African Lion Safari

African Lion Safari puts welcome spin on traditional animal viewing.

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Unlike the traditional zoo where visitors freely roam the grounds observing animals in cages, the African Lion Safari is set up to allow visitors to drive at their own pace around multi-acre reserves in which the animals roam freely.

Open daily between May and October, the African Lion Safari also stages animal shows, workshops and has a splash pad and playground.

Though the African Lion Safari is more acceptable - in terms of animal welfare - than many zoos and amusement parks - such as the atrocious Marineland in Niagara Falls, which has been criticized for its animal cruelty - the elephant shows and rides at the African Lion Safari do seem archaic and humiliating to the animals.

  • 01 of 07

    Tips for Visiting

    ••• The Safari Bus is an additional charge but may keep your car free from scratches and other damage done by overly curious or aggressive safari animals - especially the baboons. Photo © African Lion Safari
    • Driving your own vehicle around the animal reserves is at your own risk. Baboons have been known to jump on and scratch cars, pull at antennas or remove windshield wipers. Take the Safari Bus if you are concerned about your car being damaged.
    • If you decide to drive your own vehicle, you have the option of a monkey-free route; monkeys tend to be the biggest car hazard.
    • The park is less busy and not so hot if you arrive for the 10 am opening.
    • As with most theme parks, food is generally unhealthy and overpriced. Pack a picnic lunch or at the least bring a snack and a water bottle.
    • July and August can be very hot - be prepared with water, sunscreen, hats and bring bathing suits for the kids to take advantage of the splash pad.
    • Slightly rainy days are actually good days to visit: fewer visitors and the animals are more active than on very hot, humid days.
    • If you want to see some of the shows (Birds of Prey, Parrot, Elephants), find out their start times before you do anything else and plan your...MORE activities around these times.
  • 02 of 07

    What Animals Will I See?

    ••• One of the highlights of African Lion Safari is watching the elephants cool off with a swim. Photo © African Lion Safari

    Animals wandering the African Lion Safari reserves include giraffes, zebras, rhinoceroses, ostriches, lions, cheetahs, baboons and more.

    Birds of prey, including eagles, hawks, owls, vultures and falcons as well as parrots can be seen during demonstration and shows.

    Gentle animals, such as baby goats can be handled and pet at the Pets' Corner..

  • 03 of 07

    How Are the Animals Treated?

    There has been little reported about animal mistreatment at the African Lion Safari. Though the African Lion Safari is more acceptable - in terms of animal welfare - than many zoos and amusement parks - such as the appalling Marineland in Niagara Falls, which has been criticized for its animal cruelty - the elephant shows, in which the elephants perform tricks, and elephant rides offered to children seem archaic and humiliating and offer no educational value for viewers.

    Read arguments for and against zoos.

  • 04 of 07

    How Long Should I Spend at the African Lion Safari?

    ••• This miniature replica of an 1863 C.P. Huntington Steam engine is especially good for kids but open to all ages. Photo © African Lion Safari
    Visitors should plan on spending at least three hours at the African Lion Safari. The drive through the animal reserves takes between an hour and two hours, but the other amenities will keep you at the park for longer. Many people arrive for the 10 am opening and stay the whole day.
    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Cost to Visit the African Lion Safari

    Lion, African Lion Safari
    ••• Lion lounging at the African Lion Safari, near Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo © African Lion Safari

    Visiting the African Lion Safari is relatively expensive. However, even given the cost, most people rate their experience at the park "Excellent" or "Very Good" according to Trip Advisor. In addition, you can easily spend several hours - even the whole day at the park.

    Admission to African Lion Safari is per person (not by vehicle). Two adults and one child will cost about $100 (as of 2016). A family of four could easily spend $200 over the day.

    Most everything is included in your admission but extra costs include the Safari Bus, animal rides, food and beverages.

    Admission prices drop in September and October.

  • 06 of 07
    ••• The African Lion Safari is located in Cambridge, Ontario, about an hour from Toronto or 1 ½ hr from Niagara Falls. Map © Google

    Located in a rural part of Cambridge, Ontario, the African Lion Safari is about an hour from Toronto and an 1½ from Niagara Falls. Note that depending on your source, the location may be given as - not Cambridge - but Hamilton or Flamborough.

    The route is marked clearly with blue Ontario attraction signage.

    See the full set of directions.

  • 07 of 07
    ••• St. Jacobs Country, Ontario, attracts visitors largely due to its strong Mennonite community and abundance of artists and artisans. Photo © St. Jacobs Country

    Eating: Delicious Mexican food in casual atmosphere at Latinoamerica Unida

    Slightly more sophisticated than a food truck, Little Louie's Burger Joint & Soupery serves up delish fast food.

    Staying: Several hotels are in the vicinity of the African Lion Safari - mostly mid-range. Homewood Suites by Hilton is particularly convenient for families as each guest room has at least one bedroom plus full kitchen and double sofa sleeper. If you're looking for something a little swankier, Langdon Hall is a Relais & Chateaux property in the area.

    Attractions: A lot of green space, farm land and conservation areas surround the African Lion Safari.

    Some charming towns within 20 mins include Elora and Fergus - an artistic community famous for its 19th century architecture and preserved mill - and St. Jacobs Country - popular with tourists because of the hiking trails, strong Mennonite presence and artistic offerings.

    The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is a less touristy, quieter way to...MORE observe animals roaming freely - in this case donkeys who have been rescued from abuse and/or neglect.