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Imfolozi Wilderness Trail Day 4 - Lion Pride

By Scott Ramsay | www.yearinthewild.com Book Accommodation

Lions!

Lions!

Our last full day in the bush. We headed off across the river from our campsite, to go back to one of the lookout points, to see if we could find some lions which were calling in the night.

Nunu gathered us together before we started walking, and read from his notebook: “Man will realize that he is an animal, and as such, he must abide by the laws of nature, and must not destroy God’s creation.”

“We’ve used all our senses so far: sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. Today, I want you to find another sense. Your sense of feeling. Let’s go find our brothers and sisters.”

We walked to our lookout point from the previous day, and as we got there, two anti-poaching rangers on patrol greeted us. They immediately pointed out a pride of nine lions in the distance, across the river. They were quite far away, but they were clearly visible: a big male, with a dark mane, four females, and four cubs. Wonderful!

Niki with the anti-poaching rangers

Niki with the anti-poaching rangers

We spent several hours watching them. First a buffalo came near the pride, then walked away. Nunu looks through his binoculars, and explained that the lions must have eaten recently, as they simply ignored the buffalo. The lions did look well-fed – their stomachs were big.

Lions drinking

Lions drinking

Then several of the cubs went down to the river to drink, and the concerned lionesses call them back to the reeds, where the pride congregated, including the male.

Lion Pride

Lion Pride 2

Lion Pride 3

Lion pride

We had lunch, and Nunu suggested we move on, as the lions wouldn’t move in the heat of the day.

We headed back to camp for our last night in the wilderness. Before we crossed the river, Nunu spoke to us: “As soon as we cross the river, no-one must talk until the morning. This afternoon and tonight is for silence. If I see a leopard, that’s my leopard. I am not going to say anything. No-one is allowed to talk, okay?”

Quiet time

Quiet time

Silence reigned as the sun disappeared. Two white rhino drank from the river. We had dinner, and went to bed straight away. It somehow seemed right that we weren’t talking.

I read from Nunu’s notebook something that he’d written:

“I am the mountain, the water, the animal, the wind.
I am the sun, the rocks, the moonrise, the star.
I am the earth, the tree, the sunshine.”

That night a thick mist rolled in. On my shift the lions were calling louder and more regularly than previous nights. And they were getting closer and closer to camp. Soon another lion, perhaps from a different pride on our side of the river also started calling. The misty air seemed to echo with reverberations of roars.

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