African Lion Safari

African Lion Safari
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African Lion Safari is a family-owned safari park situated in Flamborough, Hamilton, Ontario, about 100km (62mi) west of Toronto. The mailing address is in Cambridge, Ontario. It includes more than 1,000 animals, representing over 100 species of mammals and birds from across the globe. Guests may tour seven game reserves (with a total area of about 300 hectares) traversed via tour buses or the visitors’ own vehicles where animals roam freely in large contained areas. Accompanying the game reserves is a large walking section where hundreds of exotic birds and primates, as well as the park’s herd of Asian Elephants, are on display.

The African Lion Safari is an accredited member of the CAZA, and is also a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), the International Elephant Foundation (IEF) and the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE).

African Lion Safari is open from the first weekend in May to the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving in October. African Lion Safari has an on-site bus in which to tour the park, but public transportation to the park itself is limited.


The park was founded by Gordon Debenham “Don” Dailley, a retired Canadian Army colonel, and opened its doors on August 22, 1969. Dailley initially partnered with the Chipperfield family from England to purchase four farms in the Rockton, Ontario area totaling 250 hectares (620 acres). He bought out the Chipperfields in the early 1970s. Dailley’s sons Don and James, along with their sister Ginny, took over operations in 1989, following their father’s death. It remains privately owned and operated.

The original size of the park was 80 hectares (200 acres), and the only significant feature was the drive-through reserve. In 1971 the park began working with Asian elephants, and in 1985 they started to make a concentrated effort to breed Asian elephants. Over the years successful breeding of 30 endangered species and 20 threatened species has occurred in the park.


On any of the seven reserves, visitors are caged in their car and the animals roam in large enclosures that range from 2 to 20 hectares (4.9 to 49 acres). Since the reserves are inhabited by wild animals all feeding is prohibited and visitors must keep doors and windows of their vehicles closed. Vehicles on which openings cannot be closed or where safety is otherwise compromised (for instance, by large cracks in the windshield) will not be allowed into the reserves. Visitors can always see the reserves via the air-conditioned tour buses. Since the potential for damage to vehicles from the animals exists, a slip road is provided for all guests who wish to avoid the monkeys and any potential damage to their vehicles.

  1. In the Nairobi Sanctuary, visitors can see Watusi cattle, llama, European white stork, Egyptian goose, crested screamer and East African crowned crane
  2. Simba Lion Country is home to lions.
  3. Duma Cheetah Preserve is home to cheetahs.
  4. Wankie Bushland Trail is home to baboons and Miniature zebu.
  5. The Rocky Ridge Veldt includes Rothschild giraffe, plains zebra, wildebeest, eland, Barbary sheep, ostrich, white rhinoceros, addax and scimitar-horned oryx.
  6. The Eurasia reserve includes Himalayan tahr, yak, nilgai, mouflon, sika deer, fallow deer, Père David’s deer, emu and Sicilian donkey. In smaller fenced areas on the periphery of this reserve are enclosures for Turkmenian (Bukharan) markhor, Sichuan takin, Sarus crane, red kangaroo, and red-necked wallaby.
  7. The North America reserve is home to bison, North American elk, and fallow deer.


The African Lion Safari offers two tours for no additional charge; the first on boat around a lake whose islands are inhabited by various primates of the world, and the second by train through a natural wetland.

  • On the African Queen, visitors will see black-handed spider monkey, white-handed gibbon, Siamang, black-and-white ruffed lemur, marabou stork, Southern ground hornbill, ring-tailed lemur, robust black spider monkey, and black swan.
  • The Nature Boy scenic railway travels through natural forest where visitors will see native wildlife and several exotic species such as Bactrian camels and reindeer.

Walking area

Parrots and Toucans displayed outside the walking area of the park include African grey parrot, scarlet macaw, blue-and-yellow macaw, military macaw, great green macaw, hyacinth macaw, red-and-green macaw, Catalina macaw, white cockatoo, salmon-crested cockatoo, galah, Alexandrine parakeet, princess parrot, channel-billed toucan, and white-throated toucan.

Birds of prey displayed in the park include bald eagle, golden eagle, African fish eagle, tawny eagle, peregrine falcon, red-tailed hawk, great black hawk, Harris hawk, ferruginous hawk, snowy owl, Eurasian eagle owl, barn owl, spectacled owl, great horned owl, burrowing owl, Marabou stork, black vulture, king vulture, turkey vulture, cinereous vulture, Andean condor, steppe eagle, Lanner falcon, and American kestrel.

Other animals exhibited in the walk-through area include Asian elephant, American flamingo, collared peccary, black-capped squirrel monkey, Indian flying fox, alpaca, Indian peafowl, pygmy goat, African pied crow, domestic rabbit, helmeted guineafowl, tufted capuchin, screamer, turaco, golden pheasant, Victoria crowned pigeon, and kookaburra.

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