Tree Climbing Lions

Tree Climbing Lions Uganda, Ishasha (Can Lions Climb Trees?)

The famous Tree Climbing Lions are lions with a rare and mysterious behavior of climbing trees. Tree Climbing Lions in Uganda are found in Queen Elizabeth National Park in the Southern Ishasha Sector.

Tree Climbing Lions Ishasha
Tree Climbing Lions Uganda

Can Lions Climb Trees?

Yes, lions can climb trees, although it is a behavior that is not commonly observed in all lion populations. The ability to climb trees is more prevalent in certain areas.

For anyone who hasn’t witnessed lions climbing and comfortably relaxing on tree branches, the phrase “tree climbing lions” might seem like science fiction but your mind will be blown away when you visit the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National park (in Uganda).

While animal behaviorists have studied and agreed that these big cats are not adapted by evolution to climb trees and even comfortably stay on tree branches.

It still remains a mystery and rare behavior that has only been seen in two places in the whole World- the Ishasha sector of Uganda’s second largest National Park and Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park.

Unlike lions, Leopards are always seen relaxing lazily on tree branches during African safaris, and seeing lions exhibit this behavior is something to behold and witness during Uganda safaris.

Where to see the Tree Climbing Lions in Uganda?

The tree-climbing lions in Uganda are found in only one place, which is the Ishasha sector (southern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park).

This is surprisingly the remotest side of the Park, with less tourist activity and travelers that make their way here are provided with an exceptional wilderness experience while sighting these extraordinary creatures lazing on tree branches.

Lion Climbing Tree Video;

Expert explanations for the occurrence of Tree-climbing Lions

There are numerous expert opinions to explain the phenomenal behavior of tree-climbing lions in Uganda and these include.

It is said that these lions have behaviorally adapted to climb and laze on tree branches as a way of protecting themselves from irritating insect bites on the ground. They, therefore climb huge fig trees to escape their annoying insect bites.

Other animal behaviorists have explained this extraordinary behavior as a way of escaping from the scorching heat on the ground level.

This might be true because the best time to see them is afternoons during the sweltering heat. For this reason, they relish the cool breeze as well as the afternoon siesta without being disturbed by the things happening on the ground.

What makes it even more thrilling is the fact that they find convenient vantage points where they can easily observe prey (especially Uganda Kobs, Topis, bushbucks, and warthogs) wandering on the ground across the savannah plains without being noticed.

Some visitors have been lucky to enjoy rare sights of the tree climbing lions cautiously moving around branches of huge fig trees before suddenly jumping on the ground to capture unsuspecting prey.

Although lions are not naturally adapted to climbing trees, the tree climbing lions have properly mastered their skill and are able to pass on this knowledge and experience to their cubs.

For this reason, experts believe that the behavior of climbing trees is actually learned, contrary to it being a natural instinct. Whichever reason applies, one thing is clear- the behavior is rare and worth seeing during Uganda wildlife safaris.

It will interest you to know that lions weigh from 200 to 400 pounds which literally makes it possible to lift and maintain their massive bodies up on tree branches and at such heights.

This makes watching the tree climbing lions one of the thrilling and unforgettable wildlife experiences in Uganda.

Tree Climbing Lions
Lion in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Best time to see the Tree-climbing Lions in Uganda

The tree climbing lions in Uganda can be seen all year round but the perfect time of the day is during hot afternoons. At this time, the ground level is marked by sweltering heat and full of irritating insect bites hence forcing these lions to climb trees.

If you wish to combine your trip to the Ishasha sector with game safaris in other sectors of Queen Elizabeth National Park, then you should consider the dry season (December to February and June to September) when precipitation levels have reduced.

In so doing, vegetation has become shorter and many watering points dried leaving out a few hence providing the most unforgettable sighting experiences during game drives.

Our visits to tree-climbing lions in Uganda are usually combined with gorilla tours in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Still on this note, the dry season is perfect for visiting the Ishasha sector.

Gorilla trekking adventure is less challenging during dry months because reduced rainfall levels mean forest trails are drier/less muddy or slippery and vegetation has become scarcer.

However, it is always important to travel prepared for anything because rains can be experienced at any time of the year, and what you consider wet months don’t experience rains all day long. Scheduled activities still continue as planned.

Where to stay after/before viewing Lions in Uganda

The Ishasha sector where the tree climbing lions are found is still raw and untouched and features fewer accommodation facilities compared to the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

However visitors planning to see these phenomenal big cats can stay at Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Ishasha jungle Lodge, Enjojo Lodge, the beautiful Ishasha Tree Climbing Lions View Lodge, and Topi lodge among others.

Best 3 Safaris to See Tree Climbing Lions

3 Days Queen Elizabeth wildlife Safari is an exceptional Uganda wildlife tour trip ushering you into the pristine savannas of Queen Elizabeth National park, western Uganda. This short Uganda wildlife exploration includes a game drive…

5 Days Uganda Gorilla and Wildlife Safari takes you through a lifetime gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, 2 game drives and a boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth National Park. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which…

4 Days Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari introduces you to Uganda’s second biggest National Park to enjoy game/wildlife viewing. While at Queen Elizabeth National Park for your Uganda safari, expect to be part of game drive and boat/launch…

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Faqs about Tree Climbing Lions

Tree climbing lions are famously found in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, Serengeti national park, Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania plus Okavango Delta in Botswana. These locations are well-known for having prides of lions that regularly climb trees.

Yes, tree climbing lions are still surviving and in the whole world, they can be found in East African parks only; Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, Lake Manyara National Park and Serengeti, Tanzania.

There are several reasons why lions climb trees among which; trees give them a vantage point to spot their prey, to escape heat and insects on the ground and to avoid other animals that could cause harm to them.

Yes, Uganda hosts a huge number of Tree Climbing lions in Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The tree climbing lions are best seen during midday on sunny days. They tend to climb trees to evade the hot ground and to catch a cool breeze, making this the best time to spot tree-climbing lions.

A lion can climb a tree as high as 15 feet provided the branches are big enough to support their weight.

In Uganda, it estimated that about 50 tree climbing lions are left in the wild. Although, the conservation process to protect and preserve these rare big cats is running smooth and the population is expected to increaseas a result.

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