Lions visiting the farm

Jun 20, 2024
Lions visiting the farm

Last Sunday morning, like most mornings here at Gwango the mood was serene and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous. We felt a breeze whisper through the air, leaving the all-too-familiar sense that as always aside from baboons getting up to their shenanigans, or a young elephant bull stirring up some trouble - we might actually have a quiet, uneventful start to the day...How wrong we were.

At the Gwango Elephant Lodge water hole a parade of elephants, buffalo, kudu, giraffes and impala. The setting was astounding, one of those moments that can never again be replicated. ..And that was until  - like a lightning bolt - old man Robert (the caretaker at Gobelo Farm) stumbled in looking like he’d just seen the face of death. “What’s the problem??” to which he responded, "I saw fresh spoor of something big in the gardens. It's not an elephant; it looks like a dog's track but much bigger."

Excitedly, a few of our guides headed to the farm area to identify the tracks and to our surprise, it was the spoor of a lion. Now.. if you’ve been to Gobelo Farm, you’ll know that a lot of precautions have been taken to enclose the 5-acre space to ensure that the farm animals are kept separate from the wilderness (and from the wild beasts that roam beyond the perimeter). We all looked at each other, puzzled by this intrusion. We had known of leopard scaling the walls at night, but never a lion. And so the questions began… how did the lion manage to get into the farm area, despite the BIG wall?! We traced the tracks and discovered that an elephant had knocked down a tree near the fence the night before. The lion took advantage of this, using it to leap over one of the pigsties, perhaps in an attempt to reach the pigs, but it failed (our pigs are in fully encased spaces). Then it tried the other side where some sheep and rabbits were kept, but again, it was unsuccessful. The lion eventually gave up apparently and leaped back into the thickets.


One of the guides took this opportunity to explain all this to our groundsman and some curious guests who were outside soaking up the morning sun and had now joined the group of guides for the spontaneous spooring trivial about the difference between field tracks, which are retractable and canine tracks, which leave claw markings on the ground.

Adrenaline levels shot up once again a little later the same day when we were busy with maintenance in the Stone House kitchen when out of nowhere, a young female kudu popped out of the bushes, running like it was possessed. As we tried to figure out what was happening, two female cheetahs emerged at full speed in hot pursuit. The fastest mammals on earth, hitting about 120km per hour soon vanished into the forest once again within seconds.

The following morning as usual when we have such encounters, we traced the previous day’s events during a game drive and we found the same cheetahs barely able to walk, their bellies full, making their way to the water hole for a drink after what must have been a well-earned meal. The evidence of their successful hunt was confirmed by the Cape vulture, lappet-faced vulture and white-backed vulture, all unmistakably soaring towards the carcass. The cheetahs had indeed enjoyed a feast.

All this to say that no matter what day it is here at Gwango, there's never a dull moment. Be ready to wake up to serene mornings that might just turn into unexpected adventures, all while under the watchful care of our experienced team.



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