There are some game reserves and national parks in Africa that are better than others for seeing lions. They seem to deliver excellent safari sightings and lion pictures time and time again. I saw this lion chasing hyena in the Kruger National Park.
A safari without lion pictures would be very disappointing. Here's how to get pictures of lions that you won't be ashamed to take home with you and where the best places in Africa are to get photos of the king of beasts.
I have taken literally hundreds of lion photos on safari through the years and there is a central theme that seems to run through most of them.
The big cats aren't doing much, which I suppose is not surprising for an animal that is reputed to sleep for 20 hours of the day. The only time you will get a lot of action out of them is when they are hunting or feeding like in some of the photographs below.
How to Take Great Lion Pictures
But if you're not lucky enough to witness a hunt or catch them eating on your safari there is something you can do to get better results. This is the key - Patience.
Watch them for long enough and you will get flashes of very interesting behaviour in between bouts of lazing around. A yawn with huge canines showing, an impromptu wrestling match, a lioness licking her cub, the male roaring and so on. Have your camera at the ready because these opportunities don't present themselves for long.
You will be rewarded with some excellent lion pics as opposed to ones with the African cats lying around doing...well, not much at all really.
Litters normally have 2-4 cubs in them and they are hidden away from the rest of the pride for about six weeks after which they are introduced to the others. They nurse for approximately 7 months and remain dependant for up to two years.
Lions generate a huge amount of interest and as such a few myths about them have sprung up. Contrary to popular belief male lions are very capable of hunting as they need to be to survive when they don't have a pride.
Lions are the only truly social cats and if you are lucky you will be able to get lion pictures of prides with over 20 individual members. The male lion normally reigns over the pride for about 2 years until a younger lion or two deposes him.
He appears to be the lazy member of the pride, but in fact he works hard for the privilege to feed first - the male lion is responsible for protecting the hunting territory and ensure the safety of the pride.
She is strong and dangerous, yet at the same time elegant and caring. It is the female lions that do the hunting, but they don't do it for pleasure, it's merely the way to fill her and her family's stomachs.
Your chances of seeing this amazing feline in their natural habitat are very slim because only a handful have recently been released back into the wild. The rest are in zoos and circuses across the globe. But they are no less impressive when you see them first hand.
So why do lions roar? Is it just because they can or for the sheer enjoyment of it? Seems there are some very specific reasons why you will hear lions roaring and the chances are good that it will be at night or dusk and dawn.
To mate, the male and his chosen lioness will disappear to a secluded spot for a period up to four days during which they stay very close together.
Given that lions spend the majority of daylight hours asleep, it is not often that one gets the opportunity to take lion pictures or a video with a bit of action. The pride works together when they hunt so if you see the lot of them walking in a certain direction, especially near the hours of darkness, you can be almost certain they are planning a meal.