The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha – Queen Elizabeth Park

Posted by on November 14, 2018

The Ishasha Plains of Queen Elizabeth Park with its Tree Climbing Lions

A highlight of your Safari in Uganda – The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha – Queen Elizabeth Park


A Must Visit in Uganda  “The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha – Queen Elizabeth Park.”  Tree Climbing Lions  are a rarity in Africa, however, in Ishasha you will find about 50 of them sleeping the day away in the Fig and Acacia Trees found here. They provide you with some of the best Big Cat “Lion” Photo Ops in Uganda.

Ishasha is the Most reliable location in East Africa to spot the Lions sleeping the day away up in Trees.  Easily Accessed from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, especially from Buhoma.

Ishasha’s Tree Climbing Lions are one of those must visit places in Uganda, Just let us know that you like spend a day there.  Ishasha is also home to one of \ugand’s best exclusive Tented Camps, Ishasha Wilderness Camp. 

Ishasha’s Tree Climbing Lions are a part of our 7 and  8-Day Gorilla and Chimpanzee Safaris with an overnight in Ishassha and two Game Drives here.


You can find instances in South Africa or even Kenya where some young lions playfully venture up into trees – you can also find them in Tanzania at Lake Manyara but the reality is that they are hard to find, causing some visitors to think that they are only a rumor created by safari marketers.

Your best opportunity to see Tree Climbing Lions and not just the young ones but also Adult Lions is in the Ishasha Plains of Queen Elizabeth Park.  Here, Lions spend the day up in Trees.  It is a most amazing sight – something that you cannot find in all of Africa except sporadically at Lake Manyara in Kenya.

Bypassed by many on their way to or from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or to Mweya area in Queen Elizabeth Park.

Tree Climbing Lions are a rarity in all of Africa and since you are in Uganda and are in Queen Elizabeth Park or going to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – you can at least take one game drive along the Ishasha Plains and see them.

You will not see many vehicles here – this is off of the beaten area – and besides Tree Climbing Lions, you will come across during your time in Ishasha such as vast elephant, buffalo herds and countless of antelopes.  There are several Lion Prides in this region of the park – no accurate figure as to their number is available – but a good guesstimate is around 50 plus lions.

 The Tree Climbing Lions climb Sycamore Fig Trees and Acacia Trees – Sycamore Fig Trees are their preferred choice.

Why do lions climb into trees for the day, especially during the rainy season?

Some think it is culturally ingrained in them, others say the lions want to escape pestering insects – the main thing at Ishasha that lions can be found in the sycamore fig trees of Ishasha and rarely are they not spotted during a game drive in Ishasha.

One other notable thing about the lions at Ishasha – Males are Black Maned.

Besides tree climbing lions you often see tree-climbing leopards at Ishasha, Elephant, and Buffalo herds, antelopes including Topi antelopes.

The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha in Queen Elizabeth Park are not be missed. They are a rare sight throughout all of Africa.  Many experts say that the Ishasha Region is a sure sighting place for those on Safari.  Word is getting out about Ishasha’s Tree Climbing Lions and more Visitors are coming, but it still a secluded spot in southern Queen Elizabeth Park

Bradt Guide for Uganda:  Ishasha’s Tree Climbing Lions are your best in East Africa and sightings surpass by far Lake Manyara National Park Tree Climbing Lions in Tanzania


 Our Take on the Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha:

Your Best Way to incorporate the Tree-Climbing Lions into yurr Gorilla – Chimpanzee Trekking Safari in Uganda is to take a 7-or 8-Day Safari that begins for example in Kigali-Rwanda and Ends in Entebbe- Uganda.

We suggest one night at either Exclusive Ishasha Wilderness Camp or  the mdrange Ishasha Jungle lodge.

You can take two game drives here if you stay overnight, also take a hike along the Ishasha River.

Bradt Guide calls it an accessible Wilderness describing the feel of the Ishasha Region and the probability of seeing the Lions in the Trees is much higher here than elsewhere in East Africa.

Please Note:  Ishasha is the southern part of Queen Elizabeth Park – it is a part of a wildlife corridor that extends from the DR Congo to Kivale Forest. Forest Elephants and Buffaloes along with their Savannah Cousins plus hybrids are often seen here.  it is the Less Frequented gy Tourists portion of Queen Elizabeth Park.