08 November 2016



  • Lion & Safari Park receive ROCCI | FNB business of the year award!
  • Self-drive option coming soon
  • A whole new world of adventure – River Rafting
  • Nasty C Visits Lion & Safari Park with Top Billing.
  • Bull ‘n Buck Grill to introduce new menu

Business of the Year Awards

It is a very big honour to have been nominated by the Chamber of Commerce & Industry with the partner FNB as Business of the year. The black-tie Gala evening, 5th November at the Silverstar Casino in Roodepoort was indeed a prestigious event as all the local influential and inspiring business managers filled the big hall. The food, entertainment and MC was excellent.

We would like to congratulations all our staff - your excellent customer service, commitment and attribute to making every day at the park a success was recognized at the ROCCI | FNB business of the year awards as we received an award in the tourism category. Congratulations and a big thank you from Management.




Due to popular demand, we are introducing self-drives, soon you can drive your own vehicle through the lion and wild dog enclosures with your friends and family, get super close to three beautiful lion prides including a pride of rare white lions and wild dogs.


River Rafting

We are very excited to introduce river rafting; this activity is not only for the brave and adventurous but a great way to spend some time with your friends and family -  Join us as we take you through a pictorial rafting trip.

We offer a shorter one hour drift for a couple of kilometres at a leisurely pace between the cliffs or a longer 3 hour (9km) trip with a few obstacles to add some adventure.

Keep an eye out for the abundant bird life and various animal species like Dassie, Water Monitor, Mountain Reedbuck and Nyala to name a few.

It's time to explore and discover a beautiful part of the Lion & Safari Park - the Crocodile River just a few kilometres above the Hartbeespoort Dam, in the North West Province, about 30km from Sandton City.

Despite the name there are NO crocodiles in the river.

For more information and bookings please call us on +27 (0) 87 1500 100 or email us info@lionpark.

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Nasty C

Top Billing meets with rapper Nasty C at Lion & Safari Park

Paying your dues in the music industry is well and good but some young talents just know what they know, back themselves and go. Rapper Nasty C was on a roll from the age of 9.

On a day out, we learned how Nasty C worked on lyrics through school where his music earned him the protection of the big guys. Respect from the industry soon followed and last year he became the S.A. Hip Hop Awards’ youngest winner.

Released for free download, the debut album Bad Hair quickly hit number one on distribution site Audiomack.

Nasty says that the name Bad Hair is an in-joke with his family and the album is a nod to them.



New Bull ‘n Buck Menu

Firstly, we would like to introduce Martin Chetty out head chef of both ‘Wetlands Bar & Restaurant’ and ‘Bull ‘n Buck Grill’. Martin brings more than a decade of local and international experience to the Lion & Safari Park. In his former role as executive chef at Southern Sun, Waterfront in Cape Town, he was responsible for all food outlets, including banqueting and room service.

 “I love working with different ingredients that create new and exciting dishes. Cooking is about creating an experience and I hope that my new flavours and approach will create memorable moments for all our guests,” says Martin Chetty.

Prior to Southern Sun Waterfront, Chetty’s experience has taken him to Sun International Gaborone, The Vineyard and The Bay Hotel in Cape Town.  His impressive career includes working at five-star hotels and restaurants around South Africa.

Chef Martin is soon to introduce a whole new dining experience at the Bull ‘n Buck with his new menu.

We invited Erica and a few other lifestyle journalist to the Bull 'n Buck, below is a review from Erica:

“The Bull and Buck is the park’s premier dining attraction, an upmarket steakhouse which caters for all incisors and canines. We were seated in a comfortable booth, to begin the difficult task of selecting what meal to feed on for ourselves. For starters, I chose the Seswa cakes - brisket which is deep fried and accompanied by rocket and chakalaka dressing. My partner chose the Caesar salad, served with perfectly poached eggs, anchovies, crispy bacon and parmesan shavings. Other starter options include greek salad, roasted baby beetroot, sugar smoked chicken, salmon trout pastrami, chicken livers and roasted marrow bones.

