Johannesburg: Lions, Giraffes & Zebras, Oh My!

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My love for photography started with animals. And my love for animals has been there for as long as I could remember. When I was little, I always wanted to be a vet. I later realized that I feel a bit woozy when I see blood, and quickly crossed that off my list. Animals have always been a part of my life. I grew up helping take my grandma’s dog for walks, begged my parents for pets (two fish and a cat), befriended the neighbourhood squirrels, went to summer camps that involved animals (an animal rescue and a ranch), and made my parents do anything animal related on trips (ranches, zoos, aquariams.. you name it, I wanted to see it). And most of all, horses were a part of my life since day one. Somewhere along the way, I ended up with a camera, and hundreds of pictures of horses. Every time I went to the barn, my camera came with me.

Even to this day, when I am on a layover and I see an animal, my first instinct is either to go pet it, or to take a photo.

So when I was on a layover in Johannesburg and some of the crew suggested checking out the lion park, I initially said yes. Because there would be animals, so why would I say no? By the time we reached the hotel, I had changed my mind, because as much as wild animals fascinate me, I am not sure how I feel about being allowed to pet wild animals. When I was backpacking in Thailand, we did an overnight trek that included riding an elephant. Standing in front of the elephant, watching it take bananas from my hands so very gently was an amazing experience. Sitting on the elephant’s back as he reluctantly walked us around was not.

The crew convinced me to go, and I don’t regret it. I can do without the lion cub petting, although it is still amazing being so close to them. And sometimes a little intimidating, because they are like very large kittens and puppies with a lot of curiousity and usually that curiousity includes them wanting to taste, chew and bite various things. The good news is, starting in 2016, the Joburg lion park will no longer have lion cub petting. They will also be moving to a new location, and one possible new activity will be horseback safaris. Yes please!

As for my pictures from Johannesburg.. there’s lions, lions, more lions.. a few other animals, and even more lions.

I can’t really recommend much else to do in Johannesburg yet because the extent of my layovers there have been 1) Lion park 2) Steak 3) Wine.

So besides the lion park, I highly recommend finding a good restaurant and getting some steak and red wine.

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Heads up! Giraffe coming through!

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Like all cats, the higher the perch, the better!

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The cherry on the top for me! Because, giraffes are cool. Bucket List: Giraffe Manor in Kenya

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2 thoughts on “Johannesburg: Lions, Giraffes & Zebras, Oh My!

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