WEDNESDAY December 28, 2022
By Patty Magubira
The Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania
Tree climbing lions is a unique attraction that pulls both local and foreign tourists to Lake Manyara National Park situated 126 kilometres west of Arusha City, Tanzania.
The character of climbing trees among lions is a global preserve for Lake Manyara National Park and Ishasha area at Queen Elizabeth National Park in the neighbouring Uganda.
Humans often recourse to climbing trees when are about to be attacked by wildlife animals in the wilderness. Are Lake Manyara and Queen Elizabeth national parks’ lions, popularly known as kings of the jungle, as coward as humans? Not at all.
“Lions climb trees mainly because the Lake Manyara National Park is wet throughout the year, owing to a series of groundwater springs scattered around the park,” Japhet Maduhu, a Tour Guide at Lake Manyara National Park, says.
Another reason compelling the lions to adjust to their damp environment is the thick forest covering the park inhibiting them from tracking down their preys.
Maduhu himself once was a victim of this strategic hunting tactic of the kings of the jungle. He was cleaning the litter at a hot groundwater spring when a pride of lions a stone’s throw started climbing down a tree.
Recalling how the kings of the jungle missed him, Maduhu says: “Just as I boarded a vehicle after cleaning the hot groundwater spring, the lions arrived at the area. I was terrified.”
He was lucky, indeed, as he saw a giraffe, the world’s tallest, graceful and well-groomed wildlife animal the other day being killed before him and foreign tourists he was guiding despite the creature moving with confidence and elegance that only big games exhibit.
“I was so hurt, tourists broke out into tears too,” says Maduhu, adding: “I regret I couldn’t rescue the giraffe because we have to let the nature take its course.”
Giraffes are not arrogant, but have an extraordinary talent for becoming the centre of attention. Notwithstanding the risks facing them, they never dream of hiding their highly visible frames by stooping.
Maduhu was guiding about 50 plus members of Arusha Press Club (APC) who were sampling tourist attractions in the Lake Manyara National Park prior to their Extraordinary Annual General Meeting held at the park’s conference hall.
“I am glad you chose Manyara,” Assistant Conservation Commissioner (ACC) Neema Mollel says when officiating at the opening ceremony of the meeting on Friday December 23, 2022, as she invites the journalists to consider visiting the park along with their families during the festive season, among other holidays and vacations.
The tree climbing lions and the hot spring are but a few unique attractions the park boasts having, says Neema, adding that a latest product of a 400-metre rope bridge has of late been attracting many tourists to the park.
A family needs to cough up barely Sh23,000 (about $9.9) for their one-tonne vehicle and an entrance fee of Sh11,800 (about $5.1) and Sh2,200 (about $0.9) for each adult and a child member, respectively.
ACC Neema says besides the affordable fees, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the Tanzania’s 22 national parks which are easily accessed.
Veteran journalist and retired District Commissioner Novatus Makunga assures ACC Neema, saying: “Given the friendly fees, we will come to visit the park with effect from this festive season.”
In his welcoming remarks, APC Chairman Claud Gwandu briefs ACC Neema that high on the meeting’s agenda is a review of the constitution to impose a new leadership and management structure for it to take the club to the next level as directed by the Union of Tanzania Press Clubs and informed by its newly coined slogan: From Good to Great.
According to Maduhu, besides the tree climbing lions, Lake Manyara National Park also hosts a large number of pink flamingos, baboons, hippos dwelling in shallow areas of River Manyara, elephants, wildebeests, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, impalas, warthogs, waterbucks, dik dik and klipspringer found on the slopes of the escarpmentΩ