Category: Carnivore

Location: Safari Drive


Lions are the only species of big cat that live in social groups, which are formed by females and their offspring. At Knowsley Safari, our drive-through lion reserve allows you to see these apex predators without a fence between them and your vehicle. 

The current African Lion population is estimated to be as few as 23,000 today. They are currently listed as ‘vulnerable’, so without changes to their circumstances, they are likely to become endangered. Not only are they being affected by habitat loss and fragmentation, but they are also threatened by trophy hunting and poaching. 

You can find our lion enclosure on the five-mile Safari Drive. The safari drive takes you through the lion reserve where you’ll see our African lions roaming freely.

Name: African Lion

Location: Sub-Saharan Africa. In Eurasia, Asiatic Lions are found in the Gir Forest in Gujarat. 

Population: Around 350 remaining in the wild

Status: Vulnerable

Threats: Habitat loss, trophy hunting, poaching, conflict with humans, livestock, inbreeding

Icon / Arrow / Left Created with Sketch.
Icon / Arrow / Left Created with Sketch.

Fun Facts about the African Lion 

It might come as a surprise, but it’s the lioness, along with her pride, that will do the majority of the hunting. Whether you’re preparing for a visit or you’re just a little bit curious, take a look at these fantastic lion facts. You can learn more about these lions on your journey through our lion reserve on our safari drive. 

  • Icon / Lightbulb Created with Sketch.

    A lion's roar can be heard up to 5 miles away

  • Icon / Lightbulb Created with Sketch.

    They rest up to 20 hours a day

  • Icon / Lightbulb Created with Sketch.

    The Latin name for the African Lion is panthera leo

  • Icon / Lightbulb Created with Sketch.

    They are strictly carnivorous and eat animals like antelopes, wildebeests and zebras

Icon / Arrow / Left Created with Sketch.
Icon / Arrow / Left Created with Sketch.

Lion facts - Your questions answered!

That’s right. Both male and female lions let out a mighty roar. They also meow, hiss and snarl, similar to domestic cats - but louder! 

Male lions are larger than females. More noticeably, male lions have a huge mane that covers their head and neck. Lion cubs are born with dark spots which fade as they get older.


African lions are located in sub-Saharan Africa, in places such as Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Sudan.

African lions can grow up to 10 feet long from head to tail - that’s about half the size of a giraffe! An African lion's tail itself is about 2-3 feet long. Interestingly, lions tend to have a loose flap of skin hanging from their stomachs to protect from the attacks of their prey.

African lions can weigh up to 250kg. Male lions weigh between 150-225 kg, while female lions are slightly lighter, weighing between 120-150 kg.

Surprisingly, no! Lions are smaller than tigers and therefore we can reasonably assume they’re not as strong.. 


Meat, meat and more meat! African lions are carnivores and eat a variety of different animals. Their prey includes antelopes, giraffes, crocodiles, buffaloes, zebras, rhinos and hippos. Male lions will usually eat up to 7kgs of food a day and lionesses 4.5kgs.

An African lion’s natural habitat is open woodland, scrub, grassland and savanna.

African lions can run up to 50mph. However, what they have in speed, they lack in stamina, so lions can only reach top speeds in short bursts.

Where to see the African Lion at Knowsley Safari

You’ll find our majestic African lions strolling around our lion enclosure. The Safari Drive takes you directly through the lion reserve, so there won’t be a fence separating these animals from your vehicle. There are many highlights of our safari but the drive-through lion reserve is one of our most popular.


Conservation of African Lions

African Lions are now classed as Vulnerable and without changes, they are likely to become Endangered. There is no one reason for their decline, but a combination of factors.

Threats to wild lions include conflict with humans. For instance, a farmer’s cattle, sheep and goats can be easy prey for a pride of lions. In some areas, both lions and farmers are forced to coexist due to overlapping lion territories with grazing areas.

The success of lion populations is linked with the prey species that they depend on for food.

Trophy hunting and poaching also threaten wild lions.

To maintain healthy populations, educating local people and farmers about these predators will be hugely important to the future of African Lions.


Learn more about conservation at Knowsley Safari.


Lion Experience 

Never thought you’d get the chance to come face-to-face with an actual lion? Think again. With our incredible lion experience, go behind the scenes in the Lion enclosure and learn what it takes to look after these magnificent predators. 

For around 1 hour, you’ll team up with the animal team supporting them with their morning duties to prepare the lions to be released into their enclosure. As well as meeting the pride of Knowsley, enjoy several other perks such as free safari entry and other amazing discounts and benefits. 

Find out more about our unforgettable lion experience for adults aged 8 years and over here. 


Icon / Arrow / Left Created with Sketch.
Looking for something?