A Lion Bit My Butt!
Midrand Travel Blog› entry 3 of 7 › view all entries
Originally posted Tuesday, October 10, 2006 on MySpace
First...... I'm not sure if I should be changing the time so it relates to Johannesburg or leave it be. Perhaps I can always sign-off with the time. Of course, I doubt any of you care either way.
Saturday was my first day here. Originally, the idea was to go to Sun City, and perhaps a stop at Pilanesberg National Park, which is adjacent to the Sun City complex. However, the group that was goin' to go never comfirmed, and the cost for Ahsan and me to go would be a bit spendy. The driver recommended two places, and Ahsan chose the Lion Park. I had no say, but out of those two choices, I would have picked the Lion Park, so he did make a good choice.
The driver came and fetched us, and on the way we were. Ahsan commented about how things reminded him of Phoenix; after clarification he was referring to things related to traffic. Hmm.... yeah. Of course in Phoenix, as in the rest of the States, we drive on the right. At intersections there would be street hawkers attempting to sell various things: sunglasses, cleaning cloths, and fruits. That's not something you see in the States...... At most you see homeless people either selling newspapers or flat out begging for money. The selling of cheap wares is something you'll probably only see in developing nations. In Mexico, in the various border towns anyways, you encounter street merchants. Ahsan says they have them in Pakistan. I didn't really see any of that in Istanbul; however, I was in an area of high pedestrian tourist traffic, thus there were other strategies in play.
At the Lion Park the driver began by driving us around the long way to the lion camps. This was to allow us to see the savannah animals. These included wildebeasts, zebras, an ostrich, and various kinds of antelope (edible animals according to Ahsan). If any of you are familiar with The Wild Animal Park north of San Diego, the plains area is kind of like that: huge and at a distance. In all fairness, there wasn't any boundry from the road and the animals...... the animals chose to stay afar.
Next, we began driving into the various lion camps. There were four camps in total. The camps more or less was a pride of lions. In the first camp there were both the sable coloured and white lions. There was even a baby white lion. Yes, we took pictures...... They just need to be up loaded. The second of third camps also had their share of lions...... adults, juveniles and babies. The last camp was the most active one. There were still lions being lazy, but things were a bit more heated in that camp.... more movement. There was a female lion that crossed our path who seemed to be trying to chase a flying insect down. There was also a male lion who came at the van on Ahsan's side. The highlight of this camp however was when a male lion got up and mounted one of the female lions. I caught that on video. We're callin' it Discovery Channel: Unrehearsed. I'll post that too, if it every gets uploaded.....
After the lion camp tours, we went to check out the cheetahs and hyenas. They were being less sociable..... Staying far away. The pictures we captured of them aren't all that great.
Next came Cub World. This was a petting zoo of sorts. The main attraction were the lion cubs of course. There were four cubs in the cub enclosure. One was off on her own, so naturally I approached her first. I don't think she was in the mood to receive visitors..... She bit back at me. Those of you who have (had) cats know what I mean. One of those bites not to harm..... Just to let you know to leave them alone. By this time the small group huddled with the other three lions had moved on. I took a seat on the tree stump next to the three lions.
The one closest to me was a male, and he was quite interested in my skirt. Apparently it was the skirt's eye catching colour..... It has panels of mauve. Colours within the possibility of being a shade of red, no matter how remote, was attractive. I think the soft texture added to it. This lion cub kept nibbling at my skirt. One of the handlers put her hand in his mouth to deter him. It really wasn't a big deal to me...... In standard petting zoos you risk goats chewing up your clothes; this time it was lions. Eventually, the handler took her hand from this "little" guy's mouth. At some point he moved a little, and decided he'd try to bite at my skirt that covered my butt. I thought that was pretty amusing. I think Ahsan missed the photo opportunity. I did stand up to get the lion off my hiney, and he started playing with the bottom of my skirt. Ahsan did capture a bit of video of that.
Once I was ready to move on, with my dirty hands (the lions were so dirty), we looked around the rest of Cub World. There was a baby hyena that was oh so cute. The warthogs were quite smelly. In a small enclosure was a juvenile leopard. I'm not sure where it came from as there were no adults leopards on the grounds. We happened upon an ostrich with a nest of eggs. There was a hatchling that appeared to not being doing well.... it seemed to be dying actually. We were unsure. Of course, Ahsan has to bring attention to me by saying I'm the doctor, don't I know. There was a woman standing there who turned to look at me. I stated something to the effect I don't know anything about animals (or maybe I was more specific and said birds). The ostrich was ignoring the hatchling...... she was more interested in her visitors. Along with her came these little flying insects, eww.... That felt so gross.
In the way back of the enclosure were two giraffes. I noticed the feeding platform. I was disappointed that they were so far off. If they hadn't been, I would have bought the food to feed them. That would have been so cool!! Adjacent to the ostrich and giraffe enclosure was the African painted dogs. They have spots of colour that make me think of calico cats. They have the same sort of colouring/marking. I personally think ther are cute..... Ahsan doesn't agree...... dogs are all eww to him.
As we left the Lion Park, I noticed a shanty town off in the distance. This served as a reminder that despite the wealth of Johannesburg (it's the wealthiest metro of South Africa) there's along way to go in improving life for everyone within the country.