lion tracking footprint

Tracking the lions in the reserve

Posted on 16 March 2015 by Part of Africa

This morning I woke up at 5.15, I felt like sleeping late but I didn’t want to take the risk of missing a beautiful early morning sighting. By the time I was through with my coffee, I felt much better, and after an outside shower I felt almost perfect. We packed our bags with some food and beverages and left. It was an amazing morning with a stunning sunrise, followed by a clear blue sky.

First we drove to one of the plains where a group of wildebeest and some zebras were enjoying the early morning sun. We wanted to capture this moment but it proofed difficult due to the bright sun, but after choosing the right spot we managed anyway.

Early morning sighting

The animals were relaxed, and we just watched them while enjoying the quietness of the early morning. At a certain point Paul spotted two Bat-eared foxes entering the territory of a slender mongoose family – within a few seconds the mongoose family chased them away. Usually we don’t see them that often but this trip we are lucky.

wildebeest morning

Danger in the bush!

Driving further, we approached a group of impala somewhere in the bushes alongside the road. We could hear them before we could see them. They made a warning sound; something must have scared them. The ranger stopped the car, turned off the engine and we watched and listened. Our patience was rewarded; a leopard walked away from the area where the impalas were standing. Number four on this trip but still as impressive as spotting it the first time. We continued our trip.

impala close up

Lions have been spotted!

Since a couple of days our ‘mission’ has been to find the lions. About 3 weeks ago an adult lion, we don’t know if it’s a male or female, and two young males entered the wilderness reserve – very exciting! Not many co-owners have seen them so it was our goal to spot them.

Lions are very shy; it’s of great importance that they can settle and get used to the area. But still… it would be great to observe them from a distance and actually see the first lions in the reserve. So far we hadn’t been very lucky.

Our ranger showed us the tracks, and yesterday we found a spot where they had been resting – right on the road. Today the ranger decided to check out the area around one of the bigger koppies. The drive up that spot was beautiful; we saw some disturbed kudu’s that were not used to a game drive vehicle. The area is one of my favorites – huge baobabs, rock figs, boulders, but unfortunately no lions.

lion tracking footprint

A pleasant surprise

When we expected the ranger to head back to the lodges, he decided to take another winding road. A great decision, because we ended up seeing two elephants! One on the left side of the road; in full view, very relaxed, and continuing what he was doing: eating.

elephant close up

The other one was on the right sight of the road, between the mopane trees. He didn’t like us that much and took off between the trees. It amazes me every time to see how easy it is for these big animals to disappear into the bush. We stayed and waited; he ended up making a large circle to be able to cross the road to meet with his relaxed friend again.

Great morning drive

We decided to go back to the lodges, ran into the anti-poaching team, who found recent tracks of the lions and a place where they had rested. We followed them, and checked it out. They must have been so close, and still hard to spot.

Around 10.00 we were back in the lodge and all agreed that it was another great morning drive. We’re sure we’ll spot the lions another day.