Is there a real life Pride Rock? You bet there is. Head on safari in Kenya to catch up with the real Simba and Scar. And catch the video for Pride Rock here.
The Real Pride Rock
Hakuna Matata. It’s a wonderful phrase.
One I first heard, as many did, over twenty years ago through the songs and sounds of The Lion King.
In the same way that I adopted E.T, so my younger brothers adopted Simba, the lead character in the Disney film, namely a lion who comes of age and protects his homeland just in case you’re one of the few who missed the story.
Between Lion King books and Lion King duvet covers and Lion King flasks and lunchboxes and pencil cases and pens and pencils and plenty of paraphernalia, it turns out that I was paying more attention to the graphics of the film than I had thought.
As the safari truck bumped and swerved beneath thorn strewn trees and the fading sun, one rock overhead seemed overwhelmingly…familiar.
“Yes,” I was told. “That’s the place that inspired the drawings of Pride Rock.”
PS – as a side note, sources also tell me that Sasaab inspired the creation of Pumba too. When the Disney team saw the warthogs here, tails ramrod straight in the air as they ran, one of Simba’s best friends came to life. So to speak.
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Staying Near Pride Rock
Tyres rolled over red earth in Africa and the sun began to slide across the sky, ready to bathe the Ewaso Nyiro river valley in hues of golden red.
The area is known for the ‘Samburu Special Five’: the Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Gerenuk antelope and Somali ostrich.
Before I’d even unpacked (read: open suitcase and throw things around til I find what I need) I heard the trumpet of elephants through the thick hot air.
There, right there, from the stillness of my room, I saw their dust-greyed hides galloping along the furthest banks of the river.
Sasaab Safari Lodge, Kenya
Sasaab Lodge has only nine such “rooms” all perched on a rocky ridge in north-central Kenya. Each has a private plunge pool, thatched roofs, sprawling sofas, beaded coathangers and a shower that looks like a ghost that’s waiting to give you a hug.
I’m no stranger to wonderful places to stay but Sasaab and its wildlife safaris in Kenya may just have nudged their way into the top spot in my heart.
The central building takes inspiration from both Morocco and India with mudejar archways and plenty of space to maximise the breeze in this hot and arid peak.
On safari, you’ll find snacks, water, sunscreen, binoculars and wildlife spotting books provided for along with blankets.
And most importantly it’s a great place for ethical and sustainable tourism with respectful interaction with the local Samburu tribe.
Is Pride Rock a Real Place? Does Pride Rock exist?
Can you find Pride Rock in Africa? Indeed you can, on safari in Kenya in Sasaab where Disney animators and writers visited while researching the original Lion King.
However, if you’re looking for the movie location for the follow up animated movie, that was filmed at a popular sundowner spot on the Borana Conservancy, in the heart of Laikipia, northern Kenya.
Where is Pride Rock located?
Sasaab is close to the Buffalo Springs and Samburu National Reserves in the Northern Frontier of Kenya. You can visit as a traveller by staying at the nearby safari lodge, Sasaab Safari Lodge.
Is it safe to go on a wildlife safari in Kenya?
In general, yes. Kenya’s a big country and although it’s having some trouble in some places, that doesn’t mean there’s trouble everywhere.
It’s always a good idea to check out the government advice for your own country. If you do need help, it’ll be your embassy you’ll be turning to.
You can find the British Travel Advice about Kenya here.
How to organise a wildlife safari in Kenya?
There are, obviously, many different ways. I travelled with The Safari Collection, who own Giraffe Manor and two other lodges and can create bespoke packages that take in each or only one of them. I would highly recommend them but I’ll be totally upfront here (as everywhere) – I travelled on a complimentary basis.
What do you need to pack for a wildlife safari?
A hat, mosquito repellent and sturdy shoes. I’d also recommend long, lightweight shirts and trousers to help protect against bites and sunburn but as you can see from these pics, the fashionistas with me didn’t agree ;-) Take sunscreen too and even though it can be hot by day, the temperature drops quickly in the evening so take a soft fleece with you too.
Where can I buy a copy of The Lion King?
*Over here. Hakuna Matata.
Disclosure: I was hosted by The Safari Collection on this trip but all childhood Lion King memories are mine all mine. As are the other things I wrote. There’s no point otherwise!
More about wildlife in Africa
Catching sight of the Big Five is on many bucket list to Africa but there are plenty of other great wildlife experiences available on the continent too.
One of my favourites involves the waterways of the Okavango Delta in Botswana or the quiet birdwatching spots that make The Gambia worth visiting.
More About Travel in Africa
- The best places to visit in Africa: how to build your bucket list
- Namibia and the oldest desert in the world
- The best beaches in Madagascar
- What safari guides really fear in Botswana’s Okavango Delta
- How the red tsingy in Madagascar are the perfect antidote to travel overload.
- Why Ouirgane valley in Morocco deserves your time
- The highs and lows of driving in Morocco
- What you need to know about trekking Kilimanjaro