We’re not the sort who have eyes for nothing but the Big Five; in fact, we take more pleasure in tiny agamas, whistling rats and unobtrusive owls. But it’s hard to resist the allure of lions when they lay on a smorgasbord of brilliant sightings like we’ve had in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park over the past few days.
Just ten minutes later she was up again, wafting her bottom in front of his nose, tail in the air, luring him. Again he followed but this time the mating took place right in the road, just four or five metres from us, so close that our telephoto lens was useless.
Fast forward a day to a spot just south of Lanklaas waterhole, also on the Nossob river, where we watched a male ripping and tearing his way through a gemsbok carcass while another male and three lionesses rested in the shade so near to the side of the road that you could have spat on them. Six hungry jackals paced patiently, waiting for an opportunity for a spot of food theft.
Finally, on the third day, we rounded a bend to find a couple dozing right in the road halfway between Kannaguass waterhole and Grootkolk camp. Their tummies full, traces of blood still on their faces, they paid us scant attention for more than an hour, dozing, interacting with each other, checking on the other members of their pride, so close it was tempting to reach out and pat them.
With the exception of the lions on the kill, where there was a clutch of about eight cars coming and going, we had all these lions virtually to ourselves. Try seeing lions at the Kruger National Park and you’ll know how special this is. Here, you can feel at one with nature, just another wild creature in a wild landscape. At Kruger your blood pressure is likely to sky-rocket because people in 15-20 cars are jostling for position, behaving badly, pushing, shoving, blocking your view, even getting out of their cars for a better photo angle.
But why am I telling you this? Don’t come to Kgalagadi. It’s a terrible place – no elephants, no hippo, no crocs, no buffalo. Go fight with the cars at Kruger instead and leave the Kgalagadi to us...
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