Lions in Africa and Spending a Day with a Lion Scientist
The lion (panthera leo) is still widely regarded as the undisputed King of the African bush and invariably, no safari is complete without having seen one! It is the only cat that lives in a social group and is observed as such. The fascination comes when they hunt on a co-operative basis, the glance between the lionesses that mark the next collaborative move. They are the quintessential African predator – beautiful, regal and intelligent. The overall numbers have alarmingly declined in Africa – from 100 000 in the early 1990s to around 16000 today. Sadly the conflict between local herders and lions continues, although there are a number of conservation/educational projects in place trying to dissuade the local warriors from killing a lion who historically marked their rite of passage when becoming a warrior with the killing of a lion.
However, the good news is that there are a number of properties in Kenya, such as Campi Ya Kanzi in the Chyulu Hills and Shu’Mata in Tanzania who through great effort and donations have made a difference to the lion populations in their regions through education and monitoring and the numbers have stabilised, if not begun to increase.
Many of our clients these days are looking for something deeper from a safari than simply ticking a list or taking a photograph. Their thirst for knowledge about these magnificent beasts, their existence, their behaviour and their future for survival is far more interesting. We have great pleasure in offering our clients a non-touristy experience with a lion scientist, for example in the Laikipia region in Kenya where one can have an exhilarating experience obtaining information that one would never normally have access to on a safari - for a donation. If we are given sufficient notice, we can even try and time it with a collaring exercise. The lions are collared so that the researchers can follow their tracks and determine their movements, collating information which is vital to their survival. Stay at a fabulous owner managed lodge in Laikipia for this very special experience - our lion safaris are one of a kind!
Another place is Namibia with Dr Stander which one can do for around 5 days. A private, mobile camp is erected as he searches for the desert lion and you share this unique experience with him. This is simply fabulous and transcends a good safari to an extraordinary one, which ties in with the ethos of the safaris that we create – extraordinary journeys for extraordinary people…
Finally, we have one or two very special safaris each year to travel out with author and leopard expert, Graham Cooke to Zambia - please contact us for further details on these leopard safaris.
Where else can one find big cat safaris in Africa?