Snarling lioness in the loo has tourist scampering for her car

2014-01-28 00:00

KGALAGADI-TRANSFRONTIER PARK — It is normally a case of mumbled apologies when one opens a toilet door and finds it occupied, but it is a totally different story when the occupant is an angry, snarling lioness.

Then you don’t mumble, you just run!

This is exactly what Sandy Borcherds from Somerset West did on Sunday when she entered a toilet block at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and a lioness snarled at her from inside.

Borcherds slammed the entrance gate closed and legged it to the car. The drama started on Sunday at the Kamqua picnic area in the park. The toilet gates are hung so that they swing closed automatically to keep animals out.

The lioness had however broken one of the wooden slats at the ladies’ loo to gain access to the cool tiles in the toilet.

Two men at the picnic area, Johan van Wyk and Borcherds’s husband Eric, gingerly approached the toilets in a bakkie to see if they could open the gate for the lioness to get out on her own. They could see the animal had open wounds on her left leg and neck and when she also snarled at them, they opted to retreat — some eight kilometres away to the nearest camp, Urikaruus, where they told officials a wounded lioness was trapped in the ladies’ loo in the Kamqua picnic area. Meanwhile, another tourist stayed in the picnic area to watch the lioness, which calmly left the loo after about 30 minutes, exiting through the same hole she had made to enter. She casually walked over a hill.

“I do not ever want to experience something like that again. It was absolutely frightening. I can’t think what would have happened to me if I had walked in there,” said Borcherds.

Tourism manager at the park, Ben van Eeden, said the lioness was just looking for a cool place to lie down on a very hot day.

“The lioness obviously got just as big a fright as the tourist, but this does not mean she would have attacked the woman.”

The picnic area is not fenced and visitors are requested to check for animals before entering the toilets.

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