are a popular activity that starts from either the jetty below Mweya Safari lodge or from the Katunguru landing site. The cruise may not be spectacular as the one to the bottom of the falls at Murchison Falls National Park but it is a great 2-3 hours voyage worth doing for relaxed wildlife viewing.
Wildlife (the largest population in Africa Hippos, buffaloes, waterbucks, crocodiles, elephants) are sighted daily on the riverine/banks as they converge to drink (beat the thirst) and also beat the heat. Water birds are also in plenty. The channel provides the ideal habitat for a plethora of water and swamp species including both species of pelicans, white-winged and gull-billed terns, African skimmers, storks, fish eagles, egrets, cormorants, and swamp flycatchers among others.
Who operates Boat Trips?
There are several operators of boat safaris on the Kazinga channel. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) offers a 2-hour return boat trip between Mweya Peninsula and the entrance into Lake Edward at 30 USD per person. Mweya safari lodge has more comfortable boats that leave at intervals of 3 hours from 9 am to 17:00 hrs. It also has boats for special hire that take fewer people for example if you want a private boat safari for say birding tours to take your time as you search for birds. UWA boats leave at 11:00, 14:00, and 16:15 or on special requests.
Irungu Forest Safari Lodge also offers boat safaris and other community people who go through the right means to acquire a license to operate have boats that do the job. Uganda Lodges, under Marine Experience Uganda, recently introduced a luxury water vessel –MV Kazinga more comfortable and with great ambiance. It operates from 8.30 at intervals of 2 hours and also does sundowners from, 16.30 to 18.30.
The afternoon boat safaris are traditional and they yield good sightings on hot days when animals gravitate towards the channel banks. In the past departures were limited to the specific times and the Jetty below Mweya Safari Lodge but now departures are several and boats having a certain minimum number is no longer a concern whether you come late or in large numbers.
Gliding on the channel is amazing but what is more amazing is watching the different species together and free on the banks with none hurting each other.
Getting to the Kazinga Channel
Kazinga Channel is bounded by part of Queen Elizabeth National Park and Maramagambo Forest from the south- Ishasha about 50km. The channel is about 20 minutes or less from the Kyambura Area in the Northern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. You can access the Kazinga Channel from the Katunguru Trading center or the Jetty at Mweya Peninsula.
If you are doing an adventure to explore Queen Elizabeth National park, the channel cruise is an undeniably incredible activity you should not miss. It is one of the park's scenic points.