Tree Climbing Lions

Tree climbing lions are some of the unique attractions that attract travelers to engage in Safaris Uganda tours and to other countries that inhabit them. Tree climbing lions is a term used in reference to the unique click of lions as they climb up into tree branches. This unique characteristic among lions has been a topic of discussion among many tourists and researchers. In Africa, these lions can be seen in the Ishasha sector in Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda and in Tanzania where tree climbing lions can be seen in Lake Manyara national park. In South Africa tree climbing lions can be seen in Kruger national park

Tree Climbing Lions

These lions are easy to spot during a visit to Queen Elizabeth national park compared to Lake Manyara national park where they are a little difficult to see.

Some of the reasons that lions climb trees as seen in the different locations include;

  • Some lions climb trees to avoid insect bites and to get away from insects such as tsetse flies which can bite them when they are on the ground. 
  • Tree climbing among lions is also a way for the lions to get a better view and also a way to observe their prey as they wait for the perfect opportunity to attack the prey.
  • The scourging heat of the sun is also a reason why some lions climb trees in order to get shade from the sun.
  • Young lions copy the behavior of the older lions when they observe this behavior among the older lions and they end up adopting the tree climbing. 
  • The feline nature of lions is also a reason why the lions can be seen climbing trees since most felines like to climb on anything they can find.

These lions are becoming a common sight around different national parks although the numbers of the tree climbers may be few compared to other famous locations where the tree climbing lions can be observed.

The tree climbing nature of the lions can also be described as a form of adaptation that these lions are getting used to due to the hesitation with which the lions climb the trees compared to the agility that the leopards possess when climbing trees. It is also argued that some lions climb trees for fun.

Lions can be seen around various national parks but these lions offer a unique lion tracking experience to the tourists and cannot be found in every national park. It is questionable whether the tree-climbing nature is in every lion pride or if it is an adaptation for a specific lion pride.

Many tourists visit national parks where these lions can be seen due to the unique adaptation where the lions can be seen lazily resting in the tree branches as they look for a comfortable spot to perch and rest.


 Tourists who visit the national parks where they can observe the tree climbing lions also encounter other wildlife species such as leopards, buffalos, elephants, hyenas, zebras, hartebeest, wildebeest, antelopes and many other species as they enjoy game drives around the national park.

In Queen Elizabeth national park where the tree climbing lions can be seen, other tourist attractions include the kazinga channel, kalinzu forest, kyambura gorge, mweya peninsular, variety of wildlife species and bird species.

In Lake Manyara national park, apart from tree-climbing lions tourists can also enjoy the wilderness in this national park as they engage in activities such as game drives where they will see other attractions like scenic views of the rift valley escarpment and engage in activities such as interacting with the Masai people, bird watching, canoeing, guided nature walks.

The trees in which these lions can be seen climbing include sycamore trees, acacia trees. The sycamore trees provide enough shelter for the tree-climbing lions due to their dense spread of branches and the round crown.

The best time to spot these lions is after the sun has risen which makes it safe to say that the heat of the sun is a valid reason why the lions climb trees. During rainy times, it is difficult to see the lions up in the tree branches.  

These lions are a wonderful sight during game drives in the national parks where they can be seen and they offer great photography opportunities that improve the experience of the tourists. Some of the trees where the tree climbing lions climb hide them form view due to their thick nature. 

A unique characteristic among these lions in the ishasha sector is that the manes of the lions are black especially among the male lions. Many female lions can be seen as they spend the hot days up in the trees.

Another tourist activity of searching for the lions is known as lion tracking and this activity involves looking for the lions in their natural habitat. Lion tracking is also done with the help of trackers which show the location of lions in the national park making it easy to spot the lions. This activity is done in queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda.

Both the young and adult lions can be spotted as you search for the locations of the tree-climbing lions. The tree climbing lions are also affected by other factors such as the increasing human population which puts them at risk of being killed.

The conducive conditions in the national parks such as the vast savannah plains, a variety of wildlife species which are prey for tree-climbing lions and the presence of the sycamore trees have favored the tree climbing lions making their survival easy in the national parks.

Tree Climbing Lions
Tree Climbing Lion

These lions can spend the whole day up in the tree branches as they observe their environment and watch as other wildlife species graze around the savannah plains. After feeding, the lions are also known to climb back up in the trees and rest.

Various accommodation facilities are also available for tourists who visit different locations where the tree climbing lions can be seen. The accommodation facilities range from luxury accommodation, mid-range accommodation, and budget accommodation to suit the needs of the tourists.

The charge for tourists who wish to experience these lions during their game drives is inclusive of the entrance fees Queen Elizabeth national park.

The unusual behavior of tree climbing lions offers a unique experience around the different national parks where they can be seen up in the tree branches and they are an attraction of interest and wonder to many tourists.

book a safari