An African Adventure: Jo’Burg!

27 May

Not too long ago I checked my roster and was delighted to see somebody had accepted my swap to get rid of my Casablanca – I was going to Johannesburg! My first new destination in quite a while, and one I was very much looking forward to visiting.

All of the crew who fly to Joburg visit the infamous Lion Park at least once – it’s got to be done! So of course I emailed the ex-crew Noel who organises the tour and arranged a time for him to pick us up. During the flight (which was an overnight flight which meant all of our business class passengers slept the whole way!) I got chatting to the rest of the crew to see who wanted to come with me.

As we landed into Joburg around 6am, we all headed to the hotel for a little nap before the adventure in the afternoon. A few hours later, nicely refreshed, four of us met in the lobby, and luckily it was a beautiful sunny day.

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Noel drove us down to the Lion Park, which took around 30 minutes.

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Once we’d bought our tickets, in we went. The first area has lots of wild animals such as impalas, springbucks, zebras, etc. There’s also a lion enclosure and cheetah area where you can go in and stroke the animals.

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But first up – the giraffe! There’s a feeding station where you can climb up to the giraffe’s level and feed and stroke it.

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Having done our fair share of feeding and stroking, we wandered around to have a look at the rest of the animals. There’s even a baby giraffe who was too young to be fed.

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We were so lucky with the weather as the forecast wasn’t great, but it stayed nice and sunny the whole day.

Next up was something slightly more adventures. The park offers a new experience, which is to stroke a cheetah! Never before had I even thought about stroking a cheetah, so on a whim we paid the extra 50 Rand and went in to the enclosure. You only get around 2 minutes with the animal so we wanted to make the most of our time.

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The cheetah was very friendly but we had to make sure to stroke it from above, only touching the back and making sure to avoid the legs and face.

The trainer took him up to a platform, guiding him along with a piece of (horse) meat in his hand!

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Once our incredible cheetah experience was over, we wandered on to the next enclosure, where the baby lion cubs were. They sleep 16-20 hours a day (sounds like cabin crew to me!) but luckily were just waking up as we came in.

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We stroked them as they were lying down and all got some pictures, then the cubs decided it was time for a stretch!

They climbed up onto the mound in their enclosure, which we were also able to climb up onto, and had a little play and stroke.

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Group shot of the gang – Mauritius, Germany, Thailand, England … and a rather majestic lion cub!

After having managed to stroke all of the incredible animals, we headed back out to meet Noel who’d been waiting for us. The next part of our adventure was a drive around the grounds, where we could spot more of the amazing wildlife.

I think I’ll leave the pictures to do most of the talking, as it was just such an incredible experience getting to see so many animals up close. The sun was just beginning to set as well which made a beautiful backdrop.

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This adorable little baby zebra was only around 7 weeks old! Luckily her mum was right by her side watching out for her.

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As you can see the day ended with the most stunning sunset! It was definitely a day to remember, one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had in a long time.

I would highly recommend visiting the Lion Park if you’re going to Joburg, especially if it’s just a 24 hour layover like mine! Here’s hoping I get to visit South Africa some more in the future!

P.s. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter for more day-to-day updates of where I am in the world!

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23 Responses to “An African Adventure: Jo’Burg!”

  1. geo May 28, 2015 at 00:35 #

    hi, i’m an old reader of ur blog, keep up the good work here, and easy flights!
    p.s.: hope u won’t mind, but i’ve noticed tthat u’ve used to stroke the animals, this isn’t almost similar to hit them, not to pet them or caressing?

    • The Dubai Diaries May 29, 2015 at 13:36 #

      Hi, thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚ No, to stroke is the same as pet/caress. It’s very gentle, not like hitting them at all! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. latka May 28, 2015 at 01:54 #

    Like your blog but it saddens me to see somebody exploiting animals like this; animal tourism shouldn’t be encouraged. Those poor cats are caged, not roaming the land as they would prefer. Perhaps you should think on this? Would you like to be caged so tourists could have some fun with you?

    • The Dubai Diaries May 29, 2015 at 13:39 #

      Hi there, thanks for your comment. If you had done any research you’d know that in fact there are only around 7500 cheetahs left in the world, as well as around 2500 zebras, and less than 300 white lions. I think it’s great that the Lion Park does so much work to keep these animals from becoming extinct, which is what inevitably will happen in the future as so many people do not care about animals in the wild.

