Lion Watching Tips
- Get out in the early morning and late afternoon as these are the hours of daylight when lions are most active. Don’t let anything distract you from this goal.
- Make a quick assessment as soon as you find a group of lions. Are they alert? Is there a kill? Are there cubs? In other words: do the lions look as if they might do something?
- Stay in one position and ask your driver to turn off the ignition for good measure. Only move the vehicle if you really have to. Many people miss the best action or spook animals by trying to find a better angle.
- Keep your distance. Lions are far more likely to hunt or interact with each other if they feel relaxed and have plenty of space. If you want to take close-up photos, do so during the pride’s ‘lazy’ moments.
- Be patient. It can sometimes take an hour or two for an interesting (and photogenic) situation to develop.
Keep an eye out for telltale signs. Prides often grow roused beforehand – a lioness may get up, nuzzle a neighbour and walk away, stopping after thirty metres or so. Another does the same, and then abruptly the whole pride is on the move. Follow – but no closer than five hundred metres, if the terrain allows, scan a long way ahead of the lions as their target could be several kilometres away.
Study the behaviour of prey species – if you spot an animal acting strangely, there may be lions nearby, hidden waiting for the right moment to strike.
The surefire way to maximise your chances of seeing a kill is to go where prey gathers in big numbers: the Masai Mara from June to November when the wildebeest are there, the southern Serengeti in February and March when they drop their calves.