The tree climbing lions of East Africa

Where to See Tree Climbing Lions in Africa; Lions are mostly known to stay in savannah areas and are commonly found on the ground, anthills and outcrops. But East Africa surprises with a rare population of tree climbing lions. Here, it is a common behavior and the lions learn to climb at an early age as they follow their parents who do it often.

There are two groups of these amazing cats in the safari region; one in Queen Elizabeth national park, western Uganda and the other around Tarangire and Lake Manyara national park in the south of Tanzania.

While planning for a wildlife safari to Uganda or Tanzania, having known of this unusual behavior, you could get curious to watch these predators.

In Queen Elizabeth national park, the tree climbing lions are found in Ishasha sector in the south of the game reserve. Uganda has ten national parks and this attraction is what makes Queen Elizabeth national park unique from the rest. However much lions have been spotted in trees around other parks including Murchison falls national park, they are only sighted occasionally. This is a common sighting during game drives undertaken in Queen Elizabeth’s Ishasha sector.

If you are planning for a Tanzania safari and wish to encounter the tree climbing lions, then you may have to add Lake Manyara national park on your bucket list for a chance to see these iconic cats.

Kruger national park in South Africa and the Serengeti in Tanzania have also recorded few sightings of lions in trees.

According to expert animal behaviorists, lions have no evolutionary adaptions to climbing and resting in trees. Instead, they often lay under trees for shade. So why is this behavior common in Ishasha and Lake Manyara National Park?

Why do lions climb trees?

Why do lions climb trees? There is a number of theories that have been put forward to explain the common behavior of the tree climbing lions in these specific safari destinations.

These large cats are believed to climb and rest on tree branches in order to escape the unbearable invasion of insects and flies when they rest on the ground. Insects bite them while flies make them so uncomfortable, so they climb up in a space of a breeze that has less insects and flies.

Other animal behavior experts explain this with reasons of escaping the much heat on the ground hence scaling trees to enjoy the fresh air. It is also claimed lions climb trees to get a better vantage of scanning the plains and spot their prey easily.

Guide to see the tree climbing lions in East Africa 

A safari to Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda or Lake Manyara national park in Tanzania offers great opportunities to encounter the tree climbing lions. In Ishasha, the best time to go game driving for this thrilling experience is mid-morning as the sun starts to heat up. On a lucky day, you may find a pride lazing on fig trees branches and leisurely watching across the plains.

The safari experience does not limited you to this, there is an opportunity of seeing other wildlife such as elephants, buffaloes and different kinds of antelopes among others.

In conclusion, any lion can climb a tree and this act can be spotted anywhere around the world. However, lions are not good tree climbers, but those in Queen Elizabeth and Lake Manyara national parks have mastered the skill and can often be seen doing it. These two are the best places to see tree climbing lions in the world.

Apart from game drives aimed at looking out for lions, there is a lot more to do while on safari in the above mentioned safari parks. You can inspire your itinerary with a boat cruise, nature walk, forest walk and bird watching among others. Contact us for a tailor made safari and get the maximum experience of Africa.

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