My journal. Africa Trip, March 9 – April 6, 2016

Africa Trip, March 2016 The Lion Park

It seemed to me that if you went to Africa, at least to South Africa, you ought to see a lion. But we had not seen same in the wild-game preserve in Namibia, Etosha National Park. No rhinos either, and no leopards. What was I going to do when I got home and people wanted to see my pictures?

Eric suggested different ways to remedy this near-tragic situation. One would be to take a couple of days and go to famous but distant Kruger National Park, and another would be to go to Lion Park, quite near. That seemed best to me for a good many reasons. Here’s how it looks from above:

I left in the suburb of Farmall on the right so we might contrast it with the to-me unknown township to the left, just above the entrance to Lion Park. Two closer ups:

And across the street from Lion Park, the township at the same altitude:

But, as usual, I digress! So, yes, there were big animals here behind big fences. The fences in the case of the lions were double fences with maybe twenty feet between them. The great animals were numerous, sleepy and, above all, right there. We were warned not to roll down our windows although that seemed unnecessary on the surface of things. However, we had all heard of the young woman who had been killed by one of the lions here just ten months earlier, and we took no chances. This NBC news clip of that incident includes excellent footage from within the park: link.

There are several sections of large lion pens, and the one that the killing occurred in was closed to tourists when we were there. Here’s a close-up from Google of the lion part of the park. In fact, this included a set of wild dogs (sleeping) and leopards as well, all separated in their own large pens.

The road at the bottom was the section now closed off. We went through the one on the left, and I’ll pop in a few of our pictures.

First off, as we entered the open section, we were met by this lioness. You felt like you could roll down your window and pet her…

More distant:

Below is the White Lion. A film had recently been made with that title and this lion.

Come to think of it, this, different, lion is also white. Not sure which is which.

Two leopards only, we saw:

What it was like:

We got to pet sleeping cubs. They never woke up:

Now comes the sleeping hyena. He has his left paw/leg behind his left ear:

There was a cheetah on a platform, not looking at us:

Here’s a website on the slight difference (from the leopard) to meet the eye: link.

Interestingly, considering the recent killing of a tourist in a car by a lioness, it was possible to take a “walk with the lions.” These Asian tourists appear to be receiving instructions for how to behave when the animals are taken out of the cage:

And they are two lionesses:

At this point, the two lionesses are out of their cage. They are between the two keepers in white shirts. Later we saw (no picture) the party walking off to the left of here, the lions leaping up to grab some food the keepers tossed out.

Just for the record, the park includes a large space for the grazing, non-predators. They had a few feisty zebras and a lonely giraffe who kept rubbing his chin on a tree branch:

Eric, Rowan, Kyle, Giraffe:

Next section, Tour of Soweto.