The Lion Queen Series 1

Andi explaining why she came to Glen Garriff
Andi explaining why she came to Glen Garriff

Series Synopsis

A struggling lion reserve is the last place Andi Rive, a midwife from the city expected to be.

When Andi first visited Glen Garriff Lion Reserve a few years ago, she fell in love with its majestic inhabitants. With no previous experience, Andi abandoned her old life in South Africa’s Cape and moved her young family to Glen Garriff where she and a small dedicated team have devoted themselves to caring for over 50 lions.

Lions face extinction in the wild due to loss of habitat and a decline in genetic diversity. South Africa’s ‘canned hunting industry’, where lions are farmed for wealthy tourists to kill, is adding to the genetic meltdown.

Glen Garriff offers sanctuary from the hunters but for how long? Bills are mounting up and the reserve is fighting off sale attempts. Can Glen Garriff survive?

Episode 101 A Midwife to Lions

Andi Rive, a midwife from the city has fallen in love with the fifty lions at Glen Garriff Lion Reserve. With her dedicated team of staff, family and volunteers Andi is tasked with keeping the struggling reserve afloat, fending off creditors, lawyers and hunters.

Andi has made a commitment to manage and try to save Glen Garriff. It’s a huge task, finding food for the lions, money to cover running costs, and learning how to run an 860 hectare reserve which has staff, lions and other wildlife and a lodge.

Some of the lions on the reserve were hand-reared after they were abandoned and they now see Andi as their mother.

Kathy Murrell, a pensioner from the UK is a permanent volunteer at Glen Garriff. She attempts to save an old horse from being put down and fed to the lions. But the longer the horse stays on the reserve the more agitated the lions become, putting everyone in danger.


Episode 102 – New Arrivals and a Sad Goodbye


New arrivals put added pressure on limited resources as two rescued lions arrive at Glen Garriff – one of them, a male lion called TJ, is unwell and the vet is called in to help. There’s added drama when a cub is mauled by one of the lions, and another cub, Taai, is abandoned by his mother.

There’s added drama when a cub is mauled by one of the lions, and another cub, Taai, is abandoned by his mother. Andi adopts Taai and starts to care for him but he starts to lash out and Andi worries he could grow up to be a nasty lion.

Andi has got some paying guests at Glen Garriff, providing temporary financial relief but when a male lion is killed in a fight, Glen Garriff is targeted by the bone trade. This brings to light the very lucrative industry surrounding captive lions in South Africa.

And it’s the end of an era for South Africa as Nelson Mandela dies.

Episode 103 – Fire and Ice

Glen Garriff Lion Reserve is faced with disaster after disaster – a fire burns out of control on a neighbouring farm and threatens to spread to Glen Garriff where a vital piece of firefighting equipment is out of action. Can Andi and her team keep the fire at bay?

A spruce up of the lodge to attract more guests is almost complete when a freak storm hits Glen Garriff – hail stones bigger than golf balls pelt down leaving behind a trail of destruction.

The storm starts a fire in the house and the electricity is down leaving Glen Garriff with no operational electric fences to keep the lions in their enclosures.

Kathy befriends another horse, hoping it won’t be fed to the lions and Andi sets up an African arts & craft store in a nearby town.


Episode 104 Saved From The Lion Industry


Glen Garriff offers sanctuary to its fifty lions from South Africa’s shocking canned hunting industry; hunters pay massive amounts of money to shoot lions that have been raised in captivity and are virtually sitting ducks when they’re released into a an enclosed hunting location.

A rescued lion arrives at Glen Garriff, unsettling some of the other lions and creating more problems for Andi.

Andi hits the road with a plan to create a new tourist experience for guests to Glen Garriff – she visits the Drakensberg mountain range and a Bantu village looking like it would have looked three hundred years ago, complete with a traditional healer who can read Andi’s future. Can these attractions provide the extra income Andi desperately needs to keep Glen Garriff going?

Episode 105 Out Of Control?


A controlled burn off during fire season gets out of control and threatens to spread across Glen Garriff Lion Reserve. Andi visits her family in the city and as the financial woes deepen at Glen Garriff, she is forced to make a heartbreaking decision.


It’s fire season and time to burn firebreaks to protect against fires. Andi and the Glen Garriff team work on a series of controlled burn offs but when the wind comes up unexpectedly, the fire gets out of control and threatens to spread across the reserve.

Andi visits Johannesburg for a family celebration and her family reveal their thoughts on Andi’s new career path working with lions.

Back at the reserve with financial woes deepening, Andi is forced to do something she swore she would never do.

Episode 106 What Future For Andis Lions?

Andi struggles to recover from selling four lions; a scientist reveals the results of a recent study into wild lion genetics which forces Andi to question whether she’s doing the right thing at Glen Garriff. And it’s Christmas and Kathy organises a party.

We chart the highs and lows of Andi’s three years on Glen Garriff as she struggles to recover from selling four lions.

