Queen Elizabeth National Park constitutes one of the most diverse ecosystems in Africa. Set in the western branch of the Great Rift Valley, this scenic park in Western Uganda has lovingly become known as “The Pearl of Africa” or “The Switzerland of Africa” for its varied natural wildlife and landscape. Queen Elizabeth National Park is an extremely fertile area, conducive to incredible growth, with the melting glacier waters of the Rwenzori Mountains trickling down to create a vast wetland system comprising two main lakes, George and Edward, as well as the connecting Kazinga Channel. It is here, along the Kazinga Channel, where the world’s largest concentration of hippo populates the shorelines.

Queen Elizabeth National Park also features a few of Western Uganda’s iconic prehistoric volcanic explosion craters—known as the “Mountains of the Moon”—which line the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains and serve as huge amphitheaters sheltering massive herds of elephant and buffalo. Some of these craters have even formed salt-water lakes in which flamingos from as far away as Kenya come to gather like pink dust. Elsewhere in Queen Elizabeth National Park, wide open savannah plains dotted with acacia and euphorbia trees support a fair numbers of game, both prey and predator, such as lion, leopard, hyena, Uganda kob, and buffalo.

In the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park live the region’s famous tree climbing lions, which can usually be spotted resting in the branches of large fig trees near the Ishasha River. Guests are encouraged to take walks along the river for up-close viewings of the lions, hippos, and wide variety of birds. Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to at least 600 difference species of birds, the largest variety of any other protected area on the continent, making it one of the best places for bird watching in all of Africa.

Whether boating along the hippo-crowded banks of the Kazinga Channel or walking along the waterways in search of elephant, buffalo, crocodile, and leopard sneaking a drink, visitors to Queen Elizabeth National Park are guaranteed an array of wild wonders.