I’ve never been interested in visiting Africa. While growing up, it seemed like everyone else wanted to go to Africa because it’s still such wild and needy continent. And yet, I had no interest. And then, a friend of mine moved to South Africa, and she bugged me to visit.
And I’m glad that I visited.
However, South Africa definitely cannot represent the continent of Africa. Just as Canadians would rather not be grouped into the image created by the United States or Mexico, I’m guessing that South Africans wouldn’t want to be grouped in the same category as the stereotypes of Africa.
When my friend was lobbying that I visit her, she promised me animals.
Lion & Safari Park
Not far from Johannesburg is the Lion & Safari Park where you can pet lion cubs, walk with adolescent lions, and drive through giant enclosures with adult lions. From the safety of a vehicle, tourists and locals catch up-close glimpses of wild dogs, zebras, and other four-legged creatures.
And, ladies and gentleman, this was also my first chance to drive a car on the left side of the road. Do not fear. No animals were harmed in the process.
Guys, don’t forget that this is not in US dollar, but the South African Rand.
We had to drive ourselves through the Self-Drive tour twice to see as much of the lions as we could. Although the lions are really lazy during the day, the athleticism and strength in their bodies cannot be denied.
I was glad to be in our tiny little car.
Don’t you just want to nap with these guys? No? Hahaha, me neither. Just look at how HUGE those paws are!
Man, I wish my push-up looked that good from the upper body. As per usual, being showed up by a cat.
I’d sure like to know what this cat is thinking. Perhaps the cat sees us the way that Alex from Madagascar saw his
steaks friends after being stranded on an island for a while.
Petting Baby Lions
What could be better? Who doesn’t love the idea of playing with a lion cub or watching someone else coo over said creatures. Of course, they take after their parents. So by mid-morning, between all the petting and the heat, these cubs conk out.
For the record, these guys are actually 4-month-old lions. And they’re about three times the size of your average house cat.
If you’d like to see a short video of my cub petting (and a cub sniffing my butt), click over to my Instagram account.
Please Feed The Giraffe
One of our party could hardly wait to feed the giraffe. And I’ve never seen a giraffe this up close and personal. Giraffes are WEIRD looking.
And yes, I did feed the giraffe, and that purple tongue is just the oddest thing ever. But I kind of want one because then I’d be able to reach all the yogurt in the yogurt cup!
When this dude showed up for the Giraffe feeding, I admit that I wanted to cover my eyeballs because I had this irrational fear that the thing would peck them out of my head. I mean, do you see that beak?
These Meerkats are more entertaining than I could have guessed. These tiny carnivores have TEETH, yo. So keep your fingers to yourself unless it looks friendly. They’re great actors.
As cool as all these animals were, I have to admit that one creature amused me more than any other.
The Dung Beetles
Dung beetles are fascinating because they’re Africa’s natural pooper scoopers. When an animal takes a dump, the dung beetles show up and begin scraping the poop together in round balls that they wheel off to some undisclosed location. The dung is used as a type of nursery for baby dung beetles.
Hilariously, the dung beetles maneuver the balls of dung in a type of handstand. Wait, watch this video. They are speedy little buggers.
And yes, if you were to ask me what creature I liked best in South Africa, my honest answer is that I absolutely adored the Dung Beetles.
What animal must you see when you visit Africa?