Did you know?
Lions can sleep or relax for 20 hours out of every 24.
There is a reason why they call the lion the king of the beasts.
Just go to the Lion Park on the edge of Johannesburg, gaze into those tawny, implacably proud eyes, and it will suddenly become abundantly clear where humans really stand on the food chain.
The Lion Park is a fondly regarded piece of Johannesburg’s history and one of its best-known attractions.
It was first opened in 1966, established by the Chipperfield Circus. Over the years it has expanded from being a lions-only attraction.
Apart from these gigantic sociable cats, you can also see hyenas and other predators, come eyeball to eyeball with giraffes at a feeding station, walk with cheetahs and see a number of other species of antelope. You will be relieved to know they are kept firmly separate from the lions.
The different lion prides are also kept apart from one another – these are very territorial beasts and they’re not scared to show it. As a result, the Lion Park is a kind of hybrid between a zoo and a game reserve.
Sightings are, in other words, completely guaranteed. There are often baby predators you are allowed to touch. There’s a chance to see baby cheetahs, hyenas, caracal and leopard, as well as lion cubs (sometimes there are white ones too).
You’re free to drive around by yourself, but there’s also the option of a game drive. A guide will give you information about the animals you’re seeing, making it an educational experience.
You can also opt for a night drive and a meal in the boma, or simply go straight to the giraffe feeding station and marvel at those incredibly long tongues.
This is a very popular attraction – a glance at the website will show that celebrities seldom miss an opportunity go there. Their Celebrity Wall records visits from Kaka the Brazilian soccer hero, actress Natalie Portman, singers Shakira and John Legend.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
The Lion Park
Tel: +27 (0)11 691 9905
Fax: +27 (0)11 691 9904
Cell: +27 (0)76 187 3883
Around the area
You're close to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, so pop in at the Sterkfontein Caves or Maropeng, the official visitor centre of the Cradle.
Tours to do
Pay an extra R30 to interact with lion cubs.
You could do a game drive or drive yourself around.
What will it cost
Approximately R150 per adult self drive and R240 for a night drive. There are various rates for children, depending on age.
Length of stay
This makes an excellent half-day excursion.
Where to stay
Johannesburg has plenty of options close by.