Lions at QENP, Uganda
At dinner at our lodge on the high escarpment overlooking Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, our driver, Moses, promised us a “special treat” for the next day. Honestly, we hand already had so many “special treats”, so many wonderful and unexpected encounters, on our Birds and Wildlife Safari with #Epic_Uganda_Vacations that we were hard pressed to guess what he might have in mind. The next morning we lined up at the gate to check into the wildlife drive in the northern sector of QENP, and witnessed a lengthy negotiation at the check in building. It turned out that Moses was trying to secure a place for us in the “Experiential Safari Group” for the morning. Up to 4 vehicles are allowed to go out, each with a ranger, in convoy, following the research vehicle with the tracker who keeps track of the radio collared lions in the park, and going “off-road” to find them…providing a pretty much guaranteed close encounter with lions…and perhaps with leopards as well. Indeed a special treat, and one that we were not expecting. We followed the radio vehicle for well over an hour across the untracked savanna, before we finally located the lions…two females resting in the shade of a large thorny clump of bush. The rangers kept us at a respectable distance, but we were close enough so that I never got above 600mm on camera’s zoom, even for the portraits. Queen Elizabeth National Park is part of larger complex of parks that make up a Lion Research Area, and the Carnivore Project at QENP monitors the largest number of Lions of any park in Uganda. A special treat indeed.