Uninvited Lions

February 11, 2011

It was that time of the year, summer time, where the weather allowed for fantastic bush dinners to be held. I was excited as I had a good game drive and now it was time for one of our chefs, Dirk to prepare a great braai for dinner. My two guests are an Australian couple, Kevin and Wendy, that farm with beef cattle in the outback and so far we’ve had a great time together. Only one problem still lingered in the back of my mind; we have seen many big and interesting wildlife in the past three game drives, but the mighty lions cease to show themselves. I was mildly irritated by that fact, but didn’t let it get me down. We approached the bush dinner site and saw the smoke of a fire Dirk already prepared. The sun was getting lazy now and we had about an hour of daylight left.

We seated the guests and I went to pour the G and T’s they had ordered from the back of my game vehicle. The day could not end any better. Lost in my own mind thinking of the successful series of drives we had, I heard Wendy calling my name in a mildly worried, but more amused tone: “Nadia…uhm…there are four lions staring at us…”

My blood froze in my body and a slight chill went down my spine that made the hair on my arms raise. I knew she was not joking as I could now sense the danger everyone felt in the air. We all from Gondwana have anticipated this moment for a long time. I just did not expect it to happen to me. I was still outside of the boma, but Dirk was already half way in the boma next to the guests. I rushed inside, cautious not to make a too sudden move and attract the attention of the one lioness I now saw in a crouching position. I knew I had to stay calm and get the guests on the vehicle as quickly and discretely as possible.

Before I could even plan my next move Dirk got adrenalin rush and charged at the lions at full speed while waving arms and screaming. It did remind me a little bit of the Springboks winning a final against the Aussies, but at that time I was just hoping that the lioness, that only trotted off lazily and turned around to look at Dirk, did not think of a springbok too. She did not. I could see they were scared and off course the “big and mighty” male was nowhere to be seen in a matter of seconds. We got to the vehicle safely, and I thought well done for my guests staying so cool and calm about it. My guests were excited but also bummed that they did not get a good picture of the lions, although they were merely 5 meters away on foot. So I had to go and see them from a slightly higher and safer perspective.

Dirk was a true hero in the Kevin and Wendy’s eyes especially after he brought them a delicious cooked meal from the safety of the lodge.  It was not the perfect bush dinner, in fact we didn’t ever make dinner outside, but this is something that they will never forget. One thing we do learn from this; if you are not invited to a bush braai, don’t mess with the chef, even if you’re a lion.

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