July 11: Can it Be? Did I Finally See a Lion?

I was really excited before tonight’s sunset drive. Like really, really excited. Word spread that there were lions back in our area, and i’d seen the camera trap images to proved it. Today they’d been roaring throughout the early hours of the morning. I slept through it, naturally. Fail. And while i’ve seen lions on my trips to other parts of the Kalahari, it’s been many months seen i’ve seen one at home. Tonight, I was going to find a lion.

We we lucky enough to find a herd of thirty Eland at a waterhole and while watching them in silence, we hear a lion roar. It wasn’t close, but it was enough to prompt me to turn the truck around and head out over the dunes in the direction we’d hear it calling from.

No luck with the lion. The road i’d hoped to find it on was quiet and trackless. Every so often i’d turn off the truck and listen, but we never heard it again.

Eventually we arrived back at the same waterhole where we’d seen our Eland and this time…. there were fresh lion tracks! It didn’t take long to spot the BIG blonde-maned lion on the road below. When we pulled up next to it, it languidly stood up and walked away, without a glance back.

Finally, I see a lion…

I moved to intercept him on the main road and when we did, we got to watch him scent marking and rubbing some Blue Bush by the roadside. Eventually he flopped down in the grass just feet from us.

It was fabulous. I think people think that as a guide, I see lions every day. I don’t. It’s a rare and special treat and not something that i’ll ever take for granted.

I left that gorgeous lion in his cozy patch of grass by the road. We were all pretty touched by the experience. I thought I might catch up with him again on the night drive later that night, but he had moved on. Love.

(So, I had spent the day studying my spiffy hand-made mammal gestation periods chart. I’m going to be the crazy girl who randomly knows everything’s gestation periods. It’ll be my party trick. If I ever get invited to a party again. Which I won’t. Because i’ll know everything’s gestation period.)

Sightings:

Lion (gestation 110 days)
Eland (9 months)
Cape Fox (56 days)
African WIild Cat (65 days)
Spring Hare (77 days)
Scrub Hare (42 days)
Steenbok (7 months)
Springbok (5.5 months)
Gemsbok (9 months)
Wildbeest (9 months)
Verreaux’s Eagle Owl
Kori Bustard
Dikkop

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