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31 Jan, 2023
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Lions On Signs – Article by Gareth Jones

Lions On Signs – Article by Gareth Jones


Recently I saw many vehicles parked along the main road near No. 2 junction, so instead of joining the “lion jam”, I watched from a distance hoping the lions might get up as it was starting to rain lightly. Sure enough they began to get up and walked away from the road. I saw the direction they were moving in and guessed they would hopefully emerge from the thick bushes and onto the tar road along the dam leading to No. 1 junction. I did not wait long when suddenly seven lions came out of the long grass and onto the road right next to me, and began to walk down the tar road. I followed them to No 1 junction stone sign and watched as three of them climbed on top of the sign. They stayed on top of the junction sign for a few minutes and they posed beautifully and seemingly surveyed the plains below the Ivory burn site. Soon they moved off into the long grass, so I anticipated that they might move towards the Ivory burn site and parked on the murram road and waited. Suddenly two unsuspecting warthogs were charged by three young lions, one of the warthogs dashed across the road right next to my car and had a narrow escape. The lions walked through the Ivory burn site and upwards.

It was late in the day as I drove along the ridge leading to the Masai gate, suddenly a lioness appeared and walked across the road to jump on top of the sign post 28B. Positioning myself quite close to her, and with the engine off, it was fascinating to watch the lioness.

She stood on top of the sign post for some time, and appeared to be looking out over the valley below, then suddenly she crouched down on top of the sign, hiding behind a shrub. It was clear that she had seen something, as the lioness was super alert. She slid silently off the sign post and with stealth moved into a crouching position on the edge of the road.

At that moment I saw the horns of a female eland approaching in the fading light, and held my breath as it moved forward towards the waiting lioness. It came closer and closer ..50 …40…30 meters. In a flash, the lioness charged at the eland. Wow!! she just missed…..the eland escaped to live another day. The lioness casually returned to the edge of the road and sat there cleaning herself as if nothing had happened.

Over the years I have seen many lions on top of sign posts, and they often use them to lookout over the surrounding areas, but this is the first time I have ever seen a lioness actually hunt from a sign post. Truly an amazing incident! It is interesting to note that the Nairobi Park lions in particular, seem to love climbing up the stone junction signs. They often use them to lookout over the surrounding areas or just enjoy the warmth from the stones, but it is not often that I have seen lions actually hunt using a sign post!

On a number of occasions I have also watched lion cubs use the stone junction signs to play on. Sometimes they play an almost in a sort of “I’m the king of the castle” game, as one climbs up first and the others then try to follow. Naturally the smaller the cubs are the more they struggle to climb on top. They then often stay there for a while before jumping down again hastily when the adult lioness or lionesses start walking away.

The Nairobi lions have become world renowned, and they display themselves very grandly for thrilled visitors when they pose on top of the stone junction signs. We hope and pray that future generations of visitors from all over the world will continue to be able to enjoy the sighting of seeing “lions on signs“!!!

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



Gareth JonesGareth Jones – Nairobi Park Dairy – A passionate writer & photographer
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