By Abigail Marlow

A WILDLIFE photographer was astonished to discover a pride of lion driven by the midday sun to sleep 20 feet up a tree.

One image shows what, upon first glance, appears to be a gorgeous shot of the African landscape with an acacia tree in the centre, but something seems amiss upon closer inspection.

This tree is not decorated with flowers or fruit, but in their place is a family of lions.

In a close-up shot, we can see a lazy female lion outstretched on a branch as she surveys the stunning Tanzanian terrain.

Hannah Strand (33) is the photographer behind these amazing images.  At the time the images were taken, Strand, who is a photographic safari guide who has lived in Africa her whole life was leading a safari in the Southern Serengeti.

The lions were relaxing high up in an acacia tree.

“As this was our first sighting of the pride in the tree, I wasn’t sure how they would respond to the vehicle, so we started further away and gave them time to get used to us,” she said.

“We moved a little closer as time went on.

“Lions are incredibly impressive cats. Not only are they big and muscular, the way they interact, and their social bonds are so fascinating to witness.”

The lions preferred to rest at height when the sun was high, they were possibly trying to escape bugs in the long grass or just climbing for fun.

Hannah explained how she came this awesome sight.

“Part of our daily activities include a morning game drive, where we explore our surroundings and discover whatever nature has to offer,” she said.

“You can never be sure of what you may find which is part of the thrill of being a guide.

“It was late morning, and we were heading back to camp when we spotted two lion cubs under a small shrub.

A playful lion exploring the tree.

“We thought they may belong to a bigger pride that we had become familiar with in the area, as we watched they turned and walked away from the open plains and towards the eco-turn, the acacia woodland.

“In one big acacia there were already three lions, these cubs joined their pride and immediately left up to the branches of the tree.”

A group of lions is called a pride, with lions typically living in groups of 30.  The pride will live together, hunt together, and in the case of these images, play together.

The pride pictured consists of three beautiful lionesses, nine cubs, one sub-adult male lion as well as two fully grown male lions.

“Nature is always amazing, and the wildlife we have here in Tanzania is truly wild

“I have been guiding for over ten years now, I have been on more game drives than I can remember, but I could have spent all day with these cats.

“I feel so fortunate to know what it’s like to be in their presence.”