One of Africa’s Big Five celebrities has to be the lion. You may find these guys climbing trees in Kenya, and if you’re lucky you may even catch them on the hunt, their teamwork (mainly taken up by the lionesses) really something to watch. We also offer the opportunity to go walking with lions on several of our overland tours and small group safaris, Livingstone and Gweru, both key locations for Africa’s Lion rehabilitation project. Find out some more fun facts and click through to our lion love tours mentioned below…
– The average male lion weighs around 180 kg (400 lbs), while the average female lion weighs around 130 kg (290 lbs). Lions can reach speeds of up to 81 kmph (50 mph) and leap as far as 11 metres (36 feet) but only in short bursts because of a lack of stamina. The roar of a lion can be heard from approximately 8 kilometers (5.0 miles) away. Average age expectancy is 12 years for a male lion and 15 years for a female.
– African lions are the most social of all big cats and live together in groups or “prides.” Prides can have as many as 40 individuals, including adult females, sub-adults, cubs and one or two attached male lions.
– Female lions mate about every two years. The pair usually mates for less than a minute, but it does so about every 15 to 30 minutes over a period of four to five days. Females give birth to one to six cubs after a three-and-half-month gestation period. About 60 to 70 percent of cubs die within the first year of their life.
– A lion tends to spend between 16 and 20 hours a day resting and sleeping to conserve energy (lack of sweat glands), but becomes more active at night – that amazing night vision counts! When a lion hunts it’s prey, it lashes its tail up and down, flattens its ears, and roars simultaneously. It runs slow and cautiously and then more swiftly, with the head held low and the tail erect and stiff.
Perfect locations for your lion fix…
- For lions of the tree climbing kind, head for Tanzania’s Lake Manyara – a hub for these vertigo-less cats. While the cubs might climb trees for fun, you’ll often find the adults munching on their prey while enjoying the view.
- Tanzania is said to house the world’s largest lion population and we’re placing our bets on the annual migration, as when the herds are stomping across those Serengeti plains ! you can expect plenty to see plenty of predators, their round trip also taking them to the Masai Mara in Kenya!
- Known to hunt under cover of darkness, if you want to get in on the live lion action it’s worth booking an optional night drive in the Kruger National Park . While there are no guarantees this is the optimum time to appreciate the raw nature of Africa.
- Head to Zambia’s South Luangwa where the lion sightings are off the safari scale. Luckily for you we’ve added two days of game viewing in the national park to our 21-day East African Explorer
Written by: Acacia Sales/Marketing team