Guide faces off lion

2013-05-17 00:00

MADIKWE — He had two options: do nothing while a protective lioness chased a mother and her young daughter, or get between them and the snarling cat.

Franco Kubile (32), an experienced guide at the Madikwe reserve in North West, took the brave option.

“I looked the lioness in the eyes, waved my arms wildly and kept shouting: ‘Stop! Stop!’,” he said.

The incident happened a few weeks ago during a morning game drive. Kubile had parked in an open area of veld to give seven guests a coffee break.

“I walked about to ensure that there were no animals about before I allowed the guests to climb from the vehicle.

“Some of them then took a loo break between some large bushes nearby. I returned to the safari vehicle to fetch the coffee. I had two mugs in my hand when I heard yelling.

“A mother was running and dragging her daughter while a lioness charged them.”

He said he was very scared, but knew he had a 50/50 chance to chase off the lion by taking it on face to face.

“If you run away, however, your chances are zero, because you then become prey and you can never run fast enough. That girl was definitely prey,” Kubile said.

He only remembered later that the lioness was also trying to protect her cubs.

Chris Rightford of The Nature Workshop said it was standard practice at most private reserves to stop for a coffee break and walkabout on morning drives.

“The guides ensure that the place is open and safe. It was just unlucky that a lioness had hidden her cubs in the bush during the night.”

Nadia Schoeman, an examiner of the Field Guide Association of South Africa, said game drives could last several hours and most reserves had policies that allowed guides to stop for breaks.

The lodge could not supply details of the mother and her child.

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