Visitors to Africa often have the same thing at the top of their to-do lists: a wildlife-spotting safari. At the top of the list of animals travellers hope to see is often the lion — the king of the jungle. Big cats and other predators are often more difficult to spot on safari than larger, herbivorous animals. Here are three tips that will help:

Audio clues

You might think the best way to spot a lion is to literally spot one. But while on safari, keep your ears perked as well—often, the position of a few big cats will be given away by birds, monkeys, and other animals who call and cackle to one another in warning. Your guide will have a fine-tuned sense of what to listen for—take their cues, and keep your ears open!

Big cats mean big tracks

Tracks are one of the biggest clues that lions are nearby. Your guides will be on the lookout for any hint that there are big cats to be spotted on the day of your safari excursion. Scan the ground from time to time—you might be the first one to spot a large cat’s pawprint.

Catnaps are common

Don’t be disappointed if the lions you see on safari are sleeping: big cats need a lot of energy! Female lions sleep up to 18 hours a day, conserving their energy for hunting and taking down prey. Males sleep up to 20 hours a day! Look near the ground or in tree branches for female lions napping with their cubs, and you will likely find large male lions with resplendent manes stretched out among the tall grasses.


Getting there

Discover abundant wildlife on our Southern Africa Family Journey: In Search of the Big Five tour!

It's one of our amazing National Geographic Family Journeys with G Adventures, a line of trips for adventure-loving families in search of a meaningful way to discover the world together. With itineraries inspired by National Geographic's expertise in photography and storytelling, wildlife, culture, history, and geography, these trips let families connect with the world and each other.

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