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
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.
For a quick summary of the wildlife that we encountered on our boat cruise, check out my video below.
The Kazinga Channel is Hippotastic
Cruising on the Kazinga Channel we saw hippos by the hundreds! The Kazinga Channel features the largest concentration of hippos in Africa.
How can you not love that face!
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
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
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.
The skimmers soon came to their senses and took flight away from the watchful eye of a Ugandan crocodile.
The Kazinga Channel's Stunning Variety of Birds
We saw some amazing birds along Uganda's Kazinga Channel. Pied kingfishers were everywhere.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) guide on our boat was very knowledgeable about birds and pointed out a Goliath heron.
Birds galore mingled along the shoreline of Western Uganda's Kazinga Channel. Huge marabou storks stood head and shoulders above cormorants and egrets.
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.
Our guide pointed out holes all along the water's edge; home to many of the birds that call Uganda's Kazinga Channel home.
Elephants at the Kazinga Channel Watering Hole
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.
We watched the elephants go about their day from the safety and comfort of our boat.
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
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
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.