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Tree Climbing Lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park

It’s no secret lions are known for their deafening roar, artful hunting and sitting happily at the top of the food chain…. but lazing in trees? The Ugandan Lions do, and there has never been a better time to visit them.

Getting there
Located in the south of Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park is a 7-hour drive from Kampala or a short flight from any domestic airport. The drive is particularly scenic, passing by lush green tea plantations and the vast Rwenzori Mountains backdrop.

Your driver and guide will collect you from your pick-up spot and be on hand until the time they drop you off. The guides are exceptionally knowledgeable. Ask them anything about the vegetation, the history of the park, what the birds with the pink legs are…. they will know it.

There are many lodges to choose from, varying in price. Our lodge had all the essentials – water, mosquito nets, bug spray, a safe, a phone. The bathtub looking over Lake George was a bonus. The resident hippo wandering around the camp at night was an even bigger bonus.

Tree Climbing Lions and other Wildlife

You have many routes to choose from in Queen Elizabeth National Park. We chose Mweya and Ishasha. It only took minutes to see the lionesses and their cubs playing around a dried-up waterhole. Watching closely were the males, guarding their pride.

In Ishasha, the southern part of the park, it’s common to spot lions drooped over fig trees, a practice only found in Ugandan and Tanzanian lions.

According to the park rangers, research shows several reasons why. Some say they can watch their prey from above. Others say the fig branches offer a cooler place to sleep during the hot days. Either way, they will leave you speechless.

As you drive through the park, it’s impossible to ignore the hippos walking across the plains, herds of elephant dust bathing, birds resting on the back of buffalos. A typical scene across any savannah plains. On a lucky day, you may spot a leopard!

The pink salt volcanic lake full of pink flamingos was an intriguing sight, as was the boat ride up the Kazinga Channel. Expect to see hippos, buffalo and elephants playing along the banks. Look up and up and you will notice Fish Eagles lining the river.

Conservation
Now, the serious stuff. Recent research shows that the lion population in Uganda is facing serious threats due to habitat degradation, illegal poaching and human–lion conflict between lions and farmers who kill lions in retaliation for farm destruction.

Great efforts are being made by local authorities to safeguard these magnificent cats, such as lion tracking projects. By visiting the Queen Elizabeth National Park, you are helping finance the efforts to increase the population – yet another reason to visit!

Best Parts

  • Getting up close with lions. A large male walked right by our van, unbothered.
  • Watching the sun set over Lake George and Lake Edward. You just have to see it for yourself.
  • Listening to the sounds of the savannah at night. Is it a monkey or a hippo?

Tips

  • Don’t wear black clothing on the boat ride – the Tsetse flies will come for you!
  • Do bring binoculars. If not for watching the lions but the 612 species of birds found in the park.

For more information check out the Travelcare Safari Packages