The Lion

Introduction to the lion

The lion needs no introduction; whether you are Chinese, Japanese, or from Afghanistan, everyone who is everyone can say lion in English even though you don’t speak English.

The lion, specifically the male lion with his great mane, is a token of pride & royalty and is synonymous with wealth and strength. No wonder it is known as the king of all beasts.

The sexual dimorphism between male and female is, of course, the magnificent mane that the male wears with pride, and he is a bit bulkier and heavier than the lioness, that is built for great power, stamina, and speed.

Lion’s life in a social structure is called pride and is often found grooming each other. This practice is called allogrooming and is used to show affection, strengthen bonds and relationships to mention but a few.

Vital Statistics

  • Approximate body weight:  Male – 200 kg (440 lbs.) Female – 126 kg (280 lbs.)

  • Shoulder height: Male – 1.18 m  (3.9 feet) Female: 0.95 m (3 feet)

  • Gestation period/pregnancy: 3½ months / 110 days

  • Hunting success: 30-50% (if two or more hunt together, using co-operative hunting technique)

  • Maximum speed: 60 km per hour (40 mph)

  • Social grouping: A pride of lions, usually 5 – 13 individuals

  • Life expectancy: 10 – 14 years

  • Territory size: Approximately 20 – 400 square kilometers depending on food availability (8 – 150 miles)

Lions hunting

If you think of lions, you instantly think carnivores. When lions hunt, they either hunt singularly, in twos, or in a co-operative grouped structure that will aid in the successfulness of the hunt. Solitary lions only have a 15-20% success rate when hunting alone, whereby two or more lions hunting together, stand a better chance of raising the bar to 30-50% success. More than 85% of hunts only involve lionesses. After the lionesses have hunted, the male lion will literally walk in and take “the lion share” of the kill for himself.

Lions will take just about any prey, from impalas, kudus to warthogs to mention but a few. Bigger prey like the Cape buffalo and giraffe is a far better choice if there are many individuals in a pride. A larger prey entitles the pride to consume more and having to hunt less frequently.

The initial killing of the prey is done by means of strangulation whereby the lion or lioness grips the throat of the prey cutting off the air supply, resulting in death.

Stalking and killing of prey by lions

Lions will stalk their prey from a short distance, resulting in a sudden full-blown charge, catching the prey off guard in a short distance. This is not always possible and lions, as you know, are quite lazy, they will give in after a failed attempt and won’t run after prey as a cheetah does.

Small prey like impala or warthog simply gets tripped or dragged down by its haunches and then they attack the throat, whereas larger prey; for example buffalo, zebra, or wildebeest, the hunting technique is quite different and it involves the lion attacking the prey from an angle, coming from behind, throwing one paw around the animal’s neck, while getting another hold with the other and then the lion literally hangs upside down from the prey as it bears its weight down to one side in order to throw the prey off balance.

Lion on a large kill can gorge themselves to absolute capacity and can consume approximately 30 kg (66 lbs.) of meat in one go. Afterward, they lay down and are extremely uncomfortable with huge stomachs, not doing much besides sleeping. They can go a few days without having to hunt.

Social behavior of lions

Lions are known for their social skills; sometimes during the fighting, they lack these skills. Lions are gregarious creatures and highly sociable. They are found in a pride, usually containing 5-13 individuals, sometimes the pride can be twice this size with up to 40 animals.

Within the pride, you will find communal care for the young which is a great advantage of living in a pride. More members also mean greater hunting success, using cooperative hunting

The lion’s territory

As mentioned previously, a lion pride’s home range can stretch from as little as 20 square kilometers to as far as 400 square kilometers. However, the immediate part of this area which the lions are occupying is called the territory and this area will be defended against intruders.

Male lions will usually keep other males out and females will see that no female intruders enter. Adult males within the same pride are usually related, originating from females that have lived from generation to generation within the same home range. There is an interesting phenomenon known as female capacity within each pride. If female numbers decrease below a certain capacity, and there are no female offspring, sub-adult immigrants may be permitted to join. Conversely, if the capacity is filled, female cubs have to emigrate at two years old.

Leadership in a lion pride

Leadership in a pride may be one or a coalition of two to three males lasting only 2-4 years. This is when the males are between 5-9 years old, in their prime, being bigger, stronger, and fitter than the rest. When these young males in their prime are usurped, the first act of the new dominant male is to kill any cubs under a year old. Older juveniles may survive if they leave the pride with their mothers.

Reproduction of lions

Reproduction is non-seasonal but synchronized within the pride. During estrous (a period when a female is susceptible to mate) which lasts for 4 days, pairs mate at an alarming rate during the day, several times a day. The female will deliver a litter of 2-3 cubs after 3½ months (110 days).

Communal care is given to all the cubs in the pride and females suckle each other’s cubs. Less than half of the cubs that are born get to be a year old. Cubs can fend for themselves at around 16 months.

