The day started out with a bang, or nearly did, until those in charge nixed the idea....
The lions' calls and answers reverberated throughout the night, vibrating our eardrums quite emphatically. At one point Ed wanted to shut the open window flap, as they seemed too close for his comfort. My bed was nearest the window and I protested, as I wanted to hear all the "night sounds", and this was a very special symphony, indeed!
After a restless night of waking and dozing, our morning started with intense gutteral growls and possessive expletives. They were CLOSE, so we bounded out of bed like kids at Christmas. Yes, Ed was right, they were too close for comfort.
There was a male and female, obviously a mating pair, prowling the camp as if they owned it. Actually, they DID own it for a good portion of the morning, holding us all hostage inside. They were so imposing and intimidating as they walked around every hut, sniffing and growling. The male was like a shadow of the female, his attention and intentions completely focused on her.
Paw print taken later literally inches from our hut
They jumped over the wall of the communal braai area and examined every inch, strutting and exuding confidence. They came back to our hut and began chewing on the braai grill we had left near the sink, and we could actually hear them breathing! They continued this inspection of all the huts, one by one, showing no reticence, no skittishness, just bold and methodical.
When they returned to our hut, yet again, they peered inside the open window flap where I was sitting on the bed. Lions don't look AT you, they look THROUGH you. They just stood there, two HUGE heads, eyes piercing for long enough that it began to seriously frighten me. I didn't want to try and close the flap, thus moving CLOSER to the window, or make any sudden noise they may react to, but I did want them to move on and stop staring at us.
Ed and I decided at this point it best to barricade ourselves in the bathroom behind the sandbag wall...armed with...you guessed it, a WHISTLE!!! Heh heh. We could hear them pace, breathe, growl. The adrenalin level inside was as high as the testosterone level outside!
I was chomping at the bit to take some pics, but didn't want them to be my last, so we waited until it had been silent for a good while. Peering out the small bathroom flap of the shower, we could see them in the distance moving toward the waterhole. Whew!
I grabbed the camera, asking Ed to "watch my back", and went outside to see what I could capture without something capturing me. They were an absolutely stunning couple, butterscotch tones, amazing eyes, true works of art.
They kept their eyes on me, as I did on them. After a while they settled down and began mating. The faces the males make are hilarious (lions, I mean...). Afterward, the female rolled over on her back (laughing? perhaps she too had seen his face..)
"What's so danged funny!?"
They mated four more times between 7A and 9A, having moved too far for photos, but still visible.
As I turned to go back inside.....yet ANOTHER golden boy greeted me....to be continued...