QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK & ISHASHA TREE CLIMBING LIONS

Lions in Queen Elizabeth national park

Queen Elizabeth national park was gazetted in 1952 as Kazinga national park. It was renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II. This is Uganda’s oldest park.

Queen Elizabeth national park with the Maramagambo forest, kyambura and kigezi wildlife reserve form a large conservation area recognized as one of the most diverse ecosystems in Africa. The park is also known for its volcanic cones and deep craters with vegetation as well as water. Several crater lakes are spread in the northern side of the park including the salty lakes of Katwe and Bunyampaka from which salt is extracted. The park is crossed by the Equator. Also, the Kazinga channel a water body that connects two lakes, George and Edward passes through the park.

Queen Elizabeth national park is largely savannah and woodland with a large forest in Maramagambo and within the Kyambura Gorge. Ishasha area, the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth national park is home to tree climbing lions. The plains also support large herds of elephant, Buffalo, Topi and kob. Tree climbing lions in Ishasha are best seen on game drives. The lions lie in the trees during the heat of the day-between 11:00-5:00pm.

Biodiversity: The Park is home to 95 mammals with ten primate species which include chimpanzees and monkeys (in the Kyambura gorge and maramagambo forest). Elephants and Lions can be seen in the plains of Kasenyi. Tree climbing lions are found in Ishasha. There are hyenas, buffaloes, leopards, Waterbucks, giant forest hog and topi. Crocodiles and hundreds of hippos are easily seen along the Kazinga channel. Over 600 forest, water and grassland bird species have been recorded in the park. These include African Spoonbill, Grey headed Gull, Green-backed Heron, Three Banded Plover, Great White Pelican, and Flappet Lark.

Size of Queen Elizabeth national park:  1978 sq.km

Location: Western Uganda, spreading to the border with the Democratic republic of Congo.

Accessibility: Entebbe-Kampala-Mbarara-Bushenyi-Mweya 460 km. Fly in tours can be arranged as small aircrafts do land within the park at Mweya, in Ishasha or in Kasese.

Tourism activities: Game drives, Boat cruises, experiential walks, nature walks in Maramagambo forest, bird watching, chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura and cultural performance at Hamkungu village.

Lodges in the park: Mweya Lodge (High budget), Katara Lodge (High budget), Kasenyi safari Camp (Medium budget), Twin Lakes Lodge (Medium budget).