As we were on our way home from Kingston, Ontario with Brian and Yvonne (Crystal's sister and husband from England) we decided to make a detour and stop at the African Lion Safari in Cambridge, Ontario. The safari is a privately owned wildlife park that operates from Mid-April through Mid-October.
The drive-through wildlife park
is an interesting experience featuring 1000 unique and rare mammals and birds
that are roaming freely. The park is divided into five areas to keep the animals
that naturally hunt each other separate. The Safari Trail took us through prides
of lions, troops of baboons and herds of zebra. Along the way, lions and tigers,
baboons, white rhino, ostrich, eland, giraffe and many other exotic and native
We chose to travel through the reserves in our own vehicle (keeping the windows closed!) versus the Safari Tour Bus. The drive through took a little over an one hour because we took our time.
Convertibles, motorcycles and other unsuitable vehicles are not permitted to drive through the game reserves nor are vehicles with cracked windshields. No responsibility is accepted by the park for damage to vehicles or trailers, tires, lights, or canvas covers, vinyl roofs or other accessories. When we entered the first part of the park it didnít take long to figure out why.
Journey Through Wildlife Park
Baboons: These little guys will get a free ride whenever the opportunity arises.
Bear: We saw both brown and black bears. Notice in the picture with the black bear that the baboon is watching the bear closely.
The cheetahs were retained in a fenced enclosure. Elands roamed in their area freely.
There were a number of zebras roaming about. One decided to take a dust bath as we drove past. In the distance, looking over the hill behind the zebra, we could see giraffes giving us the inquisitive eye.
Each vehicle got checked out by giraffes and zebras alike.
This inquisitive one walked over and looked into the window of our car.
The giraffes feeding station, filled with hay, is elevated to simulate their natural feeding habit. In the wild they are used to eating leaves of trees 26 feet above the ground. The tongue of a full grown giraffe is almost two feet long.
These are Fallow Deer. Notice how the horns are covered with velvet. We can see a truck unloading food for the bison in the distance.
The Sika Deer appear to be similar to the American White Tail Deer. We were intrigued by the curly horns of the Markhor.
Bison: These guys are big!
Actually, the Yak is about the same size as the bison.
African Lion Safari is proud to
highlight a ghostly striped vision...the White Tiger. The white tiger has been
found in India and Indonesia on the islands of Sumatra and Java. Their white
coat is the result of a recessive gene possessed by both parents making it
likely that one in four cubs will have the white coloring. In the past, white
individuals were often worshipped by natives of the regions in which they
To date, Calcutta a white tiger, and Biff an orange tiger (on the reserve) have become the proud parents of 10 cubs, 5 white and 5 orange.
The white tiger is not a
true albino as their chalky white coats are marked with black or chocolate
stripes and their eyes are icy blue, not pink. Tigers have been around many
thousands of years. In Russia, archaeologists have discovered carvings of tigers
6,000 years old along the banks of the Amur River. Today, no more than 5,000 to
7,500 of them remain in the wild. With a population decline of approximately 95
% in this century, the wild tigers of old may soon be gone forever, their glory
surviving merely in storybooks or on film.
These lions were lazily napping in the afternoon sun. Actually, lions rest 90% of the time.
Lions look a lot different when they aren't behind a cage. Their strength seems to be obvious.
This ostrich seems to be saying, "Who goes there?"
The rhino's didn't care who went where. With their massive size it didn't matter -- they would go wherever they wanted to. The zebra striped truck in the photo is herding the rhino away from a road and other animals that he was bullying. We noticed a number of dents in the truck.
After the drive through wildlife park we stopped to watch two shows. This is obviously the elephant show. In this series of photos the trainer is illustrating the levels of trust that have been developed between the trainer and the elephant.
The elephant helped his trainer to his feet ever so gently.
Hijinks were everywhere. Here, let me give you a leg up. Nope, forget it. Get off. I want to stand on my head.
It was cute when they laid down to take a nap. As the trainer walked away he was grabbed by the ankle as if to say, "Where do you think you are going? We're not done yet."
This one was quite a basketball player.
Picasso would have been proud.
The baby elephant illustrated its ability to walk a balance beam about 12" wide. Next year, the Olympics maybe?
"Ouch, that hurts the feet."
Wild Bird Show
Next we went to the wild bird show and watched them perform.
The highlight of our stop was watching the elephants enjoying their noon day swim. In reality, it was the first thing that we watched when we arrived. They paraded through the compound and entered the lake in the distance. From there they swam across the lake and splashed around near the bank.
This little border collie thought he was in charge of keeping the elephants in line.
Such gentle giants they are. One enjoyed swimming on its back. All we could see were feet and a trunk sticking out of the water as it moved along. I was enthralled at how they seemed to enjoy touching and communicating with each other in their own special way. We have never seen elephants so obviously enjoying themselves to this extent.
This is the same group of elephants who performed for us in the show.
When their hour was up for their swim the trainer said, "Let's go girls." Without hesitation they walked to a walkway, hooked up trunk to tail and made their way to their home near the show stadium.
We truly enjoyed this stopover. If you would like information about the Lion Safari in Canada you can find them on the web at www.lionsafari.com . The last photo was captured from their web site as we weren't allowed to walk to that position in the park.
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