By now you’ve no doubt heard about the highly anticipated remake of the beloved 1994 Disney movie The Lion King, which features highly lifelike, computer-generated visuals and a star-studded cast of voice actors including Beyoncé, Donald Glover, James Earl Jones and Seth Rogan. With the film’s Hong Kong release happening this week (Thursday, 25th July), you might be feeling inspired to take a trip to meet the king of the beasts in real life on a wildlife safari. So whether you prefer a luxury excursion or unique expeditions off the beaten path, here are our top picks for the most incredible safari adventures to experience right now.
Scott Dunn’s Lion King Adventure
The Safari: 7 days through Nairobi and Laikipia in Kenya (from HK$49,100 per person)
This adventure starts off at the iconic Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, where there are — you guessed it — plenty of giraffes. The fun part is that you can wake up with them poking their heads through the windows looking for breakfast. Afterward, you’re off to the untouched natural haven of Laikipia, where you’ll stay on the Borana Conservancy, which is home to Pride Rock and a rhino sanctuary and where you can jump on an open 4×4 vehicle or horse to explore the African bush. Finally, this safari will take you to one of Africa’s most famed reserves, Maasai Mara, to spot safari royalty otherwise known as the ‘big five’: lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants, and cape buffalos.
Singita’s Adventure to the South
The Safari: 12 days through the South African bush, Cape Town and Antartica (approx. HK$523,435 per person)
This safari is probably the most unique of them all: With a series of wildlife encounters from South Africa to Antartica, it’s an adventure that takes you from the bush to the ice. It begins in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, where you’ll likely find wildlife such as hippos, crocodiles, elephants, giraffes, zebras, leopards, cheetahs and, of course, lions. The next stop is more of an urban safari, where you’ll explore Cape Town’s food, culture and history before being whisked off by private jet to Earth’s southernmost continent: Antartica. Here, you’ll enjoy glamping at White Desert Antarctica’s Whichaway Camp before witnessing a rare spectacle: Emperor penguin chicks taking their first steps across the ice.
Finch Hattons and Mahali Mzuri’s Flying Safari
The Safari: 7 days through Kenya (price on request)
This dual experience takes you on not one, but two luxury safaris, the first of which is located in Tsavo West National Park, set around natural fresh water springs and stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro. During this more luxurious and relaxing safari, wildlife fans can enjoy spectacular views — think impalas, hyenas, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, lions and cheetahs — before heading back to wind down at their camp spas and swimming pools. As you move on to Mahali Mzuri, meaning ‘beautiful place’ in Swahili and located in the private Olare Motorogi Conservancy, you’ll have a front row seat to the rich wildlife on display and can have guided experiences led by local Maasai guides.
From Wildlife to Winelands with Ulusaba
The Safari: 7 days from the Sabi Sand reserve to Mont Rochelle’s Vineyard (price on request)
Combining wine and wildlife, this safari takes travellers from Sir Richard Branson’s private safari game reserve to the heart of the South Afria’s winelands at Mont Rochelle. Located in the Sabi Sand reserve, the Ulusaba Hills offer a top vantage point that displays the surrounding terrain like no other, allowing for some incredible sightings. What’s more, the game drives come with experienced rangers and trackers to make the most out of your safari. After your adventure, you can unwind with a glass of new world wine in the Mediterranean-like climes of Mont Rochelle, where you can sit back and reminisce about your safari while sipping on their best vintages.
Track Lions on Foot with Warriors on Airbnb Adventures
The Safari: 3 days through Nairobi (HK$4,023 per person)
Curated by Airbnb Experiences, which allows daring explorers to venture off the tourist trail, this safari is made for the real adventurers. Here, you can observe lions in their natural habitat while also helping conservation professionals conduct field work. Highlights include learning about African wildlife and local Samburu culture around an evening campfire, going on a ramble to encounter lions and other animals with a guide who personally knows the prides, and assisting the Lion Warrior Project, which employs Samburu warriors to help conserve, educate and ensure a future for Kenya’s lion population.