Lions in Tanzania: The World’s Largest Population of Lions

Tom Snoyd
Tom Snoyd 8 Min Read

Planning a safari in Tanzania is an easy way to connect with nature. This country boasts many unspoiled wildlife destinations, such as national parks, game reserves, conservation areas, forest reserves, or controlled areas. Tanzania offers wonderful safari experiences, including wildlife safaris, hiking tours, and cultural visits. The big five are animals that travelers come to see in Tanzania, and today, we are hitting only the lions in Tanzania.

Are there lions in Tanzania?

Yes, they are there. If you want to see lions on your wildlife safari, Tanzania should be on your bucket list. This East African country hosts the largest population of lions in the world—about 50% of the world’s lion population. If you are struggling with the question, “How many lions are in Tanzania?” Relax; we have you covered. There are roughly 14,500 lions dispersed in game reserves and national parks in Tanzania.

The lion (Panthera Leo) is among the big cats, the others being the leopard, tiger, and cheetah. In Tanzania, they call it “Simba” in Swahili. It is also regarded as the ‘king of the African jungle.’ This is the most dangerous predator in the African bush. The lion is a symbol of dominance. You probably know it. Many people like to call themselves “lions” or “lionesses.” In short, lions are beautiful creatures worth knowing. And Tanzania is your ultimate destination for such a discovery.

Where to see lions in Tanzania

Tanzania has many protected areas, taking up much of its land. When on a wildlife safari in this scenic country, you are 100% sure to see lions in their natural habitat. However, inconveniences may happen. You may choose the wrong places to see these carnivores. Here are a few destinations to see lions:

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park is the number-one destination in Tanzania if you want to see lions. The African lion is one of the Big Five animals in Serengeti National Park. Serengeti National Park is Africa’s only wildlife sanctuary with the most lions.

The number of lions in Serengeti National Park is roughly 3,000. Lions in the Serengeti live in the vast grasslands, kopjes, and woodlands.

Lion cubs in Serengeti National Park
Lion’s cub playing in Serengeti National Park

The lions in Serengeti live in pride of about 11 to 15 individuals. A lion’s pride consists of cubs, females, and males. A single dominant male rules the pride. There are more than 300 lion prides in Serengeti. 

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One famous lion pride in Serengeti is the one under Bob Junior. In March 2023, three young lions killed Bob Junior and overthrew him to take over the kingdom.

They have a particular territory. Fights might happen between pride, such as during hunting or when a lion pride enters another pride’s territory.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is another destination for seeing lions in Tanzania. This park has majestic landscapes, baobab trees, and open plains where lions can be seen. 

Sightings are more precise during the dry season, especially along the Tarangire River. Wild animals gather near this river to relieve thirst and take advantage of pasture in riverine forests. Lions follow their prey, making wildlife viewing easier.

Ngorongoro Crater

With its magnificence and tranquility, Ngorongoro Crater is undoubtedly the world’s largest intact caldera. This breathtaking crater is home to more than 60 lions. They reside on the crater floor of this beautiful caldera. There are over eight lion prides in the Ngorongoro Crater. Therefore, the Ngorongoro Crater should be on your list of places to see lions in Tanzania. It is within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

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Lions in Ngorongoro crater
Lions in Ngorongoro crater

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is another national park for lions in Tanzania. It is the second-largest park in Tanzania. Moreover, diverse wildlife resides in this pristine national park. The lions in Ruaha form an immense pride of up to 30 lions. You may also see other wild animals on your trip to Ruaha National Park. These include cheetahs, leopards, spotted hyenas, giraffes, zebras, impalas, elands, kudus, African wild dogs, and jackals.

Nyerere National Park

Nyerere National Park (Selous Game Reserve) is the largest national park in Tanzania. It is the perfect place to see lions. They live in the virgin forests of this national park. You may see lions in plains and woodlands. On your safari to Nyerere National Park, you may enjoy the scenic views of its virgin forests. You will also be away from the crowds since Nyerere National Park is the least visited annually.

Tree-climbing lions in Tanzania

In Lake Manyara National Park resides a unique species of lion, the tree-climbing lion. The tree-climbing lions climb several trees, such as acacia, sausage, desert dates, etc. Lake Manyara National Park is your perfect destination to spot these unique felines. Visitors can see these beautiful lions resting on tree branches. East Africa Safari Guides ensure a complete discovery of the tree-climbing lions in Lake Manyara National Park. Lake Manyara National Park also hosts common lions, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, leopards, lesser flamingos, elephants, and many more.

Tree climbing lions in Manyara National Park
Tree climbing lion in Manyara National Park

Lion’s social structure

While females show parental care for their natal pride, males are free to leave. They move from one pride to another, and lone males may join to take over a pride. Once a lion pride forms, it may last for several generations.


Lions are excellent hunters in the jungle. They feed on various herbivores, including antelopes, wildebeests, dik-diks, and sometimes large games like buffalos. Females are better at hunting than males.

Females of the same pride may form hunting associations. Group hunting may also happen when they have no choice but to hunt a large game like a buffalo or giraffe.


Male lions can live up to 12 years, while female lions can survive up to 19. However, deaths may also happen due to poaching and natural disasters.

Ready to book your safari?

If you are looking for a perfect spot to see lions, Tanzania is your favorite destination. East Africa Safari Guides organize authentic safaris to Tanzania’s top destinations for seeing lions. We are more than a tour operator. We are happy to see you discover the beautiful scenes of this country. If you want such a thrilling safari experience, book a trip with East Africa Safari Guides via the link below.

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Luxury Travel Blogger | African Safari Specialist. Hey there! I'm a luxury travel blogger with a passion for exploring the unspoiled beauty of Africa. As an African Safari Specialist, I'm here to help you discover the wonders of this captivating continent. Through my journeys and in-depth knowledge of East Africa, I've had the privilege of working closely with East Africa Safari Guides, collaborating to curate unforgettable experiences for adventurous souls like yourself. From the golden sunsets over the undulating plains of the Serengeti to the magnificent wildlife encounters in the Maasai Mara, I've been fortunate to witness nature's marvels up close. My journal is your window into the enchanting world of luxury travel in Africa, offering insider tips, captivating stories, and expert insights that will ignite your wanderlust. Allow me to be your trusted guide, taking you on a virtual journey beyond borders. Together, we'll unfold a tapestry of cultural treasures, breathtaking landscapes, and extraordinary encounters with nature's magnificent creations.