Walking with the lions

I''ll scratch your belly. Hope you don't scratch mine!

Rubbing a lion's belly
Snarling lion

They do not understand any language, so just keep talking!

Holding the lioness by the tail and going for a short walk is not a daily occurrence!

Lady holding the lion by the tail

"​Their killing instincts are very much intact. They are not tamed."

Faria, the lion minder

“Always approach them from behind. Pet them firmly; otherwise, they will feel tickled. Do not touch their heads and paws.

“When you get near them, crouch down, or they will feel threatened and attack!

“If they roll over, distract them with the stick; do not touch their tail when lying down or sitting.

“Talk to them when you approach them, so you do not take them by surprise. They [wild animals] do not understand any language, so keep talking!

“They are wild animals; they are not tamed. They have learnt to co-habitat with humans. Their killing instincts are very much intact. When they are two years old, they will be released into the game park, about 80,000 hectares.”

These were the words of Faria, the lion minder, before I approached the lions – Simba, Nelli, Luba, and Shingu – at the Mukuni Big 5 Safaris, Livingstone, Zambia.

I did feel a bit like Tarzan. The stick was insurance. If she turned her head and tried to snap at my loving hand, I was to distract her by offering the stick!

I paid good money to massage the little squirt. [I did think of opening a massage parlour for exotic animals!] Lions and lionesses like their belly rubbed firmly. Nelli had her leg up in the air from the time she settled down. I could hear her purr like a big cat.

The trip to Zambia was a lifetime opportunity. From landing in Lusaka to living in the sugarcane farm, standing precipitously close to the thundering Victoria Falls, walking with the lions, lounging with the cheetahs, getting charged by an elephant, travelling to a secret place to see the rhinos, and living in a game park amid wild animals … Read more …

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