Lion Tracking in Uganda; Lion tracking is renown as one of the top things to do in Uganda and offers travelers great opportunity to get close to the lions in their natural habitat unlike standard game drives. It involves driving after them in close viewing as you get to learn about their behavior, natural habitat and feeding habits. However, this incredible activity is led by experienced and knowledgeable researchers from the Uganda Carnivore Program. The best way one can be able to part of Lion tracking much pay for your ticket in order to enjoy this worthwhile life adventure.
In fact, Queen Elizabeth National Park is the only national park in Uganda where lion tracking activity is done, and it is only open at the northern sector ‘’Kasenyi plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park. More so, the park is one of the best national parks to experience these outstanding Africa Safaris. It is located in western Uganda and was established in 1952.
More fact, the park inhabits scenic landscape comprising of vast savanna grasslands, woodlands, plains, crater, lakes, gorges, forest and the Rwenzori Mountains in the background. Mor so, the park is home to over 95 mammals and over 600 species of birds, animals to see includes elephants, leopards, lions, and buffalos among others. More so, Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in southwestern region of Uganda, approximately 5 to 6 hours’ drive. Or, the park can be reached by a domestic flight by Aero link Uganda from Entebbe Airport to fly you to different airstrip near the park; Mweya Airstrip, Kasese or in Ishasha ‘’1hour landing’’.
Despite the fact that, the park is a lion conservation unit thus lions are a key attraction in the park. Queen Elizabeth National Park sounds with over more than 250 of the largest cats in both sectors northern and southern sector.
Besides the normal lions, Queen Elizabeth National Park also boosts with the largest population of rare tree climbing lion in the world. These tree climbing lions are best adventured in Ishasha sector located in the southern sector of the park.
These tree climbing lions are best spotted on afternoon game drive while they are lazily hanging on large fig trees. Remember to carry a nice camera to take pictures for your future remembrance.
Uganda Carnivore Program – Wildlife Conservation and Research Tours;
The ‘’UCP’’ Uganda Carnivore Program is managed by the research department of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Well, this program starts in the 1990’s and was then known as the Uganda Large Predator Project.
The Uganda Large Predators Projects began out of concern that an epidemic ‘’the canine distemper Virus ‘’ that was decimating canines in the Serengeti National Park spread to predators in Uganda. After some research, it was found that Uganda’s lions where not dying from the distemper virus but from poisoning. A decision was made continually – with the project to monitor and do some research on predator in the park. The project expanded into community conservation and other activities. For that matter, more partner s came in support of the project but later on the project changed its name as the Uganda Carnivore Programs.
Factors of Uganda Carnivore Program;
The protect and monitor the movement of the predators.
They train young scientist who helps in relocating park animals and makes recommendations that assists government and international partners in making key funding decisions and areas of focus.
This project hosts international volunteers and student researches interested in wildlife conservation.
Uganda Carnivore Project
The Uganda Carnivore Project is led by Dr. Ludwig Siefert who has been with the project since 1990’s. This Dr. Ludwig was also lectures in Makerere University and more so has made significant contributions to wildlife research and conservation as a Direct of the project as well as a professor in Makerere.
Dr. Ludwig has helped to attract funding to the project and helped with predator research in Uganda’s other parks. And his assistant senior staff working the project namely; James Kalyewa and Kenneth Mugyenyi Kalyewa monitors the predators daily while mugyenyi is community scout responsible for community outreach activities.
How is Lion Tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park arranged?
Lion tracking experience in Queen Elizabeth National Park involves following an individual or group of lions – to be able to learn more about their behaviors, feeding habits and group dynamics.
One to be part in the Lion tracking experience, your required to book for your permit in advance.
Loin experiential goes at USD100 for nonresident per person per day, USD80 for foreigners and East African Members goes at UGX100,000 per person per day. Note ; There are extra of USD10 to among paid. Well, Permits can be bought directly at the Mweya Information Centre or more conveniently through your tour agent.
The park authorities offer USD10 of each booking to the Uganda Carnivores programs, the amount paid does not include park entrance. There is a limited number of people allowed to participate in the activity.
There are three sessions in a day for Lion tracking; An early morning, afternoon and night sessions and each session takes between 2 to 3 hours. Take note, if you choose one of the sessions to participate, we advise you to arrive on time. On the day of the activity – you will b e briefed by the chief tracker or researcher and expect back a great adventure of these unique lions.
Lion tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park is the best location for spotting lions come along the unique tree climbing lions. It is very possible to track them without disappointment because of recent advancement in tracking technology.
Eventually, lion tracking can be done by help of park armed guides who holds a radio collar for easy location on the dominant lioness of a pride. More fact, Lions usually wander away from the group to mark their territories. Lionesses staying with the main group enables researchers to monitor all the other lions including; the cubs and Alpha’s males.
Researchers prefer putting a collar on a lioness that is not pregnant, but old enough and in good health. The moment is identified, a tranquilizer is used to make the lioness senseless before putting the collar around the lion’s neck. Fact, the lioness can take 2 days to get used to the collar. While installing the collar – the researchers make sure that they are comfortable and loose to ensure that kings of Jungle ‘’cats’’ doesn’t get stuck while passing through thick grassland.
The battery powered in collars send radio frequencies is read by a GPS system to pinpoint the exact movement of the lions and every time the frequency is called up or dialed. For more fact, when the tracking device makes a beeping noise which intensities when the lions are nearby. Note, lions move a lot mostly if game is scarce. If there is enough prey, it can range to 40 square kilometers. Then, in the area of food scarcity -their territory can go up to 400 square kilometers.
The radio collars enable researchers to track the movement of lion pride and know if they are under threat from communities that live in outskirt of the park. While tracking the lions, the researchers usually share information to the visitors about their biology, habitats and threats. You will be able to learn about the lifespan of the lion which is 12 years and the female lions is the one to look for food.
Then male’s role is to protect the family and make sure no intruders come into their territory. A lioness gives births to three cubs on average.
Fact, Lion tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park is totally different in many ways from the usual game drives.
During normal game drive, vehicles stay on designated tracks.
During lion tracking, the driver can drive off the main road and drive into the savannah depending on the location of the lions. Once the team is near to the lions, the driver switches off the engine in order to avoid chasing away the prime of lions. If you’re lucky might have a chance of seeing researcher collecting DNA, blood, Urine, saliva, ticks and other samples from the lions after the tranquilizer is used.
If you lucky and observe the whole pride, you will have a unique opportunity to watch a lion family up -close. You will watch the juveniles play in the midst of resting adults. Take Note; lions use different vocal signs to show distress of information of their location.
Others Fact about the Loins;
Lions are territorial animals.
The dominant male usually marks his territory by creating holes using his hinds’ legs, rubbing his mane on shrubs or sometime urinate around the main trees in his territory. All these signs leaves his strong smell to warn any intruders.
Lion prides are headed by a dominant male or two ‘’often brothers’’.
Male lions have black manes which are far larger than the females. Though smaller, lionesses dictate much of what goes on in the group because they do most of the hunting.
A lioness may seem to be smaller in size but will fight off males to protect their cabs during any danger.
Apart from doing Lion tracking in Queen Elizebeth National Park, there are other remarkable activities to combine with during your visit to the park including; Chimpanzee tracking, Birding, Cultural encounter, Kazinga Boat cruise, Hiking and nature walks, Visit the crater lakes among others. Or combine your safari tour package with Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or combine it with a visit to Masai Mara National Reserve and be able to engage into World’s great natural migration event of the wildebeest
Get Started Now!