The story behind the lion photo

So after doing some Google research, I finally found what looks like the story behind the “Camping in the Kalahari” photo. It is far more scary than I initially imagined.

The story first appeared in Afrikaans in Die Burger on the 19 March 2011, with an English translation posted online on The Witness site. You can link to the English version here. The title of the article is: Young lions shred Shark supporter’s spare wheels”. For those that don’t live in South Africa, the Lions and the Sharks are two of the major regional rugby teams. As far as I know (I’m not a sports fan), the Sharks are usually the stronger of the two teams.

The location of the incident was at the Khutse Game Reserve in Central Botswana i.e. not part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – the lions there have much better manners! 😉

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I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)


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23 Comments on “The story behind the lion photo”

  1. March 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    So, wait….Was the photo of the man taken after the lions shredded the tires, or before?

    • March 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

      I think after. From the online reports I’ve read, it seems the lions spent the whole night there, and when somebody wanted to go to the bathroom the next morning they were still there. Which is the point at which I think the photo was taken.

  2. March 29, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    oh my!

    • March 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      Leaves one speechless, doesn’t it?

      • March 30, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

        Yeh… totally… I’d have leapt into the car and locked the windows and doors!

      • March 31, 2011 at 6:36 am #

        On a different forum, one of the guys that was there explained that the next morning they became aware of the adult lions of the pride close by. These youngsters were just having fun terrorizing the tourists! 🙂

      • March 31, 2011 at 11:00 am #

        Hahahah! SNEAKY mischievous blighters!

  3. March 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Those Botswana lions and their manners! (What is the correct adjective form for “Botswana?”)

    The photo is even more terrifying the second time around!

    • March 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

      I think it’s “Botswanan” but I doubt those lions care about little things like grammar!

  4. March 29, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    Teenagers are such a pain no matter whether they’re lion or human…

    • March 30, 2011 at 6:32 am #

      So true! It applies to other animals too. Rosie, the dog, is now in her doggie teens and can be a real pain at times.

  5. March 30, 2011 at 3:22 am #

    Interesting display of animal behaviour

    • March 30, 2011 at 6:39 am #

      Yes, it is. I have been thinking about what those lions were doing. Were they really looking for a meal or just curious? They said they were all young lions. I wonder if they just haven’t seen too many humans yet?

      In some game reserves in Africa, they have had huge problems with animals which have been relocated from other reserves, because they broke up family structures in the process. Although relocating young animals might sound like a good idea, if they don’t have older adults to maintain order, the younger animals cause havoc. As Amblerangel said above: “Teenagers are such a pain”!

      • cleo
        May 8, 2013 at 11:18 am #

        Hi Lisa, I realise I have come to this discussion rather late but wanted to add to one of your comments. I was working as a lion researcher in Khutse at the time this picture was taken and know the lions in questions very well. They are the largest ‘pride’ in the area and are very accustomed to vehicles and people. They are a core group of 2 adult females with 6 sub adult cubs (3 male and 3 female), sometimes joined by 1 or 2 adult males and/or another adult female with 5 younger sub adult cubs. The youngsters, because they are accustomed to people, are relatively fearless and see the camp sites as their territory and play ground – made all the more interesting when people are camping there. This is one particular camp site where they are often found whether is was occupied or not. In further seperate incidents they made off with a cooler box, and entered a (thankfully unoccupied) tent and made off with some clothing. All items were ‘played’ with, shredded and abandoned in the bush nearby.
        These are an endemic group at the core of the Khutse/Southern CKGR lion population and previous generations of lions from the same group also caused problems at the same camp site. The adults in the group are less curious but are also not shy about making use of the camp site when the fancy takes them – campers present or not.
        For researchers they are great subjects as they take no notice of us and carry on with whatever they are doing, allowing us to easily take pictures, notes and keep up to date with their progress.

      • May 13, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

        Hi Cleo!

        My apologies for only responding to your comment now. I love it when people who have a connection to one of my posts emails me or leaves a comment. Thanks so much for giving us this insight into the lion situation at that camp. Do you think that there are going to be more serious clashes between the lions and the human visitors as the group gets older?

        I see that there is an article about the Khutse Game Reserve (and the lions) in the May 2013 issue of Go! Magazine.


  6. Sarita Botha
    March 30, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    I wouldn’t count on better behaved. What if they have a bad day??

  7. March 31, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Wow – I would have wet myself 🙂

    • March 31, 2011 at 11:00 am #

      So would I! Living where you do, you’d obviously know how badly this could have ended.

  8. April 3, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    Wonder what they would’ve done if one of those big kitties decided to accept the invitation of that open door?!

    And I’m also wondering what everyone is seasoning their spares with that it attracts the attention of predators? 🙂

    • April 4, 2011 at 5:08 am #

      You mean the open car door? I think they made a run for it, and didn’t have time to close the door.

      The big predators seem to like chewing on tyres. Just like Rosie chews on her rubber toys.

  9. April 5, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    That photo of the lions is spectacular. Amazing. WOW!
    Is that your hubby??

    • April 5, 2011 at 6:42 am #

      No, it is not my husband. It was a photograph posted on a outdoors forum.

      Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!

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