By Anwynn Louw, Digital Marketing Assistant
Each year on the 10th of August World Lion Day is celebrated to create awareness and support the conservation and sustainable initiatives that protect and save the global wild lion populations from extinction.
The king of beasts, a majestic hunter and the ultimate feline is, sadly, listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red list. The main threats these felines face today include habitat loss, scarce food sources, and in more recent years human intrusions and interactions have become a major problem too.
Big Cat Hotspots
All Asilia’s camps are strategically situated in remote and pristine locations and offer world-class big cat viewing. Here are a few that we recommend you visit on your next safari.
Maasai Mara, Kenya
The Masai Mara is home to the highest density of lion in Kenya and attracts millions of visitors every year. Other predators in the area include leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena, black-backed and side-striped jackal and the rarest of them all, the elusive African wild dog.
Asilia has partnered with the Kenya Wildlife Trust (KWT) through Asilia Giving, to identify problems and find solutions to help conserve and protect Kenya’s lion populations. KWT’s programmes include predator conservation, community development and conservation education. The conservation education project aims to educate Kenya’s future generation of conservation leaders through scholarship offerings. As the saying goes, ”you cannot protect, what you do not understand”, therefore it is important to teach the next generations why it is vital to protect our wildlife.
Where To Stay: Rekero Camp
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
Tanzania’s natural beauty and abundant wildlife make it a top destination for eco-conscious travellers. A third of the country is protected by approximately 14 national parks providing a safe habitat for the country’s wildlife. Ruaha National Park is one of the most important wildlife areas in the whole of Africa as it is home to around 10% of the world’s remaining lion population, therefore it is a vital contributor to the big cat’s survival. Other big cats living in this area include leopard and cheetah, while almost 100 of the elusive African wild dog, black-backed jackal, elephant and hyena roam the plains freely.
In 2009, The Ruaha Carnivore Project was established and the main aim of this project is to develop effective conservation strategies for the survival of large carnivores in Ruaha. An important research tool for this program is camera traps. Cameras are strategically placed to monitor the movement of the animals. These traps also assist in gathering critical data and help to identify high-risk areas for animal attacks.
East Africa’s very best cheetah-viewing opportunities are at Namiri Plains. 20 years ago this area in the remote eastern Serengeti was closed off to tourism to allow big cat populations to recover, and today, the area is teeming with cheetah and lion. During 2014, Asilia was given permission to set up the only property available to travellers in the area and Namiri Plains was opened. With the nearest camp over an hour away, guests can enjoy this secluded piece of Serengeti heaven while on safari.
Given the cats’ curious nature and the iconic African backdrop of bright blue sky and sweeping grasslands, you will find that photographing them is fun and rewarding. During your stay, you can learn more about protection initiatives from wildlife researchers.
Land of The Lion King
We are immensely proud to say that we assisted the Disney team as they filmed on location in Kenya in early 2017 as well as earlier this year for the latest The Lion King film. We showed them around for more than 2 weeks, guided by our pro-guide and camp manager Roelof Schutte. The Disney team shot a diverse range of locations including the Aberdares, Lake Magadi, northern Kenya, Mt Kenya and of course the Masai Mara. Read more about this incredibly special partnership here.
We would love to welcome you to East Africa and spend time with the lions of the land. Get in touch with your usual travel agent or make an enquriy below to find out more.