Please note that the lions used in walking with lions programmes are rarely, if ever, released back into the wild. Please read more on the topic about the connection between walking with lions and canned hunting
Conservation and Animal Rights groups are strongly against Walking with Lions and it is gradually being banned in many African countries. Siyabona Africa does not support or recommend our guests partake in walking with lions.
Operators in the Victoria Falls area have pioneered a unique experience that allows you to come into close contact with the alpha predator of the African savanna - the lion. Lions are extremely dangerous animals. However, up until the age of 15 months, they are amenable to being handled by humans - after that they become unpredictable.The Walking with Lions experience has drawn some controversy. Many conservationists are strictly against this form of wild animal encounter, saying that should the trained lions be released into the bush they either become man-killers or are incapable of fending for themselves. This debate is by no means clear cut and there are several ramifications that still need investigation.
Lions favour open woodlands and thick scrub, the type of landscape that allows them to get as close to their prey as possible without being seen. In the Victoria Falls area, the best chance of lion sightings is where the big game herds are - in the Hwange and Chobe areas.
As a rule, lions hunt mostly at night and rest during the day, but are often active at dawn and dusk - and on cooler days. During the day, they rest in thorn thickets, often near water holes. Lions typically feed every three or four days, and need to average between 5kg and 7kg of meat a day. But they can go without food for over a week and then tear into prey, eating up to 50kg of meat at a time - that's almost a quarter of an average lion's body weight.Lions hunt either collaboratively or by themselves. Collaborative hunting usually involves the males approaching the intended prey upwind with the intention of driving it towards lionesses hiding in the bush downwind. Lions are not as fast as most of their prey so they rely heavily on the element of surprise when hunting.
They will typically attempt to get to within 30m of their prey before charging. They generally don't have the inclination for a long chase and will not pursue their prey very far if the first attack fails. In a successful hunt, the prey is knocked off balance, dragged down and then killed with a bite to the back of the neck or the throat.In some cases, a kill can be a bloody, drawn-out procedure. Buffalo have been known to fend off lion attacks for hours before succumbing to loss of blood and energy. The strongest male lion will eat first, followed by other members of the pride. Lionesses will feed themselves first, with cubs getting the scraps.What do lions eat? The short answer is quite a lot. In South Africa's Kruger National Park, studies have shown that lions have a broad diet with 37 animal species on the menu, including ostriches, quelea nestlings, tortoises and small crocodiles.
Their preference is for buffalo, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest among the bigger animals, and porcupine and warthog as smaller game. They are even known to take elephants. Another fact not commonly appreciated is that lions are not just hunters, but scavengers as well, often chasing smaller predators - like cheetah - off their kills. In some instances, up to 50% of a lion's diet can come from scavenging, not hunting.