      • Anonymous May 29, 2015 at 15:17 #

        Hi there — I don’t know why you think I haven’t done any research? Could you perhaps explain how you reached that conclusion? All I did was note that the animals are caged and exploited — one does not need to engage in much research to reach that conclusion, one only needs to look at the photos you supplied. I take it that you got your information from people who make money from keeping these non-human animals caged? Your justification for keeping these animals caged and using them as entertainment is that there are so few of them remaining. The Awa tribe (humans) are also facing extinction. Following your logic they should be put in a cage so that other humans can take selfies with them…Would you agree this? Do you think the remaining non-human animals in your photos enjoy being locked in a cage, put on display and put forward for the entertainment of tourists? Do you think if the cages were opened that they would choose to stay and pose for phtos all day long? Rather than being defensive, a better use of this time would be to educate yourself about the mental and physical health of non-human animals who are locked into cages so that human animals can have an amusing day out…There is no justification for this. Here is some information from people who do not make money from keeping animals locked up: https://www.change.org/p/tripadvisor-warn-people-of-animal-cruelty-at-tourist-attractions?recruiter=1807894&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-reason_msg&fb_ref=Default

  3. wonderingeli May 28, 2015 at 14:09 #

    Hi, looks like you’ve had some great there and the picture of the African sunset and the animals are amazing, it’s something I’d love to take the time to do that myself, also I was wondering when you would be posting June’s rota?

    • wonderingeli May 28, 2015 at 14:11 #

      That should read ” had some great fun there” my apologies hahaha

    • The Dubai Diaries May 29, 2015 at 13:41 #

      Hi there! Thanks for reading, glad you liked the pictures ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll be putting my June roster up soon!

  4. iamrandomsam May 28, 2015 at 20:48 #

    You just made me home sick!!! Johannesburg is one of those places that are renown for the city life, yet few truly appreciate the spectacular side of it. You need to visit the Garden Route (Knysna, George, Plettenberg Bay and Mossell Bay).

    • The Dubai Diaries May 29, 2015 at 13:42 #

      Aww glad you enjoyed it! Hopefully I’ll get another Joburg flight soon and I’ll be able to visit the Garden Route. I’d love to explore more of South Africa!

  5. MARI May 29, 2015 at 12:13 #

    Next time come to Cape Town and experience the wine route!

    • The Dubai Diaries May 29, 2015 at 13:44 #

      Hopefully I’ll get another Cape Town flight soon! I did go about a year ago (or was it 2 years ago?!) and we visited the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point and also a penguin place, although I can’t remember what it was called! It’s pretty tough to get Cape Town flights though but if I do come back I’l definitely go wine tasting! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. putt380 May 31, 2015 at 07:28 #

    working on my first South Africa trip and hopefully this year or 2016, for certain… next time you visit Cape Town, head out to do cage shark diving and one of world’s deepest bungee jumping if you feel adventurous ๐Ÿ˜€

    • The Dubai Diaries May 31, 2015 at 17:45 #

      I don’t think I’ll be doing cage shark diving any time soon, definitely not for me haha! Bungee jumping I’d be up for though – a few years ago I jumped from the world’s highest in Macau, 233 metres! Crazy!

  7. Sandra June 3, 2015 at 18:22 #

    Glad you have enjoyed Joburg! Hope you’ll be able to visit other African Countries as well

    • The Dubai Diaries June 4, 2015 at 15:44 #

      I really hope so! So far I have only managed to tick SA, Casablanca and Nigeria off the list!

  8. Abena June 20, 2015 at 02:23 #

    hi there,i love your blog and my AD is just next month,ive read most of your post but im still wondering if they will ask me to describe all the 12 exceptional images of Dubai,ive learnt the history though but i still cant feel its enough,what else do you think i need to learn more about,ive studied most interview tips too,im so scared when ever i imagine it.Will you love to visit Ghana?Thanks and will be so happy to see you

    • The Dubai Diaries June 23, 2015 at 21:14 #

      Hi there, thanks for reading! Good luck for your open day ๐Ÿ™‚ I have absolutely no idea what the 12 exceptional images of Dubai are, there was nothing like that in my open day! If you’ve studied all the interview tips I’m sure you’ll be great, just be yourself and keep smiling! I hope to visit Ghana one day, it’s on my list! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Abena June 29, 2015 at 03:22 #

    awww thanks dear for your advice,will be so happy to meet you,God richly bless you Rachel.I wish you a great week ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Anonymous October 11, 2015 at 22:18 #

    I think it’s amazing what u have done. Thank u!! Ur blog looks so cool and makes joburg look good๐Ÿ˜

  11. Noel October 11, 2015 at 22:19 #

    I think it’s amazing what u have done. Thank u!! Ur blog looks so cool and makes joburg look good๐Ÿ˜

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