Cara Watts – Lions Manager


“Not many people in the world with that job title”! We remarked, when Cara Watts, pictured here with George da Soulchild Kaufela (left) and Milli Jam, guested on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience, our regular Sunday night radio show, airing weekly on
Zambezi fm from 20.30 – 21.30 hrs. “No” Cara replied succinctly. Cara is a lions manager for Lion Encounter based at Thorn Tree Lodge, having previously studied Animal Management and Welfare at the University of Lincoln in UK. She’s been involved with Lion Encounter since first going to Zimbabwe with them as a volunteer some three years ago. She subsequently came back to Zambia for a lot more!

“How many lions do you look after”? Asked Milli Jam. “24 altogether aged between 4 months and 5 years” said Cara. “How dangerous are they”? Milli Jam wanted to know, sounding rather fearful, and Cara replied that it depended on which ‘stage’ of lions he was talking about. She explained that there’s a 4 stage process in bringing up the lions before some are put back in the wild. Cara’s job involves ensuring the health and welfare of the animals and she assured Milli Jam that lions can be dangerous! She explained that Lion Encounter offer 3 activities for visitors, a lion walk and a lion drive as well as a night lion encounter. I reminded Cara about the time Nigerian visitors to Chanters Lodge had witnessed lions hunting then killing a wildebeest in front of them during their lion drive. They’d been thrilled!

“How popular is the TV Series about the lion encounter on ITV in UK”? Milli Jam wanted to know, reminding Cara that not so long ago the crew who were visiting Zambia to record the series, had guested on the show. Cara said that Series 2, currently being broadcast, was a great success and although there was no firm decision, she thought that a third series was a possibility. “What music do you like”? Asked Milli Jam, completely changing the subject away from lions! Cara said her tastes were quite general but at the moment she was into Lady Gaga and Jason Derulo. “Great”! We said and proceeded not to play tracks by either!

Instead on this show we played ‘Believe In Me Now’ the latest from Taio Cruz, back to back with ‘Colder Weather’ by the Zac Brown Band, currently No 1 on the US country charts. George then chose Mampi’s ‘Swilili’ and Roberto’s ‘Love You More’ for his local tracks – the Mampi track is hot in Zambia! (She sings about her confusion as her boyfriend doesn’t contact her often any more or as often as he used to!)

Milli Jam chose ‘All Of The Lights’, the smash hit by Kanye West featuring Rihanna, then Jennifer Hudson’s ‘Don’t Look Down’. Rihanna and Britney Spears’ remix of ‘S&M’ was coupled with Beyonce featuring Swizz Beatz and ‘Move Your Body’. We closed with ‘Party Rock Anthem’ by LMFAO and friends, huge in UK right now.

Cara told listeners that she was happy to be on leave while her parents were visiting Africa and that they’d just returned from a safari in Kapama Private Game Reserve in South Africa where they’d spent five wonderful days, managing to see all of the ‘Big 5’ and taking some great photos. The day after the show Cara and her parents were heading to Chobe National Park in Botswana for a two day safari and were greatly looking forward to the trip. “Are you married”? Asked Milli Jam, inevitably. “No” replied Cara. “Spoken for”? I continued. “No” replied Cara. That was that. “Where would you like to be and what would you like to be doing 10 years from now”? Asked Milli Jam. “I’m not really sure” replied Cara thoughtfully “but I’d like to be in Africa and still working with animals”.

Lovely girl! Lovely show! Lovely lions!

1