Where to spot lions in Uganda? The main draw of an African safari is the lions. The safari would not have been successful for many people if they had not seen the lion, even though they may have seen many other creatures. In fact, many people priorities finding the lions over looking for anything else when they first venture out into the savannah. Observing a lion in its natural habitat while it hunts would be the ultimate safari experience.

One of the few places on earth where lions still roam free in the wild is Uganda. In Uganda, lions reside in areas designated as protected wildlife reserves. However, a number of factors have contributed to their lengthy decline in population, the most significant of which is the ongoing struggle between humans and animals, as people continue to invade and encroach on the lions’ habitat, ultimately killing the lions that prey on their livestock.

On a safari in Uganda, seeing lions has proven to be a lucky find. This pattern, however, is shifting as a result of a recent surge in lion populations in some locations, which has increased lion sightings. This is a result of the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s increased conservation efforts, which are required to safeguard wildlife reserves and game parks.

How many lions are in Uganda?

According to recent study and a census conducted between 2018 and 2020, there are 373 lions in Uganda. When you travel to the following locations in Uganda on a safari, you will witness lions during Uganda game drives.

Murchison falls national park.

The largest game park in Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park, is home to the greatest number of lions about 250 of any park.

The greatest chances to spot lions in Uganda while on safari are currently found in the Murchison Falls National Park. In the past, there was a 50/50 chance of seeing lions in Murchison, but more recently, it has been noted that the park’s lion population is rapidly increasing. During game drives, numerous prides with large numbers of cubs and juveniles are frequently spotted (the number of lions in all parks increased from 215 in 2013 to 250 in 2020). Furthermore, because Murchison Falls National Park is so big and has so few drive trails, a significant portion of the park would not be explored in order to increase the likelihood of seeing lions. But the park now promises lion sightings due to the addition of a few new drive routes and an increase in lion population.

The northern bank of the River Nile, which splits the park into the north and south, is where you will look for the lions. The savannah in the northern region is home to lions and other large wildlife.

In addition, Murchison Falls National Park is closer to Kampala than other parks with comparable rates of lion sightings.

Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Just 52 lions are believed to be living in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda’s second-largest park, according to the most recent study and census conducted between 2018 and 2020.

Queen Elizabeth National Park was known for being the lion park in Uganda where seeing lions didn’t require much effort. One problem however is that Queen Elizabeth National Park, unlike Murchison Falls park, is a biosphere, meaning wildlife and man have been coexisting peacefully in the same eco system since time memorial. It is not unusual to find a pride of lions or a herd of elephants and after a few meters later you will encounter a local man walking or going about his business without any worry about his surroundings. It was not long, though, before the quickly expanding people and its escalating economic demands resulted in confrontation with the fauna, with predators being the first casualties. The lions began to prey on the cattle that the people were raising inside and close to the park, even though it is actually forbidden to do so. In response, the residents massacred the animals in large numbers.

In an effort to prevent animals from entering communities and vice versa, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has started fencing off certain areas of the park. It is anticipated that this will lessen conflicts between people and wildlife and expedite the restoration of a lion-rich park.

But all is not lost there is still a good chance to observe lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Lions and other predators prey on the Kasenyi plains, which serve as antelope breeding grounds.

One area in Queen Elizabeth National Park where lions may be found is the Mweya peninsula, which is close to Mweya Safari Lodge. This area once served as a lion pride’s breeding habitat.

Where to spot lions in Uganda?
Lion in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Lion tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a lion tracking programme where you can accompany a team of researchers in their search for collared, monitored lions, ensuring that you encounter lions. If you would want to learn more about lions, this exercise offers a closer look at the animals.

Tree-climbing lions of Ishasha.

There are unique lions on the Ishasha plains south of the park; these are the lions that climb trees. The park’s most recognizable feature is now the lions that climb trees. In this region of the park, lions typically climb fig trees in the late morning to unwind after their morning hunt and to get away from the ground-dwelling insects and flies.

Essential to note is that Queen Elizabeth national park is not just about lions and animals, but its scenery as well is one of the reasons to visit. Located on the edge of the rift valley its landscape is of lush plains, green hills and a series of crater lakes and lakes Edward and George that attract lots of wildlife.

Kidepo valley national park.

Based on research conducted between 2018 and 2020, the estimated number of lions in Kidepo Valley National Park is 70.

Photographs of Kidepo National Park typically include one or two lions perched atop a rocky crag, commanding a commanding view of the park’s breathtaking nature. It resembles a scene from the film The Lion King. It’s true that one can encounter lions in Uganda at the Kidepo Valley National Park. But occasionally, sightings are too far away or the lions are hidden due to the park’s immensity. 

Lake Mburo national park.

Although there is only one known male lion living in Lake Mburo National Park, the park should not be on this list. It is more of a myth than something that is frequently seen, yet occasionally it can be heard roaring.

Plan not to visit Lake Mburo in order to watch lions. Predators like hyenas and leopards are present in considerable numbers.

What is the best season to see lions in Uganda?

No matter the season, lions can be spotted all year round. However, the circumstances for exploring the driving tracks and seeing more park regions will be better during the dry season, which runs from June to August and December to February. It is also simpler to see the lions among the shrubs because the savannah is thinner or shorter.

What is the best time to see lions?

The best time of day to see the lions is undoubtedly early morning when the lions are proactively hunting or are just from the hunt and are still actively moving in the open. As the day heats up, they seek out a cool spot to spend the day sleeping, usually beneath a thicket where they are hard to spot. When the lions are up and eager to hunt again in the evening, it is the best time to watch them. They will be moving outside during this time because it is also colder.

How to plan a lion safari in Uganda?

The recommended course of action is to visit at least two of the lion-populated parks in Uganda if you feel that you shouldn’t miss the lions on your safari. That would be either one of the other two plus Murchison Falls National Park. Because of the lower distances, it would be simpler to merge Queen Elizabeth with Murchison Falls National Park. It would be worthwhile, though, if you could manage the lengthy drive or catch a trip to Kidepo.

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