A SCENIC SAFARI
April 2017. By Marelise Jacobs.
There are many beautiful things around the Hartebeespoort area and one of them is the incredible Lion and Safari Park. I recently had the pleasure of visiting them since it moved to their new location. This magnificent park is a six-hundred hectare wilderness reserve that offers close-up encounters with some of South Africa's most iconic animals. Every thing about the park's design is made to be family-friendly and a pleasure to experience. We had the opportunity to get extremely close to many of Africa's most fascinating creatures including the white lion, African Wild Dogs and even a few cheetahs.
Our day started with a visit to the lion cubs where under the expert guidance of park rangers we were able to interact with these beautiful creatures. Afterwards we made our way to the giraffe feeding deck where we encountered a very enthusiastic young giraffe. I have never personally fed a giraffe before and I must say it is an experience to remember. Before we embarked on our guided tour we stopped by the delicious Bull and Buck Grill for a lovely lunch prepared by a chef and his staff who are obviously very passionate about what they do. From the starters to dessert, it was a culinary experience that wonderfully complimented the safari atmosphere.
The day's main event was a guided game drive through the park. As our group made our way in the viewing truck we almost immediately encountered a pride of lions relaxing in the shade. Safely tucked behind the truck's bars, we were able to be as close as we could to these full-grown lions gazing at us with lethargic interest. A little distance further afforded us the incredible view of one of South Africa's most prized animals, the white lion.
As we drove on, a pack of of African Wild Dogs joined our expedition. Known to some as "Devil's Dogs" these animals are infamous for their grisly efficiency when taking down their pray. Their power lies in the pack, not necessarily in their physical strength and although they can take down animals weighing over two-hundred kilograms, these animals are usually still alive when the feasting begins. On route to the Crocodile River that runs through the park we glimpsed a few more South African favourites such as the beautiful Nyala and Blue Wildebeest. Driving through the lush bushveld we arrived at the river where a safe area has been allocated to those wanted to picnic along the riverbank.
Our time had run out and we were homeward bound. The day was an experience I can recommend to every South African, and international tourist visiting our shores. It is a little bit of bushveld magic for those living in the cities and towns of Gauteng and beyond. When everyone else heads to the coast for the long weekend, round up the family and let the kids experience something they will never forget.