Yes,, Lockie...meerkats are like ground squirrels at home...just not as thick!!!
Quaint greeting left outside the community kitchen at Bitterpan…forshadowing things to come?
Mongoose stealthily hunted in the grasses out front of our tent.
View from the top of the tower looking towards the dead vleit. Kms and kms of Africa…where you are truly isolated…or are you.?
Nope...there is always a curious mongoose hunting. But was that all?
Loved the snarl on the face as it chomped....we tossed out a dried up bat carcass which we found in our tent, and they made light work of that too!!!Recycling at its finest!!
Each night at Bitterpan we thoroughly
enjoyed meeting the other campers and learning some stories from the ranger about life in the camp. While our/my head(s) were filled with stories of puff adders, and rogue lions, the ranger came scurrying back to us, with a massive light. He motioned us to follow him to the end of the walkway, and then turned on the light. The darkness was overwhelmed by the power of his light, revealing 2 lionesses far too close for my liking.
It was surreal. They were actually playing like domestic cats might. The ‘younger’ lioness ran ahead and hid behind a bush. The older cat started low calls for it as it walked ahead. The younger cat pounced out from behind the bush and the older cat jumped in fright. We all laughed…perhaps a bit more nervously on my part.
The ranger turned off the light, turned on his heels and said ‘goodnight’ and ‘they’ll be back’. What??? We stood there in disbelief and total excitement.
Well…nobody wanted to go to the loo by themselves after that, I can assure you. Each tent’s loo was across a small boardwalk from the tent. All together now.
Back in the tent…you just knew they were there…watching. It was exciting and terrifying all at once. The low calls of the female lions were stopped by one very loud male response. Every goosebump I own stood at attention.! Then anything in the area responded…you could hear jackals and hyena…incredible.
My SO had already gotten into his slender single bed, but there was no way I was sleeping on my own- I is such a wimp. So I jammed myself into his skinny bed and listened intently.
Somehow we did sleep, but awoke some time later to distinct sniffing sounds and low grunts. My Lord…yes we are in a canvas tent… we know what lions think of canvas…I had flashes of the Evil Brother Lion from the Lion King movie, disdainfully holding up a mouse and sniffing it with disgust…we were the mice.
I couldn’t wait for the light of day, for several reasons…most importantly I wanted to see the footprints. I was not disappointed…they were everywhere.
One other tent was occupied aside from the two we had…their car’s spare tire had the dune dust kindly licked off part of it, and a big swipe was taken in the sand. Ironically their spare tire cover was emblazoned with a rather large cat paw print.
As we were having breakfast the locals were spotted by the end of the vleit. The male was a very impressive specimen and clearly was a very kindly king, leaving the silly Canucks intact, except for a bit of nervous energy. As they moved off we slowly followed at a distance for a while and then the lioness held her ground. Gorgeous gal, who was also a very proud Mom…we saw 3 young cubs tucked away in under some large bushes.
Locals enjoying the morning sun after frolicking amongst the tents all night.
The kindly king in the light of day.
Mom eyeballing us through the bushes.
What a great experience.!