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Today marks the four month countdown to the release date of the legendary, and highly anticipated Lion King (19 July 2019). There is much excitement amongst the staff at Londolozi about the imminent blockbuster. However, living where we do, we’ve had to start thinking up logistics behind getting ourselves to the nearest cinema in time to watch this new rendition of a fond childhood memory. With all this enthusiasm and with the odd snippet of the movie slowly being revealed, so many of our long-standing guests have asked the same question: was The Lion King set at Londolozi? We have to say that we’ve also come to notice a few similarities. Enough to make us think that the Lion King could have been filmed here along with a Londolozi based cast too. We do know that it was originally based in East Africa, but we are going to ignore this based on the photographic evidence we’ve provided below:
As we all know very well, the Lion King starts off with a song called ‘The Circle Of Life’. The sun begins to rise … “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama”, translating to “There comes a lion, Oh yes a lion”.
“From the day we arrive on the planet, and, blinking, step into the sun”… Marabou storks are in the next scene feeding in shallow water. These intriguing birds are unmistakeable at Londolozi, and are often described as old, bald men wearing trenchcoats.
“There’s more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done”… we unfortunately don’t have flamingoes here (or at least we haven’t since the one time we saw them during the drought in 2016), but the game paths making their way to our Sand River and buffalo scattered around drinking do make for a similar scene.
“There’s far too much to take in here, more to find than can ever be found”… The landscape at Londolozi resembles Pride Rock. Koppies (rocky outcrops) that scatter our horizon have also denned many cubs in their rock crevices, making their shape and purpose very similar to that of Pride Rock.
“But the sun rolling high, through the sapphire sky, keeps great and small on the endless round”… Zazu, the British-accented hornbill, is one of my favourite characters in the film. We are definitely not short of these birds at Londolozi, and it must be said that they are just as full of character as Zazu himself.
“It’s the Circle of Life, and it moves us all”… This photo comparison is enough to convince anyone that we have our very own Mufasa at Londolozi.
We’ve had a few discussions about whether these are meant to be nyala or kudu. They have horns which look like nyala, but the humps on their backs are more reminiscent of kudus. We’ll choose to go with calling them a Disney Artist’s interpretation of a generic kudu/nyala cross…
This is the scene in the film when Simba is raised up by Rafiki on Pride Rock and all the animals below start to celebrate. In this case the zebras begin to rear up. I don’t think we’ve ever had zebras celebrate the birth of a new lion cub, however they do rear up when fighting each other.
In the same scene as the zebra, the giraffe begin to bow down before the lion cub – something I don’t think any Londolozi Ranger has yet witnessed (I stand to be corrected). However, we could argue that a giraffe drinking water looks similar to one bowing.
Now this is a more realistic scene. A lioness grooming her cub: the most soothing and therapeutic scene to witness. I think the cub on the left is enjoying its bath time more than Simba on the right.
Simba and Nala playing, another spectacular scene to witness in the bush. On the left we have two of the Ntsevu cubs playing together in October 2018.
Nala and Simba. This is one of those comparisons that needs no further convincing…
A warthog and Pumba, definitely could be cousins or distant relatives.
I couldn’t believe the accuracy of these two images! I think it’s safe to say that the adult versions of Simba and Nala are currently residing in Londolozi.
This is the triumphant scene in the film when Simba walks back up Pride Rock in the rain after Scar has been in power.
And lastly, the hyenas. We have often mentioned that the Lion King does put these creatures in bad light but all films need villains. Just as in the Lion King, hyenas ‘giggle’ when they’re excited.
These pictures are pretty convincing, right?
In the end, it doesn’t matter where this film originated from, it is a work of art. From our point of view, it has inspired such a fascination with safari, wild animals, their ecosystems and how they are interconnected. We have so many families who visit us based on a love for this movie. And, as more of the trailer comes out, we don’t mind where you choose to go on holiday as long as it’s Africa.