Do you love kittens, but wish they were a bit larger and more huggable? If so then you'll love lion cubs. Lion Park in Johannesburg allows to enter the lion cub enclosure and play with the cubs. The cubs are used to being handled, very tame, and extremely keen to be played with. I sat down next to one lion cub, and started to stroke it, but another lion cub decided that it was more deserving of attention, ran up to me, climbed into my lap, put it's arms around my neck, and then sank its teeth into my shoulder.
The keeper assured me that it was only playing and I shouldn't worry about it hurting me. Indeed after the initial shock at being bitten by a lion I soon realised that what it was doing was more like gentle nibbling than proper biting. That said, my shoulder is still a bit sore and does have tooth marks on it.
Lion cubs are really fun to play with. Unsurprisingly, their mannerisms are rather like kittens, but the extra size makes them much more fun. You can put your arms round them, wrestle with them and feel a lot more cat in your lap. Their fur is much thicker than domestic cat fur, but still very soft and pleasant to stroke. It is a shame that lion cubs grow into full size lions, otherwise they would be great pets.
In the afternoon I got on a bus to Gaborone in Botswana. That will be my next post.