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10 Best Documentaries About Lions

These documentaries about lions show these majestic apex predators of the African savannah with their strength, grace, and social complexity.

These films provide a rare opportunity to witness the daily struggles and triumphs of lions as they navigate their harsh and unforgiving natural habitat, shedding light on the intricate web of life that revolves around these iconic animals.

From heart-pounding hunting scenes to heartwarming family interactions, lion documentaries transport us into the captivating world of these magnificent creatures, instilling a deep appreciation for their vital role in the circle of life.


Best Documentaries About Lions

Documentaries about lions offer viewers a captivating glimpse into the lives of these awe-inspiring big cats, revealing their hunting prowess, family dynamics, and the unique challenges they face in the wild.


Dynasties: Lion (2018)

Dynasties is a wildlife documentary series produced by the BBC Natural History Unit and narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Each episode of the series focuses on a different animal species and their struggle for survival in the wild.

The Dynasties: Lion episode specifically follows the lives of a pride of lions in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

The episode provides a detailed and intimate look at the pride’s dynamics, the challenges they face in their harsh environment, and their efforts to maintain their dominance in the region. It also explores the individual stories of the lions within the pride.

This episode, like others in the Dynasties series, is known for its stunning cinematography and in-depth storytelling, giving you a unique and engaging perspective on the lives of these majestic animals in the wild.

This is one of the best documentaries about lions that you can watch. Trailer:

The Last Lions (2011)

The Last Lions is directed by Dereck and Beverly Joubert, who are acclaimed wildlife filmmakers and conservationists.

The Last Lions focuses on the life and struggles of a lioness named Ma di Tau and her cubs as they navigate the challenges of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

The documentary tells the story of Ma di Tau’s determination to protect and provide for her cubs in the face of various threats, including rival prides, hyenas, and encroaching human activities.

As the title suggests, the film also addresses the broader conservation issues facing lions in Africa and the declining lion populations due to habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict.

Dereck and Beverly Joubert are renowned for their work in wildlife filmmaking and conservation, and The Last Lion is a part of their ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the challenges faced by big cats in the wild.

African Cats (2011)

African Cats is one of the best documentaries about lions and is directed by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, who are experienced filmmakers in the genre of wildlife documentaries.

The documentary focuses on the lives of two big cat families in the African savanna and is not exclusively just about lions, but also cheetahs.

The film follows a lion pride led by a lioness named Layla. It explores the pride’s daily challenges, including hunting for food, protecting their territory, and raising their cubs.

It also features a female cheetah named Sita and her cubs. The documentary captures the cheetahs’ incredible speed and hunting techniques, as well as the difficulties they face in raising their young in a harsh environment.

Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, African Cats combines stunning cinematography with a compelling narrative to provide an intimate and visually captivating look into the lives of these majestic big cats in the wild.

The film not only offers an opportunity to appreciate the beauty and drama of African wildlife but also raises awareness about the conservation challenges these animals face.

Blood Lions (2015)

Blood Lions focuses on the controversial practice of canned lion hunting and the breeding of lions for trophy hunting in South Africa.

The film was directed and produced by Bruce Young and Nick Chevallier and is narrated by British actress and conservationist, Ian Michler.

The film delves into the captive lion breeding industry in South Africa, where lions are bred for the sole purpose of being hunted in confined spaces, often by paying trophy hunters.

These captive-bred lions are typically more docile and lack the skills to survive in the wild, making them easy targets for hunters.

Blood Lions investigates the ethical and conservation implications of this industry, shedding light on the inhumane treatment of the animals involved and the potential impact on wild lion populations.

The film also explores the role of tourism and how unknowing tourists may inadvertently support these practices.

The documentary has been influential in raising awareness about the canned hunting industry and the need for stricter regulations and ethical treatment of lions in captivity.

It has sparked discussions and initiatives aimed at ending these practices and protecting Africa’s lion populations.

Blood Lions is a thought-provoking and critical documentary about lions that addresses important issues related to wildlife conservation and animal welfare.

Savage Kingdom (2016-Present)

Savage Kingdom is an ongoing documentary series that explores the struggles for survival and territorial dominance among various species of wildlife in Africa. While not specifically just about lions, they play a dominant role in the series.

It is known for its dramatic and often intense storytelling, capturing the harsh and competitive nature of life in the wild.

The series employs a narrative style that anthropomorphizes the animals, giving them names and characteristics to make the storylines more relatable to the viewers.

The series is set in the real wilderness of Africa and features stunning cinematography that showcases the behaviours, conflicts, and strategies of the animals as they battle for territory, prey, and dominance.

The ongoing nature of the series means that new episodes and seasons continue to be produced to explore the ever-changing dynamics of the African wildlife featured in the show.

You can watch the episodes with lions for free on YouTube. Start with this one:

Brothers in Blood: The Lions of Sabi Sand (2015)

Brothers in Blood: The Lions of Sabi Sand tells the story of a coalition of male lions in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which is part of the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa.

This documentary about lions focuses on two main coalitions of male lions: the Mapogo lions and the Majingilane lions. These two groups of lions dominate the area and have a history of conflict with each other.

The film explores their behaviour, interactions, and the challenges they face in their quest for dominance and territory.

It provides a close look at the lives of these lions, including their hunting strategies, territorial disputes, and the impact they have on the local wildlife.

The title of the documentary reflects the close bonds that develop between male lions in a coalition as they work together to maintain control over their territory.

You can watch the full documentary for free on YouTube:

Lion Country: From Captivity To Release In The Wild

Description from the YouTube video:

Lion Country follows the work of conservationist David Youldon. Located at Antelope Park, a game reserve in Zimbabwe, David and his assistants prepare captive-bred lions for release into the wild.

During the series, you get to know members of the park team and their feline pupils. Assuming the alpha male position, David teaches his lions the essential hunting skills of stalking, attacking and killing.

They are set free in a massive 5,000-acre managed ecosystem when their training is complete.

Have the lions learned enough to survive in this dangerous environment?

This is one of the best documentaries about lions exploring conservation efforts to release captive lions into the wild.

The Strongest Lion Pride in Luangwa Valley – National Geographic

This documentary explores a pride of lions in Luangwa Valley in Zambia, which, on a personal note, is one of my favourite destinations for wildlife in Africa.

Indeed, I have visited this area 2 times and had many wildlife encounters, including many lions, and always recommend the area to people who ask me where to go on safari in Africa.

Last of the Lions

Did you know that lions also existed outside of Africa in abundance?

But today there is only one area outside of Africa that has a population of wild Asiatic Lions left and that is in Gir National Park in Gujarat State in India.

The good news is that thanks to conservationists in India the population is on the rise, but they are still few in number in comparison to their African cousins.

This is their story:

The Last Paradise on Earth – The Amazing Serengeti

Although not exclusively about lions, this documentary about wildlife is set in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and features lions quite predominantly in the documentary.

Plus you get to see the absolutely stunning Serengeti at the same time!


Lions

Documentaries about lions serve as windows into the wild, allowing us to connect with these incredible creatures on a profound level.

These films not only entertain but also educate and inspire viewers to become more aware of the conservation challenges that lions and their habitats face.

The stories of lions, beautifully captured through the lens of dedicated filmmakers and naturalists, continue to kindle our fascination with the animal kingdom and remind us of the critical importance of preserving the natural world.

In doing so, these documentaries play a vital role in our collective efforts to ensure that future generations will still have the privilege of witnessing the awe-inspiring presence of lions in the wild.

For more on wildlife take a look at this guide to a safari in the Serengeti in Tanzania.

Also, have a look at a safari in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania where you will find the highest concentration of lions in Africa.


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