Are Game Watching Safaris In The Ishasha Sector Of Queen Elizabeth National Park Worth The Money?
Are game watching safaris in Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park worth the Money? Ishasha sector is found in the southwestern of Queen Elizabeth national park which is located in the western part of Uganda. Every person intending to visit Queen Elizabeth national park wishes to visit the Ishasha sector but as they inquire so many questions. Do game watching safaris in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park worth the money? What is very unique in the Ishasha sector is that should make one pay their money. How much is visiting the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park?
The tree-climbing lions have made the Ishasha sector and the whole of Queen Elizabeth national park famous. In the world, these tree climbing lions can be seen in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda and Lake Manyara national park in Tanzania. For some reasons such as high temperature on the ground, to clearly watch their prey, and to protect themselves from constant irritation of insect bites these lions climb huge fig trees. Visiting the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park gives you an opportunity to see tree-climbing lions, sometimes leopards and other animals that are always roaming in the open grasslands of the park and this makes the money worth it.
Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth national park is the second largest national park located in western Uganda after Murchison falls national park. The Park is the most visited in Uganda with over 95 mammals among which include lions, buffaloes, hippos, elephants, Uganda kobs, topi, waterbucks, warthogs, giant forest hogs, Nile crocodiles, 600 bird species, chimpanzees in Kyambura gorge, and the rare tree-climbing lions in Ishasha sector.
Game drives to see the tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector and other wildlife start in the morning and this gives you an opportunity to see some of the nocturnal animals as well as other animals such as buffaloes, hippos, elephants, and different antelopes. Bird lovers can also spot different bird species in the Ishasha sector such as African crowned eagle, grey crowned crane, cisticola, martial eagle, African wattled plover, shoebill, and grey krestel to mention but a few. The best way to enjoy a game drive in the Ishasha sector is using a comfortable 4×4 safari vehicle with a pop-up roof that allows you to clearly see the animals and also take pictures.
What makes the game watching safaris in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park worth the money?
Paying entrance fee to the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park is an automatic indicator for doing game drives in the sector where you will have chances of meeting tree-climbing lions, birds, and other animals that live in the park. The money paid also aids in the conservation of animals and their natural habitats in the park making the money worth it.
The money also helps in benefiting the local people that stay near the park and this has encouraged local people to conserve and protect the animals in the park. 20% of the total money received every year goes back to the local communities and some of the money is used to improve on infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, roads, and other projects that can make the lives of the people better.
What is the cost of game watching safaris in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park?
Game drives in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park can be done in the morning session or late evening session. To do game drives in the Ishasha sector requires you to pay an entrance fee whereby foreign non-residents pay $40, foreign residents $30, and East African citizens UGX20,000. The night game drives in the park would still require you to pay the park entrance fee and use UWA guides. Night game drives cost $30 for both foreign non-residents and foreign residents while East African citizens pay UGX30,000 per person.
What is the best time for game watching safaris in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park?
Ishasha sector can be visited at any time of the year but the best time to visit the sector for game viewing is the dry season which happens in the months of June to September and December to February. During these months there is little or no rainfall, the roads leading to the park are dry and the tracks are not slippery. Most of the park animals in the park are seen gathered on the water sources drinking water.
Other safari activities to do after game watching in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park
After game watching safaris in Ishasha sector, you can also combine other exciting activities in Queen Elizabeth national park and other Uganda travel destinations for the best safari experience. Such activities done in Queen Elizabeth national park include mongoose tracking at Mweya peninsular, lion tracking in Kasenyi plains, boat cruise on Kazinga channel, game drives, nature walk, community visits among others. Let us look at the details below;
Game drives and boat cruise on Kazinga channel
Queen Elizabeth national park is the second largest national park in Uganda and the most visited. The Park is home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species. the park has different sectors like Mweya and Kasenyi plains where one can do game drives from. During the game drives in the park, you have opportunities of seeing so many park animals such as lions, buffaloes, elephants, leopards, Uganda kobs, hyenas, topis, warthogs, bushbucks, hippos, and waterbucks among others. There is also a boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth national park on the Kazinga channel the largest in the world joining lake George to Lake Edward. The boat cruises on the Kazinga channel are done in the morning and evening at any time of the year taking you for 3 hours. During the boat cruise on Kazinga channel, you have chances of seeing hippos, crocodiles, water birds such as papyrus gonolek, martial eagle, black bee-eater, black crake, malachite kingfisher, you can also see some of the park animals such as buffaloes, hippos, elephants, and antelopes on the shores of the lake drinking water most especially in the dry season.
Gorilla trekking in Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park
Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is just 3 hours’ drive from Queen Elizabeth national park via Ntungamo – Katunguru Rd and Kabale Mbarara Rd. after a visit to Queen Elizabeth national park you may decide to combine your game drive with a gorilla trek in Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Gorilla trekking is every person’s dream meeting the closest human relatives with about 98% human DNA. If you are intending to trek mountain gorillas you are advised to book your gorilla permit in advance of 3-4 months to avoid inconveniences. The permits are bought from the Uganda wildlife authority or any trusted tour operator and can not be sold to persons below the age of 15. Gorilla trekking permits in the Buhoma sector cost $700 foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents, and UGX250,000 East African citizens.
Birding in Queen Elizabeth national park
Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the best birding spots in Uganda with over 600 bird species. Birds in Queen Elizabeth national park can be seen from different birding spots such as the Mweya peninsula, Kazinga channel, Kasenyi area, Ishasha sector, Maramagambo forest, Lake Kikorongo, and Katunguru bridge area among others. Bird species in Queen Elizabeth national park include Martial Eagle, Africa emerald cuckoo, Pink-backed Pelican, Papyrus Gonolek, African Broadbill, Black-rumped Buttonquail, barbets, African Skimmer, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Black Bee-eater, brown illadopsis, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Canary, marsh tchagra, Corncrake, Greater Flamingo, Shoebill, Bar-tailed Godwit, White-tailed Lark, pied kingfisher, papyrus gonolek, and lesser swamp warbler among others.
Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge
Primate lovers to queen Elizabeth national park can take a visit to Kyambura gorge for chimpanzee trekking. Kyambura gorge gives you an opportunity to see chimpanzees in their natural habitats. To trek chimpanzees in Kyambura gorge, you will need a tracking permit which costs $50 for both foreign non-residents and foreign residents while East African citizens pay UGX30,000. You are advised to book your chimpanzee trekking permit in advance in order to avoid inconveniences.
Accommodation in Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park
There are so many accommodation options ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury options where one can stay on their safari to the Ishasha sector of the park. The accommodation facilities in the Ishasha sector include Ishasha jungle lodge, Ishasha wilderness camp, Enjojo lodge, topi lodge, Mweya safari lodge, Kazinga channel lodge, park view safari lodge, the river Ishasha lodge, Ishasha Ntungwe river camp among others.
How to access the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park for game watching safaris by air transport or road transport.
By air transport, the sector can be accessed from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kihihi airstrip near Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park. The flight takes you only 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to this place after which you can use ground means to travel to the park.
By road transport, the Ishasha sector can be accessed using a Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara – Bushenyi – Kasese road and this is about 410 km taking you 6-7 hours. Accessing the sector by road transport is worth it with different stopovers and enjoying the countryside.