May 01, 2024

Lions Are Truly the Kings and Queens of Safari, New Audley Travel Research Finds

Experts from Audley Travel have analyzed US Google search data to uncover the top ten African safari animals Americans are researching online. Lions, perhaps unsurprisingly, take the crown as the most searched-for animal, with gorillas and elephants coming in second and third.

Lions voted as the most popular

An apex predator that has graced our screens time and time again, from beloved childhood films to drama-filled documentaries, it's no wonder lions are the most searched-for safari animal. They've gained almost regal status in the animal kingdom.

"I remember the first time I saw them in the wild," recalls Audley safari specialist David Katwiwa. "A pride of lionesses had just completed their hunt and I watched on as their newborns all started clambering for their turn to nurse. People often only ever imagine lions as big, scary predators, so witnessing this tender moment on safari was spectacular."

David goes on to say: "You can spot lions across Africa, and each destination offers a different experience. South Africa's Great Kruger Region is known as a premier big cat viewing spot, and you can see the rest of the Big Five there, too. To witness the Great Migration, where lions congregate to catch migrating wildebeests, I suggest Tanzania's Serengeti National Park."

Gorillas rank in second place

Sharing up to 98% of our DNA, gorillas are humans' closest living relatives after chimpanzees and bonobos. They're highly intelligent, and, despite their powerful physiques, are calm and often shy creatures.

"Unlike lowland gorillas, mountain gorillas don't survive in captivity, so the only way to observe these magnificent creatures is to trek deep into Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park or Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest," says safari specialist Tom Wilkinson. "Gorilla tracking is a thrilling experience, sometimes requiring hours of hiking and bushwhacking through primeval forest. The journey can be demanding, but an encounter with a silverback gorilla is worth the effort."

Elephants take the third spot

Elephants are the largest land animals on the planet and revered as a symbol of strength and power. Yet, they're also gentle giants capable of displaying deep emotions.

"Elephants never fail to amaze me — they're always doing something interesting," says safari specialist Dickie Ashcroft. "Their social structures are particularly fascinating. They frolic and play as a family and, on the other end of the spectrum, I've witnessed them mourning loss for weeks at a time. On safari, you can learn so much about their communication styles."

Dickie has a soft spot for Kenya, where he once saw a rare 'super tusker' bull, but for a different safari experience, he recommends a trip to Namibia, where the elephant population has adapted to the desert climate.

Full list of top ten most popular safari animals:

  1. Lion

  2. Gorilla

  3. Elephant

  4. Buffalo

  5. Flamingo

  6. Giraffe

  7. Scorpion

  8. Cheetah

  9. Chameleon

  10. Crocodile

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