I was miffed. My travel companion had been slow that morning so we were twenty minutes late leaving Twee Rivieren camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Twenty minutes can be crucial at daybreak; the difference between spotting sunrise specials like leopard, brown hyena and caracal … and nix, nada, nothing. So the air was thick with tension.
We had barely focused the binos on its shaggy fur when it took off like an unbalanced rocket for the dunes. Two lionesses strolled in from stage left, past where it had been a just few seconds earlier. In unison, unhurried, they went to the waterhole where they sank to their haunches and started to drink, lap-lap, lap-lap, non-stop for eight minutes.
And that was the start of an orgy of lion sightings.
A male drank at Kameelsleep waterhole then walked towards us, roaring as he went. He found a patch of shade under a broken camel thorn and sniffed, scratched the ground with his back paws and finally flopped down to give us a full-on roaring concert, hoping to catch the attention of his pride.
Five minutes later mum was on the move again, walking alongside the road, coming closer every now again as if she wanted to cross to the other side. But by then there were five cars dogging her every move, cameras at the ready, a mass of expensive technology poking from almost every window.
We saw them again the following day, a little higher up on a dune, mum relaxing and the littles wrestling, cuffing each other with over-large paws they hadn’t quite learnt to control yet. Tired out from play, they nuzzled up to mum and began to suckle, two furry little bottoms pointing at us as mom half-closed her eyes.
These are sightings to treasure, ones where lions are moving and active. Because, let’s face it, watching lions sleep is about as boring as a wet weekend in Welkom.
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