Part 2 : A Morning Spent with 2 Huge Male Lions & Other Incredible Sightings
I was meant to go back to Imbali, to send the photos of Hoyo Hoyo to be printed, and then head to Skukuza to collect my mom from the airport, but how could I resist a sighting like this.
And so, we headed to the other side of the concession to see the leopards. There was game in abundance, as we drove the winding roads, the bush lush and green after the late rains, and drops of dew glistening in the sunlight off the blades of grass. It was a beautiful morning.
We rounded a corner, when the guide said to me, “Can you smell the bull in musth?” I must admit, I went cold, I love ellies, I really do, but I’d rather not come face to face with a bull in musth, especially on a narrow road.
I was still hoping we wouldn’t find him, but on the next bend, there he was- right smack in the middle of the road, as well as a breeding herd of ellies. They were blocking the road on either side of the junction, and we had to just sit and patiently wait for them to move off, I could still hear lions roaring in the distance. They were relaxed, and didn’t seem perturbed by our presence, luckily for me.
Eventually they moved off, and we continued on.
We approached the leopard sighting, but couldn’t stay, as there were 3 vehicles at the sighting. But I could see two of the three leopards from the road, one in each tree. I looked forward and there was a lioness contact calling just a little ways down the road from us.
(Leopard photos Credit: Imbali Safari Lodge guide, Matt)
So we left the leopards, and followed the lioness and then more lions appeared, including a huge male, which lay down just a little ways from our vehicle. He was not in the best of moods, and gave us a mock charge, before moving further in to the bush. Heart racing stuff.
A lone kudu stood meters from a lioness, curiously staring at her. This was a surprising sight to me, it’s almost as if other animals just know when lions aren’t going to try and make them a meal.
At this point the leopards had jumped down from the trees, and a guest later had said that the 3 leopards walked in the road together – like a pride of lions. It was a phenomenal sighting and sadly we missed it, but all of the guests (and other guides) were in their element, witnessing this unusual and incredible moment.
(Incredible video taken by Imbali guide, Matt)
Time was against us, as we headed back to Imbali so I could send these images of Hoyo to be printed; From there, I packed up as quickly as possible, and headed out to Skukuza airport.
I was worried about time, but as I was driving into the airport, the plane flew over my car and landed. I had made it right on time!
It was pretty awesome to collect my mom from Skukuza airport, and then head on safari with her :)
As we approached the Hamiltons access road, we found an enormous male lion in the road, he lay there and posed beautifully for me so I could snap a few photos of him.
As far as eventful mornings in the bush go, this one had been a list topper! I was exhausted, in the best possible way. It had been a complete thrill, with so many adrenaline filled moments, and I couldn’t quite highlight which of them had been the best.
I had a dreamy afternoon at Hamiltons, with a lovely foot massage, watching an array of game come down to the waters edge for a drink; baboons, kudus, and impalas adorned the sandbanks, while the giant jackalberry trees above me swayed in the cool breeze.
I soaked in a hot bath, before heading off on an afternoon game drive. We stopped at a lovely picnic site in the company of an ellie while we watched the sun go down, and on the way back to camp saw many of the little nocturnal creatures, a genet, a chameleon, a jackal and a hyena, to name a few.
That night the lions sang sweet lullabies all through the night, and I barely slept with their enchanting melodies, which I just love to listen too.
Morning broke, with the most incredible sunrise over the Nwaswitsontso river, as I sipped on a cup of freshly brewed coffee, and continued to dream about my magical time here.
I’d spent 3 days on the Mluwati concession, and I had 6 incredible lion sightings.
Oh, what a wonderful thing it is to have so much love for a place; A place that will have my heart, for always and a day.