A Boat Cruise on Uganda's Kazinga Channel: Hippos and Elephants and Crocodiles, Oh My

Hippos on the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabath National Park Uganda
Uganda's Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) is a wildlife-lover's dream. A narrow stretch of water connecting Lake Edward and Lake George in Western Uganda, the Kazinga Channel is home to a wide variety of land-, air-, and water-based animals including hippos, elephants, crocodiles, buffalo, countless bird species and more. Our 9-day anniversary safari trip in Uganda with Matoke Tours included an afternoon boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel

A 2 Hour Tour of Uganda's Kazinga Channel

Simba boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
We stepped aboard the SIMBA, an open 2-level vessel. The boat was sturdy and we felt confident in its sea-worthiness.  The ship was fully kitted out with life vests and we appreciated that safety was taken into consideration as part of the experience. 
Boat equipped with life jackets for the cruise of the Kazinga Channel in QENP in Uganda
We soon pushed off onto the smooth, calm waters of the Kazinga Channel. What a fine December afternoon in Uganda!
Cruising the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
For a quick summary of the wildlife that we encountered on our boat cruise, check out my video below.

The Kazinga Channel is Hippotastic

Mamma hippo and baby on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
Cruising on the Kazinga Channel we saw hippos by the hundreds! The Kazinga Channel features the largest concentration of hippos in Africa.
Hippos on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
We watched the hippos wade and splash near the shore from the safety of our boat. Hippos are among the most dangerous animals in the world, especially if you encounter them on land while feeding at night and manage to get between them and the water.
Baby hippo on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
The groups of hippos along Uganda's Kazinga Channel were mainly just chilling in the late afternoon heat. We even spotted a baby hippo with its mother!
Close-up of hippos on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
How can you not love that face!
Roaring hippo on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
We were even delighted to see a somewhat cantankerous hippo baring its teeth along the shore.

Herds of Buffalo Like to Cool Off in Uganda's Kazinga Channel

Herd of African Buffalo on the Kazinga Channel in Southwest Uganda
We saw almost as many buffalo cooling off as we did hippos. The Kazinga Channel brings sustenance and comfort to so many species of Ugandan wildlife.

Crocodiles with Razor Sharp Teeth

Crocodile on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
My husband, Scott, shouted "Look!" and pointed toward the shore. I didn't see what he was looking at at first. "Don't you see the jaw?!" I looked again and suddenly razor-sharp teeth came into focus. Crocodiles! What great camouflage against the dry brown soil at the edge of the Kazinga Channel. 
Close-up of Crocodile with sharp teeth on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
A large flock of African skimmers were hanging out on the beach very close to one of the crocodiles. Hope it's not hungry!
Crocodile next to a flock of African skimmers on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
The skimmers soon came to their senses and took flight away from the watchful eye of a Ugandan crocodile.
African skimmers in flight on the Kazinga Channel in Western Uganda

The Kazinga Channel's Stunning Variety of Birds

Pied kingfisher on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
We saw some amazing birds along Uganda's Kazinga Channel. Pied kingfishers were everywhere. 
Goliath Heron on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) guide on our boat was very knowledgeable about birds and pointed out a Goliath heron.
Marabou storks in a flock of other water birds on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
Birds galore mingled along the shoreline of Western Uganda's Kazinga Channel. Huge marabou storks stood head and shoulders above cormorants and egrets.
Malachite kingfisher in the reeds on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
Flashy and colorful malachite kingfishers darted among the reeds in abundance. Our guide even spotted the only albino malachite kingfisher in all of Queen Elizabeth National Park. He instructed the captain of the boat to circle back so we could get a closer look.
Albino malachite kingfisher in the reeds on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
Our guide pointed out holes all along the water's edge; home to many of the birds that call Uganda's Kazinga Channel home.
Holes along the water's edge on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda. These are home to birds.

Elephants at the Kazinga Channel Watering Hole

Elephant on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to an abundance of elephants. A herd of elephants had come down to water's edge to drink at the point where the Kazinga Channel meets Lake Edward. 
Grazing elephants along the Kazinga Channel in QENP in Uganda
We watched the elephants go about their day from the safety and comfort of our boat.
Turbulent waters of the Kazinga Channel in Uganda where is meets the lake
The water definitely got a bit choppy as the Kazinga Channel widened at the point where it met the lake.

Local Fisherman Prepare to Go to Work

Local Ugandan fisherman preparing to go to work on the Kazinga Channel
In the early evening, fishermen from a local village along Lake Kazinga prepare their boats to depart on a fishing expedition. The fisherman go out at night to avoid hippos and the associated dangers discussed above.

Birds in our Wake on the Kazinga Channel

Birds on the Kazinga Channel
All throughout our two hour tour of the Kazinga Channel, birds would travel in our wake. Apparently, the motorboat disturbs insects that float near the surface of the water making for an outright feast for the Kazinga Channel's avian residents.
Birds on the Kazinga Channel

Have you visited a wildlife destination that left you in awe like the Kazinga Channel did for us? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below.

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A Boat Cruise on Uganda's Kazinga Channel: Hippos and Elephants and Crocodiles, Oh, My!

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Sidewalk Safari: A Boat Cruise on Uganda's Kazinga Channel: Hippos and Elephants and Crocodiles, Oh My
A Boat Cruise on Uganda's Kazinga Channel: Hippos and Elephants and Crocodiles, Oh My
Join us on a boat cruise of the Kazinga Channel in Uganda where you'll find hippos, elephants, birds, and more. A photo-rich post by travel blogger, Jennifer (aka Dr. J) from Sidewalk Safari.
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