We arrived in Johanessburg in the afternoon on the 28th. We picked up our hire car, a VW polo and headed to our hotel for a big sleep in preparation for a big day. First stop was the lion park, the traffic turned out to be very light due to the Good Friday public holiday so we arrived 30minutes before the park opened. In this time we saw a giraffe in the car park and a meer kat wandering towards the staff quarters/picnic area. When we did make it into the park the meer kat scurried back into his enclosure. There was a ramp to help him get back in so his escape act must have occurred regularly.
Our first stop inside the lion park was to pat the cubs. There were 12 cubs, some tawny and some white lions. The white lions were a bit older than the rest and were a little too rough to play with. In the photos there is also a serval in the next cage looking for attention. The smaller tawny lions were much friendlier so we focussed our attention towards them.
Our next stop was the cheetah enclosure to meet Felix and Masaai. Felix was an big 8yo male who hated his tail. We spent most of our time with Maasai a 6yo male who was trained and very gentle. Maasai could high five, kiss your arm or touch both of your feet for a small meat treat. Even when he was naughty the handler would still give him a meat reward.
After playing with the beautiful kitties, we got to drive through the enclosures of the fully-grown animals. We saw plenty of huge lions, as well as cheetahs and wild dogs.
Next we headed off to the Rhino and Lion Park, and went straight to the animal nursery to pat some tiny little lion cubs. They were much smaller than the Lion Park cubs, but sound asleep so not quite as entertaining. The park is set up as a self-drive area with buffalos, zebra, antelopes etc. wandering around, and then specific areas for predators. This park is trying to be more like a game park than a zoo. With the long drives on dirt roads we ran out of time to see the Rhinos.
Our next destination was the Cradle of Humankind Centre. The area is where some of the first human bones were found, and they have lots of exhibits, talking about world and human evolution.