By Kings Camp Team on January 25, 2023

Lions in the Timbavati

If you’re planning an African safari, seeing lions is likely near the top of your bucket list. The Timbavati is one of the best places in the world to view lions in their natural habitat. Take a look at some of the highlights of a lion safari at Kings Camp below.

Pride Dynamics

Seeing lions in the wild is arguably the most thrilling experience one can have on safari. Whether you encounter a lazy pride resting in the heat of the day, are lucky enough to catch cubs rough and tumbling in the grass or bump into a big male on patrol at dusk – these are wildlife sightings that will stay with you long after you’ve left the Timbavati. Here’s what you might expect to see:

A typical pride of lions consists of numerous related females, their dependent offspring, and a coalition of a few resident males that would have joined the pride from elsewhere. Contrary to what you might expect, lions sleep for most of the day, conserving their energy under the heat if the African sun. They are most active once the sun sets and we often catch up with prides ‘starting’ their day as we are heading back to camp from an afternoon drive after sunset.

Brothers and sisters

Pride sizes range between one and twenty females. Most daughters are recruited into their mother’s prides – with only a few females dispersing to form new prides. Mid-sized prides of females enjoy the highest reproductive rates, and females in the same pride breed at similar rates.

Young males, on the other hand, always leave home in search of unrelated females. Male coalitions vary anywhere from two to ten males. Larger groups are almost always related , whereas pairs and trios often include unrelated individuals.

Close Cats

Lions are incredibly social animals and can be seen displaying affection most often with their same-sex companions. Grooming and resting close together are ways in which lions bond and maintain close relationships necessary for collaborative hunting, territory defense and keeping the pride strong.


Cub Creche

The evolution of highly social prides trickles over into raising their young. Nursery groups – often called crèches form whenever pridemates give birth within a few months of each other.

Cubs are typically hidden for the first few weeks of life and once ready, the lioness will bring them to the rest of the pride and nursing mothers become almost inseparable for the next two years. Mothers of similarly aged cubs form a crèche and often nurse each other’s cubs. The primary advantage being that they are better able to protect their young against infanticide.

Cubs in a creche are more likely to survive invasions by other roaming males- where groups of mothers can successfully counter-attack together. A mother lioness would stand no chance one-on-one against a fully grown male.

Image Credit: Cathan Moore


Lions are territorial animals, often occupying the same areas for generations. Females actively protect their territory from other females and males patrol daily to protect prides from rival coalitions.

A male lion’s roar is a territorial display that can warn other males many kilometres away. Male coalitions are able to discern the number of individuals in a roaring group and will challenge them if they safely outnumber them.

Larger prides naturally are able to defend larger territories – thereby gaining access to larger hunting areas which contributes to their reproductive success. have a strong advantage in competition against neighboring groups

Best Place for Lion Safaris in South Africa

On the border of the unfenced Kruger National Park, the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve boasts a healthy lion population with regular sightings made on game drive outings. Kings Camp is situated in the heart of the Timbavati offering privately guided game viewing safaris twice daily from our luxury camp.

The Timbavati is also famous for being the home of the only naturally occurring white lions in the world. White lions are extremely rare and have only been documented a handful of times in recent years.

If you’re interested in inquiring about lion safaris to Kings Camp in the Timbavati, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly reservations team directly at or use our online booking system.

We look forward to welcoming you on safari.

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