Monday, June 4, 2007

Walking with lions

After arriving on Saturday, checking in and taking a nap after being awake all night flying, we signed up for a few activities at the hotel. First up on Sunday morning was the Lion Encounter. Our pick-up was at 6:30 am and we were driven out to the place where they have the lions. We watched a video about the project which strives to repopulate the national parks in Africa with lions by reintroducing the cubs of these semi-tame lions into the wild. They also gave us a safety speech and made us sign a release saying we wouldn't sue if the lions mauled and/or killed us! That really revs you up for the experience :) Basically, the idea is that the lions size you up when meeting you: if they smell your fear, they may pester you (and if you run away they may jump on your back) but if you look them in the eye and show your resolve, they accept you into their pride. Although my heart was racing, I passed the test (maybe my sunglasses helped?) and Daniel acted like it was the most natural thing in the world to pet the lions and even scratch them under their chins!

So we walked around the bush and took lots of pictures with three of the lions, two were 6 months old and one was 15 months old. But they were still huge and kept jumping on each other which was pretty scary, especially if you were standing next to one. But they were cute as well.

Then we left those lions and went to meet two, year-old lions. When the new lions saw us coming, they checked us out an apparently decided they liked us because they came up and rubbed against us and made a lion purring sound. So once again we were accepted into the pride.

A few more photos:

Our guides

The only time I touched a lion (not as brave as Daniel)

Daniel's buddy Amanzi

It was funny to think that exactly a year ago we were posing for wedding photos and on our 1st anniversary we were posing with lions. A really special experience that I can recommend to anyone over 14 years old and 1.5 meters (4 ft 9 inches) tall.

1 comment:

Steve said...

That is so cool. I'm not sure I'd be as brave as Daniel either, haha. It's funny, Daniel looks the happiest in the lion pictures!!!