Lion Park Visit

After watching Christian the Lion reuniting with his former owners I was touched and felt that I have to find a lion park because this was such an amazing story.
On Saturday afternoon "U" and  I visited the lion park which is situated just outside of Randburg on the corner of Malibongwe and the R511. Entrance fee to the park is R115-00 per person (adult) and will definately be money well spent. Activities at the park include the self drive, the guided tour, giraffe feeding, the night tour, the cheetah walk and the cub petting. We arrived at the park at 4pm, it was still very hot and all we had on our mind was the cub petting.

The tour guide gave us instructions on how to behave within the Cub pen, no bags allowed, no feeding of cubs, always pet them on their bodies only with an open palm and press generally harder than you would on a dog because the have very thick skins, do not pet them on their heads and do not play with their tails because this will agitate them and make them very irritable. Groups of 8 people are allowed in at one time.

All the cubs in the compound were under 11 months old and the reason that the cubs are isolated from their parents or the pride is because, sometimes mothers reject their newborns, thus babies have low chances of survival in their prides. When this happens they are removed them their prides and are hand-raised in the cub nursery.
This is the first time in my life I have ever experienced playing with lion cubs, I was awe struck, to be in the presence of these magnificent animals, the smallest cub is three months old, wide eyed and innocent he was frolicking within the compound enjoying all the attention from all the visitors, he is roughly the size of an adult pitball, slightly bigger. All the cubs I felt have a very tough skin and enormous paws that almost looks uncomfortable when they walk, like a person trying walk with big shoes. The cubs are very sociable and are very inviting to everybody that visits them, they also play with each other and sometimes get aggressive in a playful way. The large white cub is the eldest of the cubs and looks very majestic.

Afterwards it was off to see Gambit and Purdy, Purdy is the female but wasn't around we only saw her later, Gambit is a male-giraffe, and he's 10 yrs old, he likes to eat everything, when we got to him he was trying to reach for a branch that was slightly taller than him and his tongue, "U" felt sorry for him cos he looked very hungry and bought a packet of giraffe treats for R30-00 from the tour guide, for the time that "U" had the packet of treats, Gambit was her best friend, reaching out his thick Greyish black thorny tongue to scoop up treats, it was over within a matter of minutes, while we had it,he was attracted to the treats like you cant believe, he had a hypnotic gaze salivating at the prospect of giraffe treats in his giraffe mouth, it some points "U" instructed him to chew his food and he momentarily obediently listened and chewed as fast as he could to get the next load

We finished off the park fairly quickly and proceeded to the self drive, at the entrance of the self drive the park security guards had their hands full trying to stop Purdy from running out of the park, she looked very adamant about wanting to leave and was hovering around the entrance for quite a while. The self drive offers people the opportunity to drive in the open field in the midst of zebras, springbok, wildebees and several buck, the road is a dirt road and at the very beginning offers you the oppurtunity to detour and see the main attraction first, the lions.

The self drive took us approximately 10 minutes before we got to the lion camp site which comprise of three camps not very large in size that were all interconnected to a hub of park security guards that police the area making sure everything is safe. First off I have to say, during the self drive, you are driving amongst the lions and they are free to roam, these lions are massive and some of them look well over 200kgs and the only seperating you from them is your thin car window.The First camp had two white lions, a marvel to look at and wonderous to behold, in the second camp we saw three massive white lions with huge manes, they looked ferocious and I don't care that they are fairly domesticated, they were bright, lustrous and had a gratifed coat, they all sat there majestically unaffected by all the traffic in their camp. These lions seemed more mature than the the lions in the third camp we were about to see.

The third camp had the most lions all of them grouped in their pride,these guys seemed more playful but a lot more threatening than any of the other camps, they were very inquisitive and investigated all the vehicles that were passing through, on several occasions, lions peaked into our car as if they were looking for something, this made me extremely nervous, on one ocassion a lion looked as if it was charging toward our car, it wasnt, it was charging to the vehicle behind us a dark blue Volvo s40 station wagon with a woman driver and several children in the car, the lady panicked when the lion tried mounting her car from the back and drove into a diverted lane dragging the lion at the back of the vehicle for a few seconds. 

The lions also expresed a lot of interest in the Hyundai gets in front of us which also happened to be a light shade of blue. We did two rounds of the third camp and thereafter proceeded out of the lion camp. On our way out one of the huge white lions roared with flavour, to hear that, to feel that was as scary as it was amazing, the sound of the roar bellowed and took presedence of whatever song we were listening to on Radio Jacaranda, with that we made our way out.

 On our way out from the park we encountered some more hostility but this from Purdy and Gambit, they both wanted to leave the park and were threatening the guards. Saturday afternoon was a very eventful afternoon, we had a great day and an amazing oppurtunity to interact with the lions, Lion park is definately worth a trip because the experience is priceless

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About Sagren moodley

This is my personal space where I geek out on all the stuff that I Love, from technology and entertainment, sports and politics to food and photography. I'm also a bodybuilding, parkour, martial artist..............wannabe. Click on my Mr. Burns face if you want to get in contact with me about writing/photography/Personal training.