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Lion on rock in Africa

The Lion King Animals and Where to Find Them

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By Amelia Bristow

Last updated: 24th January 2024

From Simba to Timon, all these Lion King characters are roaming around Africa and waiting for you to find them! Enjoy the different safari journeys through iconic national parks like Serengeti and Etosha. Why not discover amazing African landscapes and find Simba or even the Lion King villain Scar? Maybe you’ll even recognise other Lion King animals who call Africa home.

Lions - Simba, Nala and Scar

Lion in grass in Africa

First things first, lions! In one of the more well-known African languages, Swahili, lion translates to ‘Simba’. These confident cats are truly magnificent! Seeing Simba or Nala in their natural habitat is an astonishing experience. Spot Simba singing ‘I just can’t wait to be king’ or maybe Scar plotting his evil plans. Lions live in groups called a ‘pride’; so if you spot one lion there are probably a few others hiding in the bushes. On the Tanzania and Zanzibar Adventure, we offer a safari through Serengeti National Park. Here, you can meet the Lion King animals plus characters from The Circle of Life, like giraffes, zebras, and elephants!

Hyenas - Shenzi, Banzai and Ed

These cunning creatures can get ticked off your Lion King animal list! The hyenas live in a cackling clan, so you’ll spot Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed among their friends. Watch them run around in clans with up to 130 other hyenas! There are an estimated 30,000 of them in Africa, so you are sure to see them. Are you feeling the hype to see hyenas? Join us on the Cape Town to Victoria Falls Overland trip, where you’ll stop off at Etosha National Park, where more than 100 mammals live. This 21-day trip will be an experience you won’t forget!

Warthog - Pumbaa

Warthog in Africa

Pumbaa is the warthog in The Lion King, known for his loving character and being kind. But don’t underestimate a warthog, as they are super speedy! They can reach up to speeds of 30mph when running. Along with the other Lion King animals, you can spot Pumbaa in sub-Saharan Africa, which you visit on many of our trips! Who knows, you could even see Timon with Pumbaa. Join the South African Adventure to witness Pumbaa in real life! On this 12-day trip, you’ll have the chance to see so many of the African animals.

Meerkats - Timon

Three meerkats in Africa

Who goes hand in hand with Pumbaa? Timon! When it comes to The Lion King, it just won’t be the same without Timon and Pumbaa. Meerkats are a must-see in their natural habitat. They’re too adorable to dislike! Like Timon, meerkats are loving and loyal creatures. Meerkats are amazing to watch and learn about. Did you know that meerkats are immune to venom? To find mobs of meerkats, you need to travel to the Makgadikadi Salt Pans, as their ideal habitats are in dry open plains. Come with us on the Highlights of Southern Africa trip, where we visit the meerkats along the way! 

Baboons - Rafiki 

Baboon sitting on tree in Africa

Rafiki is the wisest of them all in The Lion King. He is the spiritual guide and blesses Simba on Pride Rock. Rafiki is one of the main characters in the story, so he definitely can’t be missed out. There is slight controversy over whether Rafiki is a baboon or a mandrill in the film. Mandrills typically live in West Central Africa in the rainforests and have similar facial features to Rafiki. However, we believe Rafiki is a baboon as they commonly live in Southern Africa like the other Lion King animals. You can see Rafiki with his family and friends on the safaris in Southern Africa. We offer a South Africa to Kenya Overland trip, visiting different African countries, where you can get the chance to see Rafiki and loads of other characters from Lion King. 

Red-billed Hornbill - Zazu 

Redbilled-Hornbill in tree in Africa

Zazu is known as Mufasa’s trust advisor. He takes his job seriously and is dedicated to Mufasa. Like the other animals, Zazu lives typically in sub-Saharan Africa in open savanna, woodland and thorn scrub. His unique beak is curved for grabbing small insects and fruits. These birds have their name from their beaks, as they look like old cattle horns. Red-billed hornbills often live in families or pairs. See if you can spot them in the trees or the shrubs looking for dinner. You should be able to spot them on many safaris as they are a wide-ranged species in Africa.

So now you know where you can spot the Lion King animals! These trips will definitely have you singing Hakuna Matata by the end of it. If spotting these furry friends from afar isn't enough, why not volunteer at a sanctuary and get cosy with the crew? We recommend the Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteer in South Africa, where you can see lots of animals and more! Whichever way you see these characters, you will fill your heart's content with nostalgia and amazement!

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