For mains, we selected the rump and kudu club steaks, with our selected side orders of baked butternut, onion rings, battered cauliflower and crumbed mushrooms. Our steaks were well seasoned and tender and perfectly complimented by their accompaniments. We could have continued eating, as the team continued to offer us more, but by that point, we had to say no, even to dessert. Other main options include T-bones, sirloin, fillet, or more game, including springbok, ostrich and eland. For those wanting something less meaty, there is also baked kingklip, mussels, the line fish of the day, or a gnu burger, springbok shank and venison ragout to try. A taste of bunny chow, crumbed sirloin, braised oxtail, braised pork cheeks or baby back pork ribs could also be an option – the many choices will satisfy even the fussiest of cubs.

If we had the space, we would have selected the sliced fresh fruit and duck egg lavender crème brulee for dessert. There is also the creative option of butternut cheese cake or for the more conservative sweet tooth, a cheese and biscuit platter. The ample wine list, beer and soft drink selection is a meticulous indication of how well thought out the menu is at The Bull and Buck.

We certainly enjoyed his creative take on meals at the restaurant. We were given a warm farewell and told to hurry back for more.” – Erica Penfold



Black-Backed Jackal

By Mirdia Snyman

The Lion & Safari Park has always contributed to conservation in the way of research. It hasn’t been in the lime light much, but always running in the background. There are several research programmes running at the moment in the park. The one we will be focussing on this month is the black-backed jackal project.

The project started in June 2013 and has been running continuously till today, in total 15 jackal have been collared and data collected by Lion & Safari Park staff member Mirdia Snyman, for their distribution, distances they travel and to see their home ranges. This project was one of the first in South Africa where a black-backed jackal was collared with GPS collars, the data that has been collected is invaluable. Data on their diet and abundance was also collected and by the end of the study we would be able to see what the population dynamics is of the black-backed jackal is in a peri-urban area. We gave questionnaires to the community to see what impact the black-backed jackal has on the community, we also focussed on what the general knowledge was on this elusive predator. The end result of the project is to have enough data to see just what impact they have on the community, wild animals, and domestic animals. The data will be used to form a management plan in the hopes of lowering the human-predator conflict.


KaiNav Conservation

Foundation’s African Dragon Project

The KaiNav Conservation Foundation’s African Dragon Project was initiated on the Lion & Safari Park property in February 2016. The aim of this study was to generate baseline data on the peri-urban Nile monitor lizard population using a short stretch of river on the eastern boundary of the Lion & Safari Park. To date we have captured and chipped 12 individual lizards ranging in size from between two kg to well over 10 kg! The information gathered from these animals will help in the conservation of this species and improve our knowledge on the ecology of large reptilian predators in and around urban habitats. 

For more information visit: http://www.kainavconservation.org/

KaiNav Conservation Foundation’s S.N.A.R.E. Initiative

The KaiNav Conservation Foundation’s S.N.A.R.E. (Snare Neutralization, Awareness and Removal Effort) Initiative is a counter poaching, education and awareness initiative. The S.N.A.R.E initiative focuses on the location and removal of snares and other devices/equipment used to illegally harvest wildlife and flora from natural areas. By actively and regularly removing snares and other devices/equipment, the initiative intends to make the practice of poaching, unsustainable and uneconomical for the individuals participating in this activity. Data regarding location and characteristics of snare placement is also collected and used in on-going studies and monitoring of poaching activities throughout South Africa.

In July 2016, The KaiNav Conservation Foundation S.N.A.R.E. Team conducted an anti-snare patrol on the Lion & Safari Park property. After a four-hour patrol, six snares were located, catalogued and removed. Each snare was more than 30 cm in diameter and believed to have been set to capture large game species such as kudu. S.N.A.R.E. has since been implemented in the surrounding area, within the Cradle of Human Kind and greater Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve locating and removing more than 50 snares! The proliferation of snares and traps in the area indicates a serious threat to biodiversity in the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve and Cradle of Human Kind.

