African Lion Safari - Where Should You Go?

by Guest

When it comes to Africa lion safari, you will be spoilt with choices . Almost all the African nations have a lot of different lion safari. Despite the dwindling population of lions, you can still find them in abundance in the wilderness of the African jungle.

If you have a knack for seeing the beast in its natural habitat, it is the African lion safari which will help you cherish your dream. Here, we are going to give you the details of the number of lions in the top African nations that are famous for the safari. This way, with this guide on African lion safari, you should be able to plan the perfect trip.

Tanzania Safari

Home to the big five and famous for some of the best game viewing and the renowned annual phenomenon known as the wildebeest migration , Tanzania is one of the most visited African nations for wildlife and big cats especially.

African lion couple and safari jeep in the serengeti

Lions are frequently spotted in the Serengeti, the most famous National Park in Tanzania.

While it is hard to get an exact number, as per a survey , the lion count in Tanzania back in 2010 was estimated to be 16,830. Currently, there have been a lot of troubles as lions have been found predating over the humans residing in the area. This is mainly because of the lack of available preying options and increased anthropological interference.

As far as the African lion safari is concerned, Tanzania has too many options for you. Do not miss out on the lion safari in the Serengeti National Park and also the Ngorongoro conservation area. These two areas are mainly known for being excellent grounds for game viewing and therefore plenty of lion safari and even game drives take place here.

These would fall in multiple budget range based on the type of amenities you are looking for and a plethora of other factors.  

You can visit any of the national parks and ask for the lion safari options there. While Tanzania has as many as 40 national parks, 17 of them cover a total of 16,307 square miles. Some of them are as follows.

  1. Arusha National Park
  2. Gombe Stream National Park
  3. Kilimanjaro National Park
  4. Serengeti National Park
  5. Tarangire National Park

You can find lion safari in almost all these parks.

Kenya Safari

Another African nation that boasts of rich wildlife, Kenya too is famous for the game reserves and lion safari as well. While the number of lions is way less as compared to Tanzania, it is still a hot ground for lion spotters.

Animals seen on Kenya Safari

Wildlife is plentiful and often seen on a Kenya Safari Photo by King

As per a research done by IFAW, IUCN, and the Duke University, back in 2015, the estimated lion population in Kenya was 2,515. Back in 2012, the Kenyan wildlife service had said that there were 1,700 lions in the country but this figure wasn’t based on any real surveys. So, the exact number is disputable.

It is the Kenya wildlife service that maintains the different national parks and natural reserves in Kenya. The country is abundant in parks with the Masai Mara National Park and the Amboseli national park enjoying quite a healthy reputation.

Of course, as these parks are known to be home to the feared African lion, you will find plenty of lion safari tours here. The prices can vary a great deal and you are advised to opt for negotiations before finalizing. You can read about the best time to visit Kenya here  and what to pack here .

South Africa

One of the most developed of all African nations; South Africa is too known to be the home to the big five. The rich wildlife in the country attracts too many tourists from all parts of the world.

While it is hard to determine an exact number, it is believed as per a draft that there are as many as 2,300 wild lions and 800 managed wild lions in South Africa. The actual number is up for dispute but nonetheless, there are quite a handful of parks and therefore the odds of spotting a lion increases manifold.


Lions sharing remains of a buffalo at Kruger. Photo by Bernard Dupont

SANParks is the main body that is responsible for managing the different national parks which are present in South Africa. The body was formed back in 1926 and it maintains as many as 21 parks which cover more than 40,000 square kilometers. It is the Kruger national park which is the oldest and the largest park and also the most renowned one as well. Following closely is the Table Mountain national park and together these two park count as major attraction points.

There are quite a lot of lion safari and game drives that are held here. Based on your time of travel, the kind of lodging and amenities you are seeking, and a plethora of other factors; the rates will span a huge budget. Here is your guide to Kruger's airports should you decide to plan a trip.

Namibia Safari

A country that is known for putting in plenty of effort for wildlife conservation and its subsequent sustainable management, Namibia too is facing a whopping reduction in the lion count. Of course, man hunting and other anthropogenic causes are the real bottlenecks.

