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Written by Savi, 20 Comments

Four huge lions are inches away from us. We can almost hear them breathe – that’s how close we are. One of them gallops towards our car – I’m shocked at the fact that Vid is clicking photos of the lion instead of rolling up his window.

Then, less than a metre away from us, it stops. We sit transfixed, hearts beating faster than ever, cussing ourselves for ever coming to The Lion Park. The lion is now close enough for us to make out every hair of its mane. We stare, fascinated and scared at the same time. Then in one ravenous stroke, it swoops to pick up a giant piece of meat lying right next to our car. That’s when it struck us – the lion wasn’t interested in us. It was there for the meat.

That’s how we lived to tell this tale….

 

Johannesburg Lion Park

 

Johannesburg Lion Park

 

Johannesburg Lion Park

 

Johannesburg Lion Park

 

Johannesburg Lion Park

 

Johannesburg Lion Park

 

The Johannesburg Lion Park is home to a number of predators including lions, leopards, and cheetahs. It is possible to drive through the park, watching the animals go about their routines, and ‘interact’ with them. As you can guess, our first ‘interaction’ was surreal, to say the least. After all, who wants to be gobbled up by giant cats on their first week in South Africa. Having said that, the experience of being this close to such big cats was second to none.

A few deep breaths later, we started to savour the experience of being at The Lion Park. We saw a number of animals as we drove around on the dirt track. Few leopards lazing in the afternoon sun, wild dogs, lions, and cheetahs chasing each other. At one point, we had to stop our car for over 10 minutes to let a lioness drink water from a waterhole and amble across the track – the animal reigns supreme here.

 

Johannesburg Lion Park

 

Johannesburg Lion Park

 

Lion Park Johannesburg review

 

The Lion Park experience is unlike that of a safari – the thrill of ‘spotting’ the animal is missing because the animals are right there for visitors to see. However it is possible to get much closer to the animals here and that feels pretty darn special.

In fact, we even got up close and personal with tiny lion cubs. Yes, you heard that right. We played with feisty lion babies and it was so much fun. Look how cute they are:

 

Lion Park Johannesburg review

 

Lion Park Johannesburg review

 

Next we wandered off to the area reserved for herbivorous animals and spent our afternoon spotting zebras and getting our palms tickled by giraffes’ tongues.

 

Lion Park Johannesburg review

 

Lion Park Johannesburg review

 

Lion Park Johannesburg review

 

Lion Park Johannesburg reviewVid- always where the food is πŸ˜‰Β 

 

The Lion Park is a good day out in Johannesburg. We preferred the open areas to the enclosures. In fact, we might go back to volunteer at the park and make friends with those giant cats someday πŸ™‚

 

 

Fact File

  • The Lion Park is close to both Johannesburg and Pretoria
  • It is possible to opt for a self-drive or guided tour. We really enjoyed the self-drive option.
  • The self drive tour costs 150 RAN (Β£10/$15)
  • It is the perfect day our for families as well. Kids seem to love the giraffes.
  • There is a traditional South African Braai (Grill) and cafe at the Park.
  • More information on their website:Β www.lion-park.com

20 thoughts on “Road Trip Through South Africa – A Day Out At The Johannesburg Lion Park

  1. I have been on safari in an open top jeep. A lion crossed out path . The guide stopped the vehicle – the lion literally walked around the jeep – to. The point of me being able to reach out to him if I wanted to . Obviously not . I also saw a pride bring down a giraffe for their weeks meal . These are beautiful animals

  2. How amazing! I would kill to be that close to those animals – I would have been snapping away just like Vid! I’m a sucker for these opportunities. Just last week, a friend and I drove through Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, and I stood about 10 feet from a black bear and even closer to a bull elk and a pronghorn. So surreal!

    1. Wow Jessica- good to hear there’s someone else who thinks like me πŸ™‚ Did you put up pictures of the bear and elk on your blog?

    1. Haha – yeah, it was adorable but there would be a ferocious ‘grrr’ every now and then. A few of us came out with mild scratches on our arms πŸ˜‰

  3. hey just got back from south africa..and boy totally loved the place, lion park was a good tour, was so excited to see these predators so close, I feel its a mix between a zoo + safari , but in all good stuff!!
    loved the soweto tour as well:) thanks for writing about that!

    1. It’s a gorgeous country isn’t it Priyadarshini? Glad you enjoyed the Soweto tour. Yeah the Lion Park is no substitute for a Safari, although it’s tough to be this close to lions on a Safari. Did you go on an actual Safari too? πŸ™‚

  4. Did you guys clicked this pictures? I must say you’re an amazing photographer .. U change my view to this world . I definitely would like to join u both , can I ? Please plan ur next trip with me

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