For more information visit: http://www.kainavconservation.org/

KaiNav Conservation Foundation’s SNARE Art

The KaiNav Conservation Foundation’s SNARE Art™ Program uses art in the fight against poaching. This program aims to uplift local artists by assisting them in building a sustainable business. The program is associated with KaiNav Conservation Foundation’s existing S.N.A.R.E. Initiative. The accumulation of poaching equipment collected during the S.N.A.R.E. Initiative necessitated a unique and dynamic method of discarding of the material in a sustainable, responsible and environmentally friendly way, thus, the SNARE Art™

Program was born. The SNARE Art™ Program involves engaging with local wire artists to create unique art pieces from the snares and other poaching equipment removed from the bush by the KaiNav Conservation Foundation. In September 2016, the Lion & Safari Park became an official supplier of SNARE Art™. The sales generated from SNARE Art™ goes directly to the maintenance and expansion of S.N.A.R.E. and SNARE Art to other parts of South Africa suffering from snare poaching.

For more information visit: http://www.kainavconservation.org/





Our gorgeous giraffe Zoë has just turned three in October and is often the star of the show. You can meet Zoë at our feeding platform, feed her or get a kiss – she even has her own hash tag #zoethegiraffe.

Zoë was named after one of our volunteers who was staying at the park at the time and was the first to see Zoë. Since that day Zoë has been stealing the heart of everyone that meets her. She is one of the most playful animals at the park, especially early mornings and late afternoons. When Zoë was young she stayed in her giraffe house at night and roamed around the park during the day. When it was time for Zoë to be fed in the giraffe house, she would wait for keepers to get fairly close and then the game would begin - she loved chasing her keepers around. The keepers would run from tree to tree, through fences or any other barriers. Even though Zoë loves her play time, she loved her bottle even more!

Zoë is a few years older now and not much has changed. She has free roam of the park, but enjoys staying close to our feeding platform. On the other hand Gerhard (our hornless gemsbok) enjoys staying in the same area…the same area Zoë likes playing her chasing game… If you get to the park early on some mornings, you’ll see the game commencing. Gerhard has become used to the game and has learnt how to dodge Zoë in her game of tag. Perhaps we should teach her the proper rules of how to play tag?

Another favourite game that she as well as her mother Purdy enjoys playing is “African Roadblock”.  This entails standing in the middle of the road, in front of the game drive vehicle, preventing the vehicle from passing. This game can extend your game drive by a few minutes or considerably longer. Our giraffe will allow you to pass if you drive on slow enough for them to accompany you through the savanna section as long as they choose to. If on the other hand the guide passes the giraffe and speeds off to get away, the chance of a giraffe chase is always good.

For decades it has been believed that there are between nine and eleven subspecies of giraffe. Recent studies have found that these subspecies are now classified as four species of giraffe. These species are southern giraffe (Giraffa giraffa), Masai giraffe (G. tippelskirchi), reticulated giraffe (G. reticulata) and northern giraffe (G. camelopardalis). In the past 15 years, there has been a decline of 40% of the giraffe population with an estimate of 90 000 individual giraffe in the wild. As one species, giraffe are classified as “least concern” of going extinct. However, as giraffe are divided into four species, giraffes are now potentially endangered. This essentially means that more research needs to be done to establish their conservation status as well as which steps need to be taken to ensure the conservation of these gentle giants.

To meet our magnificent giraffe, visit them at the giraffe feeding platform – or they might pay you a visit while you are having something to eat at our wetlands restaurant.



Ziziphus Mucronata

Family: Rhamnaceae

English: buffalo thorn

Afrikaans: Blinkblaar-wag-'n-bietjie

Zulu: umPhafa, umLahlankosi, isiLahla

National Tree No.: 447


Ziziphus mucronata is a small to medium-sized tree, 3-10(-20) m high; with a spreading canopy. The main stem is green and hairy when young; year old branches often zigzag; the bark is reddish brown or roughly mottled grey, cracked into small rectangular blocks, revealing a red and stringy under-surface. Young stems are reddish brown.

