Day THREE is Animal Day.
I have just returned from an early morning 3 hour Walking Safari in the neighbouring 66 sq mile Mosi-O-Tunya National Park. It was chilly as we left at 7.15 am for the short drive. Seeing the animals at ground level and being able to track them was different. There was me and just 2 others tourists along with a guide and a park person armed with rifle in hand - just in case! Highlight besides seeing more but different breed of giraffe, more zebras, wildebeests, impalas, gazelles, bird life was to see 3 of the Park's 5 white Cape rhino. The guide was really informative and explained heaps about the different animals even down to if it was a female or male animal by looking at the dung!
As for the rhinos again doing what any healthy 2 rhino do ... they just went on and on .... Apparently what I witnessed was rare so my footage must be Animal Planet stuff!
I'm really glad that I left the Lion Encounter till last. Another traveller several days ago witnessed 2 cubs making probably their first kill. They were lucky. I have been told and really hope that these 2 lion cubs will be released back to the wild into a National Park later once reared.
The walk with the lion cubs will certainly be one of the trip highlights for me. While only an hour, it certainly felt much longer than that. Our small group had 3 of the 5 cubs which were at a stage of being able to walk with us as well as being able to be patted and stroked by us humans - not around the head area though. We were even able to walk with them holding their tails. The cubs were 12 / 13 months old. My photos, which I will post when I get to a faster computer, will better show the interaction that we had with the lion cubs. I have one photo with just the lion's mouth wide open full frame showing all of his teeth (he was yawning!).
PS Yes, as the following photos will show, I do love my lions.
The African Lion and Environment Research Trust (ALERT) are using these lions to breed further lions that will be released back into the wild (national parks and game reserves). These off spring cubs that we interacted with will be used for breeding and their cubs will have no human contact at all before releasing.
Walk on the wild side
Thursday, July 16, 2009