Walking with Lions
I've cuddled a fully grown tiger (Dreamworld, Gold Coast). I've swum with stingrays (Moorea, Tahiti). So I thought I'd better walk with the lions near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, while I had the chance.
It had been recommended to me, so I thought - why not? Fortunately, I was able to go when I wanted to, and handed over the US$125 for the privilege. They normally have 6 persons in each walking group - so the information centre told me! - but we ended up with 11 in each group!!
This, of course, greatly reduced the amount of time we each could individually walk with, or be with, with the lions. Oh well, these things happen.
Above and Below: First views of "our" lions. The male (in front) is 13 months of age; the female is 11 months.
Above: Excuse me, gotta go off to the loo! (And boy! What a stinky pong he was!!!!!)
Naturally, I jumped in immediately and was the first person in our group to walk with them. Funny how most of the others hung back!
There were, of course, rules as to what one must do and not do when with them. The stick is actually a deterrent if they turn around to you, or get snarky. No patting above the shoulders. Stop if they stop walking. But they can be patted while walking, although it is a bit difficult, as they don't stop to let you pat them - they just keep walking.
Above and Below: Then we came to a large area where they were "made" to lay down [not that they needed much inducement] , so that we could get more photos with them.
Above: What a big pussy I am!
Above and Below: Then he rolled onto his back, legs splayed out, so we all got to have a pat of his belly, while holding one of his hind legs for balance. He's bloody strong, as I found out when he kept trying to kick out his leg that I was holding.
Above: Her and Below: Him
Above: I'm just sooooo bored with all these tourists! Below: Time for a stretch and a sharpen of the claws.
Above: "I've had enough. I'm not going anywhere! I'm just gonna sit here a while." She actually got a bit snarky while I was walking with her at the end, and kept looking back, curling her lips up, showing her teeth. She got:"sticked" for it.
On the way out of the park, I spotted a group of elephants, close to the road, so the driver stopped for a photo session. The closest Mum had a tiny baby, but it kept well hidden. Then Mum made a small charge towards the bus, flapping her ears, so baby decided to flap his as well! Funny little creature he was. [sorry, photo taken through the driver's window, so a bit blurry.]
What a fabulous experience it was today, to go along with the others I've had with animals around the world.
Victoria Falls township - which is actually quite tiny, surprisingly - is located inside the National Park, so I wasn't overly surprised the other day when I walked out of the Post Office and almost fell over four big warthogs! One of the lasses on the bus today had been chased by an elephant in the middle of the town, too. Haven't seen any ellies in town yet, myself, but have seen HEAPS (pun!) of their droppings.
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