There are few experiences as unique and awe-inspiring as walking with the King of the Beasts – the Lion, and it is certainly one of the best ways to explore their natural environment.
This may sound impossible, but at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, you have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to take part in such an experience.
Walking with lions is not just about the thrill of a unique tourism attraction, but also forms part of a special program that rehabilitates lions to be released into the wild. These lions are born within enclosures and gradually rehabilitated. Taking them for a walk in the wild is part of the ALERT (African Lion and Environmental Research Trust) programme’s approach to preparing these cubs for their release.
During the walk, the lion cubs become familiar with their environment, and start to practice their hunting skills as they become confident – developing their natural instincts. Through your participation and funds, you contribute to preserving the lion population in Africa.
Bear in mind that these animals, no matter how tame they seem, always remain wild cats. It is therefore important that you pay attention to the briefing and preparations before your lion encounter. The experience starts with an introductory DVD, which explains the background of the project and will help you understand this unique approach to conservation. Your guide will also explain all the do’s and don’ts of walking with lions. An experienced lion handler and guide will be at your side during the entire walk, to make sure that your interaction with the lions goes smoothly.
Make sure that you bring drinking water along, and are dressed appropriately for your lion interaction:
- Avoid bright clothing, stick to neutral colours that blend in with the bush
- Wear long trousers and comfortable closed shoes
- Avoid dangly accessories like belts and scarves – as these large cats may want to play with them!
- Wear sunscreen and mosquito repellent
Please don’t forget your camera as there will be photo opportunities towards the end of the encounter and this is one experience you really want to capture!