A video of a lion playing tug of war with a group of tourists on a safari ride in Africa has gone viral on social media.

The tourists who were on a safari ride in Klaserie Private Nature Reserve Part of Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa had a close encounter with the lion after their vehicle got stuck in a ditch. The Baobab Ridge Game Lodge, the safari group that conducted the tour, was ready with a tug rope expecting such situations. However, to their surprise, the lion took hold of the rope and began tugging the vehicle, News 18 reported.

The video of the lion playfully following the vehicle while holding the rope using the teeth has amused the viewers after it was shared on Facebook by the tour's manager Jabulani Salinda.

"Look who came to help with our tow rope! Cats will be cats! " Salinda captioned the video. Salinda also shared that it was a male lion named Vuyela. 

At one point in the video, the lion could be seen trying to wrap the rope around a tree in an attempt to stop the safari from going forward. The video ends by showing the lion still following the safari vehicle by grabbing the rope in its teeth. 

After the video went viral, many viewers shared their comments indicating their amusement at the unusual sight, while others expressed their concerns about the safety and security of the tourists. They even accused the safari group of causing a reckless move, First Post reported.

Meanwhile, the tour group came forward clarifying in a follow-up post that it was just a coincidence and was never planned as part of the safari experience. The lion took hold of the rope before the guide could get out and take it, they said. They also added that the guide had considered the safety of both the parties while acting in the situation, and did not provoke the animal by any means in fear of initiating a chase. 

Lion Representative image. Photo: Pixabay