Zululand’s Tree Climbing Lions

Tree climbing lions in Zululand

All Photos © Claire Birtwhistle/Rhino River Lodge

While Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, and Lake Manyara Park in Tanzania might be the most well-known areas for spotting tree-climbing lions, they certainly aren’t the only locations where this phenomenon takes place.

Over the years, sightings of tree-climbing lions have been documented in numerous different reserves and parks. However, the novelty of seeing this spectacle has far from worn off. After all, just seeing lions is exciting, but witnessing them doing something other than sleeping or lazing about, is a rare privilege.

While tree climbing remains an unusual behaviour for most lion prides, it appears to be a somewhat common behaviour among specific prides. For instance, the lions in the Manyoni Private Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu Natal, seem to be quite partial to tree climbing and have been spotted in the trees on a few occasions. Just recently, guests at Rhino River Lodge were out on a game drive when they stumbled across two lionesses lounging in a tree next to the road. The timing could not have been more perfect!

Zululand's Tree Climbing Lions

As the game vehicle came to a halt in the road, guests whipped out their cameras and began snapping away.

lion in tree in Manyoni Private Game Reserve

But the lionesses had their eyes on something else – a family of warthogs just down the road.

Tree climbing lion

After indulging the guests for a few minutes, the lionesses began to make their move. Both descending silently from their vantage point in the branches, the hunt began!

Lioness on the hunt

Within moments, the lions had disappeared into the thick shrubbery in hot pursuit of the warthog family. There was a squeal, and then silence. However, after locating the lionesses again, just a short distance away, it became clear that their hunt had been unsuccessful after all. Nonetheless, it was a very special sighting of these two lovely ladies.

Lioness in Manyoni Private Game Reserve

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