Tree climbing lions
Tree climbing lions are part of the big five mammals still living in Africa. The tree climbing lions are belong to the cat family but these are unique and differ from the rest. The tree climbing lions have the ability to climb trees which is very rare. In the whole world, tree climbing lions are found in Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda and Lake Manyara national park Tanzania.
Tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth national park only live in the Ishasha sector which is found in the south of the park. Ishasha sector is made of savannah vegetation with acacia trees, fig trees, cactus trees and this is where tree climbing lions climb and hang for unknown reasons.
It’s very rare to find adult lions climbing trees but this is different in Ishasha sector because the lions are seen lazily hanging on acacia and fig trees, especially in the afternoon hours. Scientists believe that these lions climb trees for reasons such as avoiding bites from insects like tsetse flies, escaping the heat on the ground, and monitoring their territories for their prey.
Apart from tree climbing lions, Queen Elizabeth national park is home to wild animals such as chimpanzees, Nile crocodiles, warthogs, giant forest hogs, sitatungas, Uganda kobs, defassa waterbucks, topis, cape buffaloes, hippos, elephants, spotted hyenas, leopards, side-stripped jackals, olive baboons, and different monkey species among others.
Queen Elizabeth national park is also home to over 600 bird species some of which can be seen in the areas where tree climbing lions do live. The bird species of Ishasha sector include African black duck, common swift, red-eyed dove, yellow bill, red-billed teal, white-backed duck, African palm swift, spur-winged goose, African emerald cuckoo, red-necked spurfowl, long-tailed cormorant, little grebe, Senegal coucal, and water thick-knee among others.
Encountering tree climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth national park Uganda
The best way to encounter tree climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth national park is by taking a game drive. There are game drive activities done within the Ishasha sector of the park where these tree climbing lions do live. During the game drives, tourists will never fail to see these lions lazily resting on branches of big fig trees.
The activity can be guided by armed ranger guides or your safari driver can lead you in this activity and you will be able to know why these lions climb trees. Some of the reasons include escaping heat from the ground, running away from insects, and getting perfect spots for their prey. During the drive, you will also meet different animals and birds that live within the park.
Best time to see tree climbing lions of Ishasha
Travelers can’t fail to see tree climbing lions of Ishasha sector any day of the year they visit Ishasha sector. The best time to visit the park is the dry seasons which is from June to September and December to February because the months are characterized by little or no rainfall that makes the game trucks stay dry, vegetation is short and thin with good views of the lions and the roads leading to Ishasha are passable.
Tourists can still visit Queen Elizabeth national park and see tree climbing lions in the rainy season of March to May and October to November. During this period, there are huge discounts on accommodation facilities which favor budget travelers. The moths however have too much rainfall which makes the game trucks muddy and slippery, vegetation is tall and thick with unclear views of the lions, and the roads leading to the park are in poor conditions.
Accommodation in the park
While in Queen Elizabeth national park, tourists will never fail to get where to stay because there are several accommodation facilities in and outside the park. These accommodation facilities are budget, mid-range, and luxury, and where to stay depends on the traveler’s budget.
Some of the accommodation facilities one would use while in Queen Elizabeth national park include Mweya Safari Lodge, Pumba Safari Camp, Kazinga Channel View Resort, Jacana Safari Lodge, Irungu Forest Safari Lodge, Enjojo Lodge, Queen Elizabeth Safari Lodge, Savannah Resort Hotel, Marafiki Safari Lodge, Topi Lodge Ishasha, Ishasha Jungle Lodge, Kasenyi Safari Camp, Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Elephants Plain Lodge, Enganzi Lodge, and Park View Lodge among others.
Accessing Queen Elizabeth National Park
To get to Queen Elizabeth national park, you can use road transport or air transport and get there in one day. By air transport, you will have to book your seat in advance with Bar Aviation Uganda or Aerolink Uganda which are the main companies doing flights to the park. Flights do start from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe international airport to Mweya airstrip or Kasese airstrip.
By road transport, tourists can get to Queen Elizabeth national park from Kampala/Entebbe via Masaka, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Kasese, or Kampala/Entebbe via Mubende, Kyenjojo, Fort Portal, Kasese to the park. Tourists from Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest can access Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth by driving through Kihihi and then Kanungu to the park.