African Lion Safari Kenya: get Discount African lion safari
The African lion is fabled as the King of the African Jungle. On a recent Africa lion safari vacation to the Maasai Mara game reserve in Kenya, I was
moved by the sheer respect that the African lion commands. It was one of the most rewarding lion country experience in all my wildlife safari
It was the morning a day after our arrival at a Camp located in the Maasai Mara, one of the best African lion safari destinations. We departed camp at
around 6.00am in the morning for our much awaited morning game drive. Our Maasai guide, Sammy, and the camp manager Sean packed us in their
open Land rover truck and off we drove on a popular lion safari game track.
We were pleasantly surprised at Sammy’s spotting prowess when, less than a kilometer from camp, he had already spotted a lone male cheetah.
Probably on its early morning hunting stakeout, the cheetah wasn’t very amused at our unwelcome intrusion and trudged along grudgingly.
The mating Lions
Off again to look out for the elusive African lions in the short savannah brush. We were negotiating a blind corner when …..Wham… a pride of 3 young
lion males in the company of a lone female. The minute I spotted the lions, I knew this is not the situation you want to be too intrusive. One seemingly
larger male Lion with a slightly darkening mane was separated from other 2 young and was busy courting a Lioness. The two other youthful African
lions seemed to have lost the contest for the single lioness and were circling around the pair with bitterness. Our arrival had simply compounded their
On the other hand, we had walked onto a mating pair and the dominant male was so infuriated by our interruption of his engrossing activities. Too
many lions were against our arrival. For a full 5 minutes, there was absolute silence as each party looked deep and hard into the eyes of the other.
Trying to read the intent of either… we stared long and hard. I could feel my thunderous pulse as through my heart had moved into my arms and ears.
Our fear was worsened by an uncomfortable awareness that we were in an open vehicle and the lions would have had no trouble taking us out …. one
The African safari lion has this uncanny behaviour when faced by such an intense situation. It simply looks aside as if something else more urgent got
its attention, while keeping you within its visual sphere. This serves two purposes, one is to disarm you by trying to distract your stare and secondly to
cleverly provide a leeway to the impasse and hostility created by locking eyes in an imminent confrontation.
When faced by a formidable enemy, who it cannot translate to food, the African lion will never attack if you have your eyes locked. One cannot be too
cautious; “you never know what surprise these humans can spring… a club, machete or worse even….a gun”.
The day is saved
A relief to our impasse came from the other two young, small maned African lions who noticed their chances of contesting for the lioness, just gone
from worse to impossible…..there were just too many of us for their liking. They casually strolled off with their heads high and into underbrush. It took
the older male African Lion about five minutes to be reassured that we posed no threat to his mating advances.
Usually, the most dangerous situations to be caught in are between a mating pair and a lioness with its cubs. The African King lion proceeded to mate
with the female unperturbed by our presence; like we never existed…. and if we did then he was seeing things or could as well have been blind. “A
lion’s got to do what a lion got to do….you want to stay and watch… well that’s your problem”
We finally decided that we needed to give them their space and started to drive off. The dominant African lion must have thanked us for making his
competition from the other two go away. But just as we started off we heard excited human voices and knew they were headed for certain disaster. We
revved off our car towards the noises and found four Maasai women chatting animatedly as they made a beeline to a river, 100m between them and
the mating African lions.
Maasai co-exist with the African lions
After cautioning them, we were about to leave when I noticed their surprised look. Like we didn’t understand that African lions are part of their life. Like
we need, not have bothered them with trivialities. That’s when I realized how much the Maasai have learnt the art of co-existence with the African
lions. I wouldn’t have been amazed if they had walked right passed us, as we watched the safari lions like there was no danger. I imagine them
walking in between us and the pride, chatting and laughing at this group of tourists huddled silently, scarred stiff and almost immobilized by the sheer
might of the African lion.
The million dollar gaze of the lion
My African Lion Safari was an experience that I always relive when I look at the shots I took. It’s what an African Lion Safari does to you. You get to be
in the presence of his highness the majesty king of the Jungle…in his tuff. Nothing beats that glaring African lion look and the thrill that goes with it
when your eyes lock into this menacing, unblinking and threatening stare… That’s the African country lion stare….humbling it is.
African Lion coming of age
The African lion matures at the age of 4-5 years. A fully grown male lion has a very dark mane while the youth grow a mane gradually, which then
darkens as they progress in age. The males are pushed off their families when they become sexually mature by the lion king of the pride. African
country Lions usually sleep and rest for 16 hours a day only getting hunting in the early mornings, late evenings and at night. Usually the King-lion of
the pride commands between 5-10 lionesses including the cubs. This male lion will aggressively protect its territory against intruding males who
contest for the females.
Overthrowing the Lion King
There are a lot of coup d`e’tat in the African lion kingdom and the male constantly gets into territorial wars with other invading lions. Once in a while a
female becomes disenchanted and leaves the pride to seek out younger and more aggressive males. Once a lion has successfully overthrown a
dominant male, they set upon establishing their kingdom immediately by making the females submissive. How they do this is what will surprise you.
Conqueror males kill all Cubs
One of the most bizarre behaviour of lions is that a conqueror male often kills all young cubs fathered by the defeated former African lion king. The
lioness will fight, sometimes to death, when the male lion goes for her cubs. There are two reasons for this behaviour, one is to establish a lineage of
his own and secondly to as quickly as possible make the females come to oestrus and ready to mate. It’s always a rush before other male lions come
to undermine his authority over the pride.
Going for your African Lion Safari -Maasai Mara
On arrival in Nairobi, one is picked up by his tour operator for an overnight stay at the city’s many five star Hotels. It’s always advisable to have a night
rest before embarking on to the Mara; if you are to enjoy your game drives. The next morning you drive about 400km to the Mara in either a 4x4 or a
minivan and you are booked into many of the world class lodges in the Game Reserve. You will be entitled to at least 2 game drives a day and you will
be surprised at the animals you will see immediately outside the gate to your lodge…That’s Mara for you.
The wonder that is the Mara
Elephants browse a meter away from your game drive tracks, cheetahs will stare at you seated majestically under tree trunks and occasionally jump
on the hood of your car for that vantage view point, a herd of a thousand buffalos will gaze at you all at once with over 2,000 eye balls, lions will sprawl
for an hour underneath your van for the shade and wildebeest will gallop past your car in their millions as they head for the breath taking river
crossings packed with crocodiles and strong currents.
This is an experience worth its weight in platinum. Please email this article to friends who enjoy wildlife…. in the true Wilderness.
About the Author
Robert is a tour consultant and co-owner of Landmark Safaris Ltd in Kenya. Visit them http://www.landmarksafaris.com/planner to book your African
Lion safari and grab your free safari info: