Written by Uganda Tourism for Bradt Travel Guides
This year we’re welcoming the tourist boards of two brilliant big cat destinations as sponsors of our festival. The first, Tourism Uganda, shows us why there’s far more to the country’s wildlife than gorillas.
Who are Tourism Uganda?
We are the Uganda Tourist Board for the UK. Our aim is to raise the profile of Uganda and showcase the wonderful wildlife, people and scenery that Uganda offers.
How do you promote Uganda in the UK?
Our passionate people will travel the length and breadth of the UK visiting tour operators, consumer travel shows, training days and sponsoring events to spread the word about all things Uganda. We have worked with national media to include appearances on Good Morning Britain and Sky TV showcasing Uganda.
Obviously, the best way to experience Uganda is to actually be there! So, we send tour operators and media out to Uganda to see this amazing country and this in turn improves their knowledge of the country and gets the media coverage it deserves.
What are the highlights of Uganda?
Uganda is best known for its awe-inspiring Mountain Gorillas, but it has a host of delights to attract UK visitors. Encounter chimpanzees, as well as lions, elephants, giraffe and zebras on a safari or look out for Uganda’s 1,000+ species of bird. The country has an ever-changing landscape – from mountains and stunning crater lakes, to tropical rainforest and savannahs, whilst the locals are warm, friendly and hospitable.
Uganda has 10 national parks namely Murchison Falls National Park, which is the largest and Lake Mburo National Park being the smallest.
One of the most famous national parks in Uganda is the Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Ishasha Sector within QENP is habitat to the internationally renowned tree-climbing lions which are actually unique to this very place. The males of these exceptional lions have black manes.
Intrigued by the tree climbing lions? Tourism Uganda tells us more…
The Mystery of Uganda’s Tree-climbing Lions
It is somewhat uncommon for lions to actually climb trees and there are only two populations of lions in the whole world that actually do this as part of their day to day activities. One of these populations is found in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The lions are normally seen lazily lying up within the branches of huge fig trees in the heat of the day, keeping their eye on the numerous Ugandan Kobs grazing in the open plains, before descending back to the ground by dusk.
The Ishasha lion population currently stands at around 40 individuals split across three prides.
Uganda’s tree climbing lions will be a delight to all big cat lovers! © Tourism Uganda
It is supposed that the lions climb trees as a way of protecting themselves against the numerous tsetse flies on ground level, whereas others claim they climb into the branches to escape the heat and enjoy the breeze. Limited studies indicate that the custom of ascending trees is culturally ingrained rather than a response to anything externally; nonetheless the reason they climb up into the branches still remains unknown.
Whatever the reasons, watching these majestic animals clamber up trees not unlike their leopard cousins, is a sight to behold in the remote Ishasha Plains in the southwest of QENP. This area offers some of the most alluring game-viewing in the country, both for its seclusion and its varied wildlife.
For more information about Uganda please visit www.visituganda.com
For more information on the Big Cat Festival, and to book tickets, click here.