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The park dates back to 1952, although parts of it have been protected since the 1920s. It was renamed in honour of the Queenʼs visit in 1954.
Like the rest of Uganda, the park suffered badly during the Amin and Obote years, the elephant population falling from around 4,000 to only 150, for instance.
Today there are estimated to be around 2,500 elephants, which gives you a good idea of how things are recovering. That said, away from the main safari track,
the grass can get quite long in places, and there is clearly a way to go.
The Southern Hills
After the long, long (8hr) drive from Kampala,
you eventually reach the high hills to the south and east of the Queen Elizabeth National Park.
This is a fabulously beautiful area of tea and plantain plantations, and would be worth visiting in its own right,
were it not for the attractions that open up before you as you reach the edge of the great rift valley.
In the far distance is the mighty bulk of the Rewenzori Mountains, dwarfing the, not insubstantial, hills on our side of the valley.
In the middle distance, Lake Edward, with the distinctive hook of the Kazinga Channel
as it rounds the Mweya peninsula.
In the foreground the distinctive savanna landscape of acacia and euphorbia trees (I still find it difficult to believe that the latter are related to our common garden spurge).
Fabulously beautiful, ecologically friendly and incredibly noisy, Jacana Lodge is a must, provided you bring ear plugs.
The combination of the hippos grunting and snorting, the local baboons (who seemed to take great pleasure in dropping nuts on to the tin roofs of the huts)
and a huge population of frogs blowing up bicycle tyres with very noisy old pumps, does not exactly result in a peaceful nightʼs sleep.
However that is my only criticism, and one that is beyond the managementʼs control. For a truly bizarre experience, try the Captainʼs Table; Iʼll say no more.