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5 Classic Safari Movies to watch Before a Safari

Whenever anyone contemplates going on an African safari, we find ourselves exhilarated and yearning for the best of safari experiences, yet also scared of not knowing what it might entail. Thankfully, many movies about Africa can afford us a glimpse into the unadulterated thrills that await us.

These films give you a rough idea of what the country offers. Perhaps you intend to venture into the award-winning Masai Mara and its fantastic kaleidoscope of untamed and savannah terrain, friendly locals, and a plethora of fascinating animals. Or maybe you want to see where the Kenyan road takes you and probably wind up at the pristine beaches of Diani.

Most of these movies about Africa are based on true stories or are inspired by actual events. While carrying fictitious storylines, others give an accurate and uncanny depiction of the different characters’ personalities that form part of Kenya’s wildlife.

After watching these films, your yearning for a Kenya safari will be all the more heightened, and you will also appreciate the fuss about African safaris. Below are some of the best wildlife movies to watch before embarking on your Kenyan safari.

  1. Out of Africa 

Out of Africa is a romantic tale whose cinematography celebrates the breathtakingly picturesque Kenyan landscapes. Filmed in Ngong, the film gives you a window into the stunning vistas of the country’s virgin lands and wide open spaces.

The highly acclaimed movie has won many academy awards, including Best Picture and Best Cinematography. It tells of a real-life romance between a Danish Baroness and author, Isak Dinesen (aka Karen Blixen), and a big game hunter named Denys.

In the film, we are treated to the interactions between the Baroness and the wild African lions. One such incident occurred when she was horse riding on the veld, where she dismounted and unfortunately misplaced her firearm. 

Alone and unarmed, a lioness appeared and seemed about to charge at her, but a calm voice warned the Baroness not to budge an inch. After a tense moment with the lioness gratifying its curiosity, the enormous beast did indeed skulk away as the voice had predicted she would. 

As it turned out, the calm voice belonged to Denys, a big game hunter at the time. And that was not the only tense interaction the pair had with the wildlife; in another incident, the duo unexpectedly stumbled upon an entire pride of lions. 

Following the death-defying encounter that ensued, Denys later noticed that the Baroness had bitten her lip out of nervousness. He reached out and felt the blood with his hand, at which point the couple clung to one another fiercely. 

With Meryl Streep as the leading lady, this passionate, romantic film is set to immerse you in an adventurous safari mood.

  1. The Lion King 

Lion King is one of the best wildlife movies and a mega-successful animated movie based on beautiful safari locations in Kenya. While filming the movie, the crew and their guides researched the famed Masai Mara Game Reserve and its animals, the Aberdares, Lake Magadi, and northern Kenya.

The movie has received international acclaim and grossed over 11.6 billion dollars in revenue. 

The film’s scenes, largely reminiscent of the Masai Mara, feature breathtakingly gorgeous landscapes. It tells of a power tussle within a royal family that comes with dramatic and fatal consequences.

The cast features exciting characters such as Simba, Mufasa, Scar (Lions), Rafiki (a wise old monkey), Shenzi, and his friends (greedy laughing hyenas who are constantly eluded by wisdom), among others. Alongside the main cast are scores of other creatures, such as Pumba, the warthog. Timon the Meerkat, zebras, elephants, giraffes, gazelles, and antelopes, all of which you will find in the Masai Mara

  1. Big Cat Diary

Watching the long-running BBC environmental documentary series Big Cat Diary, you can learn about some of the best safari animals.

It tracks the Maasai Mara’s big cats, namely leopards, lions, and cheetahs, in their natural habitat.

The series gives you an intimate insight into these magnificent cats’ day-to-day habits and personalities.

  1. The Ghost and the Darkness 

Based on a true story, the movie centers on the man-eating lions of Tsavo National park in Kenya. These Big Cats’ ravenous appetites had a spiritual connotation extending beyond satiating biological hunger.

It is a tale of conflict between two opposing worlds- the learned, imperial foreigner, the creator-man who wishes to construct a railway line versus the spiritual darkness he finds on the ground. Railroad construction workers had to contend with ghosts of native spirits lurking in the shadows, echoes of the past that, when disturbed, materialize, become enraged and bloodthirsty, manifesting as man-eating lions. 

Termed by the Smithsonian magazine as the world’s most notorious wild lions, the man eaters of Tsavo continue to be remembered more than a century later. It is a story of men who must confront their fears and demonstrate their mettle. Man must reason, and when left to his own devices and advice, he must enter the shadows and defeat a long-standing evil.

  1. Born Free 

Born free is a true tale about George Adamson, a wildlife warden who wanted to naturalize an orphaned tame lioness (Elsa) back into the wild.

Accompanied by his wife Joy, George sets out for the Meru National Park, keen on releasing Elsa into the wild. However, the couple’s initial plan to introduce Elsa to a lion fails. The next day, they decide to leave a fresh zebra carcass to see how she will fare on her own.

However, despite several attempts, they not only find Elsa still by herself, but they also realize she has been assaulted by one of the smaller creatures around- a warthog. She is also later attacked by wild lions.

Relentless, the couple eventually manages to have her accepted by a pride of lionesses. Although Elsa’s woes can be traced to human meddling, it is satisfying to see her finally back where she belongs- wild and free.

Alice Walker

Alice is a professional writer and editor at Research Snipers, she has a keen interest in technology and gadgets, She works as a junior news editor at Research Snipers.

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