Your 13-day luxury family safari of Kenya and Tanzania will embody the wonders of East Africa and immerse you in the circle of life. You will journey into the wilderness that inspired The Lion King movie where warthogs ramble through the underbrush and lions laze on the savannah. From recognizable landscapes to captivating ancient legends, your family safari will bring the dream of East Africa’s majestic wildlife into reality.
Note: Zicasso and “Lion King Inspired Safari: Pride...
Kilimanjaro Region – Inspired by the Opening Credits
Most fictional movies are based on some sort of reality. The original Lion King’s opening credits feature three of Africa’s most famous places. Birds fly alongside Victoria Falls, elephants appear small against the snow-capped backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, and then another flock of birds crosses the Okavango Delta. These scenes are real, but the destinations are many thousands of miles apart. It is Mount Kilimanjaro that will provide your welcome as it is Africa’s highest mountain that is complete with a dazzling vista. As you touch down in Tanzania, you will marvel at this natural phenomena before transferring to a lodge on the outskirts of Arusha. Almost immediately, you will sense the Hakuna Matata atmosphere along with East Africa’s fabulous sense of space.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area – Hakuna Matata and the Circle of Life
When Simba, the boy king, is banished by Scar, he is revived by Timon and Pumbaa. Unfortunately, meerkats are not residents of East Africa, but Ngorongoro is a land where lions meet daily with warthogs. This is the utopian landscape where almost all the famous mammal species coexist, and it is a landscape that can have you humming Hakuna Matata throughout your day. Not only did Ngorongoro inspire the Carefree Lands, but the local Swahili language plays an integral role in the script. Simba means lion, Nala translates as gift, Rafiki is friend, and Shenzi, the hyena played by Whoopi Goldberg, is a word that means savage. Mufasa means king in the Manazoto language, not Swahili, while Sarabi, the queen of Pride Land, translates as mirage.
Hakuna Matata really does translate to no worries, but it is now an antiquated phrase. If you want to impress the locals, you should instead say Hakuna Shida, which is a more modern way to suggest trouble-free living. You will have the unique opportunity to do this while visiting Nto Wa Mbu village this morning. You can explore the local market, school, and some farms before continuing into Ngorongoro Conservation Area and one of Africa’s ultimate lodges. Although the safari will not have truly started, you can still see many animals that roam around the property, including the ubiquitous warthogs. Later in the afternoon, you will also visit the elephant caves by foot with a local guide.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area – Exploring the Carefree Lands
Lionesses will meet your gaze as dawn breaks inside Ngorongoro Crater. Buffalos grunt and huff as they wander past the vehicle, and flamingos carpet one lake pink as another is covered with the peculiar behavior of hippos. Some 30,000 animals live in this ancient, volcanic caldera, and they represent almost all the famous African species. Giraffes will be the only conspicuous absentee as their legs are too long to descend the steep caldera walls. By early morning, it really will feel like the Carefree Lands as herds graze happily and a dozen different species that drink from the same lake. However, in the two hours after dawn, the scenes are more redolent of Scar and ravishing hyenas.
It is in the early hours when predators are most active, and it is very common to see prowling lions in Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. Sometimes, you can watch them hunt. Their slow and precise movements are usually followed by ungulate shrieks and clouds of dust. On other drives, you may see the aftermath, such as lions that are eating their fill or scavengers that are battling over scraps. Hyenas also hunt, and the game drives may find you reevaluating your perceptions of these impressive predators. After a full morning on the crater floor, you will return to the lodge for a relaxed afternoon that typically includes watching waterbucks and elephants march past.
Olduvai Gorge to Serengeti – Where Mufasa Was Trampled
Olduvai Gorge creates a deep scar on the East African plains and is where Scar sets the trap that ultimately kills Mufasa. Wildebeest stampede through the gorge and trample the king, which is a real scene that Olduvai will have witnessed many times in its history. After revisiting the movie, you will explore an even older heritage here. This gorge is home to the oldest human fossils that have ever been excavated, including the skull of a homo habilis, which dates back 2 million years ago. There is a fantastic story to explore in the recently redeveloped visitor center with Olduvai Gorge being able to provide definitive evidence that humans exclusively evolved from Africa. Olduvai is where we all originate, and the atmosphere will be inspiring, especially when wildebeest are also in the vista. After this morning stop, you will continue to the Serengeti for a luxury camp that is deep within the Pride Lands.
