Lions on the Lawn and Other Anecdotes
One of the greatest blessings of living in this paradise, is being able to have this quality time with my grandparents, they are such treasures in my life.
A favourite pastime of ours, is to sit on the deck, drinking tea, while Grammy and Gramps recount stories of their lives here.
After all, they’ve lived here since 1973, so you can only imagine how many good anecdotes they've shared with me. Especially since we didn’t always have a proper fence here.
Before 2000, all we had was a small fence, about 1.4 metres high with 3-4 strands of barbed wire, so it was a bit like the wild west.
One of my favourite stories of all time, that my Gramps tells, goes like this...
One evening, my Gram was washing her hair in the shower, when the water abruptly stopped. With her entire head covered in shampoo, she shouted to my Gramps, “Mike, the water is off again, and I am covered in soap”.
Now the water pump in those days was above our laundry room, and it stopped working often. So Gramps would go outside, pick up a piece of fruit that had fallen from our trees (either a mango, lemon or an orange), and then would hurl it at the pump, which would usually do the trick, and the water would start again.
This particular time, in a hurry to get the pump started, he left his torch inside the house, and quickly made his way to the pump, which was about 200 meters down the dark road. He picked up a lemon, threw it at the pump, and it started to work again. And then he went back to the house.
Just as he got inside, he heard some grunting and movement outside, so he grabbed his torch (which wasn’t very strong), and shone in the direction that he had heard the sounds from.
To his surprise he saw some tawny coloured shapes, and orange eyes staring back at him, from the lawn. He had an idea of what it was, but wisely waited until morning light to check it out, which is when he found many lion spoors near to the water pump. Turns out, he had walked past a pride of lions, and lived to tell the tale.
When I think back on all his close shaves with danger, I'm firmly convinced he must have a guardian angel keeping watch over him.
On another occasion, one early morning, an enormous male lion came strolling down our property. My family, filled with such excitement, all hopped in the car with their pyjamas still on, and followed him until he crossed back in to Kruger.
Thrilled with their wonderful sighting and adventure, they returned back home for breakfast and found one of their staff members locked inside a large birdcage.
When asking what on earth he was doing in there, he promptly told them that a very “big dog” had walked past, and he was frightened. Turns out the male lion and the “big dog” were one and the same.
Another time, when my mom was still living here, her and my Gramps heard some commotion down in the river, so they drove the car down close to the fence, hopped out and connected the spotlight to see what was going on. As they shone the spotlight towards the river, they saw a large lioness lying on our grass, just a few meters from the car. Needless to say they jumped back in to the car very fast.
Throughout my mom’s life growing up here, and in mine and Darryl's childhood, we had horses here too. It was a wonderful place to ride horses, and we often went on to the neighbouring farms with them, and rode through the sugar cane fields and rows of citrus trees.
But with horses, came predators, and there were many sleepless nights for my Gramps, who would sit in his bakkie outside the horses stables at night, to protect them from lions and other predators, that would often come around and terrorize the horses.
Once our horses spooked and ran right in to the Kruger Park, and my Gram had to go walking in, with a loaf of bread to try and coax them out. Thankfully, she managed to grab them, and bring them home unscathed.
What can I say... Life on Kruger, has never been dull.
But, I’m happy to report that after the 2000 floods, and the larger fence was erected here, we haven’t had too many experiences with lions on our property.
Nowadays, we just have them patrolling our fences, and using it to catch their prey during the drier months, as well as sitting pretty on the rocks, on the opposite bank of the river from us.
Those are my favourite kind of moments xxx