While M probably won’t remember this moment, we will forever. To watch her in absolute awe, her tiny hand gently touching the young lion’s back, in her own little world yet so aware that there is something out of the ordinary happening at this very moment. I have always loved nothing more than to travel and explore, but to show our beautiful, diverse and ever changing planet to my daughter, discovering it all over again through her little eyes, is simply the best.
We had been to Southern Africa before, about 10 years ago, backpacking our way from Cape Town up to Durban, through Swaziland to Kruger National Park and further on through the Namibian desert. And while the circumstances of our visit are quite different this time (my husband is involved with a large construction project here and has been visiting Johannesburg for about a year on and off), it isn’t less special to be back in this wonderful part of the world. On our first weekend here in Joburg we took off for drive to show M some animals she had only ever seen in her books or as her beloved wooden toys, to experience some of the most majestic creatures our world has to offer. We choose the Lion & Safari Park because of its close proximity to Joburg (only a 45 minute drive), because it is located in a Malaria free area (plus it being winter in South Africa and therefore non-mosquito time) and weren’t disappointed. The newly opened park offers the possibility to get close up to the animals and you can also do a one hour self-drive safari through the beautiful, large grounds. My favourite was the giraffe feeding and we loved the couple of minutes we got to spend with three young lions up close. Our next stop about a 30 minute drive away was The Elephant Sanctuary, as I have always dreamed of getting closer to one of these beautiful, majestic animals. So here we got to feed them and even got the opportunity to get up close. Definitely an experience I’ll treasure forever.
Meanwhile our little girl was taking it all in, watching from a safe distance on Daddy’s shoulders. I am sure we will be back for a ‚proper‘ safari when M is older, but so far this has the perfect little trip for her experience the beauty of Africa.