After tracking Lions for a couple of hours in the morning, we came to within 15m of what we thought at the time was only two females with a male, resting in a Grewia Thicket. At first we only heard soft growls, then the sound of them running off… Unarmed & heart pounding we made a hasty retreat to the safety of the truck & watched the occasional flick of a tail in the thicket.
Some minutes later we were joined by a colleague & discussed the safest approach on foot. This time we had back up (Thandi – the rifle). The bush was thick where they were lying. So we approached from a clearing on the right & 10m in, I looked to my left side straight into the eyes of a big female sitting a mere 15m at the edge of a thicket, watching us. The male was crouched by her side, low down in the grass. With baited breath we agnoliged, viewed & slowly retreated facing them with no threat of a charge at all.
Later at dusk, we patiently waited at the watering hole, hoping they would come down to drink… Just before dark, one by one, they filled out the thicket & to our surprise, we realized that we had not just walked into 3 Lions that morning but 8 Lions!!! After having their evening drink, the pride made their way towards us (safely in the truck) & lay down in the road. Yawning & stretching in front of us before getting up & dissapearing into the darkness…
Story written by: Caroline Schiess
Photographer: Caroline Schiess & Anna-C. Nagel