I Love Lions! Zimbabwe Travel Photo Story

I Love Lions! Zimbabwe Travel Photo Story from Mana Pools

Are you a cat person? Then seeing lions in the wild is probably one of your biggest dreams.

It is for me because I love cats of all kinds and lions are truly divine. But lions are elusive creatures and endangered so I wasn’t expecting to see any during my recent trip to Zimbabwe. I secretly hoped I would but it’s not something you can count on.

So it was a huge and incredible thrill to encounter lions nearly every day while staying at Kanga Camp in Mana Pools.

Mana Pools National Park is a wildlife conservation area in northern Zimbabwe which borders the lower Zambezi River and Zambia. When the rains come the plains flood forming four small lakes hence the name Mana Pools meaning ‘four pools’.

Mana Pools is a Unesco Heritage site and the least developed of all the national parks in Southern Africa. It’s a wilderness where wildlife runs wild, in particular elephant, hippopotamus and the more common African wildlife  like impala and baboon.

But there are lions too, I saw them with my own eyes. All these lions were spotted on the Kanga Camp concession and are from the same pride of lions.

The lions I saw are very aware that they are being watched and strangely blase about it. They watch you back. They dare you to approach, they invited you to walk up and stroke them. But that would not be a good idea, not a good idea at all.

Those golden eyes, that dappled fur, those fluffy ears are deceptive. These lions are not a giant cuddly toy but finely tuned killers. I still love them though. I hope you do too.

Day One – Sunset game drive

kanga camp concession lion small

My first sighting of a lion on the Kanga Camp concession at dusk

kanga camp concession lion pride small

The pride waiting for night to fall and hunting time to begin


I suppose this is a keep away warning look but it seems so enticing, so come hither – probably because when you’re that beautiful it’s impossible to do a convincing death stare. Although the impala don’t need convincing that she’s not to be messed with.


There are lion cubs in the pride so the lionesses are always on the alert, making sure the little ones are safe. See the black ball of fluff on the end of her tail? That’s little pom pom that makes it easier for the cubs to find and follow her when they’re walking through the bush. Nature is amazing.

Day Two – Sunset game drive


Such great camouflage. We watched this lioness for ages before spotting a second lioness nearby but only because she got up and walked around!

Day Two – Night time at Kanga Camp


Watching lions drink by spotlight at night is very special


You could hear them lapping at the still water.

Day Three – No lions spotted. I guess that was so I didn’t get blase about the whole thing. 

Day Four – Early morning drive to the airstrip. 


We spotted this big boy lying in the shade of a small tree.


He kept a close eye on us and didn’t seem at all bothered by the large specimen of elephant dung by his paw.


We couldn’t stop taking few photos. He’s so gorgeous. More handsome than George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Ricky Martin combined.

Lion in Mana Pools

Golden boy – I’ll remember you forever

Do you love lions? What animals would you most like to see in the wild? Lions or something else? 

I was a guest of Zimbabwe Tourism Authority during my stay in Zimbabwe and of African Bush Camps during my stay at Kanga Camp in Mana Pools with thanks also to Zimbabwe Bookers. 

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  1. Sandra Pawula November 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    These babies are gorgeous, Annabel. I love cats, but I’m sure I would be very intimated by a lion. Thanks for this treat. It’s encouraging to know such beautiful animals continue to exist in our world.

    • Annabel Candy November 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      Hi Sandra,

      Thank you! I hope they continue to exist forever and especially in the wild. It would be tragic if our generation finishes them off.

  2. Johanna November 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Fantastic photos Annabel, and I love the picture of the lions lapping water at night. You’re right you can almost hear them. Oh for the sounds of the African bush – magic.

    • Annabel Candy November 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      Hi Johanna,

      It is magic – and you really could hear it when you were there – that’s how close we were!

  3. Charles Rahm November 18, 2013 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    The one in the shadow is my favourite! :-)

  4. Annie November 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    One day, my dream is to see these big cats! Or tigers. To see them in the wild, in all of their majestic beauty would be amazing, and by looking at your photos, makes me incredibly envious that you have seen them up close.

    Better start saving!

    • Annabel Candy November 19, 2013 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Annie,

      I hope your lion dream comes true – it’s definitely wirth saving for :)

  5. Seana - Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel November 21, 2013 at 8:07 am - Reply

    I think I’d have a heart attack to see lions at night like that Annabel!! What lovely photos though and how great to see so many… next time, I am coming too!

    • Annabel Candy November 21, 2013 at 9:01 am - Reply

      Hi Seana,

      It was exciting! Yes, you need to get yourself to Zimbabwe – it blew my mind in a good way :)

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