Into the Lion’s Den (Literally)

Lion at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Namibia

Saturdays are a day off from the daily routine, where we participate in a completely different activity. Today's activity was cleaning out the lion's enclosure. To do this, Meatball and Goballina (the two lions) had to be sedated. As you can expect, it's not safe to tidy up a lion's habitat whilst the lions are in it.

Before we arrived at the enclosure, the lion's had already been darted. We waited for the tranquilizer to take hold and then the stronger volunteers helped to lift the lions into the back of a pick-up truck. Once in the truck, a shade was placed over the top, so the lions wouldn't overheat. A vet then arrived to assess the lions' health.

Ella with tranquillised lion at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Namibia
Tranquillised Lion at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Namibia
Tranquillised Lion at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Namibia

Our task was to clean up the enclosure which involved removing any bones and also making sure no plants were growing too close to the electric fencing as this could interfere with the voltage. It took around 70 of us and many hours to clean their vast habitat. There were a lot of bones! I even found a half-eaten porcupine. I'm not sure how it got into the lion enclosure but it was an unfortunate place to end up. I'm not sure the lions enjoyed the prickly meal either.

After cleaning up the habitat, we had the entire afternoon to relax. At around 6pm we were told that the lions were starting to wake up and would be released shortly into their enclosure.

We all came to watch. The pick-up truck had been driven into the lion habitat and in the trailer behind were too snarling lions. We watched as the lions roared and swiped their huge paws at the people who were preparing for their release. After several moments, the keepers stepped back and used a rope to life the door from the back of the trailer.

Both lions became silent and turned their attention to the open door. It took several heartbeats before the first lion, Meatball, the male, decided to leap out of the truck and race into the bushes.

Goballina took a little longer but soon she launched herself into the air and followed her brother.

Mongoose at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Namibia


Mongoose at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Namibia

Someone tried to make a home in my bag

Baby Baboon at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Namibia

Baby Kimi - the youngest orphaned baboon

The next day was Sunday. On Sundays we could decide what we wanted to do and I chose to spend the day at the Lodge. The Lodge is luxury accommodation for guests. I lounged by the pool with some other volunteers who had also opted to visit the lodge that day. I wouldn't have minded staying at the Lodge for a few days! It was beautiful.

The Lodge was suited atop of a stone canyon which made a thrilling backdrop. You could just imagine the snakes hiding within the crevices.

Despite the weather being warm, August in Namibia is winter time and so when I leapt into the swimming pool, I got a shock and just how freezing the water was. Needless to say, it didn't stay in for that long!

The Lodge at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Namibia

Beautiful infinity pool

Gorge outside The Lodge at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Namibia

The stone canyon

The Lodge at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Namibia

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