Southern Queen Elizabeth N.P
Ishasha Wilderness Camp
Rating: Simple Luxury
If you’re looking for some absolute solitude in Queen Elizabeth National Park, head south to the Ishasha sector for a few nights in the aptly named Ishasha Wilderness.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp is bonafide eco-camping in a pristine spot, where hippos snort languidly in the river and elephants wallow in the shallows. The style is comfortable but simple, emphasizing good-living, a hearty Afro-Euro cuisine on the menu, cold beers on tap, and smiling faces all around.
The camp is beautifully positioned, kissing into the glorious Ntungwe River bend. The main area is a vast, open-sided space with a lounge, bar, library, and dining area facing the river banks. There’s plenty of chunky seating from which to admire the burbling river and all its four-legged visitors.
The cool, grass-thatched roof of the main area provides shade on even the hottest savannah afternoons. Dinner is a social affair, often served down by the river, and like all good bush camps, there’s a campfire for after-hours whiskies.
Because the property is set up inside the park, animals roam freely through the camp. You could wake up to elephants bathing in the river, hippos gruntings, buffalo grazing across the river banks, and resident troops of colobus and vervet monkeys swinging on low hanging branches.
George, the lone hippo, usually inspects his campgrounds and leaves impressive smiles on guests. Camp security personnel are always on hand to escort and assist guests should they feel unsafe with the wild.
Bush breakfasts and sundowners within the park complete the ‘bush’ experience offered at Ishasha Wilderness Camp.
The property runs on generator power, with regular 230Vac electricity available 24 hours, and there are no significant restrictions on using higher power items such as hair dryers.
There are no power outlets in the rooms, but there is a central station for charging electronic equipment. Outlets are British standard three rectangular pin format. Adaptors are usually available, but it is always worth bringing your own, in which case we recommend buying them in advance rather than trying to get them at the airport on the way since they often run out.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp is located in the southern section of Queen Elizabeth National Park, known for its weird tree-climbing lions. Guests can reach the camp from Entebbe with a 1-hour flight plus a 2.5-hour drive from Kasese Airport. From Bwindi, Kihihi Airtrips, guests take a 15-minute flight or a 4-hour drive through the park.
Accommodation at Ishasha Wilderness
Ishasha Wilderness Camp has 10 Meru-style authentic bush camp tents, with large beds enshrouded by gauzy mosquito nets in the spacious bedroom areas.
The ensuite bathrooms are open-air, with bucket showers at the back and running water at the sinks.
Discreetly placed along the river banks, each tent is exclusively private with a shady veranda and chairs for river-watching by day and star-gazing by night.
The camp is committed to leaving only the lightest of footprints, so it’s solar-powered lighting, flickering kerosene lanterns, and eco-flush loos all the way.
Under a cool thatched roof, a central lounge and dining area provides a comfortable environment for meals and to relax in during the heat of the day. Under the trees, next to the river, the chef serves meals ‘al fresco’. The evenings light up the ‘fireplace’ for guests to relax with sundowners and share their day’s experience.
The food service at Ishasha Wilderness Camp is usually of reasonably high quality. Special diets such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and other variations should not be a problem, so long as you let us know when booking.
Early morning wake-up calls to your tent with tea/coffee allow you to savor the early morning sounds of the ‘bush’ awakening.
We recommend a stay of between two to four nights in the camp to get the hang of it. One of the highlights is the possible viewing of the lions of this area, often found resting in the branches of giant fig trees.
Hot water ‘bush showers’
Restaurant & Bar
Drinks at the Bar
The main attraction in the northern section of the park is the tree-climbing lions. Spend a day or two at Ishasha Wilderness Camp and get to enjoy this spectacle of tree-dwelling cat.
The camp is the closest savannah game camp to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Do the gorilla trekking excursion in Bwindi and easily connect to Ishasha Wilderness Camp for a night before you connect to the far northern side of the park.
Hot air balloon rides over the Queen Elizabeth Savannah Plains.
Explore the camp on foot in search of the Narina Trogon and Black Bee-eaters, two of the camp’s rarer bird species. Guided walks along the Ishasha River for close-up viewing of hippos can be arranged with National Park staff.
Savor Ishasha’s vast vistas and the atmosphere of this beautiful park area with a bush breakfast or late afternoon sundowner beside the Ntungwe River or along the ridge.
Support the Ishasha Community Uplift Project, which was voted Best Community Tourism Initiative 2015 for developing Deo’s Homestead Tour and Agartha’s ‘Taste of Uganda’ Tour, a short drive from the camp. Meet the people of Ishasha and see how the farming community lives beside the National Park
Beyond this section of the park, in the northern section, Kasenyi Plains offers the most outstanding wildlife viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park and arguably in Uganda. This part of the park contains Kazinga Channel, Lake Albert, and the antelope breeding grounds, making it an excellent choice for the park’s big cats and a Wildlife Photographer’s heaven. You would need at least three nights in the park to fully exhaust the African bush wilderness experience in the Kasenyi Plains.
Boat trips on the Kazinga channel, in the northern section, are available on either a scheduled boat launch or private boat safari lazily floating on the channel’s shores, where you can watch a good spectacle of waterhole drama. On strategic shore locations on the channel are a great choice of exclusive safari lodges and camps.
Chimp trekking available in the low-key Kyambura Gorge forest reserve. Although chimpanzee sighting may not be highly probable, the gorge reserve offers a relaxing nature walk. Other animals you’ll quickly see in the riverine forest include red-tailed monkeys, black-and-white colobus, baboons, and vervet monkeys are seen.
The park is also known for its variety of avian species, including various falcons, the blue-headed bee-eater, the African finfoot, and 597 bird species recorded. However, Chimpanzee Tracking is what draws visitors to the gorge.
Mweya peninsula area is the most common choice for accommodation in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Still, camps and lodges can get very busy in high season, making room reservations expensive and scarce.
The main highway on the edge of the park separates the communities of people who live along the boundaries. The road connects the park to the capital city in the east and Kibale National park in the north, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for Gorilla trekking. Along this highway is where you most probably will find decent safari lodges and camps.