Living with Lions

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Lion Park

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Our captive bred lions hold an important place in conservation as most activists would like to disbelieve. Many people in South Africa neither have the means nor the money to go to a national park to see lions. It is really something that only the more affluent in society can afford. Parks like The Lion Park offer the previously and currently disadvantaged communities an opportunity to see lions in prides in a semi natural habitat. Given our strong focus on education, the Lion Park has a long history of allowing schools through the gates at a nominal rate and in fact has often waived the entrance fees to schools who can’t even afford the reduced rate. The young children of today who visit The Lion Park and who are moved by the animals that live there are tomorrow’s conservators.

By having lions that people can see and get up close to, you have the ability and opportunity to educate people as to the plight of the lions in the wild (Numbers have dropped from around 300 000 to 23 000 in less than 2 decades!!). The captive bred lions can literally be ambassadors for their wild cousins.

The Lion Park has been in existence for 42 years. Our prime aim and function is one of tourism but equally important is the role of conservation. The type of visitor we receive are individuals who consider their role in environmental problems and conservation action, and see themselves as part of the solution. Visitors and volunteers to our park play an important role in conservation, education and animal care. People, volunteers who are interested in ecological concepts will find this project stimulating. In addition, we bread the rare white lion already extinct in the wild and their survival depends on parks like ours.

The overall aim is to enhance public understanding of wildlife. We are strong believers in conservation through education.

The Lion Park is a member of PAAZAB (The Zoological Institute of South Africa) and as such high standard of care is required of all animals in our habitat. Excess animals surplus to our requirements (e.g: lions, white lions, cheetah, wild dog, hyena, brown, spotted and striped, and leopard) are sent to respectable zoos and institutions across the world, enabling the rest of the world to appreciate the natural heritage that Africa has to offer.

Volunteers help with the daily tasks such as feeding and caring for the animals, cleaning and maintaining the animal enclosure and maintaining the park, and interacting with the many visitors we have at the park on a daily basis. The visitors are from all walks of life and all ages in the form of local visitors, foreign visitors We are also very strong with local school groups where we have an opportunity to educate tomorrows leaders.

It is essential that the minimum requirement for a volunteer is that you have a love for wildlife and not afraid of getting your hands dirty, further more wish to add to conservation in Africa. Our minimum age for volunteers is 18. A further attribute is that you have the ability to get long with your colleagues. This is a laid back peaceful existence with minimum stress and a lot of fun.

The day stars at 8am to the calls of African birds. You are divided into two groups. Group A goes off to the nursery to prepare bottles and feeding of the lion and/or hyena cubs, cutting up meat for the older cubs. Cleaning the nursery with brooms and hoses. Running the cubs down from the nursery to cub world and back each morning and afternoon, which is a huge hit. The second group is in Cub World cleaning the lion, jackal and hyena cub enclosures, washing out their water pans, scrubbing, and refilling with water. Making giraffe feeding bags, which will be sold to the visitors as well as general cleaning and tidying of the area.

The following morning, the groups switch tasks, and so on.

Research has shown that people relate to the natural world, and in this way one is actively learning and working in an environment so close to animals and nature that the experience is invaluable.

  • Work schedule 8am – 5pm. It is varied and interesting, educating and stimulating.
  • Maintenance work at the Park is an everyday occurrence, which you are welcome to join from fixing fences, putting out fires, repairing enclosures to painting etc.
  • Volunteers can get involved showing visitors around the centre and take the numerous school groups around the lion Park supervising their interaction with the cubs and answering their questions.

A Day in the life of a volunteer

Our arrival at the Lion Park commenced the best two weeks of our lives. The staff let each of the volunteers become familiar with the routine at their own pace, and they led by example rather than assigning tasks without supervision. Their patience and genuine love for the animals inspired the volunteers to become a part of their world and touched us on a very personal level. They quietly and quickly assessed each of our strengths and preferences and put us to work in a capacity that took these into account, resulting in happy, more productive volunteers.

Each day we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and a walk through the zebra-and-ostrich-filled tent camp to the kitchen and a quick community breakfast. Then to work. To my wife’s delight there were several day-old lion cubs in the nursery requiring constant attention from the staff and volunteers. Each morning she helped prepare their formula. My job was to cut meat for the older cubs, rake the public area, and clean the enclosures of the older animals. This provided me with a level of contact with the animals that I had never envisioned. When our other duties were complete, we could usually be found acting as human shields between the young lions practicing their hunting skills and an unsuspecting public. We left a lot of our blood on African soil and loved every minute of it.

