The importance of taking your own advice

Two young male lions relaxing next to the road. (©2009 WMB)

They look just like big, friendly pussy cats don’t they? Yet all over the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (in an area known as the Kalahari), there are warnings that visitors should not get out of their vehicles. Or even dangle bits of themselves outside of their vehicles. Even if it doesn’t look like there are any big cats around.

A sign at the top of a hill lookout point. ©LB/

At the lookout point above you’ve got good 360 degree vision, with short grass, yet you are told not to get out of your vehicle. The reason being that lions also like this spot and sometimes lie just below the ridge of the plateau.  As one was doing on the day this photo was taken. See the photos of that lion in this post.

A sign at a designated "picnic area" which has a bathroom for visitors to use. Click on photo to enlarge. ©LB/

I like how in this sign, they not only warn you against danger from wild animals, but say “YOU MAY ALIGHT FROM YOUR VEHICLE AT YOUR OWN RISK. The facility you are entering may involve natural and man-made risks, dangers and hazards”! The natural dangers being from wild animals and snakes which sometimes shelter inside or just outside the bathroom. I was a little puzzled at the man-made risks though!

To really put the dangers in context, the sign below is on the noticeboard at the Nossob camp.

Another warning posted on the notice board at the Nossob camp (©2009 WMB)

So given all the signs it has always been rather puzzling to me that the SANParks (South African National Parks) game rangers and employees don’t take their own advice. You frequently see them riding around on open vehicles, such as the one below.

SANParks employees sitting on the back of an open vehicle. ©LB/

Last week, a game ranger almost lost his life because of this.  An excerpt from the site.

A game ranger’s life was heroically saved on Tuesday [2011/11/01] when an aggressive lion attacked him on the back of a bakkie [pick-up truck] in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Albert Bojone was literally pulled from the lion’s jaws when Graeme Ellis, a bio-technician and researcher in the park, jumped out of the bakkie’s cabin and dragged him inside  . . .

. . . The lion attack came after four lions were shot dead over the weekend for killing cattle.

Henriëtte Engelbrecht, marketing and communication manager of the South African National Parks (SANParks) arid parks in the Northern Cape, said Bojone, Ellis and Mico Ferreira, senior game ranger, were looking for the three remaining lions in the pride on the Botswana side of the park close to the border with South Africa.

Bojone sat on the back of the bakkie and the other two were in the cabin. They followed the two lions and then drove behind the one on the right.

The next moment the other lion rushed at the bakkie and jumped on the back . . . Read full article here . . .

This story could have had a tragic outcome for the game ranger. It already was tragic for the lions which had to be shot.  However, one amusing piece of the report says:

Engelbrecht said lions had rushed at vehicles before. A blanket was then usually thrown over them when they got close to the vehicle. They then fought the blanket and usually gave up.

On Tuesday, however, the lion simply pushed through the blanket to get to Bojone.

“He must have been furious.”

Furious? Really – you think?! And what’s that about a blanket?! That works with something as big as a Kalahari lion? So then the game rangers don’t really need the rifles they carry with them . . . they just each need a big blanket. I must remember that on our next visit!

To read more about the Kalahari and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park specifically see  Kalahari Series I – 2009 and  Kalahari  Series II – 2011 which have stories of our visits there.

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Categories: Nature/Environment, News, Random


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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12 Comments on “The importance of taking your own advice”

  1. November 8, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Amazing series Lisa.

  2. Sarita Botha
    November 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    I would rather not try the blanket thing. I’ll take the advice and stay in the vehicle.

    • November 9, 2011 at 6:23 am #

      I agree! I’m also not sure I would have been brave enough to get out of the vehicle to save my colleague.

  3. November 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. I don’t think I would be trying the blanket thing either. Good God!

    • November 9, 2011 at 6:24 am #

      I first heard this story on the radio, and had to check on the Internet news site to make sure I hadn’t heard wrong.

  4. Lu
    November 8, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    Yeah, I’ll leave the blanket thing well alone thank you! Perhaps the game park might consider replacing the single cab with a double cab so that no-one has to sit in the back of a bakkie?? (OK, I am making the assumption that it was a single cab…) Bojone is a very lucky man…

    • November 9, 2011 at 6:27 am #

      They do have some double cabs, but I think this one was a single cab. It’s totally amazing but they also travel around on the back of open bed trucks, and tractors (which get used to grade the roads). Once we were at a wilderness camp and the game guard said he’d lent his rifle to the road crew. I was thinking “No, you don’t do that. You keep your rifle handy so you can protect ME!” 😉

  5. November 9, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    why do i find myself rooting for the lions? continue…

    • jacquelincangro
      November 9, 2011 at 1:35 am #

      I was thinking the same thing! Stupid humans.

    • November 9, 2011 at 6:28 am #

      I totally agree. I find it so sad that they had to kill the lions.

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