Here are some of the the top game reserves, national parks and safari areas in Africa for lions

The African lion is aptly named the king of beasts and as such is Africa’s most iconic wildlife specie. Revered worldwide for their powerful and proud demeanor, lions are seen as symbols of courage, strength and majesty. Although lions are renowned for spending large parts of the day sleeping, its when they become active in the evening to early morning time that is a highlight for any safari! Female lionesses are the primary hunters, while males often form coalitions with other males to defend the pride’s territory. Interaction between lions is always great value to watch. Lions often battle other apex predators such as their nemesis the hyena. There are many places in Africa where one has a chance of seeing lions but the lions hotspots are ideal to head to if you are keen on seeing lions in the wild. The following are the Safari Index team’s selection of the best parks, reserves and safari destinations to see these legendary creatures in their natural habitats. Without a doubt the best way to view these cats in action is from the back of an open safari vehicle led by professional guides and trackers following them once they get active at night and on the hunt!

Kruger National Park

Synonymous with the African wilderness and the famous big game species, the Kruger National Park is top of the list of places to see lions in Africa. Home to an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, the park is world-renowned for game sightings, especially the big 5.

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Timbavati Nature Reserve

The Timbavati in South Africa is made up of a combination of open woodland and dense tree belts and is home to many iconic African big game species, most notable the Big 5. It is also famous for its population of rare white lions, which have been the subject of many documentaries and books. The reserve has the added advantage of having a low density of lodges and vehicles, helping visitors to avoid the crowds.

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Phinda Private Game Reserve

Phinda is made up of several different habitat types and thus provides spectacular scenery, as well as a diversity of wildlife species, including the big 5. Lion, cheetah and black rhino occur in healthy numbers, and the birdlife on the reserve is also spectacular. The reserve is also located conveniently close to the KwaZulu Natal coast.

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Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Home to several world-class luxury lodges, the Sabi Sand Reserve in South Africa is a must for any safari enthusiast. The reserve’s savannah woodland plains are home to an incredible array of general game species and birdlife, and the big 5 viewing on the reserve is superb. Game drives are conducted in open vehicles under the guidance of experts for an unforgettable safari experience. 

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Mala Mala Game Reserve

Mala Mala shares an unfenced border with the Kruger and Sabi Sands, and as such, high numbers of general game species can be found on the reserve. The big 5 is found in the area, which includes lions, and there are over 300 species of birds to be seen. Expertly guided game drives allow visitors to experience the exceptional game viewing at Mala Mala.

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The Serengeti is known worldwide as one of Africa’s most iconic safari destinations, and it does not disappoint. The region is home to vast numbers of plains game, as well as the predator species that hunt them, including lions. One of the best ways to experience the Serengeti is to visit during the Great Migration, when herds of wildebeest and zebra migrate across the plains, hunted by these predators.

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Masai Mara

The Mara in Kenya is one of Africa’s most famous safari destinations. The region is home to vast numbers of large predators like lion and cheetah, especially during the Great Migration, when herds of wildebeest and zebra move across the plains, with these predators on their tails. This is  must on any safari lover’s bucket list!

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Etosha National Park

Etosha is found in the arid wilderness of Namibia. An enormous salt pan that is visible from space is the defining feature of the park. This pan, together with smaller surrounding pans, attracts excellent numbers of larger predators such as lions, leopards and cheetah, smaller predators, as well as superb birdlife.

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