Day 5 - 6
Serengeti – Sublime Safari on the Pride Lands
The Serengeti can initially appear to be as fictional as the Pride Lands. Grasslands extend in all directions, and they are carpeted by hundreds of thousands of animals. Wildebeest move in large herds, kicking up dust as their hooves create a melodic drumbeat. Elephants and giraffes dominate the horizons and are sometimes silhouetted against a rising or setting sun. Birdlife and wildlife proliferate around watering holes, kindling joyous scenes from the movie. Hyenas snarl and harass the herds while monkeys clamber around the trees, shouting advice to other animals. In The Lion King, Rafiki is a trusted confidant of the lions, but in reality, monkeys provide an early warning system to the grazers, using their high perches to call out the whereabouts of lurking predators.
Along with the animals, the other interruption to all seemingly endless grass is kopjes. You will witness one kopje and will exclaim that it is Pride Rock. Lion prides laze around sun-scorched boulders, dozing with one eye open. You can picture Rafiki as he presents Simba and Nala’s newborn cub to a massive assembly of animals, and you can certainly understand that these elevated places are exclusively the preserve of the Serengeti’s kings: the lions. After an hour at one kopje, your game drive will continue and you see another. Here, there will be another lion pride. A little further along and you will encounter another kopje, another pride, and another incredible similarity between the Serengeti and the Pride Lands.
This is one of Africa’s ultimate safari destinations, and the scale is unfathomable. More than 2 million wild animals live here on a landscape of a similar size to New Jersey state. You can spend 30 minutes driving slowly among a giant wildebeest herd, and in a single panorama, there can be more than 50,000 zebras. Over three days, it will be difficult to keep track of all the big cat sightings with lion prides being accompanied by cheetahs, leopards, jackals, and the abundant hyenas. Often, you must pause during your drive because the four-wheel drive trail is completely blocked by buffalos, elephants, or giraffes.
Many of these animal sightings continue back at your camp as well. You are not watching the big screen but will be placed center stage on a landscape with more wild mammals than anywhere else in Africa. It is also here that you can follow the real animal stories such as lions that are searching for a meal, wildebeest bulls that are competing in a show of dominance, and warthogs that are scurrying away from trunk-swinging baby elephants. On both of these days, you will take a packed lunch and spend most of the daylight hours on game drives, piecing together a wildlife reality that is as surreal as Disney’s fiction.
Serengeti to Kilimanjaro to Nairobi – Moments of Intimacy Around Pride Rock
This morning, you will fly out of the Serengeti from Grumeti airstrip, which is located in the west of the park. You will have time for a final moment with your Pride Rock and possibly one where lion cubs playfully annoy their sleeping parents. By leaving to the west, you will also experience how the Pride Lands can become the Bad Lands. Not everywhere is luscious and green in the Serengeti. Large swathes have been grazed to nothing by the herds. Experiencing the contrast is essential, and in some areas, you will find lavish landscapes and ebullient wildlife behavior. In others, you get a sense of a darker, more dangerous side, where the battle for survival has a penetrating urgency. After a short flight back to Kilimanjaro, you will fly across the border to Kenya and indulge in a relaxing night in Nairobi.
Nairobi – Personal Encounters With Elephants and Giraffe
Not all wildlife stories can end like a Disney movie, and there is not always a happy ending. Today’s two experiences will give you a glimpse into wildlife conservation and the plight of species whose continued existence is under serious threat. The Giraffe Centre rehabilitates rare and highly endangered Rothschild giraffes, providing you the opportunity to feed and even pet the giants. Then, at Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, you will enjoy the iconic feeling of a trunk as it drapes over your shoulder. These experiences are followed by a leisurely afternoon at your accommodation or in the city. It could be an excellent chance to reminisce on your safari adventure so far and get ready for four more days in the wilderness.
Day 9 - 10
Lake Naivasha – The Safari Landscapes Where Disney Animators Took Their Inspiration
Amazingly, Disney screenwriters had intended to call the movie The King of the Jungle. Then, they spent time in East Africa and realized that lions live just about everywhere, except the jungle. Animators were also in for some surprises as they began studying the movement of animals in the wild. In a zoo, you can see captive animals in a confined and humanmade habitat. In East Africa, you can discover how these animals truly move, running free across untouched landscapes. The area around Lake Naivasha was ideal for animators as they could really live among the animals since there are no lions or other dangerous predators.
