The lions of the Liuwa Plain have a special legacy with the human denizens of the national park. Years ago when Lady Liuwa found herself the sole lion living in the heavily poached national park, she found safety and a sense of unexpected companionship on the fringes of the local villages. The plain’s abundant hyenas kept their distance from the villages, giving Lady a safe haven from a harsh life of constant competition. Ultimately, she survived the years of solitude and was reunited with her kind thanks to the dedicated conservation efforts of African Parks.
This special relationship has continued to this day, with Lady’s pride living wild and free, but always with a propensity for wandering the edges of Time + Tide King Lewanika. The adult lions are mostly happy to keep a comfortable distance from the camp, but lately a pair of curious male sub-adults have taken to wandering right through camp.
Several times over the last few months, they have been spotted not just resting in the shady undergrowth of the grove where the lodge is located, but also right in camp. They were spotted sniffing around the main lodge area and meandering right through the part where guests normally enjoy their dinners! After a whole day of napping between the bar and Villa 3, they started getting a bit mischievous, stealing a mop and toilet brush from the main area's bathroom! It seems kids will be kids, no matter the species.
Later they were spotted lounging lazily atop the pile of thatch bundles located behind the staff area. They must have thought it was the perfect throne for the next kings of the Liuwa Plain.
Early one morning just a few weeks back, the staff were surprised to find the biggest male lion and the rest of the pride resting comfortably on the heli pad, right next to the sleek form of the lodge’s Robinson R44 helicopter. Understandably, there was a bit of a delay in the refuelling that morning.
Relaxed wildlife is a sign of a well-managed ecosystem. No longer are the wildlife skittish around humans, fearing they may be hunted. Once a victim of humans falling out sync with the earth around them, Liuwa Plain National Park is now recovering and thriving under the watchful eye of African Parks, the Zambian Carnivore Project and Time + Tide. Lions in camp are a beacon of hope, an indicator that we are on the right track. In the often-discouraging world of conservation, any good sign is cherished and held dear, like the first sunny day after a long, cold winter.
So, come and join us in this spectacular destination and meet our handsome, curious lions for yourself. Your stay will help support the ongoing conservation efforts that protect these magnificent creatures and their savannah home. This is travel with a purpose at its finest.
Photos by Andrew Macdonald // Mobile phone photos by Time + Tide King Lewanika staff and guides