The Real Lion King Lives in Uganda… is a blog post from the Miscellaneous category.

The Real Lion King Lives in Uganda…

Posted by Will on

I recently spent a few days in Kidepo Valley National Park, a remote reserve in the North of Uganda that borders South Sudan and Kenya.

Kidepo Valley
Road to the Kidepo Valley

I hadn’t been in the Valley long when I met the resident male lion, a handsome chap known as “Spartacus”. It was late in the afternoon and the light was beautiful, but he was in long grass and I couldn’t get a clear shot. Over to my right was a beautiful kopje (a small hill) and I thought it would be an incredible shot if he sat on top of it. Well, he must have heard my thoughts because the next thing I knew, he was up and heading in that direction.

Lion in Grass

I willed him to keep going and I was pinching myself as he started to climb. He sat himself down exactly where I had hoped and then looked at me with his regal gaze. I couldn’t believe my luck! It is so rare that a wild animal actually does what you want it to! In front of me was a scene straight out of the Lion King…

The Lion King

After I had the front-lit shot, I moved round to silhouette him as the sun went down behind the distant mountains. It was a thrilling welcome to the Kidepo Valley!

Lion at Sunset

I didn’t see Spartacus again but I did have the opportunity to photograph this younger male with his kill at dusk. I used a slow shutter speed to expose the sky and horizon and a brief flash from an off-camera speedlight to expose the foreground.

Male Lion Kill

At night, I set up a camera trap using my Camtraptions PIR Motion sensor and was able to photograph some of Kidepo’s nocturnal residents, including this side-striped jackal and a white-tailed mongoose.

Side-striped Jackal
White-tailed Mongoose

I also enjoyed photographing some species that I haven’t come across elsewhere in Africa, including this beautiful Abyssinian Roller and Jackson’s Hartebeest.

Abyssinian Roller
Jackson's Hartebeest

Kidepo is a beautiful and quiet National Park with much to offer. It is one of those wonderful places that combines abundant wildlife with spectacular scenery. In my opinion, it is one of Africa’s best-kept secrets!

Jackson's Hartebeest Group

You can view more images from the region here: Kidepo. You can also view more of my lion images in my Lion collection.


  1. Sharon Tasha k said: May 4, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    I like your work and UWA should look out for pepole like you who have the love to boast tourism in Uganda.

  2. tanmay said: May 4, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Really beautiful sir, not many get a chance to go out there n click click click.. God bless u

  3. Shubhra Majumdar said: May 4, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Superb. Thanks for sharing.

  4. ZOHAIB ATIF said: May 5, 2015 at 11:41 am


  5. Pete Roberts said: May 5, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Fabulous shots Lucas – made my day ! 🙂

  6. Jayne Carlielle said: May 5, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Gorgeous images with wonderful lighting to showcase these magnificent animals. The world needs more sanctuaries like kidepo. Thank you!

  7. Sherry McKelvie said: May 5, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I live in Uganda and Kidepo is my favourite park of all time. So glad you got to visit it. I had one of those ‘lion king’ moments several years ago – we were parked below the rock in an old MAN truck (no fancy safari vehicles in those days) having our sundowners, gin & tonics in hand, relaxing in the bed of the truck on a couple of deck chairs, when said lion suddenly appeared just above us in the evening light. Probably not the same one, but nice to know they still regard it as ‘their’ sundown spot!

  8. Miguel said: May 5, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    …just INCREDIBLE pics… Thanks A LOT for share this beautiness with us..!

  9. Julie Thomas said: May 5, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Just perfect. I really love your work, and the tales you tell us. What an amazing thing to link like that to a lion!

  10. Vicki said: May 5, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Wonderful pictures! They make me feel like I was there! Thanks so much!

  11. Uli Nowlan said: May 7, 2015 at 10:27 am

    How your pictures bring back the most wonderful memories of Kidepo and the beautiful Apoka Lodge!
    Lions, Elephants, Cape Buffalo , Warthogs and so many more magnificent animals right on the front door ! The very friendly and hospitable Karamojong people… I must go back one day.

  12. Anna Turton said: May 7, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Absolutely awesome! Thank you.

  13. Netty said: May 14, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Gorgeous photos – thanks for sharing! My favourite photo is the last one and the lion on the top of the mountain.

  14. Bashir Ali said: May 17, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    That’s my home, Uganda…!!! The land of beauty..

  15. Christian Staunton said: June 12, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Superb as always Will. Especially love the diversity of shots you capture here, showing the beauty of this national park. I particularly love the photos at dusk.

  16. Amna Ćerim said: June 30, 2015 at 12:02 am

    I’m speechless!

  17. milena said: June 30, 2015 at 1:14 am

    I’m just Amussed,and proud of you!Thank you so much!

  18. Vaseem Baig said: June 30, 2015 at 3:47 am

    I always relate Uganda with chaos, war, poverty…….amidst all this, your stunning images of wildlife show richness, beauty and life…keep up the wonderful work you are doing as it creates awareness leading to conservation and protection of such magnificent creatures like lions…they are my favorites and would go any length to see and save tham…thanks again

  19. Ruth said: June 30, 2015 at 12:14 pm


  20. Pam said: August 24, 2015 at 3:50 am

    Absolutely amazing

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