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03 Oct, 2023
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Creatures In Trees!!!- Article by Gareth Jones

Creatures In Trees Of The Nairobi National Park!

There is something mysterious and wondrous about being in a natural forest irrespective of where you are in Africa, and the Nairobi National Park is such a wonderful place. The thick bush is a hiding place for many species, including some rarely seen species. Driving slowly along some of the many narrow roads through the forest, often causes me to have a feeling that there could be a special sighting at any moment. Especially when looking up into the trees, we have had so many sightings over the years of creatures in the trees. They range from insects to reptiles, to monkeys and baboons, to big cats as well.

Early on a cool cloudy morning, we drove slowly through an area with a number of tall trees, suddenly my wife said “stop cheetah”. As I stopped and looked two cheetahs were up a tree using a broken branch section as a lookout vantage point to be able to see what was going on around the area. The cheetahs suddenly climbed down, crossed the road, and disappeared into the thick grass and shrubs.
On another occasion, we saw some jackals looking rather nervously across the road. At first, we couldn’t see what the jackals were concerned about, then I saw a herd of impala all looking intently in one direction. Then I saw it, a leopard was partially hidden under a shrub, and then suddenly the big cat disappeared. I reversed our vehicle back to a position closer to the nervous jackals and quite near to a large tree. We waited a few minutes, and then suddenly the leopard appeared and climbed up the tree, positioning itself on the truck for a good view of the jackals. As soon as the jackals saw the leopard, they rapidly ran away in the opposite direction.

Late one afternoon in the Athi basin quite near to the large fever tree forest, we saw a lioness lift her head. Then as we watched her, five cubs climbed onto a fallen dead tree trunk and began to behave like playful kittens. One of the games they seemingly played was what I called the “King of the tree trunk”, with the objective to see who could stand on top of the trunk for the longest.

On another occasion, a pride of lions virtually invaded the Kingfisher picnic site, and climbed into the large trees, and enjoyed themselves for some time. Obviously, nobody seemed to be keen on having a picnic with these visitors positioned above some of the chairs.

Apart from the various big cat species, when places like picnic sites are safely available, I often like to spend some time just watching and waiting to see what creatures might frequent the trees. There are tiny bark spiders, many types of insects, and various interesting bird species, plus monkeys and baboons are interesting to watch away from the picnic sites.

So next time you visit a wildlife area or national park, spend some time looking up the trees, you just never know what wondrous creatures you might see. God has created many wonders for us, humans, to enjoy and appreciate.


Gareth Jones – Nairobi Park Diary – A passionate writer & photographer
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