YES! We offer affordable Kruger National Park safaris

Our rates include the following:

  • Transfers from a pre-arranged pick-up location to Kruger National Park and back (this can be at your accommodation where you are staying, depending on the location). This includes Nelspruit | Kruger National Park | KMI Airport | Skukuza Airport | White River | Hazyview | Malelane | Komatipoort and Marloth Park

  • Full Day safari with a luxury open safari vehicle

  • An accredited & professional Field Guide doubling as the driver of the vehicle on the day of safari

  • A snack box per person consisting of various treats to munch on during the day of the safari

  • +- 8 Hours of sheer “entertainment” in the world-famous Kruger National Park (excludes travel time outside the park)

  • Assistance with Kruger National Park entrance/conservation fee payments, paperwork and permits

  • The use of high-quality, waterproof ponchos on-board the vehicle when needed

Please note:

Our area of operation covers Nelspruit and surrounding areas, White River | Malelane | Hazyview | Komatipoort | Marloth Park | Kruger National Park | KMI Airport | Skukuza Airport.

Please contact us if your accommodation falls outside of our area of operation.

We also conduct safari tours in the North of Kruger upon request and need. You also have the option to hire the safari vehicle privately, email us to find out more. Additionally, you have the option to add your Kruger entrance/conservation fees when you make your booking so you don’t have to go to the office on the morning of the safari to make payment for entrance fees.


Fantastic experience

We really enjoyed our safari with Liz and the web photographer. They pointed out many sightings which we would never have seen on our own. We saw 3 leopards, many elephants, rhinos, cape buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, hippos and different types of antelopes and birds.
They provided binoculars which helped a lot, especially when observing the leopards in the reed!
The service is top: on time, friendly, very informative and you get a feeling how much they enjoy “going the extra mile” for the customer. They tried to keep ahead of the crowd and do not enter thru Numbi gate which is usually very crowded. Its great the park fee is included in the price because then you do not need to queue at the entrance like in the case of some of the other operators. We will definitely recommend you!

dorischristina2015, TripAdvisor
Emocional experience

When we thought about that trip, my wife, my stepson, our friend and I ,had never imagined how amazing could be , and how deep can touch us. From the first moment when we founded Lizelle, our guide at the Malelane door, the magic begins to happen.She was so unreal in some way, that my wife said ( in Portuguese,) she seems to be a caracter from a movie!, We had very good luck , and in just 2 full days, 20 hours total, we could see the real big five, including black rhino and leopard, and many many other species, of course. Lizelle was so nice, so professional and so dedicated that we are recommended to our friends around the World to do the same program.. .. we will repeat it for sure. There is not words, not video or pictures, that can transmit this experience, .. believe me, after you live it you will understand it .

FellowTraveler507918, TripAdvisor
Great services! Amazing commments

The guide was very friendly and helpful!
She really knew the way around the park and we were able to see a big variety of animals

344hama, TripAdvisor
Super accommodating and informative.
Liz was super patient in making sure we get the morning bush walk and night drive within limited dates. They know lots about every animal we saw. I love that they provide parkas for their guests because it gets super chilly as the truck moves. Their truck is clean and not loud like other trucks which tend to scare the animals away.
Zzame Em, Google Review
Leading Safari Company

Lion Roar Safaris offers safaris in Kruger Park. In an excellent car and with professional equipment we discovered in a small groupe the big 5. The guide was an expert and is very customer oriented.

DutchAdventurer, TripAdvisor
Spectacular day in the Mighty Kruger!

Even if the weather was cold during the day, the spectacular sightings we had made up for it all. Luckily this company is not one of those that rush from one big sighting to another but rather take it at a slower pace and therefore not miss even the small things like some bird species and trees and plants, lizards and much more.
Oh and I am so glad their Photographer was also on board with her very sharp eye sight. She spotted plenty of animals where the rest of us missed them…especially that Cheetah! And she took the most beautiful pictures (and some short videos clips) of all our sightings that day. We were surely one lucky group of people seeing all those magnificent wildlife, especially the Elephant Calves, Wild Dogs as well as Hyena Pups!
Oh and let’s not forget the snack bags that was packed for us!!
The Guide was very informative and interactive with our group. Evidently her kindness and helpfulness is not only restricted to the time a guest is on her vehicle still busy on the Tour but even helping when one of our group members was staying over at a place in the Kruger Park, she assisted him from booking in at the camp to taking him to where he would be staying, to briefly showing him around on what is where and available to him in the camp. And this all took merely a few minutes.
I would definitely be recommending Lion Roar Safaris.

Grifinne, TripAdvisor

Best experience ever!

Lizelle was very informative and made sure we had the best views of all the animals!

Johan , Google Review
Amazing experience

Staff is professional and on time.
We saw a lot of animals like lions cheetah hyenas rhinos elephants hyppos and many others.
Really an amazing day!! Thank you!


Some of the services Lion Roar Safaris Offer…

Upmarket Luxury Safaris  I  Tailored Safaris  I  Professional Personal Holiday Photographer   I  Hire a Professional Field Guide  I  Hire a Private Safari Vehicle   I   Accommodation in and around Kruger   I  Photographic Safaris   I   Safari catering – picnic lunches, dinners and BBQ’s and more…

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