Glen Garriff (GG) Conservation is a lion shelter found in Harrismith, South Africa. The 1,000-hectare sanctuary in the eastern Free State was established in 2002 and has a population of 70 lions currently.
The conservancy offers a unique experience for visitors. They get to experience an up-close encounter with these fierce and scarily carnivorous. The vastly foreign visitors are locked up in a glass cage with steel bars for 45 minutes.
Visitors who are used to viewing animals in the wild and Zoos get a unique opportunity to view the lions at close range. This favors wildlife photographers who can focus their lenses close up.
This ‘human cage’ idea was pitched in 2018 by German wildlife photographer Lars Beusker. He visited the sanctuary and proposed a photography enclosure to the management. The first cage design was all metallic, but they later developed the current form with pixel glass.
Inside the cage, visitors take stunning photos of the lions as they try to claw and sprawl between the metal bars. The breathing holes made on the pixel glass offer a perfect opening for photo enthusiasts using phone cameras.
The cage is usually used once a day and costs R2000 to R3000, equivalent to 134 – 197 Us dollars. Children under 14 yrs of age are not allowed in the cage, and overnight guests are given priority during this period which runs between 6 am to 7 am every day.
Donations made to the nonprofit organization and rates charged for the cage experience enable the sanctuary to take care and protect the lions, says the parks director Suzanne Scott. She also adds that the sanctuary expects 17 other rescued lions from a zoo in the Middle East.