Ishasha Sector: Home of the Tree Climbing Lions

A visit to Uganda is not Complete without tracking the Tree Climbing Lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park. These are located in Ishasha Sector, a few kilometres from Suba Motel Kihiihi, where trips to see them can be organised from.

The Ishasha sector lies near the far most south-western rim of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The landscape in this section of the magnificent park is considerably different from other parts of the park.  It is comprised of riverine forest and open savannah grassland with acacia and fig tree species. This sector also gets fewer visitors than the more crowded northern sector. This leads to a better game drive experience.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is the second largest park in Uganda and is the most visited. Ishasha sector is comprised of riverine forest and open savannah grassland with acacia and fig tree species. Ishasha has magnificent landscapes that give you clear views of the wildlife. The Sector is a famous destination in Queen Elizabeth national park due to various attractions including:

A tree climbing lion lying in a tree, looking down on the Savannah in Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park
A lion lying in a tree, looking down on the Savannah

Tree Climbing Lions

The Sector is one of only 2 places in the world with Tree Climbing Lions. They are the major attractions in the Ishasha sector. They like to lie lazily up in the acacia and fig trees. The locals believe that the lions in the Ishasha sector climb up in the acacia or fig trees to protect themselves from ground insects such as the tsetse flies. They also climb up to escape the heat from the ground during the dry season. The male Tree Climbing Lions black manes which differentiate them from other lions. They are seen during the game drive in Ishasha which is best done in the afternoon hours.

Other Animals

Ishasha is also a habitat of other animals apart from the tree-climbing lions. These animals can be seen during game drives. They include:

  • Majestic Elephants,
  • Buffaloes,
  • Topi,
  • Uganda kobs,
  • Warthogs,
  • Waterbucks,
  • Hippos which are seen near ishasha river
  • and many more
Female Kobs on the plains of Queen Elizabeth
Female Kobs on the plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park


Ishasha is a great destination for bird watching. It has many bird species which can be seen in various places like on Lake Edward and Ishasha River. You can view many species around Suba Motel too because of it’s prime location. Bird lovers will be able to spot various bird species including:

  • the long-crested eagle
  • African crake
  • striped kingfisher
  • broad-billed roller
  • martial eagle
  • African white-backed vulture
  • African green pigeon
  • Ross’s turaco
  • white-headed barbet
  • grey-backed fiscal
  • Senegal plover
  • African wattled plover
  • grey woodpecker
  • Black coucal
  • and many more

The Sector is, therefore, a great destination for bird watching in Queen Elizabeth national park.

When to visit Ishasha sector

Ishasha sector is great for visits at any time of the year. The best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry season, there is less rainfall in the park. You then get clearer views of the wildlife grazing due to the short savannah vegetation 

Though the best time is during the dry season, you can still enjoy the same activities during the wet season. Activities like game drives in the sector and bird watching will continue to take place regardless of the weather changes. Prices are also lower during the wet season, so you get to save some money.


Ishasha offers luxury, midrange and budget accommodation facilities where visitors can stay on their safari in Uganda. These lodges offer quality services such as comfortable beds, bars, restaurants, free internet, recharging facilities among others. These make your stay during your safari in Ishasha comfortable.

Suba Motel Kihiihi is a great accomodation option for those looking for tranquility and savings. With a rate way lower than the competition and great facilities, it is a great option to consider.

Getting to ishasha sector

  • Road transport, The sector is less than 6 kilometres away from Suba Motel Kihiihi. Alternatively, it is an 8 hour drive from Kampala City. When connecting from other destinations like from the Mweya peninsula in Queen Elizabeth national park, it takes 2 hours. From Lake Mburo national park in Mbarara to the Ishasha takes 6 hours. From Bwindi impenetrable national park to Ishasha takes 2 hours’ drive. 
  • Air transport: Ishasha sector is accessible by flight. You can book scheduled or chartered flights from Entebbe Airport to Kihihi airstrip then connect by road to Ishasha. Suba Motel is conveniently located near the airstrip, making it a great place to stay.

These include mongoose tracking, boat cruise on Kazinga channel, game drives, nature walk, community visits among others. 

If you are interested in such a tour then you should contact Suba Motel Kihiihi for help with setting up an affordable expedition to the park.