The Lion King is without a doubt my favourite film, show and story, ever. I genuinely believe the lessons learnt from Simba, Mufasa, Rafiki and the crew will get you far in life. I couldn’t have been happier when I got to meet (almost) the entire cast on my recent Safari in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.

Scar

“I. Killed. Mufasa.”

Lions in the Serengeti

Within 10 minutes of making our way through the Serengeti National Park gate I met Scar. Judging by the scratches and nips out of his tail he’d been fighting. I’m guessing he’d won though as his belly was fat and he looked satisfied, yet wicked.

Lions in the Serengeti

Simba (and Nala)

“Heeelp! Somebody? Anybody?… Help…”

Lions on Safari

On an early morning game drive (6am) through the Serengeti I saw Simba, Nala and all their friends frolicking round the lake. We stopped to watch as their mothers – Sarabi and Sarafini – kept an eye on them. My heart was racing as they decided to come over and check out our Land Cruisers. They crossed the road right in front of us and ended up walking right by our truck = Major Excitement.

Lion King in the Serengeti

Rafiki

“He’s alive!”

Baboons in the Serengeti

There were so many baboons around and in the Serengeti National Park – they’re actually considered a pest because they steal from the cars in the car park. I was still excited to see them though. Rafiki and about 25 of his fellow witch doctor baboons were hanging out in this tree. A bit later I saw him with his family and newborn here – they were having a great time ‘monkeying’ around.

Rafiki Lion King

Mufasa

“Everything the light touches is our kingdom.”

Lions in the Serengeti

On the first day we saw Mufasa playing with Simba on some rocks. They were quite shy – must’ve been having some bonding time. The next day I saw him helping Sarabi and Sarafini feast on some tasty wildebeest. He warded off the hyenas (see below). Once he felt everything was settled he came over to the cars to say hello. I felt so privileged to be so close to him: Circle of Life was on loop in my brain.

Cast of the Lion King in the Serengeti

Shenzi, Banzai and Ed

“No king, no king, la la la la la la.”

Cast of the Lion King in the Serengeti

Seeing these guys was incredible. They really are dirty scavengers. Them and about 30 of their cackle sat watching the lionesses eat their dinner and waiting to pounce. Every so often one of them would get a bit cocky and try to dive in for some food. The lionesses would growl at them and one even slapped one round the face with their paw at one point. They looked so shabby and skanky.

Lion King hyenas

Pride Rock

We saw a few rock formations in the parks, but this is the actual Pride Rock that inspired the film. Sadly there were no lions on it when we went, and no baboons holding up cubs either.

Pride Rock Lion King

Playing Lion King

But speaking of baboons holding up cubs, here are a few photos to show my dedication to honouring the Lion King while I was in Tanzania… 

Lions in Serengeti

Yep, I pretended to be a lion in front of my whole tour group. At least one of them was in on it with me…

Lion King in the Serengeti

Sadly I’m not strong/light enough to play either one of these characters, but managed to get these two to get stuck in. “It’s the cirrrrccle of life…”

The Lion King

And finally, me pretending to be Rafiki in the park near the entrance to the Serengeti. Has to be one of my favourite photos of all time. “Ahhh, Sevenya…”

Camping in the Serengeti: the Real Story
My Tour From Zanzibar to Nairobi