Ishasha is the southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park and offers great game-drives with nice scenery. Topi Lodge is located by the Ishasha sector, just a short drive from the southern gate. A game-drive here has the highlight of searching the big fig-trees for lions but also offers sights of Uganda kob, topi, buffalo, elephants and more. Along with the animals you can also spot birds and scenic nature.
The Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park is known for its tree-climbing lions. Climbing trees is an unusual behaviour for these big cats. This is actually one of only two locations in Africa where lions have the habit of regularly climbing trees. It is not known for sure why they climb the trees. But a well supported theory is that it is to get a view point and protection from winds. Take a look at the video below for more about this. It is for sure an impressive sight to see a fig-tree with a big lion resting on a branch.
In Ishasha you have a chance to see the lions, whose status is vulnerable since 1996 after a decrease of nearly 50% in 20yrs. The world’s rarest prides of these tree climbing Lions feed on the Buffalo, Topi and ever breeding herds of Uganda Kobs. A campaign to save the tree-climbing lions is highlighted by the Wildlife Conservation Society work on attaching collars to active members of the prides to track the feeding ranges on data, recovering snares in the park and sensitizing communities.
Entry fees Ishasha
Uganda Wildlife Authority charges park entry to Queen Elizabeth National Park per 24 hours. For adults it is 40 us dollar, children from 5 to 15 years pay 20 us dollar and children under 5 years enter for free (for resident & citizen rates check Uganda Wildlife Authority).
MEET ISHASHA'S TREE-CLIMBING LIONS IN THIS VIDEO
Areas in Ishasha
- The Northern circuit
Drives along the northern circuit in Ishasha connect the Ntungwe middle circuit like an arc. In this part of Ishasha you can see Topi herds, Kobleks and Hyaena dens as well as great buffalo herds grazing. This is because the buffaloes are attracted by the rich pastures on top of the slopes towards the Edward flats. And these buffalo herds attract parasites like the Yellow-billed Oxpeckers and great flocks of Wattled Starling.
- The Southern Circuit
The southern circuit of the Ishasha sector becomes the hot point in the search for tree-climbing lions. This is because of a host of well spaced big fig trees, among the 47 species recorded in Uganda. These figs have become very special as they offer a great cover, vantage spot and super resting place for the remaining prides of Pantera Leo.
- Edward Flats
Edward flats is an off circuit area off the beaten track and the remotest game tracks here. Note that a ranger from Uganda Wildife Authority is needed if exploring this area. The Ishasha sector is gifted with nature ranging from great breeding herds of Elephants which can be found here. Edward Flats is a home for passage migrants in the bird world as millions of song birds, storks, waders and raptors pass by here.
- Ishasha River Campsite
Continuing towards the information center, time invested in sloping towards the Ishasha river campsite can yield hippo sightings. In this area you find relaxed Hippo pods vocalizing perhaps communicating to the viewers that your moves are watched! This camp 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. Some special nights here can reveal hidden rare sights of Serval cats, Aardvarks and the shy Red river hogs. This is since Ishasha has a bit of the Guinean and Congolian forests patches.
Birding in Ishasha
For a birder on a Uganda birding safari there are some specialities to keep an eye out for in Ishasha. In terms of birdlife, Ishasha still yields and will continue peeling rare sightings of avian life. Here we find savannah birds with the top vulture of the region the Lappet faced vulture, Africa`s most spirited eagle the Marshal eagle and larks. You can try to tick off the rare Dusky blue flycatcher on River Ishasha. Other top ticks include the Terek Sandpiper, Grey plover and the rare Blue Quail
The ambience in Ishasha area underlines top vocal birds and animal from dusk to dawn. Notable birds include the African thrush (a relative of the European Black bird), White- browed Robin-Chat, Common bulbul, Greater Honeyguide and trilling cisticola dominating sounds. As well as White-browed Coucal a medium sized bird normally seating on top of bushes sucking in the sun and the dusky hours yielding. Besides the birds other great moments include the mythical flying bats headed to fruiting figs and hawking insects. Adding to the bat experiences you can spot the yellow winged bats during day. As a finish to the day of birding in Ishasha the last seconds of the sun will trigger Black shouldered nightjars, Swamp nightjars and African Scops owl's distinct echoes.
Conservation by Ishasha
We wish to make an impact when it comes to conservation by Ishasha, taking the approach that all efforts matter. Our involvement has started with The Ishasha reformed poachers association. After supporting the start of the association we have embarked on assisting training and support for the members to find new ways to make a living. Our involvement has for example included training to make simple shoes & sponsorship of piglets towards starting piggery business.
Discover Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park from Topi Lodge
Topi Lodge is located just a 5 min drive from the southern gate to Ishasha. We are by the trench that separates the park and community.
At Topi lodge by Ishasha, a night triggers sounds of the wild! You might hear wailing spotted hyena troops patrolling the southern trees of Ishasha in search for a meal. And it is as well common with a punctuation of Lion roars which can be heard across the trench. Because of the close to nature location Boma fires at Topi Lodge gives great opportunities for stargazing.