Ishasha Sector

Ishasha Sector – Home to Tree Climbing lions

Ishasha Sector :  Located in the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, the Ishasha Sector is a popular section /region of the park notably recognized for its resident tree climbing lions that are an exceptional attraction and one of the highlights of Uganda safari within Queen Elizabeth National Park.  You can see the tree climbing lions hanging on branches of huge fig trees attentively looking at the Uganda Kobs which are their major food grazing in the plains of the Ishasha Sector.

The tree climbing lions are rare species of lions and the Ishasha sector is one of the only two areas to find them in East Africa, the second place is Lake Manyara National Park found in Tanzania. It is believed that the lions have adopted this unusual behavior to escape the tsetse flies and the heat of the lower ground.

Being perched on a tree branch is also advantageous to the lions when it comes to finding super as they observe their prey from high above.

About Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most visited savannah national park in Uganda popularly known for hosting four of the Big Five and other several wildlife species. The park is located in Western Uganda

From the Mweya Peninsula, Ishasha Sector is reachable with 2 hours away.

The Ishasha Sector is suitably set in an area with riverine and vast savannah vegetation, acacia and fig trees, this remote southern region enjoys fewer visitors than the popular game circuits of Kasenyi and Mweya which is 100 kilometers to the north. But for visitors who venture to visiting Ishasha Sector are rewarded with sightings of the tree climbing lions – the famous residents of the region as they lounge in fig and acacia trees while keeping a close eye on herds of Uganda Kob.

The Ishasha Sector is not only home to the tree climbing lions, the sector is home large herds of cape buffaloes, elephants, antelopes, hippos, zebras, leopards, waterbucks, warthogs, hippos, hyenas, monkeys and Uganda kobs among others.

The Ishasha Sector is a birder’s haven offering some of the best bird watching sights in Queen Elizabeth National Park, the forests along Ishasha River harbor an interesting variety of birds including the localized Cassin’s Gret flycatchers, black bee eaters and broad-bellied rollers. Notable birds include the African thrush (a relative of the European Black bird), White- browed Robin-Chat, Common bulbul, Greater Honeyguide, long – created Eagle, Martial Eagle, African crowned agle, African Wattled Plover among others.

Areas in the Ishasha Sector

The Northern Circuit runs along the northern area of the sector connecting to the Ntungwe middle circuit like an arc, in this area of the Ishasha Sector you can see herds of topi, Kobleks and hyena dens as well as great buffalo herds grazing. The area is also home to large herds of buffaloes which are attracted to the area by the rich pastures on top of the slopes towards the Edward flats, the buffaloes in return attract parasites like the Yellow-billed Oxpeckers and great flocks of wattled starling.

The Southern Circuit

This circuit is the hot point in the search for tree climbing lions, this is it hosts well-spaced big fig trees, among the 47 species recorded in Uganda. These fig trees have become very special as they offer a great cover, vantage spot and super resting place for the remaining pride of the tree climbing lions.

Edward Flats

The Edward flats is an off-circuit area off the beaten track and the remotest game tracks in the Ishasha Sector, the flats are a home for passage migrants in the bird world such as millions of song birds, wanders and raptors pass by here.

Ishasha Sector

Ishasha River Campsite

Continuing towards the information center, as you head to the Ishasha River Campsite you enjoy yield hippo sightings. In this area you find relaxed hippo pods vocalizing perhaps communicating to viewers that your moves are watched. The campsite is a carpet to the canopy of tropical forest fringes of Congo and the Maramagambo forest as it dots the Lake Edward shores and woody sectors dotted in the grasslands. In the night, you can enjoy rare sights of seval cats, Aardvarks and the shy Red river hogs.

Things to See in Ishasha Sector – Queen Elizabeth National Park

The Ishasha Sector offers thrilling and distinct game viewing safaris to observe the tree-climbing lions and other wildlife, the sector is an excellent place for game drives and it is a lesser-known part of the park so there will be fewer safari vehicles around and you can spend longer time with the lions. Other animals you will spot include hyenas, hippos, warthogs and many bird species.

Cultural Visits

For visitors interested in learn about the different cultures of Uganda, a cultural visit to the local Bakiga Community can be arranged as part of their uplift programme. While in their village, you will be given a tour of their community including visiting their homesteads, learning local ways of preparing meals and taking part in harvest some vegetable from their garden.

By the end of this excursion, you will have learned a lot about Bakiga culture and may even try some of their local brews.

Best time to visit Ishasha Sector

Ishasha sector can be visited all year round, however the best time is during the dry season for game viewing. In this season, the routes used for game viewing remain dry making it a bit easier for you to drive through. The dry season runs from June to September and December to February.

Where to Stay in Ishasha sector

There are several accommodation facilities for visitors on a Uganda safari visit in the Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, these range from luxury, midrange to Budget and they include

  • Ishasha Wilderness camp
  • Enjojo Lodge

How to get to Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park

The Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park is reachable by road or air transport, the road trip starts from Kampala or Entebbe through Masaka – Mbarara – Bushenyi to Queen Elizabeth National Park or Kampala through Mubende – Fort Portal to Kasese. Your road trip will take you about 6 hours and you need to have a 4×4 wheel drive safari vehicle.

By air, you can fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Ishasha Airstrip.

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