Weekend Wanderings – Drakenstein Lion Park

I must be honest and say that sadly my experience of the “real” Africa is very limited! Having lived my life almost exclusively in the cosmopolitan, and rather European, Cape Town, I have only managed to visit the “bush” (as South African’s like to call it) twice in my adult life. Shocking, I know, but sadly CT is very many km’s from places like Kruger, so it was never on our radar whilst growing up.

To recitify the gaps in my own childhood I am determined though that my own kids will experience the “real” Africa and am really keen to take them on a “safari” (and truth be told I’m desperate to head back myself as my previous experiences have always been far too short)!

Unfortunately many of the “bush” areas are Malaria areas and due to the costs involved with flying, driving and staying in the bush this might not be too soon. In the mean time I am trying to introduce them to the African animals we will one day see in their proper environments by visiting various animal sanctuaries that are located within driving distance of Cape Town.

A few weekends ago we took a trip out to the area known as Klapmuts for on or our “Family Fun Days”. I had heard about The Drakenstein Lion Park – a sanctuary for lions who have been born in captivity and thought it might be an interesting way to introduce our kids to some wild animals, albeit from the behind the safety of a fence!

I’m not a fan of zoo’s or circuses but I think that there is a place for animal sanctuary’s where animals born in captivity or rescued from a life of suffering can be cared for and used to educate others. I was shocked to discover that some of these large male lions were kept as pets while cubs, some even housed on the balcony of an 11 storey apartment block!

Here is a bit more about the park…

Drakenstein Lion Park was established in 1998 to provide lions in distress with sanctuary, where they could live in safety, free from abuse and persecution, and be treated with the compassion and respect they deserved. The Park is actively involved in improving the quality of life of lions in captivity, locally as well as internationally, either by offering these animals a lifetime home or working in conjunction with other animal welfare organizations to secure a safe future for individual animals in dire need. The Park is not involved in commercial breeding or trade and offers lifetime care to all of it’s animals. All the animals brought to the Park are captive bred / hand reared and cannot be rehabilitated to the wild. The animals at the Park are assured a chance of living out their natural lives in an enriched and safe environment.

And here are some pics of our day at Drakenstein. As you can see the lions are housed as pairs in large, fenced enclosures – we enjoyed seeing the beautiful animals up close but one does feel a bit sad knowing that they will never know life out in the wild where they truly belong, but it is good to know that they are far happier here than they would have been had they not been rescued from their previous lives…

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Images: Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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