Living arrangements

Our accommodation is on the premises. The facilities are safari tents over looking the herbivore savannah area with zebra, giraffe, Oryx, wild beast, springbok, impala, ostrich etc of the lion park while being subjected to nights of lions roaring and hyenas laughing, jackals calling which is an experience never to be forgotten in Africa. It’s not uncommon to go to the bathroom being watched by the “eye in the sky” with one or both of our tame mischievous giraffes who often break into the tented camp.

The Accommodation

  • You will be staying in shared comfortable bed and electrified tents, 4 per tent.
  • You will be staying in shared comfortable bed and electrified tents, 4 per tent.
  • Bathroom facilities include clean hot water showers, basins and mirrors.
  • Fully functional kitchen with a laundry mat/washing machine.
  • Electric points are available in tents for light and chargers.
  • Occasional tourists are in the immediate environment.

Food

  • We offer breakfast and lunch. Dinner is at your own expense. We take you out for an exciting dinner at great African restaurant.
  • You will be responsible for dinner, which could be cooked by yourselves in our volunteer kitchen. We will take you shopping to buy supplies once a week. We take you out for an exciting dinner at great African restaurant.
  • Vegetarians can be catered for, for any other food requirement, please enquire with us.

What to pack

Bush clothes that you are willing to get ripped by lion cubs (khakis and browns etc). Personal medication, toiletries, sun screen, camera with lots of memory. The weather is warm/hot in summer, cool in winter/cool nights. Please bring a waterproof raincoat for summer and a warm pullover or jacket for winter nights. A water bottle is also advisable.

Please book your arrival on the dates as advertised. Our starting dates are every other Monday, throughout the year. Should your dates not comply with our schedule, for a small fee you can choose to have a special pickup and orientation. This will also apply if you arrive a day early and require a place to stay before the volunteer project begins. Transfers are conducted to and from Johannesburg’s International Airport: O.R. Tambo (code: JNB) or anywhere in Johannesburg or Pretoria.

Orientation on South Africa as well as the project at the Lion Park will be covered on arrival day. Work commences the next morning.

The minimum duration of your stay is 2 weeks.

Each volunteer receives two volunteer T-shirts to be worn during working hours. These T-shirts, including any rips or tears, are for you to take home as a reminder of your brilliant time you shared with us under the African sky.

The Lion Park has a fully stocked curio shop where volunteers receive a 20% discount on all merchandize.

We have various clubs, bars, restaurants and casino within a 15 minute ride of the Lion Park for those who want to party/go out in the evenings.

The Following is not Included

  • Flights to Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Visa (if required).
  • Dinner meals.
  • Personal items.

There is a 24 hour emergency number which could be used in case of an emergency.

There is free wireless internet in the restaurant which is available for use by the volunteers free of charge.

  • Once accepted on you will receive a welcome email confirming your booking.
  • An info pack will be emailed to you, detailing info on the Lion Park.
  • We will contact you if we require anything else e.g. CV/resume for some projects, doctors note for medical conditions etc.
  • We will prepare for your trip and send you an email with project and accommodation confirmation 21 days before you go.

Minimum and Maximum stay

The duration of your stay is 2 – 12 weeks.

Volunteer T-Shirts

Each volunteer receives two volunteer T-shirts to be worn during working hours. These T-shirts, including any rips or tears, are for you to take home as a reminder of your brilliant time you shared with us under the African sky.

The Lion Park Curio Shop

The Lion Park has a fully stocked curio shop where volunteers receive a 20% discount on all merchandize.

Night Life

There are various clubs, bars, restaurants and casino within a 15 minute cab ride of the Lion Park.

Not included

  • Flights to Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Visa (if required).
  • Dinner meals.

24 Hour Emergency Number

There is a 24 hour emergency number which could be used in case of an emergency.

Wi-Fi

There is a wireless Internet connection in the restaurant which volunteers may use free of charge.

Cost

Please see the pricing tab above.

What you need to do after booking your place with us

  • Book your flights.
  • Arrange suitable travel insurance.
  • Complete all application forms, travel details, insurance details, medical information, emergency contact numbers.
  • Make final payments at least 60 days before departure.
  • Make sure your have visas if required.
  • Read all details and prepare as much as you can for your trip.
  • Give your family and friends our emergency contact details.
  • Tell all your friends how very excited you are as you are about to have the time of your life in Africa!!!!
  • Get on the plane.

Cancellation Policy

Where possible the client will be moved to another suitable date.

Cancellations 60 days or less prior to the start date of the booking will be subject to a 50% fee of the total booking rate i.e. the package rate. The remaining 50% of the booking rate less an administration fee to cover bank charges will be refunded.

Cancellations 30 days or less prior to the start date of the booking will be subject to 100% fee of the total booking rate i.e. the package rate

Cancellations 61+ days prior to the start date of the booking will be subject to an administration fee to cover the bank charges involved in refunding the client.