International wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation announced that two rescued circus lionesses will embark on an epic journey ‘home’ to Africa this week on the inaugural Kenya Airways Dreamliner flight from London Heathrow via Nairobi to Johannesburg.

In partnership with Kenya Airways, two sister lions Maggie and Sonja will begin their journey on Tuesday 20 January, arriving in the UK from their temporary home in Belgium via the Eurostar. They will then travel to Heathrow where they will fly to Nairobi aboard Kenya Airways’ new Dreamliner, before connecting to Johannesburg and completing the journey to their new home at the Born Free Big Cat Rescue and Education Centre at Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa, just outside of Port Elizabeth.

Born in 2006, Maggie and Sonja spent the first eight years of their lives at a circus in Germany. Along with regular performances, they spent the rest of their time confined to a circus trailer in appalling conditions. When the animals were confiscated by the German authorities in 2013, the Natuurhulpcentrum (a Belgian Centre for the rescue and rehabilitation of wild animals) stepped in and offered them temporary accommodation. They have been at the Centre for the last year undergoing rehabilitation and being treated for wounds sustained whilst living in the circus, before being declared fit to travel to a permanent new home in Africa.

The team at Kenya Airways are extremely proud to be involved with this relocation project of Africa’s king of the jungle, and to be able to offer Maggie and Sonja passage to Africa as part of the launch of their new Dreamliner, operating between London and Nairobi, Kenya.

Tracey King, Marketing Manager of the airline based in Johannesburg, said:

“We are delighted to have our new Dreamliner operating out of London Heathrow but to have such special passengers on board makes this is a truly memorable flight.”

On arrival in Johannesburg, the lionesses will be transported to their new home at the award winning Shamwari Game Reserve. Here they will be released into a large African bush enclosure at the Born Free Education and Rescue centre, where they will start their new lives.



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Notes to Editors:

About Born Free

The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare.  Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos.  We rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care.

Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict.  Our high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results.  Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. For more information about Born Free please visit:

About Kenya Airways:

Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to over 60 destinations worldwide, 40 of which are in Africa and carries over three million passengers annually. It continues to modernize its fleet with its 45 aircraft fleet being one of the most modern in Africa. The on-board service is renowned and the lie-flat business class seat on the wide-body aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10. In 2010, it scooped top awards at the Africa Investor (Ai) Tourism Investor Awards and was declared the Business Airline of the Year in Africa. Kenya Airways takes pride for being in the fore front of connecting Africa to the world and the World to Africa through its hub Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

For more information, please visit


By |2015-01-28T17:58:18+00:00January 21st, 2015|Press Releases|Comments Off on LIONESSES DREAM TICKET TO AFRICA