Lion Safari - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

African Lion (Panthera Leo)


  • IUCN Conservation Status: Vulnerable
  • Population Trend: Decreasing


  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Dimensions: 185-210 cm
  • Weight: Males can weigh up to 250 kg
  • Active: Diurnal and nocturnal

African Lion Safari Holidays

The adrenaline experienced on being woken in the middle of the night as a roaring pride of lions pass through your camp is unforgettable. The excitement you feel as you follow a pride of lions in anticipation of witnessing a hunt is breathtaking. The feeling of vulnerability you experience when you bump into the king of the jungle on a walking safari is immeasurable. These are just a few reasons why sharing a moment in time with Africa’s most iconic big cat will live in your mind and heart for years to come.

The lion is synonymous with safari Africa. As a member of the so called Big 5 and the biggest and strongest of all African big cats it is close to the top of most travellers’ wildlife wish list. With males being over 2 metres in length and weighing over 200 kg it is easy to understand the infatuation with this formidable species.

Lions belong to the genus panthera alongside their closest living relatives the tiger, leopard, jaguar and snow leopard. They are much more sociable than their often solitary cousins, living in a family unit known as a pride. These prides contain an average of 15 individuals with 4-6 adults protecting the young lions. However, large prides can number up to 30 animals. You may also see lone individuals wandering the savanna, these are usually what are known as nomads, lions that have been excluded from their pride.

You are likely to observe lions by day as they lounge under giant acacia trees in an attempt to escape the heat of the African sun. However, they are inactive for 20 hours each day making the chances of witnessing any exciting behaviour, such as a hunt, minimal. Your chances will increase significantly just after dusk as their activity levels increase dramatically. This is a very exciting time to be out in the bush and one of the reasons why we are such fans of recommending night drives as an activity.

Lions are most often encountered on the wide-open savanna or grasslands. They are however very adaptable and have a broad habitat tolerance, only being absent from tropical rainforests and the interior of the Sahara Desert. Their densities are much greater than those of their relatives with a wide reported variation from 1.5 adults per 100 km² in Southern African semi-desert to 55 per 100 km² in parts of the Serengeti National Park.

Despite all of the above they do remain elusive and sightings can be unpredictable in certain wildlife reserves across the continent and should not be taken as a given. Even in some of the premium wildlife reserves guests spend days in search of a single sighting and may leave disappointed. It is therefore recommended to discuss your desires with us so we can design an itinerary that provides exceptional lion interaction.

The Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania provide reliable lion sightings all-year round, whilst large prides in Ruaha National Park have learnt to hunt large ungulates such as giraffe and are regularly at war with the resident buffalo. Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve are home to some of the highest lion densities on the continent, with the Duba Plains Concession in particular being renowned for reliable sightings of lions hunting buffalo by day. Savuti, Linyanti and Chobe National Park are other Botswana wildlife reserves we highly recommend. All the flagship parks in Africa are great places for lion interaction. These include South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Etosha National Park in Northern Namibia, Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, the famous Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park.

Experienced travellers in search of new wildlife experiences may sacrifice the regularity of lion sightings for the reward of observing huge Kalahari black-maned lions in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the famous white lions of the Timbavati Game Reserve or the specially-adapted desert lions of Namibia’s Damaraland or Kaokoland regions.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the lion as a vulnerable species with population trends reported as decreasing. It is estimated there are approximately 23,000 to 39,000 mature individuals remaining in the wild. Although this is a sizeable population, concern is born from the fact their numbers have decreased from approximately 200,000 individuals a century ago. Once prevalent throughout Africa, their populations are now mainly restricted to East Africa and Southern Africa reducing their distribution to 20% of its historic range. The main threats to their survival are indiscriminate killing due to conflict with human beings, a reduction in prey species through the illegal bushmeat trade, habitat loss, and disease.

By electing to visit these formidable cats with Ultimate Wildlife Adventures you are contributing to their protection and chances of future survival, as well as signing up for an experience of a lifetime.

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Contact us to discuss how we can include the lion in your perfect wildlife holiday itinerary.

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Lion Itineraries

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