Day 5 – “I Had A Rippin Good Time At The Lion Park”

White Lion

White Lion

On Wednesday, May 15, we spent an entire day at a Lion Park.

Yes, we spent the entire day at a Lion Park.

I have never felt so lucky to have been able to experience such an amazing trip. We were able to join in on a daytime safari ride which took us to see antelopes, springbok (South Africa’s national animal), wildebeests, cheetahs, lions (white lions!), and wild dogs. Along the way we were able to see giraffes roaming the park freely, as well as ostriches.

This safari ride was unlike anything else I have experienced at home. It was the wild, and it was real. We were viewing animals that are native from South Africa and animals that are in their habitat. They were able to roam free and live up to their maximum amount of years because they weren’t in their competitive territorial world, so all of the animals in the lion park lived/continue to live in peace.

P1120490I found playing with the lion cubs to be a real treat. Many of us played with them multiple times and took many pictures with the baby lions and lionesses. They were a bit feisty, especially the female, but overall it was such a great moment in my lifetime that I will never forget.

To be able to play with cubs and interact with such wild creatures widely known for their vicious acts was just another indication at how many of us don’t know what or who we are dealing with until we deal with it/them.

Take segregation for example, whites did not even shed a light on the amount of knowledge that blacks had, keeping them away from any education or advancement. They judged their ability based on their color and wouldn’t allow them to show their potential as well as their different sides beyond their color. The same happened at the Lion Park. We all thought about lions and cubs as human eating creatures but at the end of the day they all want to live in harmony and peace. For example, lions in the wild will run away from humans, but the lions we were able to see today that were under captivity were trained in regards to human touch. They were used to it so it’s less likely for them to be afraid. We all have our differences, but our weakness lies in our prejudices.

P1120648

Night time feeding

Night time feeding

Another thing that blew my mind was when we first settled into our campsites, or luxury tents. I have never slept in a tent outside before for starters – let alone in a lion park! Ah! I still can’t believe this is happening but here I am, writing this blog, in my luxury tent.

Coolest part?

There are lions, cheetahs, ostriches, giraffes, wildebeests, and antelope surrounding this place. We are literally in the midst of the wild and I could not be any more ecstatic and overwhelmed. I have been learning so much about the outdoors and the beauty that this world has to offer. For instance, taking the “game ride”, or nighttime lion feed ride was breath taking in the sense that I couldn’t believe what was happening before me. We were able to see two lions, three lionesses and many grown cubs fight over their “snack”, which were two slabs of meat tied to a tree stump. I kid you not when I say this was right before our eyes. If that wasn’t the coolest thing that I have ever witnessed than I don’t know what is. It was also interesting to find out that they do not share, even in the same pride. They would fight each other for a piece of meat, but ultimately the strongest lion won.

Cheetah on a bus

Cheetah on a bus

Lastly, not that this even wraps up the day we had today, we took a ride on the wild side. We rode a bus with a cheetah on it!

By bus I mean safari truck, and by safari truck I mean human cage.

Yes, this was one of those moments you never thought you would have in your life- being caged in with a grown cheetah.

Bright side is that we all survived and were able to play, pet, and take pictures with the most gorgeous wildlife animal imaginable. Felix was his name and he was so well behaved. It really represented how well these volunteers and animal caretakers work and train these animals. Now, as I walk up towards the café with free Wi-Fi to publish this blog I hope you all wish me luck that I don’t run into a giraffe!

Today was a jungle style fairytale and I hope you can all get a glimpse of this through our stories and photographs. Until next time!

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