On day nine, you will take a beautiful drive through the Great Rift Valley to the shores of Lake Naivasha, where four-legged mammals roam around the lakeshore. Animals like zebras and wildebeests will move away from a noisy vehicle, but they are rarely perturbed by anybody nearing on foot. So, over these two days, you can literally walk and cycle with the herds. These animals tend to appear to be far larger when you are not in a vehicle. Antelopes such as hartebeest graze close to you and gazelles skip past. Your walking safari on Crescent Island will be complemented by a walking and cycling safari in the nearby Hell's Gate National Park on day ten.
It was Hell's Gate where the animators stayed to cycle along with the herds. As the park is not home to predators, the animals are much less skittish and bashful. Two animals are seen in abundance around your camp and will help you understand the character, Rafiki. On the screen, he is a mix of baboon and black and white colobus monkey. You will come to know both and will often see these primates as they swing through the trees above your lodge.
Victoria Falls – Returning to the Opening Credits (Optional)
After breakfast, your private transport will take you to the airport for your departure home or if you choose to extend your journey beyond East Africa, you will be ushered to your flight to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. At the beginning of the original movie: Victoria Falls is shown in the mystical scene of birds fluttering past a roaring wall of gushing water. There is now a direct flight that connects this natural wonder to Nairobi. You will touch down and will quickly learn the real name for the world’s longest, continuous curtain of falling water. It is known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, or The Smoke That Thunders, and from miles away, you can hear the waterfall growl and see a cloud of mist that rises evocatively from the Zambezi River. After settling into your lodge this afternoon, there will time for a game drive in Zambezi National Park before a night of dining beneath the stars along the riverfront.
Victoria Falls – Beautiful Final Moments on Safari Plus the Smoke That Thunders (Optional)
Just like in the movies, the experiences are not only visual. Out on the plains, you can be guided by sounds. Trumpets alert you to elephants nearby as their orchestral trunks precede a rumbustious move through the forest. Hoots and breaking branches will guide you to a dramatic battle between two baboon troops, and a distant yelp may suggest quarrels between zebras, while an echoed crunch indicates that antelopes may be clashing. You will also smell the safari, especially when you stay for almost two weeks in Africa. On the first day or two, you will be checking off famous animals and scenes, much like re-watching The Lion King for the umpteenth time. However, by day 12, you will be seeking out subtleties behind the storylines.
After a morning game drive, you will culminate your vacation with a Victoria Falls visit, where you will journey through the trees and can feel the mist as it rains down upon you. You can also tune your senses to the smells and sounds of a waterfall that befits its original name. Victoria Falls may be known as a site for adventure, but the prevailing atmosphere is very much like the movie’s opening credits. There is real tranquility here, as you stand in awe at the scale of Mother Nature. So, after the adventurous days in the Pride Lands and Carefree Lands, you now have some time to really kick back and absorb wild Africa for one final time, especially during a Zambezi river cruise this afternoon.
Victoria Falls – Departure (Optional)
This morning, you can choose a final safari activity should you wish, or you can wake up late and listen to the baboons and hippos that rustle around your lodge. You can make full use of the lodge facilities before a private airport transfer drives you to the airport for your outbound flight.
Note: Zicasso and “Lion King Inspired Safari: Pride of Africa” are not affiliated with, or sponsored or endorsed by Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, or Fairview Entertainment.
- Explore the legendary safari destinations in East Africa that inspired The Lion King movie and learn about the spirit of Hakuna Matata
- Travel throughout Tanzania and Kenya with expert safari guides who possess encyclopedic knowledge of lions and their environment
- Uncover the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are home to the Big Five
- Journey to the origins of humankind in Olduvai Gorge and see where Mufasa met his fate by a wildebeest stampede
- Venture on cycling and walking safaris in Hell's Gate National Park, where animators spent weeks understanding specific animal movements and characteristics
- Enjoy intimate encounters with endangered giraffes and elephants at wildlife sanctuaries during a day in Nairobi
- Marvel at Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa at 19,341 ft above sea level, which is depicted in the film's opening credits
- Soar above the landscape on an optional hot air balloon ride over Serengeti for an uninhibited director's view of the world-renowned savanna
- Relive the opening scene of the film by exploring Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world, and experience the "Smoke that Thunders" on an optional tour extension to Zimbabwe
It will not seem real at first: thousands of wildebeest stampeding through a gorge, lions surveying grasslands from sun-scorched rocks, and a dozen of different animals happily gathering around a watering hole. A hyena that sounds similar to Whoopi Goldberg betrays the fiction, but most of The Lion King movie is based on a reality as old as humanity itself. East Africa is home to vast stretches of wilderness, where the circle of life continues free from human hands. There are places where elephants are so numerous that it takes ten minutes for a herd to pass. There are over a million wildebeest in the Serengeti, and you can hear them throughout day and night with their soft drumroll of hooves being punctuated by panicked yelps when a predator approaches.