Medicinal and cultural uses:

Boiling of the roots and drinking the end result is traditionally used as painkillers. A combination of the bark and leaves is used for respiratory ailments and other abrasion of the skin. Pastes of the root and leaves can be applied to treat boils, swollen glands, wounds and sores. Steam baths from the bark are used to purify and improve the complexion (Palmer & Pitman 1972). In East Africa, roots are used for treating snake bites (Hutchings et al. 1996).

Berries were used in: porridge, coffee substitute, to make beer.

Wood from this tree is used for timber, wagon making and fence posts (Watt & Brandwijk 1962). The elasticity of the shoots makes it suitable for bows and whip sticks. Some African tribes use the thorny branches to make kraals or hedges. This protects their livestock from lions and other predators.

African believes:

It represents life, a new beginning: the young twigs zigzag in the same way that life isn’t always straightforward. The two thorns at the nodes are also significant: one facing backwards representing where we come from and one facing forward, representing where we are going.

Zulus and Swazis use the buffalo thorn in connection with burial rites. It is customary that when a Zulu chief die, the tree is planted on his grave as a reminder or symbol of where the chief lies. Hence the name umLahlankosi- that which buries the chief. A twig from the tree is used to attract and carry the spirit of the deceased from the place of death to the new resting place, giving him a new beginning. When a stock owner died, and was buried according to custom, within the cattle or goat kraal, some branches are placed on the grave so that the animals can nibble on the leaves and twigs, to understand that their master had died (Palmer & Pitman 1972).




All content of the folklore and information was taken from the paper written by: Credo Mutwa.

The bateleur is a medium-sized eagle in the family Accipitridae. Its closest relatives are the snake eagles. It is the only member of the genus Terathopius and may be the origin of the "Zimbabwe Bird", national emblem of Zimbabwe.

 In the Zulu culture the Bateleur is seen as one of the holiest birds. This is the Bateleur eagle, known by the Zulu’s as Ingonghulu. The word, Ingonghulu, describes the behaviour of the bateleur when beating its wings in the air but the word also means the beginning and the end, alpha and omega. It is believed that when creation began, when the tree of life produced living things, the first bird to fall off the tree of life, was the Ingonghulu, the Bateleur. To signal the birth of creation, the Ingonghulu extended her wings and beat them, GHU-GHUGHU, and creation was announced.

How birds are seen as through the eyes of a traditional African:

Throughout Africa, many believes regarding birds have been found. Bird in Zulu is called ingonyi and in Sesoto and Tswana is called ngonyani which means fat or fattening. The names came from believe that the birds bring fertility after migrations thus ‘fattening’ the land. Falling in with this believe is that the migratory birds is that they are the souls of human beings who have reached a high state of perfection. Raised by the Gods to the state of a bird, the freest creature in the world; a creature that is a friend to the air, friend to the land and friend to the water. This is the ingonyi - the freest of the free, the fattener, the fertiliser.

In tradition to move up towards the level of perfection to reach ingonyi you have to pass certain levels to move from a sangoma to a sanusi this is the question you have to awnser: “Who is the beautiful woman who is the mother of a tree?” and only a true sanusi will know the awnser “the bird is the mother of the tree.”

Beautiful saying by African groups:

  • Setswana: “setklara seswala kinyona,”
  • Zulu, “ummuthi uzalwanyone” - both of which mean, “the tree is given birth to by the bird.”
  • The Bakgatla people have a proverb that says “if you shave the great Earth Mother’s green hair, she will lose her feathered lice” in other words, if you destroy trees, birds will no longer come to bring fertility.



Every month we have a star of the month, this is a person that stands out, whose passion shines through with everything they do and makes the Lion and Safari Park that extra special destination.

Jason Booysen is our Star, as Richard Branson puts it “I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living”, Jason lives his life to the fullest!

Jason’s life motto: “Rise Up. Take Courage. And Do It” Ezra 10:4



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