Walking with lions – Fathala Reserve / Senegal

Have you ever wondered about taking a walk with a LION? Honestly, I am a person who rather prefers to avoid stressful situations and I had never thought of having such an adrenaline pumping experience.

The lion is one of the most beautiful, while at the same time one of the most dangerous creatures of African wildlife. I am glad that I could overcome my fear and be able to meet the king of the jungle and experience an amazing adventure!

Fathala is a unique reserve in West Africa, in which, apart from taking a traditional safari tour, you can go for a walk with a lion.

I remember being with a group of several visitors when we crossed into the lion territory accompanied by one of the trainers. Three other trainers were waiting for us on the spot. As soon as we heard the roar of a lion, walking on the ground through the rustling grass, some of us wanted to turn back. To be honest, I was thinking about it for a while, but I decided to act like a tough girl  😛 Ok, admittedly, it was time for some nervous questions, like, what time do lions eat? The guide explained that the lion has no more frequent need to eat other than every fourth day. Hmm… the following stressful question was of course: when was the last time the lions ate? The answer was: 4 days ago! Oh Gosh! Trust me; how much I wished I could go back!  🙂 With a big smile, the guide ensured everyone that he had been working there for over 5 years and nothing had happened. He spends several hours a day with lions for 5 days a week. After these words, the group calmed down slightly, and we kept on with our visit.

In the Fathala reserve, you can get to know 2 adult lions: a male, called Massaï, a female named Tina, and their two small lion cubs. The lions were imported to the reserve when they were young from South Africa. They were raised and trained by people. In contrast to a traditional zoo, where animals are enclosed in a small territory, most often in a cage, the Fathala reserve provides lions with favorable conditions for development, similar to the natural ones with the animals living in a large open space.

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Are the lions dangerous?

From the time they were small, the lions have been trained by using wooden sticks. Of course, I am not talking about using physical violence against them. The stick was used as an attribute to support men in their lion training. While the lions were playing, the stick served as a boundary. To this day, it is a sign of respect for the lions towards man. So, before crossing the gate, each visitor is required to hold a wooden stick in their hand. Whoever drops it may be in trouble 🙂 . The trainers also recommended that visitors should avoid wearing bright colors of dress and animal motifs, as well as to not have sunglasses on your face. It is important not to do anything to annoy the animals unnecessarily. During a 40-minute visit, you can take the so-called lion walk and take a few photos. Though, the lions are half tame animals, they still have kept their wild behaviors! Like any other lions, they roar loudly and spread fear!

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Despite all hesitations and fears visitors face, the Fathal reserve is a completely safe place. I highly recommend going to all those looking to experience intense feelings, as well as for those who want to get to know these beautiful and strong animals better and overcome any fears they may have. By the way, being in such an extreme situation certainly helps you to get to know yourself better.

In addition to the walk with lions, you can take a safari jeep ride to see other species, such as: giraffes, rhinos, buffalo and the red monkeys who climb amongst the giant African mahogany trees.

See you !

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