It’s actually kind of completely insane that here in Johannesburg, you can pay the equivalent of about £10 and go cuddle a lion cub. I mean, in London I have to pay £10 just to scratch my butt! And I’m not even joking, because that’s what I’d have to pay if I so much as wanted to scratch my butt inside the “congestion zone”. Pfft. Kind of makes me want to move to J’burg, except that they also have broken traffic lights “robots” at every other intersection and that makes me not want to move to J’burg.

I spent a lovely weekend with my co-worker Jelise, who’s been to Jozi a handful of times and knew her way around. On Saturday we went to the Lion Park, where I could cuddle said lion cubs for £10. I was so deliriously excited about this (because honestly, me and all things baby.) and as we queued, I stared doe-eyed at the adorably tiny and fluffy white and golden cubs, aching for my turn to come pick them up.

Sadly, by the time we got around to getting inside the enclosure, it was nap time. We were warned not to try to pick them up because as cute as they are, these little guys are already harbouring some incisors that could give any old machete a run for its money.

So all I could do was pat. And pat I did. See how sickeningly happy I look? Yeah.

Aren’t they SO UNBELIEVABLY CUTE?! God I want one. Almost more than I want a Pumbaa. The Lion Park also has a number of species aside from the lions. They have giraffes, which we could feed and honestly? I didn’t think so much of giraffes before, but I fell utterly in love with this beautiful beast and even better, we got to feed it! They also have meerkat, cheetahs, hyenas and lots of other game…

… and of course they also have lions. LOTS OF THEM. Roaming freely as we drove through the enclosures… and they sure get mighty close. One lioness even jumped on the back of some guy’s ute. For the record, I would have royally crapped myself.

Anyhow, that was the Lion Park and easily the highlight of my weekend.

The other highlight of my weekend was bobotie! Ahhhhhh my love, bobotie. Bobotie and I first met during the World Cup when Mooli’s added a special bobotie mooli to their menu in celebration of all things South African. All I knew was that it was a minced beef dish with egg and other good things and that it was pretty fucking delicious.

Tonight Jelise and I went in search of bobotie and thanks to the power of the twitterverse, we found Karoo Cattle & Land! Bobotie is a traditional Cape Malay dish that is mince and egg and YUM, served with yellow rice. It doesn’t look like much but it’s so fricking good.

We also had boerewors, which are sausages, served with pap, a traditional South African porridge made from ground maze, topped with a tomato sauce. It also come with the most delicious stringy fried onions 😀

That wasn’t all I did all weekend. Jelise and I pampered ourselves at Mangwanani Spa (three treatments plus dinner for the equivalent of £50.. crazy!) and we also meandered through the Rooftop Markets at Rosebank, where I’ve stocked myself up with a whole herd of beaded game animals.

Now to knuckle down for a week of work before heading back to ol’ Londontown.

Karoo Cattle & Land
Corner Witkoppen Road & Montecasino Blvd
Fourways, Johannesburg
+27 (0)11 465 9023

8 Thoughts on “my weekend in Jozi: lion cubs (so cute!), giraffes & bobotie

  1. That photo of the yawning lion… that’s priceless. So cute!

  2. jenny on June 28, 2011 at 6:17 am said:

    Awww the lion cub is so cute! and you get so close to the lions! isn’t it scary?

  3. I remember falling in love with a cross eyed albino lion at the National Zoo! Although we were quickly warned not to hug them 😛

  4. I’m not sure I can go another year without cuddling a lion cub. It’s quickly found it’s way to the top of my list.

  5. Su-yin: Isn’t it? I like the photo right up top. So cute it looks fake!

    jenny: Haha well nah, you’re in the car so it’s ok but then again I didn’t have a lion jumping ON my car 🙂

    Lorraine: cross eyed albino lion??? OMG sweeet!!! With these ones you’re allowed to hug them if they’re awake but when they’re asleep it’s a nono 🙁

    Tori: You can’t! You shouldn’t! It really is an amazing experience. They are so tiny and cute but so powerful.

  6. LOL – if you’re saying “robots” you’d beter start saying “bakkie” instead of ute LOL! ;o) So envious of your trip – especially the lion cubs! I petted a cheetah in SA – twice – and it was magical. So glad you found your bobotie – it is spectacularly good, isn’t it? Also easy to make – there’s a recipe on my blog! And aaaaah, those stringy fried onions are what I’d call Spur onion rings, after the SA restaurant chain that always makes them that way. LOVE the boerewors – did you enjoy it??

  7. Question about the last plate; What did they do with the rest of the chief?

  8. You have no idea how jealous I am that you got to pet lion cubs. NO IDEA. One day I will get to snorgle big kitties…

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