Tracking the Sweni lions.
The wet cat smell hangs strongly in the air, almost as strong as the sound of two lion prides’ roaring on opposite sides of the Sweni Wilderness Trail camp.
Now is not the time to go deal with the consequences of the earlier consumption of a couple or more of beers around the campfire.
Lions roaring their heads off.
And they are real close, so close that you can smell them.
Earlier in the day we were picked up at Satara by our trails’ rangers.
A lovely dinner and socializing around the campfire set the tone.
Never would we expect to experience nature in the form of lions going mad right outside the camp on the first night.
Early the next morning we set out to find these felines.
Not a visual of any lion.
After tracking lion spoor, not clear and even sometimes invisible, leading by our tracker for 2 hours we decided to pull out the breakfast feast.
How lions manage to cover such a vast distance in a morning still remains unclear to me.
Breakfast consisting of crackers, cheese, biltong, fruit juice, dried fruit and fresh fruit are being laid out delicately by our guides on our breakfast table; a rocky outcrop.
Half way through our meal we got silenced by one of the guides.
A white rhino bull appears from nowhere and gently makes his way towards us.
Cameras out and action!
Only after he came 15m from us did he realize that something was lurking in front of him.
He stood dead still… And then trotted off away from us.
What a way to enjoy a breakfast!!
Lion tracking continued after breakfast, which brought us to a kill.
Young kudu bull, our guide informs us. Lion spoor all over the place.
Nothing left of the kudu except for the horns and a hoof.
Silently our guide replays the event of the happenings.
Astonishing how good he replays the events in front of our eyes.
The executors, 5 female lions, 2 young ones and 2 males, only 30min in front of us.
We take the spoor of the 2 males whom broke away from the pride. viewtopic.php?t=16557We
are getting close, real close if you listen to the calls of helmeted guinefowl going off like burglar alarms. Then suddenly… a guinea-fowl flushes and I have my heart bouncing around in front of my feet.
At the stream 2 fresh pairs of male lion spoor.
As we continue to move through the stream we see the “spin marks” of a zebra, which would make a Gezina voortrekker street racer proud.
There he stands looking as nervous as an Elvis Presley impersonator before his maiden show.
Lions? No sign but they are too close.
And our guides lead us away to safety.
A day later, having sun-downers on top of a hill, everyone gasps at the beauty of unspoilt Kruger nature. Forty thousand hectares of it, stretching out in front of us.
No one says a word.
Only the memories of the 2 days’ hike and the close encounter with the lions in our minds.
The only sound is that coming from a waterbuck clearing the stream below us and the sound of a chin-spot Batis.
Oh yes and of course that off an Amarula bottle’s “doep-doep-doep”.
Latest Lifer(s): White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Shy Albatross, Knysna Woodpecker, Mangrove Kingfisher
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