How many lions are there in South Africa


..:: Characteristics ::..



Panthera leo
Body length: up to 180 cm
Shoulder height: up to 90 cm
Tail length: 80-100 cm
up to 250 kg

General information about lions

The lion belongs to the genus Panthera, which in turn belongs to the group of big cats.
The lion's habitat has continuously shrunk over time. In Africa the lion is only found in the wild in the areas south of the Sahara, in India a few hundred animals still live in protected areas.
The savannah with its open vegetation is favored as a habitat. Although lions are able to adapt to external circumstances to a certain extent, the savannah in Africa is an ideal mixture of desert elements, plants and watering holes for the animals.

Behavior of lions

In contrast to other big cats, lions live in packs that each inhabit one territory. The task of the females is to go hunting, while the males are responsible for defending the territory in the event of an attack by other conspecifics.

Photo: (c) F. Stober,

Fights within the pack only take place for hierarchical reasons and are rare.
When a male animal reaches sexual maturity, it is expelled from the pack and usually roams for a few years with other so-called nomads. In order to appropriate a pack for yourself, it is necessary to defeat the old pack leader in battle. The loser is banished or dies of his injuries.

Photo: (c) F. Stober,


Lions hunt mostly at dusk.
Buffalo, wildebeest, gazelles, zebras and antelopes are particularly preferred prey animals. The females hunting in the group first stalk the victim, circle it unobtrusively and kill it with a bite in the neck or throat after they have jumped at it. The male is allowed to eat first, followed by the female with the highest rank. Last it is the boys' turn.
The lion has very few natural enemies; so snakes and elephants can be dangerous for the young. The adult animals mainly fight with conspecifics who want to take over the pack.
Lion observation:
Probably the best park for lion watching is the Kruger Park. In second place is the Etoscha Park in Namibia. In South Africa there are also lions in the Hluhluwe / Umfolozi game reserve in Natal, in the small Soetdoring Game Reserve near Bloemfontein, in the equally small Krugersdorp Game Reserve near Johannesburg and in many other game parks.


Lions lying in wait in the tall grass are often difficult to spot. It is therefore prohibited to leave the vehicle in the wildlife park.