Lion and Cheetah Park and Snake World Visit

Zimbabwe


I took a trip to check out the place recently, almost 25 years from my last visit as a little girl. The drive down from Harare was a smooth one, the Bulawayo road gets busy but it is wide and it is in good condition.It is a 45 Minute drive from Harare’s CBD. Being summertime it is best to set out early and so I arrived around mid-morning. I was keen on the tour and was hoping to see the place through fresh eyes.

I started the tour at Lion and Cheetah Park. The Park is so peaceful and the natural setting has been preserved with the Grasslands, trees and balancing boulders dotted around the property. 
 
                                                                                                                                         The tour guide took us round to the interactive Learning Centre first. An interesting feature they have added to the park where visitors, particularly the young are taught about the ecosystem, the animal kingdom in particular more about the Cat family. With the aid of songs, colourful visual aids and games visitors get to learn about the evolution of cats, the major differences between the various species of cats, for instance, their coats, diet, preferred domains and the 6 cat senses. The centre is an initiative being spearheaded by AWARE and SPANA, 2 Animal Welfare Organisations.  As a result, the lessons also help people appreciate all animals, domestic and wild. 


We then went around the enclosures to see the animals; the park is still home to a number of lions, 23 to be exact including white lions. Sadly, the other cats such as cheetahs and caracals died of old age or sickness over the past few years. There are pigs, crocodiles, domestic birds and a number of tortoises including one of the oldest residents Tommy, a Galapagos Tortoise whom I remembered from my childhood visit. 




I joined the caregivers as they fed him which was the highlight of the trip! Afterwards, we set out on a short drive through the game park to see the animals that forage freely. These include; zebras, giraffe, warthogs, and Wildebeest. The park is not very large but the animals cohabit well and there is a communal watering hole.


For other recreational activities, visitors can view Bushman paintings and the ancient grain storage bins used long ago and horse riding is available at the most reasonable rates ever! Groups are still welcome but visitors use their own vehicle for game viewing. The park offers braai facilities and there is a kiosk which sells snacks and refreshments, however, picnic baskets are welcome. So ended my quick tour as I headed out to Snake World which is a 3-minute drive from the Lion Park.


Visitors to Snake World pay a separate entrance fee but you can get a discount if you visit both Parks. Snake world is a place where people can learn more about reptiles particularly about Zimbabwe’s common snakes. There are various types of snakes from the common house snake to the Mozambique Spitting Cobra. Each type in its own enclosure. 

The guide gave an informative talk about the habits of all the snakes. They also had some turtles, a baby crocodile and some chameleons. Those who are brave enough can get a chance to hold some of the harmless ones, presenting a rare photo opportunity which will make an interesting snapshot for social media! After some provocation, the snakes would slither close to the window display and show some mean faces looking somewhat irritated by the disturbance. 

The tour will take 15 to 20 minutes but visitors are free to ask questions if they would like to learn more. I was very uneasy and was very grateful for the glass barrier, however, the world of snakes is very fascinating. This tour concluded the trip and it was a day well spent, these 2 facilities are open 7 days a week including most public holidays.