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02 Feb, 2023
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A TREE-MENDOUS Treat – Article by Gareth Jones

A TREE-MENDOUS Treat In The Nairobi National Park!

Early one cloudy morning we ventured into the park, I decided to drive into the Kingfisher picnic spot area. As we rounded a corner suddenly there was a pride of 10 lions on the road. The pride was then also joined by two of the dominant males (Sam & Cheru), as they walked right into the picnic area. We noticed that Sam had a seriously ugly wound on his left eye, most likely due to a fight. Many of the lions then decided to climb some of the tall trees at the end of the picnic site. We watched this amazing sighting for a few hours as the lions entertained us. Their “cat” robotic clumsy manoeuvres looked somewhat out of place as they clawed their way up and down the branches, while
constantly trying to balance and be comfortable at the same time.

One amusing incident involved two young lions, one of the lions wanted to climb down. However, the other lion was blocking the way and not prepared to move as it seems that the branch was very comfortable. So the young lion made a daring decision to jump down, about 5m directly onto the ground. It was quite a sight to see this jump.

It was also amusing to watch the lions “invade” the picnic sitting area. One lioness actually climbed up onto one of the benches and posed as if she was waiting for breakfast to be served. Naturally, even though there were quite a number of people watching this fantastic sighting, absolutely nobody decided to use the picnic site, especially since both Sam & Cheru were inside one of the picnic huts.

Seeing lions up trees is not an everyday occurrence and internationally places like Ishasha in Uganda, or Lake Manyara in Tanzania are well known for tree climbing lion sightings. In Kenya, the Lake Nakuru National Park lions are known to also climb trees. However, right here in Nairobi, the Nairobi National Park lions have been climbing trees for many years, much to the thrill and enjoyment of those who see such a sighting. In my opinion, it actually appears that in the last few years the frequency of Nairobi lions climbing up trees has definitely increased. But it is still a rare sighting to see almost an entire pride up various trees. Why do they do this? There are various possibilities
ranging from escaping insects to enjoying the cool breeze, to viewing for hunting purposes. Irrespective of the reason why lions climb, actually witnessing the spectacle of a pride of lions in virtual arboreal suspension is indeed a real TREE-mendous treat. I hope these lions continue with this fascinating trend in the future!

The park is open daily from 06h00 to 19h00.


A TREE-MENDOUS TreatGareth Jones – Nairobi Park Dairy – A passionate writer & photographer
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