Visiting Lion Cubs

On one of our trips to South Africa, my husband and I decided to take our girls to the Lion Park so that they could meet with the “king of the jungle”. The park is just outside of Fourways in Johannesburg and it did not take us long to drive there. As we entered the gates after paying, we came across the following sign:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Touch a Cub sign. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

“Should we go visit the baby lions?” I asked my girls. “Yes!” they chorused with enthusiasm. I wasn’t too sure what “touch a cub” referred to but if it meant that we could see cubs up close, I was eager to find out. A little bit further on, we found out that we could enter the enclosure where the cubs were kept – but we had to understand that the cubs were wild animals and not the little kittens we would play with at home.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Warning sign. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

We decided to enter. When would we get this chance again to actually touch a lion – even though it was a little one? We came really close to the cubs. So close that I could take pictures without using the zoom on my camera.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Sleeping cubs. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

We were told we could touch the cubs. After a little hesitation, one by one my family and I did so. My youngest was a bit nervous to reach out; but eventually, when she saw that we had come to no harm, she reached out to touch the rough-feeling fur of the young animal.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Touching a cub. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

There were quite a few cubs in the enclosure. We did not touch them all – only the ones that the handlers encouraged us to. I am guessing that the cubs all get their turn as there were quite a few visitors to the lion park that day.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Relaxing out of the sun. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Looking at the cubs close-up, they look even more like bigger versions of kittens.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A lion cub. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

I enjoyed the experience of being so close to them. It was a close view of nature’s wild animals that one does not often see.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Close-up of a lion cub. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

One of the handlers was playing with a cub, showing us that maybe they are just bigger versions of kittens.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Playing with a cub. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Alas we could not play with the cubs like this. But it was a wonderful experience being able to touch them and see them up close.

Have you ever touched a lion cub?

(This post was written especially for Sonel, a South African blogger who shows beautiful photographs taken in her home country. Hope you enjoyed the photos Sonel 🙂 )

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42 thoughts on “Visiting Lion Cubs

  1. Awwww…they are so adorable Colline and what great shots! You’ve captured them so well hon! I bet everyone enjoyed that immensely! It’s great fun playing with them. I used to play with the little white lions here at the Snake and Animal park and swim with the seals at the Aquarium in the good old days. Fond memories indeed! Thanks so much for sharing these lovely photo’s. Much appreciated! 😀 *big hugs*

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      1. I loved it Colline and it was fun and I loved the seals they had at the Aquarium. Sadly, it was sold and well, my nephew changed as well … turned into one of those that think he’s better than others because he has more money and I don’t associate with people like that…family or not. 🙂

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  2. you have courage, dear Colline! I just left our living room in panic, because our little cat had decided, to kill the bird, she caught in our garden, – to kill that poor animal without pardon on our sofa …

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  3. Wonderful experience, and not one I’ve had even though I live here!
    I’d be a bit nervous, though. Just playing with some ordinary domestic kittens has caused me to bleed a lot … 🙂

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  4. Wow! Great photos. I held and played with a lion cub when I was a child in Botswana in the early 80s. It was amazing and an experience I’ll never forget. I still have a photo of my sister cradling a cub in her arms somewhere in my many photo albums.

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  5. You really have some precious photos of the cubs. I also loved to visit that Lion Park in the early days when they started the park. Dis you visit the park this year? Thanks for sharing these photos

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    1. We visited in 2009 – seems such a long time ago. We decided to visit the park as opposed to going to a game reserve because at least at the Lion Park we would see the lions for sure (we went during a hot December). We did not regret our decision.

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