Lions are commonly known as the “king of the jungle” but lions do not actually live in a jungle. Their main habitats are on the grasslands and plains of Africa although they can also be found in Asia. Tigers are the largest of the big cats but lions are said to have more of a leadership ability since they live in family groups known as prides, as opposed to the more solitary tigers. Three of the five largest lion populations are found in the wide-open savannas of Tanzania. Here are some of the best places to spot them:
- Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. The Masai Mara is a smaller area for game viewing so your chances of seeing the Big Five (lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino, leopard) are higher. The Masai people are known for their unique culture and traditions and a visit to one of their villages is often a highlight for travellers.
- Serengeti National Park, Tanzania takes the top prize for the number of lions living in the wild. If this is your first time to Africa the Serengeti offers a truly unforgettable “Out of Africa” experience.
- Okavango Delta, Botswana is home to a large buffalo population and because of this it also a popular spot for lions. In fact, lions in this region are probably the largest on the planet, because of the abundance of buffalo and other animals to prey upon. Paddling into the Okavango Delta by mokoro (dug out canoe) and watching the hippos at sunset is an experience not to be missed.
- Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania is a great place to see the most of the creatures on anyone’s wish-list. The crater is home to over 30,000 animals from elephants to warthogs to wildebeest. It is also one of the best places to see black-maned lions. Giraffe lovers are out of luck when on a Ngorongoro safari since the steep edges make it next to impossible for them to enter the crater, although they can still be found around the edges.
- Gir National Park, in western India is the only place in the world outside of Africa where you can see lions roaming in the wild. It was established to protect Asiatic lions, who frequent the fenced-off Devalia Safari Park, along with leopards and antelopes.
Best times to go:
One of the best times to visit Kenya is from July to September or January-February during the dry season, and with a little luck your visit might coincide with the Great Migration of wildebeest.
Tanzania are is also best from July to September or January-February. Challenge yourself with a trek up Kilimanjaro, reward yourself with a safari, relax on the white sand beaches of Zanzibar.
Ready to start planning your own Hakuna Matata moments? Contact me and let’s explore!