Lion Tracking In Uganda
Lion Tracking in Uganda is done in major three national parks. These are Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Park. The lion is a genus large, powerfully built cat that is second in size only to the tiger. Furthermore, the lion is one of the known wild animals since earliest times. Lions are most active at night and live in a variety of habitats. Surprisingly they mostly prefer grassland, savanna, dense scrub, and open woodland. Historically, they range across much of Europe, Asia, and Africa. However now they are mainly in parts of Africa including Uganda. For all of their roaring, growling, and ferociousness, lions are family animals and truly social in their own communities. More so, usually live in groups of 15 or more animals called prides.
African lions are the largest and most imposing carnivore in Africa. In addition, they are the only true social cats and have special cultural significance in most countries on the continent. Certainly in Uganda, lions enjoy a reputation as ‘king of the beasts’. This is because there are popular symbols of royalty, strength and bravery. Lions live in a ‘fission-fusion’ society which is a fairly rare social system similar to chimpanzees.
Individuals have different home ranges that overlap so that they regularly meet and come together. Males get out of the group at the age of 3-4 years by the dominant male(s). They try to take over a pride when they get to 7-10 years old. Males usually hole a pride for 2-3 years only before are ousted by another male.
Females generally stay in the same area as their mothers. They occasionally move to an adjacent pride when sub adult. Furthermore, they rear a litter of cubs every two years. The highest mortality of lions is in the cubs with often whole litters. These are killed by other predators or buffalos. For all of their roaring, growling, and ferociousness, lions are family animals and truly social in their own communities. They usually live in groups of 15 or more animals called prides.
Lion Tracking in Uganda
We came across these three Questions about Uganda lions.
- Are there lions in Uganda?
- How many Lions are found in Uganda?
- Where are lions found in Uganda?
As per the latest census of Uganda’s lion population put the number at 493-745. In Uganda lions are mainly in the three largest savannah parks: Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP), Kidepo Valley National Park (KVNP) and Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP). In some other protected areas like Lake Mburo National park, the lions are now extinct. It is because they extirpated by the neighboring pastoral communities.
This extinct population is faced with various management challenges. They include indiscriminate killing by the local communities for medicinal and cultural values. Furthermore, in an attempt to avert livestock losses caused by lion predation. Others are through road kills, habitat loss, loss of their prey base through poaching and disease.
Lions Tracking In Uganda in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best national parks where Lion tracking In Uganda are truly experienced. In addition, park is located in Western Uganda and was established in 1952. It is a park with stunning landscape comprising of vast savanna grasslands and woodlands. It is also comprised of plains, crater lakes, gorges, forest and the Rwenzori mountains in the background. Queen Elizabeth National Park has 95 mammals and over 600 species of birds. Among the mammals are elephants, leopards, lions, and buffaloes.
In QENP, the Ishasha lion have their unique behavior of climbing trees. They are branded the “Ishasha tree-climbing lions” by tourists. Lions, after mountain gorillas, are the most sought-after species by tourists visiting Uganda. AWCS assessment in 2006 showed that each individual lion in Queen Elizabeth Park generated about $13,500 USD per year. This is for the national economy in terms of the revenue it brought into the country.
An influencing factor is that tourists are willing to stay longer just to see lions. Ecologically, lions play an important role in maintaining ecosystem health and balance by predating on herbivores. They often target sick individuals and thereby keeping disease down, and disposing of carcasses. This makes lions important to Uganda’s economy and ecology.
Lions in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park sits on the shore of Lake Albert, in northwest Uganda. It’s a park with the strongest Murchison Falls, where the Victoria Nile River surges through a narrow gap over a massive drop. Park wildlife includes elephants hippos and lions. There are chimpanzees in the Kaniyo Pabidi mahogany forest.
The data collected using GPS and GSM since 2010 to date 128 individuals identified on the north bank. Lions in Murchison Falls are called Diurn. This is because they are active in the morning during sunrise. And also in the evening when the sun is disappearing. It is advisory to conduct your game drives during this time if you want to see lions in the savannah plains.
During your game drive in Murchison Falls national park, it’s also better to know the exact places to track lions and these are;
Victoria Lion tracking In Uganda; This tack is a safe haven for the expecting Lioness, this track is a popular spot to catch amazing sightings of the lioness and their cubs. The Victoria track is where the expecting lioness like migrate to, this is because these areas are a safer buffer for lioness to hide their infant cubs from what kills them.
Queen’s Lion tracking In Uganda ; This track interconnects the two tracks, these are Victoria track and the Albert track. This is a short track with a length of 13km and more importantly there are a variety of animals and birds.
Lions in Kidepo Valley National Park.
Kidepo valley National Park is located in the distant north-east of Uganda, close by the borders of South Sudan and Kenya, Kidepo is an enthralling place of semi-arid savanna, seasonal rivers and low mountains. It is beautiful – and accessible – at any time of year.
Kidepo Valley National Park boasts of a steadily growing lion population of approximately 132 individual lions. The park in our opinion is the best place for Lion tracking In Uganda. However, for over a month, the lions in Kidepo Valley National Park showed signs of weakness, emaciated bodies and are not naturally hyper like their counterparts in other parks, leaving conservationists confused.
The body which is responsible for the protection and management of wildlife acknowledged the importance of Lions’ protection as it noted that the lions of Kidepo have reduced in the weight, looking weak as well as reducing in number. The efforts to rescue these lions were undertaken, samples picked from them, they were analyzed in the month of August to make a conclusion on the status of lions and it is great to hear that the lions’ health is steadily improving
Best time for Lion tracking In Uganda.
Seeing or tracking lions in Uganda is done or spotted at any time of the year. Though ideally the most convenient time I say the dry season which runs from June to September. During this time the grass in most national parks is short allowing people to easily observe the animals and lions in the region.
In case you want to track lions of Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth national Park, the experience is conducted twice a day that is in the morning at 8:00am and in the evening 4:00pm and the experience takes 2 to 3hours. Furthermore, you need a permit here which costs $60 per person for foreigner non-Residents and UGX100,000 for East African Residents. The lion Tracking permits are booked through trusted tour operators like Umarella Voyage safaris which provide great Safaris in Uganda. We carry on the task to notify Uganda wildlife Authority (UWA) and make sure we book your tracking permits available in time.
How to best track lions on your Safari.
While on your safari, Lion tracking is done through tracing lion movements and this is done by the help of a professional guide holding set radio callers within the park, this is put in the open savannah grassland where the pride of lions passes in a group. This action alerts the lion trackers where lions are located and they follow the movement of lions that are alerted by the radio call.
In a nut shell, seeing Lions in the wild of Africa is the most thrilling treat. Seeing a pride of lions from Murchison falls national park, Kidepo valley national park or Queen Elizabeth National Park is so awesome but note it that the tree climbing lions of Ishasha is such a great amazing experience and not to miss.
Below are some of our tour packages that lead you to Lion tracking In Uganda and other primates.
3Days/2Nights Queen Elizabeth National Park