These little weekend road trips have become my lifeline. I’ve never felt this trapped – and it doesn’t help that I live in the smallest province (with the most people) in a penthouse with no garden but beautiful views.
How many times do you have to see a lion to get tired of seeing said lion? The answer is there is no such thing as seeing lions or big cats too much. This is the conclusion I come to each time we visit the Lion Park somewhere between Gauteng and North West Provinces.
I always excitedly press my nose against the window in the hopes of getting a better look at the lazy lions basking in the sun. I catch myself hoping to see one twitch a whisker, lift a tail or just moving its head. The kids do the same, but with a little more vocal focus. We keep our distance from these big cats, but just far enough so that we won’t be the first thing they’ll want to perch on. We are still very cautious still after that time a young lion decided to peek at us from the top of our car… through a sunroof. His derriere was a bit heavy and cracked said sunroof. It was a thrilling experience but not one we are too keen to repeat – even sans the sunroof!
What I appreciate most about the Lion Park is that even if the animals are in enclosures, they are still freer than in a zoo. They still maintain some of that “wild” that you’ll see in lions that live in the Kruger Park. It never is an ideal situation to keep the wild enclosed, but sometimes the pros outweighs the cons when it comes to their welfare.
This time around in the Lion Park there were 2 camps with lions, 1 with cheetahs, 1 with wild dogs and a whole open area with zebras, wildebeest, springbucks, warthogs and more. The herbivores outnumbers the carnivores by miles. They stand in groups, species interacting.
The little 4x4s of the bush, warthogs, had a dozen piglets. The stormed from across the ridge down to where the zebra and wildebeest grazed. Little dust clouds danced around them as they kneeled into the ground pulling who knows what from the barren spot of ground. One piglet got too close to a wildebeest and was swiftly given a kick that made it fly and plop back onto the ground. It quickly got up again and rejoined its many siblings.
We followed each and every road, slowly crawling on the tracks, stopping to look at little groups of animals just being free. I even cracked open my window where the herbivores roamed and felt the sun on my skin. It was a beautiful day.
We spent around 4 hours in the Lion Park – and it was a welcome relief from being locked up during level 5 and 4 lockdown regulations.
They prefer that you book online and bring your proof of tickets along. They strictly adhere to social distancing and you will be required to wear a mask when speaking to staff at the gate. On entrance they also take your temperature.