Fancy playing with the lion cubs or enjoy walking with a cheetah or love feeding the giraffe! Then visit the famous Lion Park, situated in the northern part of Johannesburg. The Lion Park is among the biggest attraction for tourists visiting Gauteng.
The Lion Park, a prominent eco-tourism destination in South Africa, is a sanctuary and breeding hub for important wildlife species such as Cheetah, rare White Lion and endangered Wild Dog, and other animals. The Lion Park as such doesn’t fall into the category of either a zoo or a game reserve.
It’s a great learning experience for local as well as foreign tourists to visit the park and gain knowledge about the African animals. The park has been set up in a huge area. Here you will find giraffe, antelope, Blesbok, springbuck, gemsbok and zebra grazing in large grounds. These animals can be found roaming freely and you can see them closely.
The park is presently home to 80 lions, which also includes rare white lion species. Three separate enclosures host the lions. These enclosures are large and free-roaming. A safari vehicle is available for the tourists to see and enjoy the lions. The safaris are conducted both during the day and night through the enclosures. The tourists can also enjoy self-drive safaris as well. The best way to enjoy the lions is by going on a night safari. The lions are essentially nocturnal predators and are mostly ‘lazy’ during daytime. Even other wild animals at the park are also active after sunset. It’s quite an amazing experience to see the animals here.
Most of the lions at the park have been brought from Botswana, Northern Gauteng, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. According to the park officials, new lions from other areas are also sometimes introduced to avoid inbreeding. One important feature that I came to learn about the lions while visiting the park is that the separate enclosures built for the lions ensures that they are kept aloof from each other. This keeps different prides of lions from attacking other groups. The lions in fact fiercely protect their territory and turn aggressive when their territory is transgressed by other lions.
Cub World is a major highlight of the Lion Park. Here the visitors get opportunity to play with the lion cubs and also feed the giraffes. The Cub World is established in a separate enclosure. The rare interaction with the cubs that the visitors get is simply a fascinating experience. Experienced handlers are there to demonstrate on how to interact with the cubs.
Apart from playing with the lion cubs, the visitors also get opportunity to explore the Cub World by walking around and enjoying other animals such as hyena, jackal, serval, and black and spotted leopard, as well as the baby giraffe.
Another fascinating experience at the Lion Park is the Cheetah Walk. It’s quite a unique experience walking with the cheetahs here. The cheetahs are also endangered species and the aim of the park authorities is to protect them. The Lion Park is open all 365 days of the year from 09:00 to 21:00 hours.