The whole reason for this slightly extended mileage run: a one-day mini-safari. Wildside Tours and Safari was recommended, and ended up being a pretty decent experience. Mike and his dad Tom are well trained and experienced guides with a big focus on accuracy. The experience itself isn't exactly a wild one, as with only one day you end up at local private safari lodges, but both Glen Afric as well as Lion and Safari Park seem to take decent care of the animals.
The matriarch, Three, and her two children are the highlights of Glen Afric. Extremely cool to see elephants so close that you can touch them, and the staff are a delight. Zebras, donkeys, ostriches, and other animals are to be found too, but the focus is clearly on the elephants.
Nearby Lion and Safari Park is unfortunately more of a caged/enclosure type experience, but the enclosures are pretty large for the predators, and the herbivores seem like they get to roam mostly free? An albino porcupine was very cool to see, as was the black leopard and the two kinds of hyenas, not to mention the wildebeasts and the African wild dogs. Snoozing cheetahs honestly got too short a visit. And Mike was very, very excited to see a sable-- apparently a very rare sighting.
Lucy the giraffe was also quite an experience. She walks right up to the safari vehicles and almost sticks her head in. Staring eye to eye with a giraffe was not something I expected to do (!).
But the obvious highlight was the lions, and arriving during feeding time was quite cool. Maybe a decidedly staged/un-authentic experience, but still fun to watch them stalk around and pick at lunch. Several adorable lion cubs, both napping in the sun as well as awake, definitely made the visit.
Returing to the hotel revealed its other major weakness: no easy access to restaurants. Took a short Uber to a nearby casino that turned out to be a Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas clone. "Emperors Palace" ended up being a surprisingly well-done ripoff inside. Not really sure how I felt about the game platter at Tribes, but the wine was cheap and tasty, and the food at least was a marginal improvement over the hotel restaurant?