As global restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19 tighten, some people are finding it tough to be shuttered behind closed doors. But for Sonja Lerm, a sales representative at a popular rest stop in South Africa’s Pilanesberg Game Reserve, the decision to keep the door locked was motivated by more than the risk of infection …

Shortly after opening the coffee shop at the Pilanesberg Centre over the weekend, Lerm noticed a young male lion strolling straight towards the Centre’s entranceway. Lerm had been watching the big cats playing in the distance just moments before, but was not expecting one of the lions to stray so close.

“We hurried inside and closed the door,” Lerm explained to Latest Sightings. “We were very excited but somewhat scared to see [the lions] from such a close distance, as they stood right outside the door of the centre. I filmed some of the sighting, but we were quite frightened that the lion might attempt to come inside.”

Fortunately, this young cat appeared more curious than anything else. After peeking briefly through the glass-panelled door, the lion moved off to join the rest of the pride for a spirited bout of “destroy the dustpan”, a plaything that was pilfered from a storage area behind the Centre.

The pride was four-strong according to photographer Camilla Jacobs who was also present at the sighting. Fuelled by feline curiosity, the cats not only stole a dustpan, but were also spotted chewing on a plastic bucket thieved from the Centre.

Lerm points out that this is not the first time that the tawny cats have paid a visit to the rest stop. She wisely advised that should anyone find themselves face to face with a lion to remain calm and keep a safe distance.

Header image: alcuin lai, Flickr