I had a great time in Pretoria, South Africa last week. The purpose of my trip was to attend a training event that turned out to be absolutely awesome and to top that off, after the training I had a whole day in South Africa to do whatever I liked.
The Gauteng Lion and Safari Park is about a forty minute drive out of Pretoria. Without much debate, my friends/business partners (Leila and Saffah) and I were headed off in a cab to the famous must-see tourist destination.
I rocked my “Queen of Vacation” t-shirt from H&M and all three of us were in the best of spirits, eager to see what lay ahead for the day.
We started off with a game drive through the park. The park’s scenery alone is enough to leave you in absolute awe. We traveled in an open caged van that kept us safe from the lions we would later encounter, whilst still providing a magnificent view.
After passing a couple of antelopes and warthogs roaming freely in the wild (separate from the lion area), we excitedly begun to spot the lions in the distance.
The views were even more amazing as we drove closer. At some point we were so close to the lions that we could look straight in their eyes and watched as one attempted to chase an independent vehicle. After an initial startle that spread across the entire van, we gathered our courage and begun snapping away with our phones as the lions minded their own business and played with each other. The van at this point was buzzing with exhilaration as the whole lot bombarded our tour guide with a zillion questions.
We couldn’t get enough shots! We saw different lion prides with several lions including the rare white lion. Our tour guide continued to tell us more about these iconic creatures, often referring to them by name.
Lastly, we spotted a pack of wild dogs as we drove back to the parking area, out of the vehicle and off to the animal interaction area.
Our last major activity was interaction with what they called a “young” cheetah. On our way to visit the cheetah, we passed a group of people feeding a giraffe as well as three little lion cubs. So adorable!
We made it to the cheetah, and the reason I put young in quotes up there is because even though the animal was only eight months old, we were almost too terrified to walk up close to it. After much encouragement from our tour guide and photographer, and after noticing that the animal wasn’t really bothered by us, we finally warmed up to him too.
It was so incredible to actually look in his eyes and stroke his fur (which was so soft I must say!), and I really did not want to leave.
Have you visited a lion park before? Would you ever? Looking forward to your thoughts, comments and questions in the reply section below. Xx