Last Updated on September 5, 2015
Seaview Lion Park is located in South Africa on the Eastern Cape’s ‘Sunshine Coast’, about 30 kilometres west of Port Elizabeth’s city centre. Don’t let the name fool you – there are more than just Lions at the park (though they do have a highly successful white Lion breeding program). Walking around the park on their wooden boardwalk platform, you’ll be able to spot plenty of animals such as tigers, caracals, leopards, hyenas.
Set in 120 hectares of superb bush and grassland, there is plenty of opportunity for close-up game-viewing. The view from each side of the park is stunning. From the entrance, you have a stunning view of the sea. From inside the park you see nothing but green as far as the eye can see.
Once you enter the gate and are taking the long dirt road to Seaview, you will spot many animals. We were able to see many antelope, giraffe and zebra. You are not allowed to get out of your car until you reach the lion/tiger camp, where you’ll be able take a walk on your own to view some of the 50-plus lions, many of them White Lions.
We were able to spend time with many of the animals – in fact, all of the animals that we were able to get a close encounter with, we made sure we did. Before each interaction we were given a brief explanation of how to safely interact with the animal we were just about to meet.
The most spectacular was the endangered black leopard. The coloring is exquisite – it still maintains all of the spots, which appear more tan colored over the black coat. “Shadow” was super playful and it was fun to watch him interact within his home grounds. His pen did not seem nearly big enough as he grows and we are assured they are working on a bigger area for him to roam.
Judah, Ruby, Amber and Or are four Siberian Tigers. Though not indigenous to South Africa, we jumped at the chance to be able to find out what a Tiger feels like and to learn more about these animals we really knew nothing about.
The hyenas were really playful. So playful, in fact, that they bit Debbie’s ankles. It did hurt a bit as their teeth were quite sharp, but it helped that she was wearing pants which created a slight barrier between the teeth and her skin.
We also said hello to the Lion cubs, the “J litter” (Judith, Josh and Jason). They were a lot bigger than the first ones we met at the Lion Park in Johannesburg. It was a little intimidating as we stepped into the cage. It was immediately noticeable how well the lions interacted with the staff, and that calmed our nerves. Lions have such a majestic presence, but are so cute that you must keep reminding yourself that they are still Lions!
The Servals were very cute. One was really shy and the other just wanted some lovin’. Having only seen a Serval in photos, it was quite the site to see the proportion of its head to its body – adorable!
Overall, Seaview was a great experience. It really adds to the experience when the staff at Seaview arevery professional and demonstrate a keen interest and care for the animals and were open to answering all the questions we could possibly think of.
There’s always heated discussions if this type of ‘rehabilitation center’ is proper and if it is right for the animals. Of course we had mixed feelings walking around, but honestly, it was an amazing experience. Getting to be so close to some incredible animals and to learn about them firsthand is immeasurable. Seaview Lion Park provides a once in a lifetime experience.