East & Southern Africa
The remake the world has been waiting for, The Lion King, has finally hit our screens and is an unprecedented success. For those of us that watched the 1994 original, the film brings back tear-jerking memories with classic songs and there are few fantastic new ones thrown in for good measure. Now you can travel to the continent that inspired this epic film and get that much closer to the action with Abercrombie & Kent.
Visit Pride Rock and Timon & Pumbaa's Hideaway
The original Pride Rock is located in Borana Conservancy in Laikipia and we can book you a private sundower right on the rock. This private conservancy has a population of 40 lions and currently there are lots of baby Simbas running around too! It is also at the forefront of rhino conservation in East Africa and there are lots of ways to explore the area – day & night game drives, walking, cycling and horse riding are just a few of them. Contact us to include Borana in your itinerary.
The heart wrenching scene of the wildebeest stampeding down the gorge was inspired by the gorge in Hells Gate National Park near Lake Naivasha. You can walk through this stunning gorge and see why it inspired the animators. There are lots of other things to do in the area including boat rides, walks on Crescent Island or even visit a working flower farm. Contact us to include a visit to Hells Gate in you itinerary.
Remember Timon and Pumbaa and their idyllic forest hideaway? This was inspired by the Aberdares National Park – a stunning range of forested hills on the edge of the Great Rift Valley. Walking through this area will take you past magnificent waterfalls and rivers giving you the feeling of escaping into the film itself. Contact us to include a visit to the Aberdares in your itinerary.
Lions of Southern Africa
The Katanga lion or the Southwest African lion (Panthera leo bleyenberghi) is found in southwestern Africa in the countries of Angola, Zaire, western Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and northern Botswana. These lions are one of the largest among all the types of lions. Katanga lions have a lighter colored mane than other lion subspecies. The Southeast African lion (Panthera leo krugeri), also known as the Kalahari lion or the Transvaal lion is found in the southern parts of Africa with significant populations in South Africa’s Kruger National Park and Swaziland’s Hlane Royal National Park. Most of the males of this subspecies have a black, well-developed mane.
There is no doubt that lions are excellent at adapting to their environment. The lions of Southern Africa are perfect examples of this and not only live in harsh and diverse environments but have learnt to dominate the land they occupy. Lions usually prefer the open savannahs, but there are Lions found in desert conditions and the swamps of the Okavango Delta.
The lions of the Okavango Delta in Botswana have adapted to the channels and waterways of the area and have learnt to swim in pursuit of their prey. Lions are not generally known to be good climbers however several Lions have been seen climbing trees in the Okavango and using the branches as a vantage point to look across the Delta.
Another pride who have adapted to their conditions is located in Botswana’s Savute region. For many years the Savuti River was dry and prey was scarce. It was during this time that the local pride of lions adapted to hunting elephants. It’s not normal for a lion to take on prey as large as elephants however this pride of about 30 learnt to work together to bring down large Elephants. In recent years the Savuti River has been flowing again making it easier for the lions as easier prey has moved into the area.
Namibia’s desert-adapted lions are becoming the fastest growing population of lion in Africa, despite habitat loss and human conflict.
The largest lion population in Tanzania actually resides in the UNESCO World Heritage Center – The Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania. This little visited reserve is one of the biggest in Africa (approximately the size of Belgium) and apart from lion spotting there is so much to do here! You can book a Selous adventure with us and head out on game drives, boat safaris, walking safaris, try your luck at fishing or even camp out under the stars.
The next largest lion population resides in the Ruaha-Rungwa National Park, again in southern Tanzania. Many of Tanzania’s top guides move to this park for its incredible game viewing and low visitor densities. Not only is the park home to a huge number of lions but it also has the highest concentration of elephants in Tanzania. You can explore the park on game drives or walking safaris and there are some magnificent new properties for them to stay in. Contact us to include a visit to Ruaha in your itinerary.
The final area is possibly the best known in Tanzania (and recently is the star of its own six-part documentary) The Serengeti. The endless plains, magnificent number of cats (not just the lions), herbivores and range of stunning accommodations make this a must see for any visitor coming to Tanzania. Not to mention that it is home to the great wildebeest migration for eight months of the year – and we all remember the scene with the wildebeest in The Lion King! Contact us to include a visit to the Serengeti in your itinerary.
Did You Know - Lion Facts
Lions belong to the genus Panthera which contains well known animals such as the tiger, leopard, and jaguar. Within the genus Panthera, the lion is further classified as the species Panthera leo. A lioness may go into false oestrus if she has cubs and if a new male arrives on the scene. She does this to protect her cubs, by diverting his interest away from killing the cubs to mating with her, while a male lion can mate up to 100 times a day in a process that lasts only about 17 seconds. They can keep this up for around four to five days. Also, it’s usually lionesses who approach the male of their choosing, rather than the male approaching the female. The female can mate with several different pride males and the males do likewise, resulting in cubs in the same litter having different fathers. This protects the cubs from infanticide as each male then believes the cubs belong to him. The male lions seldom hang around with the pride to nurture their cubs and may even kill them.
New born cubs have spots, like a cheetah or leopard, but these fade as they mature. When they reach two years old, (sexually mature age) the male cubs are ousted from the pride by the dominant male. Many die in the first few weeks, as most are inexperienced hunters. The female cubs normally stay in the pride. In some prides up to 80% of the cubs don’t survive. They are either killed by other males, or they don’t get enough to eat as they typically eat last in the hierarchy of the pride.
Article courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent - Lion King: The King has Returned
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Photo credit: Lee" class="redactor-linkify-object">https://visualhunt.co/a3/e9c450af">Lee Bennett on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA