As mentioned in my earlier posts, the temperature in Johannesburg was quite lower than what I am comfortable with. Fortunately though, the sun was out during the weekend and the weather was perfect for our outings. On our return from Soweto, we’d lazed about the pool for a good while before eventually going indoors!
The plan for Sunday, was a visit to the famed lion park. It sounded quite adventurous but we were assured that the wild animals were in fact bred in captivity and were not free moving, like in a forest reserve. To be clear, captivity meant a few acres of land within an enclosure, for each type of animal. Not cage(s).
We had a leisurely breakfast and then headed to the park, took us about an hour’s ride or so. Once inside, we bought our tickets and waited for our turn to board the vehicle which was going to take us on a safari. The vehicle arrived and I was surprised to see a perky young lady introduce herself as our guide and driver for the afternoon!
The tour was made enjoyable by the sometimes witty, sometimes humorous commentary of our guide! She was really knowledgeable about the habits and habitat of the various animals and gave us some interesting tidbits too, of which I now only remember a few 🙂
- During the mating season (June- November) the male ostrich’s beak and legs turn pink to attract the female for mating.
- Artificial salt licks placed at random places, these provide the animals with minerals and salts required for proper growth
- Big5 of African wildlife – In Africa,the game animals lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo are collectively known as the Big Five
A striking thing about the whole thing was when the lions were being fed! Yes, that scene has stuck with me. The lions are fed once in 2 -3 days and the day we visited was a ‘meal’ day. We were in the lion enclosure when the meal vans arrived. The lions recognise the vans and start to get ready for the meal. It being a Sunday, there were a whole lot of private vehicles that got lined up to view this spectacle 😐 It was like a complete invasion of the privacy of the lions and the scene was almost cringe worthy! It somehow made me sad .. to think that the king of the forest is reduced to this. Anyway, maybe the from the lion’s point of view this arrangement is convenient and as its kept safe from the vagaries of nature it can survive longer! Who knows!! 🙂
Here is a selection of photographs that I clicked using my mobile phone and from within the vehicle. I’ve retained the original aspect ratio (did not zoom/crop) so that you can get a feel of the whole landscape. Some pictures were taken in a high zoom mode as the subject was at quite some distance.
Apart from these, we also saw different types of hyenas – spotted and striped ones, but could not get good pictures. Interesting fact is that the different hyenas were in separate enclosures as they cant get along with each other !
Phew! quite a number of pics even after filtering and re-filtering 😀 Hope you liked the tour 🙂