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Lions and the Rooiputs tent - full story

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Lions and the Rooiputs tent - full story

Unread post by mistral » Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:19 pm

This has been posted on the web by the tourist in the tent:

"About 1:30 am I awoke to the sounds of Hyenas in the distance, although clearly it was not this sound that had woken me. Very quickly I hear the distinct sound of the male lions "cough", very close to my tent. My 2 mates who had joined me had also woken and had called to me that there were lions outside to which I whispered to them to keep silent. One of the guys , my mates cousin was on his first trip to a game park and was his first night. He had never even pitched a tent before...

Soon I felt tugging and pulling on my tent. I was uncertain of what was going on and then realised that it was probably cubs that were being nosey. but then they got a little too nosey and were chewing on the ropes of my tent, severing it and causing it to collapse a good section of the tent, then they were tugging on the air mattress as the bulge was sticking through the tent.. a very frightening thought so early in the morning and in pitch darkness. I remember my heart was racing and my mouth was dry and I could barely breathe.
after a while I noticed the cubs were chewing on the zips and heard one of them give way, this being the cover of the tent, as well they were having a right good time with other apparel that we had at camp... I had a small tear in the fabric of the fly screen, maybe 10cm vertically, and when I could see that the cubs were finding some interesting to have a look at through the rip I was scared they would rip it further so I kept flashing my flashlight at them though this gap.. this seemed to scare them off and they disappeared. However I think the disturbance got the interest of the large male and he came to have a look, pushing at least half of his head into the tent through the rip making it now over half a meter. I took my flashlight and was going to shine it on and off in his eye to try and blind him a bit, but at the time actually hit him on the face just above the eye. after that he left me to some small amount of peace.

About 10 minutes or so passed and I called to my mate in the tent next to me to see if they had all left and he said that there was still a male laying not far from my tent. Not having heard anything in 5 minutes I asked again, to which he said the same thing. Thinking he may be having a laugh with me I had a look out the tent and the coast looked clear. I climbed out and shone the torch around, not realising that in fact his tent faced the opposite direction to mine, and true as bob there about 2m from where I was standing was the male lion having a sit down just staring at me. I did not even think and just made a dash for the vehicle which was parked just off the other side of camp. I then started the engine and drove around to the tents where the male was, he got up and walked off. I then took a quick drive around Rooiputs with the spotlight and saw a group of cubs about the size of a border collie and a group of females and another male, about 12 or so in total based on the number of eye reflections at the time.

After that I got my mates and we drove to have a look but only the one male was still about and one of the cubs in the long grass.

The next day we checked out of Rooiputs in fear of another 2 nights that we had booked. However our fear slowly left us a few days later and we spent our last 2 nights of the Kgalagadi back at Rooiputs, although I did sleep in the car as I felt that having a half meter rip in the door of my tent was just not a grand idea for Rooiputs.

The first morning of our stay back we actually saw the pride on the horizon at sunrise and managed to get some magical photographs and also had the big male that I believe visited me sitting just a few meters from us in the long grass just half a kilometre for camp.

Hope you enjoyed my story, if sounds like a lot of fun, but I can tell you I would never wish to go through this again. But in a way glad I did."

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Re: Lions and the Rooiputs tent - full story

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:46 pm

This story is sure something you can tell around a nice campfire.

All jokes aside.

Incidents like what happened at Rooiputs ia a once in a lifetime incident. Lions or any other predator for that matter doesn’t see a tent as a threat nor do they know they can actually go right through it, for them it is just an obstacle.
By chewing on the ropes it is just that there was human scent on the ropes and that was what made them inquisitive.
By staying still in the tent did help, but it could have gone the wrong way as well. The best advice I would give is that when you do see something sniffing the tent is to just give it a blow with your fist onto its nose and it should frighten them, but again depending on the situation. Shouting at the animal will also make it to leave the tent alone and go look for something else to play with.
By shining the flashlight did indeed woken the curiosity of the male to come and investigate what was going on.
Rooftop or ground tent.....They are both safe.
I have had a similar experience when working in the Kruger on a Trail when lion cubs destroyed two of our canvas tents just by playing and accidently tore the tents and they got inquisitive and started going into the tent destroying all that was inside.

At the end of the day it was a lifetime experience.
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Re: Lions and the Rooiputs tent - full story

Unread post by LizelleB » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:11 pm

Kgalagadi Guru, I am very glad that you commented on that. I must say that this is one of my biggest fears when camping and hubster is trying serious blackmailing/negotiating techniques to convince me to camp in an unfenced area. This post did not help his cause. We are going to Tzendze KNP in May in a rooftop tent and although I am extremely excited, when the sun sets, I do get nervous and THAT camp is fenced :shock: . Hubster jokingly calls me a ‘sissy’ :k ...even after I forwarded this link to justify, what I guess is an irrational fear. I am glad to hear you say that the chances of this happening is slim (i prefer zero :hmz: ) and it is good to know how to handle that type of situation should it happen. There is a youtube video titled “Apples in tent” which is VERY ENTERTAINING. Oh my goodness, a huge gorgeous and curious elephant walked amongst these campers smelling apples in a rooftop tent, i think Botswana. The campers went on as normal and stayed pretty calm. The 2 old gentleman carried on sitting in their camping chairs drinking, what i presume was something strong, very funny. Inquisitive ellie even came so close and took a whiff of the drink :big_eyes: . Heaven forbid...I think that is something I like seeing on YouTube or reading about on this forum. Hi my name is Lizelle and I’m a sissy. :thumbs_up:


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Re: Lions and the Rooiputs tent - full story

Unread post by Sparks » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:34 pm

I have had a similar experience with one of the big 5, not one that would eat human flesh but still a grey jumbo well known to have a short temper, a white rhino. I was sitting next to a burnt out campfire with my son just soaking up the night sounds and having a chat, a couple of rhino was grazing nearby and slowly moved closer. We carried on talking and tried our best to let the rhino know we were there without waking the whole camp, the rhino just kept getting closer and closer. Eventually they were about 1m from where we were glued to our chairs and believe me having these big brutes so close is intimidating to say the least. We did not want to get up in fear of startling the animals, not that I think my legs would have cooperated.

If I had something a bit stronger than good old coffee to drink I might not have been somewhat distressed but believe me it was an awesome experience to have wild rhino approach us so close and become part the conversation, they were calm and gentle the opposite of what their reputation would suggest. I can see why people go to these wild and untamed places to experience this kind of interaction and experiences like this one has made me passionate about the rhino.
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Re: Lions and the Rooiputs tent - full story

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten » Fri May 23, 2014 7:16 pm

A very old thread, but so good to read!

KG has much more wisdom than any of us, but I would not want to punch a lion's nose through the tent...
A number of years ago a woman tried that at Mana Pools during a game count, and the old male lion instinctively latched out and grabbed her hand and started pulling her out of the tent... Her husband came to help, and the lion grabbed him and tried the same. Fortunately another ranger close by had a gun on him and he shot it dead before it could kill anybody...

Still trying to convince my wife to go to Rooiputs so I can photograph those lions in early light...!

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay

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Re: Lions and the Rooiputs tent - full story

Unread post by hilda » Mon May 26, 2014 11:17 am

I have also enjoyed reading this old thread Friedrich! :dance: :dance:
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Re: Lions and the Rooiputs tent - full story

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Tue May 27, 2014 2:04 pm

t is a classis and like all classics, needs to be taken out of the bookshelf and read again and again and again....and....
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