Where Are the Pride Lands in 'The Lion King'?

Every detail was stamped onto your mind—the geyser, gorge, cliff, grassland, everything. 

Surely you could not forget The Lion King, Walt Disney’s most popular 2D film, especially if you were a child of the 90s. A huge part of its unforgettable magic is attributed to the marvelous world the characters inhabited, a place of colorful celluloid named the Pride Lands. You may even remember not wanting to leave the cinema then because doing so felt like leaving the Pride Lands behind.

Growing up, however, you learn that the otherwise fictional Pride Lands could easily pass for any place on the African savannah. But where, you ask?

It’s all here:

Credit: Vic Diehl via Panoramio.com

Disney has acknowledged Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya as the model for the Pride Lands. Does this ring any bells?

That column of rock is the Gustav Fischer Tower, one of several vestiges of volcanoes in the vast park. Pride Rock is directly based on this volcanic formation.

Where there are volcano remnants, there are bound to be geysers and steam vents. They explain Scar’s smoky lair in “Be Prepared.”

Some of the film’s most tragic scenes essentially took place in the beautiful gorges of the park.

Ol Njorowa Gorge
Credit: Vic Diehl

Besides the Disney connection, Hell’s Gate Park is renowned for being the only one in Kenya you can navigate on foot. Don’t worry about walking into a real-life Nala here. Disney got their inspiration somewhere else.

Central Tower and gorges
Credit: Tawildman


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