While at Sondela Nature Reserve my mom and I decided to walk with lions. My mom has walked with lions before and played with tiger cubs and I have always longed to do that. We arrived early and met with the 2 handlers who would take us for the walk. They called the 3 lion cubs who knew exactly what activity was up next. They ran excitedly out of their enclosure and lead us on our walk (occasionally getting a little distracted by more interesting things in the long grass).
These 3 lion cubs are 3 months old and were abandoned by their mother. The rehabilitation centre is raising them. The cubs are 2 sisters and a brother. While on the walk I kept thinking to myself that I couldn’t believe I was walking with 3 lion cubs – up close and personal! They were quite happy to let my mom and I scratch them, tickle them and talk to them.
At the beginning of the walk we were warned that they could bump us over. The looked so cute and fuzzy and were about the same size of my two dogs. I didn’t believe they would knock me over as my dogs can’t. Well I got such a surprise when one ran into me and I nearly fall on my tooshie. We were also told that if they tried to bite us or jump on us we were to smack them on their nose. They took a liking to my mom’s leggings and jumped up on her a few times.
We walked for a while and then stopped to give them some water. They lapped it up and then ran to the shade. Two of them enjoyed chewing on the branches of a thorn tree while the third one enjoyed jumping up and down a sand mound.
This mindblowing experience was so much fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone who goes to Sondela. We paid R100 (about USD10) which really was affordable and the money goes to the rehabilitation centre where they live.