Lion Interrupts Morning Coffee
Occurred on June 25, 2021 / Bhejane Nature Training Camp, Somkhanda Game Reserve, South Africa
Info from Licensor: Bhejane Nature Training is a nature guide training company based on Somkhanda Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Our camp is very rustic – (many people are really surprised that the building has no doors and only wire mesh windows – this is because we try to leave a small development footprint as per the reserve rules – so we will use any existing infrastructure like the old farmhouse in the footage, but we won't add anything new – it is mostly an unfenced open-air camp on a Big 5 reserve, so animals can move through the camp quite regularly.
The elephants quite often visit the camp to come and drink water from our Jojo water tanks and the lions - especially the females do move through the camp from time to time but the males generally move around the camp and keep their distance.
On this morning we woke up early with 8 lions moving through the camp, they were vocalizing outside of our tents, so we were well aware of them. One of the females was in oestrus and she was being pursued by a male. We assume that the female made her way to the buildings and stayed close to the building in an attempt to discourage the male from pursuing her – she was not very interested in him – however, the male could not be so easily persuaded. Male lions have a very limited time period in which to successfully mate and they become quite determined and goal focussed during this time. On this morning the students were all escorted to the Game Viewing vehicle and viewed the lions from there with an additional instructor, while Dylan drove closer to the kitchen to see what was going on there. Once he had a good idea of where all the cats were and were able to observe them, he made his way into the kitchen - even though the building does not have any doors, there is a small gate that closes off the kitchen, so once inside he does have some relative safety.
He was well aware that the mating pare are behind the kitchen, and knowing that the male is focussed on the female, also realized that as long as he does not come between them - the lions will not really be interested in him. In the video, the lion shows some aggression every time he becomes aware of Dylan through the window – this is just to warn Dylan to stay away, while he is protecting the female to ensure he gets the opportunity to mate with her.
It was fine for Dylan to proceed with making the coffee – he could not be any more of a threat, and the lions would probably soon realize this and move off. As stated above, it is an open-air camp so there also is not really anywhere else to go, and the building had to be cleared so that students can also make their way up to come have coffee and breakfast.
Dylan was able to stay calm and composed (and have a bit of fun in the video) because he understood the lion's situation and had eyes on all the cats.
They did move off after spending about 40 minutes in the camp, and Dylan and the Bhejane students were able to enjoy a good breakfast and cup of coffee!