Kazinga channel boat cruise is offered all year round. This makes any time you plan to visit Queen Elizabeth national park, the best time to do this memorable cruise. The boat cruise is conducted from two points; one from Mweya peninsula and the other from Katunguru community.
From Mweya peninsular, a scheduled boat cruise is conducted two times a day, at 11:00am and 3:00pm. Each boat trip takes two hours on a return trip. It requires a minimum number of people to join the trip for the scheduled boat cruise to take off. Currently, the boat cruise at Mweya costs 30$ per person for the foreign none-residents. For the foreign residents and east African resident, the price can get considerably cheaper. Privately organized boat cruises can be organized at any time outside the timing for the scheduled cruises (subject to availability). The price and timing for private boat cruises from Mweya peninsular may vary basing on the terms agreed with the provider.
The boat cruise from Katunguru is owned and operated by the local community. This boat cruise is both cheaper and flexible. It can go any time between 7:00am and 7:00pm, with a minimum of two persons on a two hours return journey. As of now, the price for this boat is 25$ per person (but can change without prior notice). It is necessary to book in advance so that you can confirm the availability. Private rides can be organized any time on prior booking
All boat cruises come with a ranger guide who is covered within the cost. Ranger guides have a lot of knowledge about wildlife and they will tell you everything or answer close to all questions asked by the guest during the boat cruise regarding the entire ecosystem. The community boat comes with an experienced local community guide that has lived in the area all their life and guiding tourists. These local community guide are both skilled and motivated to do the job. They truly have much to share with the visitors about the local community and wildlife in the park.
Kazinga channel gives an opportunity to view a very long list of wildlife while on boat. The 40km long, water channel is a wildlife hub and a favorite of all visitors to queen Elizabeth national park. Kazinga channel is one of the areas with high densities of animals in the park since they are attracted to water and the evergreen habitat along the banks of the channel. It connects two of the major water bodies; Lake George on the east and Lake Edward on the west. Lake Gorge is supplied by rivers from Rwenzori Mountains and Kibale national park while Lake Edward is a cross boundary lake whose largest part is in Congo and is the source of river Semuliki that goes through Congo to join Lake Albert and river Nile. This extended ecosystem is an evidence of how much natural richness one is connected to during the boat cruise on Kazinga channel. It is the account of this long journey that explains how the crocodiles were able to find their way from lake Albert to Queen Elizabeth to replenish the extinction from the queen Elizabeth waters due to volcanic activity hundreds of years back.
All scheduled boat trips are shared tours. If the boat doesn’t get enough booking to make the minimum required numbers to do the trip, the available visitors may be asked to pay little more to share the minimum cost of the boat cruise or it won’t go. This is where the community boat comes in handy since its minimum number is just 2 or 3 people on board. Privately arranged cruises can also be arranged any time outside the scheduled times, on prior booking and payment. Those interested to participate in the boat trip are expected to arrive at least 30 minutes before the starting time. To access the boat cruise starting point at Mweya, one needs pay an additional cost of park entrance fees. Since it is inside the park, you will also need a private means of transport. The community boat cruise doesn’t require park entrance fees and can be accessed by public transport on Kasese Mbarara road and stop at katunguru town, where it starts.
Both boat cruises (community and Mweya) drive on the same Kazinga channel and therefore have same chances to view wildlife. The ride is a two ours journey and come with an experience guide on board who interprets the background of the channel and her ecosystem to the guest on the boat. The boat offers great opportunities of viewing wildlife at all ranges. At certain moments, the boat will be taken close to the shoreline mainly covered with green bushes, to enable you look at wildlife at close range with an opportunity to take close pictures. Common wildlife on the cruise are, hippos, buffalos, elephants, multitudes of birds which may include European migrant birds and other rare wildlife like the crocodiles and the cats that can be seen at a distance. The boat passes some communities in specific areas where guests have a chance to view the local fishing villages. Depending on the arrangement, the boat may be stopped to allow guests to have closer silent looks or interact with the local fishermen and or to take some of the memorable scenic pictures depicting the local life in Queen Elizabeth national park.
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