LAKE Manyara, once the filming location for the classic Hollywood Tarzan movies, is a popular safari stop between Arusha and the Serengeti for a variety of reasons including its huge variety of bird-life and its wallowing hippos.
However, it is the park’s tree-climbing lions that are an especially popular sight with visitors.
Up until recently, only Lake Manyara and Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park could boast this rare sight - although recent reports say that the phenomenon has now spread to the Serengeti as well. Our recent clients, Shwana & Jennifer, were lucky enough to spot them in both Lake Manyara and the Serengeti!
And one enjoying the view from atop a tree in Lake Manyara.
Of course, this wasn’t all they saw! In addition to catching a glimpse of the Wildebeest Migration in motion, they also spotted cheetahs, a variety of fascinating birds, and even a few topi! There are many theories put forward to explain why lions climb trees.
These include avoiding wet grass, getting a cooling breeze, getting a better view of the surroundings, escaping charging buffaloes or getting away from annoying flies.
Sometimes they climb just for the sheer fun of it, especially cubs and sub-adults. Lions are not fantastic tree climbers. When it is time to climb down, they often look like they regret ever coming up the tree, they are clumsy and slow. Sometimes they try to go head first, other times butt first.
Not unusually, they seem half panicked not knowing how to proceed down, trying different options before they find a way down.