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Written by: Taher Nassrulla on 12 August 2015

Tree Climbing Lions in the Serengeti National Park

Tree climbing lion

I was recently on safari in the Serengeti where we had a truly special experience, it involved plenty of big cats, unbearable temperatures and a tree. Lake Manyara has been made famous by its tree dwelling lions, however these elusive cats are not so readily seen thanks to the thick vegetation in the park. In the Serengeti thick vegetation is not always a problem making sightings relatively easy.

Whilst on game drive we came up to a sausage tree where we were thrilled to find 3 grown lionesses and 2 tiny cubs enjoying their siestas. Everyone was amazed at precision of how the lions had set themselves up into the perfect sleeping position.


We carried on to see what we could find and I can tell you we were not disappointed, just a few hours later we found a female lion with her 3 juvenile cubs. They were resting on a fallen tree until they figured they needed a better resting place. They strolled right past our car and carried on in the direction of a large acacia and we followed. The mother was the first to climb quickly followed by one cub, the other two cubs decided to go exploring. We sat there in complete awe as the lions sat peacefully in the tree just 10 m above our car. The lions put on a private show for us and we could not be more grateful as we were the only car there to watch. Totally satisfied we headed home with huge smiles on our faces and a few hundred pictures in my SD card.

On the way out from the Serengeti we were treated to a proper farewell we found a tree with some 11 lions in it, which kind of looked like a new type of tree fruit.


Usually after the rainy season the grass in the Serengeti gets quite high and there is an explosion in the local lion flies populations. Lion flies are quite small and very irritating. That is one reason why lions prefer the safety of the trees in order to get away from the flies as well as to get more shade and a good vantage point from where they can spot a potential meal.

Author: Taher Nassrulla

Born in East Africa, Taher was intrigued by the natural and geographical diversity of the African bush from a young age. After spending some time in Europe, he returned to Tanzania in 2004 to start a new chapter in his life. Since then he has been spending as much time as possible in the bush, learning. Taher speaks English, Kiswahili and German fluently and is a passionate photographer. Using the skills he has learnt over the years, he now takes tourists out on safari as a German-speaking tour leader and guide.

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