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» 01 Apr 2011

Safari Adventures is one of the few places in the world where you can interact with Lions (Savannah Lions and White Lions), Tigers (Orange tigers and White tigers) and the Cheetah. The cats are trained from an early age to treat people with respect and they are used to being petted and around people generally. In fact, they are so well taught that the cheetah are used for educational events and promotions.

My mind kept thinking and exploring different scenarios and I started asking myself too many questions. While these thoughts were running in my mind, I saw two Cheetah
running fast inside their enclosure. I was impressed to see them so full of life unlike the animals I had seen in zoos. They were majestic and I felt like bowing down to them or communicating with them to tell them they were magnificent. This place cared for its animals. I later found out I had seen Bwana and Impi, brother and sister, running side by side. Interactions with cheetah are also available.

I got off the safari bus next to the lion’s enclosure and enrolled for the next interaction.
Before I knew it I was making my way to the King of the jungle. I think it was the adrenaline rush that was speeding up time or the awareness of my physical fraiIty as compared to a lion. I didn’t feel ready to enter the abode of a lion with such big claws and large teeth. But then are we ever ready? I listened to the instructions carefully and went inside the fence with a walking stick in hand looking at the ground. The stick to hold which marks you as a member of the "pride" and grants you immediate respect from the lions. I could not look up, I was merely following the very friendly instructors who told me to approach the lions from behind.

How did I end up here, I did not know anymore. I was a foot away from a white lion! From the corner of my eye I could spot a few tanned others and one on a branch.

As I mechanically, knelt down to pat the lion’s fur and take some pictures, my heart was racing, my cheeks were flushed and although I am not religious, I was praying and hoping for the best!
At first, I patted Mulatsi, the male white lion, very timidly but when I realised that he was welcoming my gesture and did not seem to mind it at all, I went for a full stroke. The fur was neither soft nor rough, it was unique. I could feel the breathing movement of his body right under my hand. It was incredible. I was interacting with the king of the jungle and he was wise and accepting of my
humble visit.

My courage had paid out so much that I even ventured to the branch to meet with Bowser, the Savannah lion. Of course, I asked the keepers first. At this point I was caressing black-tipped ears and a lion’s back while beaming at the camera. I think the nervousness gave in to laughter. Laughter of satisfaction, relief, happiness, pride… I was happy with myself, happy to be there and happy that Safari Adventures had allowed me into their wild friendly world! I cannot wait to make my way there again for a thrilling, crazy and fulfilling experience part 2 with Tigers!

Indeed, Safari Adventures has welcomed four Tigers, Ajanta and Chilka, the orange girls and Bengali and Bagheera, the white Tigers.

When I go in to see the Tigers, I might venture into the walks. Yes! it is possible to "walk with the lions" and soon the "walk with the tigers" will be available. Each walk lasts an average of an hour to an hour and a half including refreshments and consists of a small group of people and two lions. It gives you the opportunity to mix with the lions and form a unique lion human "pride", providing a once in a lifetime experience. The adventure is video recorded and photographed for posterity and naturally a DVD of the event is available afterwards.

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