By Titus Kakembo
Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) has bagged another accolade from the online tourism guide, TripAdvisor, as one of the best managed and most sought after tourism destinations in the world.
“Queen Elizabeth National Park is pleased to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Dr. Andrew Seguya, UWA’s executive director. “We strive to offer our customers a memorable experience, and this accolade is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive reviews.”
UWA’s marketing manager Ingrid Nyakabwa explains that what is published on Tripadvisor is taken as the gospel truth by tourists, so this should translate into a surge in tourist numbers.
“TripAdvisor is delighted to celebrate the success of businesses around the globe, from Sydney to Chicago, Sao Paulo to Rome, which are consistently offering TripAdvisor travellers a great customer experience,” said Alison Copus, vice-president of marketing for TripAdvisor for business.
“The Certificate of Excellence award provides top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from their customers,” Copus added.
To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on there for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the period.
The award is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on their site, considered the world’s largest travel site.
Getting thereMweya is the main park headquarters, 41km from Kasese, 115km from Fort Portal and 114 from Mbarara. The good tarmac road leads to a murram turn-off. Then there is 20km of dirt road. It is also possible to make the trip by air, landing at Kasese airstrip.
Must-dos at the park
It is Uganda’s most scenic and diverse wildlife park
1. Boat trips on Kazinga Channel, to the scenic drive between the volcanic craters in the north.
2. One can go chimpanzee-tracking in the deep Kyambura gorge, or take walks in the dark Imara Magambo forest. The forest is famous for hosting hundreds of birds which fly kilometres away to Kazinga Channel in the morning and return in the evening to roost.
3. Game drives beneath the vast skies of the Ishasha wilderness in the south.
Why it stands out
Most tourists consider the two-hour trip along Kazinga Channel from Mweya the highlight of the safari.
There are 95 mammal species, the highest you can get anywhere in the country.
Tree climbing lions and leopards which are found in only a few places in the world.
The park is home to 600 bird species and 10 primate species comprising chimpanzees, vervet, blue and red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus and olive baboon.