Uganda has a variety of unique and rare species of wildlife, but there is nothing comparable to the uniqueness of the tree climbing lions.
Tree climbing lions are a strange idea and even a stranger sight to behold, and yet many Uganda safaris blogs talk about them. These amazing cat exist in only a few African countries such South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and of course Uganda. Many visitors to Tanzania’s Lake Manyara and Kenya have come to think they are myth because it is very rare to catch sight of them. But if you are looking for proof of their existence, visit the Ishasha plains in Queen Elizabeth National Park. These magnificent kings of the jungle and their families are much easier to see here.
Unfortunately, most tourists and safari operators are so focused on gorilla trekking in Bwindi or visiting the Mweya area that they swiftly by pass Ishasha on their way to these famous destinations and miss out on seeing the mystery that is the tree climbing lions. It would be nice to make a stop and see these lions that are such rarity.
Ishasha has about 3 prides of lions with an estimate of over 40 lions in total.
Why do these lions climb trees?
There are few differing theories about why the lions in Ishasha prefer this particular type of tree.
There are people who believe it is simply an ingrained cultural preference, while others think the animals do it to avoid insects that would otherwise pester them on the ground.
Tree climbing lions prefer sycamore fig and acacia trees. In ishasha the lions prefer sycamore fig tree. And tree climbing is not the only unique thing about the lions in Ishasha; their males also have black manes!!
How easy is it to see the tree climbing lions in Ishasha?
It is much easier to catch sight of a tree climbing lion in Ishasha than any of the other places where the lions are found. In ishasha they can be seen in sycamore trees and can often be spotted on a game drive. Be sure to find out from your tour operator and your tour guide if they know where to find the lions and if they do, to make sure they take you there. You do not want to miss out on such an amazing sight during your safari to Uganda.
Interesting thing is you will get more than just a once in a life time opportunity to see tree climbing lions when you visit ishasha, there is plenty of other wildlife species to see. There are elephants, buffaloes, and numerous antelopes.
If you are planning a safari trip to Uganda, please remember to add Queen Elizabeth national park, specifically Ishasha on your itinerary. It is not every day or everywhere that you get to see lions climbing trees.