The pros and cons of living with lions

Nicodemus serves up breakfast with a friendly “Guten Morgen.” As a waiter at Hobatere Lodge he loves meeting people and learning from them. He also likes to teach them words in Damara/Nama, with its tricky click sounds.

Just beyond the new glass doors of the lodge, engraved with images of lions, lie the real thing. Guests are escorted to their rooms across the sand by guides armed with torches and experience. Lion tracks are clearly visible, and with luck the lions may be spotted on a game drive.

On the farm, lions are also a problem for Nicodemus. His family have lost several cattle to them. But lions, elephants and other problem animals are what visitors to Hobatere want to see, and they provide a living to waiters, tour guides, cooks and cleaners.

Nicodemus comes from the conservancy which owns the lodge, and he counts himself lucky to have a job there. Although he wants to become a nurse, his school grades were not good enough. He is improving them with a correspondence course. Without a job, he would be herding the cattle on his family’s farm, and trying to protect them from lions.