Queen Elizabeth National Park

The Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park is a famous tourism destination known for harboring the highest number of tree-climbing lions in the whole world. lions which can climb trees are very rare to find but Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of two places to meet them in East Africa.

Ishasha sector is found in Queen Elizabeth National Park one of the biggest and most visited national parks in Uganda. The national park is located on the western side of the country in the Kasese district covering 1978 sq. km. Ishasha itself is situated within south western section of the park where it goes up to the boundaries of Virunga National Park in DR Congo. 

Ishasha sector is dominated by savannah woodland vegetation which plants like fig trees, acacia trees, and cactus trees among others. The vegetation is home to different mammals, primates, and birds which can be seen during different tourism activities organized there.  The acacia trees and huge fig trees are places where tree-climbing lions are normally spotted resting. 

Attractions in Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park

Tree climbing lions

Tree climbing lions are the major attractions in the Ishasha sector situated in the southwestern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The highest percentage of tourists that visit the sector is in search of the rare tree-climbing lions which can not be spotted anywhere in Uganda but this area. These are normally spotted resting in canopies of fig trees leaving tourists amazed.

The lions are seen during game drives within the sector and well-experienced guides will be ready to inform the tourists as to why these lions can climb trees. Some of the reasons include having a clear view of their prey, escaping from the ground heat to catch a cool breeze as well as avoiding bites from insects such as mosquitoes. 

The birds

Over 600 bird species have so far been recorded in Queen Elizabeth National Park and some of these can be spotted in Ishasha sector in the southwestern side of the park. Bird watching is another interesting activity to carry out in the area while looking for the different bird species of the park.

Bird watching is a guided activity for safety reasons where armed ranger guides move with birders in search of different birds using some of the birding trails. The most sought-after bird species within the sector is the elusive shoebill stork which can be spotted in the marshes of Lake Edward.

Other bird species include the greater honeyguide, double-toothed barbet, African crake, long-created eagle, white robin chat, marital eagle, African jacana, long-crested eagle, black coucal, stripped kingfisher, ross’s turaco, palm nut vulture, green crombec, yellow wagtail, little bee-eater, and slender-billed weaver to mention but a few. 

Best time to go

June to August and December to February are the best times to visit Ishasha. This is because the vegetation is dry with clear views of most of the attractions there and the rainfall is little which means no activity is missed. The plenty of sunshine makes the game trails and walking trails dry and easier to move through.

Travelers who get time in the rainy season can visit the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park and participate in all the activities carried out there for the park is always open. Tourists should come knowing about the plenty of rainfall received and little sunshine. Vegetation in the area is tall with unclear views of some attractions and the game tracks/walking trails tend to be muddy and slippery which affects movements in some areas. 

Accessing the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park

The Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park can be accessed using road transport or air transport. Road transport is used by tourists who find it affordable and are okay to travel for long distances while air transport is used by luxury travelers and those who hate travelling for long distances. 

By road transport, if tourists are to start from Entebbe which has the international airport of Uganda they will drive through Kampala, Mpigi, Masaka, Mbarara, Bushenyi, and Kasese where the park is found. Road transport to Queen Elizabeth National Park comes with stopovers along the way for example the equator at Kayabwe that divided the earth into 2 sectors.

For tourists who are to use air transport, flights can be either from Entebbe International Airport or Kajansi airstrip to Mweya airstrip which is found in the park. Aero link Uganda and Bar Aviation Uganda are some of the airline companies that help to transport travelers to different national parks including Queen Elizabeth National Park.