Thursday, September 02, 2010

Travel Thursday: South Africa Day 3

On our third full day in South Africa, we didn't have any matches to attend, so we decided to cross a big day trip off our our to-do list: the Lion Park!

The Lion Park was maybe an hour from where we were staying. So, I asked the owner of the hotel that we were supposed to be staying in (you may remember that our original hotel burned down a few weeks before we arrived) if she could arrange transportation for us to get to the Lion Park.

She drove us herself!

Which was so nice and so unnecessary for her to do. It was just a really, really kind gesture and we couldn't have appreciated it more.

At the park, you have two options: a self-drive through the park, where you're literally driving your car through these different areas where the prides of lions are just chillaxin', or a guided tour. We took the guided tour, in an open-air safari vehicle. It was definitely the right choice: we got all of the information from the guide and we got to see some areas of the park that aren't open for the public to drive through.

First we drove through an area with lots of plains animals. Including...zebras! Love the zebras. Don't love that we didn't pack the zoom lens for Meg's camera.

Then it was through the prides of lions. There were a few different areas - separated by fences - that houses different prides. It's sort of insane because there's really nothing separating you (driving on the dirt drive around their area) from the lions. Apparently lions are very habitual creatures. They're used the cars driving around them, so it isn't any big deal. If you drove your car onto the grass, though, they would be very unhappy.

It got a little bit hot 'n' heavy.

Awkward for us, but the lions didn't seem to mind. HA.

When we were done with the "game drive" portion of the Lion Park, we were dropped back out front, where we met this fine gentleman.

My boss (who is a tool) kept saying that I was going to go to Africa and end up married to a man with multiple wives. We took this picture for him.

And then we went to the other half of the park. The part where dreams come true. The part where you get to TOUCH A BABY LION CUB.

In case you were wondering: they're not as soft as they look.

Shakira went to the Lion Park when she was in South Africa for the World Cup final. That's how cool this place is. Frickin' Shakira (my favorite Shakira lyrics: "my breasts are small and humble, you don't confuse them with mountains.") goes there. As did most of the teams participating in the World Cup.


When our precious few minutes with the lion cubs were over, we walked around a little bit to see the rest of the wildlife in the park. Including this gorgeous giraffe, which you could feed.

And this not so gorgeous ostrich, which I found to be very scary.

And then we went back to the hotel. Basking in the joy that is an afternoon at the Lion Park.

That night, we went to dinner in Melrose Arch, which is a pretty typical shopping/restaurant sort of an area with a big open square in the middle. Well, I would imagine that normally it is an open square. When we were there, every restaurant had extensive tents to maximize seating. We sat outside, watched the Denmark/Cameroon match, met a nice group of American guys from the midwest, and generally soaked in the atmosphere.

We went to bed very happy. Very full. And dreaming of baby lion cubs.


Susan said...

Looooove all the animal pictures! Those lion cubs are so adorable.

Mrs. Architect said...

Love love love your trip posts!! I'm seething in envy at this specific day!!! I want a cub too!! (although I'm a bit disappointed that they aren't as soft as they look.)

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