If you’re thinking about going on an African safari and need a bit of visual inspiration, here’s our pick of the 10 Best African Safari Movies and documentaries, ranging from edge-of-your-seat thrillers to true life conservation stories.
The Lion King
This classic Disney movie is still great to watch (after more than two decades) for amazing music, a powerful story and of course all your favourite animal characters, from loveable Pumbaa to wise Rafiki.
You can’t go on a safari to Africa without watching the BBC’s incredible six-part mini series on the continent’s wild places and wildlife, narrated by the wonderful Sir David Attenborough. This series covers black rhinos, the Kalahari desert, the savannah of East Africa, the wildlife of the Congo, animals living in southern Africa, the Sahara Desert and the future of conservation.
Gorillas in the Mist
Based on the true story of Diane Fossey, an American naturalist who dedicated her life to mountain gorilla research and conservation in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The movie, which stars Sigourney Weaver, shows the challenges Fossey faced in fighting poachers and bureaucrats, and the sacrifices she made to help the severely endangered primates with beautiful shots of real gorillas in their natural habitat.
The Last Lions
A collaboration between National Geographic and filmmakers Beverly Joubert, The Last Lions is a documentary film about the heartbreaking decline of the lion population in Africa. The film is focused on one lioness as she tries to protect her cubs against the many threats they face in the wild.
The Ghost and the Darkness
Set in 1898 and starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas, this movie is based on the true story of two lions in East Africa that killed dozens of people working on a railroad. The railroad company decides to bring in a famed American hunter to kill the lions, but the carnage continues. Don’t let this story put you off going on safari to see lions though!
Out of Africa
If you love romances, then this is the movie for you. This 1985 film is loosely based on the life of Karen Blixen, a Danish woman (played by Meryl Streep) who lived in Kenya at the turn of the century with her husband on a dairy farm, and who had an affair with a big game hunter played by Robert Redford. With beautiful cinematography of African landscapes and a sweeping story, this is a true Hollywood classic.