The film’s setting is real, wild, and open for visitors.
The animators of Disney’s The Lion King traveled to a park with dramatic landscapes in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley to get a feel for the great circle of life. When visitors to Hell’s Gate National Park reach the sweeping cliffs carved by a prehistoric lake that gives the park its name, they’ll discover that Pride Rock’s real-life inspiration is no less majestic.
The fact that you won’t actually see “Simba” is the park’s secret advantage: the lack of predators means you can take in savannas and come face to face with giraffes, zebras, antelopes, and warthogs on your own two feet—or better yet, on bicycle wheels. Hell’s Gate is one of the only places in East Africa where you can hike the totality of a park. You can even go on a biking safari—a far cry from peeping animals through a safari vehicle’s roof.