Have you ever seen a white lion?
Well me either. Though I knew about them, and had wanted to see one for the many years that I had been traveling to South Africa, I had not yet seen one. But on this beautiful day in 2010, as my group and I were about to head off to the airport, our driver said, we have to make a stop first, so we’ll be leaving a bit earlier than we anticipated. That was fine, no one cared, more animals to see on the way.
So off we went heading for the airport, when suddenly we detoured, so we thought this was the stop the driver had to make. We drove up an un-cleared brush covered road, which was rather strange, but you learn not to question things in Africa for anything can happen.
As we approached, there was another vehicle there, just sitting, with the tracker on the front of the vehicle. What do you suppose they were looking at? First they glanced straight ahead and then up in the sky. We hadn’t notice the plane flying above us, about to land, but it soon became clear. THEY were looking at a white lion and the white lion was looking at the plane above. WOW, this was the surprise stop we had to make. The driver was told that the white lion was within sighting distance and WE got to see it. How fortunate we were on this day!
There are only a few white lions around, and the chance of seeing them is probably millions to one. After all, I had taken groups to this area many many times, and never came close to seeing one. WHAT A THRILL? My guests did not immediately know how rare this was, or the story of the Timbavati White Lions, but they do now. They were as entranced as I was.
The White Lions of Timbavati are not albino. They were discovered sometime in the 1970’s and it was believed they had died out, other than those in the zoos. However, in 2006, white lions were seen in Kruger National Park and since that time rare sightings have occurred in and around the region, with Timbavati being the best place to see them. No one knows exactly how many there are.
They were born with a recessive gene and are only found in this region of South Africa. They are not a separate species, and because it was thought that they would not survive in the wild, because of their white color, most of them are found in zoos. So if you are fortunate enough to see a white lion, savor the moment because you may never see them again.
Have you ever seen a rare animal?