This handcrafted itinerary celebrates the destinations that inspired The Lion King with eleven days in East Africa before an optional two-night stop at Victoria Falls. You will discover the Carefree Lands where Simba meets Pumbaa, the location where Mufasa was trampled, the luscious and endless Pride Lands, plus the destination where animators were able to get close enough to really learn about the animals’ movements and characteristics. There will be an opportunity to relive so many of the famous scenes and to then find a reality that is more phantasmagorical than the big screen. From uncouth hyenas to playful warthogs, you will become intimate with all of the significant, four-legged characters and will often enjoy wildlife sightings directly from your luxurious camp.
Abundance is the major disparity between the big screen fiction and the reality of a safari. The movie suggests hundreds of animals, but on this safari, you can be surrounded by hundreds of thousands. There is not a single Pride Rock but many, each with their resident lion pride and a young male who will later be king. At first, you will find a world as unbelievable as any screenplay, but after a week on this safari, you will learn that The Lion King is just one story among many and that even a trilogy of movies does not have time to tell the complete tale of the East African wilderness.
After flying into Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will spend two days in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which is a utopian landscape that inspired the Carefree Lands. A great diversity of wildlife coexists here, giving rise to the local Swahili phrase, Hakuna Matata, which really does translate to “no worries.” Olduvai Gorge is both the canyon where Mufasa was trampled by wildebeest and the home to the oldest evidence of human existence. This is a half day stop on day four en route to the legendary Serengeti grasslands. At first, all you may see is grass here, but then you will witness the rocky outcrops or kopjes, the lions, the wildebeest, and the zebra herds that continue for many miles.
The Serengeti is the landscape that the Pride Lands were modeled upon, and it instantly evokes a famous line from Mufasa to Simba: “everything the light touches is our kingdom.” Just like in the movies, it is your relationships among the animals that will be the most revealing. You will witness species that cluster together in friendly harmony, dramatic battles between powerful males, and the charming rhythm of life. You can search and select your own Pride Rock, follow hyenas and leopards on their daily hunts, and listen to a lion roar that is more heart-raising than hearing Mufasa in surround sound.
After the Serengeti, you will fly to Kenya and spend two days in Nairobi, enjoying very personal moments with elephants and giraffes. This will also be an excellent chance to learn about wildlife conservation. Days nine and ten will be spent in the Great Rift Valley along the shores of Lake Naivasha. There are no lions or very dangerous predators here, so you can venture on walking and cycling safaris. These unique safaris will enable you to move even closer to the wild animals, and this is where Disney’s animators could study and understand different animals in their natural habitat.
To culminate your adventure, you will revisit The Lion King’s opening credits and the first African destination that was featured in the film: Victoria Falls. Here, you will spend two very relaxed days at the natural wonder, combining the waterfall with another inspiring big-game safari. Accommodations throughout will be in a handpicked selection of luxury lodges and camps. Each has been chosen for their quality and service, and most importantly, their location. Not everywhere in Africa looks like The Lion King, and the movies are modeled on specific locales that you will have the pleasure of witnessing first-hand on this once-in-a-lifetime excursion.
This vacation will place you at center stage on the landscapes that the animators used to create a very magical impression of Africa, and witness many of inspirational landscapes that influenced the movie. During this journey, you will be immersed in these unique places where the circle of life endures among an ever-evolving world.
Note: Zicasso and “Lion King Inspired Safari: Pride of Africa” are not affiliated with, or sponsored or endorsed by Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, or Fairview Entertainment.
$5,624 per person (excluding international flights)
Price begins at $5,625 USD per person, based on six people traveling in double occupancy
- Total cost per person based on six people traveling: $5,625 USD
- Total cost per person based on four people traveling: $5,929 USD
- Total cost per person based on two people traveling: $6,859 USD
- Daily game drives on 6-seater 4WD vehicles while staying at safari camps
- 10 Nights at premier accommodation including 27 Meals
- 4 Tours with private ground transportation
- 4 Airport pickups and transfers
- 2 Flights -- Serengeti to Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro to Nairobi
- 1 Walking or cycling safari
- Park entry fees and all applicable government taxes
- Hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti, Tanzania
- Victoria Falls tour in Zimbabwe
- Boat safari in Zimbabwe
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