• Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Buhoma, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
  • Kajjansi Airfield
  • A Tree-Climbing Lion in Ishasha Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
  • A Rare Mountain Gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
  • Two Tree-Climbing Lions on the Ishasha Plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

Mountain Gorillas & Lions in Trees

Fly to the southwestern corner of Uganda to seek out tree-climbing lions on the golden savannah of Ishasha’s plains. Explore with dawn and dusk game drives to spot the lions, hyenas, buffaloes, elephants and the illusive leopard, if you’re lucky! Then trek through the ancient rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to encounter a mountain gorilla family and watch a close knit family group in their natural habitat of ancient rainforest.

Destinations: Queen Elizabeth NP, Bwindi Impenetrable NP

Gallery

Itinerary - Mountain Gorillas & Lions in Trees [TACP006]

Day one

Savannah Wilderness

Take to the skies from Kajjansi airfield to fly to Kihihi airstrip. Estimated journey time: 3 hrs 25 mins. 

The Ishasha Plains cover the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park and are particularly known for their iconic population of tree-climbing lions. Lions are only recorded to exhibit this behaviour in a few locations across Africa, believed to be a learned behaviour specific to a few prides. It’s been speculated this behaviour is to avoid the hottest part of the day to catch the cool breezes in the trees and to dodge the biting insects found in the grasses below. On entering the savannah you will track through the African bush on a wildlife drive with a Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger to seek out these impressive cats. These rangers are based on the plains and track the lions daily giving you the best possible chance of finding the lions. You’ll be looking for them in the branches of huge fig trees, as they laze away in the shade, sheltered from the heat of the day. If you still have time after tracking the lions you can explore the various game circuits for other wildlife species found on savannah here including elephants, Uganda kob, buffalo and hyaenas. Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs. 

 

Day two

Tree-climbing Lions

Wake early before the sun rises to watch it light up the savannah of Ishasha Plains. Dawn game drives usually give excellent photo opportunities due to the early morning light, the wildlife is more active before the heat of the day sets in. These plains allow you to take a game drive in relative seclusion compared to the rest of the park, due to the limited number of lodges in the area. You will be joined by your expert Uganda Wildlife Authority guide who will help you search the plains for clans of hyenas who are known residents of the Ishasha sector. If they are feeling shy then there are also good chances of seeing elephant herds, Uganda kob and the beautiful topi, an antelope commonly found here. Of course if you failed to find the tree-climbing lions so far here is another chance to seek out these top predators in the giant fig trees found on the plains. Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs. 

Transfer from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Estimated journey time: 2 hrs. 

 

Day three

Gorillas in the Mist

Experience Uganda’s greatest natural wonder, an intimate meeting with one of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park’s gorilla families! Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an incredibly important conservation site as it protects around 460 mountain gorillas, roughly half of the population left in the wild. Dating back over 25,000 years, Bwindi is one of Uganda’s most biologically diverse and most ancient rainforests, with an amazing 400 species of plants present and 350 species of birds, including 23 Rift Valley endemic species recorded. The rangers accompanying you will be able to identify the local plants, birds and wildlife as well as the general ecosystem of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as you trek. This morning you will rise early and your driver / guide will escort you to the trailhead into the rainforest. Here you will receive an orientation on tracking the gorillas from the Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers who will then guide you through the dense forest. The trek length varies, depending on where the gorillas spent the night, ranging from thirty minutes to seven hours. Once you find these incredible creatures you will spend one hour with them. We think you’ll agree - to experience this unique family feed, socialise, nurse their young, patrol and display their prowess - is the most magical experience you can see in nature. After tracking you will make your way back to the edge of the rainforest where you’ll meet your driver guide. Estimated excursion time: 2 - 8 hrs (including 1 hr viewing). 

Meet up with your guide to explore the area around Buhoma village. You’ll be visiting some of the local handicraft shops where the local craftspeople are making a variety of crafts including fabrics, beeswax candles and hand carved wooden ornaments, a great place to pick up an authentic souvenir from your travels. Your guide can help with what is authentic. You will then walk on to meet the neighbouring community of Batwa where they’ll give you a demonstration of traditional songs and dances, giving you an insight into their former life in the rainforests and glimpse into their culture. You will meet other local residents of Buhoma including a traditional healer who will share with you their secret use of medicinal plants and learn how the locally produced bananas are used to make a variety of juices, gins and beers, you can even try and taste if you choose. Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Day four

Journey Home

Transfer from Buhoma to Kihihi airstrip. Estimated journey time: 1 hr.

Take to the skies from Kihihi airstrip to Kajjansi airfield. Estimated journey time – 1 hr 20 mins.