The Lion Park: a mini-safari near a concrete jungle

Day two: We think that we slept well, before being thrown out of bed by a hadeda. A what??? Believe me, if you’re a nervous foreigner waiting for a “crime thingy” to happen to you (the world has warned, beware), then no, you do NOT want to be woken up by one of these. If you have a very big garden with a lush lawn and live near a lake, like our family do, then yes, they will definitely be in your garden at the crack of dawn. Think vuvuzela (very noisy plastic stadium horn), now add the voices of Pavarotti and Lanza in full scream, and there you have it, haa-haa-haa-de-dah, your murder call. A hadeda is a bird (Hadeda Ibis), and no-one, not even dogs, want to kill it. At five in the morning the urge to do so might be there, but then you remember the prawns. The hadeda feeds on BIG creeping, jumping and pesky insects locally known as Parktown Prawns (King Crickets). These pests are worse, especially if you have fruit trees in your garden. The Go-Away-Bird was much friendlier and it was not active at five in the morning! Welcome to Africa! After a dip in the pool, breakfast, more neighbourly visits (OMG, another German in the family 😉) and lots of yap-yap, we set off on a mini safari to….

The Lion Park

You can visit South Africa and spend lazy days by the pool or you can go out there and pet some wild animals. The Lion Park is just a few kilometres outside of Johannesburg and a good start for passionate photographers, wink-wink. Like with every other safari, you either drive through the enclosed area yourself, with closed windows please, or pay for a guided tour. A family member did us the honour, yippee!
Lion (Panthera leo) - Löwe - Lion Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

There you have it, the ROARRR, or is it just one big yawn. Being a male is such a boring life!

These white lions were all sleeping, so we had to wait quite a while for them to stir. If it is very hot then you might not see many animals as they hide from the sun, or sleep…

Young lion (Panthera leo) - Löwe - Lion Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

These lion cubs are in a different enclosure and for a fee, you can pet them. They might be cute and playful but they still are and remain wild animals. Some people are fooled by their size and soft purrs, so go all cootchie-cootchie-coo-here-kitty-kitty-here, then are surprised when they get walloped by very sharp claws! Listen to the rangers and do not try to hug or cuddle them. Stroke or pet them lightly on the back if you want that perfect me-and-a-lion photo.

African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) - Afrikanischer Wildhund - Lion Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

The park also has many other animals, like these wild dogs…

Cheetahs …

Ostriches, some with lots of flies…

Giraffes. Even they avoid the blazing sun! Some seemed to be tame and friendly. There’s a wooden platform where one can stand on to get a closer eye-to-eye look, feel or touch. One could also feed them some nuts or something that can be bought on sight only. We found this absolutely unnecessary as it was just too much! Only two Giraffes were allowed near the platform, so you can just imagine how each and every visitor with a bunch of nuts in their outstreched hands was trying to lure and feed them. Oh well, maybe having your hands slopped with animal spit is important for some. If you look closely at the eyes, you can see what is reflected in there… Amazing!!

amazing, yet watchful Meerkats…

Hier kom die Bokke! This is mostly chanted or sung when the Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby team, are playing. Roughly translated it means: Here come the Bucks. Guess which one of these is a Springbok…Click on each photo to see the name of the buck.

Zebras and their playful offspring. How the Zebra got its stripes is a story we in Africa grew up with. It has been carried over from the indigenous peoples of southern Africa, the San/Bushmen, and it involves a greedy baboon 😂

The bird to the left is a Crowned Lapwing or Plover and the other is a Blacksmith Lapwing or Plover

Lion Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

…and this one is just a bird, oops…a lioness bird! 😆

 

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