I recently visited the Lion Park in Lanseria, Gauteng where I experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity to touch and play with lion cubs. It was a fabulous Lion Cub Encounter and difficult to leave the enclosure once my time was up. When I arrived the cubs were enjoying their afternoon bottle given to them by volunteers who’ve come all the way from South America to participate in this special volunteer program. Visitors had to remain outside the enclosure until after their bottle and settling (or ‘burping’) session that followed. Once inside we all took turns taking pictures, stroking, sitting and playing with the cubs. I found the cubs to seem slightly disinterested in our attention which is not surprising having just finished a litre of milk or more. They seemed to want to sleep rather than play which is a bit like us after a large Sunday meal, then retiring to the couch for an afternoon nap.
This Lion Cub Ecounter gave me the chance to experience wild life, up close and very personal. This extraordinary lion park is home to more than 85 lions, including rare white lions and other carnivores such as cheetah, wild dog, and various hyena species including a variety of antelope indigenous to Africa.
The Lion Park is not a game park or a zoo but a sanctuary for lions and other wild animals where they are re-homed, protected, nursed and cared for. Most of the lions are originally from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Northern Gauteng and Botswana. To avoid inbreeding, new lions are introduced from different areas. When you visit the Lion Park, one can see that the lions are prospering and multiplying. The conditions they live in are very comfortable.
There are other great activities to enjoy at the Lion Park. You can enjoy a game drive around the herbivore and predator enclosures. You can feed the giraffe, if he can find the appetite to be hungry. One can enjoy a Segway experience which is lots of fun and suits those who are more adventurous. On Wednesday, clients can enjoy a night game drive and watch the lions being fed, after which you’ll enjoy a BBQ dinner. Night game drives take place every night but I always advise clients to opt for the Wednesday night experience for the added opportunity of watching the lions being fed. If you have extra budget clients can also enjoy a cheetah encounter or a one on one lion encounter with a famous animal behaviorist.
What I enjoyed most about the Lion Park was how clean, organized and efficiently it is run. There is nothing worse than going to an animal park and walking around with a sinking feeling as though the animals are neglected. At the Lion Park, one really gets an overwhelming impression from the animals that they are well fed, clean, comfortable, safe and with enough area to move around.
Written and experienced in person by Odette Butcher, Chief Experience Officer, Celestial Gift Experiences
Learn more and book your Lion Cub Encounter online via http://www.celestialgifts.co.za
Clients can enjoy my photo album of this experience via http://www.facebook.com/odette.butcher
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