Published: May 13th 2010May 10th 2010
We were back into the game drive routine - up at 05h30, coffee and rusks for breakfast and in the bus ready for the gates to open.
It had been a warm night with plenty of lions at the waterhole. The lions roared most of the night whilst the jackals laughed
in response, though their high pitched voices not to the same effect!
In the first 30 minutes, our eyes were peeled wide, looking for any
sign of life. Giraffe were first to be spotted (if you ignore the springbok) though too far away. As we moved out of the open grassland into an area covered in bushes, Colette saw a small pride of lions behind us. Maxwell stopped the bus and we all stood in quiet amazement as not one, nor two but maybe a dozen lions slowly came into view. David then advised us to sit as Maxwell slowly reversed behind the tree line, hiding the lions from our view. He explained that the lions would be crossing the road in front of us and bade us wait.
For quarter of a hour we waited in silence. Finally, the birds started their alarm calls and then
a tail appeared. The first of the lions looked at us and sauntered onto the road. A second followed. Then a third. To our amazement, the sat down in the road, in the sun. Two cubs then followed and before long, there were a dozen or so lions just feet from the bus. Even the noise of the cameras didn't put them off.
Obviously comfortable, being social animals, they started playing together, juveniles and cubs mock fighting. They even stared at us, giving us the opportunity for some amazing photos.
Then, some moved off into the bushes on the other side of the road whilst the remainder sat still, looking back the way they'd come. As if this was not enough excitement for us, an enormous male lion came out of the bushes and majestically walked across the road. One of his cubs, roughly 6 months old, in playful mood, leapt at him and hung on. It was an utterly superb sight.
The lions in Etosha are the largest in Africa, weighing up to 250kg. It's unclear why they are so big but they certainly the other lions we'd seen look like pussy cats!
Cub estimated to be 6 months old
the game drive, we were fortunate enough to see another of Nature's marvels - pronking Springbok. Clearly, these animals were content in the sun and the grass and, once one started, others followed.
Back at camp, it was difficult to appreciate what we'd just seen and to doubt that any other drive could be better. That said, Sebastien and I wandered down to the watering hole to see whether there were any animals mad enough to be out in the sun. To our surprise, herds of Springbok and Zebra were taking in the waters, whilst a couple of elephants, white from the mud, wandered around enjoying the attention of the spectators.
That afternoon, the game drive was disappointing, in that there were no lions!!!! However, we did see a couple of Ostrich fighting. Again, back at the watering hole, we were privileged to see several giraffe come down to drink.
As the guide said, don't think that game viewing is like this, we've been very lucky!!!!
There are more photos below