With their majestic manes, playful poses and terrifying teeth, lions are one of the most anticipated (and photogenic) animals for safari-goers. As one of the “Big Five”, guests frequently ask if they will see lions while on safari. To that we say: definitely! In fact, Thomson Safaris can guarantee a lion sighting on every safari!
That means, when we asked our staff for some of their favorite lion encounters, there were plenty of stories to share!
Simba’s Stare Down
It was Day 1 of my very first safari. We were in Tarangire National Park and I was not expecting to see lions. To my delight, we found a sleepy pride near the river. Our guide told us to whisper and try not to make unnecessary movements. (Does my jaw hitting the ground count?) I was frozen and just in utter awe of the power and size of this animal – one that I’d dreamt of seeing since childhood. After I got over initial tears and removing my jaw from the floor, I managed to grab my camera. I swear the one on her back was staring directly at me!
More Lions Than Hours in the Day
When my wife and I were on our honeymoon safari, we spent 2 days in the Central Serengeti. We saw two huge prides, of about 30 lions each. It was something like 60 lions within 48 hours!
Listening to Mom
It was our second day in the Serengeti when we came across a pride of 3 adult females, 3 males, and about 8 cubs. The males were napping while two females headed out in search of food, and the babies started following into the road in front of our vehicle. The other female sat on a termite mound, keeping an eye on them, and when she decided they had gone too far, she let out the softest, most unassuming huff – and all the cubs came running immediately back to her. Even lions know: always listen to Mom!
Close Enough to Touch
While on safari with my son we came across a pride of 21 lions. Beautiful mixture of cubs, adolescents, and adult females. Haden especially loved being so close to them as they were using the shade of our vehicle to stay cool.
As we were driving out of the Serengeti on our way to Gibb’s Farm, we barely saw any other vehicles on the road. It was like we had the entire park to ourselves! I looked off to our right and spotted this beautiful lioness enjoying the cool mist by herself; just her, and the backdrop of open green plains for miles. She was unbothered by the vehicle and completely ignored it as she gazed off beyond us, her thoughts elsewhere. It was such a serene moment to witness.
On my first safari we came across a pride with 2 mothers and 6 rambunctious cubs. We were mere minutes too late because the mamas had JUST taken down a zebra. When we got to them, the cubs were feasting. We sat there watching them for at least an hour.
Rainy Cat Nap
In the Serengeti we came across these three male lions who were taking a cat nap under a tree. When it started to rain, they all got up to move, and they walked right beside our vehicles. They were just so close!
Leading the Way
We were driving along and the guide was looking off in the distance for something when my brother called out “lions!” The guide kept looking everywhere except right in front of us on the road. They were just meandering and in no rush to get anywhere.