The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha – Queen Elizabeth Park

Posted by on July 21, 2020

Ishasha – Best Place in East Africa to see Tree-Climbing Lions

An Uganda Star Attraction – The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha – Queen Elizabeth Park

The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha“The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha – Queen Elizabeth Park” should be on your Must See and Do List for Uganda. Tree-Climbing Lions are not something that you will encounter on an African Safari. The two areas where you can see them are in East Africa. 

The Tree Climbing Lions are a rarity in Africa, and Ishasha is the Best Place in East Africa to see them.

In Tanzania, you may find them around Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara National Park, but seeing them is another story. The Uganda Bradt guide calls sightings there as iffy. That is not the case with the Tree-Climbing Lions in Uganda.

The Best Location in East Africa for reliable and sure sightings is the Ishasha area of Queen Elizabeth Park.

Here you will find the Lions sleep the day away Sycamore Fig Trees and occasionally Fig Trees. Causing the renowned Bradt Guide for Uganda to state: “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.”

The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha - Queen Elizabeth ParkWhy do the Lions in Ishasha Climb Trees?

No one has come up with the right answer. Some think it is culturally ingrained in the Lions. That is learned behavior rather than instincts. Nevertheless, for an adult lion to get up into a fig tree is quite a feat.

Others, which include animal behaviorists, speculate the lions want to escape pestering insects. That they want to avoid the heat on the ground and maybe catchy a fresh and cooling breeze as they rest and sleep the day away after a night’s hunt.

One added benefit is this. Being up in the trees allows them to observe the surrounding. See anyone approaching and spot potential prey. 

Why do Lions Climb Trees in Ishasha? No one knows for sure is the answer. What is for sure is that Ishasha is the best place in Africa where to see them.

How do I get to see the Tree-Climbing Lions in Ishasha?

The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha - Queen Elizabeth ParkHere in Ishasha, you take a game drive to see the tree-climbing lions. You do not have to start at the crack of dawn, but after the sun rises. The lions return from the night’s hunt and climb into the trees after the sun has risen.

If you are with us on a Safari, you will have the expertise of your driver-guide and a seasoned Uganda Wildlife Authority Ranger available. The vehicle is equipped with a pop-up roof allowing you to stand to get the best photos.

Besides Lions, you will often see herds of buffaloes, elephants, antelopes, including Topi and Uganda Kob. There is a good chance you might spot a Leopard in a tree, his prey at his side.

Ishasha is part of the wildlife-corridor that extends from Virunga National Park in DR Congo to Kibale Forest in Uganda.

Where to stay in Ishasha to see the Tree-Climbing Lions?

The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha - Queen Elizabeth ParkThe best choice is the only lodge within the park in Ishasha is the luxury Ishasha Wilderness Camp. It gives you the best authentic Wilderness Experience of any lodge in the area.

The lodge is located along the Ntungwe River, where Wildlife such as  Elephants come to bathe and water while you are having lunch.’

The lodge offers Sundowners in the Bush and a Bush Breakfast. Both of which are a must-do on an African Safari in Uganda.

Quality Midrange Lodges such as Ishasha Jungle Lodge are located just outside of the park.

How to include “The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha” in your Safari:

The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha - Queen Elizabeth ParkThere are many options. The most popular is to combine Gorilla Trekking, preferably in the closebyBuhoma area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with Ishasha. The Kihihi Airstrip serves both Buhoma and Ishasha. There are Daily Flights to from Entebbe.

The Fly-In option is one of the best since it eliminates long drive-times. You land and take off from Kihihi which is near to Ishasha and Bwindi Forest.

If you are on a longer safari that includes Bwindi Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park, ask us to add a day or two in the Ishasha area of Queen Elizabeth Park.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the most visited Parks in Uganda. We suggest including both Ishasha and the northern Mweya area in a Safari. You will be glad that you did.

The Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha in Queen Elizabeth Park is 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 is still a secluded spot in southern Queen Elizabeth Park.

Jon Blanc