Kenya Photo Safari | African Lions of the Masai Mara

We’ve seen the Masai giraffes violently whomping each other with their necks and watched as dozens of African elephants wandered across the path in the Masai Mara.

Now it’s time for the “mane” event… the “pride” of the Masai Mara… The African Lion! 

One of my favorite shots all year

I couldn’t believe how quickly my guide Willy from &Beyond Kichwa Tembo was able to spot lions hidden miles away in the tall savanna grasses.

Willy on the lookout 

Even more surprising to me was how close we were able to get to all the wild animals on the Mara, but the lions especially. None seemed bothered in the least that there were a couple of trucks full of people driving around their habitat. They slept, hunted and frolicked without regard to the voyeurs.

Four lionesses napping in the grass

Less surprising than the proximity of the animals and Willy’s talent for spotting them was my obnoxious humming the Lion King soundtrack for hours on end while on safari. Those Disney animators got it right, folks! Simba, Nala, Mufasa and even Scar came to life right in front of me.

Two brothers snacking on some tasty zebra leg

Most big cats, like leopards and cheetahs, live a relatively solitary life. Lions are a notable exception, instead grouping into prides of 10-15 and dividing responsibilities among them. Females bear the majority of the hunting burden while the males protect the pride and the territory.

A male and female lion resting under a tree

Lions spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping and resting, devoting the remaining time to hunting, lovin’ on each other & protecting their territory.


When on the move, lions communicate to the rest of the pride by roaring. A lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away.

A lioness picks up a light baby warthog snack – as Willy calls it, “lion sausage”

Lions hunt all throughout the day, but usually go after big game at night. Hunting together increases success, but even still, hunts are only fruitful 50% of the time.

A fish-eye look at the pride 

Lionesses resting near a pond full of hippos

Group hunting allows African lions to capture big meals like wildebeests, zebras, buffalo, small elephants, rhinos, hippos and giraffes. Smaller bites like mice, tortoises, warthogs, antelopes and even crocs are on the menu, too. More than 50 percent of a lions diet includes scavenged food snagged from other carnivores.

A nomad wandering

Mature male African lions have a thick mane of brown or black hair around the head and neck. That’s how you can tell the wily young kittens from the wise old cats.

A roar almost in progress

Lions once roamed parts of Europe and Asia and much more of Africa. Today, they’re mostly confined to sub-Saharan Africa and a forest in India. To help preserve lions in this region, check out the Lion Conservation Fund.


While on safari, I managed to get some Discovery Channel-worthy footage with my point-and-shoot cameras, if I do say so myself. Check it out, and listen close… you might be able to hear me singing “I just can’t wait to be king!”

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  • March 26, 2012

    LOVE the shot of the wandering nomad…he looks so wistful!

    • March 28, 2012

      Thank you! Those lions were very photogenic!

  • March 27, 2012

    Wow, Angie! What an experience. Great, up-close photos! It must have been exhilarating… were you scared?

    • March 28, 2012

      I wasn’t! It was surprisingly not scary to be around all the wild animals… they paid us absolutely no mind!

  • March 28, 2012

    Awesome shots! That first photo is amazing – almost like he’s posing for you! All I can hear in my head when looking at that one is “Simbaaa” in that silky James Earl Jones voice. Lol.

    • April 02, 2012

      Same here! It’s amazing what a Disney upbringing will do for your wildlife experience =)

  • March 28, 2012

    LOVE it! Makes me miss Africa– haven’t been since my 2 week South African safari back in 2000. But we’re hoping like hell to get a trip to either Kenya/Tanzania or Botswana later this year. Great shots…

    • April 02, 2012

      Hope you get to go again soon… then I can read about it =)

  • March 29, 2012

    Wow – now thank to you I have the whole Lion King’s soundtrack stuck in my head, haha! This is seriously amazing, once-in-a-lifetime stuff. One day I’ll go on a safari 🙂

    • April 02, 2012

      But isn’t the Lion King soundtrack THE BEST?! It did get a little old after about 48 hours on loop..

  • March 29, 2012

    They are gorgeous, such majestic creatures.

    • April 02, 2012

      They are! I couldn’t imagine them as predators… they look so big and cuddly!

  • April 03, 2012

    What an amazing experience and how different it must be to experience these animals out in the wild rather than in a zoo! I really hope to go on a safari one day 🙂

  • April 04, 2012

    Its my life ambition to spot all the big cats in the wild! Itching to go!!

    • April 04, 2012

      It was so easy to find them all once I arrived – you MUST go!

      • April 04, 2012

        Sure! will contact after the mission is complete 😀

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