Jewel safaris

Tree Climbing Lions Of Ishasha

Tree Climbing Lions Of Ishasha

The tree climbing lions are a unique highlight of a Uganda Safari experience, tree climbing lions are unique and rare type of lions only found in Lake Manyara in Tanzania and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. 

Uganda remains one of the strong holds for tree climbing lions in Africa and they are found in the Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

tree climbing lion

Queen Elizabeth National Park is a popular wildlife safari destination in Uganda located on the western edge of the Great Rift Valley covering an area of 1,978 square kilometers, the park is the second largest national park in Uganda coming second to Murchison Falls National Park

The park is located in the Western Region of Uganda spanning the districts of Kasese, Rubirizi and Rukungiri. From Kampala the capital of Uganda, it is approximately 400 kilometers by road south-west of Kampala and approximately 3 hours of drive from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts a dramatic scenery and offers vast scenes and incredible volcanic features such as cones and crater lakes such as Lake Katwe where salt is mined from the pans in a local way. The park is home to huge population of wildlife with diverse species including lions, leopards, cape buffaloes, topis, waterbucks, warthogs, giant forest hogs, chimpanzees, spotted hyenas and over 600 bird species. 

The Ishasha Sector – Queen Elizabeth National Park 

The Ishasha Sector is located in the Southern Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, the sector is one of the only two places in Africa where you can see the tree climbing lions. 

The Ishasha sector is situated in a short driving distance from the Southern gate of Queen Elizabeth National Park and is bordered by Lake Edward to the North, the Ishasha River and the Democratic Republic of Congo the West and River Ntungwe to the East

Why do lions in Ishasha climb the trees?

Though no one is completely sure why they do climb the trees. According it myths, it is believed that the lions have adopted this unusual behavior to escape the tsetse flies and the heat of the lower ground.

Perching themselves on a tree branch is also advantageous when it comes to finding the prey to feed on, from the trey they can observe their prey from high above. Climbing trees provide excellent shelter during the rains, also according the local people. 

Climbing trees is part of the lion’s culture, while others say they prefer the cool breeze up the in the branches and staying away from the pests on the ground such as the tsetse flies that normally bite them. While on a Uganda safari in Ishasa sector, you will see the lions lounging in the trees and cubs jumping and playing in the branches above. 

Other animals you will see in the Ishasha Sector include leopards, buffaloes, antelopes, Uganda Kobs, waterbucks, hippos, hyenas, monkeys, topis, elephants, warthogs and many birds such as palm but culture, shoebill, grey kestrel, African wattled plover, African green pigeon, cisticola, martial eagle, African crowned eagle, long created Eagle, African wattled plover among others. 

Best Place to Stay to see Tree Climbing Lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park 

The best safari lodges to stay at during a Uganda safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park are categorized as luxury, midrange and budget. 

The Ishasha Wilderness Camp 

The Ishasha Wilderness Camp is a luxury lodge situated on the banks of Ntungwe River, the lodge is an ideal retreat for people who truly enjoy the wilderness of the African bush. This camp is an exclusive camp with well – appointed luxury tents and excellent services in this unspoilt remote sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. 

Ishasha Jungle Lodge 

The Ishasha Jungle Lodge is located 20 kilometers off Katokye Gate of Queen Elizabeth National Park, the lodge is an eco- friendly lodge offering accommodation in cottages mixed tents built on raised wooden platform with a grass thatched roof and with an en-suite bathroom constructed with the typical local stones. 

Enjonjo Game Lodge 

The lovely Enjonjo Lodge is located 40 acres of acacia wilderness on the border of Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Ishasha Sector, the location of the lodge enjoys unfenced boundaries allowing animals to roam freely so expect to see elephants and antelopes on the grounds. 

Topi Lodge 

This budget lodge is situated just a 5-minute drive from the Southern Gate of Queen Elizabeth National Park, this beautiful lodge offers a true definition of living in the wilderness. The lodge is situated close to nature boasting  views of the park and the surrounding landscape from the restaurant and the veranda of the Cottages. 

How to Get to Ishasha Sector – Queen Elizabeth National Park

The Ishasha Sector in Queen Elizabeth National Park can be reached by either air or by road

By Air 

There are domestic and chartered flights from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to the Kihihi Airstrip which is the closest airstrip to the Ishasha Sector, the flight is approximately 40 minutes to 1 hour. 

Flights to Ishasha Sector are operated by several local air companies including Bar Aviation and Aerolink. 

By Road 

From Kampala City, the capital of Uganda and where most safaris start. It is a drive of approximately 6 – 7 hours on a distance of about 450 kilometers from Kampala to Kasese. 

The Best Time to Visit The Ishasha Sector – Queen Elizabeth National Park 

Though the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park can be visited at any time of the year, the best time to visit is in the dry season of mid – December to February and June to September. In this period, it is generally dry though some little rain is expected, in this season temperatures are 29℃. 

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