Mfuwe Lodge has an enviable position of being one of the only lodges located inside the South Luangwa National Park. As a result, our guests have unusual and unique opportunities to watch a variety of animals that share this beautiful space with us. Our remote location and quiet surroundings encourage many of the local residents to visit. There are occasions when the wildlife actually comes to share the lodge facilities. After all, there is plenty of cool shade for lounging and lots to explore!
The staff are always on the lookout for unexpected visitors, and guests are told when they may need to spend a little more time enjoying their brunch because their path may be momentarily blocked. These furry visitors do have some consistent behavior and they usually come to the quieter side of the lodge, away from the busier, more populated side.
They also usually come in the morning, after a night of hunting when it is time to lie down in the cool grass and have a siesta. They can cause some mischief, such as this lioness trying to get inside one of the lodge’s sheds, but they primarily visit for a short time and then move on.
Why do they come so close to the lodge and the other guests? Is there cause for concern? Suzyo Zimba, a licensed Bushcamp Company guide says, “The lodge is part of their territory and they are constantly moving around it, marking it. They are also very curious, so they are attracted by scents and want to investigate them – that is why the one lioness is trying to get into the shed.”
Some guests may think there is danger in sharing the lawn with lions, but they do not cause any problems. As Suzyo explains: “Like most animals, lions only attack if they feel threatened. They have three stages: comfort, flight and danger. As long as humans respect their space and they are in a ‘comfort’ stage, there will not be any problems. It is all about respect – we respect the animals and they respect us. That is also why they return. If we tried to run them off, they would remember that and stop coming to the lodge, but since they are respected, and not threatened or harassed here, they continue to come back.”
It is a good idea though for human guests to check what’s on the doorstep before coming to breakfast. That scratching noise at the door might just be the lodge cat trying to get back in after a night on the prowl!