While the new version of The Lion King is 100% animated, the filmmakers did use real-life locations when designing their environment. Here are some of the spots that were the basis for Simba's world...
Masa Marai, Kenya was the inspiration for the Pride Lands.
And the rock formations around Chyulu Hills, plus the landscape of Borana, Kenya, influenced the design of Pride Rock and its surrounds.
The tufa formations at Mono Lake in California provided inspiration for the elephant graveyard.
As did the geothermal areas around Dallol, Ethiopia and Yellowstone National Park in the US.
Sesriem Canyon, Namibia, was used to inform the design of THAT canyon, where Mufasa dies in the wildebeest stampede.
The desert Simba runs through when he escapes the Pride Lands after Mufasa's death was inspired by the sand dunes of the Sossusvlei in Namibia, as well as the area around Turkana in Kenya.
The filmmakers wanted a "cloud-forest" look for Timon and Pumbaa's home, and they used Mount Kenya for inspiration.
And the waterfalls of Aberdare National Park provided inspiration for the backdrop of Simba and Nala's ~romantic~ interlude.