The carnivore atlas state that merely 562 – 894 lions are present in Namibia and they too are concentrated primarily in three regions that include Kunene, Etosha, and Kaudom. 

There are quite a handful of national parks and several protected areas in Namibia. One of the major sectors in the country has to be tourism and it is wildlife that brings the most tourists here. This is why extra care is taken to ensure that the park is well maintained.

The Etosha National Park, the Doro National park, and the Mangetti National Park are some of the renowned names. When you are looking for lion safari so that you could be hopeful of spotting the feared African lion, you should look for safaris in Etosha, Kaudom and Kunene area only because these are the only areas wherein lions are known to survive in Namibia.

Ethiopia Safari

A small African nation with more than 100 million inhabitants, Ethiopia remains one of the most populated landlocked countries in the world. Owing to a 17-year long civil war along with adverse environmental conditions which included drought, it led to massive habitat destruction. This, in turn, has led to dwindling wildlife numbers and even the Ethiopian lion count has gone down drastically.

Less than 500 lions might be present in the Ethiopian country. Recently, some researchers were overjoyed as they found a lost lion population in the heart of Alatash national park located in North West Ethiopia. As many as 100 to 200 lions might be present here and this could be the new ray of hope for wildlife conservationists.

There are plenty of national parks in Ethiopia and some of the renowned ones include Alatash national park, the Bahir Dar Blue Nile river millennium park, the Blue Mountains national park and more.

While you may find a few lion safari options in Ethiopia, the better choice is to hop over to Kenya which is nearby and take a lion safari tour there as odds of lion spotting would be much better there.

Botswana Safari

As much as 90% of Botswana is covered in Savannah and the country is known to have a rich diversity of both flora and fauna. However, like most African nations, Botswana too is facing a rapid decline in the number of animals owing to plenty of different reasons. The Kalahari Desert covers as much as 80% of Botswana and this has led to a large part of the country being thirsty and dry. 

Botswana safari animals

Botswana is well known for its exclusive safaris. Photo Credit

There are three national parks in the country along with seven game reserves. Together, they occupy as much as 17% of the land area. The three parks that are of prominence include

Apart from this, there are quite a lot of private reserves as well. While it is hard to pin down an exact number of the lion count in the country, the numbers aren’t too impressive. The Okavango-Hwange lion area where it shares the border with Zimbabwe is believed to have 2,300 lions. Further, the Kgalagadi lion area is estimated to have around 800 lions but here too the area shares the border with South Africa.

There are a lot of lion safari tours that are held here. Apart from lions, you might be able to spot a lot of wild animals in this rugged African country. Read about Botswana safari prices here . Also do not forget to check weather patterns and lodges to stay in during your visit!

Zimbabwe Safari

The lion population in Zimbabwe seems to have gone down by as much as 80% in the last 50 years alone. There aren’t a lot of lions which are present in this nation any longer. The Gonarezhou National Park is believed to have as little as 33 lions. While there are few other regions and parks which seem to have a lion population but mostly they are present in areas with shared borders with other African nations.

While Zimbabwe boasts of a rich wildlife, the lion population in the whole of Africa is continuously on the decline. The walk with the lions at Victoria Falls is one of the top attractions here. If you really want to enjoy the experiences of a lion safari, you should check out these options, there are other lion safari tours too which you can check out.

Zambia Safari

Oncethe home to a lot of rhinoceros, they have almost become extinct. The lion countdownhas seen a very sharp decline and they can now only be found on very few of thenational parks. Nearly 5 out of the 20 national parks in Zambia have lost theirwildlife and the key reason is the absence of proper management.

The national parks cover as much as 6.4% of the whole nation and the forest reserves in turn add to the 7.2% of the area. There are lion safaris in the country,but you need to be really lucky to spot the big beasts. They are still found in some parks with the Kafue national park being the most famous. It is estimated that as many as 386 lions are present in this park. As per research ,Zambia has less than 755 lions and the country is in need of right preventive measures to ensure that lions do not get extinct.

Some of the lion safaris will take you through dense thick jungles and leave you with an experience of a lifetime.

These are some of the different lion safari options in the African continent. Though the number of lions is constantly dwindling, there is still some hope. The right conservation measures need to be taken lest lions will become extinct even in the African continent.

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