The Separation

Breaking the news that there’s a male lion in the area often creates pandemonium in a game reserve. To me it is almost more interesting watching the people’s various reactions and responses to the sighting than the sighting itself.

I had spent a morning game drive searching for lions and eventually found a pride sleeping under a tree. I knew they would most likely still be there by the time evening game drive arrived. Sure enough, they were still sleeping, under the same tree.

Not too long after arriving at the sleepy felines, a roar of a male lion was heard about 1km further down the road close to a waterhole. We made our way in that direction and were the first vehicle to respond. We searched around the waterhole and eventually saw the cat bolt from the bushes. We followed him and found him resting under a relatively thick bush.

The sighting was called in and another vehicle responded. Knowing that the lion came from the waterhole allowed us to be patient as we knew he would most likely head back there for a drink.

In came the other vehicle. Without regard for us and our sighting (which we gladly shared), it came crashing through the bushes. As if the lion was going to bolt again. It was puzzling to see that they were satisfied with the worst sighting of this apex predator. Soon after arriving, they pulled out and disappeared. I wondered why they had come there in the first place. Not even 5 minutes later, the lion started moving. It got up, made its way past our vehicle and headed back in the direction of the waterhole.

We turned around and made our way to the opposite side of the waterhole where we were sure he would arrive shortly.

Our patience had paid off. In stumbled a very thirsty lion as the sun had started to set. Once again we were the only vehicle at the sighting. The light had started to turn a soft, golden hue and the heat of the day started to subside.

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This male lion must have been without water for some time as he spent close to 10 minutes just lapping up water and staring our way. The wait was well worth it and I wouldn’t have traded off any other potential sighting for this one.

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Staring into the eyes of a lion, even if it is separated by a body of water, is an incredible experience. It just boggles my mind that some would pass up such a great opportunity.

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​Eye to eye

Walking around in the bush and being able to get close up to wild animals provides such a rush.

At a recent drinks break while on safari I came across two Black Backed Jackals lazing about near our spot. One of the jackals took a great interest in our presence and decided to come investigate. These little creatures are truly fascinating to watch. It seems as if every move of theirs is a calculated one.

I managed to find a bush where I could hide behind to try and make my presence less known. The jackal approached, cautiously, but with great interest. For a while it paused, probably calculating, and went to rest under a nearby bush. I was not as stealthy as what I had thought and soon the jackal and I locked eyes. 

It is really fascinating to watch the behavior of animals change once they’ve seen you watching them, especially when on foot. As soon as the jackal saw me it got up and started to move away. 

The inquisitive nature of the jackal persisted. It still kept a watchful eye and moved away for a few paces. Then it seemed uncertain about retreating and came closer for a few paces. Then it would back off again.

After enjoying this little interaction I decided to give the animal some space and headed back to the vehicle.