Sharing moments in time…

East Africa Safari – Episode 4 – Lying Lions (in trees)

On the way through the southern part of the Queen Elizabeth Park, our itinerary had advertised a chance to see rare, tree climbing, lions.   Now you could think, lions are cats – of course they can climb trees!  That seems perfectly logical until you realize that lions can weigh up to 500 + pounds and they have to haul all that up a vertical surface.  So anyway, while lions CAN climb trees, they are not normally found there.  We had driven through the majority of the southern area of the park and it was a very quiet day for any kind of animal so we all began to think this was “hype” for this transit part of our trip but that we were unlikely to see any lions looking down at us.  We had, in fact, called the restaurant where we were to have lunch and placed our orders for 20 minutes later.  Just then our guide received a phone call from another guide and off we drove (at high speed) to get to the lion tree before they woke up and came down.  When we arrived there were actually 5 lions in a large fig tree – all in various stages of their nap cycle.  Some were awake and keeping an eye out.

The watchdog.....

The watchdog…..

Some were snoozing.

Must have had a hard night with the hyenas...

Must have had a hard night with the hyenas…

Some were yawning (and looking very fierce in the process)

Tired....or hungry?

Tired….or hungry?

And some were just hanging out…

Lazy Lion

Lazy Lion

We just counted ourselves as very lucky to have been able to spend some of their nap time with them before we left for our lunch.  I should mention that no one knows why these lions climb trees while most other lions don’t.  The theories range from trying to stay cool in the heat to getting a high and safe spot to be able to spot their prey  – sounds like we should get a grant to go back and study this for a few months…… 🙂  Just one last shot to show the tree that they were in.  We didn’t get a shot of all 5 but this photo that my friend Mike took caught three of them.

tree house .....

tree house …..

Just another rotten day on the east african safari trail……  🙂 


12 responses

  1. Wow nice, I love your photos. Actually there are some more areas where you can find tree climbing lions, e.g. Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania. But yes – it is a fascinating phenomenon that some lions climb trees and others don’t.

    February 5, 2014 at 4:17 am

    • WATT – Thanks! I had read that Manyara had tree climbing lions also (we were thinking about going there) but then I read recently (after our return) that the sightings there had become less frequent lately. Glad to have seen it when we did!

      February 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm

  2. Howard Schwartz

    Hi Scott: What an amazing trip.  Congrats.  Thanks for the great photos – really fun. Regards to Dee, Howard

    February 5, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    • Hey Howard – We all had a great time. MANY more photos to come – haven’t scratched the surface yet…..

      February 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm

  3. Steve Deutsch


    February 5, 2014 at 6:36 pm

  4. Susan

    Fantastic pictures!!!

    February 6, 2014 at 5:15 am

    • Susan – Fantastic to actually see this phenomenon!

      February 9, 2014 at 7:52 pm

  5. You know me – love those kitties! – so this is one of my favorite posts from your trip so far. The close-ups are wonderful, and Mike’s photo helps illustrate just how high they climb!

    February 6, 2014 at 8:39 am

    • Cathy, I knew you’d be a pushover for this one!

      February 9, 2014 at 7:53 pm

  6. Aww you got beautiful shots – G is still pissed off that our couple of shots weren’t in RAW format… I told him we were lucky just to have the experience at all! 😉

    February 10, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    • Laura – All photographers are the same – there is always something I wished I did differently or better – but I always end up with a few that are “close enough”

      February 10, 2014 at 8:44 pm

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