Tree Climbing Lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Tree Climbing Lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park are among the major attractions in the national park. A trip to the national park is not complete without seeing these spectacular creatures. The national park was gazetted as a national park in 1952; covering an area of 1,978 km² thus making it one of Uganda’s oldest and biggest national parks.
Visitors who want to see tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth national park can only do so in the Ishasha sector located in the southern part of the park. The national park is found in the south western region of the country and is one of Africa’s finest protected areas.
Most visitors usually wonder if lions actually climb trees! Although it is quite uncommon, some lions do actually climb trees; and what better place to see these mighty tree climbing creatures if not in Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda. Tree climbing lions can be found in other countries like Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania to mention but a few.
The tree climbing lions of Ishasha love climbing candelabrum tress like the sycamore fig and acacia trees. However in Ishasha, tourists will mostly find them in sycamore fig trees; taking a nap and refuge from the scotching ground heat.
No one really knows why the lions in Queen’s Ishasha sector love climbing trees, but some speculate that it is for the following reasons;
- The view from up the trees provides a great spot for the lions to view prey they can hunt. Ishasha sector in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth national park has a rich variety of wildlife animals that they lions can hunt, such as; antelopes, Uganda Kob, waterbuck and topi among others.
- Escape the extreme heat on the ground. Sometimes the temperatures in the national park can be quite high reaching over 28 degrees Celsius, especially during the dry season in the park.
- Some visitors think that the lions in Ishasha climb trees to flee from insect bites, especially during the rainy season when insects tend to infest the ground.
For whatever reason the lions in Ishasha choose to climb trees, they are a sight to anticipate while on tour in the park. There are believed to be an estimated number of at least 40 lions in the Ishasha sector, split into three prides. Visitors who which to see tree climbing lions in Ishasha sector will have to make sure that your tour operator or guide knows exactly how and where to locate the lions in this part of the national park.
Most tour operators do not usually take their visitors to explore this park of national park, as they are so focused on selling gorilla trekking safaris to Bwindi Impenetrable national park and simply use the Ishasha sector as a detour to get to Bwindi. However, visitors who get to explore the richness and beauty of the Ishasha sector, will agree that this part of the national park is undoubtedly one of the highlights of a visit to the national park.
Tourists visiting the Ishasha sector in Queen Elizabeth national park are also rewarded with other attractions, aside from the tree climbing lions. These include; the Uganda Kob, antelopes, waterbuck, topi, warthogs, elands, elephants and impala to mention but a few.
In addition to the above attractions, the undulating and pristine landscape of Ishasha in Queen Elizabeth is a sight that most tourists visiting this area of the national park will find incredibly dazzling. Visitors can also get to explore the historical crater lakes like Lake Katwe, on which salt mining is carried out; Lake Nyamunyange (known for having migratory flamingoes) and Lake Bunyampaka, where salt mining is also done.
Best Time to Visit the tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda can be seen at any time of the year. However, the best time for visitors to see these tree climbing lions would be during the dry season, which is between June-September. During this period, the grass in the Ishasha sector is short and thus making it easy for tourists to view the wildlife and lions in the area.
Where to stay when visiting tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
In case you are wondering where exactly you can get accommodation while visiting the tree climbing lions in Ishasha, the following accommodation facilities provide excellent lodging for guests visiting the Ishasha sector in Queen Elizabeth National Park; Mweya Safari Lodge, Marafiki Safari Lodge, Ihamba lakeside safari lodge, Ishasha Wilderness Camp and Queen Elizabeth bush lodge among others.
How to get to Ishasha Sector in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Tourists travelling to Ishasha sector in Queen Elizabeth National Park are advised to use 4×4 wheel drive safari vehicles. The Ishasha sector can be accessed via Kihihi, Ishaka and Rukungiri district in western Uganda. Alternatively, visitors can use the Mweya peninsular to access the Ishasha sector, which will take you about 2 hours of driving.
Visitors travelling from Kampala or Entebbe to see tree climbing lions in the Ishasha sector might have to travel the entire day. Ishasha sector can be accessed from Fort Portal which is a 4 hours’ drive; 6 hours’ drive from Lake Mburo national park and 2 hours from Bwindi impenetrable national park.