How The Lion King Influenced Travel to Africa


Mar 9 2016
Up until 2013 The Lion King movie held the record for being the highest grossing animated film in history. Emotionally stirring, richly drawn, and beautifully animated is how the Lion King animation has been described. The cartoon set in Africa and generally influenced by African animal behaviour, has also had a profound impact on holiday makers choice in holiday destination. Latest Sightings a community crowdsourcing app available on  iPhone/iPad and Android did some research into the depths of this popular culture and its influence. 
 
Whenever a movie with a bunch of cute critters hits the theatres, there is an immediate, sharp spike of adoptions for that breed, and The Lion King is no exception with its influence in holidays. The movie and Broadway musical which I believe has done more than any other book or movie to garner interest in Africa is recognised worldwide. There’s hardly a corner of the globe left that this classic coming-of-age story hasn’t reached.The Daily Mail, London reported, “What has perhaps propelled Africa into the public consciousness more than anything else is Disney’s global hit the Lion King.' The country’s lion population is the reason why, years ago, when Disney started developing the story of Simba, they sent a team of animators to this East Africa to absorb the sights, sounds, colours, moods, plains, craters, jungles and sunsets of Tanzania.” 
 
Cinema and literature can change our lives in noble and profound ways. Despite being an American production, The Lion King still manages to connect and feature its very strong African roots, not only in the storyline and the characters, but in their names. Simba as well as audiences are taught about the ‘circle of life’ – the delicate balance of nature which bonds all animals together – and cautions him to prepare for the day when the sun will rise on his leadership. Simba is Swahili for “Lion’, and Mufasa means 'King' in the Manazoto language.

African Impact was recorded saying, “'I was a child that grew up with The Lion King, which I will unashamedly admit started my whole obsession with big cats, so you can only imagine my excitement when my trip was booked. However, my expectations of what I was going to experience during my time in Zambia with the lions were quickly surpassed.” Another blogger Helen in Wonderlust was a teenager in 1994 but of the Lion King movie she has said, “I loved it then, and I still love it (and she is pretty sure she is not alone). Since visiting Africa, I believe it is the perfect place to see the real life Lion King play out in front of you.” 
 
Brandon Heuser an avid fan went as far as as recreating scenes from the Lion King on his own safari. After returning to his hometown, he decided to re-watch Disney’s Lion King and took stills from the movie, thereafter comparing them to his own. The results were shared on Reddit (twistedsifter.com). Due to the popularity of the movie, there are even travel companies/agents named after the Lion King, and others offering Lion King Safaris, or trails leveraging off this popular culture. One agency in particular Monograms Travel, stipulates that they handle bookings for lion king fans. 
 
In the end the Lion King feels like so much more than merely a movie. The phenomenal animation, unforgettable songs and relatable characters are all attributes of creating a desire for wildlife!  

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