I wonder whether–you, like many safari enthusiasts–are fascinated with the prospect of seeing tree-climbing lions in Lake Manyara; for which the Manyara national park on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania has become all the rage. It would seem rather peculiar when people want to see lions in trees and Leopards on the ground. Paradoxically, some seem to think it is a marketing ploy invented by Tanzanian tour operators to generate interest in this particular safari destination. Well, there is divided opinion right across the board, and that’s why this article will look at the top 3 possible reasons why lions would climb trees in the first place. So let’s take a closer look at the lion in their natural habitat, so we can begin to figure out why you’ll find them languishing lazily on top of a tree.
First, Manyara isn’t the only place you’ll find these beautiful animals in trees. However, it is more likely that on a very hot day, they would seek refuge in trees… just to catch a bit of breeze and, ubiquitously, some much-needed shade. I must hand it to them though, they are pretty smart. That being said, I have seen lions in trees in many other parks, so it isn’t synonymous only with Manyara and Ishasha. The other two most plausible reasons why you’ll spot tree-climbing lions in Lake Manyara is what I want to discuss next.
Possibly, the second reason why lions in Manyara and Ishasha climb trees more often is because these parts sometimes do get very wet. And lions tend to dislike walking on wet ground. So when there are very heavy rains and the lakes are flooding, it is quite probable that they will want to climb trees to keep their feet dry. And the third reason why lions would climb trees would be to get away from the awfully bothersome flies. You only need to see the volume of flies that surround these animals at times, to empathize with them.
And to conclude this article, I felt it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t touch on the spectacular birdlife in Manyara, because that alone justifies a visit to the park. The topic of birds deserves an article dedicated specifically to it, but since we’re talking about Lake Manyara National Park, if you love birds, you’ll be delighted to know that there are over 300 bird species in this area alone, including Eurasian migrant birds, acacia associated birds, raptors, and 3 endangered Tanzanian species. Lake Manyara National Park and Lake Natron also offer great opportunities to watch Flamingo gathering in flocks of tens of thousands to even several hundred thousand on the shores of the lake. Lake Natron is the breeding ground for flamingoes, whilst Lake Manyara in Tanzania is their feeding ground.
Thus, tree-climbing lions in Lake Manyara are not the only attraction. You’ll find some breathtaking views of birds in trees and in picturesque splendor all over the shores of the lake too.