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Top Places to See Lions in Uganda’s National Parks

“The Pearl of Africa,” Uganda, as suggested by Winston Churchill, is indeed the pearl of Africa due to its dazzling landscapes. These landscapes are characterized by undulating hills covered in green foliage, where lions can often be found resting on trees to enjoy the fresh air. There are numerous places where tourists can observe lions, including:

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Formerly known as Kazinga, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s oldest parks. It boasts the Ishasha region, known for its unique tree-climbing lions that nonchalantly sleep on tree branches. These relaxed lions intrigue many travelers who wish to capture photographs with these majestic predators.

The presence of these lions keeps herbivores such as elephants, giraffes, zebras, Uganda kob, and antelopes on high alert, constantly scanning for nocturnal predators. Lions also pose a threat to reptiles like snakes (some of which are venomous but still preyed upon by lions), crocodiles (with lions adeptly swimming in shallow waters to observe them before striking), and turtles (slow-moving reptiles that retreat into their shells at the first sign of danger).

Visitors from Uganda can pay in their currency, amounting to 20,000 Ugandan shillings, while tourists from other East African Community countries pay the same amount. Foreign tourists pay 40 USD, and foreign residents pay 30 USD.

The park offers various accommodations such as Tembo Safari Lodge, Baboon Safari Lodge, Buffalo Safari Lodge, Engiri Game Lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge, Irangi Forest Safari Lodge, and many others. Access to the park is possible by road from Kampala, Mbarara, Fort Portal, and Kasese.

Alternatively, tourists can opt for a charter flight from Entebbe or Kajjansi, enjoying scenic views of the highlands and local economic activities during landing, making the safari an educational experience. Activities for tourists include camping, which fosters bonding among families, friends, and colleagues, providing an opportunity to strengthen relationships.

The boat trip experience on the Kazinga Channel, linking Lake Edward to Lake George, leaves tourists eager to revisit the park due to the chance to cruise in an engine boat amidst crocodiles and giant hippos.

Murchison Falls National Park

This park features a steep rocky slope where water flows vigorously, home to diverse animal species. These include primates leaping from tree to tree, lions living in familial groups, and herbivores grazing peacefully, showing mutual respect. Reptiles, feared even by humans, include snakes and crocodiles capable of devouring a human whole.

Tourists enjoy capturing photographs near the powerful waterfalls, capturing the scenic beauty of glistening waters. Trekking is a popular activity for those seeking close encounters with gorillas and lions.

Guided by tour specialists, tourists pause to observe these animals, creating memorable experiences. Birdwatching is also popular, with sightings of African jacanas, Secretary birds, wild turkeys, handsome francolins, Goliath herons, African eagles, and many more.

Due to its proximity to water bodies, the park can become quite cold at night, so tourists are advised to pack appropriate safari clothing, jackets, insect repellent, and book accommodations in advance.

Accommodation options include Fort Murchison, Murchison Falls Bamboo Village, Sambiya River Lodge, Murchison Backpackers, Boomu Women’s Group, and others.

Entry fees are 20,000 Ugandan shillings for citizens, 40 USD for non-resident foreigners, and 30 USD for foreign residents. Travel options include a 4-5 hour road journey covering 305 km or a 1 hour 15-minute flight from Kajjansi or Entebbe.

Kidepo Valley National Park

Located in the Northern region, Kidepo Valley National Park was initially inhabited by Dodoth pastoralists and farmers. Established as a game reserve in 1958 to protect against poaching and expand wildlife habitats, the park is renowned for its diverse bird population, making it a premier birdwatching destination along with lion sightings.

Bird species include the ostrich, dark-chanting goshawk, Kori bustard, pygmy falcon, red-throated bee-eater, rose-ringed parakeet, rufous chatterer, white-bellied go-away bird, grey-crowned crane, and many more.

The park hosts a variety of animals including carnivores like lions (raising cubs in caves to protect them from predators like hyenas), leopards (camouflaged with small black spots and known for their stealth), and cheetahs (the fastest land animals, capable of hunting almost any prey). Accommodations include Kidepo Savanna Lodge, Zebra Safari Lodge, Apoka Safari Lodge, Kirurumu Lodge, and others.

Activities for tourists include hot air balloon rides, nature walks, and interactions with local communities. The park charges an entry fee of 6 USD for East African Community tourists, 40 USD for non-resident foreigners, and 30 USD for foreign residents.

In Uganda, visitors can create lasting memories amidst breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife, ensuring a happy ending to their adventure.

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