Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park
Ishasha sector in the south of Queen Elizabeth National Park constitutes one of the must-visit places on a Uganda Safari circuit. Whereas Ishasha hosts other game like elephants, buffaloes, Kobs, Topi, birds like the Shoebill and the spectacular scenery, it is more famous for the Tree Climbing Lions. Queen Elizabeth National Park is visited for its abundant game that includes 95 mammalian species, more than any national park in Uganda. It hosts over 610 bird species, a number higher than any protected area in East Africa, the extravagant scenery, among others. It therefore takes a lot for a single place to stand out in this area of outstanding natural beauty, but here we see Ishasha inspiring in more ways than one.
What to see/do at Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Tree climbing lions at Ishasha
Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the only two places in Africa to see the Tree climbing lions. The sight of these lions draped in the trees, lazily shifting around the tree branches or even stretching their necks as though they have spotted potential prey is very sensational and bewildering. It is thought that these lions climb trees to escape irritating bites from insects and the heat of the lower ground. There are numerous trails leading to and around the fig trees where prides of these lions are usually spotted resting. Check on this 3 Days tree lions and Queen Elizabeth tour
- Game drive to see the Topi and other animals
Ishasha sector is the only place in Queen Elizabeth National Park to see the Topi. Ishasha is divided into the northern and southern circuit with regard to game drives. Apart from being scenic, the northern circuit provides excellent grazing grounds for the Kob, Topi and a hunting ground as well for the lion, hyena and leopard. Buffaloes, elephants and others can also be spotted in its north and south. Whereas the northern circuit is dotted with some fig trees, the trees of choice for the lions, it is important to know that most of them are concentrated in the southern circuit and therefore the best place to make drives for the tree climbing lions.
- Birding for the Shoebill Stork and other birds
Ishasha sector is one of the spots not to miss during birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The search for the elusive Shoebill is another thrilling birding experience. It’s likely that you will spot it and other numerous birds when you explore Lake Edward Flats at the south most end of Ishasha. Elephants and buffaloes can also be spotted munching away in the papyrus.
- Community visits
Visits to the local Bakiga communities in Ishasha can be arranged for the visitors to learn more about their cultures and their lives as humans living near the park. As Jungle Escape Africa, we are alive to the fact that the communities around the park are key stake holders in the collaborative management of wildlife both inside and outside the protected areas. In the very spirit, we shall encourage our visitors to reach out to the communities and have an interaction with them. Apart from a percentage of the revenue from the Uganda Wildlife Authority given to these local communities, they can also benefit directly from the tourists visiting them in their homes. This in the end makes them less inclined to hurt the animals, and so we all believe Ishasha’s most treasured attraction, the tree climbing lions, shall remain safe.
- Views of beautiful scenery
The landscape around Ishasha is especially picturesque and it is one such places where the sun does wild and wonderful things during rising and setting. Watching the sun rise over the Ishasha plains and the evening as it sets back, is simply breath taking. In Uganda the sunsets and sunrises are the highlights of each day of the trip. Actually, Ishasha is one of the best places in Uganda for sundowners. At Ishasha is the border point that marks the boundary between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Visitors have always enjoyed outstretched views into the Democratic Republic of Congo while at Ishasha sector of the park.
Best time to visit Ishasha sector in Queen Elizabeth Park
A Uganda Safari Tour involving Ishasha and Queen Elizabeth National Park can be arranged to take place any time of the year. However, the dry months of June to mid-October and December to February are the most ideal because game tracks and most roads are drier and therefore easily navigable.
Lodges at Ishasha
There are accommodation facilities that have been established for the increasing number of tourists that visit Ishasha and those on longer Uganda trips that find Ishasha a wonderful stop over. They range from budget, mid-range to luxury. They are Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Enjojo Lodge, Ishasha Jungle Lodge, Topi Lodge, Ntungwe Ishasha River Camp, among others.
Getting to Ishasha
Access to Ishasha can be from Kampala capital city or Entebbe International by both road and air. By road, the drive takes through Mbarara city, Ishaka up to the north of the park where you branch off with a dirt road to the south. The whole journey takes about 8 and 9 hours. Flights to Ishasha depart Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Kihihi or Mweya airstrips. Availability is for both chartered and scheduled flights that can be booked with either Aerolink Uganda or Bar Aviation. Flights take 1.5 hours.
Ishasha can also be accessed from the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It’s location from Bwindi/Buhoma is about 2 hours and can therefore serve for a wonderful stop over before and after Gorilla trekking in Uganda. You might want to check on our 3 Days Bwindi Gorilla safari via Ishasha
Other things to see and do in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is truly unrivaled and has plenty to offer its visitors. Whether you plan to spend a couple of nights or several weeks in the park, you will not have a shortage of things to see and do. Your Safari to Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park can be adjusted to include one or all the following:
- Boat cruise on Kazinga Channel
- Game drive at Kasenyi to see other lions and animals
- Experiential lion tracking in the north of the park
- Chimpanzee trekking at Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu forest
- A tour of Maramagambo Forest for the bats, blue lake and python caves
- Bird watching
- Crater Lakes tour and cycling in the park.