Head to the picturesque Marakele National Park in South Africa, rimmed by the stunning Waterberg Mountains, and discover something truly magical – the real life Lion King!
Simba, who is named after the character in the film, is one of the parks oldest lions at 13 years. Michelle Sole is a park ranger here and has discovered that this lion’s life significantly represents that of the Disney character. She talks of another of the park’s lions, a female called Nala, for whom, it seems, Simba has strong affections. Sole says ‘I have only seen them apart three times and I’ve been doing two game drives a day for three years in this park’ adding ‘it’s biggest love story I have seen’. They are often seen gently rubbing their heads together or engaging in mutual grooming.
Due to Simba’s age, the park has had to introduce four new male lions. These young predators are keen to mark their territory, causing Simba great distress. Instead of sleeping, he spends his evenings walking up to 20km in an attempt to show them that this is his land. Though Simba need not be worried as Nala is sticking firmly by his side. To add this remarkable replication, there’s also a wannabe Scar. Complete with scratch marks on his face, this lion is not Simba’s uncle but his reclusive brother whose mighty roar can be heard for miles around.
The park, founded in 1997, has gone from strength to strength, being barren when first opened to now being awash with remarkable wildlife and glorious flowers. It has even been said to rival Kruger National Park, one of the most famous in the country. Travel to South Africa with The Mighty Fine Company and see if you can spot these amazing creatures.