We arrived back at our tent, and it finally started cooling down a bit. We decided to rather enjoy the last hour of daylight on our porch overlooking the beautiful scenery than driving around.
We were sitting on the porch, reading and relaxing, when we heard the francolins across the dam giving a warning call. I didn't think too much of it. Probably a snake or something. But luckily, SO looked up!
"There's a lion!"
Really! The Francolins gave a warning call - because there was a lion on the other side of the dam. A bit far for photography - but as evidence:
A beautiful male - wow! If only he'd come to drink...
But, he decided against it, and moved on deeper into the bush. Wow - we felt so lucky! Before the trip I read up on the lions of Marakele, and realised they they were often heard, but very rarely seen by anyone. Now those of you who've been following my TR's will know that my SO loves lion sightings. So even before the trip, I had to prep him that lion sightings was extremely rare in Marakele, and that he should just forget about them. Well, luckily I was wrong!
We were sitting on the deck, feeling very chuffed with our sighting, when a bakkie pulled up to our tent. I saw their yellow ribbon and started walking over to introduce myself. They started shouting at me not to come...
"Weird people..." I thought. "No" they said, "there are lions sleeping just a few metres from your tent!" It was Nina! and her SO. We immediately got our stuff and jumped in the car - more lions...
The lions were not where Nina! saw them originally anymore (apparently they had a lovely sighting), But we managed to find one of them lying in open view:
We could not believe our luck!
For lions that are not often spotted, she actually looked quite calm!
For those of you who know Tlopi Tented camp - I took a shot to show you exactly how close she was to camp. You can see her lying in the top left of the pic, with the sign pointing towards the last 4 tents in the front right:
She really allowed me to take some nice pics!
Just to note - we were walking in the camp area the previous day birding, and we spotted the White-Browed Scrub Robin (Gestreepte Wipstert), in about the same area!
We were standing in that area, unfenced area, on foot - just the previous day!
To be continued...