A scientist reveals the results of a recent study into wild lion genetics which forces Andi to question whether she’s doing the right thing at Glen Garriff.

Seeking answers to the question of Glen Garriff’s future, Andi and Kathy travel to another lion sanctuary and Andi consults Traci, Glen Garriff’s CEO to see if she supports her vision for the reserve .

Andi gives advice on how to survive a lion encounter and it’s Christmas at Glen Garriff and Kathy organises a party.


The Lion Queen Cast Bios

Andi Rive

Just three short years ago Andi was a busy single mother working in design and decor, chairman of the school’s governing body, a karate fanatic and archer.

All of this suddenly veered completely off course when a close friend’s father became ill and his business, a lion reserve called Glen Garriff in South Africa’s Free State was left adrift with no one at the helm.


Andi stepped in and offered to look after the reserve for a few weeks – three years later she’s still there.


Looking after Glen Garriff has changed Andi’s life forever. She has moved her three children; Taiga (18), Shanead (14), Rhoan (12) to the reserve.


Andi struggles to keep the reserve and its animals safe from creditors and members of South Africa’s canned hunting industry, who were lining up to by buy all of the lions.

Fortunately she has help. Her close friend, and CEO of Glen Garriff, Traci provides incredible support and their small team are committed to keep Glen Garriff operating.

Daily stresses aside, Andi loves her new life. She loves the open spaces and skyscape found in the Free State. There is never a dull moment and there’s plenty to do every day; like euthanising old or wounded horses and cows donated as lion meat by local farmers; or picking up dead livestock struck by lightning on neighbouring farms; driving tractors and quad bikes around the 860 hectare reserve; fighting fires; and being hands on with anything from a constipated lion to orphaned lion cubs… Andi’s life has been taken over by passion, a few panic attacks and a pride of lions.

Traci Shannon Page Wood

Traci was born in Harrismith and raised on Glen Garriff which was then a farm. Her parents Patrick (Pat) & Cheryl Shannon moved to the property in 1967.

One of the biggest privileges Pat & Cheryl afforded Traci growing up was the interaction with animals and the valuable experiences and knowledge gained.

Her childhood was surrounded by animals as both her parents had an affinity with wildlife and Glen Garriff was always a sanctuary to a menagerie of species. Cheryl had a hand-reared owl called Simon who lived in and around the home for several years. Pat rescued a number of buck then raised and rehabilitated them into their natural environment. Over time, lions were introduced to Glen Garriff as the farm became a reserve.

Traci studied and lived in Durban before moving to Cape Town where she worked in various areas of the interior design market, this resulted in her owning her own company but she gave up the business to move to the country in order to afford her children Nicholas and Samantha the opportunity to grow up with a similar “lifestyle” to her own.

Traci ensures that the family get to visit the reserve as often as possible. The lions are a very big part of their family life and her children are growing up with the understanding that their mum’s work is working with the lions.

Traci & Andi partner closely on all aspects of Glen Garriff and their Love Lions Alive Project. They are inseparable when it comes to the legal struggle that hangs over their heads and against all odds they will find the means to ensure the safely and sanctuary of Glen Garriff’s beloved lions.

Kathleen (Kathy) Murrell

Kathleen Ann Murrell was born in England in 1947 and was raised by foster parents. She lived her entire life in London in a small flat. Driving to work and home again was the extent of her daily life’s horizons.

In her latter years Kathy quite intrepidly took herself off all alone on trips to various countries for her vacations. On one such vacation, she ended up in Sedgefield, South Africa where Andi Rive lived. Having no family of her own she emotionally adopted the Rives, fell in love with South Africa, realised that she could enjoy a vastly superior lifestyle in South Africa on her UK pension, and moved to Sedgefield.

In 2011 she visited the lions at Glen Garriff with Andi and fell in love with them. She returned for a few days every six months until she moved up permanently to a cottage on the farm where she remains today. In a dramatic turn of events Kathy loaned her life’s savings to Andi and Traci for legal fees to thwart an attempted forced sale of Glen Garriff.

At Glen Garriff, Kathy helps with shopping, post and general errands. She has an orphaned horse and a few rabbits on the property.

Thulani (Michael) Maphalala

Thulani was born in 1974 in Bergville, Natal at the foot of the Drakensburg Mountains.

He is the sixth son of eight brothers. Thulani is Zulu and speaks four languages. He worked for a stationery factory before getting a job at Glen Garriff as a general farm labourer.

It soon became apparent to the owner at the time, Pat Shannon, that after lions were introduced to the farm, Thulani had an uncanny ability to work with the animals without showing or even feeling an iota of fear.

Thulani has a true gift with animals and became the lion manager and induna on the farm. He is currently Andi’s right hand man and plays an integral role in the lives of the lions.

Thulani is married to Beauty Zandile and has a son, Siyabonga and daughter, Thando.