Kazinga Channel Wetland
Kazinga Channel wetland is registered and protected through Ramsar sites rights of conservation of wetlands in Africa. It is approximately 420 kilometers away from Kampala, has an estimated terrain of about 914 meters above sea level and located in Kasese District in Uganda. The wetland is a home for crocodiles, numerous bird species, and water and land statunga antelopes, waterbucks among others. Kazinga channel is a wide 32 kilometers (20mi) long natural channel connecting two lakes; Lake Gorge in the east and Lake Edward in the west. This channel is one of the most important features in Queen Elizabeth National Park (the well-killed game reserve in Uganda covering an entire land area of 1,978 square kilometers). On the Eastern side of the channel is Lake George a small lake with an overall depth of 2.4 meters and 250 square kilometers. This lake is fed by streams flowing from the spectacular Mount Rwenzori just north of this lake. The out flow from Lake George flows through this Kazinga Channel and drains west into the adjacent Lake Edward which is among the main fresh water lakes in Uganda and covers a total area of 2000 square kilometers. The channel has got two sections; the North Kazinga and the Kasenyi plains. It’s recognized that the Kasenyi plains offer breath taking viewpoints of spotting games and you will have a better way to see the diverse wildlife living in this area within its very pristine natural environment like the elephants, buffaloes, and other wild animals that live within the grassland thickets in the Northern Kazinga just next to Mweya peninsular.
In 2005, large numbers of hippos were killed in Kazinga channel as a result of an anthrax outbreak which occurs when animals eat remnants of vegetation in the driest months, absorbing bacterial spores that can live for decades in the dry soil. The shores of this channel draw a large number of wild animals, bird species and reptiles throughout the year, with one of the largest population of hippos in the whole world and also plentiful Nile crocodiles. These animals can be seen well on a boat cruise down the course of Kazinga channel or most likely at the entrance of the spectacular Lake Edward. Other animals include; sitatungas, waterbuck, elephants, Uganda kobs, monitor lizards and many more. The boat cruise on the channel is extremely rewarding and among the finest and most liked launch trips in the country. During the boat cruise, you will get a chance to see the fishing villages overlooking the stream such as the Kasenyi plains. On the boat, you are able to see fishermen washing their fishing nets and also have a chance to see them catching fish using a more rudiment method and traditional method (hook fishing). When you look over the stream to the fishing villages, you will also see fishermen repairing their boats and women repairing the fishing nets to make them ready to be used for fishing. It is also known as a birding paradise in Queen Elizabeth National Park because it harbors over 58 bird species which can be sighted during the boat cruise. Some of these birds include; pied kingfisher, fish eagle, pink-backed pelican, yellow billed stork, African spoonbill, martial eagle, papyrus gonolek, long-tailed cormorant, black bee-eater, African skimmer, black crake among others.
Best time to visit
The channel can be visited anytime of the year but the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry season, the kazinga channel becomes an oasis that gathers large numbers of animals that come to bathe, feed and drink water. These animals will be seen gathering on the shores of the channel. You can also visit during the wet season in the months of March to May and December to February though it is considered to be ideal for birding because it’s the breeding season for the birds and there is always also plenty of fruits and food for the birds in this season.
How to get there
You will drive from Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Fort portal, Kasese and then Queen Elizabeth National Park which is approximately 6 to 7 hours’ drive on a tarmac road.